Who is to blame for the obesity epidemic?

Human evolution

Should obese people blame themselves for their weight problems? Is it really just a matter of having the self control of eating less and exercising more? If you look at a picture of a crowded place from, let’s say, the early 70’s, you’ll find that there are almost no obese people what so ever. They are all skinny! So what has happened since then? In this The Guardian Opinion article, columnist George Monbiot dives deep into what made so many people overweight.

Monibot has a few theories of what might have been the cause, such as: That we eat more than we used to, the decline in manual labor, lack of exercise, etc. But evidence shows that none of these theories add up. So, he turns his attention to nutrition figures in detail and there is no question of what we eat has massively changed:

Today, we buy half as much fresh milk per person, but five times more yogurt, three times more ice cream and – wait for it – 39 times as many dairy desserts. We buy half as many eggs as in 1976, but a third more breakfast cereals and twice the cereal snacks; half the total potatoes, but three times the crisps. While our direct purchases of sugar have sharply declined, the sugar we consume in drinks and confectionery is likely to have rocketed.

The amount of sugar has obviously skyrocketed and whole foods have decreased. And alongside this, the obesity epidemic has exploded. But has this shift happened by accident? Probably not. It seems to be a very conscious action by food companies who have invested heavily in various tactics to keep people hooked on certain foods, tactics such as designing products that use sugar to bypass our natural appetite control mechanisms. Despite that, 90% of policymakers are blaming obese people for not having the “personal motivation” to do something about it.

So, who is really to blame here?

Read the full article here:

The Guardian: We’re in a new age of obesity. How did it happen? You’d be surprised


Why is there an obesity epidemic among Thai monks?

Dr. Ludwig in the NYT: The toll of America’s obesity

Low carb


  1. 1 comment removed
  2. Gordon
    The onset of the obesity epidemic (late 70s) coincided with the publication of dietary guidelines (eg, 6-11 servings of bread, rice, pasta, cereal) the US government, as well as changes in the macronutrient composition of the available (affordable) food supply in the US.

    Qui bono? Big Ag and Big Pharma.

  3. Lisa
    And, the media told us repeatedly that traditional fats are BAD. And recommended corn soy and canola instead. They lied, we died.
  4. Joan
    The media only report the news.
    Ancel Keys was primary in misleading the population regarding what to eat to stay healthy. He was wrong, but sites like Diet Doctor are putting us on the right nutritional path
  5. KWOK
    To say Ancel Keys killed more people than Adolf Hitler is no exaggeration. It is not fair that Ancel Keys could live to 90 years old while people who followed his advice got severe diseases and had to die early. President Eisenhower was also to be blamed. He should not put the health of Americans in the hands of this fake scientist.
    Reply: #11
  6. KWOK
    Just to correct my mistake. Ancel Keys died in November 2004 at which time he was 100 years old. There is no doubt that his longevity was attributed to his changing to Mediterranean diet. The more I learn about Ancel Keys, the more grievances I have.
  7. Geno
    It was more than that. Starting around the 70's people started cooking less at home, went out to eat more, and started relying on convenience (i.e., junk) foods. We upped our intake of both FAT and CARBS, while keeping protein about the same. Add in frankenfoods (GMOs/round-up, antibiotics, etc) Processed foods and less manual labor (more desk work) So we are taking in more calories and the result is the obesity epidemic. I am a little tired of blaming carbs myself, as many folks stay thin eating healthy carbs (Japanese, etc) if they keep calories low. I love Keto in that is get's people off the "junk" BUT Keto folks are becoming a little too closed-minded, not believing that too much fat is a bad idea (think fat bombs, butter coffee) and that calories don't COUNT AT ALL. Keto, Paleo, Carvnivore owe a great deal of their success to the fact that people who employ such eating styles EAT LESS. Don't get me started on all the folks that think they are a snowflake with broken metabolisms and resistance du jour, it actually only a small percentage of the population. All I am saying is that the truth and a little tough love it what america needs.
  8. William
    I think it would be really cool if Diet Doctor would post comparison photos of crowds in the 1960's and 1970's to those of people in the 2000's. City sidewalk pictures would be awesome.
  9. Mark
    George Monbiot is on record for wanting to see humanity stuffed into the human feedlot (think Winston's home in 1984) and fed on GMOs and Lab Grown Meat so that the "world can be saved". Yes, he's one of those zealots.
  10. Kenrick
    Some of you who have may have read my comments under other informative articles on this website may know that my wife and I have been following a strict keto protocol for 6 years. My main reason being due to a chronic disease I suffer from as a result of a serious injuries during my former military career. One of the things that I have noticed since living a fully fat adapted life apart from the huge health improvements in my life is an uncanny ability to be hypersensitive to sugar added to food...much like a blind persons hearing becomes very acute as a compensation for lack of sight ...

    As a result of my keto experience and seeing the huge benefits in my life I went on to study Dietetics and Nutrition at post-grad level having first taught myself sufficient biochemistry to apply for the course and satisfy the entry board ...I think also it helped that I was the only disabled person on the course ...they seemed to have been very accommodating towards me on the basis of my disability ...a whole different conversation ... but guess it ticked some boxes for them ( I know it’s a little cynical of me to say that ) !

    Anyway, I recently purchased a small tin of mackerel fish in olive oil ...a great source of EFAs ... as always I checked the label ...again the label stated there was no sugar just fish and olive oil (we buy very few tin or jarred products so this does not slow down our shopping very much BTW).

    I took a mouthful of the mackerel and couldn’t believe the sugar hit my hypersensitive tongue experienced ...this can’t be right I said ...so being the type of person I am I fired off an email to the company they replied that there is a small amount of sugar in the tin of fish to help with preservation but as it’s less than 0.5 mg they are not required to put it on the label ...

    Of course, I challenged this by stating that oil would preservative enough for the fish without the need of the sugar ...needless to say their communication broke off...I heard nothing further from them.

    So, yes there is the obvious added sugar in many processed foods but what one has to be careful of is the hidden sugars even in things like tinned fish. Fundamentally because of the labelling laws in UK ...any added sugars less than 0.5 mg do not need to be recorded on the food label ...

    Ah! but that’s not much I hear some say ...well according to the labelling regulations it cannot be more 0.5 mg per item ...so if a company uses several different types of sugar derivatives ( which they frequently do...I believe there are around 69 different forms ) then it can actually add up a substantial amount of sugar without it having to put it on the label ...

    Upshot, it’s unavoidable for a majority of us to buy the odd item in a jar or tin ...however, despite what it says on the said jar/tin ...there is still a very high chance that the contents contain hidden sugars ...especially in items you would never expect to find it in ...

    As an aside, I went to an all boys Catholic School ( my wife says that explains a lot about me lol) and out of the 900 pupils ...we had one overweight pupil ...that was in late 70s early 80s...none of our teachers were over weight ...and I have looked at old school pictures in case my memory has become a little dodgy or biased but I can’t find any over weight pupils or teachers on them ...it would be very interesting to see a picture of current pupils ...but I doubt that would hold any real surprises !


  11. David
    He actually reached a Century according to Wiki
  12. @Audrey
    Sorry if I am a little skeptical of showing a photo of people at the beach as an example of the 70's. Obese people do not go to the beach in general due to public shaming of overweight people. However I do agree the public has been misled by the sugar industry and manufacturers that use cheap ingredients that are harmful to our health all in the name of the bottom line. Low fat was and still is the worst advice.

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