There is no debate that soda, candy, and junk food are mostly blamed for obesity in America, but new facts have emerged showing that high-calorie foods are the main culprits. The study reveals that that amount of soda, candy, and fast food eaten is not commensurate with the body mass index of most overweight people.

Published by the Food and Brand Lab of Cornell University, the researchers said it is not totally advisable to consume chocolate and cheeseburgers and then wash them down with a bottle of Coke, yet this practice has very little to do with your tendency to gain weight or become obese.

Furthermore, the researchers found out that obese and overweight individuals consume less salty snacks and soda and fast foods than people with average weight; yet this class of people consume about 50% more French fries than average weight persons. The researchers opine that people could go on eating what they love and forget about weight, unless such food is French fries.

The authors of the study say calories are to blame and not food or drinks, largely because Americans now consume 500 more calories every day than they did decades ago. For instance, about 2,544 calories were eaten daily in 2010 compared to 2,039 eaten in 1970; and people ate white bread containing 409 calories in 1970 compared to white bread containing 582 calories eaten in 2010. This also included added oil and dairy fats and added sugars among others.

“This means that diets and health campaigns aimed at reducing and preventing obesity may be off track if they hinge on demonizing specific foods,” said David Just, professor and director of graduate studies in the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management at Cornell University, and co-author of the study. “If we want real change, we need to look at the overall diet, and physical activity. Narrowly targeting junk foods is not just ineffective, it may be self-defeating as it distracts from the real underlying causes of obesity.” Funny enough, certain residents of some US states are more obese than residents in other states, meaning that diet is factored into reasons for adding unwanted weight.

Must Read: You’re fat because of calories, not sodas or junk food – study says

Published in the journal Obesity Science and Practice, the Cornell University researchers examined data of 6,000 people in the “National Household and Nutrition Examination Survey” conducted by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This data was analyzed against the body mass index of participants since this is the best way to measure obesity.

Julie Barnes, a clinical psychologist, based in New York, observed that Americans tend to consume more calories when they eat out than when they eat their own home-cooked food. She advised that people should eat less when they eat out since most fast foods are high in salt, calories, sugar, and additives. She also added that it is best to exercise control over the amount or portion of food eaten at any meal time.