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Food Industry Mulls Dropping Obesity-Linked Trans Fats

By greenrd in News
Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 05:48:41 AM EST
Tags: Food (all tags)
Food

It has long been thought that to avoid obesity and heart disease, the important kind of fat to watch out for is saturated fat (which mostly comes from animal sources)1. Hence the split in nutrition information labels between saturated fats ("bad") and polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats ("good"). However, over the last decade or so, scientific evidence has been mounting that a different category of fat - consumed in far greater quantities today than in past centuries due to changes in mass food preparation - is actually just as dangerous, if not more dangerous than, saturated fats. Trans fats have been fingered as a major culprit in America's bourgeoning obesity problem, in increasing the risk of heart disease - and they are possibly also a factor behind childhood allergies, asthma, and other conditions.


The industrial food production industry is beginning to wake up to the problems of trans fats - which crop up in significant quantities in a very wide variety of foods including hard margarine, crackers, chocolate bars, cereals, baked goods and more. Fortunately, high levels of trans fats are not an inevitability in the production of these foods. However, some companies have yet to take any action publicly.

Last week, Kraft Foods announced it would be taking the major step of reformulating many of its products to address concerns with trans fats, a process which is expected to take 3 years. Nestle, Cadbury Schweppes, and Kellogg are also planning or investigating removing trans fats from (some of) their foods, and other producers are expected to follow suit.

However, as of right now, it is difficult for consumers to ascertain which foods contain high levels of trans fats, because they do not normally appear on the labelling. This situation is set to change with new labelling regulations in Canada (coming into force in 2006), in the US (no date set) - and presumably the EU will not be far behind. Out of the North American and EU nations, Denmark has gone one step further and has set a statutory maximum on the quantity of trans fats a food may contain.

For now, as a heuristic, nutritionists are recommending that consumers try to avoid foods with "hydrogenated vegetable oil", "partially hydrogenated oil", or similar, listed in the ingredients. Hydrogenation is a process of adding hydrogen to an oil or fat at high temperatures, which yields oils that last longer than the original without denaturing.

Hydrogenation also occurs in nature (contrary to the claims of some websites which falsely assert that trans fats are "not found in nature"), in bacteria in the gut of ruminants. Hence, for example, butter - far from being a squeaky clean alternative to hard margarine - actually contains both saturated fats and trans fats (constituting about 3% of the fatty acids).

Deep fat fryers in restaurants and fast food outlets also typically use hydrogenated vegetable oil, because of cost - it lasts longer and does not need an oil change as often. Another reason to cut down on fast food!

But if hydrogenated oils are so cheap, why are companies suddenly deciding to switch, at this point in time? At least three factors may have contributed to this sea change:

  • Scientists and advocacy groups kicking up a fuss about the risks of trans fats, raising public awareness.

  • Coupled with the new labelling regulations (prompted by the former), this creates a potential competitive advantage in the marketplace for enlightened producers, with savvy consumers looking to take advantage of an easy, "brand-switch" approach to healthier eating for them and their children. However, this potential was not enough to effect change by itself - as the Toronto Star article notes, scientists tried to persaude companies for years, but it took government intervention in the form of labelling regulations to tip market forces in a direction which may end up saving many lives. Consequently, many lives will have likely been needlessly cut short due to the industry dragging its feet.

  • The third motivation for the companies to act was the threat of litigation. An example of this was a recent lawsuit by an anti-hydrogenation activist lawyer - representing himself - against the maker of Oreos (which happens to be... Kraft Foods). Although it did not ask for damages, and was later dropped, it served as a wake-up call of sorts. California law (under which the Oreos suit was filed) allows plaintiffs to sue producers over problems that the producer knew about, but which the general public would not have known about at the time. This is useful because it provides a legal "hook" for a case to cite, but it seems that even in places without such a law, tobacco litigation would provide precedent for suing corporations who knew about a health risk but covered it up.

    A recent report from the financial giant J. P. Morgan warned of a flood of litigation:

    Kraft's decision followed warnings by investment dealer J.P. Morgan in April that the rise in obesity among Americans could lead to government intervention, and that the risk of lawsuits against food companies "should not be underestimated."

    [...]

    "We believe one thing is certain: Well-capitalized law firms with a wealth of experience in tort action lawsuits ... will continue to target the deep pockets of food companies," said the J.P. Morgan report by Europe-based analyst Arnaud Langlois.

    On this front, Kraft should be well-informed. Its parent company owns tobacco giant Philip Morris International.

    The J.P. Morgan report also concluded, "We think obesity concerns create a growth opportunity for players focused on healthy segments of the industry." And it said even a losing lawsuit could be enough to tarnish a company's reputation and hurt its stock price.

With Kraft et. al's moves in the right direction, and these kind of statements flying around from those who have a vested interest in not scaremongering and not attracting lawsuits to their investment holdings, weight is lent to the activists who argue that the fight to reduce the use of hydrogenation could have the same order of magnitude importance for public health as the fight against the tobacco industry.

However, not all would agree with that claim. Some dieticians argue that the new focus on trans fats is in danger of obscuring the very significant risks of saturated fats, which are also linked to heart disease. In particular, a proposed FDA labelling regulation that would warn consumers that there is no safe, recommended level of trans fats (rather than inventing a scientifically bogus "recommended amount" out of thin air). Putting, in effect, a tobacco-style "government health warning" about trans fats onto foods but remaining silent about saturated fats, they argue, might confuse consumers into thinking a food low in trans fats was automatically better than another food which was slightly higher in trans fats. This would be fallacious reasoning - but since the public are typically very poor judges of risk from a scientific point of view - worrying about rail disasters even though statistically railroad journeys are safer than car journeys, for example - they may have a point.

----

1 Vigorous exercise, however, can offset the impact of saturated fats, by burning some of them up. The situation is not so simple for trans fats, which the human body seems to be evolutionarily ill-equipped to process. (Indeed, this is the reason why trans fats are thought to interfere with and degrade a number of important physiological processes).

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o reformulat ing many of its products
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o 3% of the fatty acids
o advocacy groups
o Toronto Star article
o warned of a flood of litigation
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o Also by greenrd


Display: Sort:
Food Industry Mulls Dropping Obesity-Linked Trans Fats | 229 comments (204 topical, 25 editorial, 0 hidden)
I can't comment on this at all. (1.12 / 8) (#9)
by debacle on Sun Jul 06, 2003 at 10:54:26 PM EST

And I mean it. I can't say "no, bad article" or "woo, I care" but I will vote it up, even if it's not ballet for men or whatever, it's extremely well written.

It tastes sweet.
Food is not the issue - lifestyle is (3.69 / 13) (#12)
by smallstepforman on Sun Jul 06, 2003 at 11:03:22 PM EST

I'm getting tired of listening to the daily entourage of 'xx is good, yy is bad'. The biggest cause of obesity, high blood pressure, heart problems etc is lifestyle. Change your daily routine, do more exercise, eat less, and you'll be healthy, fit, good looking, and be happier too. But here's the kicker - it requires you to get off your fat lazy arse. And in todays 'instant gratification' society, I guess that that is the biggest problem.

Alternatively, you can try falling in love. Now that is the best way to quickly change your lifestyle.

You're damned right! (3.00 / 5) (#26)
by debacle on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 12:44:21 AM EST

After a six hour "walk" in the woods with my girlfriend this afternoon, I think I've shed at least a pound from sweating my arse off.

Lifestyle and sex for all! (Just make sure you're sticking it to the opposite sex. I'm not advocation godless libertarian orgies here.)

It tastes sweet.
[ Parent ]

Advoca...yeah. (none / 0) (#28)
by debacle on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 12:45:14 AM EST



It tastes sweet.
[ Parent ]
Right on (none / 0) (#65)
by smallstepforman on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 06:54:47 AM EST

Right on man. Do everything in moderation, eat healthy, exercise, lead an active love life, and you'll live 90 years easy. There is no silver bullet. Good luck with the lady.

[ Parent ]
Even though you have sex, (5.00 / 2) (#77)
by Kax on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 09:16:06 AM EST

and might actually convince yourself that she's 'hot', you're still a big dork.

[ Parent ]
Pwha? (none / 0) (#98)
by codepoet on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 11:26:48 AM EST

What's this talk of avocados and gawdy librarian orgies?

-- The cynical can often see the sinister aspect of a cup of coffee if given enough time.
[ Parent ]
sweat... (none / 0) (#167)
by /dev/trash on Wed Jul 09, 2003 at 05:53:36 PM EST

While all tha excerise is good, losing a pound of water is not really losing weight.

---
Updated 6/29/2003
Summer Tour!
[ Parent ]
Stick it to the man. (none / 0) (#203)
by caca phony on Thu Jul 10, 2003 at 10:56:54 PM EST

Just make sure you're sticking it to the opposite sex.
So you advocate strapons for all women? But, seriously, just stick it to whoever you find mutual pleasure in sticking it to or getting stuck by, or hey, some people prefer licking or cuddling or spanking to sticking anyway, why make a big deal about it? It is the wide ranges of our sexual expressions that makes us uniquely human (well, that and tv).

[ Parent ]
Not always so easy... (4.70 / 10) (#29)
by Hatamoto on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 12:46:54 AM EST

... take me, for instance. Or at least, the me I was around 50lbs ago.

I wasn't what you'd call High Risk... I don't drink, smoke or ingest any of the more entertaining pharmaceuticals. However, due to my working in the IT industry, I ended up getting into that all-too-familiar cycle of 16 hour workdays, nonstop sugar/fat/salt mucnhies being passed into my belly to give my brain that all-important glucose hit needed to get around a particularly knoted logic problem, debug an annoyingly obscure bug, or whatever. In the back of my head there was always a nagging feeling that I should go to the gym, work off the 'freshman 50' I had, generally be healthier and back to the way I was when a teenager.

Around my 30th birthday I had some health problems that gave me a wakeup call. I started eating better and, when I was ready, started with some low impact aerobics and weights. I definately feel a lot healthier now, and I'm glad I did it.

Problem is, when I was working 12-16 hour days basically every day, the last thing I wanted to do was go work out, or go through the ordeal of preparing a decent meal and then cleaning up after. My lifestyle was so much more easily integrated into fast food and generally sitting around letting my brain cool down at the end of a long day (assuming it wasn't 6am and I'd just plain ol' pass out). In fact, work ethic nowadays being what it is, I'd sometimes feel GUILTY for not working long enough to lift for a half hour, or prepare an actual meal.

I also found out it's MUCH MUCH CHEAPER to eat crap. For example, you can buy a can of coke for around 55c at the local superstore, but a bottle of OJ the same size will run you a dollar or more. Ground chicken or turkey is substantially more expensive than ground beef (along with thier non-ground counterparts). It's no surprise that the fastest growing sector of the populationg with morbid obesity is the poorest sector.

So in the end, I definately agree that excercise is a Very Good Thing(tm) and I highly recommend it to everyone. I also think that government regulation has a place in order to minimize the negative effects of food on the people who may be the least able to decide what and how to eat. The role of government is, after all, to look out for the well being of its constituents (be it by building roads, maintaining an army, or protecting us from evil crap in foods)..

--
"Innocence is no defense." - Federal District Judge William H. Yohn (People v. Mumia Abu-Jamal)
[ Parent ]

Yeah (3.33 / 6) (#32)
by Hymen Restoration Surgery on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 12:54:50 AM EST

The role of government is, after all, to look out for the well being of its constituents (be it by building roads, maintaining an army, or protecting us from evil crap in foods)..

Wiping our asses, teaching us to fuck, bailing out our businessmen, ridding the world of vindictive darkies... Government rules! Seriously.



--
H.R.S.
[ Parent ]
Cheap Food (4.50 / 2) (#41)
by feline on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 02:01:53 AM EST

I also found out it's MUCH MUCH CHEAPER to eat crap. For example, you can buy a can of coke for around 55c at the local superstore, but a bottle of OJ the same size will run you a dollar or more.

If one has a house to store food in, why would he buy a single can of coke rather than a 24 can case for savings. Likewise, why wouldn't he buy a gallon of OJ? If he did, he'd find that a case of coke might cost 5 bucks while a gallon of orange juice costs $3.50, especcially the store brand which is certainly in comparable quality to the majors and tastes practically the same.

It's no surprise that the fastest growing sector of the populationg with morbid obesity is the poorest sector.

The assertion that the poorest sector of the public is the part with more members growing obese is poor reasoning. I suggest you go to a fast food restauraunt or walk around a shopping mall in an affulent suburban edge city. You'll find that those shopping at Nordstroms or Dillards do in fact have among them obese.

In reality, people that are obese that are so because they buy the fifty-five can of coke rather than the more expensive 12 ounce can of orange juice suffer not from small pocketbooks, but from ignorance...or laziness in the case of fast food.

[ Parent ]

CheapER food, and relative availability (5.00 / 1) (#107)
by Hatamoto on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 12:36:52 PM EST

If one has a house to store food in, why would he buy a single can of coke rather than a 24 can case for savings. Likewise, why wouldn't he buy a gallon of OJ? If he did, he'd find that a case of coke might cost 5 bucks while a gallon of orange juice costs $3.50, especcially the store brand which is certainly in comparable quality to the majors and tastes practically the same.

$3.49 for 64fl.oz of Tropicana OJ
$0.50 for 12fl.oz of Pepsi (which owns tropicana) = $2.75, minus 25c when you return the can

You might be able to get cheaper, no-name OJ, you can also get cheaper no-name colas.

Availability is another factor. Coke machines are *everywhere*. Hospitals, schools, street corners, you name it. Soda's market penetration is vastly superior to that of any juice. Hell, Coke alone probably sells more bulk of thier product than all fruit juices combined.

The assertion that the poorest sector of the public is the part with more members growing obese is poor reasoning. I suggest you go to a fast food restauraunt or walk around a shopping mall in an affulent suburban edge city. You'll find that those shopping at Nordstroms or Dillards do in fact have among them obese.

Yes, rich people are fat too. What I said, if you read carefully, is that the poorest sectors are the ones growing obese the fastest, not that only poor people are fat.

I also find it highly dubious that ignorance is a factor in chosing pop over juice. Find me one person, anywhere, who claims that coke is healthier than OJ. Simple fact is, when you're living on a tight budget, it's cheaper to buy that half-sack of coke (which is also more portable, lasts longer, and easier to store) than a big ol' gallon of juice. At one point I had to regularly make that INFORMED choice of hamburger vs ground chicken, pop vs juice, 50c ramen cups vs whole wheat fusili...

--
"Innocence is no defense." - Federal District Judge William H. Yohn (People v. Mumia Abu-Jamal)
[ Parent ]

Cheap Food and Excuses (2.00 / 1) (#130)
by feline on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 02:44:24 PM EST

I concede that orange juice in most cases is more expensive than soda.

However, I heard a scary story watching a television talk show. Appearing on the show were several extremely obese children, some at 200 pounds at four years-old along with their parents who didn't seem to understand where they went wrong, or at least felt they had good reason to not feel so responsible for it.

Many of them are single parents, all women that didn't have very much time or money to devote to the kids, due to double low-paying jobs. They saw that one could get a big hamburger at McDonald's for $1.99, but a grilled chicken sandwhich at Boston Market cost $4.36. They decided that the $1.99 was a better option because it was cheaper, and because it filled the kids up -- made them feel good inside. These parents used the food a sort of good-feeling inducing drug, rather than a sustainer.

A food expert in the temporary employ of the show illustrated to the parents that the best option is good, home cooked food, which is defintely cheaper than any restauraunt. Additionally, since these Trans Fats arise from the hydrogenation process not employed when one makes the food himself, there is less risk of those acids.

Therefore, I think the excuse of expense -- with the exception of healthy drinks versus sodas -- is bogus.

[ Parent ]

You're contradicting yourself. (4.66 / 3) (#133)
by la princesa on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 03:35:52 PM EST

What time do these single mothers with 2 and 3 jobs have to prepare that supposedly cheaper home cooked food?  Time is worth money, and it's often still a luxury for people with jobs that pay more than six bucks an hour.  Overall, crappy fattening food is usually on sale or special in any grocery store, even at gas stations (one gas station near me recently offered sixpacks of cola for a dollar, but their 20oz bottles of juice ran a dollar apiece.)

The problem isn't lazy horrible poor people who just can't be bothered to cook; these women are working far more than almost any user of this site, after all.  The problem is an economy that relies on women like these to function, refusing to provide them enough income with one job to allow them time to cook cheap and healthful meals.  

___
<qpt> Disprove people? <qpt> What happens when you disprove them? Do they disappear in a flash of logic?
[ Parent ]

Irresponsible (4.00 / 1) (#157)
by potsi on Wed Jul 09, 2003 at 01:53:00 PM EST

Or the problem could be that they had children when the could not afford to support them.

[ Parent ]
Yes, well, when you have a social (none / 0) (#172)
by la princesa on Wed Jul 09, 2003 at 08:56:15 PM EST

structure that refuses to admit bearing children and raising them should probably be separate things for most people, it's to be expected that most parents will bear kids they aren't so good at raising.  This applies to the well-off, in some ways more so, because their ill-raised children grow up to maintain policies that render it useful to have children even while one is in utter poverty.  Nobody wants to do the dirty work of assigning child-rearing to those with a natural skill for it (both males and females can have aptitude for it, in roughly equal numbers, no less), and nobody wants to equally educate all ethnic groups so that people have a minimal number of children period.  Although it is worth noting that people in general are having fewer kids, with even third worlders averaging maybe 3 kids per family and the typical American single mom you lambast averaging 1 child, 2 children tops.  A lot of people dislike those darn icky facts getting in the way of picking on hardworking poor people.  

___
<qpt> Disprove people? <qpt> What happens when you disprove them? Do they disappear in a flash of logic?
[ Parent ]
Not quite what I said... (none / 0) (#198)
by potsi on Thu Jul 10, 2003 at 01:54:49 PM EST

Saying people should be able to afford to support their kids is quite different than advocating a seperate child-raising system.

The typical American single mom is not working 2 or 3 jobs to support her 1 or 2 children as you suggest.

You jump from giving facts about a typical single mom to defending the hardworking poor people. Why? Are single mother's prone to be poor? Are there not as many white color single moms as there are minimum wage single moms? If they are not prone to be poor, why do you suggest they are. And if they are, why is that so?

[ Parent ]

Yes, she is. (none / 0) (#206)
by la princesa on Fri Jul 11, 2003 at 01:14:35 AM EST

The average single mother originally referenced in the parent comment is doing precisely what I said.  Most two-job people are single mothers or students, or both.  When you consider most 4 person families in america make less than 25 thousand dollars per year, one begins to see the reason why single mothers tend to work more than most.  Single mothers overall are more likely to be poverty line or near it, with black single mothers VERY likely to be such.  

___
<qpt> Disprove people? <qpt> What happens when you disprove them? Do they disappear in a flash of logic?
[ Parent ]
role of government (3.50 / 8) (#49)
by krkrbt on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 02:50:08 AM EST

The role of government is, after all, to look out for the well being of its constituents (be it by building roads, maintaining an army, or protecting us from evil crap in foods)..

I think it's much more accurate to say that the role of government is to collect taxes.  Everything else that a government does is done to justify the collection of tax.

This is because of the origin of most (almost all) the world's governments.  In the beginning there were people living peacefully together, and there were bandits who swooped into town to plunder & steal from the villagers.  Eventually the bandits got tired of swooping into town, so they moved in to stay.  They conscripted villagers to build them nice houses ("castles"), conscripted armies to plunder neighboring villages, and instituted "taxes" to plunder the villagers' wealth.  And then one day someone said, "hey - if we do Yyyy, we can convince them that paying tax is for their own good..."  Nevermind that Yyyy could and was already done by someone else - the bandits now has a monopoly on providing that service...

America used to be different.  Now there is no difference - the government is composed of little more than bandits living off the productivity of the people.  In the 1820's or so there were some 6,000 federal employees - and Tomas Jefferson thought that was far too many.  Today there are some 3,000,000+...

I got this info courtesy of Richard J. Maybury's "Uncle Eric" book series - wonderfully written things, I highly recommend them.

[ Parent ]

Heh, okay... (none / 0) (#101)
by Hatamoto on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 12:11:56 PM EST

... the IDEAL role of government is to provide for the common needs of its populace. The de facto purpose of the government is to snatch our hard earn coin and do a little song and dance to try to make us feel good about us losing that money.

--
"Innocence is no defense." - Federal District Judge William H. Yohn (People v. Mumia Abu-Jamal)
[ Parent ]
alternative prehistory (none / 0) (#204)
by caca phony on Thu Jul 10, 2003 at 11:37:54 PM EST

This is because of the origin of most (almost all) the world's governments. In the beginning there were people living peacefully together, and there were bandits who swooped into town to plunder & steal from the villagers. Eventually the bandits got tired of swooping into town, so they moved in to stay. They conscripted villagers to build them nice houses ("castles"), conscripted armies to plunder neighboring villages, and instituted "taxes" to plunder the villagers' wealth. And then one day someone said, "hey - if we do Yyyy, we can convince them that paying tax is for their own good..." Nevermind that Yyyy could and was already done by someone else - the bandits now has a monopoly on providing that service...
Here is the most reasonable prehistory I have heard:

1) Hunter gatherers wander the land gathering food and hunting as they find it, occasional conflicts may arise when two groups wander to the same lands, these are resolved usually by one group or the other clearing out before things got too ugly

2) Someone realizes they can plant a seed and that will make the same plant type come up again.

3) When someone wanders to the place where the seeds got planted, and gathers the fruits of those seeds, the one who planted the seed feels cheated.

4) People find it worth their time to stick around where they plant their seeds and use systematic physical force to keep everybody not part of their tribal group away, this causes an intensification of agricultural activities because a smaller space of land is required to feed a larger population.

5) Those who settle crowd the hunter/gatherers out of the most fertile and productive lands (which are of course the most desirable). The meme of warfare for territory and standing armies begins to spread, and with standing armies comes the need to manage and support that army.

6) Taxes, laws, nation-states, etc. are developed for facilitating the creation and maintanance of standing armies with which to hold on to ones prime agricultural territory- those who do not have standing armies and taxes to support them starve, or get killed by those who do have armies, or taxes to support their armies.

