Why we are fat

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Rinsaikeru
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Re: Why we are fat

Postby Rinsaikeru » Sat Jun 13, 2009 10:47 pm UTC

I'm not saying it's a good place to be culturally--but it is where we are. There isn't a lot of value placed on cooking in general--People want fast and easy they can live without the good/healthy (or they act like it anyway).

Most of us do rely on lots of processed or pre-cooked foods that weren't available in the past. As shortcuts or in moderation this is all fine. When you live completely on these foods you end up with the health programs that plague us now. How do you convince a generation that (by and large) has never spent time cooking to take the time to make food from scratch? If you don't enjoy cooking you probably don't know much about it.
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Re: Why we are fat

Postby CanIGetAWitness » Sun Jun 14, 2009 4:27 pm UTC

Many of us are fat for simple calorie intake and expenditure reasons. However many of us have excess body fat due to too much acidity in our bodies. When our body has more acidic waste in it than our liver can easily handle these acids are surrounded in fat, and tucked away somewhere.

Many people need to modify their calorie intake, and exercise more, in fact we should all be exercising, but for many people, the primary problem is acidity.

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Re: Why we are fat

Postby TheSkyMovesSideways » Mon Jun 15, 2009 3:15 am UTC

CanIGetAWitness wrote:Many of us are fat for simple calorie intake and expenditure reasons. However many of us have excess body fat due to too many thetans in our bodies. When our body has more thetans than our liver can easily handle these thetans are surrounded in fat, and tucked away somewhere.

Many people need to modify their calorie intake, and exercise more, in fact we should all be exercising, but for many people, the primary problem is thetans.


Fixed.

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Re: Why we are fat

Postby BlackSails » Tue Jun 16, 2009 8:29 pm UTC

CanIGetAWitness wrote:Many of us are fat for simple calorie intake and expenditure reasons. However many of us have excess body fat due to too much acidity in our bodies. When our body has more acidic waste in it than our liver can easily handle these acids are surrounded in fat, and tucked away somewhere.

Many people need to modify their calorie intake, and exercise more, in fact we should all be exercising, but for many people, the primary problem is acidity.


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Re: Why we are fat

Postby Agent_Irons » Fri Jun 26, 2009 6:30 am UTC

We're actually fat because we're chained to a 3-meals-a-day food cycle. We're designed(I realize how bogus this is) to eat our body weight in dead zebra before it goes bad, then fast for days. "fasting" would probably include some nuts or roots or whatever you could scavenge up in between antelope.

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Re: Why we are fat

Postby BlackSails » Fri Jun 26, 2009 6:55 am UTC

Agent_Irons wrote: "fasting" would probably include some nuts or roots or whatever you could scavenge up in between antelope.


And bugs. Probably some fruit too.

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Re: Why we are fat

Postby Technical Ben » Fri Jun 26, 2009 9:26 pm UTC

I seriously doubt eating your body weight in dead Zebra is good at anytime. :O
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Re: Why we are fat

Postby Azrael » Fri Jun 26, 2009 9:57 pm UTC

Agent_Irons wrote:We're actually fat because we're chained to a 3-meals-a-day food cycle. We're designed(I realize how bogus this is) to eat our body weight in dead zebra before it goes bad, then fast for days. "fasting" would probably include some nuts or roots or whatever you could scavenge up in between antelope.

First, you need to cite a claim as broad as that.

Second, you'd need to explain why obesity is becoming so much more prevalent now, rather than within a logical time frame of when the 3 meal a day pattern was started.

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Re: Why we are fat

Postby Heisenberg » Tue Jun 30, 2009 7:53 pm UTC

Rinsaikeru wrote:Most of us do rely on lots of processed or pre-cooked foods that weren't available in the past. As shortcuts or in moderation this is all fine. When you live completely on these foods you end up with the health programs that plague us now.

Yes! And here's why: While hot pockets and cheese puffs resemble food in many ways, they are not food. They are calories, bought wholesale as corn, soy, and wheat, rolled up and flavored. Micheal Pollan is an excellent resource for this topic. One common theory is that the Western Diet offers so little nutrition per calorie that we demand more food to get the vitamins, minerals, etc. that our bodies require.

It's terrifying to note the number of cultural groups who were healthy under traditional diets, and are now plagued with obesity, diabetes and heart disease after their introduction to the Western Diet. Generally, it seems that people who eat more Green Things, and Things That Eat Green Things (which does not include meat industry meat), are healthier.

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Re: Why we are fat

Postby Lizzebed » Tue Jul 07, 2009 2:34 pm UTC

What a terrible country, this america you speak of, must be!
Not only do people have to work 16 hours a day to make ends meet. At that point they still can't afford wholesome foods. Even worse wholesome food are not even available in the stores.

Somehow I suddenly feel the middle ages breathing in my neck.


