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The Food Industry and The obesity problem

By: Fred A. Kummerow, Retired Professor, Department of Food and Nutrition

The obesity problem has become a bandwagon of causes from blaming the food industry to centers in the brain. How modern humans use sugar and fat calories was developed in prehistoric humans to assure their survival. There must have been long periods of time between meals, that is, fasting period, and there were times in which they had food available, the “fed” period. During this fed period, carbohydrates were used within two hours as quick source of energy. Extra carbohydrates were stored first as glycogen in the muscles and liver and then any excess converted to fat and stored in the adipose tissue (the fat around your middle and elsewhere). This stored fat was then available for energy during the long fasting period.

Modern humans have inherited this way of handling these fed and fasting periods. This process assured the survival of prehistoric humans but has now become one way that obesity is developing in humans today. Too much food is available all hours of the day and night, and eating it is a pleasure.

To avoid adding fat to your body, any carbohydrates you eat should be used up as a caloric source before the next meal. Any carbohydrates that have already turned into fat and any fat in your diet itself should be used for energy within the cell during the fasting period. Eating a snack between meals means adding additional carbohydrates into the system before any of the fat from the previous meal has been used for energy. It ends up adding to your adipose tissue. If you weight yourself before a hearty meal and again the next day, you may find you have gained a pound or two, the amount depending on how much food you ate and the fat you stored.

As much a meal may also contain excess salt, some of the weight gain can be due to excess water you stored. Millions of dollars are spent to try to get rid of this stored fat, the government is planning to spend millions more dollars to solve the obesity problem.

Prehistoric humans had no choice in controlling the time between fasting and fed periods because they had no refrigerators, fast food outlets, or supermarkets to run to. Modern humans do have this choice. More time between the fed periods that is between meals may help with the obesity problem more than spending millions on funding MD’s at medical school blaming the “sugar centers” in the brain or the food industries, which have stocked super markets with an abundance of food.

Fred A. Kummerow is a retired professor from the department of Food Science and Nutrition, Emeritus. He is a writer of more than 300 publications. He has been the Honorary Member of Purkinje Society of the Czechoslovakian Medical Society, Romanian Society of Physiology National Academy of Science, and Visitor Exchanges to Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, and the FSU Chairman, two National Science Foundations Sponsor, cell membrane workshops (Cluj, Romania, 1981; NY, 1982) Reviewer, USDA and NSF proposals. He is the writer of “Cholesterol won’t kill you but Trans Fat could”. For Further information on his articles kindly contact Dr. Kummerow at

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