7) With very few exceptions, all persons outside of geographic barriers that stop the warfare meme's spread become members of nations that are defended by armies that are supported by the collection of taxes. Any resistors to warfare or armies or taxes were long ago starved or killed or assimilated, or are a minority (in terms of power, regardless of membership) political movement.

[ Parent ]

Not true (5.00 / 5) (#38)
by dn on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 01:23:13 AM EST

I'm getting tired of listening to the daily entourage of 'xx is good, yy is bad'. The biggest cause of obesity, high blood pressure, heart problems etc is lifestyle.
A recent major study of the "Mediterranean diet" found a 50% reduction in overall mortality by eating a certain way. That's gigantic.
Change your daily routine, do more exercise, eat less, and you'll be healthy, fit, good looking, and be happier too.
A skinny, muscular person who eats a high proportion of trans fats and a low proportion of essential fatty acids will suffer for it.

And yes, I know that exercise and weight moderation have strong benefits too. But neither are they the only or best metabolic improvement.

    I ♥
TOXIC
WASTE

[ Parent ]

50% less mortality? (none / 0) (#158)
by MorePower on Wed Jul 09, 2003 at 02:08:37 PM EST


A recent major study of the "Mediterranean diet" found a 50% reduction in overall mortality by eating a certain way.

WOW, so eating this "Mediterranean diet" makes half of the people immortal! Sign me up!



[ Parent ]
There are in fact foods that are bad for you (4.75 / 4) (#50)
by 90X Double Side on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 02:52:01 AM EST

I'm getting tired of listening to the daily entourage of 'xx is good, yy is bad'.  The biggest cause of obesity, high blood pressure, heart problems etc is lifestyle.

I can see this comment being relevant to talking about diet xx vs yy or the latest study showing a correlation between eating some random food and a small decrease in some disease, but how the hell can you say that trans-fats haven't been completely proven to give you coronary artery disease and gain more wieght? Would you also say that it's BS to tell people that saturated fat is worse for you than monounstaturated fat? Would you also say it's BS to tell people with high blood pressure that sodium is bad for them or to tell people with diabetes to monitor their blood-sugar?

While lifestyle is huge factor in blood-pressure or diabetes, it would be rediculous to ignore the fact that there is a direct relationship between sodium and sugar and those diseases, and it is likewise rediculous to ignore the direct relationship between trans-fats and saturated fats and heart disease (which is the disease that you will probably die of if you are male, so this is rather important).

Going on a diet where you work out more but eat foods containing trans-fats is going to result in you losing less weight and being at drastically higher risk to die of heart disease, period. Exercise is only half of the health equation: you must also eat the right amount of the right foods; The person who excercises but eats trans-fats will be healthier than the person who doesn't exercise but eats trans-fats, but both will be more likely to have heart problems and lose less weight than someone who exercises and eats a diet free of trans-fats.

“Reality is just a convenient measure of complexity”
—Alvy Ray Smith
[ Parent ]

Guns don't kill, people do! (nt) (none / 0) (#100)
by splitpeasoup on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 12:11:49 PM EST


"Be the change you wish to see in the world." - Gandhi
[ Parent ]

Especially in Russian Roulette (none / 0) (#117)
by RyoCokey on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 01:10:25 PM EST

Seriously, it's not like someone pulled you into an alley and forced 8 cheesburgers down your throat.



"During election times, we tend to lose our grandmothers, grandfathers and young children. They just disappear. But I want to warn you all that you should
[ Parent ]
it may be genetic... (4.33 / 3) (#134)
by coderlemming on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 04:10:25 PM EST

Take me for example.  I've been thin for most of my life.  I mean, rail thin.  145lbs and 6 feet tall; I look like a freaking toothpick.  No matter what I eat or how much of it I eat, I don't gain a pound.  I don't really exercise that much (though I walk to school), and I've definitely gone through whole summers of doing nothing and eating junk food without gaining anything.  Most of my high school years were spent sitting in front of a computer teaching myself to program.  I'm pretty convinced that my metabolism is permanently higher than most peoples' and that I'll be skinny no matter what I eat.

My point is, if I can eat junk food, not count calories, and not really worry about exercising and still hover shy of the "healthy" weight, there's probably something about me that transcends my lifestyle.  Perhaps some people are more likely to stay thin than others.  In earlier cultures (say, hundreds of years ago), everyone was involved in more hands-on labor and they more often walked to get places, so there wasn't much of an obesity problem.  Now, since standard eating involves lots of things that really just aren't good for us and we use our cars to get everywhere, perhaps people who have certain body and metabolism characteristics are more likely to get fat.  Given two people eating the same amount of unhealthy food and driving their cars everywhere, perhaps one is more likely to pack on the pounds.  Of course, I am not a doctor, so this is just a guess.

Now, don't get me wrong.  I am not looking to make genetics an excuse for obesity.  I just think that it may very well be difficult for people with certain body types to stay thin in our society, and that's a reflection of how our society operates, how their body deals with it, and whether they actively try to avoid a lifestyle in which their body is predisposed to gaining weight.


--
Go be impersonally used as an organic semen collector!  (porkchop_d_clown)
[ Parent ]

bad idea.. (3.80 / 5) (#15)
by Suppafly on Sun Jul 06, 2003 at 11:07:41 PM EST

Denmark has gone one step further and has set a statuatory maximum on the quantity of trans fats a food may contain.

That hardly seems right.. its one thing to make it so that consumers can easily learn what kinds of fat they are eating.. it's something completely different to try and legislate healthy eating.

---
Playstation Sucks.
It's a grey area (5.00 / 9) (#20)
by ghjm on Sun Jul 06, 2003 at 11:55:33 PM EST

Where does "legislate healthy eating" stop and "protect the public from unsafe food" begin?

Suppose a food producer was found to be adding toxic substances to their food. Are you saying the government has no legitimate purpose in protecting the public good?

Where exactly is the dividing line between that and this?

-Graham

[ Parent ]

The dividing line is... (3.33 / 3) (#121)
by killmepleez on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 01:38:05 PM EST

...bacon tastes good; pork chops taste good; Chicken-in-a-Biskit tastes goooooood.

On the other hand, petroleum tastes like petroleum; malathion tastes like malathion; phenylimidazopyridine tastes like phenylimidazopyridine. That is, like poison.

If I can walk into the local grocery and buy Amdro to kill the fire ants in my lawn, why can't I also walk out with a carton of Oreo Double-Stuff Mint Chip ice cream? Because you don't think I should have the right to eat it?
Well, is Amdro any less toxic? If not, how do you intend to keep me from eating my Amdro unless you send an government representative into my house to approve all my activities? Where I come from, we know how to treat trespassers.

The government has no legitimate interest in keeping people from putting into their bodies anything they choose to purchase.

__
"...the ways and means of dysfunction are also the ways and means of survival."
  -Anthony Swofford, in Parent ]
We don't live in a libertarian ideology. (4.60 / 5) (#129)
by ghjm on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 02:38:12 PM EST

However, I will argue from libertarian premises, because my point can be made just as well that way.

1. "An it harm none, do as you will."
2. Contracts are a sacred bond.
3. Corporations are natural persons.
4. Absent a contractual relationship, no-one has any obligations of any kind to any-one else.
5. Government has only two legitimate functions: The prevention of acts of violence, and the enforcement of contractual terms.

Argument Number One: Health Care Insurance

Health care costs are high and will remain so, even in an anarco-libertarian paradise. The cost of having a fully operable cancer removed is beyond the means of most individuals, yet most individuals who develop operable cancer would prefer to have the operation performed rather than to die a fully preventable death. While some individuals will opt out of the system (as they do today), most rational people will do their best to maintain health insurance coverage.

Health insurers are interested in writing policies with the lowest average payout possible. One way to reduce the potential payout is to control the lifestyle choices of the policyholders, for example by controlling their diet. A health insurance company might choose to issue policies with contractual terms that strictly regulate what you are allowed to eat, along with enforcement terms up to and including posting guards with full control the food supply. This is all "libertarian-acceptable" because it is a matter of voluntary contract. You are free not to enter into the contract if you so choose.

However, there are and can be only a small number of health insurance underwriters. The disparity of payout between an average and a worst-case policyholder is high enough that groups must be extremely large to be manageable. There is also an extremely clear incentive for health insurance underwriters to merge together (together, they are better off statistically and therefore financially). Under libertarianism, insurance underwriters (along with everyone else) have a fundamental right to mergers & acquisitions. There is no way to prevent them merging. Eventually, all insurance underwriters will offer only diet-controlled policies, because they will be the most profitable.

This means that an individual will face the choice of being uninsured, or "voluntarily" giving up control of their dietary intake. Oddly enough, this will probably have a profound positive impact on public health - assuming, that is, that the insurance underwriters' only motive is to reduce policy claim payouts. (They may determine that it is more profitable to sell consumers to food producers, regardless of health issues; if they do so, there will be no way of stopping it.)

Now, what about your God-given right to put anything into your mouth? Well, consider this: You may have the right to consume anything you want, assuming you can get it, but there is no obligation on anyone else's part to produce it for you. Once the vast majority of consumers are participating in diet-controlled health insurance plans, the food producing companies can realize substantial cost efficiencies by sole-sourcing their consumer acquisition to the insurance carriers. Just make one deal with an insurance carrier and you can have guaranteed and predictable demand from 80% of the market. Also, the insurance carriers have a motive to write exclusive contracts: If they can lock-in Double Stuff Mint Oreos so that only their customers (e.g. their insurance policyholders) will be able to eat them, then more people will want to buy their policies instead of their competition. (Of course, this only matters while more than one carrier exists.)

Eventually, all industrial food production will be under the control of one big company - call it Public Health Inc. (PHI) - which provides all food, medicine and related items. As a practical matter it will be impossible to live in a city without being a PHI member. While you can still opt out, you must then grow your own food. You can't grow your own food unless you are a property owner. For the vast majority of people who aren't, failing to pay your PHI policy will mean loss of access to food. PHI is therefore in a position to institute and enforce whatever social policy it desires. PHI will also be a cash generating machine of stunning proportions. Eventually PHI will own all the cities and, in effect if not in name, all the citizens.

Or in other words, PHI has effectively become the government. Because PHI is a private corporation, its contractual relationships are sacrosanct. The (old) government rightfully enforces the libertarian policy that no involuntary contracts can be held binding, but the reality is that if you choose not to contract with PHI, you have to go live in the outland (after all, it's just as involuntary to force PHI to permit your presence on PHI's privately owned Manhattan Island). By writing contract terms any way they see fit, PHI can control the (old) government's apparatus of violence to enforce whatever policy PHI sees fit.

So what do we have here? PHI has become the government. The society is now ruled by whatever processes are responsible for PHI's internal governance. If it is a normal private corporation, then this means absolute rule by shareholder proxy vote, with a slate of directors appointed to act on behalf of the shareholders. Substitute "party member" for "shareholder" and "central committee" for "board of directors" and you have a pretty good match with Russian-style bureacratic communism.

So. We know this is not what we want; we want rule by democracy. In order to achieve rule by democracy, our elected representatives must have the power to set policies. This power cannot be so constrained as to prevent the sorts of abuses listed above. In a democracy, suppose you held a national referendum on the question: "Should the government take all reasonable and necessary action to ensure the continued existence of a plentiful and healthy food supply for the population?" It's hard to imagine that this would produce anything other than a hearty "yes" result. Democratically elected representatives can therefore assume that they have strong public support for measures intended to improve the quality, availability and health of the public food supply. For all its faults, this is a vastly preferable situation to allowing PHI to come about.

Argument Number Two will be forthcoming only if you provide some reasonably coherent refutation of Argument Number One.

-Graham

[ Parent ]

"...But you can't have babies!!" (none / 0) (#160)
by killmepleez on Wed Jul 09, 2003 at 02:47:45 PM EST

Thanks for your reply, ghjm. That was very fun to read, and I appreciate your skill with building an educated chain of social and economic consequences. You have presented a classic critique of Extreme Libertarianism, not to mention making me want to re-read Stephenson's Snow Crash.

I should probably clarify that I do not consider myself to be a Libertarian, nor does my assertion that I should be able to control what I put into my body require the lack of compromise that is characteristic of much libertarian ideology. I understand the extreme-case-scenario argument you are making, but no doubt an equally slippery slope could be established by taking regulation "for the good of the People" to its extreme practice. Therefore, while your argument is impressively constructed and gives us a zoomed-in view on the ideas presented, it introduces assumptions not present in my post and does not strictly apply to the point I made.

Indeed, I am not anti-compromise. I have no problem with basic labelling regulations, because it is unreasonable to expect people to put every piece of food through chemical testing before they consume it. Since corporations are profit-pursuing creatures, I cannot trust them to put my health above their profits. Governmental regulations requiring truth-in-packaging are a reasonable way to promote the general welfare of the people. If, say, PepsiCo discovers that adding large amounts of benzene to Diet Orange Slice would make it actually taste good, I have no problem with the FDA/EPA requiring a prominent, "WARNING: This product contains benzene, which can cause dizziness, leukemia, or death" on the packaging.

PepsiCo, of course, should still be free to bottle and sell the product, and I should still be free to purchase and consume the product, but since neither benzene nor Diet Orange Slice are known addictants [and since I by and large trust government health regulators over capital enterprise], I wouldn't, and neither will 98% of people. Thus, we can have our cake and [not] eat it too [or not eat it, if we choose]:
  • producers are still free to produce what they wish within reasonable bounds,
  • consumers are still free to consume what they wish,
  • and government still plays a valuable role in preventing consumer ignorance from being exploited.

    I agree that the effects of this type of system are preferable to the likely outcome of absolute libertarianism you describe, and I also assert that they are preferable to the opposite extreme in which 'being a burden to society' [e.g. being unhealthy, not wearing a seat belt, smoking] is sanctioned or criminalized outright.

    __
    "Of course I'm an asshole, I'm better than you. Isn't that the fucking definition? Don't you have blindingly obvious self-esteem problems?"
    [ Parent ]
  • link clarifier (none / 0) (#161)
    by killmepleez on Wed Jul 09, 2003 at 02:52:04 PM EST

    Sorry, I forgot to include an explanatory note directing the reader to item #10, reductio ad absurdum on the page referred to in my "does not strictly apply" link. It's a long page and my intent in including it may not be immediately obvious from the link alone.

    __
    "Of course I'm an asshole, I'm better than you. Isn't that the fucking definition? Don't you have blindingly obvious self-esteem problems?"
    [ Parent ]
    Do you really want to get into this? (none / 0) (#197)
    by ghjm on Thu Jul 10, 2003 at 01:51:34 PM EST

    What's the logic of your original article? Let me deconstruct it for you.

    I am assuming that the article is meant to support the concluding statement, "The government has no legitimate interest in keeping people from putting into their bodies anything they choose to purchase."

    Paragraph 1 is an assertion that certain foods taste good. This is a red herring (logical fallacy #11). Everyone agrees that certain foods taste good, but it has no bearing on the legitimacy of government.

    Paragraph 2 is an assertion that poison does not taste good. This is a false assertion, in that many poisons are known to taste quite good. Ethylene glycol is widely reported to be sweet-tasting, and there have been many incidents where animals or small children have consumed it because they enjoyed its taste. This is either a non sequitir (fallacy #1) or a bandwagon argument (fallacy #5), depending on how dumb you think the audience is.

    Paragraph 3 asserts that you can buy Amdro, a strong poison, and asks why you should not therefore also be allowed to buy essentially anything less poisonous. The obvious answer is that the government has created regulations that prevent you from doing so. You presuppose that the government has no legitimacy in doing so, which is an example of circular reasoning (fallacy #6). You then accuse me personally of, in effect, taking away your rights, which is an ad hominem argument (fallacy #2).

    In the second part of paragraph 3, you ask how the government intends to enforce its regulations, with a quick reductio ad absurdum (fallacy #10) where you create vivid emotional imagery (fallacy #13) of government agents storming your house. Overall, this is another red herring (fallacy #11) because the method of enforcement or inability to enforce a policy does not determine whether that policy is legitimate.

    In paragraph 4, you state your conclusion, apparently in the belief that it has now been established. But it is in fact another non sequitir (fallacy #1), because it does not logically follow from anything that has been said before.

    Can we stop now?

    -Graham

    [ Parent ]

    Okay... (4.00 / 2) (#196)
    by ghjm on Thu Jul 10, 2003 at 12:31:26 PM EST

    So if I understand your position correctly, you are saying that it is okay to coercively require manufacturers to place specific government-mandated labels on their products, but it is not okay to coercively require consumers to avoid the ingestion of harmful chemicals.

    What is the dividing line between these two cases? Is it that the coercion is being applied to a corporation rather than an individual? Or is there some other condition that makes it okay in one case but unacceptable in the other?

    -Graham

    [ Parent ]

    Make this an article, damn you! (nt) (none / 0) (#178)
    by Russell Dovey on Wed Jul 09, 2003 at 11:13:47 PM EST


    "Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light." - Spike Milligan
    [ Parent ]

    TFAs (4.00 / 1) (#43)
    by aziegler on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 02:14:58 AM EST

    The other name for "trans-fat" are "Trans-Fatty Acids" (TFA), and are primarily introduced into the diet by the hydrogenation of vegetable or fish oils (some exist in meats and dairy products, but not to the concentrations introduced by hydrogenation).

    Since it's an external process that introduces TFAs, and not necessarily a naturally occurring ingredient, I see no problem with regulation of such.

    -austin

    [ Parent ]

    Law suits (4.83 / 6) (#18)
    by Tatarigami on Sun Jul 06, 2003 at 11:21:56 PM EST

    It might be worth noting that the lawsuit launched and then dropped by the anti-hydrogenation activist lawyer was listed in the True Stella Awards, Internet journalist Randy Cassingham's excellent newsletter about frivolous lawsuits. The lawyer admitted that he started legal action as publicity for his non-profit anti-trans fat organisation's efforts and that following through was unnecessary.

    If he's called his newsletter... (3.00 / 1) (#47)
    by aziegler on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 02:29:18 AM EST

    "True Stella", then he's not reporting anything useful, and he's no journalist -- unless you really consider idiots like Drudge and Rush to be reporters. The facts behind the Stella Liebeck case aren't frivolous, and the suggestion that they or the decisions reached based on those facts are frivolous is ... ignorant and unsurprising.

    I don't necessarily agree with the size of the Stella Liebeck award, but the system worked as it was supposed to in this case -- gross (nearly criminal) negligence was shown, and action was taken. The "reporter" behind TSA knows this and still chooses her as the "icon," however wrongly.

    -austin

    [ Parent ]

    actually (5.00 / 2) (#61)
    by cyclopatra on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 05:24:36 AM EST

    In the first issue, he went into this in great detail, and does on the site as well. It's not called the "Stella Awards" because the case is frivolous but because so many people believed it was. He has an entire page devoted to reasons why the Stella Liebeck case wasn't frivolous.

    And it's called the "True" Stella Awards both because all the cases are documented court cases (not urban legends) and because the author also publishes a strange-news newsletter called "This Is True", and the Stella Awards grew out of that.

    Cyclopatra
    All your .sigs are belong to us.
    remove mypants to email
    [ Parent ]

    Reminds me of something... (3.63 / 11) (#21)
    by rmwise on Sun Jul 06, 2003 at 11:55:45 PM EST

    Some fat people are a part of this movement called "fat acceptance" where they claim it's natural and healthy to be fat. They blaim anyone but themselves for being fat. Their organization is called NAAFA. If you advocate exercise or something on their message boards, they immediately delete your post and account. But it's fun to bother them in anycase.

    ---
    SAVE RUSSIAN JEWS COLLECT VALUABLE PRIZES!


    What do you expect them to do? (3.33 / 9) (#22)
    by Keeteel on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 12:23:27 AM EST

    Do you think they haven't tried to lose weight? So many people just say 'if you tried harder you could lose weight.' I have friends I run through the same exercise routine that I do, I've planned their diets, and they stay the same weight. Unless they're cheating on the side and not following my plan, some people just can't lose the weight. It's like telling a blind person to try harder - it's rude, insluting, and degrading.

    [ Parent ]
    There's something called a lifestyle change (4.20 / 5) (#23)
    by rmwise on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 12:35:28 AM EST

    And it does make a difference with everyone I know, if they keep at it. They probably are cheating. It's not like telling a blind person to try harder.

    ---
    SAVE RUSSIAN JEWS COLLECT VALUABLE PRIZES!


    [ Parent ]
    Whoa buddy. (4.00 / 5) (#24)
    by debacle on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 12:36:11 AM EST

    Soccer-mom mentality.

    The fact is, weight doesn't matter. My doctor bitches at me because I weigh in at around 280, but the fact is I don't have much fat on my body at all, and he knows that. It's not about weight; it's about being able to run a mile in 8 minutes when you're 40 years old, or run up a flight of stairs without being out of breath.

    It's not OK to be fat. It's not OK to be obese (obesity is something besides overweight). And it's sure as hell not OK to be a lazy fat obese slob.

    It tastes sweet.
    [ Parent ]

    Wrong. (4.00 / 12) (#27)
    by Hymen Restoration Surgery on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 12:44:48 AM EST

    There's no such thing as staying fat magically. Fatness results from taking in more caloric product than your metabolism consumes. Most exercise regimen programs focus on raising the metabolism, building muscle, increasing stamina, strengthening the heart, increasing VO2, or some combination of the above. That's because those are the best things to do if you want to fight the effects of aging — and probably lose weight along the way.

    People who don't lose weight under these programs are simply outliers, but they are not magically fat. They need to eat less, exercise more, and manage their sugar intake. Eating less doesn't mean starvation, it simply means eating only what your body will consume in a timely manner. Exercising more doesn't mean running 200 marathons a year, it simply means increasing your overall participation in strenuous activity; walking around the building will qualify, if you're a fatty retarded who likes to ask other people to run for lunch. Managing sugar intake means not drinking a six-pack of Dr. Pepper while you congratulate yourself on having eaten the perfect diet lunch.

    Is weight more difficult to manage for certain people than for the majority? Certainly it is. Does that mean they have to stay fat? Fuck, no. Show me the fat people in Biafra during the famines. Eat less, lose weight. It's fucking inescapable. Does that mean weight loss is simple? Of course not. But it does prove that the "fatness can be incurable" line is wank.



