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Are we fat because we eat too much crap or just eat too much?

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Hi, My name is JuniorBallloon and I'm obese. I'm 5' 11 and 3/4 inches tall and I weigh 225. Technically...obese. I have read recently that America is fat because we don't cook at home and we live in food deserts surrounded by fast food. I cook at home every night. I don't eat fast food. I have the occassional cookie. And I'm obese. I'm obese becasue I have access to as much food as I want and I eat too much and don't excercise as much as I should. I think whether it's good food or bad food America is fat because of abundance. Morgan Spurlock of, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Super_Si..., didn't get fat because he ate Mickey D's, he got fat because he ate 3000 calories a day.

I am all for people having access to great food and learning to cook at home, but I don't see it as a cure for the obesity problem in America. I'm not saying it might not help, but I read these stories and I don't see the connection. Am I missing something?

jb

  1. Too much crap.

    I lost thirty pounds once by not eating anything with refined sugar or flour for six months. I ate as much as I wanted of everything else. Since "everything else" doesn't include foods I crave.

    I caved on Christmas Eve that year. I went to the store around 6:30 pm, and the produce aisle was empty of all but some greens on the floor and a couple of grapes. Breyer's, OTOH, was having a sale. I got one half-gallon (yes, this story takes place in the old days) of French Vanilla for Christmas Eve, and one of Strawberry for Christmas Day.

    And, yes, I gained back more than I lost.

    1. Some of both. You could in theory get fat eating 3000 calories of vegetables per day but it would be really hard because that's a LOT of vegetables. Meet the concept of energy density. Energy density is the number of calories (energy) in a specific amount of food. High energy density means that there are a lot of calories in a little food. Low energy density means there are few calories in a lot of food. Raisins have a high energy density — 1 cup of raisins has about 434 calories. Grapes have a low energy density — 1 cup of grapes has about 104 calories.

      You may not be eating fast food or junk food, but still be eating a whole lot of high calorie, low energy density food. I can make bacon and fried eggs at home. Not junk food and home made. But high in calories for the amount of food I'm eating as compared to say 1 boiled egg and a half a grapefruit.

      Junk food and fast food tend to have very low energy density.

      And beyond the energy density issue, there are behavioral issues associated with grabbing a Big Mac on a regular basis. Try reading any articles or books by Brian Wansink about how we tend to overeat because of the way we think about and perceive food. The idea here is that if you cook the food yourself and sit down and eat a meal you'll think more about what you are eating instead of mindlessly shoveling food in your mouth whether you are still hungry or not.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Just Visiting

        Wansink's work is ground-breaking (and very entertaining to read). Eat lots of non-starchy veg, little meat, some fish every week, just the occasional sweet treat, walk 15 minutes or so around the neighborhood after dinner, and you're bound to be healthier. (And just say "no" to processed foods.)

      2. Jr, those latest bodyweight charts are a bunch of BS. my wife saw one at the dietitians office last month and it said I should weigh 150 pounds. I am 6 feet tall and broad shoulders and muscular, think a college linebacker 20 years and 60 pounds past his prime. the only way I could ever possibly weigh 150 pounds again is if I attended the Bataan diet March and summer camp.

        2 Replies
        1. re: PotatoHouse

          I don't know what weight chart you saw that says you SHOULD weigh 150 since generally, there is a wide range. At 150, that puts a person's BMI at 20, or the least a person should weigh at that height, not a weight recommendation.

          1. re: PotatoHouse

            For your height and sex, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend a weight between 136 and 184 lbs as "normal." A weight of 200 is just a little overweight. Keeping your weight under 200 is a reasonable goal. That's what I try to do (I'm also six feet). I agree that 150 lbs is not achievable by reasonable means.

          2. There is more than reason why we are fat. Each of us is different. Mr. Sueatmo eats plenty of carb and meat, although he says he eats reduced fat, he does eat processed food. He really does not gain weight. After his heart surgery about 12 years ago, he went hard core with low fat and lost so much weight it alarmed his docs! But now he looks like he did before the surgery. But he doesn't gain more, and he doesn't look fat at all.

            I gain easily and lose slowly. I've discovered that eating reduced carbs is the best way to eat for me. I also think that I need to eat less in every respect, and I am doing mental work on that score.

            So, to answer your question, I think food is widely available; it is often appealing and pretty cheap; it is easy to grab something from the fridge when you are bored; it is easy to move too little, or to get practically no exercise at all; and it is hard to deny yourself if you don't have to, and to do hard work if you don't want to.

            I don't think there is one answer for any of us. But, food is available relatively cheaply, whether it is junk or the good stuff. And it is awfully easy to find and eat it.

            19 Replies
            1. re: sueatmo

              We are all different. Remember the "Eat Right for Your Type" way of thinking?

              1. re: sandylc

                I think that this is so important. There are lots of diets around that are not bad for your health (aka not the cabbage soup diet or other crash weight loss diets), but what will or won't impact whether or not they work is if they fit for you. While strict low fat/portion control isn't the most "in" diet now - if that's the kind of diet that's easiest for a person's life/diet/eating issues - then it's not a bad choice.

                For others portion control is really difficult, so elimination diets (Atkins style-diets) are easiest. Personally - my mother is a dietician - so my "diet problems" have never been about eating bad food. I just eat too much food. So I do best combining no-carb style diets for breakfast/lunch while I'm at work - and allowing whole grains/less restrictions for dinner. It's what works for best for me, but it's required a lot of guess and check.

                1. re: sandylc

                  Thank you so much! The problem is with the ERFYBT diet is it's not 'PC'. When you acknowledge that your blood type must dictate what you eat you also must acknowledge that 'certain' races' must also come to the same conclusion.

                  1. re: Puffin3

                    For this type A, the diet seems overly restrictive although not radical. The problem is the whole concept of relating diet to blood type is regarded as junk science.

                    1. re: grampart

                      A lot of things that don't generate profits for pharmaceutical and insurance companies are regarded as "junk science".

                        1. re: carolinadawg

                          No, it's an observation gleaned from years of learning, observation, and experience. If you disagree, fine. I don't have to respect your opinion, either.

                        2. re: sandylc

                          If it was for real, it would generate profits, but when there's just one guy making the claims.......Hell, maybe it is a conspiracy. Nothing surprises me any more.

                      1. re: Puffin3

                        People's different body chemistry has nothing to do with race. Since humans are all *one* and the same race.

                        1. re: linguafood

                          Thank you. I hate the misuse of the word "race", as well. And yes, we are ALL different than one another, and it is NOT racist to notice.

                          1. re: linguafood

                            The government certainly does not agree with this.

                          2. re: Puffin3

                            The blood type thing is not merely junk science, it's pure quackery.

                            1. re: GH1618

                              Twenty years ago when I was taking probiotics purchased at a health food store, I read about what "junk science" and "quackery" they were.

                              Now they're all over the news as the next great thing and pharmaceutical companies are pumping out their own crappy versions of them.

                          3. re: sandylc

                            You mean, for your blood type? I looked into that, but I think it is not valid. Virtually no medical authority believes eating according to your blood type is valid.

                            1. re: sueatmo

                              I don't really know about whether the blood type thing is valid or not. It is interestiing, but I don't really have any experience/opinion.

                              However, I have a LOT of experience with the stupidity of "medical authorities".

                              1. re: sandylc

                                There are nowhere near as many stupid medical authorities as there are gullible people taken in by quackery.

                                1. re: GH1618

                                  That smells suspiciously like an opinion.

                                2. re: sandylc

                                  I am blood type B and if memory serves, I should eat lots of dairy and sub turkey for chicken. (Its been several years since I read the initial book recommending this, and my memory might be incorrect. So if someone knows more, feel free to correct me.) I fail to see how this makes me healthier than if I restrict dairy and continue to eat chicken.

                                  I've tried to do a little independent research on characteristics of the different blood types, but I don't find much on the internet. I just don't think eating for your blood type has a lot of substantiation. And I don't want to base my entire eating program on assumptions about diet that sound iffy.

                                  Also, are there any recs from the good doctor for diets for the blood groups that aren't as common? Those are groups not the A, AB, B, or O?

                                  1. re: sueatmo

                                    No clue. As I've said, I don't know that much about it. I read the book years ago and am intrigued but not convinced.

                          4. Not just crap, but specifically too much added sugar in all its forms (sucrose, "cane juice," and HFCS). Also, refined flour. And alcohol, of course.

                            French fries are ok — ketchup is the problem.

                            22 Replies
                            1. re: GH1618

                              The average medium sized order of fast food french fries has 427 calories. One tablespoon of ketchup has 20 calories. One would have to put a lot of ketchup on each fry to make ketchup the problem.

                              1. re: carolinadawg

                                It's the sugar in ketchup that's the problem, not merely the calories. Calories represent energy. You need energy to live. As long as you are consuming only the calories you need, you will not gain weight. The problem with sugar is not merely the calories, it is that it stimulates the appetite so you are likely to eat more. Also, sugar is half fructose, which is used less efficiently than glucose (the other half). The fructose gets stored as fat and the glucose is used as fuel.

                                The notion that all calories are equivalent, so it doesn't matter what you eat, is what makes maintaining a diet so difficult for most people.

                                I get the small fries, and I don't eat fries very often.

                                See Dr. Lustig's lecture for more details.

                                1. re: GH1618

                                  The way to lose weight, and keep it off, (for a vast majority of people) is to eat less and move more. Period.

                                  Dr. Lustig isn't the end all, be all authority.

                                  1. re: carolinadawg

                                    The snake oil diet scumbags will be very angry at you

                                    1. re: carolinadawg

                                      <The way to lose weight, and keep it off, is to eat less and move more.>

                                      Such a simple prescription but it's amazing how many people are just not able to do it.

                                      1. re: latindancer

                                        Oh, I never said it was easy. I need to lose a few pounds myself, but am unwilling (right now) to really do what I need to do to make it happen. Perhaps if my weight issue was greater I would be more motivated to do what I need to do.

                                      2. re: carolinadawg

                                        A treatment plan that 90%+ cannot follow and makes the problem worse is useless. Can you think of a treatment for any other disease (coronary heart, cancer, multiple sclerosis) with this failure rate that you would continue to recommend?

                                        1. re: mwhitmore

                                          Huh? Who says 90% lack the willpower to eat less and move more. Anyone can do so, they just have to decide they want to. Taking chemo and radiation isn't easy either, but you either are motivated to go through with it or you aren't.

                                          Besides, its not my "recommendation", its just reality.

                                          1. re: carolinadawg

                                            Well over 90% of people who go on the 'eat less, move more' diet lose weight---then gain it all back (sometimes *and more*) when they inevitably go off the diet.I have done so myself. Also, yo-yo dieting makes it more difficult to lose weight on the next diet.

                                            1. re: mwhitmore

                                              Source for your claim?

                                              I'll ignore the fact that you agree eating less and moving more is an effective way to lose weight. Those who gain the weight back are clearly eating more and moving less. There is no magic pill or silver bullet for most people, sorry.

                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                  The first link you posted also confirms that consuming more calories than you expend results in weight gain, which makes the reverse also true.

                                            2. re: carolinadawg

                                              My two major weight gains came from prescription drugs that I was scared into taking. I was previously naturally slender. We're talking 30 pounds in four weeks each time, and they won't come off. I was always naturally very slender before.

                                              There is the factor of chemical confusion caused by doctors, things in our air, water, and food, etc. It messes with people and it is the elephant in this particular room.

                                              1. re: sandylc

                                                HeeHee! Big boned, don't forget big boned!

                                                1. re: sandylc

                                                  My two major weight gains came from going off prescription drugs that I was taking I got pregnant both times.;-)

                                                  People do have different metabolisms and I think there is so much we don't know about it. I'd read about a town in Europe during WWII and how there was famine. When they studied people who had been in vitro during that time, they were heavier as adults than average. They don't know if the people ate more as adults, something being triggered from the starvation, or their bodies adapted to famine, in utero.

                                                  1. re: chowser

                                                    I watched something fascinating a while back about how we can change our genetic makeup with lifestyle.

                                                    1. re: sandylc

                                                      I think our genes can make us predisposed to some things but it's not completely inevitable. Things like cancer, diabetes, etc. can be affected by lifestyle, sometimes. We might be predisposed to be heavier (I am) but lifestyle can make a big difference in that. Yes, it's far more work than for someone who is predisposed to being thin but it's do-able.

                                                  2. re: sandylc

                                                    I agree about chemicals in the food, and air what to they do to us in terms of weight and there is an awful lot of junk food in North America.
                                                    A friend of mine when to Italy, remarked they ate very well, wine, bread, cheese, pasta but no junk food as it is apparently not readily available. She was amazed that weight issues were not evident in Italy.

                                        2. re: GH1618

                                          I am always surprised to find people who eliminate white sugar, but accept honey or agave syrup. Those things are sugar in a different form! We seem to want our sweet flavors no matter what, in my observation.

                                          Well, I do too. But I've learned that I have to limit myself drastically in that regard.

                                          1. re: GH1618

                                            I don't think we are all created equal. Wheat is more of a problem for me than sugar. I quit eating any wheat for a few months; at my last checkup had only dropped 5 lbs. but my cholesterol had dropped 63 points for the first time ever! I have continued to not eat wheat, (just wheat, not gluten), the weight is still reducing slowly. I'm not overweight, but could still happily live with a few less pounds.

                                            1. re: Cam14

                                              Exactly. And when I was VERY skinny, I ate a ton of cheap white carbs. We ARE all different.

                                          2. I'm 6'2" and my weight has fluctuated (several times) between 185 and 320 pounds.

                                            In my case it is all driven by portion control and a general love of eating. Our meal time conversation always at some point hits on what we are going to eat for our next meal.

                                            I occasionally eat sweets but that is the one thing I don't really crave so I generally eschew them.

                                            1. I do not think you are missing something. There is nothing inherent in home cooking that is necessarily any healthier --depends on your choice of ingredients and portions. Keep in mind though that restaurants have an incentive to get you to spend more, and so may include ingredients (like upping the fat/salt/sugar contents) that are known to appeal to peoples' cravings (and tend to be unhealthy), that as a home cook you would probably include much less of in any normal recipe. Moreover, it is easier for them to tempt people with huge portions for just a little savings of $ compared to home cooks (and you'll eat them to avoid dealing with the doggie-bag).

                                              I'm actually fairly trim, but my issue with home cooking is that I make volumes of food with the idea that I will have it last me several days as leftovers. Invariably, dinners I make that should last 3+ days ends up getting gobbled up in one or 2 nights.

                                              More importantly in my view (or perhaps because of my own physiology) is that we live WAY too sedentary lifestyles. My diet has always been pretty healthy and generally remains pretty constant over time in terms of quality and portions. However I can put on 10 pounds in 2 weeks when my work schedule is so busy that I have no opportunity to get out and walk or other. Alternatively, when I do have that opportunity regularly, I shed those extra pounds in days.

                                              The secret? Walking. Walk, walk, walk, walk, walk --if you can. Need a couple things from the store? Walk there. Need to go 6 blocks to the post office? Walk there. Nice warm evening when you get home from work? Take a stroll around the neighborhood. And of course there is a positive feedback: the more you do the easier it becomes and so the more you can do.

                                              1. Both, eat too much and too much junk. One remedy, a treadnmill that is not used as a coat hanger.

                                                1. I think they're related.

                                                  A lot of the crap has been carefully and scientifically designed to make you eat lots of it, and want more when you're finished. It's not a coincidence that you end up finishing the whole bag/box/carton when you planned to only eat one or two, it's the result of years of research and product development. And that whole bag just happens to contain a full days worth of calories in a snack.

                                                  And as others have said, individual reasons vary a lot. And even researchers aren't totally sure how it all works, and how much of an effect each factor has.

                                                  It might be a sedentary lifestyle and indoor heating, or more ultra-processed food, or an abundance of food in general, or high density foods, or our evolutionary hard-wiring to gorge on high calorie foods to keep us alive through the next famine.

                                                  Or there might be factors that haven't been determined yet.

