Obesity to Explode!

by Steven Carney on September 20, 2012

A new study is just out, one that projects an explosive rise in U.S. obesity rates. The report is from the Trust for America’s Health and their projections show that in about 15 years, by 2030, 50% of Americans will be obese (up from about 35% of adults currently, while about 17% of children are obese now). The report also projects that 13 states will have an adult obesity rate as high as 60% by 2030. If these projections come true, it’s bad news on many levels!

Terrible health and financial effects

The report details how the expanding epidemic will impact health and healthcare costs:

  • Almost 8 million annual cases of diabetes (nearly quadruple from current levels)
  • About 6.5 million annual cases of heart disease and stroke (more than quadruple current levels)
  • Major diseases combined (heart disease, stroke, hypertension, diabetes, and arthritis) could rise 10 times above current levels by 2020
  • Additional health costs of 66 billion, well above current levels of 147 million for obesity
  • Another recent study projected a 42% rise in obesity by 2030, adding 550 billion in extra costs
  • Productivity losses could exceed 400 billion (more sick days, medical visits, etc.)

Not only do we already have a terrible weight and obesity problem, but this explosion of weight and health problems will be a disaster on many levels (faster aging, more chronic disease, early deaths, higher health costs, lost productivity, etc.). I see it myself too often! I was at the grocery store the other day too many shoppers were overweight, leaning over their carts and adding unhealthy foods to their cart. (NOTE: A new study out a few days after I posted this indeed indicates a significant drop in life expectancy for some Americans. Watch for a new post on this topic coming soon!)

As a health coach I’m very concerned because I understand the connections between nutrition, weight and health problems/diseases.

One of the biggest areas of increased calories is from sodas and sweetened beverages, including juices, energy and sports drinks. These drinks not only represent unhealthy, empty calories (devoid of balanced nutrition), but many have salt, caffeine and multiple additives that cause you to crave more. It’s no accident! These processed beverages pose a serious threat to weight and health because the sweeteners, like sugar and HFCS (high-fructose corn syrup) contain fructose.

Why processed sugars are worse than you think

Metabolically, both sugar and HFCS contain about 50% fructose, which is processed in the liver like a toxin (note that HFCS is even more glycemic than sucrose). And unlike healthy fruits and veggies, which blunt many of the negative effects of fructose, the fructose in sweetened beverages doesn’t trigger insulin or leptin properly. Your normal, “I’m full now” system is essentially turned off.

You will gain weight from these drinks and still crave more (the sugar, salt, caffeine all contribute). Metabolizing fructose also raises uric acid, which in turn raises BP because it disables the important artery-relaxing compound (NO), giving you higher blood pressure.

Fructose from sugar or HFCS also increases your fat levels because about 30% of fructose becomes fat. Your triglycerides (a fat/sugar molecule) will also jump after sodas and other sweetened drinks and foods.

These destructive metabolic processes from fructose will increase insulin resistance, inflammation, weight gain, heart disease/atherosclerosis and more cravings! So those people who think sodas or processed foods sweetened with sugar or HFCS are okay in moderation are just plain wrong. They seem to say that a little poison is okay, just enjoy it!

Even one soda will trigger a destructive metabolic cascade! As unhealthy, empty calories, they use up vitamins and minerals during digestion, creating a deficit. And because a calorie is not a calorie (see my previous post about that myth), the idea that you have a soda because you cut back on something else is the worst possible choice. It needs to be the other way around! Drop soda for alternative beverages like tea, water, or coffee (no sugar of course)!

True health experts (not those under the influence of food and beverage industry “happy talk”) know that these sugary beverages and processed foods are the foods behind the ever-expanding obesity epidemic. They are the main cause!

If you need any help with these issues, or finding easy ways to cut back on sodas and processed foods, drop me a line. I’m here to help and support you on your journey back to true health!

Helpful links:









The following link takes you to the ground-breaking video by Dr. Lustig. It outlines the soda, weight, obesity and health issues in credible detail:


This link is to part 1 of a video series by Dr. Lustig about obesity and sugar:


© 2012 by Steve Carney/End Sickness Now

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