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Grain and Sugar Consumption by Year vs Obesity Rates (Is this an accurate chart?)

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created December 30, 2011 at 12:37 AM

Given that many of us are data-driven folks, I was curious to see if there was data that would show a correlation between grain and sugar consumption and the obesity epidemic in the U.S. Here's what I came up with (1950-2000):

http://img39.imageshack.us/img39/2656/grainsugarobesity.jpg

I based off of information on food consumption by the USDA: http://www.usda.gov/factbook/chapter2.pdf

the CDC: http://www.cdc.gov/NCHS/data/hestat/obesity_adult_07_08/obesity_adult_07_08.pdf

and livestrong: http://www.livestrong.com/article/384722-how-much-have-obesity-rates-risen-since-1950/

Seems like it may be a good way to get the message to folks, though I realize less exercise may also be a contributing factor. Anyway, are there other charts out there - perhaps one with more data points?

F291857fa12a0291688ea994343156dc

(720)

on March 04, 2014
at 03:42 PM

ADA worked for you but it appears to be failing a LOT of people....

no processed foods, no sugar, no juice, no grains, no potatoes, no bread, no pasta, no soy, no crappy fats or oils.<<< sounds like the right kind of "food avoidance" to me

no counting, no displince required

Medium avatar

(10611)

on March 04, 2014
at 10:21 AM

Contd... I'm glad Attia's approach works for you. Stick with it.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on March 04, 2014
at 10:18 AM

I defend ADA because it worked for me to immediately control my high blood sugar. It restricts high glycemic carbs but doesn't go to the point of ketosis.

All diet approaches to weight loss work if you're disciplined, whether you count carbs, calories, do weight watchers, Atkins or ketosis paleo. But none of them are automatic. You have to maintain the discipline whatever it is, and if you don't ALL plans fail. I've maintained a 50 lb weight loss for 7 years while eating 200-300 grams of carbs a day. This requires the discipline of daily exercise and not eating unlimited food.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on March 03, 2014
at 04:52 PM

I don't question that it works BobK, but you're not gorging on Crisco like the average obese American does. Those graphs don't describe your diet, and you wouldn't be showing the massive buildup of linoleic Crisco in your body fat.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on March 03, 2014
at 04:47 PM

Not surprising daz. If you're not in ketosis the fat-burning miracle is hard to achieve. Overeating bacon, eggs and butterstix makes people fat if they're not strictly avoiding carbs.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on March 03, 2014
at 04:42 PM

BobK are you serious? American fat consumption is way too high. It's not good fat either. Eating giant muffins - made of sugar, flour and shortening - results in the proliferation muffin tops and bubble butts seen today. And hey, they're vegan too!

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on March 03, 2014
at 03:51 PM

amazingly, obesity correlates to google searches of "paleo diet" too.

F291857fa12a0291688ea994343156dc

(720)

on March 03, 2014
at 03:19 PM

If "It's the fat too".... how do you explain my previous that you did not adress

http://eatingacademy.com/dr-peter-attia

He lost body fat by reducing carbs but increasing fat intake?

His experience & my experience (-14% weight loss) .,...I cut the sugar / refined carbs, I upped my fat intake and lost bodyfat.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on March 03, 2014
at 10:55 AM

Why not check out ADA's carb counting strategy instead? Far better proven than modern blog-diets. If you learn to control your weight with specific food avoidance strategy, whether carbs or fat, you set yourself up for failure because you haven't learned how to eat a mixed diet. When you go back to wolfing anything down your obesity comes right back.

8b9c2dcd3dfc929a0428d3d6dac4918e

(70)

on March 03, 2014
at 10:45 AM

Shh, don't tell the majority of nutritional scientists this, or the govt advisories, or indeed a lot of people that sell health books!

Medium avatar

(10611)

on March 03, 2014
at 10:44 AM

And bob, the added fat is up over 70 grams over 35 years. That's about 600 calories a day...a pound of excess fat a week to be stored in the adipose... It's almost all soy oil according to daz's links.