    --
    H.R.S.
    [ Parent ]
    erm... (4.28 / 7) (#30)
    by LittleZephyr on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 12:53:10 AM EST

    "Eat less, lose weight. It's fucking inescapable."

    In the long run yes, but starving yourself (I mean literally, not like, cutting down on twinkies), just makes the weight loss go slower because your body is hanging onto all the precious energy (remember, suger=energy, if you consume more energy then your body can use, it stores it in the CH bonds of the lipids [fats]) because it feels there may be a shortage. The key is to use the energy you have stored in that fat through exercise, then to not regain that lost [unessacery] energy by eating to much
    (\♥/) What if instead of posting that comment,
    (0.-) you had actually taken a knife and stabbed
    ("_") me in the eye? You murderer. ~ Rusty

    [ Parent ]

    Heh (2.25 / 8) (#33)
    by Hymen Restoration Surgery on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 12:56:12 AM EST

    The key is to use the energy you have stored in that fat through exercise, then to not regain that lost [unessacery] energy by eating to much

    In other words, equalize consumption with intake. Duh. That's what I fucking said.



    --
    H.R.S.
    [ Parent ]
    Yes! </marvalbert> (none / 0) (#60)
    by alevin on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 05:07:55 AM EST

    In the long run yes, but starving yourself (I mean literally, not like, cutting down on twinkies), just makes the weight loss go slower because your body is hanging onto all the precious energy (remember, suger=energy, if you consume more energy then your body can use, it stores it in the CH bonds of the lipids [fats]) because it feels there may be a shortage.

    I do believe however that although your metabolism will decrease with intake reduction, thus slowing weight loss, weight loss will still occur, because if you're consuming less calories than you burn in daily bodily processes (>700 IIRC), your body still has to tap into its energy reserves, be they lipids or cholesterol or what have you.

    Consider that this starvation/protection mechanism may have been the norm or default throughout humanity's evolutionary history. Calories were relatively hard to come by, thus a good feast was stored in fat for times of shortage. Today, we have the equivalent of a prehistoric feat every day, thus inflating our fat reserves to positively obscene levels, and bringing our body into a different metabolic mode. The health risks follow. It only takes a 30-40% reduction in calorie consumption to trigger this lower mode.

    And I do believe the long run is what we should be aiming for here, most definitely for health benefits, and most likely for appearance benefits -- unless you've got to lose 30 in 30 for the HS reunion.
    --
    alevin
    [ Parent ]

    Count your calories! (none / 0) (#127)
    by proletariat on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 02:19:34 PM EST

    Use an on-line calorie calculator to find your daily calorie requirement to maintain your weight. Here is one. These calculators use a well known and proven equation. The heavier you are the more calories you will need to maintain your weight. Eating 500 calories less per day results in one pound lost per week. Counting calories takes some practice but you will get used to it. If you keep it up you'll be able to count calories without going back to the books for each thing.

    And remember that exercise has far more impact than anything else for your health.

    [ Parent ]

    Hmm (2.00 / 1) (#132)
    by alevin on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 03:10:20 PM EST

    I've been eating just about 500 calories a day, and losing slightly under three points a week. I suspect now that I'm nearing my ideal weight and am no longer overweight, that rate my drop somewhat, but I'm in no terrible rush.

    That site suggested about 2,000 calories for me, which seems to be in accordance with USDA recommendations. Quite too high if you ask me.
    --
    alevin
    [ Parent ]

    500 kcal/day is way too low (none / 0) (#164)
    by ponos on Wed Jul 09, 2003 at 04:38:21 PM EST


    Eating 500kcal/day is way below basic
    metabolic rate! You should really eat
    like 1000-1400 kcal/day to steadily
    lose weight. I don't recommend eating
    less than 1000kcal/day unless a specialist
    M.D. has specifically told you to do so.

    On the other hand you may be grossly
    underestimating you caloric input. Note
    that 500kcal is ~80gr of red meat and
    nothing else. This is starvation.
    -- Sum of Intelligence constant. Population increasing.
    [ Parent ]

    No (none / 0) (#173)
    by alevin on Wed Jul 09, 2003 at 09:02:12 PM EST

    I don't eat red meat, and I'm not starving myself. I fast every other day, and when I do eat, I practice caloric restriction, which is reducing my calorie intake. There have been a wide range of studies done on the subject of caloric restriction in over 200 mammalian species, including non-human primates. They all show significant extension of lifespan, very delayed onset onset of age-related illnesses, and a maintained youthful physical and mental vigor. Significant extension of lifespan means from 20-50% if started at a young age, and caloric restriction shows increasing benefits starting at 20% reduction in calories, up to around 65%.

    Intermittent fasting has been shown to have nearly the same effects, even when average daily calorie intake remains the same.

    There are a few studies that have tested the benefits of IF and CR at once, only on spiders, I believe. That is, limited calorie intake every other day or every third day. They have found that CR and IF together produce an even more significant set of benefits than either alone.

    The combination of caloric restriction with adequate nutrition (that is, enough to prevent deficiency diseases), which is the fair way to measure its life-extending and health benefits is called CRAN. I try to practice CRAN, that is basically, I cut out the junk food and eat small portions of healthy, nutritional foods, with the occasional snack or indulgence (a few pretzels once a week, pizza every other week). Additionally, I take a multivitamin supplement, because it would be very difficult to meet all of your nutritional needs from only food from either a CRAN or more common diet.

    Again, this has been proven to produce resistance to aging-related diseases, extend lifespan significantly, give the brain more resistance to neurotoxins, and one would assume numerous other health benefits. If you ask me, people whose diets consist of large portions of fast food, delivery, and snack foods are the ones who should eat under the supervision of a medical professional.
    --
    alevin
    [ Parent ]

    Additional note (none / 0) (#174)
    by alevin on Wed Jul 09, 2003 at 09:04:57 PM EST

    I am doing this more for health benefits than for weight loss. A set of artificial conditions in my life has seen my weight temporarily skyrocket, so any concern for weight loss is just to bring it back down to where I usually am. If I continue to lose weight, however, beyond a healthy low-limit, I will increase my calorie consumption until my weight is maintained at healthy levels. If that's going to happen, it's a ways off.
    --
    alevin
    [ Parent ]
    Wrong yourself (3.20 / 5) (#42)
    by aziegler on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 02:06:08 AM EST

    Your statement is correct, but only superficially so. Further, it's actually quite insulting when compared with the reality of what some of these people face.

    There's no such thing as staying fat magically.

    True in most cases, false in some cases, which are usually related to thyroid or other medical problems.

    Fatness results from taking in more caloric product than your metabolism consumes.

    This is the "simple" part that hides a big problem with what you're saying: most people do not have a reliable way to get their metabolic rate. There are tools -- like the HealtheTech BodyGem -- but their availability is extremely limited. There are also rules of thumb based on one's body mass, but the reality is that two people with the same body mass can have wildly differing metabolic rates (and thus they don't tend to have the same body mass for long).

    People who don't lose weight under these programs are simply outliers, but they are not magically fat.

    Insulting and factually incorrect. "Simply outliers?" To pick on myself, while I know that I can lose weight with caloric decrease and exercise increase, I also know that the type of exercise that I choose has also typically increased my muscle mass. Significantly. Thus, I lose weight relatively slowly as my muscle mass increases and my fat mass decreases. Because this is not explained to some people, they get discouraged because the scale isn't showing a change -- but there are fundamental changes involved in the body.

    if you're a fatty retarded who likes to ask other people to run for lunch.

    Nice to see that you're not an asshole.

    I'll ignore the bit about famine, which is completely irrelevant to the discussion. (Sure, it can "prove" what you're saying, but given that we're not dealing with famine situations in the West at this point, it's an irrelevancy. It also ignores the reality of famine itself for cheap points.)

    -austin

    [ Parent ]

    You are wrong. (4.16 / 6) (#59)
    by alevin on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 05:01:15 AM EST

    Something like 95% of cases of overweight and obesity are not due to hyperthyroid or strong biological causes.

    People in this country have not been obese since its founding, nor are we importing immigrants from countries whose native peoples are inherently obese. There is a trend. We are eating more, and eating less healthy foods.

    This probably says something about changing cultural habits and values. The only thing that's "hard" to do in losing weight in the vast majority of cases is going contrary to what you and everyone else have learned to do. If you want it, you do what it takes to get it. If not, then you get the extra pounds, health risks, and whatever else.

    There is something to be said for a more compartamentalized and more sedentary workforce. Even more likely for increasing commercial advertisements on unhealthy products. Ultimately, these translate to changing cultural habits with regard to diet and exercise. You can either sit back and adhere to these new habits as is becoming the trend, complain that society is offering you too many tasty, fatty goods and giving you too little space for exercise, and root for the Big Fat lawsuits and Food Police, (alternatively, proclaim your fat pride, or relish in the tantalizing selection of tasty treats) or take matters into your own hands and exercise some discipline for the sake of better health. In most cases, one must work out the pros and cons, decide upon the course, and be willing to resist temptation in the latter case. I do hear after a 'purging' period of eating more healthy food, the body does get adjusted to it as so many have to Coke and McD's.
    --
    alevin
    [ Parent ]

    Speaking at cross-purposes (4.66 / 3) (#91)
    by aziegler on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 10:26:03 AM EST

    To correct your title: I'm not wrong. I chose a different direction with my reply, and some assumptions were made. I was responding to the greater falsehood hidden in HRS's "mathematical truth" and bile.
    Something like 95% of cases of overweight and obesity are not due to hyperthyroid or strong biological causes.

    I didn't claim that hyperthyroid or biological causes were a majority. My exact statement was "true in most cases, false in some cases, ...". As I expanded on my reply to the bile-ridden weak reply by HRS, there are cases when people do everything right and they don't lose weight, it's a perceptive problem such that the weight stays on "as if by magic." As a simple statement, HRS's initial claim to the mathematical formula (intake - burn) is true, but it hides the complex reality that is humanity. As I pointed out, metabolic rates can vary wildly between individuals, rendering rules of thumb useless; further, increased muscle mass (which affects the metabolic rate in a positive way) also affects the perception because most diets focus on one's mass rather than one's health.

    Mass vs. frame is an indicator, but not an absolute indicator, of one's health. Most weightlifters would have a BMI indicating morbid obesity, but their mass is mostly muscle. Percentage of bodyfat is more reliable, but even that doesn't really give the full answer.

    People in this country have not been obese since its founding, nor are we importing immigrants from countries whose native peoples are inherently obese. There is a trend. We are eating more, and eating less healthy foods.

    No disagreement. I hate traveling in the States1 -- the portion sizes at most restaurants are insanely large. (I'm snipping the other statements made that I agree with.)

    [You have a choice: adhere to modern habits and root for "Food Police" and Big Fat lawsuits, or take matters into your own hands.] (Paraphrased.)

    I agree with the substance of what you're saying; I disagree with the way you've said it and the bivalued choice you provide. I think that you're presenting a false dichotomy here. One can take matters into one's own hands and still think that Big Business should be held accountable for what it does and the claims it makes (e.g., "lite" back before the FDA cracked down on it in the early 90s; similar problems with the way that "low fat/no fat" food are presented now) (and this without supporting the Big Fat lawsuits). Similarly, one can accept the situation as it is and think that the big fat lawsuits are idiotic.

    This doesn't change my original point that one can be doing everything right and still not be perceptibly losing weight. Initially, this is not even necessarily a bad thing, if one is adding muscle mass at the expense of fat mass. However, many people don't have this explained to them and they don't see any difference.

    -austin
    1 I'm a dual-citizen in Canada.

    [ Parent ]

    Bah (3.66 / 3) (#99)
    by Hymen Restoration Surgery on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 12:01:03 PM EST

    This doesn't change my original point that one can be doing everything right and still not be perceptibly losing weight. Initially, this is not even necessarily a bad thing, if one is adding muscle mass at the expense of fat mass. However, many people don't have this explained to them and they don't see any difference.

    What you seem to have fundamentally missed is that life is NOT a prescriptive activity. If you intend to lose weight and the program you are using does not accomplish that, you are not "doing everything right". Just because you read it in a book or some trainer told you it worked for all his clients, that doesn't mean anything about whether or not it will work for individual X.

    Of course, you will agree entirely with the above, but you can't seem to put out of your head that this somehow gives you an excuse. It doesn't. "Big Business" is not to blame for your fatness. I'm sorry to have to break this one over your head, but the only person to blame is you, the person who is voluntarily going out and blatantly consuming large quantities of whatever it is that's bloating you up.

    Every statement I and alevin have made has been 100% factual and true, and you have repeatedly disagreed and then retracted your disagreement because you have such a skewed perspective that you can't allow yourself to admit fault.



    --
    H.R.S.
    [ Parent ]
    A thoughtful reply (3.11 / 9) (#82)
    by Hymen Restoration Surgery on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 09:35:02 AM EST

    True in most cases, false in some cases, which are usually related to thyroid or other medical problems.

    What the bloody hell are you talking about? "There's no such thing as staying fat magically" is a true statement, no exceptions. Thyroid disease is something I'm pretty goddamned familiar with, and trust me, it's not magical. Thyroid glands do not teleport in magic calories, dysfunctional or not. And as you almost certainly know, thyroid disease is very treatable.

    people do not have a reliable way to get their metabolic rate.

    What the fuck does it matter? I didn't say anybody had to measure their metabolic rate. I said they had to eat less than it. Am I speaking goddamned Portuguese?

    I also know that the type of exercise that I choose has also typically increased my muscle mass.

    Oh, now I know why this is insulting to you: YOU'RE FAT. And the exercise you have chosen isn't losing you weight fast enough to salve your self-esteem. So you tell yourself that it's because you're "building muscle mass" and meanwhile you get pissed whenever somebody like myself tells the obvious truth about fatness.

    Nice to see that you're not an asshole.

    Of course I'm an asshole, I'm better than you. Isn't that the fucking definition? Don't you have blindingly obvious self-esteem problems? Yes, of course I'm an asshole.

    Sure, it can "prove" what you're saying, but given that we're not dealing with famine situations in the West at this point, it's an irrelevancy.

    Only for people with no fucking self-control whatsoever. Year of Plenty! Dig in, fatso! Jesus Christ, "irrelevancy" my ass. And yes, it "proves" what I'm saying. So shut the fuck up.

    It also ignores the reality of famine itself for cheap points.

    You just can't shut up. You have to go for the "sensitive" jab about famine. Christ, you're scraping the bottom of your psychological barrel, aren'tcha?



    --
    H.R.S.
    [ Parent ]
    Correcting Ignorance and Bile (1.00 / 2) (#83)
    by aziegler on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 10:05:46 AM EST

    people do not have a reliable way to get their metabolic rate.

    What the fuck does it matter? I didn't say anybody had to measure their metabolic rate. I said they had to eat less than it. Am I speaking goddamned Portuguese?

    No, you're just speaking out of your asshole without engaging the one cell you apparently have for a brain. Measuring one's metabolic rate is the only reliable way of ensuring that one eats less than their metabolic rate. Otherwise, they can be following the guideliness that they have been given to the letter and still lose weight. Are further adjustments necessary? Certainly, but without metabolic rate measurement, it seems that they are keeping weight "magically."

    I also know that the type of exercise that I choose has also typically increased my muscle mass.

    Oh, now I know why this is insulting to you: YOU'RE FAT. And the exercise you have chosen isn't losing you weight fast enough to salve your self-esteem. So you tell yourself that it's because you're "building muscle mass" and meanwhile you get pissed whenever somebody like myself tells the obvious truth about fatness.

    I'm not actually insulted by your ignorance. I'm responding because you're an ignorant twat that needs correction. Your so-called "obvious truth" is nothing more than your own embittered bile. Again, when one builds muscle mass, it may that nothing is working -- after all, one's total mass isn't decreasing. Igoring this is simply stupidity.

    Enjoy drowning on your bile, twat. Let me know if you actually have anything useful or correct to say.

    -austin

    [ Parent ]

    Oh please (3.20 / 5) (#86)
    by Hymen Restoration Surgery on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 10:09:59 AM EST

    Measuring one's metabolic rate is the only reliable way of ensuring that one eats less than their metabolic rate. Otherwise, they can be following the guideliness that they have been given to the letter and still lose weight. Are further adjustments necessary? Certainly, but without metabolic rate measurement, it seems that they are keeping weight "magically."

    Obviously, you're either illiterate or retarded. I began my original post on the subject thusly:

    Most exercise regimen programs focus on raising the metabolism, building muscle, increasing stamina, strengthening the heart, increasing VO2, or some combination of the above. That's because those are the best things to do if you want to fight the effects of aging -- and probably lose weight along the way.
    Did you actually read anything I said? Of course not. Too busy eating fast food, naturally.

    Again, when one builds muscle mass, it may that nothing is working -- after all, one's total mass isn't decreasing. Igoring this is simply stupidity.

    I didn't ignore anything of the kind. You're the one going off half-cocked as though I said anything like what you're implying — all because you're a nerdy fatty with an inferiority complex. Enjoy your Coke and fries, Gigantor.



    --
    H.R.S.
    [ Parent ]
    .sig (5.00 / 2) (#125)
    by killmepleez on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 02:13:57 PM EST

    test.

    __
    "Of course I'm an asshole, I'm better than you. Isn't that the fucking definition? Don't you have blindingly obvious self-esteem problems?"
    [ Parent ]
    questions (none / 0) (#131)
    by speek on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 02:51:42 PM EST

    Thyroid glands do not teleport in magic calories

    Given that, and given that weight loss is just a matter of eating less, why is the thyroid an issue at all? What's the explanation for thyroid problems keeping people fat even when they eat less?

    Same for birth control pills - assuming they have insignificant calories, why do they make women gain weight?

    --
    al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
    [ Parent ]

    Simplified answer (none / 0) (#135)
    by Hymen Restoration Surgery on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 04:27:46 PM EST

    Hypothyroidism and OTC change the body's chemistry. Oftentimes, broadly speaking, this means lowering the overall metabolic rate. This means the overall burn rate is lower, and that lower rate is usually accompanied by lack of energy, increased sleep time, lower brain activity, and other effects of an underperforming endocrine system.

    If the individual with this condition consumes a typical amount of food, there will be a sharp excess in caloric intake versus real consumption, which will result in an overworked liver and fat accumulation (NOT dietary fat).



    --
    H.R.S.
    [ Parent ]
    changing the body's chemistry (none / 0) (#138)
    by speek on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 05:27:59 PM EST

    Doesn't food change your chemistry too? If you eat less, does that affect your metabolic rate? If you eat too much sugar, doesn't that trigger the creation of insulin, which has a number of affects? If you eat lots of protein, doesn't that promote acidity in your system? If you exercise, doesn't that often increase your metabolism?

    I could be overweight, yet steady in weight on an average of X calories a week. Then, I change my diet and eat 3500 fewer calories a week, expecting to thus lose 1 lb. each week, and yet, the actual result could easily be no weight loss, despite the change in diet. Which leads one to question the value of these attempts to oversimply weight-loss to less calories = lose weight. How much we burn is a complicated issue, and it would seem to make sense to do what we need to do to change our body chemistry to help it burn more - just as you would advise someone suffering from thyroid problems to do. That's why exercise is important. And it may be equally important what you eat, because of how it can affect your chemistry.

    --
    al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
    [ Parent ]

    Yeh (5.00 / 2) (#144)
    by Hymen Restoration Surgery on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 06:51:21 PM EST

    Doesn't food change your chemistry too? If you eat less, does that affect your metabolic rate? If you eat too much sugar, doesn't that trigger the creation of insulin, which has a number of affects? If you eat lots of protein, doesn't that promote acidity in your system? If you exercise, doesn't that often increase your metabolism?

    "Yes" to all of the above. "Effects".

    Then, I change my diet and eat 3500 fewer calories a week, expecting to thus lose 1 lb. each week, and yet, the actual result could easily be no weight loss, despite the change in diet.

    Yes. My diet is very irregular but for years I have remained at 135 pounds almost without exception. That has changed only very recently, since I made a major change in my protein intake; I've gained 15 pounds in the last 4 weeks, all muscle, unsurprisingly. This is without any special exercise or weightlifting.

    Which leads one to question the value of these attempts to oversimply weight-loss to less calories = lose weight.

    Nobody's saying that. What I'm saying is that caloric consumption equal to or less than some unspecific amount will result in weight loss. It is completely inevitable.

    If you are gaining weight you are eating too much of something. In many cases the causes of this mismatch will be complex, but in the vast majority of cases the culprit is exactly one thing: excess intake of sugar (or precursors of sugar). Weight gain would be the least of your problems — rapid disintegration of the liver and kidneys would be more worrisome, to me, not to mention the potential rapid onset of Alzheimer's Disease and a whole slew of other horrible diseases and sydromes, especially if you are predisposed.

    Obviously, you can attempt to correct the problem by boosting your exercise levels so that the sugar is consumed in the metabolic cycle before it reaches storage or waste (you get fat or you piss it out). However, this is only a partial solution; if you find that your sugar intake is wildly out of control — if you're currently gaining weight this is probably true — then you need to take a really hard look at your diet.

    How much we burn is a complicated issue, and it would seem to make sense to do what we need to do to change our body chemistry to help it burn more - just as you would advise someone suffering from thyroid problems to do.

    Undeniably true.

    That's why exercise is important. And it may be equally important what you eat, because of how it can affect your chemistry.

    No question about it. The original, objectionable post in this thread claimed something to the effect that for some people losing weight just wasn't an option. That is complete horseshit; in the extreme (and absurd) case that person can be starved into weight loss. In a vacuum, everybody loses a few pounds eventually.

    I have a real problem believing that some guy who goes for a 45-minute run on the treadmill 3 times a week and eats small portions of fish, steak, and eggs on a regular basis is going to stay at 300 pounds. It's simply not going to happen. There is not enough matter being metabolized into his body for that.

    Here is another interesting dietary fact: studies show that roughly 30% of all American adults — at any given point in time — are underhydrated. This condition results in what we call "hunger pangs", leading most adults to assume they need more food. The single most cost-effective way to eat less and lose more weight is to drink a lot more water (NOT goddamned soda).

    Probably the most common reason for weight gain is the fact that we've had ignoramuses telling us all the wrong things to eat in order to "be healthy". The Food Pyramid, for instance, is almost exactly upside down. Massive consumption of grains and cereals in this country has boosted testosterone levels to the point where almost every 12 year old has raging acne. You've got fat people dining heartily on baked potatoes (roughly 100% sugar) and bagels and Mueslix and Kashi, which have almost zero nutritional value but LOADS of starches and sugars. Meanwhile, people are cutting out dietary fats and proteins which could save or prolong their miserable sheeple lives.



