26 Replies to “Obesity for Profit: How Big Agriculture Gets Rich by Keeping Us Fat”

  1. That photo just makes me want to cry for that person. How awful for him/her! It’s NOT easy for someone that obese to find ways of controlling it, and “will power” is not the sole answer. We are addicted to the fat/sugar/carb diets of our society, and it’s everywhere. When I travel for work, it’s almost impossible to find somewhere to eat where I can find lean, healthy food. For too many people, those options ALSO do not exist anywhere in their vicinity on a daily basis.

    People do not eat poorly on purpose – they don’t know any better or cannot exercise what they know. The obese HATE being that way – and do not know how to change. Within poorer communities, they have very few options. Groceries have left many neighborhoods, and fast food and convenience stores are the only food sources – and they have nothing to offer that is healthy. There ARE ‘food deserts’ not in terms of overall supply but in terms of overall quality. Agribiz has made sure of that in what once was the healthiest nation in the world.

  2. I am too damn chubby on a quantity of food that would not have kept me at 120 pounds before 1980. It isn’t just age, and I’m pretty strong and reasonably active. But our meat and milk are full of hormones and steroids, our bread is full of syntheglop, and God knows what has cricket genes. And then, there are all those vinyl containers that produce hormone-like substances and the manufacturing effluent that fills our streams with hermaphrodite fish. If you want a strong nation, you don’t feed the people glop, deny them medical care, and keep them ignorant. Do our fearless Republican leaders think they are going to fight those endless wars of empires with robots??? They better have some backup plan, because they’re not going to get far with the human marshmallows they seem Hell-bent on turning us into.

  3. Yet the “High Fructose” corn syrup doesn’t give me splitting sugar headaches, or make my blood sugar go crazy, or anything like that – like sucrose does. I used to enjoy a carton of chocolate milk every now and then, but since the idiots have gone to sucrose, I cannot.

    I have a lot of problems with that. The thing that people scream about is the thing that doesn’t make me feel really bad.

    Also it should be pointed out that not only are grains (carbohydrates) the most profitable, they are also the cheapest type of food. That’s why poor people are generally more obese than rich, because they can’t afford as much of the decent foods like veggies and meat, which are far less profitable for Big Foods.

  4. Actually, that too could be rather abusive towards someone who is obese (saying that they don’t know how to eat right – implying that they brought it on themself). They may have medical problems (I’ve got the feeling that we’ll eventually find out anyone more than, let’s say, 20 pounds overweight has a medical problem causing the obesity), or they may be too poor to afford to eat a non-high-carb diet or the medicines that would treat the problem behind their obesity.

    My wife and I are very much overweight, and yes, we’ve gotten the snide remarks (“Piggy”, etc.). When a friend turned out to be a doctor and LISTENED to me, he put me on medicines for the neurological problems I have. That was about 17 years ago. Since then I’ve lost over 200 pounds (from over 450 pounds to around 235) and from a tight size 56 to a comfortable 42 (I weigh less than when we were married 29 years ago).

    My wife is now loosing weight too, maybe 40 pounds. It’s the same situation… medical.

    We don’t “diet” and eat until we’re satisfied.

    When we cannot afford our meds, the weight starts coming back. When we cannot afford our meds, it also means we cannot afford decent foods, and our diet goes to high carbs. It’s a double whammy and we have had periods where we gained like 30 pounds in a couple of months.

    I get really angry when people start trying to decide what is best for us, because every time they’re wrong. That goes double for people who think our problem is caused by eating too much, or as people have actually said “Pigging out on ice cream and cookies and things like that!”

    Obesity is a problem in this country, and I’m glad that people are starting to point their fingers at the real culprits – Big Foods. I’m glad to see it being mentioned, but I am concerned that the wrong foods will be “targeted”.

  5. Some people can’t use sucrose, because of the way it metabolizes. Honey is just about pure fructose, and if you need it as a sweetener, buy unsweetened foods and use that. In the alternative, use old-fashioned saccharine, which you can still get.