What I've always been wondering about is this:

http://www.ers.usda.gov/briefing/cpifoo ... table7.htm
http://www.ers.usda.gov/data/internationalfooddemand/

apparently the US people spend very little of their income on food, less than the rest of the world, and less than previously in their own history And I wonder why this is. Is it indeed a matter of too little time and money, what the market offers, the demands on the market? Has everything else become so expensive? Is it the I want quantity instead of quality? which I can hardly believe but well I am a european and I have been programmed with the whole I want good food and I want enjoyable food. I don't find it very hard to choose between a burger from the mcdonalds or making my own burger with loads of fresh green stuff and real burgers which taste like cow instead of something undefinable. It's obvious, isn't it? At least when you are stille able to taste cow and freshness of food it is.

And so I continue to wonder why, why spend so little on food, and why go for the 'bad' foods? And why are those heavily processed food cheaper than their nonprocessed counterparts?
Is it a matter of priorities, a matter of psychology, is it culture, is it the market or is it education?

And even though media screams about oversized populations, why doesn't anything change? Doesn't anyone think hey, I'm gaining a lot of weight maybe I should change something in my style of living and inform myself about how to do that?

Honestly my intuities says it is all a matter of priorities. And as such I get very frustrated with the lame excuses about not having time, not having money, if you really want it, you'll make time, and you'll spare money to do it. I'm a bit disappointed with bagging leaving the discussion when he got confronted with how different america is from most of the world when it comes with the availability of food. But there is no reason these differences are making it impossible to have a good meal. Just be honest, and say you don't want to put in the effort it takes to do so. That you are comfortable with the way you are doing things now, that it is your choice to do so. And it is alright to be like that. It's even alright to lie to yourself. But if you're not comfortable you should put all the effort you have in trying to change it. Though I reckon people probably need some support to do so.

I truly hope it will only be a matter of time to make change happen. That more and more people will demand healthy food, and that this demand will open the way for better distribution cheaper goods and leads to even more people having access to such foods. And of course also having acces to knowledge about how to maintain a healty diet.


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Re: Why we are fat

Postby Heisenberg » Tue Jul 07, 2009 5:18 pm UTC

Lizzebed wrote:apparently the US people spend very little of their income on food, less than the rest of the world, and less than previously in their own history And I wonder why this is.

The reason for this is probably twofold. The first is that we're richer now than we were then. As wealth increases, food spending does not increase proportionally. The second reason is that the American diet is dictated by the food industry, who supply us with the cheapest food available: seeds. Most of what we eat is reconstituted corn, wheat, and soy flavored to taste like food with chemicals from New Jersey. Not only that, but the lobbyists have ensured that corn farming is subsidized by the government, so American tax money keeps the cost of food down as well.
Lizzebed wrote:I don't find it very hard to choose between a burger from the mcdonalds or making my own burger with loads of fresh green stuff and real burgers which taste like cow instead of something undefinable.

You might if your food was engineered to taste the same, and your government did not require food companies to identify substitute foods for what they really are. Also, advertising plays in. Why buy broccoli when potato chips are advertised as having no trans fats?
Lizzebed wrote:Doesn't anyone think hey, I'm gaining a lot of weight maybe I should change something in my style of living and inform myself about how to do that?

Many people have no idea how to go about this. They latch on to fad diets that tell them to eat only meat, or only carbs, or whatever. We've been taught that nutrition scientists clearly know everything, and that it's healthier to join in on whatever diet is popular than to eat what our grandparents ate. Others simply try to eat less, but when you consume the same empty calories, your body hungers for nutrition, and your only response is to fill it with more and more empty calories.
Lizzebed wrote:That more and more people will demand healthy food, and that this demand will open the way for better distribution cheaper goods and leads to even more people having access to such foods. And of course also having acces to knowledge about how to maintain a healty diet.

I hope you're right, but the mass-produced, nutrition-free megafoods will always be cheaper than healthy foods. While the gap may narrow, it's up to the consumer to make smart decisions and to put more of their paychecks into healthy meals than bigger tvs.

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Re: Why we are fat

Postby duckshirt » Tue Jul 07, 2009 9:13 pm UTC

Lizzebed wrote:I don't find it very hard to choose between a burger from the mcdonalds or making my own burger with loads of fresh green stuff and real burgers which taste like cow instead of something undefinable. It's obvious, isn't it? At least when you are stille able to taste cow and freshness of food it is.

In Europe, McDonald's tends to taste a lot worse than it does here (or so I have heard). It's not as popular, and they don't get as high quality of meat, or something, if you're curious. Really, I think McDonald's tastes quite good, but I hardly ever eat it anymore.
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Re: Why we are fat

Postby zug » Tue Jul 07, 2009 9:21 pm UTC

Americans are also spending their income on healthcare fees that countries with socialized healthcare don't have to cope with, and I'm sure there are many more differences in income/outgo between cultures. I don't think it's a good idea to compare them.
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Re: Why we are fat

Postby Vaniver » Tue Jul 07, 2009 9:47 pm UTC

zug wrote:Americans are also spending their income on healthcare fees that countries with socialized healthcare don't have to cope with, and I'm sure there are many more differences in income/outgo between cultures. I don't think it's a good idea to compare them.
A few things:

American GDP per capita is $13,400 higher than the EU's GDP per capita; that's an increase of 40%. That we're incredibly richer will do a lot to change our food purchases as a proportion of income.

