I get asked by friends and clients on occasions "what is the one thing I could tell people to do if they want to be healthier?"
Although this is a very broad question and there is no specific answer that I could give that would apply to everybody all the time. There are 2 golden rules that I tell people to obey if they have any consideration for their health and well being.
Avoid all fast food restaurants
Avoid all fizzy drinks, especially the drinks that are marketed as "Diet"
If you obey these two rules I believe you will healthier and happier than anybody who indulges in these nasties. If you regularly consume these food types and stop you should notice a decrease in body weight and an increase in energy without doing much else.
Fast food or "gut filler" doesn't have any major nutritional value. If you are paying well below normal rate for meat then the chances are you aren't getting meat. If you are the meat isn't going to be of particularly good quality. You don't have to look too far back to see the horse meat scandal that took place in the UK with many large brands selling beef which was up to 98% horse meat.
Fast foods are notoriously good at supplying you with huge amounts of trans fats, salt and food so refined (such as chicken nuggets) that it no longer resembles anything like its original source.
Fizzy drinks are predominantly composed of water, sugar and chemicals. The sugar content is enough to give you an immediate high, get you addicted after regular consumption and cause massive weight gain and possible type 2 diabetes with chronic long term abuse. I use the word abuse because pouring this stuff into your body everyday can't really be viewed as anything but abuse.
Although some drinks are marketed as "Diet" or "No Calorie" drinks, these are probably worse for your long term health. Since these drinks have no sugar you needn't worry about the weight gain and diabetes. However there are worse things to worry about. A lot of the artificial sweeteners in these drinks cannot be broken down in our bodies hence the no calories. But while they are in our bodies they can have negative effects. Some of these sweeteners cause a paralysis of the large intestine, which may will lead to constipation followed by bouts of diarrhea. Constant damage to the intestinal wall may lead to irritable bowel disease or a leaky gut. A leaky gut will allow undigested proteins and sugars into the blood stream. These proteins will set off an inflammatory response and may lead to autoimmune diseases, which manifests as acquired allergies or intolerances.
It must be considered as well that a person drinking a fizzy drink isn't likely to have it with a bowl of fruit or a salad. The point I'm trying to make is that often fizzy drinks are accompanied by other foods which will exacerbate this process. The foods I'm thinking of are also devoid of any real nutrition which might otherwise have a repair mechanism for these structures.
By becoming more aware of food types, ingredients and the preparation process you can EatSensible RunSensible and live healthier. It doesn't take much time, just a little awareness and common sense.