Is obesity in the USA due to too much sugar, or is there more to the problem than meets the eye?

Is obesity in the USA due to too much sugar, or is there more to the problem than meets the eye?

An article in the NY Times discusses the idea of demonizing sugars such as high fructose corn syrup which is not good for us, however, there is more to the weight problem story than most of us realize. This article is a must for anyone who is trying to lose weight or understand why obesity is as big a problem as it is.

Many Fronts in Fighting Obesity

Sugar, and especially the high-fructose corn syrup that sweetens many processed foods and nearly all soft drinks, has been justly demonized for adding nutritionally empty calories to our diet and causing metabolic disruptions linked to a variety of diseases. But a closer look at what and how Americans eat suggests that simply focusing on sugar will do little to quell the rising epidemic of obesity. This is a multifaceted problem with deep historical roots, and we are doing too little about many of its causes.

More than a third of American adults and nearly one child in five are now obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Our failure to curtail this epidemic is certain to exact unprecedented tolls on health and increase the cost of medical care. Effective measures to achieve a turnaround require a clearer understanding of the forces that created the problem and continue to perpetuate it.

The increase in obesity began nearly half a century ago with a rise in calories consumed daily and a decline in meals prepared and eaten at home.

According to the Department of Agriculture, in 1970 the food supply provided 2,086 calories per person per day, on average. By 2010, this amount had risen to 2,534 calories, an increase of more than 20 percent. Consuming an extra 448 calories each day could add nearly 50 pounds to the average adult in a year.

Sugar, it turns out, is a minor player in the rise. More than half of the added calories — 242 a day — have come from fats and oils, and another 167 calories from flour and cereal. Sugar accounts for only 35 of the added daily calories.

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