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Eating More Fruits and Vegetables Won't Stop Obesity

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Sorry Mrs Obama, but people actually do eat more fruits and veggies -- 30 lb more veg and 25 lb more fruit -- than they did in 1970, but obesity has been monotonically increasing anyway. :(

Because people are eating more of everything else, too.

But why are they eating more? Isn't the theory supposed to be that fiber-rich plant foods fill you up so you eat less?

Here's one theory: less smoking. In that case, the next health impact of increased obesity might not be that bad. Here's another: eating more processed sugars actually triggers you to eat more of everything. In that case, the correlation of veggies with caloric intake is actually a symptom not a cause. Also, frankly 30 extra lb of veggies per year comes out to like... 1 extra lb every couple of weeks, which is probably like half a carrot per day. Is that even one extra serving?

So the factoids in this article might be fine, but the conclusion -- that more fruits and veggies won't stop obesity -- are not necessarily supported by this data. If Americans were eating 7 or more servings of fresh vegetables daily and STILL gaining weight, we could legitimately conclude this... but if they've managed to go from like 2 servings to 2.5 servings a day, not sure it's time to throw out the broccoli with the bathwater.

Good point. It's not likely that the vegetables are the true culprit here.

Less smoking is a good theory.

Processed sugars making people eat more of everything is also a good theory.

Another Atlantic article on how Americans used to eat maybe TWICE as much meat and FOUR TIMES as much red meat as we do now and yet had basically zero heart disease:

Wow, Americans are actually eating too little meat:

In the book Putting Meat on the American Table, researcher Roger Horowitz scours the literature for data on how much meat Americans actually ate. Asurvey of 8,000 urban Americans in 1909 showed that the poorest among them ate 136 pounds a year, and the wealthiest more than 200 pounds.

A food budget published in the New York Tribune in 1851 allots two pounds of meat per day for a family of five. Even slaves at the turn of the 18th century were allocated an average of 150 pounds of meat a year. As Horowitz concludes, “These sources do give us some confidence in suggesting an average annual consumption of 150–200 pounds of meat per person in the nineteenth century.”

About 175 pounds of meat per person per year—compared to the roughly 100 pounds of meat per year that an average adult American eats today. And of that 100 pounds of meat, about half is poultry—chicken and turkey—whereas until the mid-20th century, chicken was considered a luxury meat, on the menu only for special occasions (chickens were valued mainly for their eggs).

Yet this drop in red meat consumption is the exact opposite of the picture we get from public authorities. A recent USDA report says that our consumption of meat is at a “record high,” and this impression is repeated in the media.

Eating more fruits will not fix:

- government sponsored awful processed foods,

- food deserts,

- constant stress,

- urban sprawl,

- lack of education,

- poor city planning


Those are all really good points. But especially the processed foods point.

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