                                                  There's also the related issue that we (as a society) don't know how to turn fat people into skinny people. Yeah, there's the 'eat less and exercise more' thing, and we can definitely get people to lose weight on a diet. But the actual success rate for diets on a timescale of even a few years is very low - you can lose weight, but keeping it off permanently is the difficulty. There's some interesting research findings that if you take a fat person who has lost weight, and a skinny person who has always been that weight, the formerly fat person will need significantly less calories and more exercise to stay at that weight. So the price of getting and staying skinny can be eternal vigilance, and a permanent, lifelong routine of enforced daily exercise and rigid calorie counting.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

                                                    Laziness has a lot to do with it too. I work at a major hotel on the Las Vegas strip and every day see and meet people from all over the world. 99% of the people complaining about having to walk from one place to another are Americans. 99% of the people I see walking around with Super Big Gulps are Americans. 99% of the people I see waiting with their car idling for a parking space so they don't have to walk and extra 30 seconds are Americans.

                                                    In contrast, I've been to Europe 8 times and usually spend a month or two per visit. Most people there are much more active. My last visit there was for a duration of two and a half months, and during my entire stay there I saw probably as many obese people in that entire time than I do in a few days here in America.

                                                    Don't get me wrong, I'm a proud American and I don't enjoy badmouthing my fellow citizens. But honestly, it's quite a wake up call when you go abroad and notice the differences in cultures.

                                                    It's not just about the junk food we at here and the amount, it's also about getting off our lazy rear ends and living a healthier lifestyle.

                                                  2. Even if your meals are homecooked, if you eat too much of it, and do not have a lifestyle where you are going to actually use all of those calories you are going to gain weight. I actually responded to this, because tonight I made a home cooked meal of stuffed bell peppers, that had a ground beef and rice filling. I also made an accompanying salad of cucumbers and tomatoes. I live with my parents as of now and I thought that one bell pepper per person would be more than enough, and my mom and I actually ended up splitting one. However, my dad had a bell pepper, some salad, two burritos that I had frozen for next week, and a slice of frozen cheesecake. He is a truck driver, and there is no way that he is going to be using all of those calories before he goes to bed, especially since he is just watching tv. And his doctor has told him that he is obese. Everything he ate was homemade tonight and most nights it is, but the quantity and quality of the items he is eating, like the cheesecake
                                                    is proving detrimental to his health,

                                                    1. I'm fat for one reason I drink too much beer late at night. I like big rich beers which means I might be packing away 1,000 calories before going to sleep. I'll learn one day.

                                                      8 Replies
                                                      1. re: Chinon00

                                                        Cheez whizz! If I drank that much beer before going to bed, I would be getting up every 1/2 hour to take a leak.

                                                        1. re: Bkeats

                                                          < If I drank that much beer before going to bed, I would be getting up every 1/2 hour to take a leak.>

                                                          That may actually make you thin -- lack of sleep.

                                                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                            Actually, sleep deprivation causes neurological changes that lead to overeating & weight gain.

                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                              I have heard both ways. Some say sleep deprivation causes people eat more..etc, But you can also see people with sleep deprivation get very thin -- especially Asian stock exchangers. I can say I personally lose a lot of weight when I don't sleep much.

                                                        2. re: Chinon00

                                                          You'll just have to start drinking it for breakfast, then. ;)

                                                          1. re: wyogal

                                                            I think this worked for the Elizabethans.

                                                            Hugs to chinon and Wyo

                                                          2. re: Chinon00

                                                            Maybe you could drink your beers earlier in the evening? I drink wine every night (or almost), but I try to have it before 7 or 8 p.m. so that I have time to process it before bed. This keeps me from having to get up at night and also keeps me from packing on pounds.

                                                            Consuming anything late at night is a bad idea both for sleep and weight control. My daughter noticed that when she stopped eating after 6 p.m., she lost weight, even though her caloric intake was the same.

                                                            1. re: Isolda

                                                              Isolda, that may have worked for your daughter, but I have no problems with eating late... I consistently eat dinner after 8pm and had no problems losing weight.

                                                          3. I got fat not because I was eating mostly crap (although I had my fair share). I was eating too much, combined with eating at restaurants and drinking too much alcohol. I lost all the weight and then some by cooking healthy (I know this word is subjective but I figured out what healthy was for me) meals at home for nearly every meal, cutting wayyy back on the alcohol, and cutting down my portion sizes. I still don't use the recommended portions for things like meat (like 3oz of chicken? No thanks). But I definitely keep it reasonable.

                                                            But, just because you are cooking at home doesn't necessarily mean it's healthy or will keep you within a correct calorie range. I could easily still overeat by cooking at home.

                                                            So I guess my point is, in the end, it comes down to both choosing "healthy" foods and keeping your portions in control.

                                                            3 Replies
                                                            1. re: juliejulez

                                                              Also you might want to check this story out about the "Twinkie" diet. http://www.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/11/08/...

                                                              Basically the guy ate twinkies and other junk food for 10 weeks, and lost 27lbs. He stayed under 1800 calories. So technically, you can lose weight by eating total junk as long as you stay within your allotted calories. But if you're looking to lose weight for overall health, I don't think you'd get that by eating junk. Also any sort of "diet" that restricts foods, healthy foods or not, is much harder to sustain long term than one that incorporates lots of different foods.

                                                              1. re: juliejulez

                                                                Reminds me of my college diet of 3 Marathons (now known as Snickers) a day. One each for breakfast, dinner and tea. I lost those ten extra pounds and then went back to missing my mum's cooking.

                                                                1. re: Chatsworth

                                                                  Where do you live? Here in the states the marathon bar was extra long and was thin braided caramel covered with caramel. I think they stopped making them in '80's. Nothing like a Snickers. I think you can still buy a Cadbury "curlywurly" which is the same thing.

                                                                  Great ad with John Wayne's son.
                                                                  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x5_99O...

                                                            2. I think the key to it all is exercise and portion control.

                                                              1. <I am all for people having access to great food and learning to cook at home, but I don't see it as a cure for the obesity problem in America.>

                                                                I think it will help, but it will not be the cure. In other words, I think the cause of the problem is both. We do eat crappy, overly salty, overly fat, and overly high calories food. But I also think that we also simply eat a lot of food (good or bad).

                                                                Now, some good food can lead to moderate weight loss. For example, if a person suddenly decide to enjoy fresh vegetables, then he/she will eat more of them, and the more vegetables he/she eat, then the less other foods he/she can consume. So it can help control weight in that sense. Whereas a lot of frozen or processed foods are higher in calories like frozen pizza or ice cream or lasagna or hot pockets..

                                                                But then you can also say the problem is within us too. One can argue that frozen foods are fatty because we want it this way. Nothing really stop us from buying frozen vegetables if we really want too, but we (most of us) don't.

                                                                In short, I am 60-80% agreeing with you. :)

                                                                1. "We" are fat because "we" don't move enough.

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                    THIS. Plenty of people have a high caloric intake, but because they're active and don't lead a sedentary lifestyle, those calories get burned off. People who live in cities and have to walk/bike everywhere tend to be a lot less obese. If you have to drive for miles to buy your groceries, live in a community that discourages walking, and don't bike anywhere, those calories have nowhere to go but your ass. And you don't have to joint a gym to work those calories off. Instead of sitting and waiting for a car to pull out of a space in front of the store, park at the BACK of the store and walk.

                                                                    You can blame the high-calorie, garbage food all you want, but car-dependent culture makes being active that much harder.

                                                                    1. re: monkeyrotica

                                                                      This is very true. In 2003 I moved to Chicago, with no car, and I lost 30lbs without even trying. I wasn't eating healthy, I was a broke college student so I was eating a lot of peanut butter sandwiches and cheap takeout pizza. No vegetables, fruits. But, I walked everywhere, and had the free time to do so. I lived in a 4th floor walk-up. I couldn't afford to do fun activities, so I would just go and walk around the city for a few hours in an afternoon.

                                                                      I put the weight back on, and then some, once I got a sedentary full time job and got a car. I also started making more money so I could afford lots of lunches/dinners out.

                                                                      I recently lost 50lbs through diet alone though. I didn't and still don't exercise. But, because of that, I have to be VERY careful about what I eat, and I can't eat as much as if I did have an exercise routine.

                                                                  2. I think people GET fat for a variety of reasons. People STAY fat because they don't eat correctly. I don't know anyone that eats mainly non starchy vegetables, some meat, and no fillers regularly (as a steady diet) that remains fat. Exercise or not, genetics aside and regardless of age. No one stays fat by snarfing down mainly on green vegetables and some protein.

                                                                    I also believe the general BMI charts are accurate for everyone except body builders and middle aged folks, but that can be adjusted slightly upwards. I think many people get so used to carrying around the extra pounds that they can't imagine actually being lean (normal).

                                                                    Extra fat (not obese) around the waist and hips is the "new normal" just ask a pharmaceutical company. They are making bank off the weight exacerbated medical problems. Normal should be lean, not skinny...lean....with muscle definition.

                                                                    I think it is scary that the concept of normal has changed so regularly eating non nutrient dense foods can continue. I think people struggle more with weight when they ignore reality, think the extra 10 or 20 pounds is still okay, then just eat "a few cookies", then wonder why weight loss is hard.

                                                                    19 Replies
                                                                    1. re: sedimental

                                                                      <I think it is scary that the concept of normal has changed so regularly eating non nutrient dense foods can continue.>

                                                                      You know. Not to disagree or agree with you, but I keep on hearing the opposite things. On one hand, I hear that we are redefining body weight and what was considered fat is now considered normal, and that this relaxation (lowing the bar) is a bad thing for our national health.

                                                                      On the other hand, we also hear that TV, media, entertainment industry are brainwashing us into unrealistic perfect thin weight. And all these fashion or super models make our women have low self esteem and go Anorexic and Bulimic...etc.

                                                                      These two thoughts are very much contradicting to be honest. So what is the real problem? The society is relaxing its health criteria and accepting the old fat as new normal or the society is projecting unrealistic thin weight as normal weight?

                                                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                        I think "we're too fat" is a bigger problem. Yes, people - particularly girls / young women - can be adversely affected by unrealisticly thin images of models and actresses in the media. But it's a big jump from "it's not healthy for that 5' 4" actress to diet and exercise herself down to 100 pounds and I shouldn't aspire that" to "therefore it's ok for 5' 4" me to weight 200 pounds."

                                                                        1. re: cookie monster

                                                                          So these "unrealisticly thin images" make girls fat?!!! Is that why they wear shirts so tight, you can see their fat rolls, and horizontal belly buttons?!! Okay, maybe that's a 'hood thing. Seriously, don't blame your fat on anyone else...own it, embrace it, or, gasp, get rid of it

                                                                          1. re: BiscuitBoy

                                                                            Biscuit, some of that comes from denial. I was there... wearing clothes that were too small because I didn't want to admit that again, I had to buy a bigger size. Economics comes in with that too....no money to buy all new stuff. Happily, I up until recently had the opposite problem... most of my clothes were too big. I finally bit the bullet and bought correct sizes though. :)

                                                                            And the images don't "make" the girls fat... they just make them think it's OK to be fat. They're the same ones that call themselves curvy, when they're just fat.

                                                                            1. re: juliejulez

                                                                              and "bbw!" So you dropped some weight recently?

                                                                              1. re: BiscuitBoy

                                                                                Yes, approx 50lbs since beginning of 2012.

                                                                              2. re: juliejulez

                                                                                Exactly. People have taken the backlash against these unrealistically thin images as support that it's ok to be fat. As opposed to, you know, normal weight, whatever that is. Definitely somewhere in between 100 and 200 pounds in my example. Or 111 - 146 pounds for a 30 y.o. 5' 4" female according to the medical charts.

                                                                              3. re: BiscuitBoy

                                                                                I don't think cookie monster means that. It was actually one of my earlier questions. We keep hearing two opposite view on today woman body weight. Some say that we are too relax and starting to accept overweight as being normal which can be a bad thing from a health perspective. Others say that we are too unrealistic, and girls (young) get too much pressure to try to look ultra thin or ultra fit like swim suit models or walkway models.

                                                                                Now, both are true, but my question for cookie monster is that "Why is worse?"

                                                                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                  Both extremes are unhealthy. Go figure.

                                                                            2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                              Just wanted to say that having a medical condition that causes maintaining weight to be an issue has made me more tolerant in general. Meaning; I "get it" if you need to maintain at a "higher" or "lower" weight. Both can be difficult.

                                                                              Human beings are not just "fat" or "skinny". Or even "just right".
                                                                              There is so much more at play here. Beyond "what that person eats".

                                                                              I joined chowhound because that when I can and do eat, I want it to be really really REALLY great!
                                                                              So, bring on the good food!

                                                                            3. re: sedimental

                                                                              "I don't know anyone that eats mainly non starchy vegetables, some meat, and no fillers regularly (as a steady diet) that remains fat. Exercise or not, genetics aside and regardless of age. No one stays fat by snarfing down mainly on green vegetables and some protein."

                                                                              Me.

                                                                              Any carbs at all, I gain weight. No carbs, I still gain weight.

                                                                              I have a genetic protein (collagen) defect and at least a couple of metabolic defects. Thanks to the collagen defect, I'm also chronically ill and in chronic pain. I cook from scratch and we eat almost no junk food. My total daily sugar intake is around a teaspoon or two a day.

                                                                              1. re: sedimental

                                                                                "I think people GET fat for a variety of reasons. People STAY fat because they don't eat correctly. I don't know anyone that eats mainly non starchy vegetables, some meat, and no fillers regularly (as a steady diet) that remains fat. Exercise or not, genetics aside and regardless of age. No one stays fat by snarfing down mainly on green vegetables and some protein."

                                                                                I think this is oversimplifying things a bit. I was obese as a child through my early 20s, and then I found Atkins/low-carb. I lost about 60 lbs and have managed to keep most of it off for the last 13 years by leading a low-carb lifestyle - i.e., I eat protein and green vegetables 90-95% of the time. However, I have NEVER been able to get thin this way - just average. I hover right around BMI 25-26, and it is a CONSTANT struggle just to stay there. I lead a fairly active lifestyle, too. And I'm definitely not the only person in this boat.

                                                                                1. re: biondanonima

                                                                                  My BMI has also been around 26 for the last 6 years, despite attention to my portions, healthy meals, exercise and lots of vegetables. I can't tolerate a low-carb lifestyle, but I also find it challenging to even just stay at a BMI of 26.

                                                                                  1. re: biondanonima

                                                                                    And I'm definitely not the only person in this boat.
                                                                                    ~~~~~~~~~~
                                                                                    You're absolutely right. You, and LMAshton, and prima, and countless others do everything you're "supposed" to do and still struggle. And that's why it infuriates me when people declare that it's "so simple!" and merely a matter of calories in/out and that you just need to "eat less and move more." If that was the case I'd have died of starvation a long time ago, and believe me, I'm no skeleton right now.

                                                                                    Keep doing what you can to manage your health & weight, and ignore the dismissive folks who insist that you're not doing enough, or doing something wrong.

                                                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                      I clearly tempered my statement with "for most people" and pointed that, although its simple, it isn't easy.

                                                                                      1. re: carolinadawg

                                                                                        Well, I wasn't talking specifically about you, but my point is that it *isn't* simple. There are numerous factors involved, and they affect different bodies in different ways. So "eating more and moving less" may work for some people, but it's not that *simple* for everyone.

                                                                                        You also said, "Those who gain the weight back are clearly eating more and moving less." That sounds like a blanket statement to me, and it's not always the case. Many people will continue to stick to the exact same eating & exercise regimen after a weight loss, yet watch the weight start to creep back on. Once the body adapts to a loss and adjusts metabolically to support a new, lower weight and different body composition it's necessary to create an even greater energy deficit just to prevent regain.

                                                                                        The bottom line is this: if there really was a simple, universal equation that ruled weight control for everyone, we wouldn't be in the midst of a global obesity crisis...and someone would have figured out how to create that ever-elusive silver bullet a long time ago.

                                                                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                          I believe I'm the only person here who said "eat less and move more". And again, I used a disclaimer. But it applies to more than "some people".

