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Causes of Obesity in Men

It’s time to face up to what overeating and inactivity are doing to us

Fighting back: How bigger portions can be used to stem the rise in obesity continued...

A bowl of Cheerios, for example, provides the same calories as a couple tablespoons of granola. But, as she points out in The Volumetrics Eating Plan: Techniques and Recipes for Feeling Full on Fewer Calories (Morrow Cookbooks, 2005),eating the larger portion of Cheerios is more satisfying than eating the smaller portion of granola. “Bigger is better if it’s low-cal,” Rolls says. “Big portions of salad and soup can fill you up and displace other, more energy dense foods.”

Blackburn applauds Rolls’ book. But he also thinks the government should intervene to encourage healthier eating by charging a tax on junk food and offering incentives for buying healthy food. “But the people who own the junk food are not going to let you do that,” he says. “They’ll say people like me are crazy and it’s your right to have a miserable life and be able to pig out.”

Looking for a cure for obesity

Genetic research holds out the hope that in 10 or 20 years there may be new drugs to treat obesity. But there are more than 25 candidate genes involved in abnormal weight gain, and each person may have 12 or so of them, all making a very small contribution. So it’s unlikely that drug companies will find blockbuster drugs that can counteract the effects of all these genes together. “It will be very hard to have a medication driven by your personal predisposition,” says Bouchard.

In the meantime, though, according to Blackburn, “The craziest thing you can do is to overeat and under-exercise.”

Reviewed on June 01, 2007

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