Sep 16, 2010

Obesity Epidemic: One Cookie

Okay, so I'm sure you've heard plenty about obesity, or so you think. I graduated with a degree in Nutritional Science, soon will sit for my exam to become a registered dietitian, and am currently continuing to pursue by Master's degree in Nutrition and Dietetics: I've heard about obesity!

But today's reading for graduate school stated facts in a new way, calculations that I could have done, or facts that I could have researched previously, but honestly shockers when you get right down to it. There's plenty more information on weight, weight gain, weight loss, diet composition rather than simply weight, body composition rather than simply weight, but this is just a little tid bit for today.

Taken from Managing Obesity: A Clinical Guide published by the American Dietetic Association

  • An individual who drinks one additional 12-ounce can of soft drink per day (approximately 150 kcal) will gain approximately 15 pounds over one year if he or she does not reduce consumption of other food itemsor increase energy expenditure from physical activity.
Shocking to anyone!? An additional Coke can cause as much as 15 pounds of weight loss. I know some of you may be thinking, oh I already drink Coke so does that apply to me? If at the moment you are eating the same amount of calories each day, including a Coke and have not gained weight over time, you may be eating exactly what you body needs to maintain your current weight. However, if you were to add a Coke to that and make no other changes, then yes, 15 extra pounds. Oddly enough, and encouragingly enough, if you were to remove that Coke from your regular diet and replace it with nothing else, change no activity levels, then you'd mathematically speaking lose 15 pounds in one years time.

I know weight loss, and gain seems like a bad omen, luggage that just hangs onto us, or some scheme that someone else must be controlling. However, simply less calories in or more calories out (exercise) equal weight loss. Yes there are other factors that affect us, I am currently reading about social and environmental factors that contribute to obesity like dangerous neighborhoods where people are too afraid to walk, stores all the way across town so that you cannot walk to the store but must drive, etc. But that topic is for another day and another post.

I'll keep you updated on the findings of this class "Managing Obesity" and hopefully you will find it both educational and motivational. Leaving you with one last quote from the book:
  • In fact, by one estimate, an imbalance of as little as 100 to 150 kcal (Calories) per day, or about as much as one cookie, is sufficient to explain the entire obesity epidemic in America.

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