8b9c2dcd3dfc929a0428d3d6dac4918e

(70)

on March 03, 2014
at 10:43 AM

Averages in general are deceptive. Who exactly is eating more carbs? Who is eating more fat? What proportion? how much? What kind? But then so are correlations. Look at the heart disease debacle, and how they thought fat was a cause (when it turned out to be inflammation and oxidation). We should very much avoid making the same mistakes as the lipid hypothesis crowd, and keep our conclusions tentative based in proportion to the strength of the evidence (generally weak), until full models can be evidenced, in direct biology such as cell studies, or animal models.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on March 03, 2014
at 10:34 AM

You can't sweep this under the rug bill

http://www.libertyparkusafd.org/NatureFirst%20USA/Special%20Reports%5CUSDA%5CDietary%20Assessment%20of%20Major%20Trends%20in%20US%20Food%20Consumption%20-%201970%20-%202005.pdf

Over 35 years added fat consumption is up 32%, while sugars are up 19%. It's not good fat, but it's still fat, and we're eating WAY more than we used to. This isn't low-fat-nation.

6fece842bd1bcf5724f458a302a2156e

(1169)

on March 03, 2014
at 10:34 AM

Very good. One of the charts on the first link goes back to 1700 in the UK and it shows very clearly the rise in sugar consumption from 1850 when the sugar trade caused such fortunes to be made in the UK (on the back of slavery in the Caribbean) when suddenly the English started adding sugar to tea, using sugar if they were short of money.

F291857fa12a0291688ea994343156dc

(720)

on March 03, 2014
at 07:43 AM

Check out Dr Peter Attia's personal blog. He's geeky / data obsessed engineer (like me) BUT he switched directions and became an MD and now is directing his OCD to nutritional 'science'.

He shares TONS of information (research & personal experimentation) and he explains it...always focusing on correlation vs causation.

http://eatingacademy.com/dr-peter-attia

His blog has a number of sugar related articles

F291857fa12a0291688ea994343156dc

(720)

on March 03, 2014
at 07:41 AM

If fat are the problem and not the carbs ..how do you explain

http://eatingacademy.com/dr-peter-attia

He lost body fat by reducing carbs but increasing fat intake?

His experience & my experience (-14% weight loss) .,...cut the sugar / refined carbs, up the fat and lose bodyfat.

YMMV

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb

(4493)

on March 03, 2014
at 06:46 AM

agreed, very true.

still interesting/enlightening charts all the same (to me anyway...)

F291857fa12a0291688ea994343156dc

(720)

on March 03, 2014
at 06:01 AM

It's more complicated than "It's the fats AND the carbs".

Which fats? Which carbs?

I eat a lot of fat & very little carbs..

I lost 14% in ~6 months and kept it off for 13 months with minimal exercise.

My experiment says

It's eating clean and moderately low carb; no processed foods, no sugar, no juice, no grains, no potatoes, no bread, no pasta, no soy, no crappy fats or oils.

Kinda of a lot of variables to tease out the "real cause"...but I don't care so much, I have a regime that appears to work.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on March 03, 2014
at 03:18 AM

This gets right to the point daz. It's fats AND carbs.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on March 03, 2014
at 03:17 AM

It's deceptive to say that fats are not partly the cause of obesity. And especially to damn vegetable oils while overconsuming selected veg oils like olive and coconut.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on March 03, 2014
at 03:13 AM

Here's one on increasing consumption of fat. From a paleo period consumption of 20 grams per day (11% of diet), fat has grown to 35-40% of diet. We eat too many carbs, but we also eat too much fat. And for what we do we eat too much period.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/9216569/

19acef0aed67ef8dc1118d8e74edb349

(2954)

on December 30, 2011
at 02:11 AM

Not sure about the exercise part... I think it's all diet. I know so many people who kill themselves at the gym, daily, take care of their diet, and they're still fat. And I know people, even older people, who never exercise and they are thin. *shrug* I think just diet alone would be a huge improvement.

1c67bc28f4e44bbb8770b86df0463df3

(6719)

on December 30, 2011
at 01:39 AM

nice chart!....

