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Question

If GMOs are healthy and good to eat... why does the United States register as one of the most overweight countries in the world? You think it would flip if we were actually making something good to eat...

Submitted by: heisz50


Answer

Expert response from Connie Diekman

MEd, RD, LD, FADA

Friday, 19/06/2015 14:20

The incidence of overweight and obesity in the United States is due to a multitude of factors, but information from the USDA Economic Research Service gives us some insight:
 

“In 1970, Americans consumed an estimated 2,109 calories per person per day; whereas in 2010, they consumed an estimated 2,568 calories (after adjusting for plate waste, spoilage, and other food losses). Of this 459-calorie increase,  grains (mainly refined grains) accounted for 180 calories; added fats & oils, 225 calories; added sugar & sweeteners, 21 calories; dairy fats, 19 calories; fruits and vegetables, 12 calories; and meats, eggs, and nuts, 16 calories.”
 

Increasing calories by almost 500 per day is a pattern that can lead to weight gain of almost one pound after seven days. In addition, the high intake of more refined foods — snack foods, sugars, sugar-sweetened drinks — means less fiber is consumed and the feeling of satiety is shortened, resulting in people’s eating more often.
 

At the same time, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that less than half of adults (48 percent) meet physical-activity recommendations and only 3 in 10 high students get at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day. You can read more about physical activity at http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/data/facts.html.
 

So we are eating more and moving less, a pattern that does not support weight maintenance. The idea of blaming one thing — sugar-sweetened beverages, fast food or GMOs — fails to address the much bigger issue of our lifestyle patterns that do not support a healthy body. Eating more refined grains, added fats, oils and sugars, while moving less, is a lifestyle pattern that is dooming us, as a population, to weight gain.

 

We need to look at the US dietary guidelines, which outline better food choices and portions while also identifying what type of activity is needed for health.