Obesity Rate at New Record High in the U.S.

The number of obese U.S. adults rose to a new record high of 27.7% in 2014, according to Gallup. They rely on self-reported weight, which means that the reality is probably even worse.

Americans have quite a challenge to turn this around. Having just spent some time in the U.S. myself it’s clear that the food environment is simply awful. Plenty of bad (and high-carb) choices available anywhere at any time, while it’s much more of a challenge to find good options.

Add in the massive misinformation about the “dangers” of eating natural fat and the misguided fixation on calories and staying thin is truly a challenge.

Gallup: U.S. Obesity Rate Inches Up to 27.7% in 2014

As a contrast, in Sweden, where LCHF diets have been massively popular during the last seven years, the obesity rate has stopped increasing and may even be going down. Hopefully we can spread some of that magic around the world.

More

Obesity is “Exploding” in Europe, Except in This Country

The Big Fat Surprise

Before the Obesity Epidemic (picture)

17 Comments

  1. Jayne M
    On a trip To the U.S. In 2014 I was stunned at how impossible it was to find decent food in some area. In some supermarkets there are awful highly processed foods that have stickers on them saying that they are available with food stamps which I found appalling. In one supermarket in a very small Arizona town where we were staying, there was literally nothing I was prepared to eat. Nothing fresh at all. Guacamole FLAVOURED dip was as low as it got. The only restaurant served the usual fried processed carbage. I did lose weight on that holiday - because I just refused to put all that highly processed crap in my body. The U.S. situation is definitely going to take a long time to turn round.
  2. Jennie
    I agree! I occasionally accompany my husband on a business trip to Texas and to be honest I dread it because of the food!
    For a start you have to Fly to the U.S. and although I do try and take food with me to eat on the outgoing flight, it's not easy to keep things fresh on a long haul flight.
    Then as you say the food choices are not good. You have to read everything on the menu thoroughly, and ask for things to be added or taken away from your choice.
    Breakfast is about as good as it gets, as you can usually have bacon and eggs, but I always avoid the ready made scrambled egg! What's actually in it ?
    As for supermarkets . Where we have stayed in Corpus Christi, there isn't a shop to be seen within walking distance for me from our Hotel whilst my husband is working, so I can't even buy food!
    Coffee is another disaster as we love our coffee, but you can't seem to get a decent cup out there, and if you ask for cream they look at you as if you're mad, or hand you some of those horrible sachets of what they call 'creamer' yuk yuk yuk.
    It never ceases to amaze me when you eat out the number of very overweight families you see tucking into piles of food, washed down with enormous containers or soda!
    I'm not in a hurry to return!
  3. Cassandra
    As an American living abroad, I sympathize with Jennie and Jayne and must confess I also despair for food choices when traveling in my home country. What's worse is when you think a restaurant or deli provides a healthy option, only to realize that the prepared whole chickens, or chicken breasts or steak fajitas, etc. are shot through with dextrose solution because consumers are so wedded to sweet tastes.

    I also early hope that Dr. Eenfeldt and all like minded people will work hard to "spread some of the magic" in the US. Ever rising rates of disability, skyrocketing health care costs and stunted lives are in store if we don't.

  4. Annie Kile
    Well, aren't you all so special.

    I don't know WHERE you people were shopping or attempting to eat - but I live in the middle of the desert and shop at the closest grocery store in a small town 20 miles away AND eat an extremely healthy diet based on healthy fats, protein sources, vegetables, and a bit of fruit. Are you trying to tell me that EVERY grocery store you visited had no either fresh or frozen vegetables? No fruit? And what the heck restaurants did you visit? McDonalds? Even at that crappy source of food supply you can get a grilled chicken salad. You're trying to tell me in TEXAS you couldn't get a steak and a salad? You go to the deli and can't see you're way to buy some cheese and sliced turkey rather than the other crap they offer? The deli is right next to the produce dept and you missed the tomatoes, celery, fresh spinach, etc?? Yeah, I believe that.

    I am 59 and have a BMI of 22. I also traveled this country for TWO YEARS which means I had to shop/eat in over 20 states (including TEXAS) and in NO WAY is it "impossible" to eat healthy in the U.S. My opinion of your comments? You want to appear superior (and trust me you aren't - just because I've traveled to Europe - and I have more than once - doesn't make me better than the rest of us Americans who haven't anymore than it makes you people better than the rest of us) You are all full of "it" and yourselves.

