CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) -
1. What is to blame for the increase in obesity? Is it sugar?
Alison, West Springfield
The increase in obesity began 40 to 50 years ago.
According to the USDA , Americans eat about 450 more calories a day now than 40 years ago. That can add up to 50 pounds gained in a year.
Only a small portion of those extra calories come from sugar. A larger portion comes from flour and cereal, and most of the additional calories come from fat. However, the fat, flour and sugar can come packaged together in convenient cakes and cookies that are easy to overeat.
Also, 50 years ago, women entered the work force and more meals were eaten away from home. Now the average person eats out 5 times a week. USDA says this can add 10 pounds in a year.
A third factor is that people tend to eat the amount they are served and portions have grown along with waistlines.
- 2oz Bagel………....160
- 10 oz bagel…….....800
Bagels were once two ounces and 160 calories. Now they weigh up to 10 ounces with 800 calories. Even a nearly calorie free coffee has become a large latte with 200 calories.
The bottom line is that our food environment changed with higher calorie convenient items in larger portions and as humans we are programmed to eat what is put in front of us.
So how do we stop or slow the obesity epidemic? Start by setting up a food environment that is like it was 40-50 years ago.
We would eat at home most of the time. We would balance your plate with some protein, vegetables and potato and snack on fruit. This means you shop from the outside aisles of the grocery store and limit what you buy in the packages from the middle aisles.
2. Does exercise make you hungry?
Researchers at California PolyTech had people exercise then they looked at how the brain reacted when shown pictures of food.
They found that exercise has a definite impact on appetite for food, but for some people it may increase appetite and for some it may decrease appetite.
While we wait to learn more, know yourself. For example, I know if I do intensive weight lifting, I get hungrier but aerobics does not increase my hunger.
Find what works for you.