                                                                                          And for most people, it is that simple. It's not easy, but it IS simple. For most people.

                                                                                          1. re: carolinadawg

                                                                                            You may be the only one who used the exact phrase, but there are a number of people who said pretty much the same thing in various ways. I really wasn't singling you out.

                                                                                2. If you eat too many calories it will be hard to lose weight.

                                                                                  If you cook at home, but you cook hamburgers and fries, it won't be much better than fast food.

                                                                                  If you cook at home and prepare high-fiber foods with a healthy balance of vegetables and meat relative to carbohydrates, it will help curb your appetite so you don't end up eating 3000 calories per day.

                                                                                  7 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: calumin

                                                                                    "If you cook at home, but you cook hamburgers and fries, it won't be much better than fast food."

                                                                                    Michael Pollan was on Colbert the other night talking about this. He said sure, eat fries if you make them yourself. He meant taking potatoes, cutting them into fries, and frying them...a lot of work which in theory would mean you wouldn't do it very often. Of course some people will hear what he said and be very reductive about it--Oh boy, Pollan says I can eat fries, I'll make them every night!--then wonder why they're fat.

                                                                                    1. re: coney with everything

                                                                                      The only reason that somebody couldn't eat fries every night and stay thin is eating 1,000 calories worth of fries instead of 250 calories worth.

                                                                                      1. re: kengk

                                                                                        No duh. But how many fries constitute 250 calories? As others have said, portion control is one of the keys, but attempting to eat miniscule portions is simply an invitation for failure, for most people.

                                                                                        1. re: carolinadawg

                                                                                          I just checked and a McDonalds small fries has 230 calories. It is a small but not unreasonable serving.

                                                                                          1. re: kengk

                                                                                            Thats 2.5 ounces. I would submit that virtually no one eats 2.5 ounces of french fries as a standard serving.

                                                                                            1. re: carolinadawg

                                                                                              Which explains in a nutshell why so many people are overweight.

                                                                                              1. re: kengk

                                                                                                Again, portion control is one of the keys, and a major poblem, but unrealistic expections is a guaranteed path to failure. Rather than attempt to eat only 2.5 ounces of fries, one would be better off eating a larger portion of say, broccoli.

                                                                                  2. One thing that is a constant about weight is that a whole lot of money is being made from the insecurities that individuals have about their overall body image. How many of those books out there are real solutions to the problem or just a way to make some money? For myself I am overweight because my portions are too large and I like my sweets a little too much and I need to move.

                                                                                    1. I think it all comes down to calories in / calories out. If you take in more than you burn, you will gain weight. If you use more than you take in, you will lose weight. Simple as that...

                                                                                      So, it's a matter of moderating intake and making sure you are getting enough exercise, etc. to burn sufficient calories. The amount you can eat is dependent on the amount you move and your basic metabolic rate (which is different for all of us and changes as we age). Also, scientific research has determined that certain foods and food combinations can have impact on metabolism. For example, alcohol is a depressant and can slow metabolism (temporarily).

                                                                                      Yes...certain foods are definitely "better" than others, and eating a wide variety of foods is the healthiest way of eating. Remember there are calories in everything - that morning coffee, sodas, condiments, etc.

                                                                                      Try keeping a food journal. You might be surprised at what you discover.

                                                                                      And overall as a country, I think we are all becoming heftier because of the expansion of food sizes everywhere and also the increase of technology, etc. that causes us all to move less. Years back, when things weren't so "easy", people used to do more physical labor (and eat "cleaner"), so didn't have as much of an obesity problem. I also feel that each successive generation has more of an "I'm going to enjoy life and ignore responsibilities" attitude. This carries over into eating / food / exercise as well.

                                                                                      Lots of rambling here, but this is a topic that I can discuss forever!! :-)

                                                                                      7 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: jbsiegel

                                                                                        <people used to do more physical labor>

                                                                                        Children also used to have gym classes where they either *had* to move or they were *forced* to move.
                                                                                        They played outside until dark and went to bed hungry for breakfast.
                                                                                        For the most part kids aren't moving and they carry the habit into adulthood.

                                                                                        1. re: latindancer

                                                                                          That's a good point....you folks with kids...do they not run around outside till dark anymore? Besides homework, what's the after dinner routine? We all joke that the youngns' just watch tv or the 'puter, is that really true?

                                                                                          1. re: BiscuitBoy

                                                                                            i have a three year old. i live in boston on the top two floors of a "triple deckah." like my front yard is a side walk. screen time is severely limited. we go to the park after school some days. he's very active in all day preschool. he eats more than me. last night was homemade mac and cheese, a hard boiled egg, an apple, a bowl of yogurt, and then some cheezits (gross, i know). and he's thin as hell. he's also one of the only kids i know who doesn't know how to turn on the tv (he does know how to turn it off, though), use a computer mouse, or play angry birds on the ipad. that being said, he'd do nothing but sit in front of the tv eating junk if i let him.

                                                                                            1. re: eLizard

                                                                                              There you go, an engaged parent, bravo!

                                                                                              Maybe us older folk (genx-me, or older) only had 3 or 4 tv channels to watch, and it was more fun to ride bikes, climb trees, or play hockey in the street

                                                                                            2. re: BiscuitBoy

                                                                                              I don't have kids, but I live in a neighborhood with a lot of them. I do see kids out playing, especially in the neighborhood park. But, we also live in a pretty safe area, kind of in the middle of nowhere. I have friends w/ children in more populous areas who don't feel safe letting their kids outside without supervision, and when mom and dad work long hours and still have to get dinner on the table after work, they can't go out and play with junior, so junior ends up hanging out inside watching TV.

                                                                                              Also, I know some friends' kids have BOATLOADS of homework every night... like a couple hours worth. They also put their kids in all kinds of classes, not all of them are sports/dance related. So, too much homework + extra curriculars = no time for play.

                                                                                              1. re: BiscuitBoy

                                                                                                BiscuitBoy, I have a 12-year-old daughter and no, she doesn't run outside til dark. The city where I live just isn't safe enough for me to let her out on her own or with friends her own age, sadly. (I live in the city that just made headline news on Monday for a multiple shooting--guy killed four guys and cops killed him, oyyy...and that was about 2 miles from my house).

                                                                                                Because I don't want her to be physically idle by watching tv, texting, or playing video games til I get home, I have her in every sport she can do at school. She does volleyball in the fall, dance and basketball in the winter, and now she is doing track and field. In the summer (the only time we have predictably good weather), we will go on family walks.

                                                                                                It is such a different world then when I grew up...I am committed to doing what i can to make sure she has an active lifestyle that is fun as well. It's not always easy, that's for sure.

                                                                                                1. re: BiscuitBoy

                                                                                                  My two boys are very active with sports, which is good. The thing that kills me though, is that there isn't a lot of "unstructured active play." When they're not at a sports practice, they have the tendency to glue themselves to the couch with an electronic device of choice.

                                                                                            3. Evidently, just being in this country causes weight gain. This photo showed up on my FB page this morning.

                                                                                               
                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                              1. re: grampart

                                                                                                A rhino is just an American Unicorn
                                                                                                is an equivalent.

                                                                                              2. Too much in general, too much crap, and blame nobody but your yourself, instead of some bogeyman like corn syrup. Eat a salad for chrissakes, and take a walk!

                                                                                                14 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: BiscuitBoy

                                                                                                  Mmmmmm... salad. A nice salad with fried chicken and copious amounts of low fat ranch dressing, coming in at about a thousand calories. : ) I know several people that eat these regularly and wonder why their ass keeps getting bigger and bigger. "It's just a salad"!

                                                                                                  They also leave off the croutons because they are eating low carb and then have a big hunk of cake for dessert.

                                                                                                  1. re: kengk

                                                                                                    In continuing my previous conversation with sedimental.... apparently the definition of salad has also changed over time (we were discussing the definition of "normal weight" has changed over time).

                                                                                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                      Along these same lines...my daughter thought she was eating nice and healthy by having a salad with dressing, cheese and...wait...CRISPY chicken!

                                                                                                      May as well go out and buy KFC...

                                                                                                      I explained the difference between grilled and crispy :-)

                                                                                                    2. re: kengk

                                                                                                      I had wedge salad at Outback, and it had 400+ calories! How did they manage to put that many calories onto a wedge of iceburg lettuce?

                                                                                                      1. re: Reston

                                                                                                        2 possiblities:
                                                                                                        1. the calorie counts for Outback tend to include all of the dressing. if you had it on the side, it'd be less.
                                                                                                        2. breaded chicken, nuts and/or berries etc, cheese

                                                                                                        1. re: Reston

                                                                                                          3 words: blue cheese dressing.

                                                                                                          1. re: carolinadawg

                                                                                                            Yep. It did have blue cheese dressing. I should have known better.

                                                                                                          2. re: Reston

                                                                                                            1/4 cup of dressing, almost all the calories from fat. But they don't put it all in your mouth for you, fortunately. ;-)

                                                                                                            1. re: mcf

                                                                                                              I've gotten to the point where I actually prefer my salads "naked" (no dressing). If I do want any, I always order it on the side. A nice grind of sea salt usually does the trick, though.

                                                                                                              1. re: jbsiegel

                                                                                                                I like dressing all over, but not goopy/ heavy. I'm sure not going to dump a load of dressing onto my salad just because they brought it to the table.

                                                                                                                1. re: jbsiegel

                                                                                                                  We like a drizzle of olive oil, a squeeze of lemon, and kosher salt. Very yum.

                                                                                                                  1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                    That's exactly what I used last night, and on my salad with chicken Milanese.

                                                                                                          3. re: BiscuitBoy

                                                                                                            HA! I'm talking mixed greens, handful of sprouts, a few chicpeas, and some sort of vinaigrette. I'm gonna vote YES to a coupla croutons, that no carb rap is complete bullshit. Take the stairs, park your car away from the herd (your car and your body will thank you), turn off the damn tv, chase your sig other around the couch. It's not hard to figure out

                                                                                                            1. re: BiscuitBoy

                                                                                                              "It's not hard to figure out"

                                                                                                              No, it's really not. The execution is the problem for many of us.

                                                                                                          4. i've been all over the map with my weight. and i was my heaviest when i was making everything from scratch. because it was so good and so available and i ate so much. i spent periods of time living off nothing but booze and martini olives and processed junk and was a rail. i've got my weight under control with WW a couple years ago. i go thru swings of oreos and chips within my points and scratch cooking both with various amounts of exercise. bottom line imho...calories in/calories out. doesn't matter if its from gummy bears or carrots sticks.

                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: eLizard

                                                                                                              I've found I am at my heaviest when I bake. Home-made cookies are way more tempting than store-bought. I love home-made baking, but I end up eating too much.

                                                                                                              I don't have the same problem with from-scratch cooking, especially if I stick to a mostly Mediterranean menu at home. I am much more likely to overeat restaurant food, especially Chinese and Thai food. I think the flavours put my tastebuds into overdrive.

                                                                                                              1. re: prima

                                                                                                                i'm a savory. i'd much rather had a bowl of pasta than a piece of cake!

                                                                                                            2. It isn't so simple as just eating too much food, too much bad food, too much sugar, too much meat, too much salt, too much fat, not enough fibre, etc.

                                                                                                              We're also fat because we're stressed out, not getting enough exercise or not getting enough sleep.

                                                                                                              Maybe Celebrity Chef Recipes are making us fat: http://ca.shine.yahoo.com/blogs/shine...

                                                                                                              I gained some weight following CNET's purchase of CH, which made the site more user-friendly (and addictive for someone like me). I take full responsibility for gaining the weight- not only for the food eaten, but also the hours spent clicking away on the keyboard or searching for posts. The more interactive site has made it easier for me to become even more food-focused than I already was, planning out my dinners, posting details about meals I've had and meals I'd like to have. I've met more (wonderful) food-focused people through CH, which means more of my social time is spent at restaurants and food events. Some of my Chowfriends have great discipline, and get to the gym to take care of any extra calories, but I still need to work in that department.

                                                                                                              1. Simple answer: People are fat because they eat too much.
                                                                                                                In-depth answer: People are fat because they eat too much.

                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                1. re: beevod

                                                                                                                  And move too little. Thats an equally important part of the equation.

                                                                                                                2. It seems that if we cook well, enjoy it, and consequently eat to much, the challenge is: enjoying cooking but not eating so much. Perhaps, focus on making smaller portions, focus on cooking for others. If there aren't a lot of others around, cook simply for yourself. Every meal should not be a big "festivity"--simple and small is just fine, and probably best for the average weekday.

                                                                                                                  1. A little bit of both. People gain weight when they consume more calories than their body uses. There are a lot of different factors that control how many calories one's body will use, some we can control and some we cannot. We have more control over the calories we consume. We have access to a huge variety of high calorie density foods at relatively low cost, which makes it very easy to over consume. Over consumption is compounded by the fact that many of the cheap, calorie dense foods also trigger cravings for many people.

                                                                                                                    If you can manage to consume calorie dense foods in smaller portions without over powering cravings for more, then enjoy! Over the years, I've found I'm better off avoiding certain foods because I either can't stop at a reasonable portion, or I will feel very hungry within an hour of eating it. In general, I am most successful in losing (or at least not gaining) weight when I avoid added sugar, refined flour, and certain fruits.

                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                    1. Both. Calories are calories and you can get fat either way or both ways. Crap has the double whammy though of hidden calories and often is so loaded with other crap that it creates addiction cycles as well as other health issues.

                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                      1. re: JudiAU

                                                                                                                        and don't forget the booze, talk about empty calories.

                                                                                                                      2. Eating too much food! Yummy and easily accessible food is everywhere to tempt us. Busy and stressful lifestyle add to the desire to eat more and not think about what and how much we are putting in our bodies. What we eat is also important. Starchy carbs, refined sugars for examples are big culprits for insulin spikes that contribute to gaining body fat (esp. abdominal fat).

                                                                                                                        According to some fitness experts, exercise is only 25% of the weight loss equation. Food is the other 75%.

                                                                                                                        In general, to reduce body fat and lose weight appropriately, a lifestyle change is needed. Reduce stress, and really think about what and the amount that you are eating. Spend some time on research, and find out what type of food is right for your body type. Exercise appropriately. Apparently, weight training (as oppose to aerobic) exercises burn more calories.

                                                                                                                        Eating too much food for your body is a type of addiction. It will not be easy to change, but it can definitely be done with hard work and strong determination. Weight loss is also not about deprivation. You can still have the yummy food you like, but just in lesser quantity and frequency.

                                                                                                                        What works for me so far is that I try to eat "healthy" most of the time, and have 2-3 meals a week eating out. When I eat out, I eat food that I really like, but try to have food that is less "junky", "fatty". I find that I am enjoying food that I use to really like, but was not exactly healthy less and less.

                                                                                                                        Try to think of your body as a fine car, would you put really inferior, impure oil in it?

                                                                                                                        7 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: Entore

                                                                                                                          "According to some fitness experts, exercise is only 25% of the weight loss equation. Food is the other 75%."

                                                                                                                          I've actually heard the numbers as unbalanced as 10% exercise, 90% diet - and I believe it. I lost the bulk of my weight without any exercise at all (I had a generally active lifestyle, lived in places where I have to walk a lot and wasn't working a desk job, but I didn't do ANY "exercising"). Shows like The Biggest Loser would have you believe it's all about what they're doing in the gym, but it's actually the 600-800 calorie a day diet that results in the rapid weight loss.

                                                                                                                          1. re: biondanonima

                                                                                                                            You don't see alot of fat athletes (no golfers and bowlers don't count!)...IMHO those fitness "experts" who espouse the lower importance of exercise are pandering to the terminally lazy. I think biggest loser succeeds because they target really fat people, who eat junk...easy to lean them up when they have nothing to do all day but have their diet, and fitness regime controlled. No job, no chores, no family issues...Who wouldn't lose weight in that environment

                                                                                                                            1. re: BiscuitBoy

                                                                                                                              i get a lot of news info from my elevator (if that's not a reputable source, i don't know WHAT is), and this week the news said, dr's were now saying if you have to choose one lifestyle change to start with....between diet and exersize, choose exersize.

