Food is a major part of life. Between it and alcohol, there aren’t many other things that are almost guaranteed to be involved in a social gathering. We center our holidays around food, our birthdays around family dinners, and our daily schedules to meet the needs of our ever-hungry bodies.

Many people would like to think that they’re well informed on what they’re actually putting in their bodies. However, it is only recently that the surge in nutritional science has highlighted how much we actually do not know.

Becoming a personal trainer is a rising profession, right along with nutritionists and dietitians. In our generation, we’ve seen some pretty horrific fad diets that are unhealthy and ineffective. Almost all of them leave us skeptical, and have stories of people bouncing back right after.

However, with the increased awareness of the health paradigm in our country, and maybe the world, it seems that people are starting to do what they do for the right reasons.

It is well-known that obesity is a problem in America. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that over one-third of the country’s population is obese. And why should we be surprised, especially as college students? People live busy lives in a self-made, competitive world in which we have tricked ourselves into thinking that it is not important what we put in our bodies, as long as we eat.

We’ve made dollar menus such an ever-present part of our lives that their absence would almost challenge normalcy. People like to save money and get food fast, then get back to the paper they were writing, the client they were helping, or, God forbid, the video game they were playing.

We are all guilty of doing it. Even when you consciously know that you don’t want to and shouldn’t be putting that piece of pizza in your body, it’s a hell of a lot cheaper for that $4 slice versus a $10 salad.

This creates a sluggish exterior as well as interior. Not only does it take a physical toll on your body, but a psychological one as well. Exercise and an active lifestyle have been proven, over and over again, to lead to increased levels of serotonin, directly responsible for the uplifted and good mood you feel after leaving the gym or running a straight mile.

But we have bred our own society, and done so in a way that favors fortune and instant gratification over real satisfaction and quality of life.

And it seems society is becoming aware. These fad diets and quick fixes are fading fast, and people are beginning to realize that they must change their entire lifestyles if they’re to get the desired outcome, which is an overall healthy life.

This has also led to an increased awareness of good food v. bad food. Plenty of our generation, as they step up to the nutritionist and personal trainer forum, do not advocate for cutting certain things you love out of your diet. You want the candy bar? Eat the damn candy bar. Do not eat one everyday, however.

Fats are also a necessary part of a balanced diet, but the good, mono-unsaturated fats that have a higher melting point that saturated fats. This allows the body to burn them quicker, resisting the sluggishness many commonly associate with fat.

Nutrition is about moderation, and while it seems obvious that we have always known it, it is only within the last decade or less that people are allowing that knowledge to be put to use. Knowing what is in your food is just as important, if not more important, than simply making sure your body has fuel to survive. The shift in awareness of health importance has been made apparent, and we would do well to acknowledge it rather than take another run through the McDonald’s drive-thru.

The Nevada Sagebrush editorial staff can be reached at editor@nevadasagebrush.com.