Dieting by the Numbers

Hippocrates (460 – 377 BC) a Greek physician (recognized as the “father of medicine”), once said “Let thy food be thy medicine, and thy medicine be thy food.” Hippocrates would be rolling in his grave if he saw exactly what kind of food people were eating in the 21st century. Thanks to documentarians James Colquhoun and Laurentine ten Bosch, the nation’s eating and dieting habits have been placed under the microscope in their film, “Hungry for Change,” a followup to “Food Matters.” You will never look at “comfort food” the same way again. In the words of the directors, the documentary “exposes shocking secrets the diet, weightloss and food industry don’t want you to know about. Deceptive strategies designed to keep you craving more and more. Could the foods we are eating actually be keeping us stuck in the diet trap?” Nutrition experts believe that like cigarette makers, large food manufacturers deliberately engineer their product to get consumers addicted to them and become lifelong customers — at the expense of the customers’ health. You may want to put away your candy bars and diet sodas while you read some of the sobering highlights from the film:

68% of American adults are overweight or obese.
1/3 of women and 1/4 of men in the U.S. are on a diet.
Americans spend $60 billion on diets and weightloss programs each year.
90-95% of people who go on a diet will gain back the weight they lost, as well as additional weight.
The average person eats about 150 pounds of sugar per year.
In the 1900s, the average person consumed about 15 grams of fructose per day.
In the 2000s, the average person consumes 70-80 grams of fructose per day.
Some kids consume as much as 120-150 grams of fructose per day.

Like cocaine, refined sugar (in the form of high fructose corn syrup, HFCS) is highly addictive, releasing a beta-endorphin rush in the brain, stimulating the production of morphine-like chemicals.
Fructose or HFCS is the largest source of calories for the average American, and consequently one of the most significant causes of obesity.
Monosodium glutamate (MSG), found in 80% of all flavored foods, triggers the part of the brains that regulates fat storage.
Despite their claims of zero-calories, many artificial sweeteners (like aspartame, sold as NutraSweet and Equal) actually cause weight gain because they stimulate the body to crave carbohydrates.
It is illegal to give a child a cigarette, alcohol, or a narcotic; it is not illegal to give a child refined sugar.
Americans do not eat food, they eat food-like products.
Diets don’t work. The entire diet paradigm is flawed. It is only a temporary fix. As the body loses weight, it is triggered to protect the body from another famine (whether or not it was self-imposed) and begins to store up extra fat as insurance.

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