People are obsessed with dieting and weight loss! Don't believe me? Just tune-in to any source of advertising...you're instantly bombarded with latest diet schemes and "Hollywood" food fads.
Here in America, we have built a thriving industry trying to control our weight and treat consequences of over-indulgence. The cost of weight loss and obesity related health care treatments is staggering...Americans alone spend around $114 billion every year! And even with all this interest in losing weight, we continue to pack on pounds like never before...
- A whopping 64 percent of U.S. adults are either overweight or obese...up about eight percent from earlier estimates.
- Among children and teens ages 6-19, 15 percent or almost nine million are overweight...triple rate in 1980!
- Nearly one-third of all adults are now classified as obese.
For Americans, modern life may be getting TOO easy. Our cushy lifestyle means we expend less energy and consequently need fewer calories to sustain our normal body weight.
Think about it for a moment...
Entertainment no longer requires energy expenditure. In fact, it's usually quite opposite. We now entertain ourselves in comfort of our own home while watching TV and munching on our favorite snack. Whether it's television, computers, remote controls, or automobiles, we are moving less and burning fewer calories. Common activities that were once a part of our normal routine have disappeared...activities like climbing stairs, pushing a lawn mower or walking to get somewhere.
And please do not misunderstand me...I appreciate comfortable living just as much as next person. But, here is problem...
With all of our modern day conveniences and "cushy" style of living we have not adjusted our caloric intake to compensate for our decreased caloric expenditure. We consume more calorie rich and nutrient deficient foods than ever before. Consider a few of following examples comparing what we eat "today" vs 1970's (U.S. Department of Agriculture survey):
- We are currently eating more grain products, but almost all of them are refined grains (white bread, etc.). Grain consumption has jumped 45 percent since 1970's, from 138 pounds of grains per person per year to 200 pounds! Only 2 percent of wheat flour is consumed as whole wheat.
- Our consumption of fruits and vegetables has increased, but only because French fries and potato chips are included as vegetables. Potato products account for almost a third of our "produce" choices.