What’s Eating You Is What You’re Eating: How Bad Diet Advice Has Shaped America

big cheetahEver seen an obese cheetah? Me neither. Yet for decades, America’s been a victim of “eating fat will make you fat” thinking.

This round-up of multiple studies of the American diet makes me long for the good old days of my childhood, when:

  • Mom cooked meatloaf, and made cheese casseroles — sometimes meatloaf and cheese casseroles (gross, I know)
  • People ate eggs and drank whole milk
  • There was no “obesity epidemic”

Today, instead of healthy dietary fats and proteins in reasonable quantities, Americans are eating more simple carbs than ever. The data highlights a 250% increase in sugar consumption — an additional 500 calories per day, accounting for almost ALL the additional calories consumed per day. In fact, Americans now consume an average person’s body weight in sugar each year. People are drinking 8% more sugar-laden soda and fruit juice and 2% less milk.

People are using less butter, lard, and eggs but a LOT more dietary oils in general. The problem? Turns out eggs and butter probably aren’t as bad as we thought, and processed vegetable oils can contribute to an inflammatory response that’s already aggravated in seriously overweight people. And fast food consumption is up 20%.

Obesity and overweight’s a complicated topic, but I think we can all agree that none of these developments have done us any favors.


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Don Muchow - Radial

Content & Media Director at The Radial Group
Deeply experienced in building user communities around healthy lifestyles, I've led hundreds of strategic content projects helping clients establish market leadership, brand awareness and social reach. My own experience as a Type 1 diabetic ultra-endurance athlete has given me unique insights into the benefits and obstacles that often accompany individual wellness journeys.

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