                                                                                                                              fwiw: http://www.webmd.com/diet/news/201304...

                                                                                                                              1. re: BiscuitBoy

                                                                                                                                Well, there's a big difference between being an athlete and being someone who does a "regular" job 8-10 hours a day and still has to find time to work out. It doesn't surprise me that athletes are rarely overweight - they are exercising 8+ hours a day. For "normal" people, you hear all the time how "just 30 mins of walking a day is enough!" or "an hour, three times a week is all you need!" - but the fact of the matter is, it may not be enough, depending on your metabolism and a whole lot of other factors outside of your control.

                                                                                                                                1. re: biondanonima

                                                                                                                                  You're confusing recommendations for coronary health and weight loss.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: carolinadawg

                                                                                                                                    I'm not confusing anything - my point was that "experts" have all sorts of recommendations (for weight loss and/or coronary health and/or whatever else is trendy), most of which contradict each other and none of which are necessarily right/enough for everyone.

                                                                                                                              2. re: biondanonima

                                                                                                                                For sure leading a physically active life style is one of the key components to staying fit, "healthy" and keeping the fat off. Structured exercises help me since my environment is not conducive to being really active all the time. Modern conveniences such as cars, TVs and computers keep us sedentary. :)

                                                                                                                            2. I think the issues about eating and activity are built over a lifetime and which ever way you started, its very hard to change the habits. I've not been really overweight, though I have gone through fluctuations in my weight. I was an athlete in high school and college. I probably ate 3000-4000 calories a day through my early twenties. Plenty of that was crappy stuff. I actually had to eat that much otherwise my weight would drop. That came with working out 3 - 5 hours every day. Once I started working after school, I obviously couldn't spend that amount of time working out.

                                                                                                                              My calorie consumption dropped off, but not enough to offset the lesser activity at first so my weight went up. I probably picked up 30 lbs from my training weight at the peak. Made me feel awful. So eventually, I got the consumption down and the activity level up a bit, but it won't ever be back to the same as in the school days. Net is that while my weight is higher than when I was in school, I'm doing ok.

                                                                                                                              So I am firmly in the group that says weight control comes from balancing intake with activity. But as I noted in the beginning, that comes from habits picked up over a lifetime and its incredibly difficult for someone to change them dramatically later in life. Simple solution, execution is hard.

                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                              1. re: Bkeats

                                                                                                                                Also, metabolism slows as one ages, often.

                                                                                                                              2. eat too much.

                                                                                                                                Here's a guy that lost weight eating only at fast food places but watching what he ate.
                                                                                                                                http://www.fathead-movie.com/

                                                                                                                                AND, it is generally easier to eat more crappy food
                                                                                                                                http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17...

                                                                                                                                EDIT: I have lost and kept off 80 pounds for 7 years and counting.

                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                1. We eat too much for our activity level where we eat as if we are working the fields instead of working the keyboard.

                                                                                                                                  1. What's on your smoker, JB?

                                                                                                                                    1. We eat too much, don't move enough. Having crap to eat just makes it easier to eat too much, just as having cars, remote controls and elevators make it easy not to move at all. Eating a pint of premium ice cream can take in 1500 calories and isn't that hard to do. There are thousands of processed foods like that. There aren't nearly as many "real" foods that are like that.

                                                                                                                                      1. "I found there was only one way to look thin: hang out with fat people." Rodney Dangerfield

                                                                                                                                        1. Why are Americans too fat?

                                                                                                                                          1. The human body is adept at storing fat for "lean times".
                                                                                                                                          2. Eating food is pleasurable.
                                                                                                                                          3. For a majority of Americans food is generally available in unlimited quantity.

                                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                                          1. re: kengk

                                                                                                                                            4. We are messing up our chemical balances with prescription and OTC drugs and additives in our food.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                              Fascinating....do you have any links for further reading?
                                                                                                                                              TIA.

                                                                                                                                          2. Just wanted to thank you for starting this great thread. Some interesting reading in the replies.
                                                                                                                                            I might have missed it, but the three things I keep thinking that are also part of the puzzle:

                                                                                                                                            Genetics
                                                                                                                                            Metabolism
                                                                                                                                            Evolution

                                                                                                                                            Darn, you've given me Way Too Deep Thoughts for my Friday pizza and wine (and Sci Fi) evening.

                                                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                                                            1. re: pedalfaster

                                                                                                                                              Add faulty recommendations by public health authorities making Americans hungrier and fatter and causing an immediate epidemic of diabetes, taking one generation to turn what was "adult onset diabetes" into a pediatric disease.

                                                                                                                                              The low fat, grain based reccos started this.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                Eat more butter! Eat more butter!

                                                                                                                                            2. Probably both. I am fat because I love food and hate exercise. Well, I don't hate it, but I am quite adept at coming up with excuses to not do it (no sidewalks, boring, too tired, back hurts, too hot, too cold, too rainy, stray dogs, pestilence, plague, etc). I acknowledge it is no one's fault but my own.

                                                                                                                                              I theorize that when Americans began to give up cigarettes, they started gaining weight. We are under huge amounts of stress nowadays: wars, bad economy, highest amount of weekly hours worked, hardly any vacation or leisure time. People used to survive on cigarettes and black coffee. Now they pacify themselves with food.

                                                                                                                                              We need to look at our lifestyles and societal expectations as Americans. Is this worth it?

                                                                                                                                              Jerseygirl111

                                                                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                                                              1. re: Jerseygirl111

                                                                                                                                                So we need to pick up cigarettes and copious amounts of black coffee again?

                                                                                                                                                I'm kind of winking and smiling....but don't hate me. I mean, perhaps that is part of what kept all of those sugar glazed donuts from showing up on the ol' waistband. :)

                                                                                                                                                1. re: pedalfaster

                                                                                                                                                  Oh yeah, when I smoked, worked full-time & drank coffee - very little time to eat - I was as thin as a rail!

                                                                                                                                                2. re: Jerseygirl111

                                                                                                                                                  <I theorize that when Americans began to give up cigarettes, they started gaining weight.>

                                                                                                                                                  That's exactly what happened to me. I used to be thin-average weight for my height, and I could eat as much as I wanted of anything I wanted. And I did.

                                                                                                                                                  Then I quit smoking, and my life has never been the same.

                                                                                                                                                3. The human race evolved NOT eating sugar and wheat. I know I'm wasting my time and band width. Sigh. There are actually different races on this planet. OH KNOW!!!! WE"RE ALL THE SAME!!!!!!!!
                                                                                                                                                  Go to the Eat Right For Your Blood Type Diet forum. (I've tried to steer people to this forum before but my post/s get deleted FSR. 'PC'?)
                                                                                                                                                  The fact is certain 'blood types' are common among certain racial groups. Blacks generally have a blood type that does not tolerate refined sugar. But they consume it. The rate of diabetes and obesity among Blacks is endemic. Now you're being a RACIST!
                                                                                                                                                  How many, generally speaking Asians have diabetes and are morbidly obese? What do they eat?
                                                                                                                                                  Better check out the ERFYBT web site before this post is removed.

                                                                                                                                                  8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Puffin3

                                                                                                                                                    >Go to the Eat Right For Your Blood Type Diet forum.>

                                                                                                                                                    I thought about doing this a few years ago, then I tried to get my blood type, only to find it would cost several hundred dollars if I don't *need* to know it. (I cannot donate blood.)

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Puffin3

                                                                                                                                                        There is one human race on this planet. Period.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Puffin3

                                                                                                                                                          There are some beliefs that say we should go back and eat the diets more representative of those of our respective ancestors. Drugs for example, act differently in people of different ethic backgrounds, so why shouldn't food? We should all try and pay attention to what is the right type of food for our body type. We are not the same when it comes to physiological make up. Those are facts.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Puffin3

                                                                                                                                                            Race is largely a fiction. The things that differentiate people into so-called races are superficial compared to the things we share. We all have the same biochemistry. Hardly anybody has a pure "racial" background anyway, because people are now so mobile and there is so much intermarriage between various populations.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: GH1618

                                                                                                                                                              I'm not going to get into this debate. I will however point out that there are different blood types.
                                                                                                                                                              Diabetes/obesity among young asians has skyrocketed in the last few decades. Why? It is the opinion of those that study such things that the easy accessibility of refined sugar/junk foods throughout Asia is a main factor.
                                                                                                                                                              If my ancestors lived in a part of the world for thousands of years and all they ever eat were roots and lean red meat and they were fit enough to maintain a viable population then in recent times they started eating sugar and fat and salt every day don't you think this change in diet would effect their health?

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Puffin3

                                                                                                                                                                " It is the opinion of those that study such things that the easy accessibility of refined sugar/junk foods throughout Asia is a main factor."

                                                                                                                                                                Processed foods has been the scourge of much of the world and affects all blood types and races. What population do you know of that can eat a lot of that and maintain any semblance of health.

                                                                                                                                                                There are different blood types, hair types, eye color, body type (mesomorph, etc.)--an infinite ways to divide people . I think I'm going to write a book about "Eat right for your hair type" and see if I can make a fortune.

                                                                                                                                                              2. re: GH1618

                                                                                                                                                                You are so right. Biologically, "race" is a fiction. Socially and politically, race is very powerful.
                                                                                                                                                                The "eat right for your blood type" diet is scientifically considered a myth. Chowser is right when s/he argues that it makes as much sense as a "eat right for your eye color" diet :)

                                                                                                                                                                As for the OP's question: I think it's all those things. People are more sedentary, eating more, eating more processed food, may be more stressed, etc.

                                                                                                                                                            2. Food is sooo expensive...I think I must be living around an abundance of multi-millionares because all I see are fat people.

                                                                                                                                                              33 Replies
                                                                                                                                                              1. re: hetook

                                                                                                                                                                Actually, Americans currently spend a smaller percentage of our income on food than at any other time. Food is very cheap.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: hetook

                                                                                                                                                                  Interesting point.
                                                                                                                                                                  I forgot "Socioeconomics" on my list.

                                                                                                                                                                  I recall (art history, 1980s U.S) that it was explained that most of the "fat" people in "old" paintings were of the "upper" classes. Kings and what-not. Food was expensive. The poor/servant-class folks tended to be portrayed as thin.

                                                                                                                                                                  Have we "flip-flopped"?
                                                                                                                                                                  And if so...why???

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: pedalfaster

                                                                                                                                                                    We are so relatively rich that even the poor can afford enough food to be obese. Perhaps it is one of the few things that they can afford that does give pleasure.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: kengk

                                                                                                                                                                      Food, sex, and rock & roll!

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: kengk

                                                                                                                                                                        IMO it's not 'food' that makes people obese. It's the type of food. Some people eat large amounts of say rice every day and they aren't obese. Give those people a diet of 'fast food' and watch them develop illness they and there ancestors never had.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Puffin3

                                                                                                                                                                          You are thinking of this?

                                                                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: carolinadawg

                                                                                                                                                                              Not so. Hormones decide how they work in your body, and what kind of food they come from determines what hormones are or are not release when you eat.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                I will lose weight regardless of whether I eat 1000 calories of candy or 1000 calories of broccoli. That's my point.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: carolinadawg

                                                                                                                                                                                    In a lab, yes. It takes more energy for our bodies to burn protein than fat. Think of something like cellulose. We can't digest it to get the calories out so it passes right through us, but ants can break it down to get the calories. If you look at nutrigenetics, they're studying why calories affect people differently and how different calories affect the same person in different ways.

                                                                                                                                                                                    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16...

                                                                                                                                                                                    A simple way to consider it is looking at mpg for cars. It depends on so many factors that it's pretty meaningless to say cars get 25 mpg.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: carolinadawg

                                                                                                                                                                                      This is like saying that it doesn't matter whether you put gasoline or diesel in your car, because BTUs are BTUs. Try switching fuels and let us know how it worked out.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: GH1618

                                                                                                                                                                                        This is just one of the studies demonstrating that the high carb calories you eat will alter you biochemistry in a way that stimulates excess eating at later meals. And the folks with heredity that's most predisposed will have the worst outcomes and weight problems. Yet this is how public health authorities keep telling us to eat:

                                                                                                                                                                                        http://pediatrics.aappublications.org...

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                          mcf, I've looked into the Glycemic Index theory a little bit, and it seems to me to fairly compatible with Dr. Lustig's approach, although more detailed. Do you agree?

                                                                                                                                                                                          It's interesting that the principal author of this paper, Dr. Ludwig, was mentioned favorably by Dr. Lustig in his lecture.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: GH1618

                                                                                                                                                                                            I haven't found GI to be reliable enough from person to person when testing glucose to have paid much attention to it for many years, but I do know that any meal with substantial carb load is highly glycemic, more so if not eating with significant protein to sustain post meal insulin response.

                                                                                                                                                                                            I think it's clearly useful in studies of groups, but not a good guide for the individual. Some very low GI foods are pretty deleterious to health, too, like fructose. Some grains test low GI, yet spike any diabetic to all hell even after a small serving.

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: GH1618

                                                                                                                                                                                          Humans are multi fuel vehicles, to extend your analogy. We aren't designed to run on only one type of fuel, as most cars are. We can use gas, diesel, LNG, biofuel, electricity, etc. as it were. Also, you are confusing calorbeing with food. All food has calories; there are many different types of food but a calorie is a calorie. And while they are differences in how our bodies use different types of food, the basic premise that calories are calories is true. If we take in more calories than we expend, we gain weight. For most people.

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: Puffin3

                                                                                                                                                                                        Asians eating a high rice diet have high rates of diabetes.

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: pedalfaster

                                                                                                                                                                                      "Times are changin', now the poor get fat..."

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: pedalfaster

                                                                                                                                                                                        Many people that live in poverty also live in food deserts, although this appears to be changing. There are little to no supermarkets in poor areas so the people purchase their food in convenience store or corner stores, where very little fruits and vegetables are sold; mostly salt and fat laden prepared foods. Kids looking for snacks get chips instead of an apple. Hot dogs instead of chicken breast. Frozen food meals are cheaper and easier than purchasing and preparing meals from scratch. Poorer people perhaps work more jobs to make ends meet so they have less time to cook. Persons with less education tend to make less money so it's possible that they are less aware of what constitutes healthier food choices. The more mouths to feed the less money there is per person for food.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Now this may be changing. There are many non profits focusing on this problem. More inner city community gardens. More farmers markets are popping up and many accept SNAP. I saw Stephen Colbert interview Will Allen about his program Growing Power and his book, The Good Food Revolution. Very interesting.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Jerseygirl111

                                                                                                                                                                                          I agree with everything you say except....CHICKEN BREAST. Gak. ;-P

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                            Whole roasted chicken is the way to go. People can pick off the skin if they want to be healthy (edit: I should have written "if they want to cut down on fat").
                                                                                                                                                                                            I'm always amazed by how many college kids "on a budget" purchase skinless boneless chicken breasts, that run about $8/lb where I live. If anyone is watching their budget, has a bit of time to cook, and isn't bothered by skin and bones, whole birds or chicken parts is a much better choice than chicken breast, imo.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: prima

                                                                                                                                                                                              I eat the skin to be healthy! Well salted and seasoned! I buy pastured, drug free birds to be healthy.

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: pedalfaster

                                                                                                                                                                                          Because starchy foods are the cheapest. Gary Taubes laid out an excellent discussion/case for why poor folks are simultaneously the most obese and the most malnourished.

                                                                                                                                                                                        3. re: hetook

                                                                                                                                                                                          No, because healthy food is more expensive. Gourmet marinara in a jar without added sugar usually costs about twice the inexpensive brands, which have lots of added sugar.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: GH1618

                                                                                                                                                                                            Total bull. Rao's marinara has 3 grams of sugars per serving, Safeway's store brand and Trader Joe's (just to name a couple) have 2 grams. Not to mention it can easily be made at home with no sugar.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: carolinadawg

                                                                                                                                                                                              When I checked Rao's where I shop, it had no added sugar, and cost about twice as much as the cheap brands. Thats's my point. The poor are not buying Rao's. It's not even an option at the stores where low-income people shop.

