Even though this issue of Food Engineering focuses on the key issues of sanitary plant design, sustainability and financial tools to achieve a better bottom line while simultaneously supporting green initiatives, I couldn’t get my mind off another serious issue confronting the food industry.
Over the past few months, the news media have been full of reports about novel weight loss drugs and new findings about calories, metabolism and diets, as well continued reports on the obesity epidemic.
The obesity numbers, as we know, are abysmal. Government statistics report more than a third of Americans are obese, and another third are overweight. In other words, nearly 70 percent of Americans have a weight problem.
When a study released a few months ago stated not all calories are created equal, I stopped and took notice. Eating 150 calories of ice cream isn’t the same as eating 150 calories of whole grains, you say? Well, mothers across American would say they knew that all along. I clearly understand the nutritional values, but I always believed a calorie was a calorie from a dieting standpoint. But the calorie research study showed the low-carb diet and especially the low-glycemic diet deliver the best results for weight loss and calorie burning. Again, that’s pretty much what old-fashioned moms used to say: Eat your fruits and vegetables. Today’s nutritionists take this adage one step further—suggesting more whole grains and other fiber-rich foods to increase the low fiber intake of most Americans.
Regardless of how you think the obesity problem should be addressed, in today’s computer and car-addicted society, in my opinion, it must come down to a combination of both individual consumer choices and the food industry’s offerings to attack the problem. 
The Centers for Disease Control has a fascinating animated map showing the rise of US obesity rates from 1985 through 2010. It clearly shows a societal shift in the ‘90s that today continues to fuel this epidemic. To view the map, visit http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/adult.html/.
Thanks for making those new tasty, high-fiber and whole grain products. You are a partner in the fight against obesity and are truly making a difference.