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6 Answers

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Medium avatar

(10663)

on December 30, 2011
at 01:34 AM

This nicely states that increase in sugar is to blame for obesity and I love that they absolve animal fats as a contributing factor.
grain-and-sugar-consumption-by-year-vs-obesity-rates-(is-this-an-accurate-chart?)
Moreover, taking into consideration the prices of these foods, a moron could see that obesity could EASILY be solved if they made healthy food much more affordable. This clearly gives evidence for that. It's saddening and frustrating.
grain-and-sugar-consumption-by-year-vs-obesity-rates-(is-this-an-accurate-chart?)
Here is another great site that states we are eating too much carbs and not enough healthy fats (and even promotes IF!)

But then you've got the bullshit that companies like Imperial Sugar puts out that states sugar doesn't cause obesity. It saddens me that there's not much an individual can do to bring down big barons like sugar and grain industries which are so heavily freakin' subsidized by government. Why do you think they had those "high fructose corn syrup is good in moderation!" commercials to erase the bad rap that everyone was freaking out about that HFCS is bad for you. grain-and-sugar-consumption-by-year-vs-obesity-rates-(is-this-an-accurate-chart?)

Plus there's this graph: grain-and-sugar-consumption-by-year-vs-obesity-rates-(is-this-an-accurate-chart?)

*Edit: and one more thing, from the USDA website, the availability of food (as you also provided in the lbs of food per capita) shows how the government is going in the WRONG direction. "In 2009, each American had available to consume, on average, 54 pounds more commercially grown vegetables than in 1970; 60 pounds more grain products; 19 pounds more fruit; 11 pounds more caloric sweeteners; 36 pounds more poultry, and 4 pounds more fish and shellfish; 21 pounds more cheese; and 25 pounds more added fats and oils. Each American, on average, also had available to consume 26 pounds less red meat, 63 fewer eggs, 10 gallons less coffee, and 11 gallons less milk." Hmm, less meat/eggs and more grain products/sweeteners...Just look at that big chunk they have on the pie chart. Um, WTF.
grain-and-sugar-consumption-by-year-vs-obesity-rates-(is-this-an-accurate-chart?)

1c67bc28f4e44bbb8770b86df0463df3

(6719)

on December 30, 2011
at 01:39 AM

nice chart!....

Medium avatar

(10611)

on March 03, 2014
at 04:42 PM

BobK are you serious? American fat consumption is way too high. It's not good fat either. Eating giant muffins - made of sugar, flour and shortening - results in the proliferation muffin tops and bubble butts seen today. And hey, they're vegan too!

6fece842bd1bcf5724f458a302a2156e

(1169)

on March 03, 2014
at 10:34 AM

Very good. One of the charts on the first link goes back to 1700 in the UK and it shows very clearly the rise in sugar consumption from 1850 when the sugar trade caused such fortunes to be made in the UK (on the back of slavery in the Caribbean) when suddenly the English started adding sugar to tea, using sugar if they were short of money.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on March 03, 2014
at 03:17 AM

It's deceptive to say that fats are not partly the cause of obesity. And especially to damn vegetable oils while overconsuming selected veg oils like olive and coconut.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on March 03, 2014
at 10:34 AM

You can't sweep this under the rug bill

http://www.libertyparkusafd.org/NatureFirst%20USA/Special%20Reports%5CUSDA%5CDietary%20Assessment%20of%20Major%20Trends%20in%20US%20Food%20Consumption%20-%201970%20-%202005.pdf

Over 35 years added fat consumption is up 32%, while sugars are up 19%. It's not good fat, but it's still fat, and we're eating WAY more than we used to. This isn't low-fat-nation.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on March 03, 2014
at 10:44 AM

And bob, the added fat is up over 70 grams over 35 years. That's about 600 calories a day...a pound of excess fat a week to be stored in the adipose... It's almost all soy oil according to daz's links.

2
Da3d4a6835c0f5256b2ef829b3ba3393

on December 30, 2011
at 01:47 AM

grain-and-sugar-consumption-by-year-vs-obesity-rates-(is-this-an-accurate-chart?)

0
F291857fa12a0291688ea994343156dc

(720)

on March 04, 2014
at 05:42 AM

My comment to your comment became too long and complicated so I combined them into an answer

thhq · hours ago

Why not check out ADA's carb counting strategy instead? Far better proven than modern blog-diets. If you learn to control your weight with specific food avoidance strategy, whether carbs or fat, you set yourself up for failure because you haven't learned how to eat a mixed diet. When you go back to wolfing anything down your obesity comes right back. End @thhq coment,........

