Americans are finally eating less – Phew!

After decades of worsening diets and sharp increases in obesity, Americans’ eating habits have begun changing for the better.

Calories consumed daily by the typical American adult, which peaked around 2003, are in the midst of their first sustained decline since federal statistics began to track the subject, more than 40 years ago. The number of calories that the average American child takes in daily has fallen even more — by at least 9 percent.

The declines cut across most major demographic groups — including higher- and lower-income families, and blacks and whites — though they vary somewhat by group.

In the most striking shift, the amount of full-calorie soda drunk by the average American has dropped 25 percent since the late 1990s.

As calorie consumption has declined, obesity rates appear to have stopped rising for adults and school-aged children and have come down for the youngest children, suggesting the calorie reductions are making a difference.

The reversal appears to stem from people’s growing realization that they were harming their health by eating and drinking too much. The awareness began to build in the late 1990s, thanks to a burst of scientific research about the costs of obesity, and to public health campaigns in recent years.

The encouraging data does not mean an end to the obesity epidemic: More than a third of American adults are still considered obese, putting them at increased risk of diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Americans are still eating far too few fruits and vegetables and far too much junk food, even if they are eating somewhat less of it, experts say.

But the changes in eating habits suggest that what once seemed an inexorable decline in health may finally be changing course. Since the mid-1970s, when American eating habits began to rapidly change, calorie consumption had been on a near-steady incline.

RTFA for lots more: details, trend, suggestions, analyses, food for thought as well as the foodie in us all. Long, detailed, enjoyable chunk of information.

Of course, if the Koch Bros bought Kraft Foods – instead of Warren Buffett – you could be certain their lobbyists would have Congressional Republicans denying the existence of calories, declaiming any thought of Americans responsible for weight gain under any circumstances. The NRA would require members to increase their uptake of candy bars. Every family values hustle this side of Colorado Springs would add a cooking show to their TV lineup featuring coconut cream frosting on everything from hot dogs to your morning coffee.

3 thoughts on “Americans are finally eating less – Phew!

  1. Ed Bernays says:

    “Most of the focus in the popular media and in the scientific press is, ‘Oh they’re eating too much, eating too much, eating too much’ — blaming fast food, blaming sugary drinks and so on,” Global Energy Balance Network’s vice president, Steven N. Blair, an exercise scientist, says in a recent video announcing the new organization. “And there’s really virtually no compelling evidence that that, in fact, is the cause.” (NYT Aug 9th) “Coca-Cola Funds Scientists Who Shift Blame for Obesity Away From Bad Diets” http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/08/09/coca-cola-funds-scientists-who-shift-blame-for-obesity-away-from-bad-diets/

  2. Moon Pie says:

    “A newly discovered cache of industry documents reveals that the sugar industry worked closely with the National Institutes of Health in the 1960s and ’70s to develop a federal research program focused on approaches other than sugar reduction to prevent tooth decay in American children. …The archive of 319 industry documents, which were uncovered in a public collection at the University of Illinois, revealed that a sugar industry trade organization representing 30 international members had accepted the fact that sugar caused tooth decay as early as 1950, and adopted a strategy aimed at identifying alternative approaches to reducing tooth decay.” An analysis of those papers by researchers at UC San Francisco appears March 10, 2015 in the open-source scientific journal, PLOS Medicine. Press release http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2015-03/uoc–pr030615.php “Sugar Industry Influence on the Scientific Agenda of the National Institute of Dental Research’s 1971 National Caries Program: A Historical Analysis of Internal Documents” @ http://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.1001798 “…the researchers explore how the sugar industry has historically sought to undermine or subvert policies to restrict sugar consumption, by examining internal industry documents related to the launch of a targeted research program to identify interventions to eradicate tooth decay—the National Caries Program (NCP)—by the US National Institute of Dental Research (NIDR) in 1971.”

  3. Norman Chaney says:

    “This is what “comfort food” is probably doing to your brain” http://qz.com/477148/this-is-what-comfort-food-is-probably-doing-to-your-brain/ “In a new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition { http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/102/2/454.abstract }, researchers found that eating foods with a higher glycemic index, meaning foods that raise your blood sugar level, may raise a person’s risk of developing depression. (Processed, sugary foods are some of the worst culprits.) Eating higher amounts of added sugars, as well as refined grains, was also associated with higher odds of developing depression.
    On the bright side, the study also found that diets higher in lactose, fiber, fruits and vegetables were “significantly associated” with a lower risk of depression.”

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