    People were popping sorghum probably since the Upper Paleolithic, and likely corn as soon as they came to where it was growing. They probably ate grain in the milk stage longer than that, as well as larger seeds and nuts. Not grains, but refined grains, have caused the problem. Whole grains with fruits, greens, pulse, vegetable oil, fermented milk products, decent quality meat about every other day, a few free-run eggs, and even occasional mild home-fermented alcoholic beverages maintain excellent health, and probably some form of this diet is what people lived on for millenia.

  6. Every year I eat less and less and get fatter and fatter. I exercise. My cube mate recently told me that I was the healhiest eater she knew. No bread. Little “sugar”. Many processed foods have become sweetened to the point I find it disgusting. What the heck are they doing to our food? And don’t get me started on how American work lives leave us drained and isolated.

  7. Everyone, please excuse the side-conversation.

    Actually, people ate a lot more meat than that and a lot less milk products, until more recent times (in many areas milk was not consumed after infancy). Before agriculture, meat probably accompanied each meal, and not until much later did it become uncommon. The eating of whole grains, yeah, we’ve found evidence of that long before agriculture, but it was uncommon and seasonal (burned kernels from roasting). A seasonal treat – but it seems to me that even then we have found some evidence of grinding (I’ve read so many articles that I often loose track of those outside my research areas). I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that making bread preceded agriculture by many years!

    Corn itself was probably started as a means to make alcoholic beverages. The original maize plant had tiny cobs with only a few kernels, and we think that the stalks were processed instead of the kernels. As people selectively bred the plants and mutations occurred, the cobs grew in size, along with the kernels and soon became a food source. Look at pictures comparing the ancient cobs with modern ones… the difference is quite a-maize-ing (even more so when you can hold them in your hands).

    Maize as a plant species is not that old… like under 10,000 years (I forget the estimated date that the first maize, which is a hybrid, formed from Teosinte). It is pretty much a human creation from the beginning, as Teosinte is a completely different species, especially compared with today.

    One thing I learned a few years ago was that when ancient people were drinking beer, they were in effect also taking their vitamins. Fermenting and brewing makes the grains much more digestible and releases all sorts of nutrients – far more so than grinding and baking. In fact, my wife says that beer is considered “Liquid bread” in parts of Germany! I don’t remember if I mentioned this before, but a couple of my friends specialize in the archaeology of brewing, and have recreated (or made brews from) some of the ancient recipes. I’ve had some that was really good… and some that was nasty. (One nasty one was an ancient Egyptian brew, although the batch itself may have been bad. They actually had “Brands” of beer back then!)

    There are some good, but “heavy” (highly technical) books on the subject. I’ve got a couple of them, but they’re above my desk in the lab.

  8. I am prepared for the grief that will coming heaping down on me for my comment, but here goes:

    Every “diet” we prescribe to ourselves,
    regardless of content, must be equalized with usage/utilization of what we consume in our caloric intake into some kind of form known physical labor or, exercise*.

    Every single diet plan conceived by our society as a panacea to our problem adds on the by-line containing a word or one or two prescribing “exercise” in order balance one’s entire system.
    The trick is simple; GIGO–garbage in, garbage out…if you eat a box of “junk” you have to burn off those calories in order to mitigate the “damage”. What goes in must come “out”(6% of the population has a morbid obesity gene–16% has multiple aspects of genetic issues that are compounded by obesity).

    If you’re Lance Armstrong, you can eat French pastries and a plate of pasta everyday; he probably burns 800 calories per hour on the bike (men usually burn about 7-800 per hour of spin and women 4-500). In simple terms, if you’re not “exercising” about 2 hours a day and your consuming the calories/food he does, you are probably going to have some kind of height/weight ratio imbalance. Sorry, folks, please don’t kill the messenger (see asterisk below).

    *(Exercise was invented by Satan; please read Harf’s article:)

  9. I realize this is unsolicited, but get a full hormone panel, to include testosterone levels…an imbalance of progesterone will give women an un-wanted ‘gut’ especially as aging becomes part of the equation.

  10. Gorillas seem to live on a diet of wild mangos, figs, and greens, and when they’re not swimming, they nap in the trees and fart.

    A number of anthropologists believe we transformed into upright, smooth-skinned creatures in riparian and estuarine environments, and although chimps and bonobos occasionally catch and eat small vertebrates, they get a lot of their protein intake from termites, which most of us don’t eat, and molluscs and crawdads, which we do. Some people even now are adept at trout-tickling, and I suspect we ate fish in quantity before we ate much red meat. The latter probaly became far more important as people migrated into the Pleistocene periglacial environment.

