A National Epidemic

Salt-Sugar-Fat COVER

In 2011, The New England Journal of Medicine published a study that shed new light on America’s weight gain. The subjects, 120,877 women and men, were all professionals in the health field. Using data back to 1986, researchers found that every four years, the participants exercised less, watched TV more and gained an average of 3.35 pounds. Looking at the caloric content of the foods being eaten, the top contributors to weight gain included red meat and processed meats, sugar-sweetened beverages , mashed and french fried potatoes and the largest weight-inducing food of all, the potato chip.

Today, one in three adults and one in five children in the United States are clinically obese. In a year, the average American eats thirty-three pounds of cheese, seventy pounds of sugar, about twenty-two teaspoons a day, and twice the recommended amount of salt.

Some examples:
Chili’s Southwestern Eggroll’s ingredients list salt eight different times and sugars five times so that by the time a diner has finished thie appetizer, she has consumed 910 calories, 57 grams of fat and 1,960 milligrams of sodium.

General Mills’s Yoplait brand yogurt has twice as much sugar per serving as their marshmallow cereal Lucky Charms.

A half-cup of Prego Traditional Spaghetti Sauce has the equivalent of more than two teaspoons of sugar, as much as two-plus Oreo cookies.

For lots more information, check out Salt Sugar Fat, where Michael Moss shows how names like Coca-Cola, Lunchables, Oreos, and Capri Sun use cutting-edge technology to calculate the bliss factor needed to addict consumers to their products.

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