Peak Fat

A section of a graph published by the New York Times on Jan 14 2009. It shows that the number of obese people in the USA has stopped growing. Peak fat?

The New York Times has recently reported that the number of obese people in the United States seems to have reached a plateau. A real peaking of a tendency that has been going on for decades and that has made the US the "obese nation" in the world. "Peak fat", we could say.

Peaking of anything is always interesting for "peakers", people who study peak oil and the peaking of natural resources. So, is peak fat something that we can interpret as part of a general peaking phenomenon? In some ways, yes.

The interpretation given in the article is that peak fat is the result of some kind of physical limit: people can't just get fatter than they are already. It may be, but it is also true that we are not speaking of people getting fatter, but of the fraction of people who reaches values of the "body mass index" (BMI) that define obesity. So, if about 35% of adult males in the US are defined today as obese, there is no obvious physical limit that would prevent this number from going higher. Why not 50%? Or 75%?

What is the limit of obesity? It depends on what causes it. Obesity is sometimes taken as an indication of national wealth. The United States, it is said, is a rich country and there are so many obese Americans because they can afford to eat what they want. That is not the case; actually it is the opposite. In the United States, people get fat because they cannot afford to eat what they want.

There have been several studies (see, e.g., this link ) showing that poor people tend to optimize their diet in terms of the ratio of calories to dollars. In other words, they try to buy the cheapest food that can provide them with the same number of calories. Unfortunately, it turns out that this cheap food is what we call "junk food"; food rich in saturated fats and sugar. This is the kind of food that makes you obese. Healthy food is expensive in terms of calories per dollar and the poor cannot afford it. Surely, there are also cultural factors that lead Americans to eat junk food. But economic factors must play a major role.

So, I can propose an explanation for the peaking of the growth of obesity. It may be that poor people in the USA are becoming so poor that they can't afford any more even a diet of junk food. They must cut on the overall food budget and that is surely a way of losing weight, although not a planned one.

Of course, this is just a hypothesis but, if it is true, then "peak fat" is indeed related to the economy and - indirectly - to crude oil. The obesity epidemics started in the 1970s, when the US economy underwent what was termed "the great u-turn" by Bluestone and Harrison, who published a book with that title in 1982. The great u-turn led to an increase in the income inequality in the US, which is lasting to this day. In other words, the poor started becoming poorer and their diet started to worsen. The trend is continuing and, at this point, it may be that we have reached a turning point that makes even junk food unaffordable for the poor. In general, these economic trends are due in large part to the diminishing availability of mineral resources - oil is just one of them. So, peak fat may well be another effect of peak oil.

Not so sure. Have you landed in Tulsa or Atlanta lately?
It is like landing on another planet, the land whales are scary!
But I believe your stats are correct, I just don't see the results.

Hahaha! I grew up in Tulsa! There are some fat, fat kids living there...

The effect is welcome, and you may be right about the cause, but I'd have to point out that it is much cheaper to stay home and cook. If you can't afford fast food, you shop for the basics - rice, oatmeal, ground beef, potatoes, chicken, etc - and you cook it yourself. Whether this leads to obesity depends on how you cook it, how much you eat, and how much exercise you get.

As far as the "poor" who smoke, drink, and eat fast food all the time I'd just say this: they aren't poor, not by a longshot.

I posted my thought puzzle elsewhere, of seeing how someone could survive on $2.00 per day to spend on food, and other things that you'd need to keep a kitchen going.

I went around to low cost food stores, planned out meals and averaged out that with a bit of growing some vegies, whose seeds have to come out of the $2.00 per day if bought, I could survive on it.

I have over the last 3 years been involved with homeless people in my area. If they are living on the streets, you don't find many of them obese, at least not a lot of them. There are money sources and food sources that most homeless people can get to, and this keeps them fed, though not as well as most people.

High amounts of the bad things like Fat and Carbs that don't build anything but fat cells if you don't burn off the calories that you eat everyday.

Without a bit of walking around and doing more than parking yourself all day somewhere, you don't need anything more than about 1,600 calories. If you sit around all day and then sleep 8 hours and eat 2,000 calories you will likely gain weight slowly. Every 3,500 calories you add to the positive side of the scales between eating and using, you'll gain one pound of body weight.

Given that the average person can easily eat more than 2,000 calories even eating the best foods for you, you can see where eating the bad foods will send you.

On my plan of $2.00 a day it would be easy to get the needed calories to become obese. At least from my figures of a few years ago, I have not compared to food prices recently, I know they have gone up locally.


If you sit around all day and then sleep 8 hours and eat 2,000 calories you will likely gain weight slowly

I agree, and imagine that depression has to be a factor in many cases, leading to (or stemming from, possibly) very low metabolism. It fits in with substance abuse issues as well, and at the point of homelessness its hard to be critical of a person for any of that.

If my post above seems slanted, I work within sight of a Walmart superstore and a smoke shop. Every day is a parade of overweight people buying stuff I can't afford, driving cars I can't afford, smoking up a storm, etc. If they're slimming down, that's great. I used to smoke and drink, and enjoyed both, but its been a couple of years since I could afford either. I never liked fast food, as I'm a decent cook, but I couldn't afford it if I did. As far as weight, I've been active and slim since I was a kid.

I have smoked myself, started the habit when I was going on 43 though. I don't consider myself a smoker, because in the last 6 months I have smoked at max 3 packs of cigarettes. Call me a cigar type of smoker, that smokes the tobacco found in a small Marlboro box. I only smoke when I am out playing pool and drinking beer. It's an on and off habit. Smoke a few and then none for 3 weeks. Yeah I know it sounds crazy and it is, I'll die sooner for it I am sure.

It amazes me seeing the things people buy when they go shopping. Boxes of this and that, soda, cans and ceral, cakes and cookies, and the fresh vegies are hardly in most shopping carts.

I miss fresh from the garden radishs, spring come soon.


My most radical right wing friend is fond of saying that he doesn't want to hear another word about hard times when there is a store on every corner selling gas for three dollars a gallon and sugar water , with or withour the sugar, for five to twenty dollars per gallon,depending on the container size.

Collector: At this festive time of year, Mr. Scrooge, it is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the poor and destitute.

Ebenezer: Are there no prisons?

Collector: Plenty of prisons.

Ebenezer: And the union workhouses - are they still in operation?

Collector: They are. I wish I could say they were not.

Ebenezer: Oh, from what you said at first I was afraid that something had happened to stop them in their useful course. I'm very glad to hear it.

Yes ,absolutely!

I am well aware ,as is my friend, that most of the nutritional problems of the poor here in the US are due to innorance and poor choices resulting from said ignorance.I differ with my friend as to the long term results of constant tas tfood advertising-he seems to think that people should be smart enough to ignore it but I am of the opinion that ignoring it is impossible except for the welleducated and well motivated part of the population- and even then lots of smart people fall for it simply because thier attention is focused elsewhere.I know quite a few queen size nurses for instance.

My friend gardens on a near commercial scale, raises chickens, etc, and cooks almost every meal at home.His scomments are partly sarcasm and partly of the sort people make who believe that "Against spupidity the gods themsselves contend in vain."

But ignorance aside , the poor have a very hard time affording enough fressh fruits and veggies.

And as it happens most of the well meant pressure brought on farmers to clean up thier act in respect to cheap labor and excessive use of fertilizers and pesticides,etc, falls squarely on the shoulders of those of us who produce fruits and veggies rather than staple such as grains.And of course such efforts on the part of well meaning but only half informed activsts does nothing at all to interfere with the marketing of highly processed packaged junk food sold in groceries and fast food sold in restaurants.

Ray Kurzweil says

About halfway through Kurzweil mentions gene technologies that are proven in Mice. Mouse eats like a teenager and remains healthy.

Kurzweil is a lunatic.

The Singularity. Isn't that the latest perpetual-motion machine theory? Or maybe the Singularity is that realm where we will find pink unicorns grazing among the oil derricks, the wells of which never deplete. Or some such thing even more delusional than the usual cornucopian nonsense.

Antoinetta III

Kurzweil is a lunatic.

I'll second that. "The Singularity" is just the techie's Rapture.

Attended a Kurzweil presentation a couple of years ago. His "exponential evolution" curve was surprisingly hand-wavy, especially when he decomposed it into little sigmoid curves. There was really no underlying physical basis to assume this weird curve, other than Kurzweil wants a vertical slope sometime this century.

I think you meant to say saturated fats as opposed to unsaturated fats in your post. Unsaturated fats are the healthy ones; saturated fats are those found in junk food.

I think he got this right. Saturated fats are indeed quite good for us, essential in fact for proper hormone production, cell membranes, ect. (Human fat tissue is roughly 33% saturated, so anyone who is using their bodyfat for fuel during the day is mobilizing a bunch of saturated fat). Unsaturated fats, such as the vegetable oils that are most prevalent from BigAg like soybean oil, safflower oil, cottonseed oil, corn oil, ect are all oils unnaturally high in Omega-6 fats - the same fats that cause inflammation and a variety of chronic illness. Let me remind you that humans never consumed these fats and the processing techniques can involve many chemical solvents.

See the latest.

For good oils see Mark Sisson latest post

Thank You!
The unsaturated fat myth never seems to die, and is part of the problem with todays nutrition.

I cook with pure lard. I have always done so. I also use a lot of left over bacon grease for seasoning. I sometimes use it to make milk gravy.

If I have cured ham I use that drippings to make 'red eye gravy' to pour on my grits(stone ground or home made).

I guess my LDL is sorta high but I have a good HDL. Not sure of Triglycerides.