                                                                                                                                                                                              The working poor do not have time to make their own spaghetti sauce (they probably don't call it marinara). I spend a few hours on mine, but I'm retired and don't have children to look after.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: GH1618

                                                                                                                                                                                                I'm well aware that Rao's is expensive. And it has more sugar in it than the 2 inexpensive, affordable options I mentioned. THAT is my point. And it directly contradicts your original "point" which was that all inexpensive options have more sugar than the expensive options.

                                                                                                                                                                                                It doesn't take hours to make marinara.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: carolinadawg

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I think there is a contradiction here regarding "sugar" vs. "added sugar".

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yeah, I count all carb grams the same, sugar or not. They all end up as sugar when you eat them, except a percentage of the fiber.

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: GH1618

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Here's another example, from my pantry (as I don't buy Rao's). Tommaso's marinara (from San Francisco) has no added sugar, but 1g of sugar per serving (1/2 cup or 125g). It costs $5.99 a pint.

                                                                                                                                                                                                3. re: carolinadawg

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Click on the jar to see the ingredients: no *added* sugar or corn syrup. What sugars are contained are there in the ingredients.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  http://www.raos.com/PU24-Case.aspx#.U...

                                                                                                                                                                                                  If Rao's has more g of sugars, it probably means more tomato or onion.

                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: hetook

                                                                                                                                                                                                hetook: In western countries, poor people are fat, and rich people are slim. The food that the poor can find and afford are unhealthy and fattening. Rich people can afford better quality food, eat more healthy diets, and exercise.

                                                                                                                                                                                              3. "We" are not fat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                Our clothes have just shrunk because of global warming.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Both. Pretty obviously.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. JuniorBalloon, I'll add that I was right about where you are, technically obese at six feet and 225 to 230 lbs. I never thought of myself as obese, because I put on the weight slowly, and because there are so many people these days who are way over the line. I was fat enough to have difficulty tying my shoes. I didn't like it, but didn't know how best to go about losing weight.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Then I lost 40 lbs during an illness (I don't recommend this method). It was wonderful being a proper weight again, but as I love food, I quickly put back 15 lbs. I don't want to go back to my old high weight, though, so now I am determined to stay under 200. I feel a lot better at this weight — it's worth it giving up a few things.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. We need a nice pice chart by Chemical Kinetics to tabulate how many think it is caused by intake/exercise versus those who think the blame rests with the governmental/agribusiness complex.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. I think a lot of it is about laziness.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        We buy packaged/processed food because it's easy. We don't move enough because we're lazy. We don't cook healthy food because lots of times it's easier to go with the junk. The stores tempt us with the junky/large portions, and we buy them because we are too lazy to "say no" or look for the healthier option. Restaurants serve crazy large portions for the same reason (and because they can charge more).

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I find that in so many things, people aren't willing to put in the necessary effort to be successful and are looking for the easy shortcut. (Don't even get me started about corruption in politics, celebrities in trouble, etc.) I think this carries over to food and health as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        80 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: jbsiegel

                                                                                                                                                                                                          <We don't cook healthy food because lots of times it's easier to go with the junk. >

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I wonder if it also has to do with taste. Technically speaking, it should be just as fast to cook healthy frozen broccoli as frozen pizza. In fact, faster. Yet, most people find frozen pizza to be much tastier than frozen vegetables.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                                                                                            When our ancestors were trying to survive salt/fat and something sweet like honey were 'special treats' that people rarely if ever tasted. Now every meal can be filled with 'special treats' Our bodies did not evolve to cope with what many of us ingest daily. Hence endemic obesity/illness.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Puffin3

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Love frozen veggies here!! Really don't like frozen pizza - never ends up tasting like anything we want to eat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: jbsiegel

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I am sure that what you say is true for many people.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I would like to lose weight. I cook everything from scratch and eat lots of fresh vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. My meat portions are "natural" and not very large. I don't like sugar very much and only eat less sweet, small desserts occasionally. I do not drink soft drinks and love water and plain tea.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            How should I go about losing weight?

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                                              <How should I go about losing weight?>

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Did your doctor ever say you should lose weight?

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Doctors put the weight on me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I no longer go.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Are you sure you need to lose the weight? Maybe you are perfectly thin already.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Thank you. In my dreams! I pretty much went from too skinny to too fat. I would have liked to have stopped in the middle for a while!

                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                It's easier to maintain a healthy weight than to lose to get down to a healthy weight. In order to burn stored calories, your caloric intake needs to be less than you need, so you will be hungry.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: GH1618

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Yes...you do need to be hungry. Lots of times that's another problem - people eat from boredom rather than true hunger. If you think you're hungry, wait about 15-20 (or go for a walk) and then see if you're still hungry. If you are, go ahead and eat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Watch out for the all-day grazing too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  My daughter told me she didn't think she ate enough for lunch the other day because she was hungry. Well...yep...at 6 p.m. you SHOULD be hungry. If not, you're probably eating too much for lunch.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Listen to your body...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  "How should I go about losing weight?"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  "Eat more butter! Eat more butter!"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: kengk

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Do you not recognize tongue-in-cheek?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Besides, a moderate amount of butter is not unhealthy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    You could try halving the grains and stopping the fruits, bumping up veggies and proteins, and healthy fats.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  3. re: jbsiegel

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I'd say business more than laziness. Working long hours, kids in too many activities so you go w/ what you can. It's not that they're sitting on the couch all day and not making dinner. They're working 10 hour days, getting home to get their kids to wherever they have to be and have to get all the other housework done, too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      That's right. Some people here do not seem to understand the circumstances of the working poor. Such people, often single parents, are not shopping at farmers' markets and upscale groceries. They are not preparing meals from scratch. And they are not hanging out on chowhound. They don't have the time or money.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: GH1618

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.” ― Henry David Thoreau

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: GH1618

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Exactly. Someone cleaning a hotel room all day probably doesn't have the energy to go home to cook a meal from scratch. It's not lazy; it's survival.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          And it's not just the working poor. The people in my area live in McMansion, million dollar homes. They're so busy making their fortunes that they eat out all the time and don't have the knowledge to know how to order the right food. It's across the spectrum but at least they have the means to eat better, whether they choose to or not. Vegetables and fruits are often out of reach for the working poor.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Even if the working poor could afford the fruits and vegetables, and had access to fruits and vegetables (as some poorer neighbourhoods no longer have local grocery stores, if the grocery stores have shut down), if they happen to live somewhere without a full kitchen, it might not be practical or even possible to prepare the fruits and fresh vegetables, as well as other healthy meals.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: GH1618

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I totally agree, but there are certainly healthy inexpensive foods that they could buy. You can buy a bulk pack of chicken on sale to make more meals than you can if you go to McDonald's.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: jbsiegel

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I don't think it is "lazy" but I totally agree that there is an emotional/mental "stuck ness" and denial that goes with getting fat and staying fat. Excuses after excuses. While there are a few folks with a genuine medical issue that drastically interferes with weight loss, it is the exception-not the rule.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          This woman has it nailed, I think, regarding "tricking"yourself, accepting reality,and changing attitude:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: sedimental

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I'm a personal trainer in a medical setting and the hardest people to help are those in denial. When someone is 100 lbs overweight, has no medical issues, and claims he/she only eats small amounts of fish and lots of vegetables, there's little you can do. The thing is people who are overweight/obese know how they should eat. Most have been on multiple diets and can talk the talk. When someone is completely honest, then we can make a plan of action and get started. As they say in AA, you have to admit the problem first. None of these people are lazy, imo. Unless someone has been through weight loss and kept it off, it's hard to know how difficult it is.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I have a huge problem with this. The fact is that folks do not become morbidly obese because they have no medical problem. They just go undiagnosed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I can't tell you how many horror stories I've heard from people with Cushing's disease who've spent years, even decades before diagnosis because doctor's and other health care providers test them once or twice (the tests have to be repeated often, the disease cycles) and tell them to stop eating so much or to get weight loss surgery. Many of them have lived as prisoners in huge bodies beyond their control and with deadly damage accumulated before cure, if they get one. Here's one such case: http://cushings365.posterous.com/

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Even if they don't have a pituitary tumor, undiagnosed subclinical Cushing's, when sought, is found to be the cause of up to 10% of all cases of type 2 diabetes; just THINK of how huge that number is. That's using a screening test that can fail all but 8 times of out 365, according to one case study, that most doctors use like it's a gold standard, just once.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Hypothyroidism screening and testing is badly used and misapplied by endocrinologists and primary doctors. That's another cause of obesity even with severe calorie restriction.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                "The fact is that folks do not become morbidly obese because they have no medical problem."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I don't agree with that. Paula Deen did not become obese because she had medical problems. She started eating better and lost weight. I agree there are people who do have medical problems but the vast majority do not.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                http://www.webmd.com/diet/medical-rea...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The people in this registry are proof. It's very difficult to lose weight and maintain it but it's do-able.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                http://www.nwcr.ws/

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Okay, the weight loss registry was a total piece of crap science.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Paula Deen is your argument? Seriously? There's room between a double cheeseburger on French toast and folks like me, who gained on anything over 800 calories per day while working out, 1200 calories per day when on low carb, still very little food. Or my friend who gained 200 lbs on the same 1300 calories per day she'd been thin on for years and went undiagnosed so long that she had to have both her pituitary and her adrenal glands removed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Seriously, you work with the obese but have not informed yourself about the medical science related to obesity?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I'm a 6'2" tall man and I can maintain a 1200 calorie per day diet for long periods of time. It is "enough" food. It is NOT enough food to make me happy which is why I tend to eventually fall back into the eating patterns that lead to me being overweight. That and drinking to excess.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I've helped people lose weight and keep it off through diet and exercise. Gasp. Call it crap science but it works. I know there are people who have medical issues and obese as a result and can probably quote anecdotally more than you but that's the minority. We'll have to agree to disagree because you're not going to convince me that all obesity is a result of medical conditions and that all obese people eat under 1000 calories a day and work out. People who don't eat many calories and are obese have medical issues. Most don't.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Yeah, I don't have contempt for obese folks who are told it's a willpower issue. As obesity researchers often say, a thin fat person due to weight loss is still not normal and it will always be much more difficult for them to lose and to keep weight off.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Truth is, you have no basis for your statement that "most don't" because so few are ever rigorously tested when people get paid to keep them coming back for billable services instead of thorough diagnostics and prevention.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          There is no profit in healthy people.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I have no contempt for people who are obese or overweight. I understand because I've BTDT and know what a struggle it is, fovever. I also refused to accept that it was a medical condition.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Can you prove that every obese person eats reasonable amounts of food and it's only a result of medical conditions that cause the weight?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              "Can you prove that every obese person eats reasonable amounts of food and it's only a result of medical conditions that cause the weight?"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              That's never come up in this discussion, but it does demonstrate that you're not comprehending the breadth of the problem. Some people get fat from overeating due to biochemistry driving excessive appetite. Some diets actually cause this, such as the diet recommendations promoted by health authorities that has led to epidemic obesity and pediatric type 2 diabetes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Please don't divert the discussion with straw men, it's dishonorable and no useful discussion can follow it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                <Some diets actually cause this, such as the diet recommendations promoted by health authorities>

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Could you list some of these diets please? I'd love to go over them with my doc who's an endocrinologist. It'd be interesting to know about them if docs are recommending them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Sure, check out the exhaustive review of obesity research in "Good Calories, Bad Calories" by science writer Gary Taubes, or his blog. It's a long book, a hard slog, assiduously well documented with citations. My endocrinologist recommends "no starch, no sugar." He's chief of his academic medical center's endocrinology dept, and his M.D. is in medical research.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  <Some people get fat from overeating due to biochemistry driving excessive appetite.>

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  This makes little sense to me.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  When a person goes on a 1200 calorie diet to shed pounds there's definitely a 'hunger' component to it. When I've done it I space my food intake to keep my blood sugar even but I'm also exercising and burning the calories I take in so I *do* get hungry.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Are you saying the biochemistry factor makes the person hungry but they can't control their eating? Of course they're going to gain weight.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  "Excessive appetite" doesn't mean the person has to sit and gorge themselves.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    You don't have to gorge yourself to gain weight. You just need to overeat routinely over an extended period to gain slowly. Such people don't even realize they are overeating until they have put on quite a few pounds.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: GH1618

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Okay, fair enough you don't have to gorge.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      However, if a person is 300 pounds and has had a medical condition that increases their appetite I don't understand how they can't just stop eating so much that they continue to gain weight.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Isn't there some self control needed here?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Medical condition? The problem isn't limited to those with some medical condition, whatever that might be. And the problem isn't limited to those who are 300 pounds or more. The OP is merely technically obese, and is wondering what the factors are that are causing so many people to gain weight.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Self control is a good thing, but lack of self control does not explain the obesity epidemic.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      "Are you saying the biochemistry factor makes the person hungry but they can't control their eating? "

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      In extreme cases, yes. Those who are most predisposed to it, in fact, Those are the folks who really need (unlike most, I think) the extreme induction level of a diet like Atkins. When there was a very active low carb usenet group years ago, one of the commonest occurrences was that morbidly obese folks who'd had appetite control issues on other diets lifelong were amazed that on induction, they had trouble feeling like eating enough calories to keep their metabolisms high.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The appetite suppression effects of ketogenic diets are very well documented in medical literature, it's not a new concept. There are other hormones that are much less well understood that direct appetite and hunger levels, like ghrelin, leptin...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        <morbidly obese folks who'd had appetite control issues>

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Sorry, but I'm still not understanding the link between 'medical' issues that can cause appetite enhancement and the inability to lose weight.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        It seems to me a medical doctor who specializes in mental health needs to be brought into the equation to see why the person's unable to stop eating, or got as heavy as they did in the first place, and lose weight.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Nobody who purposely loses weight doesn't feel hungry at one point or another.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        There's just no way in hell I'm going to believe a 400 pound woman isn't eating waaaaay too much, is unable to exercise because she's too heavy, and then turns in around and blames it on 'medical issues' and people are really going to believe it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          If you have a genuine interest in the questions you raise, let's discuss after you've read the Taubes book.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I have no interest in reading the 'Taubes book'.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I'm one of those 'take responsibility for what you put in your mouth or otherwise you're going to be huge' kind of people.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            You come on a thread and post like you're the expert in this field. I have simple questions, responding only to assertions you're making, and if you don't have the answers then that's perfectly fine.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Apparently you don't. Next time I'm at my endocrinologist (who I trust) I'll briefly ask *him* about it. He's the expert. I can only assume that if he had a patient ( with a normal blood work panel, and there was nothing in that panel that raised a red flag) and was 50 pounds overweight, he'd tell her to restrict her calories and exercise like crazy. There wouldn't be a long, complicated issue and work up to see if there was a 'medical' reasons why the person allowed themselves to get that fat.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Not unless the patient insisted on it and was looking for reasons to not have to quit eating.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              " I have no interest in reading the 'Taubes book'."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I'm not surprised.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              "I'm one of those 'take responsibility for what you put in your mouth or otherwise you're going to be huge' kind of people."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              That's exactly what the book is about! But not in a self referencing opinion based way.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              It provides an objective, scientific basis free of personal bias for doing so.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                If I read every book, based on hypothesis, that was written I'd never get off the couch.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  That was quite a break in logic.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    This just in... weight gained by all those reading books about how to lose weight
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    (laughing releases chemicals in the brain that make you stay young, healthy and makes you eat less)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: acssss

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I know I always eat to excess when I'm angry. Seems to be a lot of anger in this thread for some reason.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: kengk

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Hmm, I was posting in the middle of the night, and on this thread. I should be obese.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I agree.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        People who are overweight (and I am not referring to people who are overweight due to medications or medical illness) tend to find all the reasons in the world for being overweight - metabolism, genes, hormones, age, sleep deprivation, etc. The truth is that all these reasons DO have an influence on weight, but they cause a few pounds here or there - they DO NOT cause obesity. Sleep deprivation will cause you to be 1/2 pound more after a year than you would had you slept well. It wouldn't cause a 100 pound difference! THAT is ONLY caused by food. Every person who is thin (or 90%) have to work in order to stay thin - it isn't easy. As I said before, the difference in weight gain between those who stay thin and those who are overweight is the point in which you become nervous of your weight gain. If you are mid BMI and get nervous - you probably won't ever be close to being overweight - if you are close to the max - you probably will be overweight at some point.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: acssss