    The problem here in the U.S. and increasingly throughout the world is not that good sources of nutrition are not available (outside of very sad areas where people TRULY have little food and are starving), the problem is the CHOICES people make to eat processed foods as well as too much food.

  5. BobM
    I live in the US and travel infrequently to Europe. If you're comparing what you get at restaurants in the two, I find it easier to eat LCHF in Europe, depending on where you are. Germany, for instance, is great. Sliced meat and cheese for breakfast and tons of sausage and cabbage for other meals. France is great, too, but there you have to avoid the bread. In the US, you can eat out LCHF, but it's harder. All the dinners come with bread. Depending on where you are, you can have few choices, but usually you can find salads with meat. I travel to Chicago, and I can eat LCHF, but to do so means leaving some potato entree on my plate or asking for vegetables. Also, it's easy to find pizza, fried food, and ice cream in the US, but it's more difficult to find low carb choices. It's possible; it can just take more time.

    If you can get to a supermarket, then it's easy to eat LCHF in the US. Just stay away from the interior of the store and shop only on the outer "ring" of the store, as this is where the fresh food and meats are. If you have to eat prepared foods from the supermarket, it's still possible to eat LCHF, but your choices will be limited.

  6. Murray
    I've never had any more difficulty eating lchf in the US than in Canada. I've spent a fair amount of time traveling in New York state, Vermont, North Carolina and Washington State, but I've been to most states at one time or another, especially California and Florida.

    In non-fast food restaurants I just peruse the entrees to see what vegetables are served with various entrees and ask to substitute the carbish parts of the entree I want with vegetables served with another entree. This works 90% of the time. Sure they all bring bread to the table to start, but we just turn it back except for the butter, which we use to enhance the vegetables.

    With fast food places, I just toss out the parts I don't want to eat. I don't expect a fine dining experience there. Airport food is gruesome in general, but lchf means always being able to fast until you come across a decent food source. All supermarkets are lchf friendly. Whole Foods is good, as I can always count on quality artisan cheese, among other things. The main annoyance I have is trying to find quality 100% chocolate. For this reason I always bring my own when I travel.

  7. Jeanne
    I live in the US (Colorado, Utah, Oregon, and West Virginia). It is very possible to be LCHF here in the US. I will admit there are some restaurants that we just avoid, but it is not impossible to eat out. You do have to ask for the main options to be changed. Most places do it, without hesitation. I have ate out with others that seemed shocked I could have steamed zucchini with my bunless hamburger. I always get the, "I didn't know I could have that instead of fries." You can order what you want.

    However, shopping in grocery stores is really easy. I am not sure why others could not find options in the stores. If you get a hotel with a kitchen, then you can get everything sugar and carb free in ANY grocery store I have been to in the US. Fresh fish, meat, vegetables, cheese, butter, coconut oil, nuts, etc. I have no idea why others could not find these things. Gas stations are even getting better with hard boiled eggs, string cheese, nuts, and already made salads are now easy to find.

    The best thing about June - November are the Farmer's Markets. They have really started to take off in the US. Here you can get all organic vegetables, fruits, and meats at a very reasonable price. Next time you visit the US, look for the Farmer's Markets and all items there are real foods and very low carb.

  8. Edward
    I think the point here is that sure, options exist in the US - its harder to find and you have to seek them out and navigate the mine fields so to speak.

    Whereas in other parts of the world, it's less navigating and more eating. Eating that is closer to what everyone expects as a "normal". In the US, you have to hack and slash your way through that it becomes unthinkable, with most people looking at you like your some kind alien.

