Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Apparently, U.S. per capita consumption of corn sweeteners peaked a few years ago and is now lower than at any time in the last two decades. Obesity, however, has only continued to rise, so the decline in sweetener consumption would seem to reflect changing tastes rather than more attentativeness to the problem of overeating. Perhaps the population is consuming fewer sweets per capita because it is aging, substituting more adult calories like cheese food or fine libations.
Don't mistake a decline of corn sweetener use as a decline in sweetener use as a whole. That would be a poor analysis of the data given. Since we are talking about ONLY corn, what about the trends in Cane sugar, beet sugar, aspartame, and sucralose? Have those increased enough to offset the corn sweetener? Or even more perhaps? For all we know from this graph is that while corn sweetener use has declined, overall sweetener use could have skyrocketed. We have no way of knowing unless we look at all the data.
I blame Pepsi Retro, now with Real Sugar.
Seriously, how much of this "trend" is due to the way they changed the definition of "obese"? And how much is due to the fact that as we age, we tend to fluff up a bit. Somehow I also don't think the numbers are adjusted for the aging Baby Boom, scare numbers like this are typically bent to look as bad as possible.
Perhaps the first thing to do is to check the basic assumption. In this case, like most others of its ilk, the basic assumption is mostly wrong. There is no "obesity epidemic". There is a "control the masses" epidemic married up with poor critical thinking skills on the part of the American public.
The excellent Blog, Junkfood Science, explodes many of these health myths (and there are several specifically about the bogus "obesity problem"). A current post about obesity in the aging population has this to say in part:
"Researchers, led by Dr. Paul McAuley with the Department of Human Performance and Sport Sciences at Winston-Salem State University in North Carolina, set to test the hypothesis that high cardiovascular fitness and high BMI were associated with a lower risk for death among healthy older men. As they noted, most studies, and the strongest ones, point to an inverse relationship between BMI among mature adults and mortality, with obesity having a protective role. Obesity’s survival advantage among patients with a wide range of diseases and health problems has also been especially well documented in the medical literature."
Jump over to her Blog and read the rest as well as the other offerings she has there.
Perhaps the people who have quit using corn sweetener are the already-thin people like me, and not the Pepsi swillers.
But your basic method is sound, we could have shot down low-fat a long time ago by looking at the national obesity rate.
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