Socialized healthcare just means that instead of paying your doctor or your insurance company, you pay the government. Since private insurance overhead eats up a fairly small percentage of total healthcare costs, and countries with socialized healthcare (in theory) provide more health services, it seems unlikely that costs will be significantly lower because of the structural changes involved.
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Re: Why we are fat

Postby zug » Tue Jul 07, 2009 10:58 pm UTC

Vaniver wrote:
zug wrote:Americans are also spending their income on healthcare fees that countries with socialized healthcare don't have to cope with, and I'm sure there are many more differences in income/outgo between cultures. I don't think it's a good idea to compare them.
A few things:

American GDP per capita is $13,400 higher than the EU's GDP per capita; that's an increase of 40%. That we're incredibly richer will do a lot to change our food purchases as a proportion of income.

Socialized healthcare just means that instead of paying your doctor or your insurance company, you pay the government. Since private insurance overhead eats up a fairly small percentage of total healthcare costs, and countries with socialized healthcare (in theory) provide more health services, it seems unlikely that costs will be significantly lower because of the structural changes involved.
Without taking into account the disgustingly large portion of people/children who are employed (and considered too rich for medicare/caid) but don't have jobs that provide health insurance. Meaning they have no health coverage at all. Pretty common where I grew up, the in-betweeners who can't afford their own health care, work a couple part time jobs so can't get it through work, and can't get coverage for free.
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Re: Why we are fat

Postby Heisenberg » Wed Jul 08, 2009 3:58 pm UTC

Personally, I think the primary reason health care costs are so high in the US is that we are fat. And we are fat because we eat shit, too much of it, and we don't exercise. Of course, plenty of inefficiencies in our system contribute as well, but I think that Europeans are healthier not because of better care, but because they eat healthier diets, and have fewer incidences of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.

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Re: Why we are fat

Postby FoolishOwl » Thu Jul 09, 2009 4:44 pm UTC

Spacemilk wrote:
Kendo_Bunny wrote:Actually, last time I went shopping, the cheapest apples (disgusting, mealy Red Delicious) were $1.59 a lb. The much better tasting Granny Smith's were $1.79 a lb, while in the winter, they're usually $2+ a lb. So, yeah... our produce costs at least twice as much as yours does, even when in season.


I paid $2.89/lb for some average Galas the other day. :(

I keep wondering why people complain that organic foods are too expensive. From the sounds of it, I'm lucky enough to be in an area where organic produce is plentiful and relatively cheap. In San Francisco supermarkets, regular apples are $0.59/lb, organic apples are $0.79/lb.

One thing that I've been wondering about is the extent to which norms about body shape and composition have shifted, especially for men. I'm six feet tall and weigh about 142 pounds, which according to the BMI, is normal. (Yes, I know that the BMI is problematic.) My weight has been stable for over twenty years. Yet people frequently come up to me and remark that I look seriously underweight, that I'm not eating enough, and so on. Sometimes, people will tell me directly that I don't look "masculine" because I'm too thin.

I remember looking through some photos of crowds in the sixties, and noticing that compared to the people in that crowd, I looked about average, perhaps even heavier than average. I looked at more photos, and noticed that even police, soldiers, and athletes seemed to have builds more slender than those of most men I know.

So I suspect there's been a general trend towards an expectation of greater body mass.

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Re: Why we are fat

Postby dbh2ppa » Sat Jul 11, 2009 3:08 am UTC

don't you people ever get sick of blaming the system for every single problem instead of working to fix it?

i mean, it is not rocket science; except for people with medical problems, if you're fat it's because 1) your diet is incorrect and 2) you're not exercising enough.

yes, portions in restaurants may get bigger, and fat contents may get higher, and all sorts of addictive additives are being put into those foods, guess what... little known secret, you don't HAVE to eat that stuff, you can eat at home, search for other restaurants, or eat half/a third of a serving. you may speak about the effects of advertising and cravings and whatnot, but in the end you have the ability to choose, no one is putting a gun to your head and shoving a big mac down your throat.

i understand, of course that healthy food is (in some places) more expensive, but isn't this because people aren't buying healthy food, but are instead buying greasy un-food by the buckets (quite literally)? supply and demand anyone? if people stop eating at mcdonald's, guess what, mcdonald's and its evil-ly large portions and addictive cheese will disappear.

and yes, exercising in places with little to no open space (cities and the such) can be difficult or expensive, but that, again, is because no one is doing it. if people were going to the gym, gyms would become more common and eventually less expensive. if people were going to the parks to run, the parks would become safer and more common. simple as that.

(on the other hand, jumping the rope is great for cardio, and can be done even without a rope :P, weight training, at least in the early stages, can be accomplished without buying actual weights; stick a couple of heavy books in a backpack and do squats, hang full bags on the sides of a broomstick and use it to bench press, etc. search the web for some training programs, easily and freely available, and find a way to adapt them to what you have or can buy)

yes, society is at fault, and by society i mean every single person who sits and whines about being overweight and does nothing about it.