  9. Marcy
    I have lived in the U.S. all my life and I find it really easy to stay LCHF here. I live in Colorado, and there is always bison on the menu and you can substitute the potato for salad or veggies. I have even had mashed cauliflower substituted. There are always salads with steak and veggies or salmon. I have never had a restaurant not substitute a salad or other veg for the potato. I live in a less prosperous side of town and even here our local grocery store has grass fed beef and organic chicken and eggs. I don't get it. I have lost 60 pounds and kept it off for 15 years living on the food here in the U.S.
  10. LoriMiller
    Another Coloradan here. I don't travel much, but I've never had trouble finding low-carb fare. The big chain grocery store down the street from me carries Epic bars and Quest bars, roast chickens, deli cole slaw, eggs from no-pen hens, canned fish, and lots of fresh produce. Even the convenience stores I shop at often carry Quest bars, plain nuts, tuna and cheese. The so-called "food deserts" here in Denver are actually a short drive or bus ride from supermarkets. Hot wings are a phone call away. And is there a restaurant that doesn't have grilled chicken salad on the menu?

    In Chicago, half the restaurants were pizza and pasta joints, but the other half weren't. Again, I had no trouble finding low-carb meals: bulgogi in Lincoln Park, a meat and cheese plate at a wine bar, and grilled octopus in Greek Town. I got funny looks in Indianapolis when I ordered a sandwich with no bread and no big pile of lettuce at a Subway, but they made it to order.

  11. Rae
    I'm from the UK and have difficulty finding good LCHF food on the road in the US. All the service stations are fast food outlets or places like Denny's which do not look appetising. I prefer to stock up in the city before I leave as there are some great restaurants and delis in the cities and big towns I have visited. I presume LCHF eating is not easily accessible to all or the US wouldn't have the obesity problem that it has or maybe it's just the education hasn't spread far enough. I know in the UK our obesity rates are increasing because our government and NHS still promotes low fat eating. It's great that websites like this help to spread the word.
  12. erdoke
    My breakfast served on an American Airlines flight last week:
    http://i59.tinypic.com/10d5nw2.jpg
    Coffee with nonfat milk and 2 packets of sugar is not shown...
  13. Victor
    Interesting comments above. I've lived in several countries in Europe, South America and the USA, and my personal experience is that in the US there are MORE choices of everything, (including more processed junk than anywhere else, but also more varied healthy options). I guess it really is the land of freedom, but in order to make truly free decisions, people need to be well informed and that is where I see the main problem. If you want to eat clean, it's very easy and cheap in the US (at least, easier and cheaper than most places I've lived, including where I live now). However, if you want to eat junk, it even easier and cheaper. I don´t think the issue is food availability, but rather bad information/education.
  14. yuma
    Hey Dr. Eenfeldt, if half the obese in the USA signed up for your website you could probably retire... in a month!;)
  15. Sonysunshine
    I get the feeling some people just can't find what they are used to in American grocery stores. But as one who has lived and traveled all over the US and in many places overseas, our grocery stores are as well stocked as any anywhere, given similar locations as to rural/urban/wealthy/poor. Driving cross country can be a challenge but many gas stations carry cheese, boiled eggs, canned tuna and nuts. Our family likes to stop at the more local places like BBQ joints and diners. Lots of choices for LCHF there. Little hole in the wall Mexican restaurants?? Now I'm hungry. As to coffee, it is difficult to find a good cup. I carry an Aeropress and high quality Italian coffee with me. I can find cream and boiling water even in the most carby places in USA.
  16. Jo tB
    I just returned from a 3 week tour of the South East USA, started in New York, down to Philadelphia, Washington DC, Nashville, Memphis, New Orléans, Orlando ending in Miami.
    Every supermarket we visited (large and small) carried fresh fruit and vegetables, most had sushi, several had salad bars to make your own salad. In the eveings we visited a variety of restaurants from Italian to Cuban and everything in between, and we always had a good choice of menu, including several salad options.

    Some hotels only served pancakes and waffles for breakfast. No eggs and sausages or yoghurt. But every hotel had some fruit on offer. They could improve their breakfast options, but that is a choice they make, and I make the choice not to eat that.

    I was pleasantly surprised at what was available. My opinion of America being one big fast food highway, has definitely hit the dust.

    Reply: #17
  17. erdoke
    The majority of what I eat is not salads and fruits. Now, how can you tell if the bacon on offer in the breakfast buffet contains added sugar or not, or the omelette was fried in corn oil or rather the fat of the bacon (or butter)? Added sugar and the use of seed oils has become so ubiquitous in the U.S. that it is much more likely to meet this kind of stuff than not.

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