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Fat-Free, Yet Fatter

This NPR story provides a good synopsis of what went wrong decades ago when the U.S. government decided it should get involved in the eating habits of Americans, their efforts ultimately leading to the development of today’s twin epidemics of obesity and diabetes.

This was a classic case of “We’re from the government and we’re here to help” as Sen. George McGovern led a 1970s crusade to get people to eat less fat and more carbohydrates in the mistaken belief that fat was making us fatter and causing heart disease.

This 1954 menu from a Capitol Hill restaurant shows just how much diet (and, as an aside, prices) have changed since then as meat and butter are  prominently featured.

Author Gary Taubes is featured in this story and my wife and I are coming up on our three-year anniversary of our low-carb conversion that he prompted in Why We Get Fat.

This should be required reading for anyone wondering why, once they hit age 30, they gain a pound or so a year and find themselves overweight on their way to obese by middle-age.

Progress in Food Labeling – Baby Steps

Given the miserable results in what have clearly been misguided attempts to inform Americans about how what they are eating affects them (as evidenced by just about any chart on obesity in the U.S.), any improvement in current food labeling is welcomed and that’s what the Food and Drug Administration is doing with the proposed change below.

Fat is still the bad guy, though less so than before as the “Calories from Fat” item has vanished in favor of an enlarged Calorie count. Of course, the real problem with high-carb America is in the %DV area but, fortunately, only math geeks will be able to crack that code and discern any harmful information from it.

Most overweight and obese Americans will continue to buy what tastes good and highlighting the calorie count in the food label is certainly progress if it will give them a better idea of how many calories they’re consuming.

Unfortunately, for most fat people, the mix of calories is as important as the number of calories and that’s where the %DVs aren’t helping people since they are based on official government guidelines where carbohydrates get too high a share, due in part to the errant 1960s thinking that reduced fat in the American diet would help reduce heart disease.

[Note: I'll soon have my 3-year anniversary for "livin' la vida low carb" - I'll never go back.]

Exporting Obesity

The start of a new year brings fleeting attention to the nation’s ongoing obesity epidemic (also see here and here) that, according to a new report detailed at Reuters in the piece below, is clearly spreading to the rest of the world.

In doing a lot of traveling in recent months, it was pretty interesting watching how food is served and eaten at airports. On a few occasions, I opted for a salad at McDonalds and have found these to be a good alternative to going hungry. They look at you a little funny when you order one because most people mindlessly buy, and then consume, a burger and fries.

The YouToons Explain Obamacare

The Kaiser Family Foundation provides the following cartoon summary of the Affordable Care Act, most of which went into effect the other day.

The nation’s new health care approach has taken something of a blow in recent days after a new report detailed how expanding Medicaid in Oregon a few years ago increased the number of trips to the emergency room rather than decreasing them.

As shown here, Medicaid signups have been about double the private plan sign-ups, so, in the words of Jesse Pinkman of Breaking Bad, “there’s that”.

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