--- i am speaking from experience here. getting fit, even on a relatively tight budget, isn't all that difficult. all it takes is determination, stop looking for someone to place the blame on, and decide to change.
--- i am sorry if this post sounds confrontational, but i'm so sick of people making excuses for themselves, very elaborate sometimes i might add, instead of getting off their asses and doing things.
-----
please ignore the errors in the above post. i'm not currently fluent in english, mainly because it's not my mother tongue, but also because i'm sleepy... always.

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Re: Why we are fat

Postby Vaniver » Sat Jul 11, 2009 3:35 am UTC

A blog post somewhat along those lines. Keep in mind that "broke" means time as well as money- the author doesn't explain it well (which suggests they don't think along those lines), though they suggest it in a few places.
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Re: Why we are fat

Postby harpyblues » Sun Jul 12, 2009 4:36 pm UTC

FoolishOwl wrote:
Spacemilk wrote:
Kendo_Bunny wrote:Actually, last time I went shopping, the cheapest apples (disgusting, mealy Red Delicious) were $1.59 a lb. The much better tasting Granny Smith's were $1.79 a lb, while in the winter, they're usually $2+ a lb. So, yeah... our produce costs at least twice as much as yours does, even when in season.


I paid $2.89/lb for some average Galas the other day. :(

I keep wondering why people complain that organic foods are too expensive. From the sounds of it, I'm lucky enough to be in an area where organic produce is plentiful and relatively cheap. In San Francisco supermarkets, regular apples are $0.59/lb, organic apples are $0.79/lb.

One thing that I've been wondering about is the extent to which norms about body shape and composition have shifted, especially for men. I'm six feet tall and weigh about 142 pounds, which according to the BMI, is normal. (Yes, I know that the BMI is problematic.) My weight has been stable for over twenty years. Yet people frequently come up to me and remark that I look seriously underweight, that I'm not eating enough, and so on. Sometimes, people will tell me directly that I don't look "masculine" because I'm too thin.

I remember looking through some photos of crowds in the sixties, and noticing that compared to the people in that crowd, I looked about average, perhaps even heavier than average. I looked at more photos, and noticed that even police, soldiers, and athletes seemed to have builds more slender than those of most men I know.

So I suspect there's been a general trend towards an expectation of greater body mass.


Or maybe you really are too thin. 142 pounds for a 6foot person, especially a guy, is leaning towards underweight (even more so if we're talking like a really active, muscular male). I mean, I can't tell without a picture, but to some people that's pretty borderline eating disorder stuff. Either way, you could stand to not lose more weight.

Around here, organic food tends to be a lot more expensive. It depends on the area and the demand for it, but here it Illinois, it's not always very affordable. And for many people, the processed junk is all they can afford in terms of time and money (remember, anyone can eat at Mcdonald's, because it's so damn cheap). Not everyone can afford the significant markups of whole wheat bread or organic food, even if the difference if only fifty cents or so. I've had a teacher that was a single mom with three kids, and practically broke all the time so they couldn't afford the markups of organic food or other pricier basics. They had to stick with what they could get.
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Re: Why we are fat

Postby BlackSails » Mon Jul 13, 2009 3:21 am UTC

harpyblues wrote:Around here, organic food tends to be a lot more expensive. It depends on the area and the demand for it, but here it Illinois, it's not always very affordable. And for many people, the processed junk is all they can afford in terms of time and money (remember, anyone can eat at Mcdonald's, because it's so damn cheap). Not everyone can afford the significant markups of whole wheat bread or organic food, even if the difference if only fifty cents or so. I've had a teacher that was a single mom with three kids, and practically broke all the time so they couldn't afford the markups of organic food or other pricier basics. They had to stick with what they could get.



You dont need organic food. Non organic apples >>>> doritos.

Apples are on Freshdirect (which is more expensive than regular markets) for 86 cents each. That is less than the mcdonalds dollar menu.

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Re: Why we are fat

Postby zug » Mon Jul 13, 2009 9:59 pm UTC

dbh2ppa wrote:don't you people ever get sick of blaming the system for every single problem instead of working to fix it?

i mean, it is not rocket science; except for people with medical problems, if you're fat it's because 1) your diet is incorrect and 2) you're not exercising enough.

yes, portions in restaurants may get bigger, and fat contents may get higher, and all sorts of addictive additives are being put into those foods, guess what... little known secret, you don't HAVE to eat that stuff, you can eat at home, search for other restaurants, or eat half/a third of a serving. you may speak about the effects of advertising and cravings and whatnot, but in the end you have the ability to choose, no one is putting a gun to your head and shoving a big mac down your throat.

i understand, of course that healthy food is (in some places) more expensive, but isn't this because people aren't buying healthy food, but are instead buying greasy un-food by the buckets (quite literally)? supply and demand anyone? if people stop eating at mcdonald's, guess what, mcdonald's and its evil-ly large portions and addictive cheese will disappear.

and yes, exercising in places with little to no open space (cities and the such) can be difficult or expensive, but that, again, is because no one is doing it. if people were going to the gym, gyms would become more common and eventually less expensive. if people were going to the parks to run, the parks would become safer and more common. simple as that.