@bobk reply

Because ADA's carb counting system is not a resounding success for the diabetics & obsese people who I've seen use it. The're still overweight & med / insulin dependent. I'm down 30 lbs for over a year. :)

When I go back to wolfing anything down and my 'obesity' comes right back" , I'll let you know. bMy way of doing paleo includes "mindful eating". I guess we'll just have to disagree.

>>>"specific food avoidance strategy, whether carbs or fat, you set yourself up for failure" !!?? <<<<

no processed foods, no sugar, no juice, no grains, no potatoes, no bread, no pasta, no soy, no crappy fats or oils.<<< sounds like the right kind of "food avoidance" to me

Plus carb counting is WAY too much work... if any seems like a setup for failure, the vision of lifetime of counting carbs is a likely candidate.

I’ll put money, my health and my life on the science & logic based writings of Drs Attia, Ede & Eenfeldt despite the fact that you refer to them as modern blog diets. Read Attia’s work and see if it changes your mind. The data & logic is powerful.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on March 04, 2014
at 10:21 AM

Contd... I'm glad Attia's approach works for you. Stick with it.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on March 04, 2014
at 10:18 AM

I defend ADA because it worked for me to immediately control my high blood sugar. It restricts high glycemic carbs but doesn't go to the point of ketosis.

All diet approaches to weight loss work if you're disciplined, whether you count carbs, calories, do weight watchers, Atkins or ketosis paleo. But none of them are automatic. You have to maintain the discipline whatever it is, and if you don't ALL plans fail. I've maintained a 50 lb weight loss for 7 years while eating 200-300 grams of carbs a day. This requires the discipline of daily exercise and not eating unlimited food.

0
F291857fa12a0291688ea994343156dc

(720)

on March 03, 2014
at 05:51 AM

Unfortunately, these plots may show correlation but it's a huge leap from there to causation.

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb

(4493)

on March 03, 2014
at 06:46 AM

agreed, very true.

still interesting/enlightening charts all the same (to me anyway...)

8b9c2dcd3dfc929a0428d3d6dac4918e

(70)

on March 03, 2014
at 10:45 AM

Shh, don't tell the majority of nutritional scientists this, or the govt advisories, or indeed a lot of people that sell health books!

Medium avatar

(10611)

on March 03, 2014
at 10:55 AM

Why not check out ADA's carb counting strategy instead? Far better proven than modern blog-diets. If you learn to control your weight with specific food avoidance strategy, whether carbs or fat, you set yourself up for failure because you haven't learned how to eat a mixed diet. When you go back to wolfing anything down your obesity comes right back.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on March 03, 2014
at 04:47 PM

Not surprising daz. If you're not in ketosis the fat-burning miracle is hard to achieve. Overeating bacon, eggs and butterstix makes people fat if they're not strictly avoiding carbs.

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on March 03, 2014
at 03:51 PM

amazingly, obesity correlates to google searches of "paleo diet" too.

0
543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb

(4493)

on March 02, 2014
at 03:45 AM

cont. more from the same article

grain-and-sugar-consumption-by-year-vs-obesity-rates-(is-this-an-accurate-chart?)

grain-and-sugar-consumption-by-year-vs-obesity-rates-(is-this-an-accurate-chart?)

Medium avatar

(10611)

on March 03, 2014
at 03:18 AM

This gets right to the point daz. It's fats AND carbs.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on March 03, 2014
at 04:52 PM

I don't question that it works BobK, but you're not gorging on Crisco like the average obese American does. Those graphs don't describe your diet, and you wouldn't be showing the massive buildup of linoleic Crisco in your body fat.

0
543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb

(4493)

on March 02, 2014
at 03:37 AM

more pretty pictures from here

grain-and-sugar-consumption-by-year-vs-obesity-rates-(is-this-an-accurate-chart?)

grain-and-sugar-consumption-by-year-vs-obesity-rates-(is-this-an-accurate-chart?)

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