Solving nutrition and obesity

05/11/2012 12:01:00 PM
The Packer Editorial Board

Obesity takes another turn in pop culture’s spotlight in May, as it’s the cover story of Newsweek magazine and the subject of a four-part HBO documentary, “The Weight of the Nation.”

First lady Michelle Obama has made reducing childhood obesity one of her biggest causes, yet all signs continue to point to Americans getting heavier, despite a recession.

It seems the “burn more calories than you consume” message can’t get any traction, either because people aren’t doing it or because it doesn’t work.

The Newsweek story posits a different theory to the rising obesity rates: All calories aren’t the same. Certain foods, like refined sugars and grains, disrupt insulin levels and lead to more fat accumulation.

If this were true, it would and should change the entire way Americans think about food and how the government runs feeding programs, which are part of the farm bill, which is being debated this spring in Congress.

In the Newsweek story, fresh fruits and vegetables, meat and dairy come out looking great. Even fat, the natural kind, doesn’t appear to cause obesity as much as the simple carbohydrates.

As produce industry members testify to Congress, their message could get a huge boost if legislators start to hear from consumers tired of being fed the status quo, literally and figuratively.

Fresh produce isn’t the problem, but it can be the solution.

Fresh fruits and vegetables address nutrition and obesity, and few food groups can say that.

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