Tag Archives: Stephan Guyenet

How Has the U.S. Diet Changed Over the Last Century?

U.S. obesity rate over last 40 years

 Beth Mazur over at Weight Maven has posted a lecture by Dr. Stephan Guyenet in which he outlines the changes in American diet over the last 100 years.  It’s only 16 minutes long.  You may  find an explanation for our excess weight problem.

On a related note, Civil Eats posted a cool info graphic showing the sources of calories in the U.S. diet and how those sources have evolved over the last four decades.

Steve Parker, M.D.

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173 Years of US Sugar Consumption

US Sugar Consumption: 1822-2005

 Thanks to Dr. Stephan Guyenet and Jeremy Landen for this sugar consumption graph.  I’d never seen one going this far back in time. 
Dr. Guyenet writes:
It’s a remarkably straight line, increasing steadily from 6.3 pounds per person per year in 1822 to a maximum of 107.7 lb/person/year in 1999.  Wrap your brain around this: in 1822, we ate the amount of added sugar in one 12 ounce can of soda every five days, while today we eat that much sugar every seven hours.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that added sugars provide 17% of the total calories in the average American diet.  A typical carbonated soda contain the equivalent of 10 tsp (50 ml) of sugar.  The average U.S. adult eats 30 tsp  (150 ml) daily of added sweeteners and sugars.
Note that added sugars overwhelmingly supply only one nutrient: pure carbohdyrate without vitamins, minerals, protein, fat, antioxidants, etc.
Do you think sugar consumption has anything to do with diseases of affluence, also known as diseases of modern civilization?  I do.
Was our pancreas designed to handle this much sugar?  Apparently not, judging from skyrocketing rates of diabetes and prediabetes.


Filed under Carbohydrate, Causes of Diabetes, Sugar

Food Reward versus Carbohydrate/Insulin Theory of Obesity


God, help us figure this out

A few months ago, several of the bloggers/writers I follow were involved in an online debate about two competing theories that attempt to explain the current epidemic of overweight and obesity.  The theories:

  1. Carboydrate/Insulin (as argued by Gary Taubes)
  2. Food Reward (as argued by Stephan Guyenet)

The whole dustup was about as interesting to me as debating how may angels can dance on the head of pin.

Regular readers here know I’m an advocate of the Carboydrate/Insulin theory.  I cite it in Conquer Diabetes and Prediabetes: The Low-Carb Mediterranean Diet and The Advanced Mediterranean Diet: Lose Weight, Feel Better, Live Longer (2nd edition).  But the Food Reward theory also has validity.  They’re both right, to an extent.  They’re not mutually exclusive.  The Food Reward theory isn’t as well publiziced as Carbohydrate/Insulin.

Dr. Guyenet lays out a masterful defense of the Food Reward theory at his blog.  Mr. Taubes presents his side here, here, here, here, and here.  If you have a couple hours to wade through this, I’d start with Taubes’ posts in the order I list them.  Finish with Guyenet. 

You’d think I’d be more interested in this.  I’m still not.

Moving from theory to real world practicality, I do see that limiting consumption of concentrated refined sugars and starches helps with loss of excess body fat and prevention of weight regain.  Not for everbody, but many.  Whether that’s mediated through lower insulin action or through lower food reward, I don’t care so much. 

Any thoughts?

Steve Parker, M.D.

h/t Dr. Emily Deans



Filed under Carbohydrate, Overweight and Obesity

Dietary Oil Change Over the Last Century

Dr. Stephan Guyenet at  Whole Health Source provides details about the large increase in U.S. consumption of industrial seed oils over the last hundred years.  I’ve  not studied the issue in detail, so I have no opinion about the health ramifications.  But it’s interesting for sure.  Dr. G is well worth reading.

Steve Parker, M.D.

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Filed under Fat in Diet

Low-Carb Diet Lowers Glucose Levels More Than Standard-Carb Diet

Stephan Guyenet, Ph.D., (neurobiology) posted a graph at his blog (Whole Health Source) showing dramatically better glucose levels in people with diabetes eating a low-carb diet (20% of energy from carbs) compared to those on a 55% carb diet. 

No great surprise, but it has more impact when you see it graphed out.

Steve Parker, M.D.

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Filed under Carbohydrate