I never get above 165 or 170. I may put on a bit of stomach fat but never anywhere else. That soon goes when I become more active.

I forgot the bugaboo about high cholesterol long long ago.

Airdale-call the gravy a roux , the grits = polenta,

Most excellent Airdale! I render my own lard and tallow from animals raised for me by friends, so I know what you mean. Red eye gravy indeed.

To my mind, nothing beats a pie crust made with half lard and half butter. Also very good, making flour tortillas from the rendered lard and drippings from a roast pork shoulder and turning them into...carnitas de puerco in pork fat tortillas!

Damn, now I've made myself hungry; heading back to the kitchen.

"The evolution myth never seems to die, and is part of the problem with today's education" I showed your post to a friend of mine who's a doctor and that's what he wrote back, LOL.

I changed it. I agree with you.

Thanks for the correction Gail. It was mistake. Obviously, I meant "saturated"

Hey hey Ugo,

A couple of things.

I think you mean saturated instead of unsaturated in food rich in unsaturated fats and sugar

A fun/scary animated map of obesity in the USA from 1986 to 2008.

I think the connection between the great fattening and the economy is real but over simplified. There are several economic trends that bode poorly for nutrition. I readily concede that stagnant real wages and increased inequality reduce real income which puts pressure on the grocery budget. And having both parents work to maintain purchasing power makes it more difficult to routinely prepare meals from scratch.

But that is only part of the story. Modern Americans spend less of their income on food than they ever have not because of increased income but because of cheaper food, cheap in every sense of the word. The poor only started packing on the pounds in recent times when MSG, high fructose corn syrup, and mechanically separated partially defatted partially hydrogenated meat product began to appear everywhere in inexpensive, ready to eat, ascetically pleasing packages.

On a lighter note, I find it terribly amusing that the average American's oil content started to increase when America's oil production started to fall, and plateaued along with global production.

"mechanically separated partially defatted partially hydrogenated meat product"

Reminds me of that time I worked in meat packing plant smoking Hot Dogs.

From a can of Vienna Sausage, 2.5 servings, 120 calories 80 from fat. The can is 5 ounces. It is something that several feeding stations for the Homeless in my area hand out everyday. But the average non-homeless person would eat the whole can, and other things to go with it. Getting just from the can alone. Over half their daily need of sodium, half daily need of fat, and 300 calories. All from something that is basically bad for you. Call it a way to feed you the whole hog, at a high cost compared to other foods.

Wally World is selling their brand for $0.36 locally, name brands run as high as $0.58 , It all adds to the poor people eating badly.

Ages ago you would get head cheese and other mixed meats from butchers, but you'd eat them and then go and work all day, burning the calories off. And might die of heart attack, or get run over by a tractor.

After the collaspe, getting food like these Vienna Sausages might be a novel idea.


I had a coworker who had some boxes of this kind of stuff, including specifically Vienna Sausages, stashed in a closet. She referred to it as her "holocaust food." Apparently she stuck to that concept pretty well and left it alone, but when extremely stressed would get into the stash and scarf some of it down.

There is a show on History Channel called "Apocalypse Man." Not sure if it is a series or a one-off. They guy was showing how he would scavenge canned goods (for some reason, they were unlabeled) and one of them had Vienna Sausage and another some other snack food. He said, "not bad, kind of like my old grade-school lunches."

I have done the thought puzzles where I am the last person left alive, where would I find food, etc etc, or What could a band of people do with the world in chaos.

Sort of what you might be seeing in Haiti.

I have Ration bars that have low water needed to eat them kind of quailities. Datex makes one set of them. Another brand puts a daily dose of vitamins and minerals in theirs. They taste like hard cookies, you'd have to be careful not to raid them hunting for a sweet fix.

I once bought several cases of MRE's but during some lean times I ate them up. My goal is to have at least some more in my stash by year's end.

No no, hands off my stash man!


The other day my wife and I were shopping and she picked up a package of "imitation cheese food product" because it was cheap. Due to my inquisitive nature I checked the list of ingredients, first of which was "partially transesterified soybean oil", followed by water and a long list of chemicals. Not a hint of milk in there anywhere. It went back in the cooler.

My chemical engineering student son confirms this is probably excess production from a biodiesel plant.

It's scary the crap people will sell as "food". This is one reason we are fat and unhealthy.

It's scary also how completely oblivious consumers are.

Looking at things from an exchange rate point of view, poor people in America are much richer than, say, poor people in Thailand.

Yet how is it that poor people in Thailand are not outrageously fat? The food supply at the low end is not corporate, that's how. Junk/manufactured food here is more expensive than "real food", and the number of low-overhead food cart vendors keeps the price of mom & pop provided food quite low, while competition keeps quality high. I'm also guessing that people at the lower end can run a food cart to make a living and 100% of the profits stay with the family.

By comparison, the US food supply is very corporate - especially when it comes to prepared foods and quick service eating. Corporate food is also "engineered" - taste and profit (but not nutritionally) maximized. It tastes good, but provides little in the way of benefits to the body. And also in the US, the poor get to work for low wages at the quick service restaurants, with the profits going to management and shareholders. The rich get richer, the poor survive, and the population receives bad nutrition from engineered food.

A mcdonalds hamburger here costs about 100 baht - $3. How does this compete with a typical food vendor meal, with fresh ingredients prepared on the spot, sold for about 30 baht? Poorly, that's how, especially for the lower income people. In Thailand, they buy their food from local entrepreneurs, and the competition is great enough so that bad tasting food vendors do not last long at all. Now that's a market economy I can get behind.

Summary: don't blame poverty for obesity, blame the corporate food supply. Consider for a moment - if an enemy country or terrorist organization deliberately set out to debilitate the people of America and succeeded to the degree that we have done to ourselves, our retribution would be swift and sure. Yet because American companies profit, what action do we take? Expanding research into diet medicines, and exhortations to get more exercise.

One wonders where this will all end up. Peak fat indeed.

100% in agreement. But the corporate world is not giving up here. Popularity of junk food is taking it's toll and it is sad to see. Where the option to eat inexpensive and good food exists, the trend appears to be shifting to prefabricated fast food. You can see the weight gain by looking at the ankles of the school age children. My observation is body mass is on the increase in Thailand for all but the poorest.

Corporate food took over right about the time weights started going up--about 1970. It seems like suddenly there were lots of kinds of cookies and crackers for snacks. Grocery stores gradually went from small places, with a butcher in the back, to very large places, with all kinds of manufactured foods.

But the other thing that happened at close to the same time (or perhaps a little earlier) is that people became aware that smoking is bad for you, and stopped smoking. When people stopped smoking, it also contributed to the weight gain.

About the same time, kids stopped walking to school -- almost all kids are bussed, except in the high school almost everyone has a car.

About the same time, videogames were developed, and kids stopped playing ball in their spare time -- they stopped moving at all.

Industrial processes changed dramatically about that time -- hardly and really active jobs exist any more. Some of them have been outsourced to "China", some have been further automated so that the industrial workers spend hours doing nothing except watching machines.

Etc., etc.

Increased consumption is one element, but decreased activity is another.

Also the "peak" -- maybe it's real! Does anyone consider the possibility that the reason obesity may be peaking is that people are beginning to wake up and start acting on all the good advice available on TOD and elsewhere?

Our local Co-op -- dedicated to good food, produced in a healthful manner -- is attracting more and more people all the time. And they aren't all rich yuppies, either.

Gail, that is when Earl Butz was Secretary of Agriculture, and revolutionized corn subsidies, took away limits on how much of a yield was desirable, etc, etc (Have you seen King Corn?)

I really think a lot can be traced back to him, because corn gives us not only HFCS, but also cattle feed. Cheap CAFO burgers daily is not a good thing. Maybe we have peak obesity because now 30% of the corn crop is being diverted to biofuel.

Where the option to eat inexpensive and good food exists, the trend appears to be shifting to prefabricated fast food.

And, hey, "ReBurger" hasn't even gotten started yet!

One of my favourite meals in Thailand is fried chicken and rice... Not a million miles from a KFC...

I'm just trying to remember whether they take the skin off, Mmmmm....


Yet how is it that poor people in Thailand are not outrageously fat?

I'm not sure Thailand is a good example here. You may want to change your example to Cambodia. Thailand actually has about 12 million obese people. That is approaching 20% of the country, and similar to the obesity rates in California.

Extreme poverty seems to be about the only practical way of avoiding the obesity epidemic today. Thailand is too wealthy to qualify for this. It isn't necessarily only processed foods that do this, although that is clearly a major contributor. But simply eating out vs. preparing your own meals has a dramatic effect on the calories you ingest.

Modern Thais living in the city rarely cook for themselves, and that is becoming increasingly evident in their expanding waistlines.

The simple fact is, fat tastes good. When you run a restaurant, the more fat, MSG and salt you add to your food, the more people like it and the more often they come back. I challenge you to take the grapao moo from the street vendor, place it in your refrigerator overnight, watch it congeal, and then tell me that it is not high calorie food. Fast and processed foods are simply the end result of this neglect of personal food preparation.

Murder By Sweet?

This is an area I happen to have recent experience in, having gone from 175 pounds down to 127 (with an all time adult low of 124 pounds in the last 90 days)

Why did I do it, and how? I am using myself as the primary example, but I have had multiple co-workers going through the same thing...and with similiar results.

The reason? Fear of diabetes. The method causing the weight drop? A large reduction of sugar and high fractose corn syrup intake.

It sounds so simple doesn't it? The upper limit of calorie intake is NOT income. Calories can be increased on a very small sum of money by using sugar and corn sweeteners as a high density fix for surprisingly little money. The upper limit on calorie intake is sugar (and to a lesser extent starches) intake, until the "peak" is reached, i.e., failing health, Type 2 diabetics, and finally illness and death.