(on the other hand, jumping the rope is great for cardio, and can be done even without a rope :P, weight training, at least in the early stages, can be accomplished without buying actual weights; stick a couple of heavy books in a backpack and do squats, hang full bags on the sides of a broomstick and use it to bench press, etc. search the web for some training programs, easily and freely available, and find a way to adapt them to what you have or can buy)

yes, society is at fault, and by society i mean every single person who sits and whines about being overweight and does nothing about it.

--- i am speaking from experience here. getting fit, even on a relatively tight budget, isn't all that difficult. all it takes is determination, stop looking for someone to place the blame on, and decide to change.
--- i am sorry if this post sounds confrontational, but i'm so sick of people making excuses for themselves, very elaborate sometimes i might add, instead of getting off their asses and doing things.

err, what about the people who are content with being fat (or who just don't give a shit what other people think), or those who even prefer fatness to "normal" weight? Or the people, fat or thin, who don't think body size implies anything about personality?

Why does fat have to = wrong? We're back to thin privilege.
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Re: Why we are fat

Postby MrEmu » Mon Jul 13, 2009 10:45 pm UTC

zug wrote:Why does fat have to = wrong? We're back to thin privilege.

1.Fatness is unhealthy
2.Unhealthiness requires (well, at least it often results in) treatment
3.Treatment requires resources
3a.Treatment brings us back to a status quo
3b.Treatment does not produce anything
4.Thus treatment is an economic black hole
5.This is damaging to the economy
6.Damaging the economy is wrong
7.There are, to my knowledge, no benefits to fatness that counter this
8.Therefore fatness=wrong

edit: Think of the argument against socialized healthcare that cites smokers as a potential detriment. That loss still takes place, its just currently mostly privatized

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zug
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Re: Why we are fat

Postby zug » Mon Jul 13, 2009 11:47 pm UTC

MrEmu wrote:
zug wrote:Why does fat have to = wrong? We're back to thin privilege.

1.Fatness is unhealthy
2.Unhealthiness requires (well, at least it often results in) treatment
3.Treatment requires resources
3a.Treatment brings us back to a status quo
3b.Treatment does not produce anything
4.Thus treatment is an economic black hole
5.This is damaging to the economy
6.Damaging the economy is wrong
7.There are, to my knowledge, no benefits to fatness that counter this
8.Therefore fatness=wrong

edit: Think of the argument against socialized healthcare that cites smokers as a potential detriment. That loss still takes place, its just currently mostly privatized

So you're saying if the government doesn't have to subsidize a fat person's health care, it isn't problematic? I pay for my own health insurance, have for 11 months now, and the only time I ever used it was for an emergency trip to the hospital for a kidney stone. A problem which my 110 pound boss shares with my 250 pound self, and which to my knowledge is not something that weight exacerbates. It's a genetic thing (our grandpas had them, so we have them). Maybe in 50 years I'll have heart disease or glaucoma, which my grandma and great-grandma also had. But maybe in 50 years a skinny person will also contract heart disease if it runs in their family, like mine. It's impossible to say that being fat will cause heart disease when skinny people also get it, due to genetic dispositions.

Also, the benefits of fatness? Well, I don't know that fatness itself has any apparent benefits to someone who is prejudiced against fat people (like yourself). I do know there are some folks who are more or exclusively attracted to fat people. I myself have seen some fat people who physically look more attractive/sexy than when they were skinny/normal-sized, or former fat people who had more wonderful personalities when they used to be fat, and now are hideous to be around because all they do is worry all the time about every bite they stick in their mouths (anecdotal so take this at face value, but it's a perceived benefit to me, at least, and others could agree).

Most importantly, being fat shows that you have the societal and economic wherewithal not to starve to death (see: buddha statues et. al.). This is kind of a big deal, considering it's only in the last few hundred years that we've had enough food for overweightness to be a common feature.
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Re: Why we are fat

Postby dbh2ppa » Tue Jul 14, 2009 3:58 pm UTC

zug wrote:So you're saying if the government doesn't have to subsidize a fat person's health care, it isn't problematic? I pay for my own health insurance, have for 11 months now, and the only time I ever used it was for an emergency trip to the hospital for a kidney stone. A problem which my 110 pound boss shares with my 250 pound self, and which to my knowledge is not something that weight exacerbates. It's a genetic thing (our grandpas had them, so we have them). Maybe in 50 years I'll have heart disease or glaucoma, which my grandma and great-grandma also had. But maybe in 50 years a skinny person will also contract heart disease if it runs in their family, like mine. It's impossible to say that being fat will cause heart disease when skinny people also get it, due to genetic dispositions.


