(Mirror Daily, United States) – If you ask somebody what’s driving America’s obesity epidemic, they’re most likely to blame soft drinks, junk food, and candies, but a new study indicates that’s only half of the story.
Stirring controversy in the health industry, the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab study claims that, in fact, fast food is nowhere near the leading cause of obesity in the United States. Instead, the researchers argue that the Americans’ overall eating habits are to be blamed, especially when it comes to the amount of food they consume.
But researchers warn these findings are in no way meant to give people a free pass to spoil themselves with junk food, day in, day out. Leading author David Just, PhD, co-chief of the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab, explains that over-eating fast food – or anything, for that matter – will make people fat.
However, it doesn’t look like junk food is what these foods in particular are to be blamed for making people gain fat. It’s more than that; researchers started looking into their diet and their workout regimen.
For the study, they reviewed the National Household and Nutrition Examination Survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention between 2007 and 2008. More than 5,000 adults in the U.S. participated in the nationally representative sample of the survey.
On two separate occasions, participants were asked to reiterate their food intake within the last 24 hours. Researchers also calculated their body mass index (BMI), which is measured with height and weight. Published in the journal Obesity Science & Practice, the analysis showed there was little to no difference in junk food intake between healthy and overweight individuals.
In fact, the BMI of 95 percent of the participants was in no way influenced by their consumption of fast food, soda, and candy. The chronically underweight and the morbidly obese – the two extreme ends of the BMI spectrum – were the only exception to the findings.
Most dieters think that cutting out junk food is going to do the trick, but in most cases, it hasn’t got much of an impact. However, if they would think about losing weight in terms of eating habits and healthier diets overall, things would likely change.
Researchers couldn’t stress enough how unhealthy it is to eat junk food – little to no nutrients combined with high calorie levels – but they also added that the overwhelming majority of weight problems are not the result of soda, candy and fast food consumption alone.
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