A year and a half ago, I was getting 80% plus of my calories per day from one principle source: Iced tea with cane suger. There are 770 calories in a cup of sugar. In the sunny summer south it is very easy to drink between a 1 and 1 1/2 gallons of tea per day, with up to over two cups of sugar total. That's right, 1540 calories of sugar per day in tea alone. I have known people who took in more per day. In the above example, a person is getting all the calories they need before they take in the first bite of food per day! Astounding, but I lived this way for years. If any starches, sugar in foods, or saturated fats were taken in at all it was very easy to exceed 2000 calories per day with almost no nutritional value taken in!

The inevitable result was a gradual climb in blood sugar levels and weight, until my doctor said "That's it, another few months to a year like this and you will be shooting yourself in the gut with an insulin needle for the rest of your life." That gets your attention!

The question was, how to stop it: Going with Parato's law
("80 percent of results come from 20 percent of your effort") I decided to work on what I knew to be my biggest sugar source first, sugar in iced tea and some in purchased soft drinks by way of high fructose corn sweetener. The results were ASTOUNDING. My weight and blood sugar began to drop, and there was a huge nutritional hole in my diet I could enjoy filling, with fish, vegetables, whole grain cereal and low calorie whole grain bread and reasonable meats such as chicken, turkey, sea food and even some low fat beef. My nutrition improved, my weight continued to drop, my blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure dropped, and I barely missed it. In fact I was hungry for and eating nutritious foods I had not been hungry for in years!

But how? Didn't I miss the sugar in drinks terribly? I still love to drink beverages, but now I drink them with artificial sweetener of no calories, and to me the miracle natural sweetener is Stevia plant based sweetener (often sold in the U.S. under the Truvia brand name, and no, I have no relationship with the company and never have had).

The Japanese have allowed NO artificial sweeteners since the 1960's but have used Stevia plant based sweetener since 1971. To this day the only side effect demonstrated in some cases is a slight lowering of blood pressure! There have been over 200 studies done, and none have demonstrated ill effects from Stevia, including one that tried very hard to find danger, and financed by Cargill and Coca Cola. To repeat, almost 40 years of real world experience in Japan and no problems detected yet.

Knowing the horrific effect of excess sugar intake as we now do, it would take a replacement of real and immediate danger to be as bad as sugar for America's health. I am not prone to easily accepting a complete lack of concern for the health of customers on the part of America's major food and sugar companies, but in this case it is hard to find an alternative: The ONLY relatively sensible explanation for the long fight against Stevia based sweetener and other artificial sweeteners seems to be the lobbying power of the sugar and corn sweetener industy.

At least a half dozen people I know have began to work a similiar plan (reduction of sugar, most often by way of reducing sugar intake by way of switching to artificial or Stevia based drinks first) and the results have been similiar. One female friend who was injecting herself daily with insulin has lost 45 pounds and the weight and blood sugar is now dropping fast...Another who just began to switch to diet drinks and artificial sweetener (The normal progression..."Eck! I hate diet drinks...hey, after a week or two, I don't notice they are diet drinks!") and her weight is already dropping to the tune of 8 pounds every two weeks...

The Sweet South...the tea belt

It is interesting to me that many people never bother to notice (or seem to try to avoid noticing) the post WWII the sunbelt (to call it the "iced tea" belt would be as accurate), the land of sugar cane, sorghum and the sunbelt expanded the fat did too...look at a chart of obesity by state...note the "core" obesity belt, with greater than 25% plus obesity, the land where a glass of sweet tea is served in restaurants and the back porches of houses even before the visitor asks for it:

Watch the sunbelt grow (no pun intended) and spread (again, no pun...)

Last exhibit, the states with the highest percentage of adult obesity, notice the 2, only 2 states over 30% plus obese population (Missippi and Alabama) with 4 border states exceeding 29% obesity (Louisiana, Arkansas, Tennessee, and the one other southern state, South Carolina. The former deep south states that somewhat break the pattern are Georgia and Florida, and this can probably be explained by the number of people in those states who simply haven't been there that long (given the transiant population of Florida and Atlanta) The first time I viewed charts like this I was absolutely astounded. Why didn't the Diabetes associations, the heart associations, point this out, the issue of sugar intake was so obvious! I now know there are other forces at work...

If the U.S. will confront the propaganda of the sugar and corn sweetener industry (particularly in the south) the gains we could make on defeating obesity and reducing serious health problems such as diabetes and the whole assortment of related ailments could be huge. We could possibly even end obesity as a major blight on American health.

Now sit back on the porch there and let my gurl fix ya' a big glass of sweet's gonna' be a long hot summer!


Nice to hear your story RC. I had high blood pressure and kept trying different blood pressure medications, each with terrible side effects, the worst being lethargy. I have to work so slowing down due to some pill wasn't going to work. So I did the same thing as you - I cut out sugar in its many forms and my blood pressure went back down to normal levels.

All food products should come with warnings about the ill effects of sugar and sugar substitutes. For example, Aspartame is a sweetener but food products with that ingredient have in large print, 'NO SUGAR'. If you want to know what that stuff does to you just do a google search. Disasterous stuff, and its making its way into more products every day.

The fact this country allows crap like aspartame in food is a credit to those politicians that have been adequetly paid off.

Anyway, thanks for the tip on Stevia and congrats on kicking the sugar habit.

Nice the hear both your stories, RC & PE.
Both prevention and even 'cure' for most Type II diabetes (and quite a bit of hypertension) is weight-loss and exercise.
As well as reducing the dietary insults to our arteries along the lines you suggest, we try also to eat the fruit that restores elasticity of arteries. OK, extracts of pomegranate etc. cost money, but put that against reduction in medication, and take for example, a certain satisfaction in seeing SBP come down below 120 most of the time. There is also a world of pick-your-own berries and even grow-your-own berries of many kinds, where we are given almost priceless returns for our time.

Here in UK we have seen a rise in obesity, lagging probably about 5 - 10 years behind USA. Extends down to increasing prevalence even in pre-school kids. The numbers affected have risen as they get older.
Calorie-dense fatty ingredients play their deadly part, alongside salt and other enticements in the mixes provided by the 'food industry'. (There is a whole science of 'taste' and 'mouth-feel' etc)
I wish we knew all the contributors to this massive trend.
But sugar is surely 'Easy-Calories'?
A bit like 'Easy Oil' energy for an 'obese' over-mechanized culture?

I can vouch for good exercise and reducing stress to get rid of the symptoms of Type 2 diabetes.

And for the disastrous effects of Aspartame. I went to a university do some years ago where I had to play the harmonium (not a great success!) I stayed off the beer and drank the aspartame laced lemonade instead. It gave me a monstrous hangover. Never again...

I use stevia too. It's a natural plant, and as you would guess, Wikipedia has a very informative page:

Now here is the sordid tale. The makers of patented artificial sweeteners got stevia (unpatentable) banned in a number of countries. After much protest from the health food industry, it was allowed again in the USA but the FDA made it illegal to call it a "sweetener." So it has to be labeled a "food supplement."

About Truvia, it's modified stevia with a patent, not the real thing (which can't be patented), and it CAN legally be called a sweetener in the USA because it's made by Cargill, a very big corporation that patented the formula and has political influence.

Here is the whole story:

You can buy real stevia from healthfood stores, or much cheaper in bulk from many online sources - just google it. There are several forms of stevia: liquid, powder, or powder concentrate (the last is what I prefer).

Read this story about how the FDA seized and destroyed stevia cookbooks:

I don't think that stevia was allowed into the US until Cargill allowed it after they patented Truvia.

I first heard of it maybe 30 years ago when some friends who run an innovative commercial nursery were experimenting with the plant -- but it was all hush hush; stevia wasn't quite as dangerous (legally) as marijuana, but it was up there.

My sugar intake is about as low as it will go while I still eat baked goods with it in them. But I also use Stevia, having baked with it, in some things, It's hard to make crystalized sugary treats with it.

I am considered Obese, but I have good blood sugar, good blood pressure, and am considered but for the weight to be healthy by my doctor.

I have damage to the veins in my legs due to Blood Clots in 2005, on any given day I can gain weight without eating or drinking, just from water retention. I saw it happen in 2008 where I gained 35 pounds in 3 days, totally shocked my doctor. I lost it in 4 days with my new Lasix pills, Which you have to watch when you take, because they work wonders at filling your bladder fast, don't stray to far from a bathroom, or tree.

My dad freaks out when he gains 3 or 4 pounds above his steady 145, he has been the same weight for most of his adult life.


Glad you are healthier.

While I am glad you are healthier, might I point out that tobacco is also a plant? No research has been done on large daily doses of stevia (or more precisely, Truvia).

You are conducting a one person experiment, and (since as we know, my grandfather smoked two packs a day from age 15 and was struck by lightning at age 95 while jogging up Pike's Peak), the outcome will give us little information.

"While I am glad you are healthier, might I point out that tobacco is also a plant?"

Exactly, and one that is known to cause cancer. Yet it is legal.

Sugar and corn syrup are plants too, and we are doing a very large and unsuccessful experiment with their safety.

ThatsItImout: "The Japanese have allowed NO artificial sweeteners since the 1960's but have used Stevia plant based sweetener since 1971"

Aspartame and other artificial sweeteners are widely used in Japan. Diet soft drinks manufactured in Japan all use them. Stop by one of the ubiquitous vending machines in Japan and take a look.

