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Real Reasons Americans Are Fatter Than Ever

Real Reasons Americans Are Fatter Than Ever

(Copyright DPC)

Wednesday, 21 September 2016 03:13 PM

Move more, eat less. This has long been the primary advice weight-loss specialists have given, suggesting that the nation’s obesity crisis is largely a result of Americans’ eating too much and exercising too little.

But the truth is it’s not that simple, according to a new report.

Citing multiple federal health studies, The New York Post notes a number of other factors help explain why more than one in three Americans are obese and another third are overweight, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

High-calorie salads. Many Americans are turning away from burgers and fries, in favor of salads. But even the veggie alternatives on chain-restaurant menus are fattening.

Examples: Applebee’s Oriental chicken salad contains 1,420¬ calories and 99 grams of fat, while Chili’s Quesadilla Salad Explosion has 1,440 calories and 96 grams of fat. By comparison, a McDonald’s Big Mac has 540 calories and 28 grams of fat.

Sugary drinks. High-calorie coffee drinks have become very popular, but are often loaded with more sugar, carbs, and fat than a meal. Just one example: Starbucks’ 16-ounce pumpkin-spice with whole milk and whipped cream has 420 calories.

Sleep deprivation. One in three Americans don’t get enough sleep (seven or more hours per day), according to a 2016 report by the CDC — increasing their risk for weight gain. Lack of sleep — as well as chronic stress — can boost your appetite and may push some to skip workouts and rely on sugary foods as energy boosters.

High-carb foods. Many Americans are cutting back on sweets and desserts, but eating more high-carb processed foods. That’s because a range of non-fat or low-fat foods contain more sugar and carbs to compensate.

In addition, many products you might not expect to contain sugar actually do — including salad dressings, tomato sauce, protein bars, crackers, and baked goods. David Zinczenko, author of “Eat This, Not That!” says most Americans consume nearly twice as much added sugar each day — 88 grams — as the World Health Organization recommends (52).

Fad ingredients. Trendy foods — such as gluten-free items, chia seeds, and coconut oil — are often high-calorie, high-carb foods that can boost weight gain.

Misleading labels. A recent survey found that three in four Americans buy foods labeled “natural” because they think they’re healthier choices. But, in fact, there is no legal or regulatory standard a food must meet to be labeled “natural.”

Similarly, food manufacturers can put a “made with organic products” or “all natural” label on pretty much anything. What to look for: “Organic” labels and calorie counts, which are federally certified, monitored, and checked.

Exercise is oversold. Physical activity is important, but not as big a factor in weight loss as cutting calories, according to the latest research.

In addition, getting the recommended 30 minutes of vigorous exercise daily — the minimum, according to health authorities — isn’t enough to counteract the deleterious effects of sitting for more than four hours a day in front of a TV or computer screen, studies show.

Diet soda. Switching to diet sodas and sugar-free foods containing artificial sweeteners may actually do more harm than good. Why: Artificial sweeteners like aspartame boost blood glucose levels and the liver converts the excess into fat.

Researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center monitored 475 adults for 10 years and found those who drank diet soda had a 70 percent increase in belt size, compared with those who didn’t drink any. Those who drank more than two per day experienced a 500-percent weight gain.

Weight-boosting meds. Many prescription medications taken by millions of Americans have been linked to overeating. Among them:

  • Beta blockers that slow down heart rate and blood pressure leading to fewer calories burned during exercise;
  • Antidepressants that may increase appetite; and
  • Antibiotics that have been associated with added weight.


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Eating too much and exercising too little aren't the only reasons Americans are fatter than ever. A new report identifies those other factors and why they're driving the nation's obesity crisis.
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Wednesday, 21 September 2016 03:13 PM
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