Friday, September 03, 2004

The Skinny on Fat

The Skinny on Fat

By Sandy Szwarc
Published 07/16/2003

A host of sinful foods have been demonized as the root of obesity and poor health of American adults and children. Fast food restaurants have been sued, accused of contributing to customers' obesity because their food tastes too good and they tempt us by advertising. Taxes are being proposed on foods deemed fattening or bad for us, namely, anything with meat or fat, that is fried or processed or that is sweet.

Although these foods make intuitively appealing (and profitable) targets, the body of scientific evidence doesn't support the assertions. There is no scientific evidence that any specific food causes obesity. Like the American Dietetic Association (ADA), the American Council on Science and Health's (ACSH) position is: "There are no good foods or bad foods. The problem is not any one food, but one of dietary immoderation, imbalance and lack of variety." That's true for children as well as adults. The American Heart Association (AHA) Medical Scientific Statement, "Understanding Obesity in Youth," concluded, "Studies of diet composition in children do not identify the cause of obesity."

Let's consider the evidence about the supposedly most sinful culprits:

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