Cluster 2K, allow me to withdraw the Japanese information as I got it from another source (having never been to Japan myself). My error.


Thanks for sharing your story. I guess my vice has been fried food and barbecue. I was never really fat, but I did hit my personal Peak Fat (about 20 lbs overweight) in 2005 before I decided to do something about it. Coincidence about it being 2005?

All I did was cut out the fast food and big restaurant meals, and I kept up 3 days a week at the gym or running around the neighborhood. I got down to my college weight, and I've been maintaining ever since.

Nice post Ugo, but you went right past the real explanation in your own post, and then posited one not supported by the stats. You stated:

The obesity epidemics started in the 1970s, when the US economy underwent what was termed "the great u-turn" by Bluestone and Harrison, who published a book with that title in 1982. The great u-turn led to an increase in the income inequality in the US, which is lasting to this day. In other words, the poor started becoming poorer and their diet started to worsen.

Indeed, income inequality is one of the best correlated things to obesity. (And violence, teenage pregnancy,mental health and drug use, and many other social ills.) It turns out that it's not about absolute wealth, but relative wealth within societies. Here in NZ, we have half the spending power on average of the average American, but because we have income inequalities approaching those of the US and the UK, we have similar levels of these social ills, but correlated to our level of inequality. (We're working hard to catch up with the US in inequality)

I recommend a read of The Spirit Level: Why more equal societies almost always do better, by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett, released late in 2009. It covers all the science which correlates some of our worse societal ills to one factor - relative inequality.

Some of the slides from the book can be viewed here. I recommend slide 7!

The Spirit Level - slides from The Equality TrustView more presentations from The Equality Trust.

When peak oil forces greater localization and as a result greater equality, we can expect a significant decrease in these social ills, without the expense of additional health and welfare and law and order expenditure. Likewise, we could choose policies that promote equality even before peak oil bites hard, and all be happier and healthier while reducing our deficits.

There are two sides to the weight problem - calories in and calories burned.

In the UK obesity is still increasing, although well behind US levels. Yet we are eating fewer calories than we did 30 or 40 years ago. We are simply not burning them off through activity, primarily walking. We drive almost as much as you do, our levels of regular exercise have fallen sharply.

I commute by bicycle, 8 mile round trip. As long as I limit my sugar intake to rational levels, my BMI remains at 25 without any attempt to diet.
Over Christmas I stopped cycling and ate lots of sugar. I put on 7 pounds.

This is pretty much completely false. Please read/watch Gary Taube's or watch Dr. Lustig and then rethink your position. The obesity problem all boils down to broken metabolisms from too much sugar and refined wheat. The result is chronically elevated insulin levels, impaired livers, and leptin resistance.



To paraphrase, regular, planned exercise helps both in weight loss, the health of the individual during dieting, and the control of food intake (presumably) by reducing appetite after the target weight has been achieved.

Obviously, a poor quality diet will adversely affect health and metabolism, but to ignore exercise and treat obesity as exclusively as an issue of chosen diet is reductionism reduced to absurdity.

Yes, there is no reason why we should not agree that both total number of calories in/out, AND the effect of food, income inequality, sleep patterns, stress levels, viruses (?), genetics, and epigenetic effects - all influence weight. This is simply because calories IN are affected by a host of factors (mostly behavioral), and calories OUT are affected by the factors that affect basic metabolism, as well as behavioral factors affecting activity level.

When the obesity rate started climbing, epidemiologists were up in arms, pointing out that no other health factor has ever changed so quickly, and that we do not have any other models of behavior change that would work at such speed.

So then what we can argue about is what the single most significant factor might be. A valuable outcome of this discussion would be to list all the likely factors, to see how they explain the racial/gender/income differences and to see which ones might actually show a "peak" effect.

I'm going to try doing that as this is definitely up my alley!

To me, the most powerful correlate is the onset of 'diseases of civilization' with the rise in the use of sugar, refined carbohydrates and easy-to-digest carbohydrates (potatoes, squash, etc.). The glib argument that people 'back then' didn't live long enough for these diseases to show up just doesn't hold water. High sugar, high carbs are the main culprits. Exercise may play a role, but I'd really like to see some clinical evidence.

Potatoes and Squash are old mainstays of the Americas before Europe got here. Melons are native to Asia and were in markets. Don't blame them so much as them being used as a monoculture, and to fry and load up with fats and salt.

Sugar in large amounts is more modern, even being considered a sin food that finding of the Americas was dumped into the diets of europeans.

By themselves Squash and Potatoes are good for you, loading them down with fats and salt and sugar makes them worse.


I have pretty much ditched the 'low fat, high carb' paradigm for the high protein, low carb. It was Taubes' book that induced me to change my diet, which was semi-vegetarian at the time. My blood workup was generally not bad but trending in a bad direction. After cutting way back on sugars and upping the protein to carb ratio, and, when eating grains, sticking with whole grains, I quickly dropped about 5 lbs. and my next blood workup was noticeably better.

The past two years have been a time of paradigm shifts. Diet, economy, medicine.

I have a suspicion (currently unproved) that growth hormones fed to American cattle (and perhaps chickens and pigs) contributes to the obesity problem. The hormones wind up in milk as well as the meat, so even toddlers are getting a dose.

Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone

American Beef: Why is it Banned in Europe?

Artificial Hormones

I think that is one of the problems.

I think there are several others as well:

--Not enough Omega 3 fatty acids in the diet, compared to Omega 6 fatty acids.

--Depletion from the soil of some minerals we really need in our diet, so our food is deficient in these.

--Not enough fiber in our food, so we tend to feel hungry.

--Ridiculous portions at restaurants.

--Children and adults drinking huge amounts of fruit juice and sodas. Even the "diet" soda are bad.

--School that allow junk food to be sold to children.

The reason that the American life expectancy is so poor compared to other "developed" countries is largely because of our poor diet, IMO.

Ozone Hole/Gail

I agree with you and would add that processed food is also a problem. When I was a child of 12-13, my family was poor and on more than one occasion we had hot dogs/fries, etc to eat. All of it was cooked at home by my Mom and most of it was handmade (hot dogs aside)

I'd also add another point to this. Perhaps the real culprit is salt. The amount of sodium in our diet is HUGE and I can't help but notice that the rapid increase in salt intake parallels the increase in obesity, autism, etc. I was looking at a can of organic lentil soup at the health food store a few weeks back. 1 can, 47% of your daily salt requirement.

I don't buy much processed food, other than pasta, oatmeal, olive oil, canola oil (which needs to be refrigerated), canned tomatoes without salt, and some condiments like mustard and pepper sauce. I cook my own soup, because that way I can control what salt (and other things) go into it. I try to buy food in as close to the original form as possible--potatoes, rice, dried beans, vegetables, fruits, nuts, fish, coffee, and tea. I do eat a little meat, milk, and cheese, but keep the quantity down, because of "issues" with animal products, especially the way feedlot animals are raised in the US.

I grew up eating "organ meats" of animals, but one hardly ever sees these in the stores today, unless one really looks for them. With all of the pollution issues we have now, and the medicines the animals are fed, one wonders whether liver is safe to eat.

Edit: I am sure there are some processed foods that I buy I left out: Rye crackers, peanut butter, hummus, and chocolate are some that come to mind.

I think you leave a big factor out by not mentioning exercise, which correlates to calories burned and metabolism. Growing up in the 60's - 70's, myself and all of my friends and family were very active, much more so than kids today, and we didn't even have a token "fat kid" in my grade level, and very few in the school as a whole.

on edit - my favored foods were white bread toast with jam, whole milk, ice cream, koolaid, twinkies and ho-ho's, cookies by the dozen, pancakes with plenty of real butter and syrup...among better stuff too. Just saying you have to go farther back than when I was a kid to find a healthy diet; that was normal.

I cannot agree more about kids and exercise. An anecdote almost rising to the point of data: We live about a mile from the local elementary school, and would walk our son to school everyday. Along the way, we would meet friends who would also walk. Our son's cub scout den had ten kids, with six who walked to school, and four who were driven. Now, three years after leaving this school, these same ten kids are in middle school and Boy Scouts, but you can immediately pick out which kids walked and which ones were driven. On our backpacking trips it becomes even more evident.

Early exercise is absolutely key.

Yes...driving kids all around is a frustrating thing for me, one I'm on the losing side of lately. I bicycle to work myself and run all my errands by bike, and when I was a kid we got driven nowhere. Always walked to school, walked to creeks and fields and stores with friends, walked 2 miles to the bowling alley (carrying our balls), walked 2 miles to the golf course shouldering our clubs, and so on all over town. It just never occurred to us then that someone should drive us, or that there was anything better about being dependent on begged rides.

These days, my daughters school is 5 blocks away, but they have to have a ride. Its always too hot or too cold, or windy or something. After work I pick them up from my wifes shop, 5 blocks away, the routine being I bicycle home 6 miles (passing the shop), lock the bike at the house, walk back to the shop, drive the girls home. Any other suggestion, such as I could just ride to the shop and walk them home, leads to scorn and discontent...

I am not telling you how to raise your kids, but teaching them that it is fun to walk home might help from it being a chore, or looked down on.

In my first marriage, I tried to make doing the hard things fun, school work was one of those things that showed me that lession.


I do try, being a pretty cheerful person by nature and setting a good example. There is a wife involved in the equation, however, who seems to have been raised with an entirely different set of values and expectations, and is resolutely "unhappy"...but that's another story.

When I was 26 I was as light as 185 pounds. But then again to get back to my room after leaving it to go anywhere on campus I had to walk up 7 flights of stairs, as the elevator was never working or slower than mud. I was usually running up at 2 steps at a time sometimes all 7 flights.

