December is our annual Weight Management issue. Last September, the New Yorker magazine ran an article on obesity by Rivka Galchen, MD, but the focus was on bariatric surgery procedures, not diet and nutrition. Aside from citing now-familiar CDC figures that two-thirds of Americans are overweight, and one-third clinically obese, Dr. Galchen mentioned two weighty facts worth noting. The first is that there now are 10 times as many bariatric surgeries performed annually (about 200,000) as occurred 20 years ago. The second is that, where such drastic operations once were “last resort” for people of more than double optimal body weight (what is morbidly termed “morbidly obese”), more and relatively “slimmer” (say, 75 or 50 pounds overweight) people are undergoing these surgeries.

In the article, Galchen notes that “around 75% of bariatric patients have sustained weight loss five years after surgery.” She further points out that, “weight loss through diet and exercise rarely leads to more than short-term changes—a quite small percentage of patients see sustained weight loss.”

Galchen goes on to quote Tom Wadden, PhD, of the Center for Weight and Eating Disorders at the University of Penn., who says that he would “absolutely recommend surgery” to some of his patients. But, he cautions, “I say that in talking about treating obesity, not about preventing it. And the prevention of obesity has to be the greater focus of our attention, as a society.”

Let’s look at that again: Diet and exercise rarely lead to more than short-term changes—a quite small percentage of patients see sustained weight loss.

As a dietitian and food & nutrition scientist with a culinary background, I hate to admit it but it’s true. Obesity is a multicausal condition. No single foolproof way to lose weight exists. It’s well-established that: few people stick to a diet for more than a few months, only a few percent keep off the weight they lose through diet and exercise, and most dieters go through multiple plans (and fads) in a lifetime of yo-yo dieting. Moreover, what might work even in the short term for one will do absolutely nothing for another.

This generation of consumers and processors knows that. There’s a shift in the industry happening, in which products for weight loss and management are becoming generalized to be simply more healthful and more nutritious, targeting satiety versus direct loss. Ingredient scientists and product developers are constantly working in tandem to create nutritionally well-balanced foods and beverages, with full complements of micro- and macronutrients, and that are flavorful, fun, attractive, and filling. Look inside this issue for the details. 

Call for Presentations!
August 1-2, 2017
The Westin Lombard

Join us at Prepared Foods’ 2017 R&D Applications Seminar Chicago, August 1-2, 2017, at The Westin in Lombard, IL.

This 13th annual event is laser focused on providing food & beverage formulators with practical, non-commercial, “how-to” solutions to specific formulation and application challenges to better understand the functionality of a wide range of ingredients.

The Seminar’s extensive educational program starts each day with a keynote speaker and features over 40 individual technical sessions to choose from and six, 75-minute, hands-on Application Labs.

Application Labs

The Application Labs feature the use of product samples to more effectively demonstrate an ingredient’s functionality or its use in a finished consumer product or model system.

All sessions are non commercial and provide technical solutions to current ingredient applications and formulation challenges.

Prepared Foods is now accepting presentation outlines. Submit your presentation at

For more information, visit or contact Marge Whalen at 847-405-4071 or