(Article adapted from: http://authoritynutrition.com/12-graphs-that-show-why-people-get-fat/)
A recent article on Authority Nutrition has explained why people are getting fatter than ever-in just 12 simple graphs. The numbers do not lie!
1. People Are Eating More Crap than Ever
Source: Dr. Stephan Guyenet. Fast Food, Weight Gain and Insulin Resistance.Whole Health Source.
This graph says it all, though we pretty much already knew this. We are eating more junk food. Why? It is cheap, easy, and fast.
Instead of making our own food at home, we go out.
At the turn of the 20th century, people were eating mostly simple, home-cooked meals. Around 2009, about half of what people ate was fast food, or other foods away from home.
This graph actually underestimate the true change, because what people are eating at home these days is also largely based on processed foods.
2. We Eat Too Much Sugar.
Source: Johnson RJ, et al. Potential role of sugar (fructose) in the epidemic of hypertension, obesity and the metabolic syndrome, diabetes, kidney disease, and cardiovascular disease. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2007.
As addictive and terrible as it is, Americans cannot seem to get enough sugar in their daily diets. I have friends who sip Coke and then complain about their weight. But.. they won't give up the soda. Why? Sugar is a drug. It has been proven time and time again to become a habit. Your body gets a little and it craves more.
Numerous studies show that eating excess amounts of added sugar can have harmful effects on metabolism, leading to insulin resistance, belly fat gain, high triglycerides and small, dense LDL cholesterol… to name a few.
There is also a plethora of observational studies showing that the people who eat the most sugar are at a much greater risk of getting type 2 diabetes, heart disease and even cancer.
3. We Love to Overindulge During the Holidays
It is no secret that we love to overindulge on the holidays. Although weight gain does not happen overnight, we tend to think its simply ok to splurge this one time because it is Thanksgiving or it is Christmas, etc. We may even think, oh it is just a few pounds!
The problem is that sometimes people don’t lose all the weight back. They might gain 3 pounds, but only lose 2 after the holidays are over, leading to slow and steady weight gain over time.
In fact, a large percentage of people’s lifetime weight gain can be explained just by the 6 week holiday period.
4. Obesity Skyrocketed After the Low-Fat Guidelines Were Published
Source: National Center for Health Statistics (US). Health, United States, 2008: With Special Feature on the Health of Young Adults. 2009 Mar. Chartbook.
Scientists once believed fat, especially saturated fat, to be the main dietary cause of heart disease (although this has since been disproven).
This led to the birth of the low-fat diet, which aims to restrict saturated fat. Interestingly, the obesity epidemic started at almost the exact same time the low-fat guidelines first came out.
But it does seem likely that putting the emphasis on saturated fat, while giving processed low-fat foods high in sugar a free pass, may have contributed to negative changes in the population’s diet.
There are also massive long-term studies showing that the low-fat diet does NOT cause weight loss, and does not prevent heart disease or cancer.
5. Food is Cheaper.. But Still Not REAL.
The decreasing price of food is triggering obesity at its finest. You see an ad on tv, "99 cents for a taco or cheeseburger!" Not only does that sound tasty, but the price is super appealing as well.
Let's get one thing straight: yes, whole foods cost more. But you get what you pay for. This is why real food is not cheap. People complain on a daily basis about how much organic food costs, but come on-what would you rather fuel your body with: a bunch of cheap fake shit or real good shit?
6. Sugary Soda & Fruit Juice Consumption Has Increased
The brain doesn’t “register” liquid sugar calories in the same way as it does solid calories and if you consume a certain number of calories from a sugary drink, then your brain doesn’t automatically make you eat fewer calories of something else instead.
That’s why liquid sugar calories are usually added on top of the daily calorie intake. Unfortunately, most fruit juices are no better and have similar amounts of sugar as soft drinks.
Studies have shown that a single daily serving of a sugar-sweetened beverage is linked to a 60.1% increased risk of obesity in children.
7. Increased Junk Food Variety Leads to Weight Gain
Variety can be a villian when it comes to junk food. The graph above shows a study where rats were split in 3 groups… one group got regular healthy chow, the second group got one type of junk food, but the third got multiple types of junk food at the same time.
This reminds me of our day in age in America.We go to a conveience store or the supermarket and there are aisles upon aisles of JUNK! So much shit to choose from, its not even funny. We pick up a bag of chips, then come cookies, and oh-don't forget the ice cream!
This is a recipe for disaster.
8. Our Occupations May Be Leading to Decreased Daily Activity
Source: Church TS, et al. Trends over 5 Decades in U.S. Occupation-Related Physical Activity and Their Associations with Obesity. PLoS One, 2011.
Long gone are most hard manual labor jobs and say hello to the desk/office! This graph shows that due to most occupations, we are not burning as many calories during the day. Why? Technology is taking over. Nowadays, there is a machine to do everything for you. Why use a human?
Also, people are stuck at their desks for 8 hours, working on their computers, and not getting up to go anywhere.
9. We Are Consuming More Oils, Thanks to Junk Food.
Believe it or not, butter is not your enemy. This graph shows that people are getting further and further away from eating natural fats such as butter or lard and rather reaching for processed oils that are hidden in most junk foods.
10. Your Social Life May Be Contributing to Weight Gain
These days, people go out to eat in big groups. Why? For the social aspect, of course! Hardly anyone eats alone these days. However, eating in groups can often trigger you to eat more calories per sitting. Why? You are too busy socializing! This is why you drink so much when going out to a bar-next thing you know, you are drunk as a skunk. You are talking and chatting away, having a great time, and not really paying attention to how much you eat or drink.
The other graph shows that people eat more on the weekends which is when most people go out to eat versus cooking at home.
11. We Skimp on Sleep.
Source: Cauter EV, et al. The Impact of Sleep Deprivation on Hormones and Metabolism. Medscape, 2005.
Sleep plays a huge role in maintaining your weight and keeping your body working properly. Not getting the adequate amount of sleep can screw up your hormones and make you feel hungrier than you really are. The longer you stay awake, the hungrier you are more likely to get.
12. We Eat More Calories Than What We Really Need.
Source: Dr. Stephan Guyenet. Why Do We Overeat? A Neurobiological Perspective.2014. (Data from CDC NHANES surveys and USDA food disappearance data)
As you can see, caloric intake has increased over the years, leading to our fattest population ever. We no longer care about or rely on the true amount of calories that our bodies need on a daily basis. We eat without direction, but for pleasure.