20 years later, with an injured back, a faulty left ankle, knees that aren't in great health ( theyv'e been trouble since I was a teen ) I'd be lucky this year to make it to the top of the 7 flights.

This time last year I could walk 7 miles and not even think about it. That was before I reinjured my back.

Limited intact is about my only avenue right now, I have always had a dead slow metabolism. I have a resting pulse rate of about 60 right now, I used to be able to lower it to 48 just by sitting still and thinking about it.

Love to go swimming but that costs money around here, That is one thing I miss about Huntsville Alabama, $1 swim days in a heated pool.


Good analysis Gail, but I would add a horrific medical system.
Also, completely lose the grains, they are destroying our topsoil and aquifers, and are very poor nutrition. The dead zone in the GOM would also disappear. Plus, all those feed lots for cattle would be gone, and their omega balance would get back toward the omega 3 side.
Of course, we could not feed the current population.

I agree in a general way. One group of substances we are being increasingly exposed to are endocrine disruptors, which are found in many pesticides and some plastics that line bottles and cans. These compounds, when fed to pregnant mice in doses that humans would normally consume, lead to increases in the weight of the offspring, even when the food consumed by the offspring is isocaloric with non-exposed mice.These compounds are also associated with an increased incidence of diabetes in exposed populations.
Obviously this is not the only thing, but it is a factor that we seem to have overlooked, and it could be a major 'set-up' that predisposes kids to becoming obese. 30 years ago children watched an average of ~28 hours of TV a week. Today, they may not watch that much TV, but they are watching video games, or computers, or TV, so the end result is similar. Children ate poor food 30 years ago also. Obesity was a problem then, but nothing like today. I think that it is more than just altered activity and diet. I think kids have been set up by the stuff in their environment.


It’s surprising how few people mentioned exercise, or lack thereof.

Until modern times people got more than enough exercise in the form of physical work. Until the late 1800’s the work week was 60 hours. A canal digger was expected to move 18 tons of earth in a 12 to 14 hour day. Equally physical work was done by miners and railroad workers. This amount of work would required perhaps 1000 to 1500 extra calories per day. That is one of the reasons for hunger in past times. But few of these people were obese.

My personal experience confirms this. As a management employee of a manufacturing company I had to work strike duty, 14 consecutive 12 hour days, alternating with a week off. My jobs were not particularly strenuous, but did involve me standing most of the time and walking and bending over at frequent intervals. We had an on site cafeteria and I ate four full size healthy meals each day. After the first two weeks I lost 11 pounds. My metabolism stayed high on my off weeks and I was constantly hungry, my body attempting to regain lost weight.

In the United States, people get fat because they cannot afford to eat what they want.

I can't agree with this, Ugo. The problem is better described as "people get fat because they do not know how to choose and prepare food that is good for them." Look, there is much good, inexpensive food to be had in the typical American supermarket -- dried beans, rice, pasta, whole grain flour, corn meal -- it is just that it tends to get lost amongst the Frozen Pizza Crisps, the Little Debbie Snack Cakes, the sour-cream potato chip dip and the "Co-Cola." And of course, the lentils and rice don't give you the same buzz that Little Debbie Cakes do.

A friend who is very nutrition-conscious claims that the microbes in your gut are selected to digest certain types of food and that they are capable of sending signals to their host (you) to seek out the foods that they prefer. I'm not sure where she got this, but it doesn't sound particularly far-fetched to me. If this is the case, then there would appear to be an addiction factor here that would require some intervention in order to correct. But if one can choose to give up cigarettes, they can choose to give up the Little Debbies.

For the past several years, my wife and I have grown a large garden and stored the excess for eating throughout the winter -- potatoes, onions, rutabagas, squash, frozen chard, beans, broccoli, etc. We put up literally hundreds of pounds of good food which we then supplement with lentils, cheese, milk, butter, eggs, a small amount of meat, flour, corn-meal, etc. The only "prepared" food that we eat is pasta (we could make pasta from scratch, certainly, but pasta tends to be our "get something together in a hurry" meal) and a few condiments -- ketchup, mustard and salad dressings (could easily substitute vinegar and oil). As our eating habits have changed, I have come to view most of what I see in the big-box markets as useless.

It is a fallacy to think that eating well is too expensive. I would counter that buying and eating prepared foods is what is costly -- both to your wallet and to your health.

There are millions of people who are short enough of money that they do eat right cooking basic staples at home except they can't afford fruits and veggies.Whole chickens -rich in protein and fat sixty nine cents per pound this week , tomatos 1.69$ , onoins .79$ green beans 1.49$-only potatos and bananas and cabbage cheaper than meat.

My dad bought a roasting hen and we made one meal of it roasted, half of what was left was made into a casserole, the other half into noodle soup. The casserole and soup fed us twice each. So one chicken fed us 5 meals each, or fed 15 meals total.

Teaching people how to cook better, eat less and use veggies in things like the above casserole and soup. You can stretch the food dollar in many ways, but you have to plan what you buy and stay away from things that have hidden down sides.

A bag of rice, a sack of beans, a head of cabbage, a few onions, some garlic, Some fresh dried herbs from the window pots, or garden, and a few other things, even with a hunk of pork for cheap. Meals for weeks, if you budget it, if you eat smaller portions.


Here is to learning how to cook closer to the garden.

I spent about 20 years in the blue-collar industry of home construction. One co-worker insisted to me that it was cheaper to eat out (read: fast food) that to buy food and prepare at home. The only way this could be true is if one buys pre-processed foods in the boxes (hamburger helper) and avoids the *real* foods such as fresh veggies, good quality meats and dairy and whole grains.

Even though my mate and I cook at home, our food budget is still one of the minor parts of the household budget. Michael Pollan had it right about sticking to the periphery of the super market for buying *real* food.

I have the strong opinion that Americans in general have lost the ability to cook.

My dad is a trained Chef, amoung other things, his mode of cooking is mostly everything from basics to product. He does not buy any zap-them meals.

Back when both me and my brother were still living at home ( I am back again ) we had Pizza night on saturdays, everything made from scratch, yeasty dough and all. Everyone helped cook.

I don't think I have had a Little Snack cake in over 5 years, if not longer. Squash nut bread, and Fruit Cake (dried fruits soaked in brandy) with pecans for Christmas this year. My dad does make cookies, he has a sweet tooth he says.

Snacks Are nuts, cheese, Ice Cream, fruit, cookies and home made crackers.

Here is to better food choices for everyone.


The claim that those graphs show the increase has stopped is even more ludicrous then the denialist claim that the planet is now cooling. Out of six curves, the only one that isn't obviously increasing is the one for black women. The NYtimes needs to hire reporters than can actually do junior high level math!

The JAMA article this was based on says that they figure they had a 90% chance of detecting a slowing down of the rate of increase of the prevalence of obesity. Continuing the previous trend, they expected a 6 or 7 percentage point increase between 1999-2000 and 2008-2009, and instead they got a 4.7 percentage point increase.

As to breaking it down in terms of blacks vs. Mexicans vs. caucasian, and further into men and women, the power to detect a difference in the prevalence of obesity drops precipitously with decreasing number of people the statistics are based on, so that you can't make any too many claims about them. In the comment section, the authors write:

These data suggest that the increases in the prevalence of obesity previously observed may not be continuing at a similar level over the [more recent] period, particularly for women, but possibly for men.

The lead author is Katherine M. Flegal, PhD, from the National Center for Health Statistics. Interestingly in the article, the NYT curves are not there. Instead, there are pages of tables in small print, detailing percentages with their confidence intervals. So the NYT graphs are missing these margin of error estimates which may smooth out the curves to some other shape. There is no significant "fitting" of the data to any particular curve. In other words, the NYT graphs are misleading, a sort of science "fiction".

Nothing like the question of obesity to get all kinds of hare-brained ideas displayed. My wife is definitely obese, and my adult daughter is overweight. I'm perhaps borderline overweight, but I still wear the same size pants I did forty years ago.

In principle, we eat much the same meals. But in practice, we don't. I simply eat less than my wife or daughter. They both drink carbonated drinks a lot (my wife regular Coke, my daughter diet Dr. Pepper). I usually drink unsweetened tea. Their snack of choice is a chocolate-chip cookie or a brownie (or more often, several of them). My snack of choice is an orange, an apple, or some other fruit. I eat anything put in front of me. They both are quite fussy about what they eat.

I think the big difference is how we lived when we were children. I grew up in a rural location, largely dependent on home-grown fruit and vegetables, with home cooked meals, and did a lot of walking and running. There was no TV and no air conditioning. My wife grew up in an inner-suburban location, with a very limited diet consisting principally of hamburgers, and very few home-cooked meals. They had television but no air conditioning. Our daughter grew up in a suburban area with minimal time spent outdoors because we had both TV and air conditioning.

Just from observing my own family, I think the solution to obesity is simple: eat less, get some exercise, and cultivate a taste for the unsweetened. But I can't convince my wife and daughter to try it.

So, if about 35% of adult males in the US are defined today as obese, there is no obvious physical limit that would prevent this number from going higher. Why not 50%? Or 75%?

Not really true. I see obvious limiters. As marijuana has become more socially acceptable over the years, more people smoke it. But that does not mean that eventually everyone will be a stoner. There are saturation points... maybe the number of new people eating fast food has peaked and the health nuts just aren't biting. Maybe the maximum number of people easily susceptible to obesity are already fat (not everyone puts on weight the same).

I'm with everyone else: junk food. We probably are just reaching a saturation point. I don't see oil affecting the junk food supply for a long time.

