The epidemic of obesity is sweeping across the United States and, indeed, the whole world. This phenomenon has been linked to changes in dietary habits1 or gene–environment interactions and not to a genetic shift. The most likely factor responsible for the obesity epidemic is the Western diet, which is characterized by a higher intake of red and processed meat, highfat dairy products and sugar-containing beverages, sweets and desserts2. Most biochemists have focused on isolating the individual nutrient components that are most likely to negatively affect metabolism and cause disease. A more prudent approach would be to consider diet as a complex mix of nutrients that, when combined as a diet characteristic for Western culture, has not only led to obesity, but to heart disease, cancer and diabetes as well.

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