North Americans are getting fatter.
Still. It's not news, really, but it's shocking that after 30 years of active public policy to reverse the trend, there is no success. At all. None.
What has gone wrong?
An ever increasing amount of studies show that we may have, as a culture, taken the completely wrong tack in addressing the issue of weight gain. For thirty years, we have been told to restrict fat intake, particularly that of saturated fats. Instead of saturated fats, food manufacturers (there's a concept that's intrinsically wrong) introduced hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated fats, which turned out to be major causes of degenerative diseases.
“Eat three meals a day, or even five,” we were told. Keep the body fed, and you won't go overboard at any one time. And whatever you do, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. “Don't you be a breakfast skipper,” admonished Tony the Tiger. And so, as a healthy part of starting the day, it was advised to eat a bowl of frosted flakes, carbohydrates topped by carbohydrates.
It turns out that may have been the worst idea.
The simple carbohydrates in the flakes turned to sugar in the body, then fat, as there was too much energy to utilize immediately. The fructose component in the sugar ensured the efficiency of the fat conversion, while slowing down the body's fat utilization. At the same time, all that fructose cut back the body's signal that it had enough, leading to the consumption of excess calories.
And getting a start on the day with breakfast did exactly what the meal's name connotes; it broke the fast, cutting off the body's use of ketones. Ketones are created through the burning of storage fat as an energy source, which happens overnight when the body runs out of carbohydrates.
It's recommended by proponents of intermittent fasting. If you must start your day with breakfast, up the ante of the fat content, particularly medium chain saturated fats like those found in coconut or palm oil. The fats will trigger a sense of satiation, and medium chain fats, particularly in the absence of carbohydrates, will keep the ketone burning mechanism turned up high.