Amid the many confusing messages and myths about obesity and how to reverse the trend in America, the real obesity experts are starting to speak out.
Jeffrey Friedman, a Rockefeller University obesity researcher, said, “In my view, there is more misinformation pretending to be fact in this field [obesity] than in any other I can think of.”
Madelyn Fernstrom, founding director of the University of Pittsburgh Weight Management Center, says when it comes to public misperception on obesity, “We are spinning out of control.”
In April 2012, a symposium organized by the American Society for Nutrition held a debate that some describe as the “Sugar Showdown.” According to science and health writer David Despain:
“The scientific community lashed out against ‘sugar is toxic’ sensationalism…identifying it as a distraction from more meaningful areas of research and debate on the causes of obesity and disease.”
It’s clear that media headlines hyping sugar – specifically, soda – as a unique contributor to obesity do not reflect a consensus of opinion within the scientific community that specialize in obesity.
An article, “Many Fronts in Fighting Obesity,” posted on the New York Times blog Well would seem to summarize much of the frustration obesity experts have with the myths perpetrated by press releases posing as science:
“But a closer look at what and how Americans eat suggests that simply focusing on sugar will do little to quell the rising epidemic of obesity. This is a multifaceted problem with deep historical roots, and we are doing too little about many of its causes.”
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Americans consumed 448 more calories on average in 2010 than in 1970. But contrary to conventional wisdom on obesity:
“Sugar, it turns out, is a minor player in the rise. More than half of the added calories — 242 a day — have come from fats and oils, and another 167 calories from flour and cereal. Sugar accounts for only 35 of the added daily calories.”
Americans deserve the truth about nutrition and calories – not hype from finger-waggers who use misinformation about sugar to push a policy agenda that takes away choice from consumers.