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NewsBites August 2012 Issue

Survey: Sugar New Obesity Villain

Consumers are switching their worries from fats to sugar as the dietary ingredient most to blame for obesity. The 2012 International Food Information Council (IFIC) Food & Health survey finds the percentage of Americans citing sugar as “the source of calories most likely to cause weight gain” nearly doubled from 11% in 2011 to 20%. The 18% answering “fats” was well below the 26%-34% blaming fats back in 2006-10. “Carbs” also gained popularity as a culprit, up from 9% in 2011 to 19%. Another 30% gave the technically correct answer, “all sources are equal”—a calorie is, after all, a calorie—down from 40%. As media attention has shifted to sugar as “the villain of the piece,” as an IFIC spokesperson put it, consumers have become less vigilant about saturated fats: Only 47% say they’re trying to limit these unhealthy fats, down from 64% in 2010. Yet 32% are mistakenly avoiding healthy mono- and polyunsaturated fats.

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