yes, thin people get sick too, in fact, very thin people (underweight) get sick a whole lot more. I don't think anyone is arguing for thinness, but for a healthy weight. It is known that fatness (meaning obesity, not being healthily overweight) causes several health issues. Among others: heart decease, type 2 diabetes, breathing difficulties during sleep, certain types of cancer and osteoarthritis.1
Perhaps it hasn't happened to you, but statistics seem to point towards that fact.
And I agree with MrEmu in this, fatness causes nothing but waste to the system (both in healthcare and in overproduction, which in turn causes a quicker depletion of natural resources). Argument applies also to smoking, alcohol... unnecessary, non-medical drugs usage in general.

zug wrote:Most importantly, being fat shows that you have the societal and economic wherewithal not to starve to death (see: buddha statues et. al.). This is kind of a big deal, considering it's only in the last few hundred years that we've had enough food for overweightness to be a common feature.


nonetheless, in today's world, being fit (and muscular, for males) means you're economically stable more than being overweight. That is to say, people with a lot of money tend to be more fit than those without, perhaps because they have access to a greater variety of foods, and dietary guidance, and personal trainers (or are, at least, able to go to a gym). Hell, if someone wants be look like buddha, mcdonald's and the such have relatively cheap packs of fat for sale.
(not that you need to have a lot of money to be fit, but that's what society seems to think at the moment).
-----
please ignore the errors in the above post. i'm not currently fluent in english, mainly because it's not my mother tongue, but also because i'm sleepy... always.

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Re: Why we are fat

Postby liveddog » Wed Jul 22, 2009 2:26 am UTC

Hi btilly,
I love your contributions to this discussion. You are logical and respectful in the way you present your point of view. I like the clarity you bring - it is refreshing. I will get a copy of the book!!

One question, in the light of the food industry's efforts to create an addictive relationship with food how then is counselling to proceed with individuals who have become addicted to the point of obesity?
Liveddog.

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Re: Why we are fat

Postby luke2 » Wed Jul 22, 2009 3:12 am UTC

liveddog:

I agree about btilly's posts. Refreshing.

It occurred to me that stimulant drugs have been 'abused' to moderate eating habits because of their appetite suppression. But considering the link between processed food and dopamine production, there might be more to it. I see there is promising (p=<0.01) research into this:

http://www.nature.com/oby/journal/v12/n ... 0429a.html
http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/content/abstract/86/2/308
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7375488

In particular, "MPH showed a trend toward reducing the reinforcing value of high-fat food relative to placebo".

It appears that lower doses are more effective than higher doses, which is definitely a good thing for overweight, since these drugs do have cardiovascular side effects.

If this treatment did become mainstream I can see Scientology and the popular media going crazy over it.

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Re: Why we are fat

Postby Kendo_Bunny » Wed Jul 22, 2009 4:08 pm UTC

MrEmu wrote:1.Fatness is unhealthy
2.Unhealthiness requires (well, at least it often results in) treatment
3.Treatment requires resources
3a.Treatment brings us back to a status quo
3b.Treatment does not produce anything
4.Thus treatment is an economic black hole
5.This is damaging to the economy
6.Damaging the economy is wrong
7.There are, to my knowledge, no benefits to fatness that counter this
8.Therefore fatness=wrong


You know... I have one slight health problem associated with my fatness (moderate joint pain). I have many severe health problems associated with my eating disorder, that I began partially based on constant beration about my (totally normal) weight. After all, I lost most of my immunities, may have lost my fertility (and being a fairly well-off, college-educated woman with a high IQ added to a natural desire to nuture children, this is bad), lost the proper function of several minor organs and required time and resource-consuming surgery, and am wasteful with food, as I either will not eat it and it spoils, or do eat it, and waste it purging. I've lost countless productive hours from my eating disorder.

As for the benefits of fatness:
http://www.voanews.com/english/archive/ ... -voa63.cfm

Also... I have to wonder, what do you deem to be "fat"? Is it based on the ridiculously flawed BMI scale? Body fat percentage? Clothing sizes? Your own personal preference? Are you one of those people who believes women should have flat stomachs (almost impossible for almost 90% of women), or do you just think a woman under 6 feet tall who does not lift weights should weigh less than 200 lbs? I am genuinely curious.

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Re: Why we are fat

Postby BlackSails » Wed Jul 22, 2009 4:26 pm UTC

Kendo_Bunny wrote:Also... I have to wonder, what do you deem to be "fat"? Is it based on the ridiculously flawed BMI scale? Body fat percentage? Clothing sizes? Your own personal preference? Are you one of those people who believes women should have flat stomachs (almost impossible for almost 90% of women), or do you just think a woman under 6 feet tall who does not lift weights should weigh less than 200 lbs? I am genuinely curious.


There is certainly a wide middle area, but there are also people who are very clearly "fat" and people who are not. There is some room for debate, but I would define a (not least) upper bound to being fat as needing two seats on an airplane.

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Re: Why we are fat

Postby Kendo_Bunny » Wed Jul 22, 2009 4:35 pm UTC

So then I'm not fat, because I don't need two seats on an airplane. I weigh 100 lbs. more than I want to, but I carry it mostly in the front, rather than on the sides. So an overweight woman whose weight is in her hips would be fatter than I am, even if she weighed less.

