The U.S. Centers for Disease Control has concluded after a major study that Americans are getting fatter “because they eat more than they used to.”
That might sound like a no-brainer. But the CDC wanted to make sure America’s epidemic of obesity is the result of simple overeating.
The agency found that women consume 335 more calories per day than they did in 1971, while men take in an additional 168 calories.
Both numbers are more than enough to make you fat, warns the CDC, adding that there are just two ways to lose weight after you’ve gained it:
1. You can cut back on eating.
2. You can exercise more.
And to help you make healthy eating and exercise choices week after week, in this issue we’re launching a great new feature called “Herald-Guide Weight Watch.”
In each installment, we’ll provide you with exercise and activity choices and also tell you how many calories you’ll burn in a set amount of time.
You’ll get weekly slimming tips. We’ll even post the number of calories you can expect to find in popular processed snacks as opposed to fresh, whole foods so you can compare them.
You can use the information to support decisions that will help you get fit and stay fit, and lead a healthier, happier life.
This week we tell you how much housework you’ll need to do to burn off those extra calories.
Just so you’ll know, Jacqueline Wright, a CDC epidemiologist and study author, says most people are gaining weight because they eat too many carbs.
“Most of the increase in calories people are consuming is from an increase in carbohydrate intake,” she says.
Carbs are abundant in many fresh fruits and vegetables.
But most of the carbs we’re chowing down on are coming from processed foods like cookies, pasta, bagels, potato chips and candy.
Processed foods, nutritionists agree, are more likely to cause weight gain than unprocessed foods.
That’s because they contain “added calories.” And the body processes prepared foods differently than it does whole, natural foods.
A fresh and uncooked apple is an example of a whole, natural food.
Apple-pie-filling with added sugar and fats is an example of a processed food.
Ounce for ounce, the filling contains several times over the number of calories you’d get from the fresh apple alone.
The extra calories are leading to extra pounds and chronic health problems associated with overweight, says the CDC’s Wright.
Diabetes has been linked to obesity.
So, too, have heart disease and high blood pressure.
Obesity rates have soared from 14.5 percent of U.S. adults in 1971 to 30.9 percent in 2000 to more than 50 percent today.
The average intake for men jumped from 2,450 calories in 1971 to 2,618 calories.
For women, caloric intake soared 20 percent, from 1,542 calories to 1,877 calories.
The government recommends about 1,600 daily calories for women and 2,200 for men, and more for active people.