    The ancestry of corn is an intriguing puzzle. Long before DNA analysis, Scientific American ran an exhaustive article on it. You can cross pod corn and popcorn and get a rather sorghum-like plant, the chief difference being that corn bears separate tassels and ears and sorghum has a single grainhead. Nonetheless, you can find certain older kinds of corn, especially, that bear some grains on the tassel and that have ears with multiple rachides instead of a single cob.

    A fruit or grain mash in active ferment produces many easily digested B vitamines. Unfortunately, that has the same effect on us as figs on gorillas.

  11. Ah, but it’s been documented that people on the Atkins diet have had 5000 calorie a day diet yet lost weight, without burning a fraction that much. It’s much more complex than energy in-energy out.

  12. A diet of entirely lean protein can, regardless of calorie intake, result in actual starvation, because the nourishment cannot be metabolized. Such a diet can be used as part of a tricyclic regimen, however, which is:

    Lean protein and dark greens for one week.

    The foregoing, plus fruit, some milk, and a couple of whole-grain crackers with real butter, the second week.

    A light “normal” diet without refined carbs, the third week.

    Back to week 1.

  13. I have recently discovered that I dont eat enough to lose weight. I went to the gym for 6 months and didnt lose an ounce. My body went into starvation mode and retained everything

  14. Works like this.

    Fat starts the fire.
    Carbs pick it up and get it going but are short lived.
    Protein takes that fire and makes it burn for an extended period of time

    You need all three in the right proportions

  15. We can even eat insects, although most people turn their nose up at that. Read about Casu Marzu in Sardinia – my mentor has eaten that (live grubs and all). In fact, a lot of cultures eat insects… in some areas they’re a major part of the diet. My own ancestors had a delicacy, yellowjacket stew. Yep, made with (smoked) yellowjacket grubs. It was a delicacy because it was so dangerous to get the main ingredient.

    I’ve had the “tame” version, without the yellowjackets. We like to joke that it’s the stew that bites you back, because wild grove peppers are one of the ingredients (it sneaks up on you and bites you good!). Pretty yummy, if you like sneaky-spicy food like I do.

    I think that termites are on the edible list, btw.

    I’ve heard the riparian/estuarine idea… but I’m pretty sure it’s generally not accepted (I know there is some controversy over it). I know a little about human evolution, but not a lot. This much I do know… as far as food availability is concerned, a riparian/estuarine environment is usually far richer and more productive than other environments.

  16. Re-read the recent research and the testimonial “documentation” sources on Atkins…

    Oh sure, I can drive my car without putting oil in it for a least 90-100 miles and it will run just fine…until the rest of the engine decides enough is enough…same premise Atkins devised his diet around.

    You can only use this kind of “diet” for a very, limited, supervised period of time. It’s dangerous in as much as making your own home-made steroid concoctions to “grow muscle”…Atkins’ diet it may jump start “a” metabolizing (rather shock it) but it’s not something to consider doing as a “lifestyle”. I have seen the results of people that do Atkins (most of them rich, stupid republicans…)

    I once heard Atkins “lecture” where told a man in the audience that he didn’t “need” insulin, throw it away and just do his diet…what a fraud!

    Muscles cannot function, the heart muscle cannot contract, the brain cannot get enough nutrition to process without carbs. Each body has it’s own unique balance of what it needs to “survive” and what it doesn’t need due to it’s genetic make up; with that said, most everybody gets the same standard equipment…some get a Ford Falcon and others get a Lamborghini. You still have to fuel it according to the owner manual, (a balance of real food nutrition) it’s needs, and not what society dictates out of popularity or fad.

  17. Actually, I know quite a bit about it. Dr. Atkins himself said not to stay on the initial phase and to monitor and pace yourself. It works and is safe if you follow the directions, and they’re pretty specific (and use more scientific means of monitoring than others).

    Do too much, and you’ll hurt yourself. He himself said so – I’ve got a couple of books he wrote on the diet.