    --
    H.R.S.
    [ Parent ]
    Its not sugar. Its not complicated. Its calories. (5.00 / 1) (#152)
    by jared on Wed Jul 09, 2003 at 11:03:25 AM EST

    Yes. My diet is very irregular but for years I have remained at 135 pounds almost without exception. That has changed only very recently, since I made a major change in my protein intake; I've gained 15 pounds in the last 4 weeks, all muscle, unsurprisingly. This is without any special exercise or weightlifting.

    "All muscle" as determined by what method? I say this because insulin is not preferential. Weight gain under ideal circumstances (i.e. aided by heavy weightlifting) is usually fat:muscle 1:1. At the rate you're talking about, almost never.

    If you are gaining weight you are eating too much of something. In many cases the causes of this mismatch will be complex...

    In all cases the cause of this mismatch is exactly the same thing. Calories. The effects of which macronutrient is providing too many calories is minimal. You do have a point about the glycemic index of sugars, but this is really only relevant in a caloric surplus. If you eat less than you use and your only carb source is sugar, you are still losing weight. You prolly feel like shit though from the insulin rollercoaster.

    Word to the "drink water" reccomendation. Word to the original poster being an ignoramous crybaby.

    If you want to lose fat, carbs are not the enemy. Its just calories, folks.

    [ Parent ]
    Bit of a disagreement (5.00 / 1) (#165)
    by Hymen Restoration Surgery on Wed Jul 09, 2003 at 04:58:08 PM EST

    In all cases the cause of this mismatch is exactly the same thing. Calories. The effects of which macronutrient is providing too many calories is minimal.

    Not so. Calories are exactly one side of the equation, the intake side. Consumption is the other side, and the interaction between diet and actual metabolic rate of consumption can indeed be very complex.



    --
    H.R.S.
    [ Parent ]
    How So? (none / 0) (#194)
    by jared on Thu Jul 10, 2003 at 11:29:14 AM EST

    1000Kcals of sucrose vs 1000Kcals of olive oil is not going to make enough of a difference in fat loss to be worth the bother of caring. The psychological effects of insulin spiking or something extreme like ketosis may have effects on diet compliance, but not enough to worry about from an energy perspective.

    I love picking throught the details of this stuff as well, but from a practical perspective its really not that important.

    [ Parent ]
    I agree 100% (none / 0) (#170)
    by speek on Wed Jul 09, 2003 at 06:33:41 PM EST

    Absolutely. I just wish you'd spelled it out so clearly initially.

    --
    al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
    [ Parent ]

    Well... (4.50 / 4) (#46)
    by epepke on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 02:27:53 AM EST

    Even though I'm not the person you're responding to, I'd expect them to come to some sort of accomodation with themselves.

    When NAAFA objects to social and political issues, such as discrimination in employment, I support them wholeheartedly. However, when they insist that there are no health risks to being fat, and it's just a conspiracy of doctors, they're just out to flippin' lunch.

    I'm a person who tends towards fat myself, unless I work very hard to fight it (which, for a variety of reasons, I'm not doing now). But I don't kid myself. I never got any sort of guarantee that a genetic predisposition would not kill me. In fact, it's pure luck that I survived anaphylactic shock as a child. I never got the idea that everything would just be peachy keen if I got pissed off about it or lied about things that are obiously false.


    The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


    [ Parent ]
    Well... (4.00 / 1) (#87)
    by lb008d on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 10:16:04 AM EST

    Unless they're cheating on the side and not following my plan

    That's exactly what's happening.

    [ Parent ]

    Thermodynamics (2.66 / 3) (#116)
    by jared on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 01:04:54 PM EST

    If your freinds can eat less food than they use and maintain or gain weight then they have violated the basis of physics as we know it and are worthy of world attention!

    OTOH, if they're just lazy fat fucks and "cheating on the side", then they deserve some rudeness and degredation for misleading you.

    Its nothing like telling a blind person to try harder. Its like telling a fat person to eat less. Newsflash, your friends are not physical marvels. Either they can count calories and maintain a diet, or they can't.

    Excersise and diet for fat loss are dead simple. Eat less than you use, get enough vitamins and EFA's. Now compliance.... that's a psychological issue and can vary quite a bit by person.

    [ Parent ]
    Determining trans fats from nutritional labels (4.12 / 8) (#36)
    by igny ignoble on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 01:14:38 AM EST

    Until governments mandate trans fats be required on nutritional labels, you can use this method to determine quantity of trans fats.  Just subtract the saturated fats + unsaturated fats from the total fats and you end up with the quantity of trans fats.  

    Doesn't work.. (4.75 / 4) (#69)
    by brain in a jar on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 07:31:38 AM EST

    Because Trans-fats are included in unsaturated fats, they are a specific type of unsaturated fat.

    Looking for hydrogenated/partially hydrogenated vegetable oil on the label is still the best guide.
    .

    Life is too important, to be taken entirely seriously.
    [ Parent ]

    A little more detail (4.00 / 2) (#97)
    by igny ignoble on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 11:19:47 AM EST

    Sorry, I meant add the mono and polyunsaturated together to get the unsaturated fat to subtract.

    [ Parent ]
    Rounding (4.00 / 1) (#119)
    by Maurkov on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 01:27:02 PM EST

    The problem is that the nutritional information (in the US) is given per serving, serving sizes are impossibly small (to make the food appear healthier), and the numbers are rounded to the half-gram. In other words, I don't think your calculation is measuring what you think it's measuring. You're looking at the rounding errors and interpreting them as the trans-fat content.

    [ Parent ]
    My advice to fat people: learn to live with it (3.75 / 8) (#37)
    by Kasreyn on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 01:15:33 AM EST

    Because most fat people I've known have not had the willpower to change their lifestyle sufficiently to alter things.

    I have the opposite problem. Too skinny, don't really have the drive to change my lifestyle and exercise to bulk up. I'd rather just put up with the jokes about avoiding strong breezes and certain limbs of mine and their resemblence to toothpicks.

    In any case, only a certain minority of people in the middle (if you're male) are considered attractive, so you're fucked if you're too far to either extreme.

    Of course, if you're a woman and you are at your ideal body weight, you're seen as too fat. Fun how that works, isn't it?


    -Kasreyn


    "Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
    We never asked to be born in the first place."

    R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
    Bah (5.00 / 3) (#57)
    by alevin on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 04:44:59 AM EST

    Why learn to live with it? That sounds to me like accepting that you have no discipline, willpower, or ability to change your life, and thus giving up. Crap way to take things, man, shouldn't let stats deter you if you really want the health and appearance benefits from being closer to ideal weight.
    --
    alevin
    [ Parent ]
    Yes (4.33 / 3) (#76)
    by ad hoc on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 08:56:54 AM EST

    accepting that you have no discipline

    But that's the 12-step way.


    --

    [ Parent ]
    Just add more sugar to your diet (2.33 / 3) (#67)
    by smallstepforman on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 07:01:17 AM EST

    If you want to bulk up quickly, just add more sugar to your diet. Your body will convert the sugar into fat, and you'll also build up your muscles since your body needs to move all that fat around. Cut back on sugar afterwards, and you'll have a great body.

    [ Parent ]
    Hey Kasreyn, check this out (2.00 / 1) (#78)
    by p3d0 on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 09:21:21 AM EST

    Your Geek Code decoded.
    --
    Patrick Doyle
    My comments do not reflect the opinions of my employer.
    [ Parent ]
    TFAs aren't the only worry... (4.20 / 5) (#48)
    by aziegler on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 02:37:59 AM EST

    ...although I still eat french fries from time to time, it's far less since I found out about acrylamides in food. Like TFAs, this one has more to do with how the food is prepared more than the food itself, but it's scary enough.

    -austin

    Shit man (3.00 / 1) (#56)
    by alevin on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 04:42:44 AM EST

    That's fucked up. A neurotoxin in common foods. I wonder how strong it is. Guess we have to wait for more research.

    In the meantime, I'm glad that caloric restriction increases resistance of the brain to neurotoxins, so that if I'm getting any of this acrylamide crap in my walnuts and rye bread, I should be pretty safe.
    --
    alevin
    [ Parent ]

    no toast? no coffee? (5.00 / 1) (#166)
    by Sacrifice on Wed Jul 09, 2003 at 05:45:03 PM EST

    I'll probably continue to have fried/charred/baked foods until more substantial research has been done.

    I've had my bread toasted for 25 years; a few more won't make a difference.

    Actual human studies have found no correlation between acrylamide intake and cancer rates.  I doubt the substance is at all toxic at levels of a couple hundred parts per billion.

    I will be avoiding fried/baked potato products for now (they seem to have 10 times as much as anything else), but the stuff is in so many foods there's no point in avoiding it with only suspicion of it even being a slight risk for cancer.

    [ Parent ]

    From what I can tell (none / 0) (#176)
    by alevin on Wed Jul 09, 2003 at 10:53:44 PM EST

    Breads have it regardless, athough in lower levels than chips and fries. Any starchy food cooked at a high temperature does. Thus, purchased bread already has it, before you toast it, 'cause it was cooked before you bought it. Only powdered mixes seem to be at risk in the coffee department, but I don't drink coffee anyway.

    For the time being, I don't see any way I can avoid simple bread and bagels, and I, like you, will just accept a healthier diet without all the junk and fast food that's known to cause diseases at high rates, as opposed to requiring the perfect diet.

    BTW, I have indeed read some bad things about *any* food cooked at high temps, but outside my fruits, nuts, and dairy, that's pretty much all that's available to me today.
    --
    alevin
    [ Parent ]

    Other reasons for (4.66 / 12) (#51)
    by Skywise on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 03:10:40 AM EST

    Kraft to cut down its portions...

    - Now with smaller portions for better health, at the same price!

    - Because the world is running out of food and the corporations haven't perfected soylent green yet!

    Seriously, the food industry is in a no-win situation here.  They did a switch to low-fat better dietary health foods in the 80's and early 90's.  McDonald's had McLean, Fritos has low-fat chips, etc; (Not to mention that whole Olestra fiasco) No one bought their stuff.  Everybody wanted the high-fat, high cholesterol food because it tasted better.

    And now Kraft wants to cut the fat out of its macaroni and cheese (Kraft Dinner for you Canadians)... but somehow its also going to have to avoid the whole engineered food problem because the rest of the world won't buy it.  Hello!  It's CHEESE.  It's FAT!

    And its not like high fat/high cholesterol food is addictive like nicotine. (At least until somebody buys the scientific report that says it is).

    Geez... I can see it now...
    Man:  "I used to be a 2 cheeseburger a day man... I just couldn't stop.  Then I got the Fat-Patch from Kraft.  It works on the doctor approved stair-step system.  For the first two weeks, I wear the large patch, and then I work down to the smaller patches until my cheeseburger cravings are under my control.  And it's a wonderful feeling."
    Woman:  "Honey, are you ready for the hot dogs on the grill?"
    Man:  "Not today, I'm grilling broccoli!"
    Woman:  "Oh you!"
    Voice:  "The Fat-Patch from Kraft.  Because 55 is a cholesterol level we can all live with."


    Kraft (none / 0) (#169)
    by Chris Johnson on Wed Jul 09, 2003 at 06:25:57 PM EST

    Well, if they screw it up I'll just stop buying it.
    I make that stuff in a rice cooker, with butter and sour cream instead of milk. But- if I make it, that's my food for ALL DAY. In fact it's going to hold me for more than a day, most likely.
    I'm pretty skinny for a 35-year-old 6 foot guy, and I eat mac and cheese, make my own cheeseburgers with deep-fat-fries, etc.
    I just eat one meal a day- if that.
    I guess other people are eating similar things (but maybe don't cook for themselves) but eat more of them... me, I tend to begrudge time spent eating anyhow, so I have to make stuff extra good to be interested in it. Otherwise I'll starve and get headaches from forgetting to eat.
    Don't kill me :)

    [ Parent ]
    No where close (none / 0) (#218)
    by gte910h on Sat Jul 12, 2003 at 01:36:37 PM EST

    Because the world is running out of food and the corporations haven't perfected soylent green yet!

    The only reason people starve in the world is a distibution problem, usually caused by a corrupt(many african) or protective(european) government. I read a paper by a nutrionist who showed that humans aren't a particularly energy efficent source of food. If anyone has seen that, please share.

    [ Parent ]

    comments (5.00 / 12) (#52)
    by demi on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 03:30:44 AM EST

    In case the average k5er isn't familiar with lipid stereochemistry, trans- refers to an isomer of a fatty acid chain that is bent in a certain zig-zag way about a double bond. It's chemically identical in every way to its cis isomer except the shape. Unfortunately, biochemistry is dominated by interactions between molecules based on their shape, so this causes a lot of problems.

    Trans fatty acids are, calorically speaking, identical to other fats. So they're not linked directly to obesity any more than other lipids. The real harm from trans fatty acids comes from their tendency to form arterial plaques, which are a major contributor to heart disease and early heart failure. They were considered to be an alternative to saturated fats (lard), which were usually rendered directly from animal tallow, which is expensive to make and spoils easily. The health risks of saturated fat have been known for a long time, and partially hydrogenated oil was supposed to be a healthier (no cholesterol), more efficient (plant-derived) alternative. Synthetic oils like those used in margarine don't contain any of the cholesterol that occurs naturally in animal products. It's only been recently (the last decade) that scientists have widely accepted the evidence that trans fatty acids are actually more susceptible to plaque formation than saturated fats and they actually have the effect of raising levels of LDL cholesterol ("bad" cholesterol). Before the 1980's cholesterol paranoia, virtually all french fries, donuts, chips, and so forth were made with saturated fat. If you're from the south, and if you've ever had fried chicken that was cooked in lard, you know that there is simply no substitute. It's a shame to think that we gave up some of our best junk foods (and incidentally, ruined our best lines of fat-marbled beef), on such false pretenses.

    The situation is not so simple for trans fats, which the human body seems to be evolutionarily ill-equipped to process.
    Preëmptively: this point about synthetic nutrients is basically in line with other arguments usually brought up against GM foods, although the comparisons aren't appropriate. Humans can handle trans fatty acids quite well, but probably not as 70% or more of their total lipid intake. GM foods are usually greater than 99%+ identical to their natural counterparts.
    While groups such as the U.S. National Academy of Sciences have long warned of the dangers of trans fats -- with the academy last year concluding there is no safe level of trans fats -- food companies like to say all types of food eaten in moderation can be part of a healthy eating plan. That rationale may not be enough to protect food companies in the wake of product-liability cases that have hammered makers of cigarettes, and the asbestos and breast-implant industries.
    So... even if the food companies act now, they're still going to face certain extortion from the plaintiff's attorneys and by proxy, the states? That's what happens when you dangle a billion dollar carrot in front of a law firm, I suppose. It's also a great example to mention the Dow-Corning class action suit, whose scientific underpinings have been repeatedly debunked with zero effect.

    Chemistry question (4.50 / 2) (#55)
    by Hizonner on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 04:28:48 AM EST

    Since I'm completely ignorant of organic chemistry, and you sound less so...

    I keep hearing that these trans- fats are created by hydrogenating vegetable oil, but that confuses me.

    If you start with a polunsaturated vegetable oil, with all cis- double bonds, and you hydrogenate it, you're converting some of the cis- bonds to single bonds, right? So, how do you end up with trans- double bonds suddenly popping up in the chain? What does that have to do with the hydrogen?

    [ Parent ]

    Basically.. (4.83 / 6) (#63)
    by ajduk on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 05:41:01 AM EST

    A cis-Double bond can 'Rotate' into a trans one (and the trans-form is more energetically favourable). However, this has an activation energy, which means you have to heat them up before the conversion can take place. So it happens when the oils are heated for hydrogenation. This link gives some diagrams.

    [ Parent ]

    Reversibility (5.00 / 2) (#126)
    by chemista on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 02:14:32 PM EST

    The other thing is that hydrogenation is reversible; the process that removes cis double bonds can reintroduce double bonds (dehydrogenation), which have a possibility of being trans. [The italics is not for emphasis; the words are usually typewritten in italics.]

    Stop reminding people about the overvalued stock market! I'm depending on that overvalued stock market to retire some day! - porkchop_d_clown
    [ Parent ]
    Thermodynamics (none / 0) (#163)
    by Rich0 on Wed Jul 09, 2003 at 03:55:02 PM EST

    And while we're on this topic, the reversed bonds are most likely to be trans, because trans bonds are more stable than cis bonds (this places the bulky carbon chains at maximum distance from each other).

    Also - I don't know how it is done with foods, but in the lab hydrogenation usually involves catalysts like platinum or palladium.  If you just heat up an oil with lots of cis bonds in the presence of the catalyst you'll probably switch most of the bonds to trans without hydrogenating anything (at least if there is no hydrogen around).

    [ Parent ]

    Food hydrogenation (none / 0) (#177)
    by dn on Wed Jul 09, 2003 at 11:11:34 PM EST

    IIRC, food oils are done the same was as in the lab: transition metal catalysts (copper, nickel, platinum, etc—the usual suspects).

    Interesting point: the natural color of hydrogenated vegetable oil margarines is nasty grey. A yellow dye is used to make them look more buttery.

        I ♥
    TOXIC
    WASTE

    [ Parent ]

    This makes me laugh (3.87 / 8) (#58)
    by epepke on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 05:00:50 AM EST

    I use butter, and I never use margarine. I buy maybe a pound of butter a year, and I have to keep some of it in the freezer so that it doesn't go bad. The reason is simple. Butter tastes good. A little bit of it goes a long way. With margarine, people buy it by the tub and slather it all over everything in the hopes of getting some flavor out of it, when just a little pat of butter would do.

    Furthermore, I've been telling people this for twenty years. It's obvious that the reason that fats clog your arteries is because they're thick. If it were fluid at those temperatures, it would just run right through. But when you hydrogenate fat for no other reason than to make it be solid at room temperature, of course it's going to be bad for you. Putting more hydrogens on a carbon chain is going to make it stiffer; it's just plain sense.

    However, I've encountered enough people who insisted that margarine was somehow magically better for them in total defiance of sense that I have a hard time believing that it has been some conspiracy of food producers. People fell, bigtime, for the obvious bullshit.

    Go back to butter, people. If you don't like butter, then at least use extra-virgin olive oil. And for "Bob"'s sake, please put the palm oil back in Nutella.


    The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


    True.. (4.33 / 3) (#62)
    by ajduk on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 05:28:21 AM EST

    I use butter as well; as a comparison..

    Butter is made from milk in a fairly straightforard process. It is at least fairly 'natural'.

    Margarine is made by getting some assorted vegatable oil, heating it up in a large vat with powdered nickel catalyst and having hydrogen bubbled through it. This is then sold as 'healthy'. Hmmm.

    It's obvious that the reason that fats clog your arteries is because they're thick.

    Well, that's a bit simplistic. Plaques in the arteries seem to be made of oxidised cholesterol and unsaturated fats; there is also evidence that high insulin levels promote plaque formation. Certainly, though, saturated fats appear to play little role.

    However, I've encountered enough people who insisted that margarine was somehow magically better for them in total defiance of sense that I have a hard time believing that it has been some conspiracy of food producers. People fell, bigtime, for the obvious bullshit.

    Well, products made with trans fats (and corn syrup) last on the shelves practically forever; even bacteria and fungi don't like them. Plus they are very cheap. The processed food industry loves them.

    [ Parent ]

    Plaques (none / 0) (#179)
    by dn on Wed Jul 09, 2003 at 11:19:05 PM EST

    Well, that's a bit simplistic. Plaques in the arteries seem to be made of oxidised cholesterol and unsaturated fats; there is also evidence that high insulin levels promote plaque formation.
    It's very simplistic. Plaques grow in stages, and the process involves inflammation and immune system cells (do a web search for "foam cells"). How and why plaques form is very complex and not well understood.

        I ♥
    TOXIC
    WASTE

    [ Parent ]

    One Theory (none / 0) (#224)
    by dzimmerm on Sun Jul 13, 2003 at 11:20:21 PM EST

    One theory of why plaques form on arteries is that the blood is to acidic due to not enough water which causes damage to arteriel walls. The bodies response to this damage is to coat the arteriel walls with cloresteral. I do not know if this is true. A friend who has lost a fair amount of weight said he followed a water diet and the person who came up with the water diet believes most folks are just thirsty for more water intake.

    I have noted that if I drink a lot of water several days before visiting the doctor my cloresteral numbers are much better. YMMV

    dzimmerm

    [ Parent ]

    Olive oil as a replacement for butter (5.00 / 4) (#75)
    by fraise on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 08:52:42 AM EST

    I have an intolerance to casein - which is a protein found in all animal milks that basically makes it possible to make things such as butter and cheese - so have had to find alternatives. Margarine won't cut it for two reasons: the trans fats and they make up for some of the missing bonding properties of casein with gluten (my other intolerance; the two proteins are very similar). Olive oil works wonderfully as a replacement, as do quality peanut and sunflower oils, depending on what flavor you want to give to foods. For instance, I'll use the lighter-flavored peanut or sunflower oils to make sweets (cookies, cakes, etc. - made with rice, tapioca and potato flours/starches if anyone's wondering), and olive oil for breads, meats, and so forth. I'm pretty lucky though, I live in southern France, where extra virgin olive oil lines the shelves of any self-respecting store and is just barely more expensive than other vegetable oils.

    [ Parent ]
    I live by olive oil (none / 0) (#108)
    by Quila on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 12:39:20 PM EST

    I've found places in cooking where you can substitute it for butter. And it's healthy!

    [ Parent ]
    Replacement? (none / 0) (#123)
    by Dr Seltsam on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 01:56:57 PM EST

    Interesting... I always found the two mutually exclusive. There are places for butter and there are places for olive oil. I shudder at the thought of scampi fried in butter and garlic - there is no replacement for olive oil there. The same goes for, say, any sauce on cream basis - no replacement for butter. As a tip, there are many different types of olive oil there - try some. There are sweet, mild varieties, which go excellently with salads or fish, and there are heavy, almost bitter kinds, good for frying meat or heavy, tomatoe-based sauces.
    The fact that I'm paranoid does not mean that they are not after me.
    [ Parent ]
    Corn syrup too... (3.50 / 2) (#95)
    by lithmonkey on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 11:13:44 AM EST

    I make a point to look out for and minimize anything with 'hydrogenized' in the label.  I also go far and wide to find products that do NOT contain corn syrup.  The reason being is that corn syrup is a low-quality sugar substitute.  Generally anything I find with sugar as apposed to corn syrup is going to be better tasting and probably healthier.  

