Being severely overweight has never been so dangerous. During the COVID-19 epidemic, Americans who are obese, without any other risk factors, were hospitalized at three times the rate of those who weren't, by some estimates. When combined with other diet-related health conditions such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes, obesity raises the risk of hospitalization sixfold and the risk of death twelvefold.

Those numbers have raised the stakes in the nation's epidemic of diet-related disease and added to the growing alarm of politicians and nutrition experts, some of whom are starting to call upon regulators to rein in food companies. They're pushing measures similar to those used to curb the influence of tobacco companies in the 1990s, such as limiting the marketing of certain kinds of food to children and actively discouraging the consumption of key ingredients—chief among them, sugar.

"We've gotten really good at stripping out and refining and processing sugars and fats into these really potent vehicles, and they've gotten cheaper to make," says Ashley Gearhardt, a psychology professor at the University of Michigan who studies food and addiction. "Then we combine them into totally novel food products that are so much more rewarding than anything our brains ever evolved to handle. That's why so many of us can't stop eating them."

Read the full article at Newsweek.