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Christopher M. Young, CPT, FNC
Online Personal Trainer and Nutrition Coach

Why We Are Fatter Now Than Ever

People everywhere are bigger than ever before. We are a fat nation, and it’s not getting any better. We are growing and our health is declining. Did you know that 2/3 of the population are overweight or obese? Crazy, right?! More than half of our population is overweight, with 1 in 3 adults being obese. Worse, 1 in 3 children are overweight or obese.

Ahh yes, the children. Let’s talk about the children for a second. If we want to truly think of the children, we need to look at what is truly causing us to be fat and rectify the situation immediately. It is one thing to be overweight yourself, but to knowingly and willingly deny the health of your child because you refuse to change, it is child abuse. Nothing drives me crazier than seeing someone eating right and getting healthy while shoveling shit down their child’s throats because “they like it”. Of course they fucking like it, its addicting deliciousness, but why would you risk the future health of your child’s future just because they like it?

Why We Are Getting Fatter – the Truth

There are many schools of thought on why people are fatter now than ever before. Many people attribute fat with sugar. So we must be consuming more and more sugar. That is not necessarily true. Sugar intake has been steadily declining since 2000. People are actually consuming less sugar now than they did 17 years ago, yet we are continuing to gain more and more weight.

Well it must be the carbs then! I hear all the time where people get success on low carb diets. Yes, low carb diets are great for weight loss, but it is not why we are getting fatter either.  Carbohydrate intake has actually decreased as well (source).

If it is not sugar or carbs, what is causing us to gain so much weight? Bottom line, we are eating way more than we ever have. Portion sizes are through the roof, and have increased by 200% to 500% depending on what you order. In the graphic below, the CDC created a great depiction of portion sizes from the 1950’s to portion sizes of today.

Check it out:

CDC The New (Ab)normal

It is obvious from the graph that we are consuming a hell of a lot more food now than we did in the 50’s when we were not nearly as out of shape, even more, eating out was a rare occasion for most families. Home cooked meals were common place, and junk food was not consumed daily. 60+ years later, fast food portion sizes are triple the size and consumed more frequently. Bigger portion sizes equals more calories consumed, more calories equates to weight gain.

Portion size influences how much we consume. The larger the portion, the more we will consume. As portion sizes continue to increase, it adapts our view on what normal portion sizing is. We are becoming a more food conscious society. People WANT to lose weight, so they are becoming adept in reading food labels. Companies have become very keen on understanding this. Let’s take a 20oz bottle of Coke for example and the changes that have been made to trick you into consuming more.

The Old Label:

The bottle shows a standard serving size of 8 fl oz per serving, with 2.5 servings per bottle. They ended up adding the total calories per bottle to make it easier to understand how much you were consuming. Just to show that portion size is irrelevant and that the regulation of the portion size isn’t universal, here is the portion serving size of a 2 liter bottle.

As you can see, portion size for a 20oz bottle is 8oz. Portion size for a 2 Liter is 12oz. That is 4oz difference, 12g of sugars, and 40 calories. Over time, that adds up. Now let’s look at the new labels.

Serving  size has now moved to 1 bottle. This promotes that you can consume an entire bottle for only 240 calories. It has adapted what normal portion size should be. The new bottle promotes an increase of 140 calories and almost 40g of sugar more than an 8oz serving size.

This is just a prime example of how portion size continues to increase without us truly realizing it, but it continues to happen. The best way to control your weight and get it under control is to know how much you are consuming. Just because bigger is more commonplace, it does not mean you should consume the whole portion.



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