Forget About All The Other Theories – This Is The Reason Americans Are Fat

La_monstrua_desnuda_(1680),_de_Juan_Carreño_de_Miranda.A Google search on America’s obesity crisis will give you a cornucopia of results. Are we (and yes, I’m saying we) fat because of high-fructose corn syrup or lack of organics? Are we fat because of gluten? Are we fat because of too much sugar? Are we fat because of too much fat? Are we fat because we take too many prescription drugs? Maybe it’s because we live in the suburbs. Or, are we just plain lazy?

Unfortunately for us, the answer to our obesity crisis is simpler than we want to think. We eat too much. According to, Americans, on average, eat almost twice as much as we need. Most recommendations are that men, on average, should eat around 2,400 calories and women should eat around 2,000. Instead, we are eating around 3,770 a day.

There is some consolation in the fact that we aren’t alone. While we have the highest calorie consumption, Austria, Italy, Israel, Ireland and the U.K. aren’t that far behind.

Here’s a graph from


Okay, but if we were a little less lazy, wouldn’t we be able to exercise that off? Well, yes, but no. A 160 lb. person would have to jog almost three hours to burn off an extra 1,600 calories. I doubt even our ancestors expended that sort of energy.


Most of us, though, have no idea how much we’re eating. People tend to underestimate their calorie consumption. Over the last 50 years, as our weights have ballooned, the number of calories we report eating has gone down. Even when we religiously record what we eat, it’s easy to underestimate the serving size.

Obviously, this isn’t good news for those of us who are looking for a convenient answer or for an excuse, but it is encouraging to know that there is a reason and that there’s one weight loss trick that really works – cutting calories.