Obesity: The Hidden Truth

by ssmit16 on September 13, 2013 - 3:52pm

In a recent Newsweek article, “The New Obesity Campaigns have it All Wrong,” Gary Taubes establishes that the reason the obesity epidemic is so profound is because we do not understand the real causes of the issue and are therefore addressing them the wrong way.  Yes, the basic biological facts are still true, if we consume more calories than we expend we will store energy and gain weight.  Taubes, however, argues that monitoring what we eat has a far greater impact on our weight than simply “working off” the calories we consume.  The obesity problem remains an issue in large part because the actions being taken to address the issue are so off course. We’re told to eat less red meats, saturated fats, and salt.  The government has spent fortunes trying to raise awareness and prove that these foods are bad for our health, without giving a second thought to sugars.  Biologically speaking, when our bodies break down carbohydrates, the excess sugars are stored as fats, to put it simply.  In fact, “in the 1980s, the FDA gave sugar a free pass,” leading to the development of that Food pyramid encouraging us to consume the greatest quantity of our calories in the form of carbohydrates (Taubes, 2012).  Taubes concludes that it is no surprise that this has only furthered our nation’s obesity problem in recent decades.

            Taubes makes a really important argument in his article that if we were to have “targeted sugar” back when we were trying to explain why fats and salts were bad for our health, then maybe our entire “food culture and the options that go with that” may have evolved the same way they did when we thought we had realized that low-fat and low-sodium diets were necessary for a healthy weight (Taubes, 2012).  Although Taubes argues that scientists have known the way carbohydrates and sugars behave and the effects they have on our bodies for quite some time, rather than point fingers at the FDA and the government for steering us in the wrong direction, it is most important to focus on implementing new, effective solutions to this urgent issue.     


Taubes, G. (2012, May). The New Obesity Campaigns have it All Wrong. Newsweek, 159(20), 32-36.




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