    Take a look at the ingredient list of the stuff you buy, corn syrup is in goddamn near everything.  When it's the second or third ingredient listed, it's just got way too much in there and shouldn't be used.

    Just thought i'd throw that out there...

    [ Parent ]

    As an irrelevant fact... (none / 0) (#146)
    by epepke on Wed Jul 09, 2003 at 04:26:11 AM EST

    You can still get Coca Cola made with regular sugar (sucrose), at least in the United States. Just buy it around Passover.

    Corn syrup isnt so bad; it has a lot of fructose, which has its own estimable properties.


    The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


    [ Parent ]
    Butter's better for you anyway (none / 0) (#192)
    by mpComplete on Thu Jul 10, 2003 at 09:10:20 AM EST

    There's more than just good taste you're getting out of your butter. It's curious that the article writer should say
    Hence, for example, butter - far from being a squeaky clean alternative to hard margarine - actually contains both saturated fats and trans fats.
    because since margarine is hydrogenated oil, it contains far more trans fats than butter. And trans fats are bad for you, whereas saturated are far from it (and are actually necessary).

    For more info, check out the Weston A Price Foundation (you can wander around the base site if you're really interested). It has some excellent articles about the food industry in America. You'll have to go in with either an open mind or a willingness to do a lot of your own research to believe it, because it's contrary to pretty much everything the media and the food industry (and the AMA) tells you.

    [ Parent ]

    look at the whole picture (2.75 / 4) (#64)
    by chimera on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 06:34:43 AM EST

    less fat, replace taste drop by adding more sugar, equals?
    even more fatty people.

    personal note: I've gone up about 10 kilos in two years, from skinny to just normal weight (heavily untrained though) for two reasons alone, I eat more sugar, and I eat MORE. Say 150% of what I ate a few years ago, every day.

    rules are simply, reduce energy intake or raise energy output. health comes from leveled I/O, unhealth comes from from uneven nutritient focus.

    Sugar in diet (4.33 / 3) (#66)
    by smallstepforman on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 06:58:58 AM EST

    I cut down massively on the amount of sugar I introduced into my body (as well as carbohydrates - you know, potato, bread etc), and I lost 20 kilos in 2 months. That and 600 sittups a day :-) I've been living very happily ever since, even now have a knockout girlfriend.

    [ Parent ]
    So have I.. (2.00 / 1) (#68)
    by ajduk on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 07:09:04 AM EST

    More steak, less weight..

    [ Parent ]

    Indeed (4.66 / 3) (#70)
    by gidds on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 07:40:43 AM EST

    Low-carbohydrate diets are starting, slowly, to gain some credibility. (It's only taken 30 years...)

    What no-one seems to be shouting is the basic fact that carbs make you hungry. This is why caloric restriction alone is difficult to stick to, especially with 'healthy' low-fat food. Less carb means you tend to eat less.

    People also seem to assume that dietary fat is directly linked to body fat, when the endocrinology tells a very different story - you need carbs to lay down fat at all, and excess carbs get converted to fat.

    My guess is that we evolved to deal with carbs in quantity only in summer/autumn; the high carb levels in fruit &c stimulate us to eat lots and lay down fat, which we then slowly use up during the following winter and spring. These days we're on a permanent summer diet, which isn't good - and the huge levels of processed sugar we eat are far more than our bodies were designed to handle (hence the rise of diabetes, obesity, heart disease, &c).

    Low-carb diets can work well and safely - I speak from experience here (I only lost about 10kg in 2 months, but then I'm only 65kg now, so I didn't have much to lose). But don't take my word for it, of course. There are loads of web sites where you can find out more.

    [fx: hits Post gingerly, in the knowledge that he will now be regarded as a crank by some...]

    Andy/
    [ Parent ]

    Well. (3.50 / 2) (#74)
    by ajduk on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 08:40:45 AM EST

    Thinking back just 1-400 generations (depending on your ancestry), your diet would have been:

    Red (grass fed) meat,

    Birds (+eggs as available),

    Fish and other seafood - shellfish especially are very easy for humans to collect,

    Insects and larvae,

    Pre-agricultural leaves, roots, nuts and fruit according to season. This is before we turned them into modern oversize high-carbohydrate versions.

    Low-carb diets have a LOT more in common with our ancestral diets than low-fat diets.

    It gets worse, of course. If you have the maximum ~400 generations of agriculturalists behind you, you will be somewhat adapted to the diet we ate perhaps 100 years ago; a mostly home cooked diet based on fairly natural ingredients (wholegrains included) would be OK for you.

    But no-one is adapted for the ultra-processed, very high GI/carbohydrate, trans-fat, fructose-syrup, low-nutrient diets that have emerged in the west. How could we be?

    Of course, your local supermarket isn't really bothered by this. Processed convienience food has much better margins than basic fruit, veg and meat; sugar filled soft drinks have better margins than tap water(!). And if eating it makes you hungry, so much the better - replace the fat with sugar and sell the 'lite' version!

    [ Parent ]

    Fructose Syrup? (none / 0) (#151)
    by gidds on Wed Jul 09, 2003 at 08:02:01 AM EST

    Agreed all round. But I think that high-fructose corn syrup is mainly used in the US -- it's almost never listed in the ingredients in processed foods and drinks over here (in the UK); the couple of times I've visited the US I was surprised to see it listed so prominently in so many products, where ours would use plain sugar or glucose syrup. It sounds more than just a labelling issue (though I'm no expert); so I wonder why the difference - maybe corn is cheaper in the US, or sugar beet more expensive, or people have a different taste preference?

    Another thing I find so interesting is that even now the specialists seem to have only the sketchiest understanding of how diet affects body chemistry. And the public seems to take as gospel both the 'eat fat=get fat' and 'calories are all that matters, whatever the form' messages (which are contradictory!).

    Andy/
    [ Parent ]

    Not sure (none / 0) (#189)
    by ajduk on Thu Jul 10, 2003 at 06:54:24 AM EST

    IIRC, Corn production has been heavily subsidised in the US, which is why they keep having to find uses for it. Feeding it to cattle (which makes them less healthy to eat) is another. Of course, here in Europe, sugar beet is subsidised to the severe detriment of more efficient Third world sugar cane growers..

    As far as taste preference goes, one thing I found when doing summer work in the US (there were ~20 of us from the UK) was the amazing amount of sugar added to even staples in the US; Bread, baked beans, etc.. we all ended up buying the diet versions because everything else was too sweet to eat. Of course, the Americans had been eating this since childhood and so must have been accustomed..

    [ Parent ]

    cursed by corn (none / 0) (#191)
    by speek on Thu Jul 10, 2003 at 08:16:55 AM EST

    The US grows so much corn, we have to do something with it - corn syrup/high-fructose syrup is one of those things. Feeding it to cows is another. It's all bad. Why do we have so much corn? Largely because it's heavily subsidized.

    --
    al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
    [ Parent ]

    bread (none / 0) (#148)
    by nictamer on Wed Jul 09, 2003 at 05:40:44 AM EST

    What no-one seems to be shouting is the basic fact that carbs make you hungry.

    Counter example: French people are not as fat as USians, by far. They eat LOTS of bread at every single meal. Baguette = 100% carbohydrates (except for the water, that is).

    I think you're wrong. Add to that the fact that bread acts as a sponge in the stomach, esp. when you drink along with it: it makes you feel stuffed faster, much more so than fat products and such.


    --
    Religion is for sheep.
    [ Parent ]
    Assumptions (none / 0) (#227)
    by gidds on Wed Jul 16, 2003 at 09:42:53 PM EST

    (Meant to reply earlier and forgot...)

    I don't know enough about the French diet as a whole to discuss it; I'd be surprised if your implication that they eat lots more carb overall than USians was generally true, though.

    Note that I didn't say carbs make you hungry immediately; it can happen several hours later. What happens, in case anyone's interested in the biochemistry (at least inasmuch as I understand it...), is that as the carb enters your bloodstream (as glucose), your body produces insulin, which lets your muscles &c start to burn the glucose, and your fat cells store it away. How much insulin is produced, and how quickly, depends very much on the type of carb (simple sugars, especially sucrose, lead to sudden spikes in insulin levels, whereas complex carbs such as bread cause much slower insulin release). So how quickly the glucose gets used varies, but sooner or later it will get used up and the blood glucose level falls. And it's that which triggers hunger...

    Not just stomach emptiness/fulness. Have you never been so hungry that you've eaten loads and still been hungry? Or had times when you've eaten very little for some time and yet not been particularly hungry? (In fact, hunger remains pretty much the same even in many people who've had their stomachs removed!) Of course, stomach emptiness is one cue, but there are others, and falling blood glucose levels are a very strong one. That's why I say that carbs make you hungry.

    Andy/
    [ Parent ]

    Almost (4.00 / 1) (#72)
    by p3d0 on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 07:44:09 AM EST

    rules are simply, reduce energy intake or raise energy output.
    I would say "and". If you do just one of these things, the other will compensate. If you increase your activity level without watching what you eat, you'll eat more. At least, that's my experience.
    --
    Patrick Doyle
    My comments do not reflect the opinions of my employer.
    [ Parent ]
    good catch! (3.00 / 1) (#73)
    by chimera on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 07:59:01 AM EST

    my apologies.

    though one could say it's a intra-linguistical caused value judgement error, I'm gonna excuse myself saying I was on a post-lunch coke high! :)

    [ Parent ]

    Cool article, but (4.25 / 16) (#71)
    by p3d0 on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 07:42:27 AM EST

    Consequently, many lives will have likely been needlessly cut short due to the industry dragging its feet.
    No, many lives will have been cut short because people eat unhealthy food. It's not entirely the industry's fault. People don't take responsibility for their own wellbeing. Instead, they want to eat crap, and the industry obliges them.
    --
    Patrick Doyle
    My comments do not reflect the opinions of my employer.
    Doesn't quite pay attention to reality... (4.50 / 4) (#94)
    by aziegler on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 10:50:22 AM EST

    The problem is that people were told that margarine was the healthy alternative to butter -- and it's turning out that it's not the case, primarily because of the production mechanism.

    Yes, people eat unhealthy food, but when industry fights labeling standards, it becomes difficult for people to find "healthy" packaged foods (and they do exist). Sure, one can eat very healthy when one cooks all one's own food, but that's not necessarily realistic in today's work environment.

    -austin

    [ Parent ]

    I don't know... (3.60 / 5) (#96)
    by lithmonkey on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 11:19:45 AM EST

    Something that I find maddening about America and my fellow Americans, is that most Americans have very very bad taste in food.  Most people eat absolute crap.  If they simply took the time and spent an extra couple of bucks on food that is made with quality instead of quantity in mind, they would find themselves happier and healthier.

    Oh, and if they would get out of their cars and walk sometimes that would help too.  You fat bastards.

    [ Parent ]

    You are my hero. (none / 0) (#111)
    by Lethyos on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 12:45:39 PM EST

    you should rent out billboard space and spread your message

    earth, my body; water, my blood; air, my breath; fire, my spirit
    [ Parent ]
    Nice utopia... (5.00 / 2) (#124)
    by ibsulon on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 02:04:51 PM EST

    guess what, though? remember that whole average 2000+ hours Americans work? Most people have two choices:
    1. work less, but earn less so that those "couple of bucks more" don't exist.
    2. work more, but then you come home absolutely exhausted and have no energy to make something worthwhile, instead plopping the TV dinner in the oven and hoping that you can make it to retirement before keeling.
    It's not even like we can depend on a spouse to do these things for us like in days past -- many of us are single, or our spouse works as well.

    Commune living sounds better and better as I type.

    [ Parent ]

    Save money, make you own food (none / 0) (#147)
    by nictamer on Wed Jul 09, 2003 at 05:36:17 AM EST

    Instead of buying prepackaged food, you buy the components if you have the time and not the money. It has several benefits:

    • It's amusing and relaxing to do, Fooling around with flour and eggs and stuff is amusing. And messy.
    • As it takes time between the moment you /want/ to eat and the moment you /actually/ eat, it makes eating less compulsory.
    • I find myself eating less when I make my own food.

    I understand it might be difficult to find raw food components in many places in the US, but to give you an example, I made pizzas last week:

    • 1kg flour, €0.35
    • 2kg tomatoes, €1.50
    • 1kg onions, €0.50
    • Anchovy, €1
    • Olives, €80
    • Cheese, €1
    • Some oil, spices, yeast

    With this I made about 5 large pizzas. I spent a couple hours making them but it was fun. The biggest expense probably was the energy price to heat the oven. Oh, and I can guarantee the amount of fat was very limited.


    --
    Religion is for sheep.
    [ Parent ]
    Better check those olives dude (none / 0) (#155)
    by sphealey on Wed Jul 09, 2003 at 12:25:56 PM EST

    Oh, and I can guarantee the amount of fat was very limited.
    Um, olive oil is said to be good for you in moderate qtys, but I think 80 euro worth of olives on 5 pizzas might be a bit past the point of moderation. Unless they were dammed expensive olives!

    sPh

    [ Parent ]

    Nice Utopia... (again) (none / 0) (#205)
    by ibsulon on Thu Jul 10, 2003 at 11:47:13 PM EST

    but after working overtime, I know the last thing I want to do is stand in line for 45 minutes at the grocery store (the lines are horrendous) and then spend another half hour waiting, snacking as I go along. (when you're single, you can't buy too much at a time...) Luckily, my roomate cooks a bit, so I find myself eating vegetarian more often :) -- And I cook more often now that I have an audience.

    [ Parent ]
    Labelling can sometimes be stupid (none / 0) (#106)
    by Quila on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 12:35:33 PM EST

    Really, do people really think an Oreo or a Twinkie is going to be in any way healthy for them?  I bet few people have looked at the packaging of Oreos and said "Man, these things are way high in fat and sugar. I'm not going to eat these!"

    Same thing with the fat girl suing McDonald's. She's been eating lunch there for years and she didn't think she'd get fat without some serious exercise to offset the Big Macs? Duh!

    Sometimes this agenda of saving people from themselves is annoying.

    [ Parent ]

    Misplaced anger... (5.00 / 2) (#110)
    by aziegler on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 12:45:14 PM EST

    I don't know of a "fat girl" suing McD's; I know of a "fat man" who was doing so. Frankly, he deserves to lose, because IMO the case is without merit. When I eat at a fast food restaurant, I make sure that the rest of the day's intake is less than normal. It's not exactly rocket science, and they do (now) make the nutritional information available in-store. (Should they be dinged for not having done so in the past? Perhaps.)

    That said, if you wanted something like an oreo cookie, you might see the "Low Fat Oreos" (in the green package) and assume that because it says "light", it's better for you. In fact, it's not -- it has almost the same number of calories, but in highly refined sugars instead of as much vegetable shortening.

    This is where the labeling is most problematic -- not for the "standard" foods, but the so-called "healthy" foods. Then again, most companies don't really want to tell you how many calories are in any of their foods. It's not actually a problem to have a candy bar -- if you know how many calories are in it and how much exercise (or intake reduction) you have to do. But when that information isn't available, the consumer cannot make an informed choice. (And, as a matter of fact, I do know people who have junk food, but limit their intake because they know how much they can afford on a daily basis.)

    -austin

    [ Parent ]

    This isn't about them... (4.00 / 1) (#114)
    by dipierro on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 12:53:10 PM EST

    I can count on one hand the number of twinkies I've eaten in my life. Oreos rank up a little higher, but it's still a product I've never actually bought. But I do eat margarine, and I have absolutely no idea if it's the kind with trans fats or not (is there a kind without trans fats). In fact, before reading this article I didn't even know much about trans fats, though I had heard something bad about "partially hydrogenated" somethingorother.

    If I die from the trans fats I eat, it's certainly largely my own fault. But at the same time, if the industry had cut the unnecessary trans fats out of the products, maybe my chances would be better. I don't know, I haven't done any research myself, but this article definately seems to suggest that that's the case.

    Now that I know about trans fats, I only have myself to blame, of course. I wish I could move to a wholly organic diet. It's too bad that winds up being so expensive and/or time consuming. Of course, it's the same problem with the food industries. Making food that's bad for you is cheaper. But the food industry should be forced to be honest about that, just as we should be honest with ourselves about it.



    [ Parent ]
    Margarines (none / 0) (#181)
    by dn on Wed Jul 09, 2003 at 11:27:50 PM EST

    is there a kind [of margarine] without trans fats
    Apparently yes. Not that I know how available they are or how much they cost. When I want something like that, I use real butter, in moderation.

        I ♥
    TOXIC
    WASTE

    [ Parent ]

    We'll see in 2006, I guess (none / 0) (#186)
    by dipierro on Thu Jul 10, 2003 at 03:35:48 AM EST

    Not that I know how available they are or how much they cost.

    I guess once these labelling laws take effect we'll find out.

    When I want something like that, I use real butter, in moderation.

    I don't like butter as much as margarine, personally.



    [ Parent ]
    And how much money does McDs spend on advertising? (none / 0) (#201)
    by rodgerd on Thu Jul 10, 2003 at 07:48:28 PM EST

    Billions inculcating children from preschool with they idea they should eat at McDonalds.  Here in New Zealand, McDonalds have hired a professional athlete to front a milti-million dollar TV campaign claiming McDonalds is healthy food with excellent nutritional qualities.

    This looks even worse when you consider that in some markets (such as Mexico) McDs voluntarily carry health warnings.

    If McDs want to maintain a multi-billion dollar worldwide spend to convince people to eat more of their crappy foods, then hell, yes, they deserve any shit they get if the consequences of people being suckered by that advertising is detrimental.

    The junk food industry is in the same position that Ford were with the Pinto in the 70s: they know they have a problem, and their tactics are to stall, obfuscate, and lie.

    [ Parent ]

    I don't believe so (none / 0) (#202)
    by alevin on Thu Jul 10, 2003 at 10:54:05 PM EST

    The parents should be looking out for their children, not the government.

    McDonald's didn't tell you to eat a Big Mac every day, it produced and marketed a product as anyone else does. You (the typical fat fast food eater, not you, greenrd) decided you liked it so much that damned be the consequences, you made it a staple of your diet. Now they have billions served, and the ad budget to keep those bacon strips rolling. And now you want the government to bail you out from your poor lifestyle choice for some laughable notion of 'justice,' and maybe to set (or continue?) a precedent to tell you let you know what is OK for you to do and not do in the future.

    Where will you stop with advocating prosecuting or suing makers of advertisements or goods for harm to society? Would you advocate a suit against Poland Spring for marketing an image of pure crystal bliss to people who drink down gallons of it and it spills out of their stomach and into their organs? Against alcohol manufacturers for marketing a fun night out with girls when someone gets into an accident or dies from alcohol withdrawal? Or is there a convenience to harms ratio that I'm ignoring here, or a minimum threshold of cases, so the dignified principle is that you can sue them only so long as the general populace can use their product blindly to satisfy their taste buds or make their lives easier, or their breasts firmer, without having to think that this behavior might not be a sound practice, when it turns out that this is not the case?

    It sounds to me like maybe you want the government to keep you in a neat little consumer bubble of a world where government serves to ensure you can go from one brick-and-mortar establishment to the next without having to think that the world is not here to serve you safe and risk-free entertainment and pleasure. Surely you know this isn't the principle of government. But maybe this isn't so in .NZia? I don't know, you tell me.
    --
    alevin
    [ Parent ]

    Money (5.00 / 1) (#215)
    by Quila on Sat Jul 12, 2003 at 05:39:16 AM EST

    Or is there a convenience to harms ratio that I'm ignoring here, or a minimum threshold of cases,

    It's only about where the money is. IIRC, the lawyer representing the girl was a lawyer on the tobacco suits. During the suits, he was asked if he was going to start suing the dairy, beef or other industries next. He said of course not; that stuff's different. There are no grounds to sue anyone but the tobacco companies...

    Appeasement does not work with extortionists. Just ask NASCAR about Jesse Jackson.

    [ Parent ]

    False Claims (none / 0) (#216)
    by Quila on Sat Jul 12, 2003 at 05:41:35 AM EST

    a milti-million dollar TV campaign claiming McDonalds is healthy food with excellent nutritional qualities.

    In America, this would be a case for the Federal Trade Commission, which investigates false claims in advertising. No need for a lawsuit.

    I wonder if these suits would still be brought if any winnings went to charity or medical research instead of the lawyer and the client.

    [ Parent ]

    You make an interesting point (4.00 / 2) (#118)
    by TheModerate on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 01:18:47 PM EST

    But I think you think too highly of most people. You see, people act primarily on instinct. People don't make the choice to become fat---rather, it is the hunger drive that is foremost on people's minds because it is one of the most dominant instincts in man (only perhaps sex and fear are more dominant). If you surround a person with all kinds of tasty-looking, good smelling food, it takes a strength of will for him to stop himself. And we have almost the same thing happening, with periodic fast-food commercials, and easily accessible restaurants at every corner in our towns---which is all designed to engage the hunger instinct.

    So if you have the wish to try to solve the problem of obesity, and you are in a position of authority, you must learn to treat people as a farmer does livestock. Make the healthy foods more accessible, make unhealthy foods inaccessible. Increase the prices on food in general so people will buy less food. Train people to avoid certain foods with conditioning and indoctrinate children in elementary school to prefer healthy meals.

    I see a lot of commercials on TV that are telling people that they can lose their weight with some simple program (hint to the deluded: money isn't going to make you skinny)---I am not sure if these are helping the obesity problem or not. On one hand, it is a constant reminder that they are overweight. But does this seriously cause people to lose weight? I'm unsure.

