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18 Wheels, 23 Discs: Is That Spare Tire Affecting Your Health?

Did you ever consider that your breakfast or lunch might contribute to workplace fatigue, stress and even injury.

Did you ever consider that your breakfast or lunch might contribute to workplace fatigue, stress and even injury.

Often we go about our daily routines with little thought about what we are fuelling our system with. You probably put more thought into the maintenance of your truck and trailers!

Nutrition is just one aspect of your overall health, but a very important aspect and one that is often ignored.

Most people who work routine jobs, be it shift work or desk work have poor eating habits. Now, think of your “schedule” – do you make the time for a healthy meal or snack?

What I want to try and do over the next few months is build a foundation approach to your overall health. I am not going to do this in any specific order, but rather one topic at a time, as they seem relevant.

Most of us remember a time when we could eat an entire large pizza in one sitting, a time when the owners of the all-you-can-eat restaurants quaked with fear in your presence.

Well, that was a while ago, and if that is still the case, perhaps this article will hold some added interest for you.

The North American diet, in general, can be analyzed in two ways: what is consumed, and how much is consumed.

I am not here to go over portions and content, but rather to provide a guideline for getting started.

First, a couple of facts. While type II Diabetes is becoming an epidemic it is one of the most preventable diseases there is.

High Blood Pressure is another disease that is in large preventable through diet and exercise.

Type II diabetes is generally found in the elderly, and more commonly in those both over 45 and overweight.

I am not going to discuss the specifics of the disease, except the part that it is preventable.

The consumption habits of many include all of the food groups, but in the wrong quantities.

There are many diets out there, but when it comes to eating healthy, nothing beats proper nutrition through the use of whole foods, a balance of the food groups (unfortunately, beer and deep fried chicken wings have recently been delisted) and nutritional supplements.

Again, if you are consuming three platefuls per sitting and you are not an Olympic athlete, then the portion size may have to change. So what does that all mean? And how do you implement a new eating strategy for yourself?

First, you have to analyze what you are eating.

An inexpensive method is to keep a diary for a week and log everything you consume from apples to water, and the time and quantity you consumed.

To help you, mark the quantity of food in amounts you can relate to, like a “fistful of potatoes,” etc.

If you are eating three fistfuls a day, perhaps a goal is to bring that down to one.

This does not have to happen overnight, as long as it does start to happen. So now you know what you consume and how much of it you consume.

The next step is to determine what needs to be changed and then begin that process.

Well, it’s not simple, and it’s not that difficult either.

The Canada food guide is a good resource for beginners, and there are many online resources to help you find a balanced and nutritious diet.

Now, I like to always include some good scientific information to back up what I have told you, so here are the facts.

Portion sizes for popular take-out restaurants, fast-food chains, and family restaurants were measured and compared to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) standards, and to portion sizes in the past. Information was obtained from portion weights, package labels, and manufacturer claims. Below are the findings of the study, which appeared in the American Journal of Public Health:

Excluding white bread, all commonly available food portions exceeded USDA and FDA standards.

The largest excesses occurred in cookies (700 per cent over USDA suggestion size), pasta (480 per cent), and muffins (333 per cent).

Portion sizes for foods such as hamburgers, French fries and soda were two to five times larger in the study than in the past.

Portion sizes started to increase in the 1970s, grew dramatically in the 1980s and currently continue to rise parallel to increases in average American body weights.

Food manufacturers and restaurants have little incentive to reduce portion sizes: Profits for these companies rise when product size is increased.

Also, a recent survey showed that Americans ignore portion sizes when attempting to follow a healthy diet.

As portion sizes at restaurants increase, realize that despite what your parents taught you, you don’t always have to clean your plate.

What I wanted to convey to the readers was that the process of change is a long and difficult one, but not impossible.

The benefits far outweigh the risks, but caution should be exercised when starting anything that can affect your health.

A check-up with a health care professional is important, and it will help you confirm if you are on the right road to achieve your goals.

This month we have briefly reviewed a basic guideline for changing your diet to help set up a foundation upon which you can build or rebuild your health.

In next month’s column we will look at an example of what constitutes a healthy intake with both content and calories counted.

Have a great month and drive safely!

– Dr. Marc Blackstone is a chiropractor at City Health Chiropractic & Massage located in the RoadKing Truck Stop in Calgary, Alberta. Any questions or comments may be directed to him through his e-mail: or via telephone at (403) 301-3322. You may also view this article and others on the clinic website:

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