By Dr. Mercola

The website Fooducate has taken a look at the annual obesity report issued by Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Here are some of the 12 shocking statistics they found:

  1. Adult obesity rates rose in 16 U.S. states over the past year, and NOT ONE state decreased
  2. Twelve U.S. states now have obesity rates above 30 percent
  3. Just 4 years ago, only one state had an obesity rate above 30 percent
  4. Obesity rates exceed 25 percent in more than two-thirds of U.S. states
  5. Mississippi had the highest rate of obesity (34.4 percent)
  6. Colorado was the only state with a rate below 20 percent — and next year will probably be above
  7. Adult diabetes rates increased in 11 states and Washington, D.C. in the past year; in 8 states, more than 10 percent of adults now have type 2 diabetes.
  8. High school dropouts have the highest rates of obesity

To read the rest of their list, you can click on the link below.


Dr. Mercola’s Comments:

The Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation have been issuing an annual US obesity report since 2006, and this year’s report is sobering to say the least. Its title, How Obesity Threatens America’s Future 2011, spells it out succinctly, because while many people still shrug at the notion of obesity being anything but an aesthetic issue, nothing could be further from the truth. This epidemic threatens not only a clear majority of everyone’s individual health and well-being; it also adds a tremendous burden to our health care system.

It may even threaten our ability to compete in the international market because of the loss of productivity it produces.

There are at least 20 different diseases and conditions that are directly attributable to being overweight, and according to a 2009 study by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), based on figures from 2006, the direct and indirect cost of obesity is around $147 billion annually, or just over nine percent of all medical spending in the US. Clearly, since then things have only gotten worse.

Shocking Statistics from 2011 Obesity Report

Over the past year, not a single US state has seen a decline in obesity rates. Instead, the incidence of obesity has risen in 16 states, and 12 states now have obesity rates over 30 percent! A mere four years ago, only one state had such a high rate of obesity. At this pace, the rest of the nation will soon catch up… Two-thirds of all US states already have obesity rates exceeding 25 percent.

Overall, 75 percent of American adults and nearly one-third of children and teens are currently obese or overweight…

It should be quite clear to everyone that whatever agricultural policies, public health policies, and dietary recommendations we’ve employed in the US so far have been and still are severely flawed, because they’re not making even the slightest dent in this epidemic.

So, what’s missing?

Two Keys to Curb Out-of-Control Obesity…

I believe there are two primary dietary recommendations that could make all the difference in the world. Unfortunately, they’re both extremely unpopular because accepting these recommendations means cutting profitability for the food industry, and major health agencies having to confess that they’ve been misleading you for a very long time…

The two primary keys I’m talking about are:

  1. Severely restricting carbohydrates (sugars, fructose, and grains) in your diet, and
  2. Increasing healthy fat consumption

While health authorities insist that sugar is fine “in moderation,” and that grains are an essential part of a healthy diet and can actually help you prevent heart disease, they fail to take into consideration that:

  1. Fructose is the NUMBER ONE source of calories in the US. This means it’s far from “moderate,” and this is not at all surprising when you consider that fructose, primarily in the form of cheap high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), is in just about everything—even food items you’d never expect would need it, including diet foods and ‘enhanced’ water products. Even most infant formulas contain the sugar equivalent of one can of Coca-Cola!
  2. Refined carbohydrates (breakfast cereals, bagels, waffles etc) quickly breaks down to sugar, increase your insulin levels, and cause insulin resistance, which is the number one underlying factor of nearly every chronic disease known to man, including heart disease

They’ve been equally wrong about fat.

Fats in general are considered the dietary villains, especially saturated fat, which many people still claim will increase your risk of heart attacks and cardiovascular disease. However, this is simply untrue. The only really dangerous fat out there is trans fat (margarine, vegetable oils), which for a long time were touted as the answer to that heart-harming saturated fat. Talk about living in a topsy-turvy world…

Saturated fats are indeed good for you.

They provide the building blocks for your cell membranes and a variety of hormones and hormone like substances that are essential to your health, and saturated fats from animal and vegetable sources (such as meat, dairy, certain oils, and tropical plants like coconut) provide a concentrated source of energy in your diet—a source of energy that is far more ideal than carbohydrates, and that’s why I chose these two specific “keys” in combination, because when you cut down on carbs, you generally need to increase your fat consumption.

Is Fructose the Reason Why You’re Overweight?

If everyone could easily keep their total grams of fructose to below about 25 grams per day then I believe we would start seeing some radical changes in these crazy statistics in short order. But the key issue is that while that is theoretically possible, precious few people are actually doing it, and the reliance on processed food is the primary reason for this failure.

This is largely because the majority of fructose is hidden in all these processed foods so that it becomes very difficult to see just how much fructose you’re consuming every single day.

The average American now consumes 1/3 of a pound of sugar DAILY. That’s five ounces or 150 grams, half of which is fructose, which is 300 percent more than the amount that will trigger biochemical havoc. And many Americans consume more than twice that amount!

To put it into even further perspective, based on USDA estimates the average American consumes the equivalent of about TWO TONS of sugar during their lifetime. So is it really any wonder that the United States is the fattest of 33 countries, with a whopping 75 percent of Americans crowding into the overweight category?