    "What a man has in himself is, then, the chief element in his happiness." -- Schopenhauer
    [ Parent ]

    Public health (5.00 / 1) (#182)
    by dn on Wed Jul 09, 2003 at 11:35:14 PM EST

    Make the healthy foods more accessible, make unhealthy foods inaccessible.
    I don't think that would necessarily help. Obesity is unhealthy no matter how it happens.
    Increase the prices on food in general so people will buy less food.
    I dislike that too. Even in the U.S., there are quite a few people who have trouble affording food.
    Train people to avoid certain foods with conditioning and indoctrinate children in elementary school to prefer healthy meals.
    Bingo! I think that approach will work best. When you're swimming in an endless sea of food, the only think that can save you are knowledge and habits.

    Of course, the teacher's unions and cola distributors own the elementary schools. What we need is ascetism in pill form.

        I ♥
    TOXIC
    WASTE

    [ Parent ]

    Culture (none / 0) (#139)
    by Evil Petting Zoo on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 05:32:02 PM EST

    While I agree with you that this problem is not entirely the industry's fault, it doesn't mean they don't share the responsibility for creating the problem. I believe that the industry's role on affecting our culture is what is most to blame for the current problem.

    Ask yourself how people choose which foods to eat. Availability is one factor, and the food industry has a large amount of control over this. But this alone is not the cause, because there are plenty of healthier alternatives available. Another factor is how the culture that people are exposed to views the choices available to them. It is in this case that I believe that the food industry has done the most harm.

    McDonalds is a great example of how the food industry affects culture. McDonalds is famous for offering "Happy Meals" for children. This both introduces fast food to children, but also influences parents to buy their children fast food. Furthermore, there are plenty of examples of McDonalds using product placements in children's movies. Is it surprising that many of these children grow up eatting McDonalds on a regular basis?

    Advertising is another area where the industry influences culture. One example, cited in a recent lawsuit, is from McDonalds and states:

    Meat and potatoes. Milk and Bread... Good, basic, nutritious food. Food that's been the foundation of well-balanced diets for generations. And will be for generations to come. That's what we're all about. (Source: Ashley Pelman, et al. vs McDonald's Corp., pages 18-19)

    This is just one example of claims made by McDonalds and other companies that try to influence thier products perception. These advertisments have become part of our culture (ex: "Where's the beef?"), and ever so subtly influence our decisions.

    This subtle influence, over time, becomes a major factor in our food choices. It is for this reason that I feel that the food industry needs some major changes. The industry needs to make changes to its advertisments, products, etc. to encourage healthier eatting habits.



    [ Parent ]
    It's not in the fat. . ! (3.37 / 8) (#79)
    by Fantastic Lad on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 09:25:10 AM EST

    I know a lot of fat people.

    At one time, I thought it was regional, but it's not. I've done a fair bit of travelling around America to both big cities and small towns. It's not regional. There are a lot of damned fat people all over the place.

    Now in some cases, it's a somewhat genetic disposition. --Guys who are active, don't drive, eat normal diets just end up looking like big strong black-smith types no matter what.

    Now, I say 'somewhat genetic', because in most cases, it's still releated to diet. They just tend to be predisposed to storing more fat on the same general diet that most people consume. I have seen such types lose a lot of weight fast simply by changing how they combine foods.

    Yes. Food Combining. That's pretty much the beginning and the end.

    The other big, big commonality between nearly all the fat people I know is that they combine the worst freeking foods imaginable.

    Pizza. Hamburgers. ANY combination of grains and animal protiens is automatically going to result in a very strained metabolic process, which in most cases, leads to fat build-up.

    You want to lose weight? It's easy.

    You think I'm joking?

    I watched my fat friend turn into a skinny guy in about two months eating half a packet of bacon for breakfast each morning. I'm not joking.

    Eat your animal protiens. Eat your Eggs and Chease. Sure. And eat your grains, too. BUT DON'T EAT THEM TOGETHER!!!! American Pizza is the dumbest food imaginable. There's a reason you feel like crap after you eat crappy food. Start listening to your body's complaints.

    Oh, and a little activity doesn't hurt. Get a bike or get some walking shoes and stop driving that nasty car everywhere.

    -FL

    translation service (2.50 / 2) (#80)
    by Battle Troll on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 09:33:29 AM EST

    I am so smart! All you dumb rednecks should live like me!

    On another note, America may be leading the world in obesity rates now, but this appears to be more a phenomenon of industrialization than of Americanism. Obesity rates in China, Turkey and Egypt are climbing dizzyingly fast.
    --
    Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
    Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
    [ Parent ]

    Yeah; (3.00 / 1) (#84)
    by ajduk on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 10:06:00 AM EST

    Us UKers are also doing our level best to catch up - our kids are starting to get Type-II diabeties too..

    [ Parent ]

    this just in (3.00 / 1) (#85)
    by Battle Troll on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 10:09:40 AM EST

    According to the Atlantic, 70% of Egyptian women are overweight or obese. Wow!
    --
    Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
    Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
    [ Parent ]
    I just came back from Egypt (1.00 / 1) (#103)
    by xutopia on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 12:21:04 PM EST

    and no they aren't.

    [ Parent ]
    I'm not saying you're a troll (none / 0) (#120)
    by Battle Troll on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 01:35:11 PM EST

    But I trust the Atlantic more than I trust you. Besides, overweight is a fairly easy category to get into.
    --
    Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
    Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
    [ Parent ]
    The Atlantic. . . (4.50 / 2) (#136)
    by Fantastic Lad on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 04:36:12 PM EST

    I just did a perusal of the Atlantic's website, read half a dozen of their stories, (including one entitled, "Media Mergers" which detailed their previous articles from as early as the sixties which spot-lighted causes for concern. --But which didn't say anything about today or their own immediate affiliation and ownership. Just that, "Look. We're on your side, because, see? We wrote about it four decades ago!" Lame.)

    I also particularly liked the story, "The Calculus of Terror," which deftly tried to spin sympathy for Israel and the draconian control measures unfolding in the US while appearing to maintain an aloof and subjective air.

    I'm not calling you a troll, but I'd certainly give my ear to an unknown poster on the web who claims to have visited Egypt, (if only to give his data stage time so that it may be added to the information stew pot where it will, if false, self-annihilate against other data, or if it corroborates, add to the expanding picture of reality), --rather than unthinkingly give my brain to a thinking-man's propaganda rag like the Atlantic.

    And in some ways, your paranoid 'translation' of my post was partly correct. In your case at any rate, I do think I am smarter than you.

    -FL

    [ Parent ]

    welp (2.80 / 5) (#141)
    by Battle Troll on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 06:02:53 PM EST

    Please defend your assertion that the Atlantic is a propaganda rag. It's not like we're talking about the Arbeiters Fraint here.
    I also particularly liked the story, "The Calculus of Terror," which deftly [emphasis mine] tried to spin sympathy for Israel and the draconian control measures unfolding in the US while appearing to maintain an aloof and subjective air.
    Well, obviously it wasn't deft enough for you. It must have been in the middle ground of deftness, convincing sheeple such as me while remaining a transparent ploy to those as fantastic as yourself; not that there are many, of course.

    I don't really know how I'm supposed to argue against you. Your case seems to be that J Random k5er is prima facie a more reliable source than the Atlantic, a very old and very reputable magazine, or even than the NGOs and other international entities cited in the report. I don't know you, and I don't mean to offend you, but you have done nothing to establish your own credibility, and frankly until you do so, you are running for the lunatic fringe.
    --
    Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
    Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
    [ Parent ]

    Credibility and journals. . . (5.00 / 2) (#145)
    by Fantastic Lad on Wed Jul 09, 2003 at 02:12:30 AM EST

    Please defend your assertion that the Atlantic is a propaganda rag. It's not like we're talking about the Arbeiters Fraint here.

    If you really can't see it, then you've got your work cut out for you, I would say! (Or perhaps you are being deliberately thick. I don't know.)

    Well, obviously it wasn't deft enough for you. It must have been in the middle ground of deftness, convincing sheeple such as me while remaining a transparent ploy to those as fantastic as yourself; not that there are many, of course.

    Oh, give the theatrics a fucking rest already. The editorial slant of the Atlantic, while cleverly achieved, is plain as day for anybody who is inclined to see and read and think for themselves. I called it 'deft' because the word craft is several degrees sharper than most of the garbage we see spewed from the media. The Atlantic is clearly designed to fool a specific demographic which is better trained in reading and writing than most, (but which is also I suspect, (in most cases), made up of people who feel the need to have their intellectual worthiness validated and approved of by a reigning common authority body of some sort.).

    As for your other curious responses. . . --You've indicated now twice an apparent belief that I write primarily in order to puff my own ego. Sorry. I don't play that game. I'm here to learn, share and hone my knowledge structure through networking. 'Fantastic Lad' is a handle which I deliberately created to sound completely over-the-top because I think brazen and undeserved arrogance is hilarious, and because it raises the hackles of people who are too serious, (which I also find amusing), but primarily because it forces me to stay sharp.

    I would, however, hazard a guess that in your case, you are maybe trying to interpret the intent behind my posts based on the language your own psyche is used to dealing in. One might call it, "Projection." But then, I'm no psychologist, so I don't really know what your issue is, and I don't really care.

    All I'm primarily saying in this case is that it's silly to discount any data without good reason. --I've read the Atlantic, and based on all I've learned, (and DO pardon me for having spent a few thousand hours learning about something others may not have; working to improve myself is not, I assure you, based on any ridiculous attempt to assault other people's senses of self-worth), to me it reads like yet another piece of propaganda.

    And no, I am not about to write you an essay proving the hows and wherefores that lead me to this conclusion, (which would require an interdisciplinary trot through a variety of side-subjects, up to an including the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.) --Particularly not for somebody who I suspect would be incredibly resistive to any sort of discussion which might be seen only as a win/lose kind of arrangement.

    The fellow who shared his experiences about Egypt may not be for real, and his observations may indeed be false. --But I'll certainly hold that data in mind until I meet the next couple of Egyptians in order that I might ask for their impressions. After I do that, I will have a larger sample of data and I will know a bit more and be another step closer to a full picture. --I will certainly be better off than somebody who rejects info simply because it doesn't come from a 'Very-Smart' Journal. If somebody tells me they've been to the actual place in question, then I am going to stop and bloody well listen! --It can't hurt. If the knowledge is false, it will eventually self-annihilate through networking and continued reading.

    Surely you can see the sense in that.

    -FL

    [ Parent ]

    oooOOOooo (3.50 / 2) (#159)
    by Battle Troll on Wed Jul 09, 2003 at 02:20:37 PM EST

    The editorial slant of the Atlantic, while cleverly achieved, is plain as day for anybody who is inclined to see and read and think for themselves.
    Editorial bias is no sin and does not of itself make something propaganda. Almost everything has some kind of bias - CNN, Al Jazeera, Linux users' groups, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, mimeographed survivalists' newsletters, popular fiction, and I presume whatever media it is that provides you your news. That's why we have the concept of reputable sources: publications that provide sources for to their evidence so that you can apply your own perspective to the material the publication addresses, and publications that have a reputation to defend, putting them under scrutiny. Is it perfect? No, I'm supposed to accept that it's propaganda simply because it offends against your politics. Well, excuuuuuse me.
    'Fantastic Lad' is a handle which I deliberately created to sound completely over-the-top because I think brazen and undeserved arrogance is hilarious...
    It's called a dry wit, chum.
    All I'm primarily saying in this case is that it's silly to discount any data without good reason. [emphasis mine.] --I've read the Atlantic, and based on all I've learned, (and DO pardon me for having spent a few thousand hours learning about something others may not have; working to improve myself is not, I assure you, based on any ridiculous attempt to assault other people's senses of self-worth), to me it reads like yet another piece of propaganda.
    Let's consider: it's silly to discount any data without good reason, but you don't feel obligated to discuss your reasons for dismissing the Atlantic; I have to take your conclusions on a faith which you am not willing to extend to my sources, much less the arguments I derive from them. Well, you've pretty much lost by now, but let's take up a final point:
    I will certainly be better off than somebody who rejects info simply because it doesn't come from a 'Very-Smart' Journal.
    Straw man: my grounds for rejection were total non-substantiation rather than non-publication in the Atlantic. Any source at all would have done better than the word of an anonymous stranger, who is possibly a troll and even if not, not likely to have done any studies on the Egyptian population.

    For those of you still following at home, that is game, set, and match to the Battle Troll! Arghh! Ugghh! Oh, and PS - your unnecessarily fancy prose style comes from overusing adjectives. Make the nouns and verbs do the work, Fantastic Lad.
    --
    Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
    Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
    [ Parent ]

    RE: oooOOOooo (none / 0) (#188)
    by Fantastic Lad on Thu Jul 10, 2003 at 06:03:29 AM EST

    For those of you still following at home, that is game, set, and match to the Battle Troll!

    Ehh, yeah.

    In your head, perhaps. (And this from the guy who was accusing me of arrogance.)

    While your country and the world burn down around your ears, you can calm your nerves by debating with yourself the finer points of what does and does not constitute propaganda. Read your magazine a little more closely and watch how things unfold so that. . .

    Oh, nevermind.

    Here's another gem which I am not going to waste [emphasis mine] an atom of energy bothering to validate, but which a part of you will, I suspect, recognize within yourself , (and I put in two scoops of extra adjectives for your reading pleasure!). . .

    "Your brand of prose and semantic contortion, (aside from leaving me both unconvinced and sea-sick), bears all the same markings, chum, of half a dozen guys I've known who sound just like you. --All of whom were carbon copies of the same stressed-out, frustrated & miserable intellect who, despite having tagged all the accepted corner stones of success he was promised would lead to happiness, still managed somehow to get lost, soul-sick and bitter along the road of life."

    --If I'm wrong, (and I hope I am), then many congratulations to you; you're one lucky man, 'cuz I'm usually spot on with this stuff.

    Whatever the case, the mountain is all yours, Battle Troll. I'm gone.

    -FL

    [ Parent ]

    if you don't want to substantiate your argument (none / 0) (#193)
    by Battle Troll on Thu Jul 10, 2003 at 10:17:25 AM EST

    Then you're bringing a knife to a gunfight, my good man. You're clearing the way for the people who care enough to make their argument convincing, whether or not it's right. Apparently my brand of street theatre has failed to teach you that. Perhaps I'm to blame somehow. But you'll have to convince me.
    --
    Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
    Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
    [ Parent ]
    So what? (4.50 / 2) (#195)
    by gzt on Thu Jul 10, 2003 at 12:21:21 PM EST

    Yeah, so what if it's propaganda? Are you really saying you trust anecdotal evidence from an unknown source who views the world through the lens of his own biases [not to mention the observation selection effects!] over a well-known magazine which views the world through the lens of its editorial biases but picks their statistics from at least vaguely reputable sources? Granted, the Atlantic may have an interest in inflating Egyptian female obesity figures, and Unknown K5 Man may have an interest in objectively measuring the obesity of a representative sample of Egyptian females, and therefore one can be slightly skeptical of the results, but you're being absurd.

    Being propaganda [which is what all pieces making an argument are] by no means invalidates the data used in the argument. Yeah, they're going to choose data helpful to their argument and probably ignore data contrary to it. Whoop-de-doo.

    This is the last I'll say on the issue.

    cheers,
    gzt
    PS can you believe that guy really trusts anecdotal evidence? jiminy christmas.

    [ Parent ]

    Egyptian Women Overweight (none / 0) (#137)
    by aziegler on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 04:43:29 PM EST

    A Google search ("egypt overweight") came up with a PDF report (as HTML) that noted that 55% of Egyptian mothers were overweight (this was the first item). Looking for "egypt obesity" came up with a different report (last item, first page, as HTML) .

    -austin

    [ Parent ]

    Mmmm pizza. (none / 0) (#102)
    by MalcolmCleaton on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 12:13:35 PM EST

    Eat your animal protiens. Eat your Eggs and Chease. Sure. And eat your grains, too. BUT DON'T EAT THEM TOGETHER!!!! American Pizza is the dumbest food imaginable.

    You may be right. But that doesn't explain why reading your comment makes me want to go eat a ton of pizza.

    Thanks,
    Malcolm.



    [ Parent ]
    I used to do food combining... (none / 0) (#104)
    by krkrbt on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 12:22:48 PM EST

    generally ate 2-3 meals a day.. One would be carbohydrate/grain based, and I'd always be hungry afterwards.  Always.  One day I was surfing around the internet, and saw a link to Dr. Mercola's site, and the reason why hit me like a 2x4 upside the head (because I'd heard the reason before, it just didn't sink in the first two times):  Grains/carbohydrates are incapable of satiating the hunger response.  So I stopped eating cereal/pasta/anything-high-carb, and stick to proteins and fats for the majority of my calories.  And now I'm much happier.

    [ Parent ]
    Definitely genetic (5.00 / 2) (#115)
    by TheModerate on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 01:02:36 PM EST

    A lot of people can eat virtually anything they want, and never gain weight. For others, they have to cut down to eating far less than the usual serving sizes even to maintain weight.

    For those of you who think, as I once did, that the fat people are the ones who don't care about their bodies, while the skinny people are the ones who figure out how to live an active lifestyle, its simply not true.

    Perhaps the most dangerous trend I see is in oversimplifying these important issues.

    "What a man has in himself is, then, the chief element in his happiness." -- Schopenhauer
    [ Parent ]

    Wrong - it is very regional (5.00 / 2) (#162)
    by GooseKirk on Wed Jul 09, 2003 at 03:38:16 PM EST

    Try traveling outside North America.

    Notice two things: the lack of obesity and the freshness of the food. Hey, suppose maybe there's some kind of link?

    Even the greasiest third-world spoon has better food than most Americans eat, and you'll notice it in the taste. They don't eat industrialized food-service crap.

    I know jack about food combining - if it works for people, then great, whatever. And it is true that when traveling, I'm exercising more by walking places and just generally being more active. But it seems like I eat a lot more when I travel, too, and I still always lose weight. I think it's partly the food itself.

    I recently returned from only two weeks in South America with really good abs (a pleasant surprise) and none of my pants fit. I was unfortunate to return to the US via a stop in Dallas, where the culture shock is most obvious - Americans in general look like overfed, stumbling, half-witted, vacant-eyed cows. It ain't right. First-world, my fucking ass. I think diet's a big part of the problem.

    Now, a month later, even with hitting the gym and trying to be more mindful of food, the flab is already slowly returning around my waist. And the food still mostly tastes bland and gross. And I'm not even talking about fast food, which I avoid.

    I'm not saying that our corporate, industrialized diet is 100% to blame. Obviously, there are many variables. But goddamn, there is definitely something wrong with what Americans eat.

    Me, I'm going back to the third world, where things are more civilized. Go friggin' figure.

    [ Parent ]

    Oreos (3.50 / 4) (#81)
    by sakusha on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 09:33:33 AM EST

    Funny you should mention Oreos. Long ago I saw a Phil Donahue show where they revealed the recipes for brand name products, or at least as close as they could reverse engineer them. They showed how to make Oreos, the filling was made by folding powdered sugar into lard. That's right, Oreo filling is 100% lard and sugar.

    I thought that was obvious? (3.50 / 2) (#89)
    by LittleZephyr on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 10:23:07 AM EST

    I mean it tastes like sweet fried chicken.
    (\♥/) What if instead of posting that comment,
    (0.-) you had actually taken a knife and stabbed
    ("_") me in the eye? You murderer. ~ Rusty

    [ Parent ]
    Not lard any longer... (4.00 / 3) (#93)
    by aziegler on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 10:45:53 AM EST

    It's now vegetable shortening, which isn't any better, and likely contains TFAs, but they're now "vegetarian friendly."

    -austin

    [ Parent ]

    Not lard (3.50 / 2) (#149)
    by epepke on Wed Jul 09, 2003 at 07:25:43 AM EST

    It's basically Crisco. The mixture of sugar and Crisco is also known as Kreme.

    If it were lard, Oreos would taste a lot better.


    The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


    [ Parent ]
    well yeah... (none / 0) (#168)
    by /dev/trash on Wed Jul 09, 2003 at 05:53:46 PM EST

    In some batches I could taste the lard.

    ---
    Updated 6/29/2003
    Summer Tour!
    [ Parent ]
    You can have my twinkie... (3.00 / 4) (#88)
    by RyoCokey on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 10:19:15 AM EST

    When you pry it from my cold, dead fingers.



    The troops returning home are worried. "We've lost the peace," men tell you. "We can't make it stick." - John Dos Passos
    twinkie? (3.00 / 2) (#90)
    by demi on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 10:25:37 AM EST

    Heh, what about Hostess fruit pies (especially the coconut creme ones)? I'm pretty sure that those, along with Slim Jims, came directly from the Kitchen of the Beast.

    [ Parent ]
    Obligitory Hostess Fruit Pies Link (3.50 / 2) (#92)
    by LittleZephyr on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 10:27:20 AM EST

    http://seanbaby.com/hostess.htm
    (\♥/) What if instead of posting that comment,
    (0.-) you had actually taken a knife and stabbed
    ("_") me in the eye? You murderer. ~ Rusty

    [ Parent ]
    Diet + exercise = advertising (3.40 / 5) (#105)
    by IHCOYC on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 12:30:37 PM EST

    There is a reason why this kind of research is so well funded and so well publicised in the United States. Keeping people worried about threats to their health from the packaged foods that everybody eats anyways because our economy makes sure we don't have time nor energy for aught else means that you can charge higher prices for the same or even adulterated foods!

    Skim the cream from the milk and then tell 'em it's better for them. Replace the meat with textured soy protein, and then tell them you've reduced fat and calories. This is a marketing plan that has been around for decades, and publishing this sort of material is all a part of the ad campaign.
     --
    Quod sequitur, sicut serica lucis albissima tingere rogant;
    Quod sequitur, totum devorabit.

    To companies: Don't change! (2.00 / 3) (#109)
    by Quila on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 12:41:46 PM EST

    If they drop the fats, then they'll only be admitting that they weren't good for you. No use handing the ambulance chasers any more ammunition.

    Subsequent Remedial Measures (4.75 / 4) (#128)
    by David Hume on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 02:25:38 PM EST


    If they drop the fats, then they'll only be admitting that they weren't good for you. No use handing the ambulance chasers any more ammunition.
    You have just raised the issue addressed by Federal Rule of Evidence 407, which provides:
    Rule 407. Subsequent Remedial Measures

    When, after an injury or harm allegedly caused by an event, measures are taken that, if taken previously, would have made the injury or harm less likely to occur, evidence of the subsequent measures is not admissible to prove negligence, culpable conduct, a defect in a product, a defect in a product's design, or a need for a warning or instruction.
    See http://www.courtrules.org/r407subs.htm

    The official Notes of the Advisory Committee on Rules for Rule 407 states:
    Notes of Advisory Committee on Rules.