Ugo writes:

There have been several studies [...] showing that poor people tend to optimize their diet in terms of the ratio of calories to dollars. In other words, they try to buy the cheapest food that can provide them with the same number of calories. Unfortunately, it turns out that this cheap food is what we call "junk food"; food rich in saturated fats and sugar. This is the kind of food that makes you obese.

[italics mine]
Ugo, you've written a very informative article but I'm afraid your claim that food rich in saturated fats "is the kind of food that makes you obese" has no scientific foundation.
See Health: The Myth of the Low-fat Diet ; For Years, We've Been Advised to Eat a Low-fat Diet in Order to Help Prevent Heart Attacks And Promote Weight Loss. But, Says Jerome Burne, the Latest Research Suggests That Such a Diet May Actually Do More Harm Than Good

Jerome writes:

A low-fat diet may be actively harmful. In the late Eighties, David Jacobs, from the University of Minnesota, did a study in Japan on the effects of cholesterol and, interestingly, found a link between low blood cholesterol levels and an increase in non-heart disease related deaths. He reported to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, which hosted the American Heart Association conference in 1990. At that conference the results of 19 studies from around the world on the links between cholesterol levels and disease were pooled. Taubes writes: "The data were consistent. When investigators tracked all deaths instead of just heart disease, the cholesterol curves were U-shaped for men (both high and low increased the risk) and flat for women." He adds: "As for women, if anything, the higher their cholesterol the longer they lived."

Indeed, the very concept of 'junk food' is controversial. I think basically it means 'food that dumb people eat a lot of'. There is certainly nothing intrinsically unhealthy about it. Disastrous for the environment, perhaps. But environmental health and human health are not necessarily two sides of the same coin.

Personally I prefer slow food myself.

Provided it arrives promptly on the table, of course.

We need some knowledge that improves our literacy on fats. The "Saturated Fat" myth is killing us.

Here's a quick test for everyone. Take your hands off the keyboard, reach down to your waist and pinch that roll of blubber just above your belt. How did that old rock song go? ..."a lot less talk, and a lot more action!"

I'd also recommend The Vegetarian Myth: Food, Justice, and Sustainability by Lierre Keith

I could not make a higher recommendation. A great book, and an eye opener to our vegan friends and their simplistic and misguided ideas.
Unfortunately ideology will over ride reason and critical examination, as vegetarianism seems to be first a cult, and secondly an eating disorder.

As a vegetarian, I'll still say the book seems to raise some interesting points. But I wonder if you've had a bad experience with a vegetarian. You seem rather hostile to vegetarians. In the end, what's it to you?

I don't know about the junk food statement. While I think that cholestrol risks are overstated, and that people still think all fat is horrible when really we need some, there IS junkfood.

Twinkies and Big Macs are junk food in my book. There is nothing healthy about trans fat. Study after study has shown that it is awful for you cardiovascular system. Corn syrup has a high glycemic index and this caused diabetes which causes a host of problems.

Either or both of these things are in virtually all processed food.

That's to say nothing of the chemicals in mordern food. Last summer I was a month short of getting open carpal tunnel surgery on both my hands. Then I noticed an extreme flare up after eating at a cheap Chinese joint. I cut out all MSG (and all of its 40 labeled aliases) and I am back to daily guitar and typing with no problems. No numbness, no tingling. People have told me it's in my head, that MSG is a myth, I call BS. Either it was MSG or something in processed/restaurant food. I ate Taco Bell once on a road trip months later: numbs hands for two days.

"Indeed, the very concept of 'junk food' is controversial. I think basically it means 'food that dumb people eat a lot of'. There is certainly nothing intrinsically unhealthy about it. "

For this debate you need to listen to or read Michael Pollan.

Today MOST all food that is not fresh vegetables or fruit are 'industrial grade food'..Produced in factories. All that junk food is made there.
It does not easily perish, in fact can be laid aside for literally months and its still unaltered.

Try to find a restaurant that doesn't have everything delivered in a refrigerated truck with every thing frozen. Hand trucked into the restaurants and unthawed and microwave as the customers place their orders.

A lot is 'mystery meat' that contains a lot of scraps and various cuts all ground to a paste and then pressed out to what is called for. Like 'chicken fried steak'...check it out and find there is NO GRAIN to the meat.

One could die eating this trash food. How many shoppers at food stores now put a big sack of potatoes in their cart? Onions. Lettuce and so forth . They go for the industrial grade packaged simulated foods.

I refuse to eat this trash. My wife with three major heart attacks and a fourth one looming eats very very badly. She never hardly ever cooks and if you don't cook? Then what the hell are you eating?

Right now I am eating homemade potato soup and some canned tomatoes cooked down with whole kernel corn and home bread. Stuff I cooked myself. It will last two days.


Recipe: 2 or 3 cups chicken broth,add diced potatoes(about three large ones),diced onion and a large chunch of pure cow's butter, boil til tender and add 1 cup half and half. Boil some more. Add some grated carrots, about two. Some parsley and celery seed. No salt needed.
Eat with homebread Italian Rustic bread and sprinkle some grated Parmigiana Reggiano or what ever good dry cheese over it in your soup bowl.

BTW its hard to beat cornbread. Cooked properly in an iron skillet and not too cakelike thick. It is an art form to make good southern cornbread. Lots of fiber as well. I eat it quite often. Martha White Corn Bread mix/meal.

I agree with the suggestion to read Michael Pollan! "Omnivore's Dilemma" and "In Defense of Food" will change the way you eat, shop and think about food. And Airdale's right, Americans have to learn to cook again.

We create 90% of our own health through food and lifestyle. If people took responsibility for the state of their own bodies, our health care costs would plummet. To be sure, there are many, many sources of nutrition-less, fattening food, but it seems to me that subsidized corn that becomes subsidized high fructose corn syrup has cost our society dearly.

Beyond obesity, sheer movement is critical for life. Since our lymph system has no pump of its own, it relies on the contractions of skeletal muscles in order to circulate and do its job, (part of which is to run our immune systems.) Another good reason to get people out of their cars and into walkable, bikeable communities . . .

Agreed wholly,

Here is what to do. Go pick over some nice beans, like Great Northern, rinse and put it pot. add water set over nite. Drain in morning put back in pot, add some fatback or pieces of ham if you desire. Set on low.

Then go turn off the TV. Jerk the sat cable out of the wall.

Put on some Red Wing boots , pick up a good stick and go walking in the woods and look at nature, repeat every day but vary the meal.Walk further and further each day. Sit down under a big oak or hickory and try to feel the spirits in the tree , ground and animals.

Leave American Idol to the fatties.


PS. You will not have to have all that health insurance.


On Poulan, I've read his books, starting with Botany of Desire. I like alot of what he has to say, with reservations. So I recently traveled overnight to one of his lectures. I was disappointed, to say the least. I'm not sure if it was his doing or that of the moderator, but the entire question and answer session following was controlled by the moderator, who asked only her own softball questions in an Oprah style "interview". Nothing from the audience, no defense of his positions. The lecture was at a large land grant university, with a diverse, educated audience. Faculty of various ag disciplines, deans, head of the state cattlemen assn, etc. Even the vegans were saying "preaching to the choir" after the lecture.

Poulan realizes the value of livestock in maintaining soil fertility, in fact, all of his lecture examples require varied livestock to either harvest or recycle nutrients. Poulan takes great pains to vilify the livestock industry, and often rightly so, but IMO fails to promote the animals themselves or their central place in farming operations. His new 6 word soundbite, oft repeated, goes for politically correct overtones of meat is bad. Disappointing again . With the forums he now commands, the media that is increasing coming to view him as the new food guru, he could do so much more for complete farming operations and grass fed livestock. Indeed, his books are full of such examples.

he could do so much more for complete farming operations and grass fed livestock

I could not agree more, and he obviously knows this.

I think we need to set up a Buffalo Commons on the Plains, where all this grain is now being grown, with the resulting topsoil and aquifer depletion. With the reintroduction of Buffalo into this land (it supported 60 million Buffalo and millions of pounds of high quality protein) would restore topsoil, and increase biodiversity.
Grains are evil.

1 cup of self rising flour, 1 and 1/2 cups of corn meal, 1 cup milk or buttermilk plus water sufficient to mix thoroughly into thick but not lumpy batter- two tablespoons or so.Grease heavy black iron skillet well with butter , bacon fat or use spray no stick out of spray can.Use the biggest skillet you have so the bread is not too thick, or a twelve incher.

Preheat skillet, put batter in skillet, oven to 350 degrees , shoulkd take 23 to 25 +/-minutes for nice aroma to start filling kitchen.Watch carefully till well browned or use broiler , watch very closely if using broiler to brown.Remember that ovens vary.You may want to vary the flour to meal ratio a little depending on personal tastes and brands available. Turn bread out of pan onto towel or platter with a couple of spoons under the hot bread to prevent the bottom from getting soggy due to condensing steam from bread on cold platter.

If you use a skillet exclusively for bread, it never sticks cooked this way.I don't know why this is so but my Momma always used the same skillet for bread , others for meats, potatos, etc , for this reason.

Makes a very good chewy crusty corn bread not at all like the crumbly junk most people call corn bread.We use a bolted corm meal made from white corn.

Mountian people in times gone by often made a meal out of this bread crumbled in milk -it doesn't get soggy, and tastes better than purchased cereals -accompanied with whatever else was handy and quick during times when everybody was needed in the fields.

I would as soon have this bread with some fresh raw milk and a couple of cucumbers and a tomato straight from the garden as a light meal as anything I have ever eaten.

