Obesity in America still Rising

Does it surprise you to hear that 31 states in America have reported rising obesity rates? One state, Mississippi, has more than 30% of the population falling into the obese category according to a recent report in CNN. In addition: “In 32 states, 60 percent of the population is either overweight or obese. West Virginia ranks highest in the combined statistic, with nearly two-thirds of its adults obese or overweight.”

I recently watched some older movies with a young Elizabeth Taylor and was struck by how amazingly slender for the most part the women and men were in those days, even the older men and women. They seemingly did not have our weight woes in those days, although we do know that Elizabeth Taylor struggled with her weight in later years. So, did the American diet finally catch up with her too? The older ladies and men in her movies escaped that. What happened then? We know our diets changed, our stress levels increased and our activity levels decreased. The biggest contributing factors of those are probably the diet and the activity levels (backed up by the CNN report for Mississippi), because stress existed in earlier generations too. Our diets suddenly contained a much greater variety of processed foods, such as cereals and cookies, not to mention the explosion of different varieties of sugar-filled (often high fructose corn syrup, one of the worst offenders) sodas. Hidden in the ingredients one also would find trans fats (nowadays less so, but still present in many fast foods and other restaurant meals), and often too much sodium (especially in soups and processed meats). Very often when fat is removed from a processed food product, sugar is added to make up for it. Tremendously delicious and carb-filled, sugar-filled, and ironically, fat-filled desserts are everywhere to tempt us. The fast food restaurants make a fortune out of selling people fattening food that is essentially not healthy to eat too often. Ever watch the movie, “Supersize Me”? Besides the food not tasting that great, in my humble opinion, there is always a risk of an e-coli infection with undercooked hamburger meat. Not so long ago, I went with the family to a well-known hamburger franchise and both times we went the hamburger meat my boys and husband ate was undercooked, still appearing pink in the middle. Needless to say that has literally put me off for life and today I make hamburgers for the family when they desire them.

The CNN article mentioned that there is a higher level of poverty in Mississippi and we all know carbs are cheaper. What do lower income families buy then? They probably skimp on the more expensive meats, veggies and fruits and fill up on empty, freely available, inexpensive white breads and baked goods. It is very addictive to start eating that way, in any case, as insulin levels will be higher in the presence of lots of refined carbohydrates. Even if they could suddenly afford better food, chances are they will still crave the carbohydrates they’ve become accustomed to eating in large quantities. Carbohydrate addiction is a very real thing and it is outlined in several low-carb diet books, such as the Carbohydrate Addicts Diet, Atkins, etc. The late Dr. Atkins went as far as to say that many people develop an allergy to wheat products and ironically the body will crave the very thing it is allergic to. It is also not surprising that high rates of diabetes are found amongst those who are very overweight.

Dr. Atkins said that higher insulin levels in the body result in more fat storage. Many studies have proven him right. His whole diet premise is to do an end-run on insulin production. The same is true for other low-carbohydrate diets, such as Protein Power, Carbohydrate Addicts LifeSpan Program, etc. Dr. Bernstein, who wrote a couple of books that I am aware of (see Amazon), addressing a very low-carbohydrate way of eating for people with diabetes, also maintains that it is the embracing of the low-fat diets (read: high carbohydrate) that has brought about the obesity problem in America.

It is really sad that so many people are suffering unnecessarily. It is time more people hear about the lower carbohydrate diet alternative, which has been proven to work for many people, even reversing diabetes in many cases. My friend, who lives in the beautiful Okanagan Valley in Canada and who I’m hoping will write her testimony for my blog, is one shining example of success that I know personally.