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          <the difference in weight gain between those who stay thin and those who are overweight is the point in which you become nervous of your weight gain>

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          This is exactly what I was talking about. Thanks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The discipline it takes to stay thin and lean and healthy is not always easy and some people just don't have the willpower to do it.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I know of a woman who's easily 200 pounds overweight. She's attempted to convince everyone around her, even though she consumes thousands of calories a day in front of everyone, that it's caused by a certain medication she's taking. Perhaps it *was* but it certainly isn't the entire reason. She just eats for 4 people.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          She's managed to talk someone into giving her a handicap placard in her car so she doesn't have to walk the distance to the place she's going to. She says her hips hurt, her knees hurt. I can guarantee that if she stopped the eating habit she's on and exercised, regardless of the medication she's on, her pain would miraculously disappear. Unless she's done damage from the weight that can't be remedied with help.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            You're bringing up a different issue here. The examples you've given before have been of people who are obese and not eating much and possible reasons. I agree that excessive overeating is controlled by uncontollable appetite, either from mental or physical issues. I don't think that's always the case. I work w/ people who make poor food choices/portion choices. They eat out, order what they want and eat what's in font of them. There are people who are born with overeating tendencies and you can see them even as toddlers. And, there are many mental issues that can also cause overeating, eg the result of sexual assault. However, like alcoholism, we can acknowledge the problem and try to fix it, while acknowledging there are underlying biochemical problems rather than leaving it at that for those cases.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            There are people who don't have biochem imbalances and admit that it's changes in their lifestyles that cause weight gain (which is my clientele), As someone told me recently, she got married three years ago and put on 30 lbs. That weight gain isn't caused by overeating due to biochemical changes. That said, having put on 30 lbs will make maintaining her old weight much more difficult. Fat cells are much more active, and we're finding cause more problems than we knew. I don't believe in "diets" and have to clarify that I use "diet" to mean daily food intake, eg. cows eating a diet of grass.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I think you completely fail to comprehend or include the fact that the behaviors you describe have their root in impulses that are driven by biochemistry and are glibly labeled as "mental" or "emotional" as if those aren't states determined by biochemistry and medical issues.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                "Mental health" is biochemical but for some derived some emotional events. No less serious but it's helpful to know where it might have come from. You can treat PTSD by drugs alone, or knowing the base cause, go into the psychological aspects, too. There's nothing glib about treating both aspects. Someone who overeats because she was raped needs something different than than someone who overeats because of genes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I'm not meaning as much negativity in my posts as you're reading. I have a lot of sympathy for people who are obese and for people who suffer from mental health problems and am not trying to treat them glibly, or with contempt.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  PTSD is not a psychological condition, it's a chronically elevated cortisol condition with psych symptoms.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  You cannot separate emotional/psych issues and behavior from physiology and biochemistry.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  You may not be aware of it, but major mental illnesses such as tx resistant depression, psychosis and bipolar disorder respond to the steroid blocker mifepristone, which is the abortion drug and also used to treat Cushing's disease and glucocorticoid resistance syndrome.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Chowser, I understand that you don't intend disrespect, but sometimes certain attitudes and unsupported beliefs become foundational in medical settings and clinical practice, where time is money and billable procedures, not thorough investigation is emphasized and over specialization prevents what I consider to be even minimally adequate understanding and health care.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Nothing personal about you, you're just the one landing on a hot button for me. Whether your attitude is sympathetic or not, those beliefs still lead to an unfair burden on patients. They are part of the training that leads to a kind and sympathetic person such as yourself having some very inaccurate opinions about the people you work with, and if you don't think they're hurt by even the most subtle, unintended manifestations, well, you don't hear what I hear from them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    "You cannot separate emotional/psych issues and behavior from physiology and biochemistry."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Which is why I said we need to treat both and not just the biochemical. It's not treating mental illness that has a traumatic source "glibly" as you claim to say it's different from physical illness.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    We all know you have contempt for the medical field but it's your view and as you read in this thread, there are many beliefs from people who believe different things. I'm sure there are some who think I'm remiss because I don't treat people according to race or blood type. I motivate people to work out and to feel good about themselves for doing it--that's my job and they do. It would be out of the scope for me, and I'd be reprimanded, at best, by the state to tell patients to read Taubes and ignore doctors, even if you strongly believe it. FWIW, I do read scientific studies and keep up w/ what's current. I have a scientific background. I don't want to get into a debate w/ you because you are such a follower of Taubes that it's like speaking w/ people trying to convert others to their religion. I'm happy that you've found what works for you. I've found that different things work for different people and there is no one size fits all lifestyle.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      You have found a writer, of a book, who you've championed and it validates your hypothesis of why people can become obese and *choose* to remain obese.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      If it works for you that's fine. However, there are very credible professional people who, no doubt, don't agree with him.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      It's how the field of science works.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        It didn't validate my hypothesis, I had none when I began reading the research, I developed one. His book came out years later and I recognized the research in it as what I'd been reading for a decade.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        He's an award winning science writer and med school lecturer who goes where the *objective* evidence leads, period.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        It's a system defined by its glibness.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Many of my close family members are doctors. As one (an oncologist) says; "once a diagnosis is made, all thinking stops." The problem is that many diagnoses are wrong.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I never let myself nor my staff stop investigating every possible influence or angle in seeking the best outcomes for our med/psych case management program clients. Getting higher paid and credentialed doctors and other care providers to respond similarly was like pulling teeth.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Patients are vulnerable people, they deserve care from people who think long and hard before making clinical recommendations and who continually re-evaluate their own thoughts and conclusions along the way. That's where health care practices fail so miserably.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        My attitude isn't the problem, here, it's your inability to grasp that medical and mental health are not separate and distinct, so you default to blaming me. And your patients.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          " it's your inability to grasp that medical and mental health are not separate and distinct, "

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I'll say it one more time to see if I can make it more clear to you--I've repeatedly said that mental health can have both biochemical and psychological aspects. They need to be addressed. A woman who is obese as a result of being raped needs to have counseling, in addition to having the biochem issue addressed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          When you're talking about a leap of logic, I don't see how I'm blaming you for anything. As I've said, I'm happy you found what works for you. You refuse to accept that others have had success with different methods so there's no point in continuing with the discussion.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I've watched, albeit only once, the show "Biggest Losers".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Every single one of the contestants came on with a profile that had one thing in common...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            They each have a list a mile long why they ended up being as big as they are and why they can't lose it. Some medical, some psychological, some environmental, the list is endless.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The final result, with the help of whoever it is that oversees them, is a body that's leaner and stronger with hard work, sweat and a dramatically lower intake of calories. On that plan, that seems to work, there's no *acceptable* excuse used for not losing the weight.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          "PTSD is not a psychological condition, it's a chronically elevated cortisol condition with psych symptoms."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Citation, please?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: law_doc89

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Here's a very succinct one. It helps to know that normal diurnal cortisol rhythm is for it to be highest in the early morning, tapering all day to about zero at midnight, with a sharp drop off mid to late afternoon. So the long, high cortisol levels due to stress taper down and the changes that it causes appear, in many studies, to lead to an inability to provide adequate stress hormone levels later during PTSD. This could be due to receptors down regulating to try to compensate for the excess hormone, or the adrenals' inability to keep producing such high, sustained levels:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Psychol Bull. 2007 Jan;133(1):25-45.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            If it goes up, must it come down? Chronic stress and the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical axis in humans.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Miller GE, Chen E, Zhou ES.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Source
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Department of Psychology, University of British Columbia (UBC), Vancouver, BC, Canada. gemiller@psych.ubc.ca
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Abstract
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The notion that chronic stress fosters disease by activating the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical (HPA) axis is featured prominently in many theories. The research linking chronic stress and HPA function is contradictory, however, with some studies reporting increased activation, and others reporting the opposite. This meta-analysis showed that much of the variability is attributable to stressor and person features. Timing is an especially critical element, as hormonal activity is elevated at stressor onset but reduces as time passes. ***Stressors that threaten physical integrity, involve trauma, and are uncontrollable elicit a high, flat diurnal profile of cortisol secretion. ****Finally, HPA activity is shaped by a person's response to the situation; it increases with subjective distress but is lower in persons with posttraumatic stress disorder.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            (c) 2007 APA, all rights reserved.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            PMID: 17201569 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            One More, there's tons:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            J Psychiatr Res. 2006 Sep;40(6):550-67. Epub 2005 Oct 7.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Assessment of HPA-axis function in posttraumatic stress disorder: pharmacological and non-pharmacological challenge tests, a review.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            de Kloet CS, Vermetten E, Geuze E, Kavelaars A, Heijnen CJ, Westenberg HG.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Source
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Department of Military Psychiatry, Central Military Hospital, Heidelberglaan 100, 3584 CX Utrecht, The Netherlands. C.S.deKloet@azu.nl <C.S.deKloet@azu.nl>
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Abstract
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is typically accompanied by acute and chronic alterations in the stress response. These alterations have mostly been described in individuals under baseline conditions, but several studies have also used a challenge model to further assess the role of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis in the stress response. This paper reviews common methodology and research findings on HPA function in PTSD, and discusses the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying these findings. We reviewed the literature and selected all English-language, human subject, data driven, pharmacological and non-pharmacological challenge studies pertaining to the HPA axis, and in vitro leukocyte glucocorticoid receptor studies in adult PTSD subjects. *****Studies using a non-pharmacological stress paradigm (cognitive stress, trauma reminders) to stimulate the HPA axis showed an exaggerated cortisol response in PTSD.***** The most widely used pharmacological challenge with consistent results was the low dose dexamethasone-suppression test (DST). These DST studies showed enhanced cortisol suppression in subjects with PTSD. Different hypotheses have been purported to explain the alterations in HPA axis functioning in PTSD. The results of the reviewed challenge tests, however, did not exclusively support one of the hypothesized mechanisms. Further research assessing hormones at all levels of the HPA axis at both baseline and at challenge conditions with a proper stratification of study population, will be necessary for a better understanding of stress-responsivity on the level of the HPA axis in PTSD.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            PMID: 16214171 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        <behaviors you describe have their root in impulses that are driven by biochemistry>

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Then, in my opinion, the person's doctor needs to figure out how to work on those 'impulses' that drives a person to eat so much they balloon up to dangerous levels.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        At some point that person has to quit blaming the 'medical' reason and take some personal responsibility.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        It's like an addict blaming genetics or predisposition. They need to stop doing it, as hard as it is. Period.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Yes, I know what your opinion is, and I know you have are not interested on reading any of the related science.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          We're working from different sources; I read a lot of related research and my opinions and thoughts are still evolving after many years of continuing to do so.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    How do we address two people same diet, yet one is a skinny little broomstick and the other large? It's not all food intake, IMHO.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Ruthie789

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      We can't draw a valid general conclusion from two individuals.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: GH1618

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        My point same calories, different people, (not just two) why do some keep a healthy weight and others are not able to?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Ruthie789

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          There are several factors, and there is individual variation on every factor. That produces a normal distribution. It would be surprising if we were all the same.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Exactly! I have people I work with (no medical issues) claim "nothing works" then they list all the diets they have tried and insist they "eat healthy". It's hard to know what to say.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          One woman I know has struggled with weight all her life. I have personally heard the excuses for 12years. "Thyroid, hormones, candida, Atkins doesn't work, gains weight on low fat, grapefruit diet,".....I heard it all!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Well, she just lost ALL of it. She has sagging skin, but she is lean! When I asked her how she did it, she said she "got honest and got serious". Not easy to do but her whole life outlook is different too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: sedimental

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            <I heard it all>

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            How many, who're obese, *actually* stay at around 1200 calories/day and eat a well-balanced diet with fruit and vegetables in order to lose it?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I have a hard time believing the obese stay within that perimeter unless there *is* a medical problem. What, actually, is the percentage of those who actually *do* have medical issues that preclude them from losing the weight?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              That's impossible to say; doctors aren't diligent in seeking those answers and patients are used to "professionals" who tell them it's just bad habits alone and get paid to work them out, or operate on their gastric systems.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              There are no financial incentives to launch a thorough medical investigation and to actually spend time *thinking* about one's patients... no reimbursement code exists for thinking.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Well, personally, of all the people I know I don't know anyone that's suffering from a medical condition that results in obesity.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                They all concede to the fact they overeat and need to exercise more.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Once they make up their mind to stick to a low calorie diet and work hard to get up and move then the weight comes off.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I'm sure what you're saying is true but I'm curious to know what the percentage is.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Just because you don't know something doesn't mean it isn't so.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  It's quite common for medical conditions to lead to overeating, due to biochemistry.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I have no knowledge of what the medical conditions are that lead to overeating so, as I've said, I won't give my opinion one way or another.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Obviously, you're the expert here.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I read the science and evaluate it on my own. I'm just careful to consider only those experts whose stated conclusions are supported by subject selection, data and methodology and control of variables. That leaves very few.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Anyone can be an "expert" if they can read and think critically, the two most important credentials one can have.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Yes, and anyone can be an "expert" on the Internet.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: carolinadawg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Not so. But some confuse their own beliefs with expertise Read the Taubes book and let us know what your analysis is of the book and its scientific citations.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I have reviewed Taubes opinions and I don't have a strong belief on whether he is right, wrong or somewhere in the middle.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I do know that I put his plan for eating in the category of things worse than being fat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: kengk

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              His opinions? He writes objective scientific analysis.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              What you choose to eat anyway is your own business.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                In every head to head comparison of diets, guess what? They all work. JAMA has published several such studies and everything from Adkins to Ornish cause significant weight loss and resultant blood pressure reduction. SO the theories behind these pushed by proponents are almost certainly wrong and the result of misunderstanding of confounding variables.True believers, however, will always seek sophomoric verification of the answer they find pleasing. Think about the Robespierre diet, guaranteed 10 pound weight loss instantly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: law_doc89

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Sorry, but that's not true of numerous studies comparing results.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  And the truth is that most diets fail most of the time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Ornish is pure quackery.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: law_doc89

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        That's not about infection, it's about indigenous intestinal bacteria. This seems to be the new hot topic in obesity research - mostly rat studies so far but research on humans has provided similar results. Bacteroidetes and firmicutes are the two main phyla of gut bacteria, and apparently thinner people (and mice) have a higher proportion of bacteroidetes while heavier ones have more firmicutes...and an adjustment from high firmicutes to high bacteroidetes appears to *reverse* diabetes. It's pretty fascinating stuff...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        http://news.sciencemag.org/sciencenow...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/artic...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/artic...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Yes, you are accurate, but I was trying to be less technical. It is totally fascinating and piggybacks on a whole area of probiotics that will, no doubt, become new age and misrepresented real fast. H. pylori!!!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Bacteroidetes yogurt anyone?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I wonder, somwtime, how much the French paradox is really about all the live cheeses they eat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: law_doc89

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            And the fact that wine lowers post meal blood sugar spikes to about non existent?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: law_doc89

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I remember hearing about this too. People are getting fatter because we have been infected by a "fat" virus (something like that).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            "I'm not big boned, I have a virus."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: law_doc89

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Somehow that sounds much scarier.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                But it gets back to a central tenet of the problems of personal responsibility in health and diet:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                most people are psychologically not prepared to think about long-term consequences that come at an imperceptible pace.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                For example, people will text and drive (totally nuts) and not having had an accident will think it is not dangerous and they can get away with it, or eat hollandaise sauce every day; same thing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                So I fear that the science gets misused to exculpate and justify poor behavior.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: law_doc89

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  <most people are psychologically not prepared to think about long-term consequences that come at an imperceptible pace. >

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I agree.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  <people will text and drive (totally nuts) and not having had an accident will think it is not dangerous and they can get away with it,>