    The rule incorporates conventional doctrine which excludes evidence of subsequent remedial measures as proof of an admission of fault. The rule rests on two grounds. (1) The conduct is not in fact an admission, since the conduct is equally consistent with injury by mere accident or through contributory negligence. Or, as Baron Bramwell put it, the rule rejects the notion that "because the world gets wiser as it gets older, therefore it was foolish before." Hart v. Lancashire & Yorkshire Ry. Co., 21 L.T.R. N.S. 261, 263 (1869). Under a liberal theory of relevancy this ground alone would not support exclusion as the inference is still a possible one. (2) The other, and more impressive, ground for exclusion rests on a social policy of encouraging people to take, or at least not discouraging them from taking, steps in furtherance of added safety. The courts have applied this principle to exclude evidence of subsequent repairs, installation of safety devices, changes in company rules, and discharge of employees, and the language of the present rules is broad enough to encompass all of them. See Falknor, Extrinsic Policies Affecting Admissibility, 10 Rutgers L.Rev. 574, 590 (1956).

    The second sentence of the rule directs attention to the limitations of the rule. Exclusion is called for only when the evidence of subsequent remedial measures is offered as proof of negligence or culpable conduct. In effect it rejects the suggested inference that fault is admitted. Other purposes are, however, allowable, including ownership or control, existence of duty, and feasibility of precautionary measures, if controverted, and impeachment. 2 Wigmore § 283; Annot., 64 A.L.R.2d 1296. Two recent federal cases are illustrative. Boeing Airplane Co. v. Brown, 291 F.2d 310 (9th Cir. 1961), an action against an airplane manufacturer for using an allegedly defectively designed alternator shaft which cuased a plane crash, upheld the admission of evidence of subsequent design modification for the purpose of showing that design changes and safeguards were feasible. And Powers v. J. B. Michael & Co., 329 F.2d 674 (6th Cir. 1964), an action against a road contractor for negligent failure to put out warning signs, sustained the admission of evidence that defendant subsequently put out signs to show that the portion of the road in question was under defendant's control. The requirement that the other purpose be controverted calls for automatic exclusion unless a genuine issue be present and allows the opposing party to lay the groundwork for exclusion by making an admission. Otherwise the factors of undue prejudice, confusion of issues, misleading the jury, and waste of time remain for consideration under Rule 403.

    For comparable rules, see Uniform Rule 51; California Evidence Code § 1151; Kansas Code of Civil Procedure § 60-451; New Jersey Evidence Rule 51.
    See http://www.courtrules.org/n407.htm
    The is-ought problem.
    [ Parent ]
    Thank you very much (none / 0) (#156)
    by Quila on Wed Jul 09, 2003 at 01:37:41 PM EST

    This is why I want to go to law school.

    Do you think a judge can keep their remedial actions from influncing the jury? Do we just need a jury that hasn't watched any news at all? Voire dire is going to be interesting.

    [ Parent ]

    Limitation on subsequent remedial measures rule. (none / 0) (#171)
    by David Hume on Wed Jul 09, 2003 at 07:44:40 PM EST


    Do you think a judge can keep their remedial actions from influncing the jury? Do we just need a jury that hasn't watched any news at all? Voire dire is going to be interesting.
    It is important to recognize that subsequent remedial measures are inadmissible only "to prove negligence, culpable conduct, a defect in a product, a defect in a product's design, or a need for a warning or instruction." See Fed. R. Evid. 407, http://www.courtrules.org/r407subs.htm

    As the Advisory Committee on Rules observed:
    Other purposes are, however, allowable, including ownership or control, existence of duty, and feasibility of precautionary measures, if controverted, and impeachment.
    See http://www.courtrules.org/n407.htm

    Thus, the food industry could not successfully reduce the type of fat at issue and then, when sued for "pre-reduction" fatty foods, argue that such reduction was not feasible, and hope to exclude under Rule 407 the evidence that they had in fact reduced the amount of such fat.

    Where the food industry might get in trouble, and might regret having reduced the amount of fat at issue, is on the issue of duty. As the Advisory Committee Notes, evidence of subsequent remedial measures is not inadmissible under Rule 407 when it is introduced to prove the existence of a duty of care.

    Also note that just because evidence is not inadmissible under Rule 407 (or the state equivilent) does not mean the evidence is not excludible under some other rule. For example, as the Advisory Committee on Rules indicates, even if the evidence is not inadmissible under Rule 407, it may still be inadmissible under Rule 403 because its probative value would outweighted by the danger of undue prejudice, confusion of issues, misleading the jury, and waste of time.


    The is-ought problem.
    [ Parent ]
    Courtrules.org (none / 0) (#190)
    by Quila on Thu Jul 10, 2003 at 07:17:59 AM EST

    I think I just found my second favorite legal web site, next to findlaw.com.

    [ Parent ]
    The problem is not only what you eat but.... (4.00 / 4) (#112)
    by xutopia on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 12:47:26 PM EST

    how your life style changes your metabolism.

    If you try diets to loose weight you temporarily eat less food. Your body does what it knows to do in time of scarce food which is to lower your metabolism. Once you start eating what you normally eat again your body only uses what the slower metabolism can handle and stores what it can above that as fat.

    This is one factor but the second most important factor IMHO is how much your activities affect your metabolism. A recent study I can't seem to find shows a link between geography and percentage of obesity. I can't seem to find the study but it showed that people that lived in cities, used public transportation and walked a lot more than people in the suburbs were much less obese. In the suburb the study concluded, more people only walked from house to car <> car to work/store whereas in the cities people walked a lot more to get places.

    In the US and Canada there is way more obesity than any country in the world and although we are seeing obesity growing in other countries it seems to correlate nicely with how many cars are being sold.

    So the solution is not to diet but to take public transportation and walk to the corner store instead of taking the car.


    Dieting (3.50 / 2) (#143)
    by alevin on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 06:33:23 PM EST

    Is not such a feasible option for health. As you pointed out, the weight tends not to stay off. A long-term change in eating habits and physical activity is ideal for health benefits and weight loss.
    --
    alevin
    [ Parent ]
    definately (none / 0) (#207)
    by ItchyNell on Fri Jul 11, 2003 at 08:58:07 AM EST

    way too emphasis is put on what we eat, and not what we do.  i know a lot of people (athletes) who could eat shit and garbage all day but stay healthy because of all the good activity they're always up to.

    [ Parent ]
    They are both important (none / 0) (#211)
    by alevin on Fri Jul 11, 2003 at 09:46:29 PM EST

    way too emphasis is put on what we eat, and not what we do. i know a lot of people (athletes) who could eat shit and garbage all day but stay healthy because of all the good activity they're always up to.

    I'd say it's the other way around -- a healthy diet can produce more significant benefits in health than a healthy exercise regimen. Certainly they're both good, and together they're optimal. I practice caloric restriction[1] for maximum longevity and health benefits, and I like to take a long walk a few times a week.

    I wouldn't be so sure about the athletes' apparent health proving anything, athletes seem to me to be more bred for physical intensity for a certain period of time than an example of what your average human should live up to. That athlete may be eating too much trans-fatty acid, or neurotoxins in french fries and pizza, just 'cause he can get away with it as far as his waistline, and the effects could show up in other areas of life or years down the road. Certainly they exhibit healthy behavior in some areas, but you wouldn't take the fat man who sits on his ass all day but eats only fruit and pasta to discourage you from either of those.

    1. Does anyone else see my post at the top level of this story? #54, I posted it, it shows up on the 2nd page of my comments history, but I don't see it on this article. And it was missing long before the site went down.
    --
    alevin
    [ Parent ]

    food in the US vs the rest of the world (4.28 / 7) (#113)
    by asad on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 12:51:22 PM EST

    If you travel outside of the US you will have a very hard time finding obese people at the 300+ range and yet even here in CA land of health nuts you will see that on a regular basis.  
    The biggest culprit IMO is soda, every time I see a obese person in the checkout line at the supermarket they have a few bottles of soda with them.  The other is fast food, as fast food is expanding in the rest of the world so are the health problems associated with being fat.  There was a report about how people living in taiwan have started to have more and more heart problems because of the amount of fast food they consume.
    It's amazing how much time/money people will put into diet fads and gadgets but most of them are unwilling to give up the lifestyle that got them in trouble in the first place.

    exercise is the key. (4.00 / 1) (#154)
    by Work on Wed Jul 09, 2003 at 11:41:08 AM EST

    While fast food is a convenient scapegoat, you can eat as much of it as you want, provided you get up off your ass and do some physical work.

    Much of the world is beginning to live a more modern and relaxed life - less hard physical labor is required to survive or live well.

    I personally have no problem with stopping by wendys and getting a greasy double cheeseburger every once in awhile, or drinking several sodas a day. I'm still a skinny bastard. But I do walk nearly everywhere, to the tune of several miles a day. I bet if those 300 lb people took a mile long walk 3 times a week, they'd cut down to under 250 or less pretty quick.

    [ Parent ]

    Other countries (5.00 / 2) (#180)
    by gombeen man on Wed Jul 09, 2003 at 11:21:11 PM EST

    Amercians may be the fattest people but its only a question of time before other countries get that way too. Here in Ireland the average weight of an Irish person is 16 pounds heavier than in 1990. Even the famously svelte french are starting to get a bit tight in their trousers. http://www.guardian.co.uk/france/story/0,11882,981878,00.html Youre definetly right about soda, its a major cause of being overweight. And its such a part of american culture. I always drink water and when Im in the USA waitresses shun me because they think Im drinking water because Im cheap. When in fact its because, being foreign, I dont have this need for highly concentrated sugar with my food.

    [ Parent ]
    I tend to agree (4.00 / 1) (#185)
    by Phelan on Thu Jul 10, 2003 at 03:03:57 AM EST

    I have lost 60 lbs in 3 months, primarily by cutting sodas (and big macs) out of my diet. Other than that, my diet and exercize regimen hasn't really changed at all.

    [ Parent ]
    Soda? (none / 0) (#200)
    by CaptainSuperBoy on Thu Jul 10, 2003 at 05:01:16 PM EST

    I have a hard time believing that in the land of double quarter pounders, french fries, and bloomin' onions, the soda is to blame. Aren't there far unhealthier, and likelier, candidates than the soda?

    --
    jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
    [ Parent ]
    Yes... (none / 0) (#225)
    by ajduk on Mon Jul 14, 2003 at 08:21:08 AM EST

    Calories in Coca-Cola.

    For an average person, just 4 cans a day would be giving you something like 600 calories, entirely from sugar, and with no appetite satisfaction. Indeed, the sugar highs/lows will make you hungry instead. Going to diet versions instead it probably the easiest thing you can do to start dieting.

    [ Parent ]

    Does anyone witness a new healthy eating morality? (4.40 / 5) (#122)
    by TheModerate on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 01:46:37 PM EST

    Or perhaps I am witnessing it now. So many replies to this article seem to be speaking about food in a moral way---even denigrating and putting down the new immoralists: fat people.

    But do you see this new morality becoming more widespread? I can't say for sure, right now, but it seems to be becoming less of a social risk to be caught dieting and running on the side of the road instead of driving, to count calories and buy salads at fast-food restraunts.

    Are we finally adapting to our new environment?---urban city dwellers or suburban commuters with lots of money but no time.

    "What a man has in himself is, then, the chief element in his happiness." -- Schopenhauer

    Not morality (5.00 / 2) (#142)
    by alevin on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 06:14:11 PM EST

    Usually people try to eat better for the health benefits of it, and to feel better. I suppose there are some religious folk that feel it's wrong to overeat (gluttony), but that probably isn't anything new.

    Rather than healthy eating becoming more widespread, overweight and obesity are steadily on the rise in the United States, and other cultures worldwide, who have traditionally had extremely healthy eating habits, are adopting our manner of eating.

    Certainly any segment that is focusing on health and eating more healthy is less than offsetting the growing trend of living a sedentary lifestyle in which people gorge themselves on fast food and similar tasty but unhealthy foods from the grocery store, fast food outlets, and delivery. If dieting wasn't looked as highly upon 50 years ago as it is now, it's probably because people weren't grossly overweight.

    Even today, if you are overweight, and diet, or even try to lower the amounts of fast food or pizza you eat, you are often met with disbelief and concern. You don't want a chicken club, biggie fries, and large frosty? No pizza?! Not gorging yourself for very temporary pleasure at the expense of anything resembling sound health? People actually express worry at this. It just shows how little deviation from the trends of the cultural norm are accepted. They can change over time, and that's what we can hope for, but for now, with the tide not in our favor, we can take care of ourselves.
    --
    alevin
    [ Parent ]

    No one ever went broke. . . (none / 0) (#150)
    by IHCOYC on Wed Jul 09, 2003 at 07:33:29 AM EST

    . . . selling a new "virtue" based on abstinence or bodily purity to Americans.
     --
    Quod sequitur, sicut serica lucis albissima tingere rogant;
    Quod sequitur, totum devorabit.

    [ Parent ]
    Yeah (none / 0) (#184)
    by alevin on Thu Jul 10, 2003 at 01:54:46 AM EST

    Just look at the food and drug (both licit and illicit) markets in America for proof. Not a penny to be made there, been steadily decreasing in viability for decades now.
    --
    alevin
    [ Parent ]
    fast food salads (4.33 / 3) (#153)
    by Work on Wed Jul 09, 2003 at 11:36:15 AM EST

    saw an interesting thing on cnn the other day...those salads they sell often have more calories than a hamburger as a result of all the toppings the load onto them.

    [ Parent ]
    A link ... (5.00 / 1) (#140)
    by nurallen on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 05:41:28 PM EST

    Here is a link to a very good article in the Scientific American on the latest on food research and redesigning the food pyramid.

    Dumb Danes (3.50 / 2) (#175)
    by theElectron on Wed Jul 09, 2003 at 10:23:41 PM EST

    Denmark has gone one step further and has set a statutory maximum on the quantity of trans fats a food may contain.

    I'm all for empowering consumers to make good decisions, but in the end isn't it ultimately the *consumer's* decision?

    Or is that too much responsibility--do you need government to step in and make the decision for you?

    ... don't tell me -- it's to keep down the cost of a socialized healthcare system, right? Oy!...

    --
    Join the NRA!

    Consumer's Decision (4.00 / 2) (#187)
    by baron samedi on Thu Jul 10, 2003 at 05:03:01 AM EST

    I'm all for empowering consumers to make good decisions, but in the end isn't it ultimately the *consumer's* decision?

    For a short answer: yes

    However, the issue of choice is nullified by the ubiquitousness of the presence of these chemicals in our food.

    If it were up to most of us, I think, we would choose more natural foods. I think we'd be willing to forego the longer shelf lives that trans fats provide, if it meant that our snack food choices were better for us than previously.

    I think that this is the market in motion. People realize that these fats are not good for us, and so the market responds in kind.

    Boy, I love the markets when it works like this. It takes time, but it reinforces much about what I have come to understand as market forces. There is is the factor of informed public opinion, and when it acts, it acts in the way we would like it to.

    A pity that other spheres are immune to our practicalities as this one is.

    I speak as one who is a part of the US society.
    "Hands that help are better by far than lips that pray."- Robert G. Ingersoll
    [ Parent ]

    Maybe that was tried once (none / 0) (#212)
    by TheModerate on Fri Jul 11, 2003 at 10:28:11 PM EST

    "Or is that too much responsibility--do you need government to step in and make the decision for you?"

    I can't cite any historical details, but imagine that the whole "people having their own responsibility and making all their own decisions" was tried once, but failed. Maybe that is why government occured in the first place---because most people are simply incapable of the task. Lets put it the other way, if people were capable of making their own decisions, how could government first rise up in the first place?

    Yeah, I know its off-topic, but I think its interesting.

    "What a man has in himself is, then, the chief element in his happiness." -- Schopenhauer
    [ Parent ]

    Personal responsibility (4.00 / 2) (#213)
    by alevin on Fri Jul 11, 2003 at 11:40:12 PM EST

    Government was instituted to protect property rights, the person of the elite few, and power of those instituting the government, AFAIK. Through the times, it has changed, with the first two being extended to most all classes of people, and the latter being extended as well.

    I believe the United States government was created to protect the rights of all the country's inhabitants that were considered worthy of protection. Hence things like murder and robbery were illegal. Certain religions were not, certain beliefs and attitudes were not, certain lifestyles were not.

    While the founding fathers did not hold the intelligence of the population in high regard, they placed utmost respect on their right to live their lives as they saw fit. Today, that principle is being somewhat eroded with government programs to we plan for our retirement funds, to prohibit intake of certain substances, to make sure we come upon no harm in as many cases as possible. This is certainly not what government was instituted for. We are talking about two kinds of personal responsibility (though still related) with different consequences when we discuss government. People don't want to take responsibility in either case. The first kind is where you walk up to your neighbor, shoot him, and take his land. This kind of kind merits that you be held responsible for infringing upon the rights of another, and face the consequences of your actions -- justice. Seeing that justice carried out is a legitimate role of government. The other kind is where you take responsibility for an action affecting yourself. You eat pizza for lunch three times a week, and McDonald's Egg McMuffins for breakfast every weekday 'cause you love it. Personal responsibility in this case means you accept the consequences of your actions upon yourself. No one's rights were infringed; someone offered you a product and you took him up on the deal. Over and over, until you got fat. If you want to reduce your weight and improve your health, it is up to you to do so, and is no one else's responsibility -- not McDonalds', not the pizzeria's, not the government. You have to decline to eat that Egg McMuffin all those mornings 'cause you know it's bad for you.

    You can see how in both cases people want to avoid responsibility, either by denying it outright, or when that fails, trying to shift it onto someone else. Allowing government to shift responsbility onto another because one doesn't want to exercise it is what does fail, not the concept of personal responsibility itself. The concept itself is unavoidable. You don't brush your teeth, you may get cavities. You don't take care of a wound, you may get an infection. You don't eat healthy, you may become overweight and run a higher risk of cancer and heart disease. You do drugs, you may get brain damage/lung cancer/liver cancer. When people allow government to shift responsibility because they don't want to handle it, the outcome is as good as suing food makers for dental bills and requiring all food to be tooth-friendly, suing the owner of a store for medical expenses for a wound and cushioning all sidewalk, and suing alcohol/tobacco/illicit drug vendors for medical expenses and suffering and restricting/banning substances. You're just creating a net to let people think it's legitimate to shift personal responsibility, and trying to create an ultra-safe society. It doesn't work, either. See Social Security, the government war on poverty, the government war on drugs, and, in this example, the government's own horrendously flawed, U.S. Department of Agriculture's food pyramid guidelines, which was made to propagate throughout every government branch as the definitive guide to what every American should eat -- even the public schools. It's quite possible that food pyramid even contributed to the rise in obesity. So stop abdicating personal responsibility; suing McDonald's won't make you healthy, nor will asking the government to require manufacturers to label your foods. It's not a principle that works.

    Don't expect that McDonalds is here to serve your health. Don't be fooled by their "service with a smile" tagline. They're out to sell you a calorie-loaded Big Mac that clogs your arteries when you're hungry 'cause you like it. Don't expect the tobacco manufacturers to offer you a way to inhale burning plant matter in a pleasurable fashion that somehow does no harm to your lungs. Despite the rise of governments among men, to protect them against direct harms from one another, and the rise of industry that allows you to live your life within a framework of aesthetically-pleasing logos, signs, and brick-and-mortar establishments, and that sees you get more and more of your information and perspective of the world from the same two institutions, they are not out to benefit you directly, much less ensure your continual safety and health. If you want those things, as you should, expend the extra effort necessary to learn what they require, and seek them for your own self.
    --
    alevin
    [ Parent ]

    Consider pragmatism (5.00 / 2) (#220)
    by TheModerate on Sat Jul 12, 2003 at 08:34:42 PM EST

    While I definitely appreciate your post about responsibility and rights, I think there is a contrary position that you should consider seriously. I must call what you just wrote the principled approach. That is, you seem to be arguing in terms of first principles---somewhere behind your arguments are a set of ethical axioms that you hold as absolutely true. Like you say that the purpose of government is to ensure everyone's rights and to carry out justice. This seems to be held as axiomic to you---its a first principle. If I asked you why that is the purpose of government, you can't really say why. Indeed, what are our rights anyway? You could name some examples of our rights, but who is to say that you have the correct list? Some rights at least sound like they are self-evident, but what about some of the great controversies of our time? Do fetuses have the right to life? Do animals have the right not to suffer unnecessary cruelty? Should prisoners have the right to vote? Here, your principles become uncertain, and to affirm or deny any of these rights ends up being a question of opinion and not principles.

    So when the principled approach fails, you are then forced to find a different method of argument, one of pragmatism. You might say that this certain list of principles has shown to cause a just and stable government and the nation it serves. But notice how the two approaches are opposites, the principled approach deals with causes, beginnings, and first principles, the pragmatic approach deals with ends and effects. The principled approach argues in terms mental constructs, since certainly no principle or definition exists in reality, they are just constructs we use to reason about things. The pragmatic approach, however, is grounded in reality. It shows itself to work in the real world.

    So the question becomes that when you use the pragmatic approach when the principled approach fails, why use the principled approach at all? What use is this construct of personal responsibility when the majority of Americans are obese? If drug laws keep more people from using recreational drugs, then what is wrong with it?

    In effect, the principled approach is no better than arguing based on divine command, for at least the Christians and some other religions have a basis for their principles: saying "Because God says so" is still better than only answering "Well, I don't really have a basis for my principles, I just think they are true."

    Please note that I don't take the pragmatic approach myself, but I find the arguments it makes very compelling that I think it would do you good for your honesty and sense of reason to either find the flaw or incorporate some the pragmatic arguments into your own theory.

    "What a man has in himself is, then, the chief element in his happiness." -- Schopenhauer
    [ Parent ]

    The nature of government does not allow that (3.00 / 1) (#221)
    by alevin on Sun Jul 13, 2003 at 03:40:56 AM EST

    You have a point insofar as there are no "true" rights and roles of men and governments.

