Friday, December 21, 2012

Are nutrition facts making us fatter?

Did you know that obesity rate among adults in the US has increased from 15% to 36% since 1990?

In twenty years, the percentage of obese adults has increased by over 20%. Do you know how ridiculous that is!?

I blame this guy:


My issue with the nutrition label is simple: by breaking a food into micronutrients, you are reducing something that is cultural, enjoyable, and part of life to a series of numbers. What’s more, you’re trying to summarize the pros and cons of a food in black and white. This isn’t normal.

It causes the human mind to equate a large banana to a a bowl of fruit loops. A piece of chicken to a York peppermint patty. Rice to French fries.

These things are not equal, and yet the nutrition label – particularly the calorie count – makes us think they are.

But there’s more: Since the nutrition label was mandated by the FDA in 1990, we have seen obesity increase exponentially. Which begs the question: is this correlation, causation, or chance?

Could it be that our growing obsession with “being healthy” has caused us to forget how to eat? That we have lost our instincts for choosing foods that are good for us because we rely so much on the package? Perhaps it means that we are choosing more processed foods instead of real foods solely because we are able to easily count the calories or points when it’s printed on a package.

I am not a nutritionist. I am a 23 year old who spent nearly seven years of my life trying different diets, depriving myself of the foods I love, and spending countless hours on the elliptical trying to get to be the size I wanted to be. I finally got on track to being healthy and loving my body this past year, when I lost nearly 35 pounds without counting calories, cutting carbs, or doing activities I hated all in the name of losing weight.

I am happier, healthier, and fitter than ever. And maybe I’m just one person, but I think it’s a discussion worth having: causation, correlation, or chance? What are your thoughts?

1 comment:

  1. Hey J, I'm working on the path to healthy and happy, and I think this is a really important question. I wish there was an easy answer, but there isn't. As a "beginner," I've found it can be hard to figure things out on your own and sources vary about what is actually "good." I think this was a way to make health manageable, but you're right that it may have made more of a mess. Because nutritional labels seem to be where people try to begin, where do you think is a better starting point? -AW