Well, THANK YOU for playing my game. It’s time to name a winner. And I gotta say, it’s not easy. Special appreciation to Jocetta for providing thought-provoking links (which I may purloin and post upon). And to DeeLeigh, for keeping Jocetta on her toes. And back at Jocetta, again, for accepting DeeLeigh’s toe-correction with grace!
Thanks to RNegade and DeeLeigh for a heated yet interesting discussion on the strength of the link between obesity and Type II Diabetes. It got us a little off topic, but it’s clearly a great topic for another day. Many of the White Labcoats have pronounced causation when it’s still clearly ONLY association. Maybe we, the lab rats, can gently suggest they research the outside factor(s) that may initiate both.
Yes, the Roulette table was confusing and confounding. Thank you to all 23 players, many with multiple entries. Vegas would get rich off of you.
Now, I wasn’t asking what makes us fat (though I got a lot of good answers). I was asking what has changed to make us fatter in the last four decades. And Friday, I pooh-poohed the idea that our formerly virtuous behavior has collectively eroded. Today, I award a tie and identical copies of the GRAND CYBER GLOAT to Mo, Jocetta and RNegade, the proponents of genetics and epigenetics, which I didn’t even put on the board to begin with. But, indeed, the scientists who are advancing the best thinking are starting from the point of view that who we are, down to our very code, not what we do (unless it’s affecting that code) is making us fatter. Who we are impels us to eat when we know we will store too much energy – for our personal comfort and for the social rewards of a culture that detests fat people. Who we are as organisms (engaged in complex chemical reactions) has, on average, gotten more adept at storing energy. Who we are has changed profoundly, moreso than what we do. But what, then, has caused this change in who we are?
I think it is one or more of the poisons of our modern society – pesticides, food additives/preservatives, trans fats, HFCS, Bisphenol A or livestock growth hormones (and I’ll be more brave and specific later). We all respond uniquely to these poisons. Some of us are better at processing and discarding them than others. Blessed genetics. Some of us may not respond with increased weight, but may suffer with asthma, immune disorders or chemical sensitivities (which are all also on the rise in our modern society).
With regard to obesity, these toxins may be disrupting our endocrine directly, or, as I’m posturing here, they may permanently change our genetic code and cause us to pass down this changed/broken code to our children, a code that sets in motion a cascade of endocrine responses that makes it difficult to maintain weight loss long term. The reason I think this code is broken is based on my humble, personal experience. As much as I have been able, I have eliminated many of the common endocrine disruptors from my diet and my environment, and yet I continue to battle the binge impulses, which I insist on calling “real” and not some misguided “emotional eating” pop psychology mumbo jumbo. I know that some people find relief from hunger and binge cues by eliminating white carbs and, sometimes, additionally all grains, but that has not been my good fortune.
Now, to be brave (or foolish), I’m going to go one step further and put my chip on a single box with regard to obesity. If I were the George Soros or Bill Gates of obesity research, with unlimited funds to dole out generously, I would beg the scientists to look harder at livestock growth hormones, and specifically those that affect mammals. The research that exists is esoteric, centered on mice (not humans), inconclusive, and sometimes done by people with conflicts of interest. The research seems to suggest (to this lay person’s eye) that in large doses bovine growth hormones may suppress weight gain, but the amounts that we’re likely exposed to in our daily lives may promote it. When you Google “Bovine Growth Hormone Obesity,” you get page after page of lay articles, with little scientific backing, some claiming a link and others discrediting the link between obesity and rGBH. I give credit for this confusion to the formidable Monsanto PR machine. Regardless of whether it is the key factor, it is the one most in need of research.
The CDC study on rising obesity that I quoted in my earlier post, and that is often cited as proof of a 24-pound average weight increase (actually, it’s 23.5 for men and 22.7 for women) from 1960 to 2002, has many interesting tables. The one that shows the increase in weight by pounds reveals that in the first 20 years, weight only went up by about 7.5 pounds for men and 5.2 pounds for women. All the rest of that average weight gain happened in the final two decades. If you were to graph these numbers, an upward bend would have started a little before the market introduction of rGBH in 1993, but there were other livestock hormones at play at that time. Moreover, the curve continues at a scary upward tilt after rGBH’s introduction. It makes me queasy that it has gotten relatively little independent study.
When I was nursing my son, the lactation consultant instructed me carefully as to what to eat, lest I spoil the flavor of my milk or give my son gas, and she told me to be very conservative about the drugs I took and always with doctor supervision. How come we aren’t so careful after we wean? We drink and guide our children to drink copious amounts of cow’s milk, we eat cheese and yogurt, as well as the flesh of our fellow mammals who have been made fat on hormones. What is this consumption doing to us? I have a deep suspicion that it has made us fatter. I think that’s where the magnet on the Roulette wheel is planted.
But, hey, I’m just another garden variety lab rat for the NWCR, and, yes, I eat breakfast daily, if that’s all you care to know. Sigh.