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Interesting story:

In 1888, the American chemist Wilbur O. Atwater devised a series of formulas that would help people get the most energy from the least food. Economics and physiology would be joined in what he called “the pecuniary economy of food.” These guidelines did not emerge only from scientific inquiry but also from a desire to maximize efficiency. The guideline was that humans need 20 calories per pound of weight each day; 55 to 65 percent of this energy intake ought to come from carbohydrates, a quarter from fats and something over 10 percent from proteins.

The notion appealed to French physicians, who had been looking for ways to improve working-class health and budgets. To keep food expenses within the limits of the modest budgets of the poor, they urged the substitution of protein-rich legumes for red meat, pasta for sausages, and sugared beverages for wine.

The program flopped — except in prisons, where lower calorie supply per inmate induced savings — as French workers continued to enjoy their sausage and wine.

I'm convinced that economics has a lot to do with America's sugar and carb addictions as well. First you have the USDA trying to support grain farmers by forcing us to eat their crap. Then you have the fact that starch & sugar are dirt cheap, so food companies can load more profit margin on top of starch/sugar-based foods without costing so much it would hurt sales. Third, you have this supermarket marketing strategy that forces you to walk through the higher-profit starchy aisles before getting to the fresh food in the back.

Atkins summed it up as the "toxic food environment." Its been wildly successful from an economic standpoint. Carb mindsets are deeply embued in the psyche of consumers. Food companies make huge profits on their starchy-sugary product portfolio.
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