You can add other ingredients but the more you add the greater the loss of character of the bread.There is no need to add eggs or shortening to the batter-you are almost certainly eating too much anyway.

I refuse to eat this trash.

As far as most of the restaurant and prepackaged processed stuff, I agree. Its hard for me to imagine how much money people spend on that stuff too.

My family's dinner tonight: a big beef stew with fresh carrots, potatoes, celery, onions and mushrooms, slow-cooked while I worked today. We do about 6 quarts at a time and it lasts a couple days, for about $9 total.

Using Gail's list as a starting point, and adding other hypotheses we have identified so far, which one would be likely to peak?

--Not enough Omega 3 fatty acids in the diet, compared to Omega 6 fatty acids (I don't think this has peaked)
--Depletion from the soil of some minerals we really need in our diet, so our food is deficient in these (Not peaked)
--Not enough fiber in our food, so we tend to feel hungry (Not peaked)
--Ridiculous portions at restaurants (This may well have peaked with the recession/depression)
--Children and adults drinking huge amounts of fruit juice and sodas. Even the "diet" soda are bad (Not peaked, that I know of)
--School that allow junk food to be sold to children (May possibly be peaking now, but 2 years ago?)
--Bovine Growth Hormone (Not peaked, though I have heard people say they are eating less meat)
--Endocrine disruptors in our environment (Definitely not peaked; pesticide levels are rising fast)
--Less exercise (Not peaked; good point about homeless people being less fat; they also do not have any income, miss meals, can't overeat)
--More TV (Not peaked)
--Genetically modified food (NOT peaked at all)
--HFCS/corn subsidies (Still there)
--Two working parents making it harder to cook anything from scratch (this might have peaked given the unemployment)
--Depression (not peaked)

There's more, but this is a start. The possibly causes of obesity which seem to be peaking include:
--Two working parents making it harder to cook anything from scratch (this might have peaked given the unemployment)
--Ridiculous portions at restaurants (This may well have peaked with the recession/depression)

Now, assuming the breakdown by gender/race is useful, why would Mexicans not be affected by the above? Their rate of obesity is continuing on a ruinous trajectory. True, their overall rate still has a way to go to catch up. This means some factors possibly related to the previous rise of obesity could be giving way to others, which are now peaking? And factor determining one race's obesity trends are different for another race/gender?

Here's another conclusion from the JAMA article:

Because relatively little is know about the causes of the trends previously observed, it is difficult to predict the future trends in obesity.

Let me then answer Ugo Bardi's question about how the comparison with obesity "peaking" can inform our "peak oil" interest: We understand almost nothing about obesity trends, and almost everything about oil depletion trends.

Since we have many trend analysts here that are very savvy about looking at charts, I just want to point out that I don't see enough data to make a conclusion either way.

My other point is that the term "peak" gets overloaded too much. I always treat a peak in depletion sense it as something that one can at least formally try to prove. For one, it has to be a peak for all time, so a transient doesn't count.

Some easy facts:

It takes 7,500 unused calories to gain 1 kg mass. The number of days during which these calories are saved are not relevant. You can gain mass as low as 10 grams a day.

For every kg of body mass a person needs 30 to 50 calories depending on nature and amount of work. An athlete would need 50, a farmer who use no machines need 45, a digger 45 and an office worker 30 if he do no work outs.

Oil is pure fats. It contains 9000 calories per kg. Orange has the least number of calories per kg, only 40.

If you are eating organic food with average work out then its real hard to get weight. If you are eating chemical food with work out then its likely to gain weight. If you are eating chemical food without any work out then very soon you would be obese.

What an obese person should do? First of all he/she has to understand that in order to lose weight he/she have to eat less than his/her body need, only then the body would be forced to burn some of the body fats everyday to get energy. Remember that when less food is available the body use it very wisely, when more food is available the body waste it. So when you are trying to loose weight you should keep in mind that it takes twice as much time and effort to loose weight than to gain weight. Also remember that the first effect of loosing weight is not on body, its on face, so don't get alarmed when people tell you you are looking pale, its the way it works, don't stop eating less at this point.

The real, true and time tested method of loosing weight is not eating less, its working out. Walk to work if you can. Never use lifts, always take stairs.

I have done experiments on myself with tight calculations. I have gained 4 kg weight in one ramazan while carefully planning my diet. At my job in 2006, 2007 I gained weight then loose it through working out. These days I walk about 2 kms a day. 2 or 3 times I gained and lost weight through planning and careful monitoring of diet.

About the link between obesity and fossil fuels, the point is not eating more. A farmer of india or china in 18th century was quiet rich given the rich soil and per capita abundance of land but he was not fat. The reason was hard work. Here is the link, fossil fuels enabled humans to use machines which resulted in less physical work done by humans. This is the main reason of obesity in 20th and 21st century. Once the fossil fuels peaked the use of machines peaked and so do the obesity.

Obesity is a bad thing in every way. It should be avoided.

as I know the human's body is designed to work best as if we were hunter-gatherers, people were hunter gatherers for thousands of years you know. A lot of people prefer high calorie food and this is because for thousands of years it was very scarce, one can hunt an animal today, but also may hunt an animal after several days, who knows - and the body stores the excess calories. Now life is so different as it has never been than hunter-gatherers time.

Many many years ago I recall reading about a male and female couple that crash landed a light plane in the interior of Alaska. Both were obese. If memory serves it took them about 45 days to walk to civilization. They had plenty of water and survived the ordeal in good shape. Of course they lost weight, probably around 1 pound for each 3,500 calories expended during the long hike. There may well be some advantage to carrying extra weight when faced with the possibility of famine. Has natural selection conveyed a survival benefit on mild to moderate obesity?
--In the course Biochemistry taken at Baylor around 1953 I was taught the 0, 0, 4, 4, 7, 9 calorie/gm rules for water, insoluble fiber, carbohydrate, protein, alcohol and fat as well as niceties about protein sparing, vitamins, metabolic pathways such as the Krebs cycle and essential amino acids. Having specialized in Radiology I had no reason to kept up with this field other than for personal and family reasons. I claim no current expertise but suspect that much that has been published during the past 30 years is junk science. I expressed this opinion once or twice at TAE before the subject was squelched.

Let me be the first to discredit the bogus liberal Leftist "Peak Fat" theory being promulgated here.

First off, there is no "obesity problem". It only exists in the minds of dieticians and doctors who want more research money to combat a bogus obesity "epidemic" they've invented. The politicians also want to use it as an excuse to grab even more power and restrict our God-given FREEDOMS to consume mass quantities of junk food, all as part of their evil goal of a Marxist one-world government.

Extra body fat is good not bad. It serves many useful purposes: insulates us from cold, stockpiles calories in case of emergencies, cushions us during automobile accidents, and naturally discourages unwanted sexual advances from liberal pervert politicians like John Edwards and Barney Frank. And there's no real evidence of a correlation between consuming mass quantities of so-called "junk food" and being overweight. These "blame America" liberal food Nazis just want to discredit good old-fashioned American chow made by productive well meaning American companies, like Monsanto and Kraft, and force us all to eat effeminate European food, like arugula and quinoa.

Professor Gold has a theory about abiotic fat. He says we become fat, not because of alleged overeating, poor diet or laziness, but because of a naturally occurring process whereby vast amounts of abiotic fat dissolved in the earth's mantle are slowly leaching upwards and being aborbed through our skin. Over time, this ether-fat builds up into the luxurious robe of surplus calories that arrogant liberals disparage as "morbid obesity". This process occurs more rapidly and noticeably among Americans --especially Red State True Americans-- because we are GOD'S CHOSEN PEOPLE. He clearly favors us by providing an extra thick layer of protective nutrients.

For more information, I recommend reading Thomas Friedman's "The World is Fat", the late Julian Simon's "The Ultimate Cheeseburger", and the late Michael Chrichton's "State of Flab".

Your kidding of course. Sacranol warning should be posted.

Very good at it too aren't you. I will save this post for my fat buddies.
One who is due to die this year. Diabetes, blown hips and knees. Cancer in his lungs. Smokes constantly and eat junk food most all the time.

But he does not believe in your GOD. He believes in scarfing non-stop everything he can latch onto and stuff in his gob.

He walks 10 feet and has to stop and rest 5 minutes. Then another cigarette and more wolfing down snack cakes.

Take it back he is really not my friend but he thinks he is. He wife is just waiting for him to move on.


;-) @airdale

I just wanted to see if anyone took it seriously.

Harm ,

If you are willing to work at expanding and polishing comments like this one you will soon be one of my favorites.


Brillo, Harm!
Keep it coming.

Physical activity probably also plays a role. People who switch from cars to public transport out of necessity, or those that need to walk longer distances for whatever reason, are likely to get more exercise than before.

I have no hard figures to back this up, but there were plenty of anecdotal stories: last winter, Ottawa, Canada was in the midst of a two-month long public transit strike. The surge in car-poolers left much traffic almost paralyzed; commuters to downtown, even those who only ever drove, found their commute times skyrocket. Many people walked if they had no other choice. Suddenly many residents found themselves walking two or more hours per day to get to their jobs. I'll comment on two things that happened.

The pertinent thing was that people got a lot more physical exercise. There were lots of cute news stories of people losing weight and becoming fitter from the involuntary exercise/lifestyle shift.

The other thing that happened was the fury and the community spirit. The fury was directed to a combination of municipal politicians and transit union bosses (the exact combination depending in part on one's political leanings). The community spirit was also evident: people helping strangers, driving people places, helping elderly people get groceries, ensuring that everyone was taken care of.

