A recent editorial in The Lancet, "Prevalence trends tell us what did not precipitate the US obesity epidemic," explored causes of the obesity epidemic.
It said, "Genetic predisposition, maternal obesity, excessive maternal weight gain, diabetes, tobacco use during pregnancy, and prenatal exposure to obesogens or endocrine disruptors have all been implicated."
It went on to say that none of these are likely to be causes of our current issues, then continued....
"One candidate is the change to US farm bills in the 1970s, which led to an increase in food portion sizes; accelerated marketing, availability, and affordability of energy dense foods; and widespread introduction of cheap and potent sweetening agents, such as high-fructose corn syrup, which infiltrated the food system and affected the whole population simultaneously."
While I agree with "an increase in food portion sizes; accelerated marketing, availability, and affordability of energy dense foods,” I think they ignore “the elephant in the room,” and it's a big one.
Of the approximate 500 calorie per day increase since 1970, the majority of the increase was driven by added fats (48% of the increase), most of which was driven by added oils. Added sugar playing a much smaller role (7% of the increase) with most of the added sugar (34%) comes from Sugar Sweetened Beverages.
In this graphic, you can see both the "Calorie Change" and the "Percent of Caloric Growth" from 1970-2010.
This chart shows the "Increase In Added Fats, Oils and Dairy Fats," which, as you can see, was driven mostly by added fats and oils, which was driven mostly by added salad and cooking oils.
This graph shows the "Contribution of Calories From The Different Food Groups." It is easy to see how added fats and oils, and flour/cereal products grew and contributed the most to the increase in calories.
In addition, added sugars, including corn syrup and HFCS, while still above their 1970 levels, have all trended down significantly since 1999.
In spite of the downward trend since 1999 in added sugars , the prevalence of overweight, obesity and extreme obesity continue to raise.
This means the majority of the increase in calories and calorie density was driven mostly from added fats (4000 cal/lb), not added sugar (1800 cal/lb), yet some how, they ignore that.
"Added oils, the elephant in the room (of how we became so obese).”
Additionally, flour and cereal products accounted for 34% of the increase, most of which were refined & highly processed. At 1600 cal/lb, it still leaves added oils as the biggest contributor to calories and calorie density, the passive overconsumption of calories, and obesity.
Now, mix together added oil, added refined flour and cereal and a little added sugar and you get a whole lotta CRAP(Calorie Rich and Processed food), including WFPB/Vegan CRAP!
Prevalence trends tell us what did not precipitate the US obesity epidemic
February 28, 2018
Anthony Rodgers, *Alistair Woodward, Boyd Swinburn,William H Dietz