Eat In, Get Thin

As long as you stick to the serving sizes:

Jane Brody pushes back against attempts to pin the obesity epidemic on sugar:

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. Demographic changes, and how the food and restaurant industries responded to them, compounded the problem. As more women entered the work force, family meals and especially home-cooked meals became less frequent. (Relatively few husbands became family cooks, sadly.) From 2005 to 2008, according to the Department of Agriculture, 20 percent of American calories were consumed in fast-food and full-service restaurants, more than triple the amount in 1977-78.

Eating just one meal a week away from home can translate into two extra pounds a year for the average person, the department calculated. Although the recent economic downturn forced more people to dine at home, the average adult now eats out nearly five times a week.

Zak Stone highlights a troubling implication of this trend:

The advice for the American diner, which, is also the message of Michael Pollan’s new book Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation, is to cook your own meals using unprocessed ingredients if you want to buck the trend toward becoming overweight. The problem, of course, is that this is not a reality for many overworked, poor Americans who don’t have access to healthy food in their neighborhoods–the exact demographic most likely to battle obesity.

Meanwhile, Wisconsin is currently considering a bill that would prohibit local governments from limiting food or beverage portions. Two top children’s health officials take to the op-ed page to oppose the bill:

Adults may defend the right to choose a healthy or unhealthy lifestyle, but avoiding collective responsibility to provide a healthy environment for children is difficult to defend. In Wisconsin, 39 percent of students in grades three through five are overweight or obese. Unless change is made, most are doomed to be obese adults. Refusing to even consider policies that could alter this trend is an expensive proposition. In 2013, Wisconsin will spend about $2.7 billion on obesity-related medical expenses that trickle down to communities.