Thanks to the excellent work of researchers like Dr. Robert Lustig, and Dr. Richard Johnson, we now know that fructose:

  • Is metabolized differently from glucose, with the majority being turned directly into fat
  • Tricks your body into gaining weight by fooling your metabolism, as it turns off your body’s appetite-control system. Fructose does not appropriately stimulate insulin, which in turn does not suppress ghrelin (the “hunger hormone”) and doesn’t stimulate leptin (the “satiety hormone”), which together result in your eating more and developing insulin resistance.
  • Rapidly leads to weight gain and abdominal obesity (“beer belly”), decreased HDL, increased LDL, elevated triglycerides, elevated blood sugar, and high blood pressure—i.e., classic metabolic syndrome.
  • Over time leads to insulin resistance, which is not only an underlying factor of type 2 diabetes and heart disease, but also many cancers.

According to Dr. Robert Lustig, fructose is ‘isocaloric but not isometabolic.” This means you can have the same amount of calories from fructose or glucose, fructose and protein, or fructose and fat, but the metabolic effect will be entirely different despite the identical calorie count.

This is a VERY important point so let me repeat it. Most will need to read this seven times or more to fully realize the implications of this simple yet HIGHLY profound, and radically revolutionary important statement:

Fructose is “isocaloric but not isometabolic.”

This means you can have the same amount of calories from fructose or glucose, fructose and protein, or fructose and fat, but the metabolic effect will be entirely different despite the identical calorie count.

This is largely because different nutrients provoke different hormonal responses, and those hormonal responses determine, among other things, how much fat you accumulate. This is why the idea that you can lose weight by counting calories simply doesn’t work… Even the most popular calorie-counting weight loss program, Weight Watchers, recently admitted this fact and changed their wildly successful formula. The new system instead tries to encourage dieters to consume more natural, less processed food, which I believe is the crux of any long-term weight loss program.

After fructose, other sugars and grains are likely the most excessively consumed food that promotes weight gain and chronic disease. Other sugars can easily include items that are typically viewed as healthy, such as fruit juice or even large amounts of high fructose fruits. In large amounts these items will adversely affect your insulin, which is a crucially potent fat regulator.

Could Eating More Healthy Fats Help You LOSE Weight?

As I mentioned earlier, if you cut carbs from your diet, you need to add fat. The Atkins Diet is one popular example of the theory that you can lose weight on a low-carb, high-fat diet. Unfortunately, Dr. Atkins did not pay much attention to the QUALITY of the fats so his recommendations did work but had long-term problems. Remember, eating fat does not raise your insulin levels; eating grains and sugars does.

So, if you want to lower your insulin levels and reduce fat accumulation, simply cut the amount of grains and sugars you eat; NOT vegetable carbs. .You actually need to radically increase the amount of vegetables you eat as you need to replace the grains with vegetable carbs and by volume they are much larger than dense grains.

But you do need energy, and this is where the fat comes in.

Saturated fat is actually the preferred fuel for your heart, and it’s also used as a source of fuel during energy expenditure. Fats also slows down absorption of your meal so that you feel satiated longer, which in and of itself can help you shed some pounds if your problem is frequent snacking due to constant hunger. In addition, saturated fats are also:

  • Carriers for important fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K, and required for the conversion of carotene to vitamin A, for mineral absorption, and for a host of other biological processes
  • Useful antiviral agents (caprylic acid)
  • Effective as an anticaries, antiplaque and anti fungal agents (lauric acid)
  • Useful to actually lower cholesterol levels (palmitic and stearic acids)
  • Modulators of genetic regulation and prevent cancer (butyric acid)

As you can see, eliminating saturated fats from your diet can have a significantly detrimental impact on your health. Grain carbs, on the other hand, can actually be eliminated from your diet entirely, without any ill effect! Sources of healthy fats include:

Olives and Olive oil Coconuts and coconut oil Butter made from raw grass-fed organic milk
Raw Nuts, such as, almonds or pecans Organic pastured egg yolks Avocados
Grass fed meats Palm oil Unheated organic nut oils


Keep in mind, however, that olive oil should not be used for cooking. Instead, use coconut oil for cooking, frying and baking, and save the olive oil for salad dressing. Also, if you need to increase calories you will need large amounts of these types of fats. When I am in need of fat, I increase my intake of healthy fats. I typically combine four tablespoons of raw butter with coconut oil and some chia seed powder and a scoop of Pure Power Protein, and it is an absolutely delicious snack that fills me up for some time.

Lastly, another healthful fat you want to be mindful of is animal-based omega-3. Deficiency in this essential fat can cause or contribute to very serious health problems, both mental and physical, and may be a significant underlying factor of up to 96,000 premature deaths each year. For more information about omega-3’s and the best sources of this fat, please review this previous article.

Bottom Line

I believe the current situation can change, but only if enough people understand the simple truths of healthy eating and refuse to buy sugar-laden processed foods. Earlier this year, Dr. David Ludwig, a Harvard-affiliated pediatrician recently wrote a commentary in JAMA, offering concrete suggestions to turn this disease-producing diet trend around, such as:

  • Restructuring agricultural subsidies
  • Regulating the marketing of food to children
  • Adequately funding school lunch programs
  • Using existing and future technologies to allow the food industry to retain profits while producing more healthful products

Those are all good suggestions, but while politicians keep searching for their moral compasses, I suggest you do your own homework and start to take control of your health by changing your own diet.

If you want to shed excess pounds and maintain a healthy weight long-term, and RADICALLY reduce (and in many cases virtually eliminate) your risk of diabetes, heart disease and cancer, then start getting serious about restricting your consumption of fructose to no more than 25 grams per day. If you’re already overweight, or have any of these diseases or are at high risk of any of them, then you’re probably better off cutting that down to 10-15 grams per day.

Please also remember that exercise—even if you incorporate exercises like Peak 8 into your routine—will NOT compensate for fructose use and can destroy many of the benefits of your hard work

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© Copyright 2011 Dr. Joseph Mercola. All Rights Reserved.

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