    I’ve also read the journal articles about his diet (and for some of the work I’ve done I’ve had to read a fair amount on ancient and modern diets), and while a lot of people hate it (mainly because it goes against their philosophical -religious- sensibilities), it is the most effective for loosing weight and keeping it off AND a lot closer to what humans evolved eating that most (I’d argue that the South Beach is closer still). The authors of those articles found that all of his claims were true (not the public perception of what he said, but what he actually wrote). These articles weren’t in some advocacy magazine, but in peer-reviewed scientific journals. I’ve also read articles against his research, and as others have found, were not valid (for reasons I won’t get into).

  18. Dr. Atkins was adamant about fat not being a problem. Carbs were the problem, especially the simple carbohydrates.

    He also was adamant that after a short while (after you went into ketosis), you MUST start adding other things to your diet- veggies and so on. If you didn’t do so, you’d do bad things to your body.

    The pure protein-only was only for the initial phase, then you added in things while monitoring your ketosis levels.

  19. I see many peeps with weight problems here.
    Please have your dr. check your Thyroid!
    American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists
    The normal thyroid read is .3—3.0 . Most hospital labs use 5.0 or VA uses 6.0!!! We have so many sub-clinical hypothyroid peeps walking around b/c the fluoride in our water…they’ve taken iodine out of our bread and iodized salt (white salt is really a chemical) Make sure your Dr. knows what the current AACE lab values are. Insist that you have a right to be treated by them.
    So we have people who are starting the metabolic syndrome b/c of low thyroid, H cholesterol, Hyperglycemia FBS at 110 is NOT normal!
    I had a VA dr. tell me, that my BF protein in the urine was normal b/c “every gets that when you get older”….! WHAT? He actually said that. :(
    No that is not normal and I told him so, but since he wasn’t my dr. I could not speak for the patient of his.
    I’ll bet you, many of you in the comments, go to the dr. and get your labs done or maybe have labs you can check?
    Fasting labs include TSH T3 and FBG. I’ll bet your labs will come back with a 3.5—-4.5 TSH. You will have a FBG at 110 and your dr. will tell you that is normal.
    Not only the food co. but drs.! Read Hypothyroidism type 2 by Mark Starr, MD
    Be pro-active in your health…as well as what you eat.Sub-clinical hypo hypothyroidism leads to heart disease, High cholesterol, diabetes, Pain, chronic fatigue, depression, dry skin, weight gan, PMS, High blood pressure…etc.

  20. Interesting that you’d mention that. It could have connections to both of us… both of us have had problems connected with our thyroids.

    BTW… white salt a chemical… well, yes, it’s sodium chloride. Nothing artificial about it at all. It’s just had the impurities (like mud) removed from it when it was processed, and iodine (probably from zinc iodide- you’d have to see if there is a tiny bit of zinc added to iodized salt to be sure of that) added.

    Most chemicals… medicines too, are the purified form of the natural substance. Sometimes they’re made in a factory instead of “by nature”, but they are the same compounds.

  21. I should of said chemically altered. Use seasalt or Himilayan salt or Pink salt the best.
    I also take supplemental iodine. Especially with all the radiation floating all over from Japan :(

  22. People are tired of year long campaigns.
    Big money control voting.
    Why not change?
    Plesse promote these simple ideas that will work. Easily. Time to change. You lead.

    Fed fund election
    6 months—3 primary-3 general—-free equal tv time—Debate a week-=12=adequate to evaluate candidates—–no personal or outside money can be used—

    Since there will be no need to raise money then BAN all from receiving anything with a financial value—current or promised. All Government Employees.

    Progressive Flat Tax
    Tax Book a joke Burn it. Start anew-Public view on all additions

    These are simple. They can redistribute wealth to middle class and give control to the people
    Take money out of control of government
    clarence swinney Lifeaholics of America Burlington nc

  23. You may also want to look at growing Stevia. It’s an herb which is 10 times sweeter than sugar. They sell it in health food stores, but grow your own is cheaper. ;)

  24. My point was and question still remains; why is it that every known “diet” plan includes exercise universally? It’s the only constant that remains as a “stable” in terms of what you need to do in order to become healthy and maintain a moderate weight.

  25. You can also sometimes get Mexican sugarbush, which I think is variously classed as Lippia or Aloisia. It’s a relative of lantana, and thus more easily grown in Florida.

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