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Re: Why we are fat

Postby guenther » Wed Jul 22, 2009 5:32 pm UTC

The NPR show Science Friday did an interview with David Kessler. That's the author of the book mentioned by the original poster. I thought it was pretty interesting, and I'll probably pick up his and Pollan's book. (Here's an interview with Pollan.)
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

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Re: Why we are fat

Postby EMTP » Wed Jul 22, 2009 8:25 pm UTC

Medicine has put quite a bit of time and energy into investigating obesity. The results are interesting. Key points include:

1. >90% of persons who embark on a diet/exercise regime will regain all or almost all of the weight they lose in the first 6 month over the next few years

2. Most diet are equally (in)effective: Atkins, Ornish, Weight Watchers, South Beach et al. All of them work for a while and stop working. An exception is low fat diets, which are worse than average in achieving weight loss and/or improvements in lipids, diabetes markers, etc.

3. The only intervention found to produce sustained weight loss is weight loss surgery. Despite having some complications, weight loss surgery dramatically reduces the overall death rates of the morbidly obese. Death rates from complications from diabetes fall 90% following weight loss surgery.

4. It's a minor point, but I should mention, since it came up higher in the thread, that many conditions can cause obesity: Cushing's syndrome, hypothyroidism, hypopituitarism, etc.


So, what can we conclude from the science? Well, weight appears to have a set point, like blood pressure, and like blood pressure, it seems to drift upwards over time. It's not primarily a question of willpower: if >90% of the population fails lifestyle interventions, you are talking about a small subset of people with exceptional self-control (or more responsive metabolisms, or, and probably, and combination of the two). You can think about obesity as a problem of willpower in a sense -- in the sense that lung cancer is a problem of willpower, since much of it is attributable to the choice of smoking. Practically, though, it makes more sense to deal with it as a public health problem and, in the individual case, as a disease state.

Genetics plays a part in obesity. The fact that obesity rates have risen rapidly does not argue against this. Genetics interact with our social environment, and as that changes, genetic vulnerabilities that were previously invisible emerge.

For example, consider somebody with a genetic predisposition to alcoholism (we know there is a genetic element to alcoholism, because having a first-degree relative with alcoholism, even if you never meet them or having anything to do with them, is predictive of your risk of developing alcoholism.) Now ask yourself; what was happening to those genes before fermentation was invented? Answer: they were sitting there, doing nothing, until the social environment during a harmless genetic variation into the potential for addiction.

Similarly, consider Native Americans: the Pina Indians, for example, are running obesity rates in excess of 80%. They have a dramatic genetic vulnerability to obesity, which was once a genetic advantage in conserving scarce calories, until exposure to cheap food and sedentary lifestyles during their genetic edge into a deadly genetic disease.

I think most human populations resemble the Pina Indians, only our vulnerability is not quite as dramatic (indeed, obesity rates are rising worldwide as people adopt sedentary work habits and elements of the American diet). Social change over the past fifty years has left us with a society in which only a relatively small number of people have the genetic programming to maintain a health weight. The rest of us are fighting, mostly unsuccessfully, a genetic program that interacts with cheap calories and physically passive methods of transportation, employment, and entertainment.
"Reasonable – that is, human – men will always be capable of compromise, but men who have dehumanized themselves by becoming the blind worshipers of an idea or an ideal are fanatics whose devotion to abstractions makes them the enemies of life."
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Re: Why we are fat

Postby BlackSails » Wed Jul 22, 2009 9:39 pm UTC

Kendo_Bunny wrote:So then I'm not fat, because I don't need two seats on an airplane. I weigh 100 lbs. more than I want to, but I carry it mostly in the front, rather than on the sides. So an overweight woman whose weight is in her hips would be fatter than I am, even if she weighed less.


Oh, that was a not very tight least upper bound. There are certainly tighter least upper bounds.


Edit: That is, if you need two seats on a plane, you are fat. If you dont need 2 seats on a plane you may or may not be fat.

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Re: Why we are fat

Postby zug » Wed Jul 22, 2009 9:46 pm UTC

BlackSails wrote:
Kendo_Bunny wrote:So then I'm not fat, because I don't need two seats on an airplane. I weigh 100 lbs. more than I want to, but I carry it mostly in the front, rather than on the sides. So an overweight woman whose weight is in her hips would be fatter than I am, even if she weighed less.


Oh, that was a not very tight least upper bound. There are certainly tighter least upper bounds.


Edit: That is, if you need two seats on a plane, you are fat. If you dont need 2 seats on a plane you may or may not be fat.

Fortunately, we fatties aren't plagued by the need to ask you whether you think we're fat or not.
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Re: Why we are fat

Postby inhahe » Thu Jul 23, 2009 3:21 am UTC

I think that obesity is most closely related to lack of fulfillment. People who are living fulfilled lives aren't as inclined to turn to food for fulfillment and entertainment. A general tendency toward lack of fulfillment is a product of culture. It's the same reason so many people in America are depressed and on anti-depressants. What is it about our culture, and why, that makes us so unfulfilled? I don't know. I could point to a lot of things, but they're all present in other cultures, and they also beg the question of why *those* characteristics are in place.