Questions remain. Can a slow decline raise people's health to the point that health costs decline? Or are the expensive procedures of the day bound to increase regardless? And at what point does community spirit in the face of adversity turn to chaos? Are there factors that are able to predict how likely a community is to help each other vs. turn against each other?

I think the MSM bogymen for obesity are wrong. It's not economic. Even poor Americans have more money than most skinny Asians. The difference is stress. Americans are the ones sitting in hours of traffic, kids in day care or being whisked around, working harder, and having materialistic standards to keep up with. In short, they are running on a treadmill... and the treadmill never gets tired.

Stress hormones cause fat accumulation. Stress causes over eating and self medication. This is my theory.

Stress *might* be a factor, but... compared to what an average person's day would be in, say, Haiti or Somalia, I doubt even the poorest Americans experience more stress. I'd wager the #1 cause is poor diet, #2 is overconsumption, and lack of exercise as #3.

I deal a lot with homeless in my area, they have higher stress than almost anyone besides those you listed. They don't gain weight due to stress factors.

Now if you feel stress and have handy munchies, there is where stress kills you.

Rat Race life styles are stressful, but if you top it off with other bad *eating* habits it will mount and gain in adding mass to your stress levels.

Getting rid of the bad habits, and knowing that you have them is key to some of this weight gain, not all, but some.


The problem with that being that stress is all in your mind, in the manner in which you engage the obesity becomes just another one of many symptoms of a dysfunctional society.

I find that, for me at least, it depends on the type and duration of stress. In short periods of acute stress, I pretty much stop eating and lose a lot of weight very quickly. Longer periods of chronic, low level stress make me eat more (and less healthy) and gain a lot of weight.

Hi Ugo, happy new year,
I think you're missing an example of the 4th law of thermodynamics here.
Maximum entropy.
Whatever there is to be consumed will be consumed as quickly as possible.
I like this variation.

Natural selection will operate so as to increase the total mass of the organic system, and to increase the rate of circulation of matter through the system, and to increase the total energy flux through the system so long as there is present an unutilized residue of matter and available energy.
[Principle of Maximum Energy Flux] Lotka

More here

The graphs do not support your hypothesis. They show whites (the richest segment of the population) starting to lose weight, while blacks and hispanices (both poorer on the average) continue to gain. Note that there are simultaneous inflection points on the black and hispanic graphs, showing lower albeit still positive first derivatives.

I suggest instead that those who could afford to pay extra for good food but didn't know any better are starting to learn better and thus buying the good stuff and losing weight. I suggest further that it is only when blacks and hispanics lose weight and whites do not, while not having returned to healthy weights and thus stabilizing, that there is any credible evidence for your hypothesis.

Best hopes for math trumping ideology.


Cause and effect are all over the shop in the article.

Obesity is not caused by poverty. It may be related, but only in so far as poverty is also associated with poor education (or educated people that should know better).

Most people that smoke, or drink too much, or use drugs, or are obese - know full well that they are rolling the dice.

People in America are obese because they lack the discipline to:

  • Cook cheap meals at home.
  • Eat sensible portions.
  • Exercise to even a modest extent.

Obesity does not happen overnight, it takes years of consistent negligence. Personally, I would tax the hell out of desert, soda and anything else with high fructose corn syrup.

I went from overweight to normal weight simply by switching to coffee sans any sweetener and from soda to water.

Personally, I would tax the hell out of desert, soda and anything else with high fructose corn syrup.

...or alternatively, for a real game-changer, if someone could just find a way to tax stupidity in general, now that would be something.

Obesity is a complex problem. When I was 17, I was 5'11" and 155lbs, quite fit as a mediocre tennis player. When I went to college, I lived in a dormitory, ate on a meal plan and my activity level went down despite walking a couple of miles each day on campus. My weight increased to 195 as I graduated from college. I was not a soda drinker or a fast food eater, although my portions were outsized. I went for buffets and was compulsive about my eating. I tried Weight Watchers and lost 50 lb at age 32, dropping from 248 to 198. What that weight loss required was weighing and measuring of ingredients, creating menus with little variation, physical activity 5 days/week. I was able to maintain the weight loss for 2 years. Eating well was easily derailed when work demands increased, physical injuries accrued, or emotional stress (break-up)increased. Eating well for me requires 1)plans for menus and shopping; 2) a clean and well organized kitchen; and 3) time for preparation, eating and clean-up. As someone who was depression prone, these activities would be some of the first I would drop during a depression episode. Eventually, at age 50, I reached 348lbs and was unable to exercise sufficiently to have an impact on weight due to risks of physical injury or illness (I would develop a fever if I worked out too hard). I could lose no more than 15lbs before regaining weight with a rebound. I took the step of having a gastric bypass after about 30 years of struggling with weight issues. I am now about 220lbs and have been stable for about a year. I would like to lose another 30lbs health's and appearance's sake, but am generally satisfied with the substantial weight loss and energy increase. I work out about 3x/week with moderate intensity weights, cardio and stretching, while playing racquetball weekly. My diet is composed of protein (lean meats, fish, beans, low-fat dairy), fruit, vegetables, and other carbs (whole grain, sweet potato) and small amounts of fat (butter, seeds and nuts, olive oil). Sometimes I make slow cooking stews, tostada with beans and low-fat cheese, open-faced sandwiches, omelettes, etc. My point is that it appears that some who gain an extra 20lbs are able to lose weight by making relatively small changes, and those who become obese may need to make very large changes with very little margin for error. Any change in how much I eat in carbs, for example, may be seen within a day on the scale. I may gain 5lbs without a huge change in consumption. Since the bypass, I am much more able to regulate my weight and lose that 5lbs with a few weeks. So far, I have been able to maintain my current weight with regular monitoring and menu planning.

Was it a Roux-n-Y gastric bypass? My seond wife had one of those, She was 145 lbs the last week of her life. She had gained up to 340 pounds, when she started talking about getting one, after looking online for ways to lose weight and doing the research herself. I was able to change our eating habits to drop 40 pounds before her surgery, the other 160 pounds was from it.

It cured her Type-2 Diabetes, down from 3 shots a day to none.

She was a very active person and not overweight, until she had a massive auto accident and was limited in most any kind of exercise, besides swimming, but even then not very much of it. She had had chronic back problems, her first back surgery was when she was 17.

Trisha, I miss you.


This thread set me to planning tonite’s dinner. Made me hungry! ::

Deviled eggs, salad (something like rucola, olive oil lemon dressing)

lamb curry (I have ‘coupons’ for the meat, it will cost nothing), rice, spinach (fresh)

left over dried out bolo (a Portugese confection, something in between fruit cake and raisin bread - this was a Xmas gift, I would never buy it) cut in thin slices, interlaced into apples, in the oven.

Dessert as it is Saturday. Dessert only once a week.

Coffee. + Tiny glass of port or something for those who like that kind of thing.

Obviously this meal will be eaten at a proper table, with a 2-plate setting.

Drink: wine (Cotes du Rhone, special reserve, only 2 dollars a bottle at the wholesalers - cheaper than Coke) and water.

Will take an hour at least.

It is also very cheap.

One factor not mentioned so far are all the social conditions around eating.

When ppl eat 3 or 2 meals per day, together, prepared by a ‘cook’ and following ‘social rules’ for eating, and don’t eat anything in between, they will not become fat. They are not ‘gratifying’ themselves by eating whatever alone; social niceties and convention (or someone serving) see to portion control; the meal will be ‘balanced’ according to tradition, with a medley of foodstuffs, etc. They will enjoy the meal not only because of the food but the company, etc., thereby removing unique focus on the food.

It used to be the case that most people ate what someone else, thru tradition, or the group, decided they should eat, and not what they themselves chose to eat at any time of the day.

The culture of individual choice, or more generally ‘individualism’ as part of the ‘free market’ (segmenting it to scrabble for ‘profits’) is one of the main causes of obesity.

Naturally, this goes against the ‘capitalist’ mantra, and many will prefer to invoke individual responsibility, choice, poor parenting, horrible education, lack of common sense, individual greed, or just to blame the 'poor' for being 'dumb'...Then in the next breath turn to vilifying corporations for their lousy industrial food foisted on all. It is a contradiction that is quite painful, as there seems to be no general solution proposed.

Politics is evacuated. (As in the use of oil.)

Two comments:

1. For those "fast-crashers" among us, a little fat might not be the worst thing. It would be good to be fit (able to run and lift heavy things) but being thin may not be the best idea. There is a reason that our bodies store fat, after all.

2. I think that there is a false dichotomy here between healthy, home-cooked food and unhealthy, prepared foods. I don't think that this is the case. I have found that it is sometimes easier to be healthy with prepared foods. Cooking vegetables takes a lot of time, but many prepared foods have them already added, and just needing to be heated.

For example, check out Amy's frozen foods. They are vegetarian, and mostly organic, with lots of veggies. Also, Kashi makes some very healthy prepared foods. I find that when I cook, I tend to just have meat, or just one item. When I make these prepared foods, there is more variety of ingredients available. Again, you just have to be careful to read labels, and find what foods are really good for you.



A lot of interesting comments, thanks everybody! Reading the discussion i got the feeling that there is a deep relation among resources, the economy, social inequality and many other factors; including body weight. Peak oil will not just change the world, it will change us, physically!

A lot of interesting comments, thanks everybody! Reading the discussion i got the feeling that there is a deep relation among resources, the economy, social inequality and many other factors; including body weight. Peak oil will not just change the world, it will change us, physically!

I am a believer that you get fat when you have money, because you can eat out without any worry. I used to joke with me friend who owns his own business because you could judge how well he was doing because of the weight he would carry. Interesting article

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