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Agree with that too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  What you have said thus far only suggests that maybe people (on an individual level) cannot be trusted to manage for personal responsibility in health and diet. A bit extreme, but that would be inline with what Bloomberg has in mind about the soda ban. People cannot be trusted to understand the harm of sweet soda.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    No! It means people have a bias to see what they want to see, including you.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Me: "Mom, stop eating hydrogenated fats"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Mom: "It hasn't hurt me yet!"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      She is in TERRIBLE health and paying big time for her habits.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  No, it's not that. But many folks are walking around with chronic infections of some kind. As my endocrinologist says (he's a full time researcher), "all infections raise cortisol." Chronic infections raise it continuously, that leads to higher blood glucose, loss of lean body mass, and higher fat storage hormone levels. So many folks are walking around with root canals, which are pretty much always hiding occult infection, for starters.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    <Chronic infections raise it continuously, that leads to higher blood glucose,>

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Not to dispute you (since I don't know about this topic enough), but won't that be true regardless of today vs yesterday? In fact, won't more people be walking around with infection 100 years ago than now?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    <So many folks are walking around with root canals, which are pretty much always hiding occult infection, for starters.>

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I would think this would be even more true 100 years ago, and it would be more true for countries with poorer dental health like China or India, but we are fattier than them. Moreover, if we look at the Chinese for example, they are also getting fattier than 20 years. It is tough to believe that their dental health is getting worse than 20 years ago.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I don't know if it's as true. We're much less resistant to infections because we're on the high sugar feedlot. Much harder to maintain good immunity that way. And there are more drugs and pollutants in the air, water, food that also raise cortisol as *any* foreign substance puts your defenses on high alert. We're paying to be made sicker than poor folks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Then there's the endocrine disrupters in foods, containers, cosmetics, etc. But sinus and dental infections are so terribly common and so rarely diagnosed unless the worst case scenario happens.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      And over time, the bugs have become stronger enemies, due to antibiotic abuse in agriculture and overuse in clinical medicine, too. We're not fighting the same things we were way back when, nor are we as fit to do so.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      We in the U.S. have dastardly dental health, and are paying a lot for it. Root canals, for instance. They almost always end up as uncured, chronic, occult infections. Often, when molars, infecting maxillary sinuses as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        <We in the U.S. have dastardly dental health, and are paying a lot for it. Root canals, for instance. >

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Com'on our teeth are way better than the Brits.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Not a high bar to hurdle, is it? ;-D

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          When I was a kid being pumped full of anitbiotics, processed food, and prescription drugs, not to mention cigarette smoke, every time I fell and broke skin it became infected.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Now, if I cut or burn myself in the kitchen, I ignore it. I haven't had an infected wound in decades.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                3. Come to think of your question again. If our national (USA) obesity problem is caused by eating too much or too much crap, then it is related to ous being too wealthy?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Our so called "crap" foods are not cheap by international standard. Drinking soda all day days and eating potato chips are actually expensive. And if it is just pure quantity, then it is still because we have too much abundance food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Yes, obviously self control or self discipline can improve the situation, but inexpensive food is a problem too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  20 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Except that it's not just a national issue anymore - the obesity crisis has gone global.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      True, but it still seems to hit uprising countries. For example, the three countries which are expected to have a big jump in diabetes (not obesity, but related) are: China, India, and Brazil. Needless to say, they all belong to the fastest economic rising countries.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      So it seems to correlate to abundance of foods and (relatively) lowering price of foods.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      http://cdn.theatlantic.com/static/mt/...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      P.S.: Pakistan population makeup is very similar to India, yet due to many reasons Pakistan is not expected to have an economic boom like India, and no one predicts Pakistan population will have a diabetes explosion as the Indian population will.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Some thoughts:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      In 1937, George Orwell, in the The Road to Wigan Pier, wrote:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      "The ordinary human being would sooner starve than live on brown bread and raw carrots. And the peculiar evil is this, that the less money you have, the less inclined you feel to spend it on wholesome food. A millionaire may enjoy breakfasting off orange juice and Ryvita biscuits; an unemployed man doesn't… When you are unemployed, which is to say when you are underfed, harassed, bored, and miserable, you don't want to eat dull, wholesome food. You want something a little bit 'tasty'. There is always some cheaply pleasant thing to tempt you. Let's have three pennorth of chips! Run out and buy us a twopenny ice-cream!"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Suggesting food should be more expensive so people will eat less is a ridiculous suggestion for a country where many people can't keep up with rent or medical costs. Part of the reason some people are overeating is that it's an emotional response to the high cost and high stress of the other aspects of life in North America.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      While cheap food might be part of the problem for some, there are still plenty of children in the States and Canada who are going hungry.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Found these articles interesting.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The 'nutrition gap' between Britain's rich and poor is vast – and wicked
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfr...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      It's True, Rich People are Thinner:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/culture/...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: prima

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The rich kids in my area don't eat better than the poor but they do have unlimited access to all the expensive sports and activities they want. I look to see what they're eating and chicken nuggets are pretty ubiquitous across all income levels.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I think there is more pressure on some richer kids, at least in some communities, to stay a certain size, so some of them manage to stay there either through activities or portion control. When I was in my 20s, I remember meeting an NHL hockey player's 30something trophy wife at a party, who told me she thought it was great that I carried myself well despite all the extra weight I was carrying. At 5 ft 6, and 140 lbs, I was at a healthy weight, and I didn't know what to say apart from laughing awkwardly, smiling and saying "thank you".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          At my 20 year high school reunion, I found it interesting to see that many of the richest girls from my high school class, some of whom became trophy wives, maintained their high school weight, even after a couple kids. Some of the same girls had eating disorders in high school, so it's possible that some were still maintaining their weight through their disorders.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Most people I know, who are mostly from middle class, working class or rural (farm) backgrounds, have gained at least 20-30 lbs throughout their 20s and 30s.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: prima

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            "I think there is more pressure on some richer kids, at least in some communities, to stay a certain size"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Definitely, which is why eating disorders are more prevalent w/ more money. I live in a DC suburb, ranked one of the wealthiest zip codes in the country. There are definitely trophy wives who are thin, ladies who gym but there are quite a few heavy women, too--but they're overweight (like 20-30 lbs) and being morbidly obese is extremely rare. Compared to the less wealthy, they have access to movement (zumba anyone?) and don't have as exhausting jobs as the more working class. Sitting behind a computer isn't the same as being a maid.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              "Definitely, which is why eating disorders are more prevalent w/ more money."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Or they're more likely to end up diagnosed and in treatment and end up in the stats.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: prima

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              "I remember meeting an NHL hockey player's 30something trophy wife at a party, who told me she thought it was great that I carried myself well despite all the extra weight I was carrying. At 5 ft 6, and 140 lbs, I was at a healthy weight"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Seriously, people can be such assholes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I work out at a popular club in my town, and it sickens me what some of the women there aspire to look like. They idolize the instructors there that have worked themselves to the point where they are absolutely nothing but sinew and muscle and, to me at least, they look absolutely ghastly. They look older than they really are, some of them look like crones. I just don't get it. I want to be in shape but I still want to look like a woman. for God's sake. And too many of those people spend WAAAAY too much time at the gym. To those people, I say, get a life and eat a cheeseburger once in while. Sheesh.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: flourgirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                But I'm sure those women make for great conversation :-D

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: flourgirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  This is an issue for me because people come to me, as a trainer, to try to look like that. I have NO desire to look like that and it's not healthy for most people to be that--mentally as much as physically. I strongly believe, as a CH, that food is a good thing and that we need to relish it and not fear it. I try to help people find a healthy weight, not their ideal weight.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                It's easier to keep your weight down when you're young. It wasn't until my 40's that I started putting on weight.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: GH1618

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  While I appreciate it becomes harder to lose weight as one gets older, especially as metabolisms slow down with age, as soon as someone has gained the extra weight, it's difficult to take it off, regardless of what age the person happens to be when they gained the extra weight.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I gained some extra weight just before I turned 17, and I've struggled to keep the weight off ever since.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  chowser, your comment is only based on your personal observation of a very small sampling and has little value in a more broad based discussion of these issues. Studies done with statistical samplings have a higher probability of being accurate. They support prima's views overwhelmingly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                3. re: prima

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  <Suggesting food should be more expensive so people will eat less is a ridiculous suggestion for a country where many people can't keep up with rent or medical costs.>

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  It is something to think about and something to think outside of the box if we want to really objectively look at the national problem. I am not saying this is a solution, but this is something to think about and to look very closely. It is always important to look at the truth even if it is inconvenience (not something easy to digest)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  While it is true that many people are still going hungry (like you said), it itself does not mean abundance of food and low prices of food are not the important causes for obesity. I am not claiming this is a solution, but it is still something to really think about.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I will give you two examples.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  First, the occurrence of Alzheimer's disease has significantly risen in the last couple of decades. There are many speculative reasons, but one of them is very simple and very straightforward. We are simply living longer. An older population will simply have a greater occurrence of Alzheimer's. This does not mean that we now want people to die earlier in order to solve the Alzheimer's disease, but we should not be afraid to point out the truth -- if it is the truth. We are living longer, and this is overall a good thing, but there are some side effects, just like abundance of foods.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Second, one of the reasons why people think global warming is happening is that people are burning more fuels and creating more greenhouse gases. But why is it possible for people to burn more fuel? This is due to better technology in extracting energy source and therefore cheaper fuels. We can debate if this is really the main cause for global warming, but this is one of the hypotheses. Now, we also know many people live without electricity without heat, right? Someone may say that "suggesting raising tax on fossil fuel so people will use less fuel is ridiculous for a country where any people cannot afford electricity and gas". I will say this is missing the point.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  <Part of the reason some people are overeating is that it's an emotional response to the high cost and high stress of the other aspects of life in North America.>

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  This, I disagree. The cost of living in North America has been going down in the last 200 years, but people are getting fatter in the last 200 years. People used to spend significantly more of their income in foods and housing. Now, they are spending less. As for work hours, people are working less and not more. Do you remember the pre World War era when little kids in America worked in sweat shops just like they do in part of Asia now?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_72g5Vv2_zRI...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  http://reflectiverosa.files.wordpress...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  People like to think that we are suffering, but we are not compared to decades ago. It is historically incorrect, and there are proofs are proofs for this.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    "People like to think that we are suffering, but we are not compared to decades ago. It is historically incorrect, and there are proofs are proofs for this."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I disagree. I believe people are suffering, and I believe there is plenty of proof that people are suffering.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Suffering always exists. The type of suffering might vary. It's silly to suggest that some decades have no significant amount of suffering compared to other decades.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    YMMV.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: prima

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      <I disagree. I believe people are suffering>

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      This does not answer the main question. It is no different than saying that some people cannot pay for electricity. Just because some people cannot pay for fuel, it does not mean global warming is not caused by fuel. Just because some people are hungry, it does not mean the obesity is not caused by abundance of food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I think the key word is "relative". Are the general population working in longer hours than 100 years ago? No. How about working condition? It is better than 100 years ago. Just look at the factory of today and the factories of 1920.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Do you think our working condition is getting worse in the last 100 years? I think every proof is the other way around.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      What about food cost? People are spending less because they are earning relatively more (or food cost is relatively lower). These are real facts:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      http://theintrinsicvalue.com/images/2...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      As for countries, we also spend less of our income on foods than other countries because foods are relatively cheaper in this country:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      http://theintrinsicvalue.com/images/2...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Now, here is a question for you to think about: If the working hours and working conditions are better in the last 100 years, how come people are getting fatter in the last 100 years?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I don't see how high food cost and high stress can be viable reasons.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Part of the reason people are carrying more fat is that 100 years ago, even 50 years ago, people weren't eating as much processed or refined food, because most people were producing much of their own food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        It's a lot easier to gain weight if you're eating burgers, pizza and fries. Not so easy to gain weight if you're limited to oatmeal, boiled potatoes, sauerkraut and the occasional sausage, and not easy to gain weight if there's a limited amount of mostly home-grown food on the table, and half a dozen active, hungry kids at the table fighting for their share of the limited amount of food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        There's also a theory that people eat less when they eat the same dishes each day. This seems to be reinforced by that place in the States where people lose weight on the rice diet. Variety can stimulate the tastebuds, appetite and pleasure centres, so eating Chinese, Thai, Mexican, Italian, Indian and a double cheese burger over the course of a week probably means more calories than eating oatmeal 3 times a day, daily. I would think 50 or 100 years ago, most people ate less types of foods, less types of cuisines, and mostly stuck to their regional cuisine most of the time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        People that lived in the country were eating what they grew/raised, and they sold any extra food they produced that had market value, to help pay for their horses,coal, dental work, etc. Fishermen sold the fish that had market value, and fed their families the scraps/smaller fish with less market value.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Also, I don't think that people feasted nearly as frequently as they do in the States and Canada these days, and at least some people were fasting a significant part of the year for Lent, Advent and other holy days.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I don't know what you mean when you say you don't see how high food cost and high stress can be viable reasons.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      chemical - I would disagree quite strongly that the cost of living is going down. First of all, your "evidence" regarding "kids working in sweat shops" is no evidence at all. We have child labor laws now that prevent that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Have you purchased a house recently? Do you live in a state with high property taxes? The cost of our housing and food eats up an enormous chunk of our income. Between my husband and I, we earn what should be a very comfortable income, but it's not. We live in an 1800 sq. ft. home and pay property taxes of $9000 per year. Our homeowners insurance is through the roof, our auto insurance isn't far behind. My grocery bills seem to be increasing on a weekly basis and I'm generally not buying anything very extravagant. We are also paying almost $6000 a yr for health insurance, (that's WITH employer provided coverage), gas for the cars costs a fortune, as does ANY kind of home maintenance/repairs that we just can't do ourselves. Energy costs in general have gone through the roof and are set to go even higher, electricity in particular.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The only things I see that are relatively fairly inexpensive are some consumer goods, if you shop properly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: flourgirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        <First of all, your "evidence" regarding "kids working in sweat shops" is no evidence at all. >

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        It is an evidence for something else. It is an evidence that the working condition is better and people are working in safer environment. This has to do with answering the question: Is our weight gain due to poorer working condition? Since the working condition has improved, but our average weight has increased. I like to say no to that question.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        <The cost of our housing and food eats up an enormous chunk of our income.>

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        <My grocery bills seem to be increasing on a weekly basis and I'm generally not buying anything very extravagant>

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        People can focus on a more historical perspective. Food price has relatively gone down in the last 100 years.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        http://theintrinsicvalue.com/images/2...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I spend less than 10% of my income in food, and I eat out. 100 years ago, people like me won't able to affordable to eat out 1-2 times a week. I can now.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        People are spending smaller portions of their income in food. People used to spend well 30-40% of the their income in food alone. In fact, today Chinese and Indians are still doing that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        http://theintrinsicvalue.com/images/2...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I remember reading a story that people used to spend about $7-10 for their kitchen Chef's knife. On the surface, it seems very cheap, but that is before you find out that their weekly incomes were about $20. So if you earn $8000 a month, just imagine a kitchen knife would have cost you like $1000.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        As for house price, I must say that you also have to take into account that people did not used to own houses. The rate of house ownership was much lower because house prices were relatively less accessible. (please look at the graph).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        http://4.bp.blogspot.com/__V1GJlBadyE...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Of course, people didn't complain about paying a house mortgage 100 years ago because fewer people can even pay to begin with.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          So what you are doing is comparing apples and oranges. Yes, quality of life has improved for a lot of people, but that doesn't mean that things aren't also getting more expensive. Rent in my area for a two bedroom apartment is more than my mortgage and that doesn't include utilities. We all have to live somewhere - whether you buy or own, having a roof over your head is a major expense for most people that eats up quite a bit of their take home pay.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          And child labor laws are independent of economic concerns. There are a whole lot of poor people in this country who probably WOULD put their kids to work if they were allowed to, it's moral sensibility and law that prevents it, not economic necessity.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I think there are millions of people in this country who would beg to differ with you that life is getting less expensive in this country. It used to be possible to get by on very little income. That ship sailed decades ago.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Insurance of all kinds has completely outpaced income increases. So has the cost of education, the cost of energy and many other things as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          And maybe YOU are spending less than 10% of your income on food - my family is spending quite a bit more than that. And we hardly ever eat out.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                4. Get a pedometer and put it on as soon as you get up. Walk at least 10k steps a day - it works! We are competitive creatures (at least I am) and it starts to become a personal competition between me and myself - I want to break the last total every day. I hate exercising - but that is something that helps me. Also, I eat like a pig - ONLY vegetables and water - then after I am full - I eat my meal. (fry some garlic in a bit of olive oil and 2 onions cut into four, add four tomatoes cut into four and add a 1 lb bag of frozen green beans - cook on medium until the green beans are cooked but still have a bite to them). This way you get the vegetables you need for the day - it will give you more energy to walk, AND you will see the pounds just fly off - AND you can enjoy cake, cookies and chocolate - but you will eat much much less because you will be so full!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: acssss

