With obesity rates climbing in regions across the world, researchers, politicians and journalists alike spend a lot of time discussing its contributing factors as well as ways to most effectively combat the epidemic. It’s common to hear the case that processed foods play a leading role in bolstering weight gain, however, a recent article published in The Atlantic confirms placing blame on these foods alone is simply not productive.

In his piece, “How Junk Food Can End Obesity,” the author – David Freedman – argues that vilifying processed foods may, in a sense, worsen the obesity epidemic. The notion of swapping out all such foods for “wholesome” alternatives in one’s diet is not practical – habitually or financially – for populations at large. Freedman says, “There is no reasonable scenario under which these foods could become cheap and plentiful enough to serve as the core diet for most of the obese population—even in the unlikely case that your typical junk-food eater would be willing and able to break lifelong habits to embrace kale and yellow beets.”

To elicit real change, we should start on a smaller scale, he notes; beginning by encouraging nutritional changes to fast food, a move which serves to impact the health of people across economic classes. As an example, the author commends chains like McDonalds for making calorie reductions to their menus and offering healthier, more nutritious options for the average consumer. In this same vein, Freedman confirms there is much value to engaging industry in the obesity discussion.

Read the full article here on The Atlantic.

Diana Garza Ciarlante is Vice-President, Public Affairs & Communications, Coca-Cola Refreshments, North America.