Sometimes I wonder if America is a sort of 'lost' culture because everyone but the (oppressed, and minor in numbers) native Americans is descended from immigrants from various other countries, within 400 years or less. There is no continuity of heritage on the national scale, and hence no continuity of culture. All values, tradition and wisdom developed on a cultural scale (sort of the national analogue to personal growth) are lost. This probably has good aspects to it as well as bad, but I'm focusing on the bad. I suppose it's not completely true, because the country had been basically Christian and puritan for a long time. But that glue is being undone (thank God) a lot more lately than ever; and that, in itself, helps answer the question of why we're getting fatter. I mean that it's about time we shed our Xian and puritanical roots, but in doing so there's always going to be growing pains. I.e., where do we go from here? Many, many people are turning to science, and its accompanying skepticism, for the answers, and this paradigm is perhaps even more spiritually void than organized religion. Although perhaps it's not so much that, but the lack of a strong psychosocial fabric that can only be developed over hundreds -- or in the case of Japan and China, thousands -- of years.

Another aspect to our spiritual void is capitalism and its resultant consumerism, media characteristics and work force, but I won't rant too much about that here.

Other aspects, which might actually get more into answering specifically why the statistics of obesity exploded in recent years, have to do with what foods we have available. For example, so many years ago companies discovered that they could replace pure sugar with high-fructose corn syrup which is cheaper, and now virtually every sugary drink has it. IIRC there is some suggestive evidence that high-fructose corn syrup makes you fatter than sugar -- if only a correlation between rising obesity rates and its original adoption by the food industry.

Another factor could be the recent proliferation of artificial sweeteners. Studies have shown that artificial sweeteners don't actually make you thinner - they make you fatter. And everyone who's already concerned about their weight now uses artificial sweeteners. One speculated reason that it makes you fatter is that people who drink diet soda feel that since they've done something good for themselves like that it gives them i license to pig out a bit more on other, clearly unhealthy stuff, which apparently they then overdo. Another possible reason is that artificial sweeteners confuse the area of the brain that's aware of sugar intake and moderates fat storage, causing the body to store more fat. I think the studies done were on rats, so the second answer seems more plausible to me. This isn't even the worse thing about artificial sweeteners, though, just fyi. Look up a documentary called 'Aspertame - Sweet Misery, a Poisoned World'. Recently I saw something suggesting that Sucralose isn't much better.

Another possible reason is partially hydrogenated oils, which again, companies started to use because it's cheaper. Allegedly they technically fit the bill of being poison, and in the long run will make you fat, and not only that but will kill you.

Another possible factor is plastic. Obviously -- at least to anyone who's gen-x like me, more and more things have started to be made out of plastic in the past few years. It's like nothing is actually made out of real stuff anymore -- it's all plastic. (why? again because it's cheaper.) This includes drinking containers, plasticware and all sorts of things that will eventually be ingested in small proportions. Basically everyone, without exception, in the modern age in this culture has some resident plastic in their bodies and always will have it. This plastic can emulate the hormone estrogen and cause people to gain weight.

So any or all of the above things (including overeating), and perhaps more, can be parts of the cause.. cultural and food industry factors may be combined.

Ultimately I think it's karma. We're fat because that's physically reflects our nature as fat, ignorant, lazy Americans who think the world revolves around us.

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Re: Why we are fat

Postby Kendo_Bunny » Thu Jul 23, 2009 3:55 pm UTC

Wow, ihahe, could you generalize more, please?

Please ignore the new user spamming the entire 1st page of SB seemingly without reading more that the OP of any thread. -Az


Some points: This country was by and large much thinner and before the government stepped in to regulate capitalism (excluding the FDA - this is more modern). Actually, the weight explosion can be correlated to two major non-capitalistic things: government intervention into tobacco (tobacco is a natural appetite suppressant) and government intervention into acceptable weight scales. After all, thanks to the good ole government, the acceptable BMI for both men and women is a flat 25, because women can't possibly carry more body fat than men.

Christian =/= Puritan. Yes, America has puritan roots that heavily influenced early American lives (even back then, Boston thought they ran the country). But this country's Christian roots are not all Puritan - we had a lot of different strains who believed different things, and still do... and not all of them were rooted in Calvinist guilt.

Plastic is a real thing. You can still get metal water bottles, but those tend to leech flavor into the water, which is why they aren't as popular. You can get water bottles that are BPA-free, as well as food containers if you're worried about it. But you know the best reason for using plastic food containers? They work best at preserving freshness.

Also, how exactly did the stereotype of Americans become lazy when we work longer hours than any country in the world, except Japan, take fewer vacations than any other industrialized country in the world, and take less personal time? I'd say Americans aren't lazy at all, but overworked and overstressed. Note that this does not include American schoolchildren, because again our so-wise government decided to dumb the schools down to the point that every single child is "academically exceptional". Maybe that's why so many people gain weight when they leave school: the load of stress from being the most underworked schoolchild in the industrialized world to being the second most overworked worker in the industrialized world.


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