    I would argue that the idea of personal responsibility, defined as one taking full account for one's own choices, actions, and behaviors, not forcing someone else to shoulder the necessary actions to ensure one's own well-being, is not so much an /ethical/ axiom as an axiom of how modern society can work effectively. The cases I demonstrated show how this applies to government, and further, I think that using simple pragmatism is an unattainable ideal when using government as a medium to acheive it.

    You say it would be grand for no one to do drugs, and enlist government to enforce this, while you ignore the nature of both men and governments. Men will do as they will. Even if you had a noble aim (and I don't consider restricting personal behavior arbitrarily to be one), government is not suited to carry out this end. Government will seek to expand its power over men for the interests of those who legislate and hold power. The so-called War on Drugs has not decreased drug usage despite a budget on the order of $40 billion a year to combat it. Instead, government does far more harms to society than it solves, both in human and economic terms. Innumerable people die each year from the harms of Prohibition, including from the activities of organized crime that has taken large hold of the illicit drug market that is a top 10 market worldwide, and the toxic adulterants added to some drugs whose presence is attributable to the conditions of Prohibition. And in the United States, we have nearly 800,000 drug offenders in jail. Meanwhile, the two most harmful and deadly commonly used drugs in use in the U.S. today are not only legal, but subsidized by the same government that purports to be seeking the welfare of its people. Not to mention the millions coerced and misled onto neuroleptics, another drug with the backing of both government and industry, that has been shown to cause irreversible brain damage in large numbers of cases, and even death. Your ends have not been acheived through the WoD. Rather, society has come upon far more harm than good.

    Government and industry seek out their own ends, while individuals do the same for themselves. Trying to shift responsibility away from the individual onto the two aforementioned institutions will only result in suffering of the individual. It will cause the people to expect that the industry's offerings of 'low-fat' or 'non-trans-fatty-acid' offerings are a gesture of concern or good will, and may attribute more good motives to the industry than they deserve, or, perhaps more likely, will just cease to learn or seek good nutrition for themselves, as they are led to believe it is being provided for them, when all the industry is really doing is creating a sense for them that they are eating right at any particularly outlet, and getting their business. Similar things can be said for the Food Pyramid endorsed by, and even mandated within the Federal Government, which was a scientifically unsound recommendation, the composition of which seems to have been influenced in large part by agricultural business interests.

    There is no reason to expect that it is safe to assume that either government or industry will look out for our interests. In fact, evidence is to the contrary in the large majority of cases, and when they do try to protect our safety, it is very often (almost always, in the case of government) a misguided attempt. We would be far better off encouraging a mindset wherein individuals decide for themselves what drugs to, based on their merits, and research and formulate a diet that fits their own needs, and let industry attempt to adapt to meet that market, rather than relying on either for guidance or protection.

    Further, I would say the construct of rights as some inherent grant from a Creator or nature, while an appealing idea, does not seem to manifest itself in any evidence available to us, but rather the people ensuring that the government respect a certain limit beyond which it does not meddle in the affairs of the people (similar effect as a system of rights), and encouraging the same to maintain a high level of responsibility in life, is in fact the pragmatic way to do things.
    --
    alevin
    [ Parent ]

    What really is the nature of government and man? (4.00 / 1) (#222)
    by TheModerate on Sun Jul 13, 2003 at 08:24:32 PM EST

    "The so-called War on Drugs has not decreased drug usage despite a budget on the order of $40 billion a year to combat it."

    Well, I would rather not argue for such an extreme as the War on Drugs, what I do question however is the claim that our drug laws haven't been effective in decreasing drug usage. Yet compare the numbers between those who smoke cigarrettes or drink alcohol with those who use marijuana, heroin, or cocaine. As I understand it, cigarrettes and marijuana are about equally harmful yet I am guessing that far more people use cigarrettes than smoke marijuana. So it seems to me that the drug laws are effective in decreasing drug use. Laws against marijuana restrict not only the use of marijuana, but people's access to the drug, and it increases its street price: all of which make the apparent case to me that if such restrictions weren't in place, drug use would explode.

    Just to be clear, I warn you not to muddle these arguments: I am not saying necessarily that people shouldn't use drugs. I am saying that the drugs laws are effective. To investigate whether we think drugs ought to be used would take an extensive discussion and would take us completely off-topic.

    "Government will seek to expand its power over men for the interests of those who legislate and hold power."

    I think you have found a worthy alternative to the simplicity of the pragmatic method, in claiming that government has a certain nature and that its nature demands that it will act in a certain way. However, the cautious intellectual will question first of all whether governments and people have natures at all. I think the case can be made for this, since governments are simply a kind of institution, and all institutions are made up of people, and since people themeselves have a kind of nature---that is a series of instincts and behaviors that come as part of the genetic programming, then I would guess that governments themselves must have a nature as well.

    But what is the nature of government? To conclude, as you have, that governments by nature always look to increase its power, what does this say about the kind of people who are part of this institution? Do people enter government to increase their power or do people only find their "lust for power" after they enter government? If the first case is true, then the drive for power can be seen as essential to man. However, if the later is true, then there must be something about institutions, or perhaps only that particular institution we call government that causes its members to seek power.

    There is another possibility I hope you would consider. That governments don't necessarily seek to increase their power as part of their nature. What if governments were first developed so that men didn't have to bear the full burden of their actions? The case could be made that people, by their nature, seek a higher authority to obey. That governments only increase their power when times are rough for the nation it serves and the people explicitly ask for the state to bear some of the burden. Yet when conditions improve, the government becomes reluctant to return this power, for some reason.

    You may reasonably ask, "But what does this theory have to do with how things actually are? I mean, what possible hardship did the United States have to go through to cause the War on Drugs?" This is true. And thats what happened when you turned away from the pragmatic method and began hypothesizing on the nature of government, because turning away from the pragmatic method is turning away from reality.

    Now, I think a lot of insight can be gained from investigating the nature of things, including governments and man, but I am always cautious about such investigations simply because it is so separated from reality. There is likely a thousand other factors that are involved in government and even in each individual man that we can't account for.

    "We would be far better off encouraging a mindset wherein individuals decide for themselves what drugs to, based on their merits, and research and formulate a diet that fits their own needs, and let industry attempt to adapt to meet that market, rather than relying on either for guidance or protection."

    We would only be better off if individuals indeed decide for themselves, but I would bet that the great majority of the evidence would show otherwise. People don't generally decide to buy a cheeseburger because that cheeseburger corresponds to their diet and budget. Rather, people see the logo of some large fast food chain, and immediately associate that logo with hunger, so their mouths begin salvating and their minds are fixated on the food. This is the amount of thinking that is typically involved when deciding to purchase a cheeseburger. As I said in another thread, that the best way to decrease obesity is for the government to treat people as a farmer treats livestock, since for the most part the same amount of thinking is involved in each case. YOu don't give cows and pigs as much food as they want and expect them eventually to learn to cut down on how much they eat---that will only make them fat. Rather, you restrict the amount of food that is available to them and you plan their diets for them. Then they become lean and happy cows.

    That's pragmatism.

    "What a man has in himself is, then, the chief element in his happiness." -- Schopenhauer
    [ Parent ]

    I have a dream! (4.00 / 1) (#183)
    by Russell Dovey on Thu Jul 10, 2003 at 12:13:40 AM EST

    That one day, my kids will be able to judge a Mars Bar not by the allure of it's packaging, but by the content of its calories!

    This is my dream:

    A big red Dot on all foods, telling us exactly how many calories are inside. Mandated by law. Overseen by the FDA (or your own country's food authority). A big, simple, yellow-on-red amount, making it simple for anyone who wants to to know exactly how much they're eating, and control their intake accordingly.

    No looking it up in a little book every time. Just look at the Dot! Rip off the Dot and put it in your pocket to add up later, or just frown at the amount and think "Damn, that's my 2000 for today."

    Yes, put the Dot on Big Macs, medicines, hot dog wrappers, everything consumed through the mouth. Every menu item in non fast-food restaurants would have a Dot next to it. Apples. Ice-cream cones. Coffee cups. Sugar sachets. Full coverage is the only way to ensure that the food companies can't wriggle out.

    Come on, fat people, you know I'm right! If you could stick to eating 2000 calories a day as easily as you know how much fuel your car uses, you could lose fat much faster! You would know exactly when that extra bottle of Mountain Dew stopped being thirst-quenching, and started being the thing that kept you unable to go up stairs without puffing like a steam-train.

    The Dot, I believe, will do more to fight obesity than any number of "awareness programs", and all without restricting our right to eat what we like, on our own terms. It will, in fact, extend and enhance that right.

    "Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light." - Spike Milligan

    Saturated fats vs Trans fats (3.66 / 3) (#199)
    by der on Thu Jul 10, 2003 at 04:44:27 PM EST

    Some dieticians argue that the new focus on trans fats is in danger of obscuring the very significant risks of saturated fats, which are also linked to heart disease.

    Nonsense. I'm sure saturated fats are something of a concern, but saturated fats have their place, and not consuming enough of them is incredibly bad for you (especially if you're a man). Saturated fats are the fats found in most meat, for example, something we're biologically designed to eat (vegans - spare me).

    "Trans fat" is almost exclusively found in processed garbage that some call "food" (Yes, there's negligable amounts in butter etc.), and AFAIK is completely useless except for making people gigantic fatasses.

    Gee, look, we've come to the same conclusion as every single 'diet revelation' ever... if you don't want to be a fat disgusting tub of lard, stop eating processed shit and eat REAL FOOD.



    fat people and their plight (3.00 / 1) (#208)
    by Rainy on Fri Jul 11, 2003 at 04:07:47 PM EST

    I'm not fat and I've had trouble even getting to the regular weight, (but I never tried hard). The reason is that I don't like to eat, and I never eat much. At some point my diet was mostly junk food, soda, meat, no exercise, and most of time spent at the computer, but I never gained any noticeable weight.

    We shouldn't be too hard on fat people because we don't know how hard it is for them to get thin. We know it's *possible* just like we know it's possible for anyone to, say, become a president or a nobel laureate, but if we have any amount of sense we won't despise someone for coming short of these goals.

    Angry critics get outside, play a little basketball or soccer and think to themselves: "If I were fat, how easy it would be to fix that!". They don't appreciate the fact that if they were, it would be much more difficult, annoying, awkward, less fun and even painful to jog or jump around with the ball.

    And that's how they make it even harder for their fat friends to better themselves: if they tell you it's easy and you try it and it's hard, you get disheartened. If you have a difficult, long work ahead of you, it helps to know it will be difficult and long.

    And this is the hugest task ever faced by anyone: changing yourself, changing your taste and preference. Your taste gets you through the hard day. If you're a chess player, you think, it's not that bad, and tonight I'll relax and play a good game or two. For a fat man, it's tough - his very joy is the source of his downfall. Just as it is for a crack fiend, tv addict, pc game enthusiast, jesus freak, and the list could fill all kuro5hin posts for a year.

    Don't listen to anyone who says it's easy or simple; and don't think so yourself. Hard is thy name, addiction.
    --
    Rainy "Collect all zero" Day

    Subject: (4.00 / 2) (#210)
    by alevin on Fri Jul 11, 2003 at 09:36:08 PM EST

    We shouldn't be too hard on fat people because we don't know how hard it is for them to get thin.

    The American public's lifestyle has been changing. That is, they are exercising less and eating in a more unhealthy manner. That correlates with the increasing overweight and obese population. It is also happening slowly, but surely, in other parts of the world that are increasingly adopting aspects of our way of living. The solution to the problem of overweight consists of changing that diet and probably adding some amount of exercise.

    Certainly having the fat people themselves shoulder the responsibility and blame for their overweight is not being too harm on them -- it is they alone who are responsible and they alone who can change it.

    We know it's *possible* just like we know it's possible for anyone to, say, become a president or a nobel laureate, but if we have any amount of sense we won't despise someone for coming short of these goals.

    You're talking reaching a goal that by its very definition, a very, very small portion can acheive. Fortunately, every single person in this country can eat healthier (usually this means less), and the vast majority of them can lose weight. Your scenario would be applicable if we were talking about losing weight to become Ms. America, but we're talking about something nearly everyone can acheive here. The vast minority who have a biological thyroid condition (<5% I believe) are merely more predisposed to overweight and obesity, not doomed to it.

    Angry critics get outside, play a little basketball or soccer and think to themselves: "If I were fat, how easy it would be to fix that!". They don't appreciate the fact that if they were, it would be much more difficult, annoying, awkward, less fun and even painful to jog or jump around with the ball.

    Well, you can take it in small steps - take the stairs instead of the elevator, walk to the Carvel for your daily sundae instead of driving, and when you get comfortable with that, start talking walks around the block a few times a week, and see if you can extend it to a few miles. Doing any sort of new fitness exercise is going to involve pain, difficulty, and time. I used to do 12 hour basketball days over the summer, and next to no exercise the rest of the year. When we'd have a particularly high-paced full court game, my muscles would be sore or pulled, and I might have to take a day or few break to go back. Fat people are no different, if they want the benefits, they have to work for them. They're starting at a lower level, but the rules of the game don't change just 'cause they're too steep for their liking. Anyway, while your statement may hold some truth for the majority, I've seen fat people play some ball, believe you me.

    I feel you also neglect to mention diet, which is crucial. Fat people are not some burgeoning minority whose rights and culture need to be accepted -- American culture is such that we are increasingly eating too much food and too much unhealthy food. If one wants to address the problem, best to go to the root. And I don't want to hear how hard it is to resist McDonald's or steak or cookie snacks or pizza. If they want it badly enough, they will go for it. Otherwise, they'll opt for the tummy tuck, stomach staple, or the fat pride platform, or even better, just say they like to eat more than they want to lose weight.

    And this is the hugest task ever faced by anyone: changing yourself, changing your taste and preference. Your taste gets you through the hard day. If you're a chess player, you think, it's not that bad, and tonight I'll relax and play a good game or two. For a fat man, it's tough - his very joy is the source of his downfall. Just as it is for a crack fiend, tv addict, pc game enthusiast, jesus freak, and the list could fill all kuro5hin posts for a year.

    I don't think it's terribly hard to change one's destructive behavior, just that the motivation has to be there. It may take a long, long, time, but eventually one has had enough of the pain of computer games, drugs, or food, that they admit their habit isn't working, or finally decide to resist the temptation, and do it. Once that critical threshold is reached, it's no longer worth it to indulge and measures are taken to discontinue the behavior in the face of the problems it has wrought, and taking the difficulty, be it withdrawal, stress at the beginning, or whatever else, into consideration.

    Don't listen to anyone who says it's easy or simple; and don't think so yourself. Hard is thy name, addiction.

    Agreed with the first part and partly on the second. People rarely give up a central focus of their life for someone else. It should be done by the person in question for their own benefit, and on their own time. And yes, addiction is a bitch. But this should not be construed as approval for one to continue the destructive behavior because it's too hard to stop; instead we should be empowering the person, letting him know it is up to him, and within his power to stop.
    --
    alevin
    [ Parent ]

    Approval? (5.00 / 1) (#228)
    by irrevenant on Sat Jul 19, 2003 at 02:51:44 AM EST

    Acknowledging that losing weight is bloody hard is not the same as approving of continuing the behaviour.

    Alevin, you made the comment "I don't think it's terribly hard to change one's destructive behavior".  This is patently false - ask anyone who has given up smoking, or drinking (or tried to and failed).  And people are generally sympathetic and supporting of someone who is giving up smoking or drinking.  The same is rarely true of someone trying to lose weight.  And cigarettes and alcohol are nowwhere near as omniprescent as unhealthy food.

    Short version: Yeh, ultimately only overweight people can get themselves healthy, but some acknowledgement of how hard it is and support from others would be appreciated.

    P.S.  The pain of computer games?

    [ Parent ]

    Subject: (none / 0) (#229)
    by alevin on Sun Jul 20, 2003 at 06:33:28 PM EST

    Alevin, you made the comment "I don't think it's terribly hard to change one's destructive behavior". This is patently false - ask anyone who has given up smoking, or drinking (or tried to and failed). And people are generally sympathetic and supporting of someone who is giving up smoking or drinking. The same is rarely true of someone trying to lose weight. And cigarettes and alcohol are nowwhere near as omniprescent as unhealthy food.

    Then why are about half those who have regularly smoked in the United States now ex-smokers? Why have the American public not always been so overweight? These are trends -- changing values. People, in this respect, value good tasting food over health. While this is unfortunate, it is merely a personal value and thus up to the person to stick with or abandon. I would say this may make food more difficult to stop, cultural acceptance and pressure being more of a factor than temptation, but it is by no means difficult if one really wants it. For the large part, people who don't quit smoking, drinking, or excessive food merely don't want to quit it, all things considered. This includes that one will no longer get any social benefits of said behavior, no longer get the pleasure, will have to go through the work of modifying his behaviors, and more importantly that one will be free of the harms which are associated with the destructive behavior.

    Short version: Yeh, ultimately only overweight people can get themselves healthy, but some acknowledgement of how hard it is and support from others would be appreciated.

    Sure it would be appreciated, and they would want credit for it, or whatever, but I don't think that helps one stop the behavior, and looking to others may even distract the person from the task. The long & short of it is there are factors to be considered on both sides -- using and stopping -- if one is sufficiently motivated by the harms of using and benefits of stopping to overcome the difficulties of quitting, he will almost always succeed.

    As for anecdotes, I'll let you know I've recently been in treatment of numerous types for drug abuse for 14 months, and the attitude of labeling destructive behaviors as diseases, diminishing the significance of personal responsibility, and looking to other people for support got me exactly nowhere fast. In the previous three months I've quit using any drugs, including regular smoking and coffee and marijuana usage, and gone on a new regimen of improved diet and exercise and lost over 30 pounds. Treatment or support from others had no part in this. One must set himself to stop if he is to get the job done.

    Re: computer games -- if this is a destructive behavior for the person the same principle of action considering benefits, harms, and difficulties applies. For me it has been reducing kuro5hin & Slashdot usage from all day to a bit of time here and there.
    --
    alevin
    [ Parent ]

    Hard data on trans and saturated fats (5.00 / 2) (#209)
    by dn on Fri Jul 11, 2003 at 07:14:36 PM EST

    From the Nurses' Health Study
    Dietary Fat Intake and the Risk of Coronary Heart Disease in Women:
    "Each increase of 5 percent of energy intake from saturated fat, as compared with equivalent energy intake from carbohydrates, was associated with a 17 percent increase in the risk of coronary disease. As compared with equivalent energy from carbohydrates, the relative risk for a 2 percent increment in energy intake from trans unsaturated fat was 1.93; that for a 5 percent increment in energy from monounsaturated fat was 0.81; and that for a 5 percent increment in energy from polyunsaturated fat was 0.62. Total fat intake was not significantly related to the risk of coronary disease (for a 5 percent increase in energy from fat, the relative risk was 1.02). We estimated that the replacement of 5 percent of energy from saturated fat with energy from unsaturated fats would reduce risk by 42 percent and that the replacement of 2 percent of energy from trans fat with energy from unhydrogenated, unsaturated fats would reduce risk by 53 percent." [Statistical details omitted for clarity.]

        I ♥
    TOXIC
    WASTE

    dude (none / 0) (#214)
    by Sarreq Teryx on Sat Jul 12, 2003 at 04:03:05 AM EST

    they're called either "Hydrogenated Oils" or "Trans-Fatty Acids", not "Trans Fats"

    Related: A method to lose fat and why many can't (none / 0) (#217)
    by SciTech on Sat Jul 12, 2003 at 12:06:12 PM EST

    Here is a very good article related to this and why people cannot lose fat. It also has a "protocol" (method) to lose fat. http://www.lef.org/protocols/prtcl-083.shtml?source=eNewsLetterWk24&key=Body %2BProtocol%2BObesity

    Rubbish (none / 0) (#219)
    by alevin on Sat Jul 12, 2003 at 02:47:13 PM EST

    The claims on that site that the body resists weight loss heavily while starving onesself, and puts on weight when one consumed a bit more are gross exaggerations, perhaps even untruths. Certainly with both age, and decreasing food intake, metabolism declines, but the principle remains: consume less calories than you burn, and you will lose weight. The body burns on average 1,700 calories a day through metabolic processes such as sleeping, breathing, and maintaining normal brain and heart function and I believe the low point is 1,000 calories. So cutting down calories to meet or drop under this level for a sustained period of time will inevitably result in weight loss, no matter what your predisposition to obesity, or metabolism rate. I see parallels to the physical conservation of matter|energy laws. You are burning energy daily, therefore you must take in a certain amount of energy to keep the system stable. Once you cease to meet that level, your body begins dipping into its energy reserves, to serve as such being the primary function of fat. It may be a sort of decreasing returns situation, where you eat the same small amount of food for a few weeks or months, and lose at a steady rate of two pounds a week, and suddenly upon hitting your ideal weight, or somewhere near it, you begin losing a half pound, or one pound a week. Your body is going into a mode to decrease non-essential functions and make the most of the energy it has. But it doesn't go any lower than that. If you don't buy this, try not eating for a few weeks, while you shed your obesity, drop through ideal weight, become skin and bones, and begin on the teeter on the edge of starvation. That should convince you beyond any doubt that fat people, too, can lose weight, especially on a 'starvation' diet. After that, try eating two healthy meals of healthy portions a day for a few months and see if you become obese, or even overweight again, or if you level out at a healthy weight and metabolism.
    --
    alevin
    [ Parent ]
    body looses muscle than fat (none / 0) (#226)
    by SciTech on Mon Jul 14, 2003 at 03:30:51 PM EST

    Don't forget that the body get more of the energy from muscle than from the fat in normal circumstances or so I heard.

    [ Parent ]
    keep in mind one thing (none / 0) (#223)
    by dzimmerm on Sun Jul 13, 2003 at 10:56:29 PM EST

    Addiction to food can not be stopped by going cold turkey.

    Stop smoking, yeah, you can stop and never smoke again.

    Stop drinking alcohol, yeah, you can do that and never drink alcohol again.

    Stop taking drugs that are bad for you, yeah, you can do that and never take drugs again.

    I challenge you to try that with food. Many of the methods of withdrawing from addiction are not possible when the substance you are trying to withdraw from is needed for you to live.

    dzimmerm

    Food Industry Mulls Dropping Obesity-Linked Trans Fats | 229 comments (204 topical, 25 editorial, 0 hidden)
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