Bogus study tries to save the face of junk food

A recently published study in the journal of Obesity, Science and Practice now points the finger at calorie consumption as the leading cause of obesity.

The study’s findings are based on the data from a self-reporting survey performed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2007-2008, known as the “National Household and Nutrition Examination Survey.” According to data gathered from this survey, people in the healthy BMI range averaged 1.3 sweet snacks every two days, overweight people only ate 1.2 sweet snacks every two days, and supposedly obese people only ate 1.1 sweets in that same two-day period.

There are two very blatant issues with using this data. The first is that self-reporting is terribly unreliable. The second would be that, in general, people of healthy BMI ranges tend to be more aware of what they eat. Obese people tend to lack awareness of what they eat. That’s how they become obese, and also why they have a harder time maintaining weight loss efforts. It’s also been found that overweight and obese people are more likely to underreport what they eat.

According to the survey, the increase in obesity is due to grains and fats. This is quite believable, and most likely true. However, it is poor science to assume that junk food doesn’t play a role in obesity. It’s fair to assume that portion size may be a discerning factor as well; most people can’t tell you how much an actual serving of pasta is or what it looks like. Obese people tend to have very skewed portion sizes, as well – a whole bag of chips could be someone else’s “single serving.”

Perhaps, awareness of what’s going into your body is as important as what you’re eating. The study does confirm that healthy people eat more fruits and vegetables. The bottom line here should be: We would all be better off if we ate less junk, fewer baked goods and more fresh food.