No, it is Not Harder to Lose Weight in 2015
Multiple news stories are declaring that it is harder to lose weight in 2015 than it was a few decades ago. A study out of a York University in Toronto looked at tons of data on American diets, physical activity and body weight, and they concluded that a person eating and exercising the same today as they might have in the 1980s has a BMI that’s 10% higher than they would have back in the day. Some people look at the York study and guess that maybe it’s pesticides or antibiotics that are causing us to get more fat.
So, we are curious. Is it true that we are just magically getting fatter? Maybe the snacks are just so totally awesome now? Well, at least according to this Outside article, it’s not rad snacks or that the music was better in the 1980s. We, Americans, are eating more and exercising less – and, apparently, that makes us gain weight. A study out of North Carolina discovered that Americans typically eat 500+ calories more each day than they used to in the 1980s. Eat more, then weigh more. Magic.
How did the Yorkies get it wrong? The York research relied on notoriously bad info — self-reported food intake. But people are bad at self-reporting, especially when it comes to how much food they eat. People seem have to food amnesia, where they forget certain snacks they ate or the exact quantity of the ice cream in their mongo bowl.
If you are hearing that there is just something different about maintaining a healthy weight today vs. the 1980s, it is likely from people searching for excuses why they can’t keep the calories low and the physical activity high. And they found a bad study to help justify a bag of Funyons on a comfy couch.