BMI obsession is besides the point...
On a recent program on obesity, it was revealed that for an adult weighing 35 stone (I don't recall the exact age) a persons daily calorie intake exceeds colorie burning by one apple - every *three* days! If you take into account the assumed much reduced exercise, and the actually rather realistic claims of lower metabolic rates (even resting metabolic rates are primarily determined by muscle mass, which is primarily determined by exercise) then fatties actually should be expected to eat far less than a person of average fitness. And of course that is a result that has been found in studies for decades, but dismissed out of the must-be-continually-stuffing-their-faces prejudice.
If your looking for high-consumers of food, look for body builders and people who do lots of exercise. The one increases resting metabolic rate, and the other simply burns lots of energy through activity.
Actually, a lot of thin people have very high body-fat percentages - major organs atrophying to make room for fat. This causes health problems that are far more serious than obesity, but is invisible. The cause is supposedly too much food and too little exercise - but hang on, how come these thin-fat people don't get obese? That's what's supposed to happen to people who eat too much and don't get enough exercise, isn't it?
The basic problem is the assumption that people will naturally stuff their faces until their stomachs are full unless they have willpower. That's how people justify their prejudices against obesity - the obese are supposedly morally inferior people who lack willpower. Reality is that appetite is regulated based on the need for the major nutrients - especially protein, which is the only major nutrient that isn't purely for energy and which can't be replaced by some other nutrient.
If you aren't getting enough protein, you will stay hungry no matter how much fat - *OR* carbohydrate, no matter how complex and unprocessed - you eat. Being hungry, your autonomic stress response will be active. And when your stress response is active, your body tends to burn muscle and lean tissue for energy rather than fat.
Your choices are either to eat - and if you're not eating enough protein, get fat - or to apply willpower, and thus atrophy your muscles and internal organs and replace them with the fat from the little that you are eating.
If you accept the current healthy-eating dogma, then you avoid meat because of the fat content - but by doing so, you also avoid protein. Truth is, calorie for calorie, it makes no difference whether you eat fat or carbohydrate - each will convert to the same amount of bodyfat. Vegetarians will point out that our ancestors 5 million years ago lived almost entirely on fruit - but our ancestors a mere 50 thousand years ago were more carnivorous than modern wolves. And look at the eskimos - no fresh vegetables anywhere to be seen, a diet consisting almost entirely of animal products, and virtually no obesity at all until Western foods reached the area.
A few years ago, a documentary investigating the Atkins diet concluded that the Atkins faithful had the wrong explanation for it working. The real reason was that people on the Atkins diet tended to eat a higher proportion of protein in their diet, and that suppressed the appetite. The implication - though not made explicit - was quite clear. Protein was acting as some kind of evil appetite-suppressing narcotic. Ridiculous. If protein stops people feeling hungry, the logical reason is because the nutrient they needed in the first place was protein.
As for the problems caused by excessive protein in body-builders, well, they have to force-feed themselves, and they find that an unpleasant chore. A clear indication the appetite stops when you've had enough protein, and that these health effects are extremely unlikely to happen to people who simply include a bit more protein in their diets.
Incidentally, yes there are plant-based foods with lots of protein. Unfortunately, we don't digest it properly unless we eat meat as well - up to a third of the plant protein is wasted. Why do we digest all that vegetable protein if we eat meat as well? My guess - something in the meat triggers protein digestion. Hardly surprising given the diets of our recent ancestors. But don't expect research into additives that allow more efficient digestion of plant proteins - by far the most likely outcome is systematic ridicule and demonisation of anyone who dares suggest that a vegetarian diet isn't perfect.
BTW - yes, I am obese. A year ago I was even more obese. Two years ago, I was even more obese than that. Three years ago, well, I think you can see the pattern. I don't do Atkins by any means. I just replaced all that rice, baked potatoes etc that was supposed to be helping me lose weight with chicken breasts and fish fingers etc that *did* help me lose weight. And my exercise levels have increased - but not as a result of willpower. Just having more energy from not feeling ill all the time. That is enough to lose weight - and the weight loss is accelerating over time. In another year or two, I may be able to walk down the street without being ridiculed and spat at.
In my opinion, the current healthy diet and exercise dogma has a major role in creating the obesity epidemic. Easily available high fat food wasn't as rare in the past as people think, for factory-employed city-dwellers exercise would have been far less than now (large numbers of people were rejected for military service in the first world war because they were too weak and unfit) and the proportion of fat in the average persons diet has been decreasing (NOT increasing) for decades - yet obesity was a rarity right up until people started obsessing about their diet and exercise.
And I haven't even mentioned the possible epigenetic affects of all those self-starvation-obsessed future mothers.