Obesity rates are increasing and nothing seems to be working

Photo by Emma Simpson on Unsplash


The paper drew on data from the United States National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), which was conducted sporadically from the 1960s, but that became an annual survey from 1999 onward (thus we currently have ~20 years of detailed data collected under standardised conditions). Annually, around 5,000 representative members of the US population undergo medical, dental, physiological and laboratory tests as well as providing dietary, socioeconomic and health-related information. Trained health professionals travel across the US in purpose-designed and equipped mobile caravans to gather these data.


What about the other side of the energy-balance model, calories-out? Has physical activity decreased enough over the last 20 years to explain the obesity curve?

If energy-balance is getting us nowhere, where else to look?

Perhaps the most obvious explanation is food quality. For example, the energy balance model does not distinguish between the biological effects of 100 Cal coming from sugar vs. 100 Cal from protein — they are both treated the same when it comes to weight-gain, thereby ignoring our biology. That alone should discredit the model.



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Science of cooking, eating and health. Retired neuroscientist.