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    You eat "vegetables and water" before dinner? Mmmmmwater.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: acssss

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The pedometer is a good idea. I sometimes put on ankle weights when doing chores, too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Caveat-- I wrote this, did some editing, re-read, and then decided that it doesn't really address the OP or a lot of what other posters are talking about.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      However, after hashing through my ideas, I still want to post and "have my say."
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Ignore at will : )

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ---
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I have a question about "normal weight."
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Why is 21st C normal weight essentially on the thin side? Where did this come from?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Let's ramble into the field of stereotypes for a minute. Stop a moment and think through the images you get with these, and their weights: stereotypical ________ grandmother. Jewish. Russian. Italian. Chinese. Polynesian. German. Incan.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      These ladies aren't at a "healthy BMI." They are old, shorter than their children. And fat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Immediately, some will hop up and give me stereotypes of thin versions of these grandmothers, and others.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      That's actually my point.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      People have always been different sizes,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      and In My Opinion,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      MOST People throughout time have been heavier than what BMI says we should be today.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      There is almost a "noble savage" idea of the poor-- either that they eat really "healthy" foods because they have access to an all natural diet, or that they don't have access to quantity, so they're preternaturally slim. Those concepts don't sit well with me; I'd be more likely to believe that the poor were likely to be eating high calorie nutrient light foods that ironically would lead to becoming heavy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Economically successful cultures/countries get heavier-- isn't the idea of a toga-clad Roman the image of a heavyset guy? Isn't nearly any powerful position filled by a male depicted as a heavyset guy? [leaving the historical depiction of women in power to some other site]

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      One difference I would point to today is media-- we get to see more people, more of the time.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      TV is no longer dominated by one or two demographics but [accurately or not] shows people from all sorts of economic strata. And oddly enough, a majority of "real" people seem to be substantially heavier than Hollywood.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ----
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      For people who register above Normal on BMI charts -- here's the question: are you generally mobile? Can you physically do pretty much what you want, ignoring old football injuries or bad eyes and the like? Are you personally worried about your weight? Further [and some put more "weight" on this than others] what does your annual checkup say about your health Other Than your scale weight?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      If you [and possibly your Dr] are satisfied with where you are, then you could consider yourself to be at a healthy weight.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The Obesity Problem In America-- based upon "people can be all sorts of weights" idea, let's pull back on the total % of Americans that are calculated as obese.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      18 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Kris in Beijing

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Good questions. I would prefer to ignore BMI, go by lifestyle. Thin doesn't always mean healthy and heavier doesn't mean unhealthy. If you eat well, move, you're doing better than someone who is naturally thin. Added to which, this bring back the race issue, Asian tend to have less muscle mass and even when they have normal BMIs, can be overfat (like older people, sarcopenia). African Americans, otoh, tend to have more muscle mass and can be lower in body fat percentage. These are not meant to mean all are, for anything, just in general. Being a "normal" BMI can be pretty meaningless--it's a quick and dirty way to judge health.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        One more thought is that they've found people who are overweight tend to live longer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2013/...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        It's not being thin, it's having a healthy lifestyle that counts.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          <One more thought is that they've found people who are overweight tend to live longer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2013/...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          It's not being thin, it's having a healthy lifestyle that counts.>

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I remember discussing this. It is a meta-analysis article. One thing which we discus is that there is a correlation which need to be conidered. First, people from developed countries (like US or Canada ...etc) tend to be more overweight than people from lower income countries. Second, people from developed countries have better healthcare and thus living longer. Thus, the overweight people living longer may have to do with pure correlation and not a cause and effect.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Let take the extreme. You will find Americans on average weight more than Kenyans, and you will find Americans live longer than Kenyan, but.... is it because our extra weight makes us lie longer? Or is it that "in spite" of the extra weight we live longer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              It is very sad that our healthcare cost is so high yet our life expectancy is not higher.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Very interesting graph. A rather odd presentation style.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Our medical system is not geared towards the promotion of health OR the prevention of disease.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  In all fairness, our health system is not that bad. It is just expensive.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    In all fairness, sandylc is right. It is worse than "that bad" because we spend so much to be medicated for made up "conditions" and get procedures instead of prevention, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    As a Harvard researcher recently stated plainly: "Drug companies own medicine."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      < we spend so much to be medicated for made up "conditions" >

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I don't know. Not compared to other countries, I know that, in other countries, it is very easy for patients to get medicine (drugs). They may not get the newest prescription drugs, but doctors there readily prescribed generic drugs. I know because many of my relatives live oversea including my mom. I would say it is much easier to get drugs (in general) in other countries.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      <that bad" because we spend so much to be medicated>

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Drug cost is a very small portion of our medical spending. 10% of our total spending. It does not feel this way for many people because many people's health insurance is covered by their companies, but it does not mean the insurance is free or the doctor visitor is free....etc. Someone has to spend for it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      http://www.regence.com/transparency/i...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      http://www.justice.gov/atr/public/hea...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        But often the drugs are prescribed to temper symptoms, not to cure problems or restore health. This causes the patient to continue to be a patient spending money, rather than a cured person who goes on their way; a lost customer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Since you showed me about Japan in your graph. A country with cheap healthcare and high life expectancy. You should know that Japan did not control healthcare by limiting medical drug. It did so by limit doctor procedure cost. Japanese live longer, and pay about 1/3rd of our cost.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Listen to the NPR:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          http://www.npr.org/player/v2/mediaPla...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I haven't said anything about limiting costs by limiting drugs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Interesting NPR piece.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              It would be a good question if it were a global study but it's a more confined population. It's not proven that the weight is what keeps the person living. It has been theorized that thin people smoke or whatever unhealthy habits might keep them thin, although I don't buy that. I wonder if being thin could mean being sarcopenic and more broken bones, as you get older.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            3. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              One study is rarely definitive, and Flegal's study is only a meta-analysis and is controversial:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              A lot of original research will have to be done before the matter is settled.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            4. re: Kris in Beijing

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The category is actually "healthy weight," not "normal weight."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Body Mass Index is a statistical tool used by medical researchers which was adopted by the National Institutes of Health in the 1980s as a more useful metric than previous height-to-weight charts. A standard metric allows trends to be identified. Adjusting the index to conform to changes in what is "normal" would make it useless as a research tool.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              People don't like being called "overweight" or (especially) "obese." Call yourself whatever you like, and justify your weight by saying it's the "new normal" or that you "can ... physically do pretty much what you want," but medical science has its own priorities. Tracking weight changes in the population is one of them, and whatever scale you use, obesity is increasing and it is a serious medical problem.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: GH1618

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                "Body Mass Index is a statistical tool used by medical researchers which was adopted by the National Institutes of Health in the 1980s as a more useful metric than previous height-to-weight charts."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I believe it's being abandoned by researchers in favor of the more helpful waist to hip ratio. Very muscular, lean folks are high BMI due to muscle mass weight, for instance.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Kris in Beijing

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I don't disagree with anything you have said but where I live I see a lot of people who are grossly obese. Hugely obese people that can barely walk, many of them don't walk.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                We are infamous for that here in the deep south.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Kris in Beijing

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I'm not sure comparing the average person's weight to their postmenopausal grandmother's is really a good comparison. They were probably thin for most of their lives. Also the stereotype of your immigrant grandmother who is heavy set and thick around the middle is just that, a stereotype that recalls an idea of comfort, especially comfort food. My own Asian immigrant grandmother is overweight, but that is unusual. I see many aging/senior Vietnamese immigrants at work and most of them are not overweight.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I don't agree at all that the 21st century's standard for normal weight is on the thin side. In Little House on the Prarie, Pa could span Ma's waist with two hands, which I would say is a normal, healthy size.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Kris in Beijing

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Often in older literature you see the words, "fat and healthy".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. I think a lot of people don't take the aging fight into account. I eat less at 46 than I did in my 30s, but since turning 35-ish, I've put on about a pound a year. That's 11 pounds heavier now, which has moved me from a size 6 to 8. Gah! I loathe dieting and believe it's important to eat the things you like but eat less. I struggle with it along with most people. When I walk religiously on my treadmill (say 5 times a week), I'm fine. When I drop it for whatever reason, I suffer. The thought of me running is hideous, but walking at 3.4mph for about 50 minutes on the treadmill, 5 times a week, allows me to maintain my weight while still cooking/eating fairly high calorie meals at dinner.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    16 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: KrumTx

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      We know age plays a big factor, but a question is:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      How come an average 40 years old person from today weights more than an average 40 years old person from 100 years ago.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        That's easy. Because we are eating far more prepared foods now, and prepared foods contain excessive amounts of added sugar.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: GH1618

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Better childhood nutrition has led to more bone growth which is why people now are generally larger. Onto that larger frame we have more weight from fat because people eat more and exercise less.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: kengk

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            We may be taller, but adjusting for height (which BMI does), Americans, and many others, are still getting fatter.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: GH1618

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I am very literal minded. The question was why weights are more and I think height is one factor. I don't disagree with you that Americans are getting fatter.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              While I'm at it. I do agree with you to a small extent about sugar but I do not think it is as evil as you think it is.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Coca-Cola was introduced about 127 years ago. Today, it is one of the largest worldwide brands. Sodas take up an entire aisle in most supermarkets.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            That's the part I do not think is true.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The outlier numbers may be increasing, but I don't think the average without outliers* has changed much. YET.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            ---
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            *[hilariously in regards to this thread, "average without outliers" is known as the "trimmed mean."]

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Kris in Beijing

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              <The outlier numbers may be increasing, but I don't think the average without outliers* has changed much. YET.>

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Wait? You think our (Americans) average body weight has increased because of a few outliers? You don't really think that, right?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Trying again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                After excepting the outliers, I DO NOT think that the average body weight of Americans has increased very much if at all.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                That's what all of my "stereotypical grandmothers" blather was about... Americans are mostly the same size but the "scale" [BMI/Hollywood/whatever] is different.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I think the outliers are more visible, partially because of media [think iFunny pics of random morbidly obese strangers, not cable TV].

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                At some point, these outliers could become significant statistically and then they wouldn't BE outliers, of course.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I shudder to think what the outliers would be then!! Common 1200lb people as opposed to still uncommon 600lb people?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Kris in Beijing

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  That just isn't true. That's why we have objective metrics to track trends, rather than relying on what people "think."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=h...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: GH1618

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Using data from the CDC previously noted in this thread, at
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hestat/o...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    it appears we are both right. although you may claim the larger portion of the victory if desired.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The CDC states:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    ***** Although the prevalence of obesity
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    ***** has more than doubled since 1980,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    ***** the prevalence of overweight
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    ***** has remained stable over the same time period

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Thus, my assertion that # of overweight have not increased is true.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    However, it also appears that that significant # of obesity/extreme obesity has increased enough in proportion to the whole to make it not only statistically relevant but almost a dominant %.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    ------
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    However, CH is still a place for us to say what we "think."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              There have been study after study with regards to cable and television. When cable/television first began, in areas that didn't have cable yet, the people were more educated, more literate, thinner, suffered less from anorexia, bulimia, obesity - in those same places - once they got cable, it changed and they became like everyone else.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Now, the question is - what does cable have to do with it? In my opinion, it gives you a false sense of reality (for example, when you start trying to be something you are not - it puts pressure on you and you eat to feel better) I also think that too many people give themselves excuses to be fat - when they watch shows like The View or Oprah (and others) saying it's ok to be overweight.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Bottom line: there is a very very simple calculation - calories in - calories out. If you put in more than you take out, you will be fat. Has nothing to do with age, or how many babies you've had, or your religion or your height or your ethnicity. There are fat people in China and there are thin people here.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: acssss

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I like to say the reason that the Chinese are able to (thus far) remain thinner than Americans is because they high kick people in their heads. As we know, fewer and fewer Chinese can high kick anymore, and we are expecting a raise in diabetes:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                http://cdn.theatlantic.com/static/mt/...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                P.S.: I am not making fun of anyone. I just remembered a SouthPark episode regarding Russel Crowe

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  LOL! Chem, thanks for the dose of levity in what has otherwise become a juvenile snark-fest.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Thirty years ago there was a Chinese restaurant nearby that I thought was wonderful. The only one within an hours drive. You ordered your food and they cooked it and brought it to your table. Now, Chinese restaurants are more plentiful but they are all all you can eat buffets. Would like to measure the average BMI in some of those places.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    People talking about food being expensive, most of the ones around here charge $6-7 at lunch and $10-11 at dinner. You can pound down some serious calories. Been there done that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. There have been study after study with regards to cable and television. When cable/television first began, in areas that didn't have cable yet, the people were more educated, more literate, thinner, suffered less from anorexia, bulimia, obesity - in those same places - once they got cable, it changed and they became like everyone else.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Now, the question is - what does cable have to do with it? In my opinion, it gives you a false sense of reality (for example, when you start trying to be something you are not - it puts pressure on you and you eat to feel better) I also think that too many people give themselves excuses to be fat - when they watch shows like The View or Oprah (and others) saying it's ok to be overweight.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Bottom line: there is a very very simple calculation - calories in - calories out. If you put in more than you take out, you will be fat. Has nothing to do with age, or how many babies you've had, or your religion or your height or your ethnicity. There are fat people in China and there are thin people here

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                13 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: acssss

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Comments here on your double post.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Can you give three of these studies?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  -----
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Many people who feed teenage boys would argue that metabolism must enter into the basic calories in - calories out equation.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Just a personal story, but The Boy from Beijing is more active and eats with better balance and MUCH less quantity now at 22 than he did at 16. But he's not taller and nearly 20 pounds heavier.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Kris in Beijing

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I am in the calories in - calories out camp but clearly peoples metabolism is different and it changes with age.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    It sucks to not be able to eat what you want in the quantity you want. Life is not fair. If you can't lose weight on 1,500 calories then IMO, you have to live with the weight or eat less.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I have no inclination to debate with those who claim various medical reasons. I'm not informed on such matters but I do not think that they apply to the vast majority of people.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: kengk

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Just so you understand, the controversy is not over whether calories in vs. calories out is a pertinent metric, but whether taking in calories in a particular form induces a tendency to overeat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: GH1618

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I do agree that eating a bunch of sugar makes you hungry later.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: kengk

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Not any more than a bunch of rice, pasta, potatoes, fruit, etc, all of which are sugar to your pancreas and metabolic response that trigger increased hunger.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: GH1618

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Yes, some calories trigger the hormones that increase hunger and also that cause fat to be stored. Some don't, or do it much less.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: Kris in Beijing

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Sorry about the double post - I couldn't find the original and thought, incorrectly, that it didn't post.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        There were a few studies at Harvard on the subject - you can google it or look it up on youtube and see the lecture. There is also a book by a Dr. Prindle who wrote about the effects of television in general and cable in particular on various towns around the world (I am pretty sure the town in question was somewhere in Ontario, Canada - and they tested the children and their behavior and their education level before and after cable). I don't know if he did the study or just wrote about it. There have also been studies with regards to dieting and when children start - and how they feel about their bodies. The findings were that their attitudes were directly linked to the type of television shows they watched and not necessarily the fact that they sat to watch T.V.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: acssss

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Cable TV came along just as we were all put on the feedlot and told to avoid fat and protein, just fat free grains and sugars. You cannot cherry pick one influence and make a case for causality, as if everything else in time stood still.