Fat of the Land

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Interesting.  Few areas have been more afflicted by fads and junk science than diet.  I think however the main reason the population is getting fatter is a much more sedentary lifestyle.  My family didn’t have a car until I was in the seventh grade.  I did an immense amount of walking and biking as I was growing up as a result, and this was quite common.  People today spend a huge amount of time sitting in front of a computer screen, as I am doing now.  Do a simple test.  Keep track of your weight.  On days you are working you will probably lose weight during the week.  On days you are off you will probably gain weight.  Diet control is important, but unless a sufficient level of activity is engaged in, weight will increase gradually, and over time it adds up.

A less salubrious reason for people being thinner, when I grew up, was that most adults, and many teens smoked.  That nauseating habit, yes, I have never smoked, is a true appetite suppressant, as I can attest growing up with two parents who smoked.  Inhaling second hand smoke would often put me off my feed, and both my parents never gained an excess amount of weight.  (I wish I could say the same!)  I guess the “coffin nails” did some good after all, unless one remembers the whole cancer thing!

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29 Comments

  1. And then there’s the genetic component. I have children who tended to be plump (as do my wife and I–a euphemism for obesity) and grandchildren who are skinny (from the genes of my kids spouse?). Diet and activity play a role, but I believe it’s subordinate to what your genes command your metabolism to do. And this may be a survival mechanism, like the superlarge buttocks of the Hottentot Venus.

  2. My parents were heavy smokers. My father was obese. Mother was not technically obese, but she was skin, bone, and fat as oppose to skin, bone, and muscle.
    .
    Interestingly, my non- smoker husband is skin and bone, almost no fat or muscle, and is sedentary. (He just started working out.) He’s always under a lot of stress at work though and “eats properly.”
    .
    One of our sons is very active, eats properly, but I can tell he will always be fighting the fat gene, as will I. He is much like my side of the family.
    .
    Another son has started to skip breakfast due to the stress of a new school environment. He is not that active, but does weights consistently. I noted today his khakis are now too big. I think he is more like his father.
    .

  3. When I am in trial I generally drop two or three pounds a day, and during trial I will eat marginally more than I do on non-trial days because I need the extra energy. Strain is good for rolling off the pounds!

  4. Don: This isn’t interesting; it is an emerging global disaster. I’ve become a diet wonk – allow me a little rant to pass on some of what I’ve learned over the last 18 months. First, a landmark study in 2015 revealed a majority of Americans now essentially are diabetic. The majority of amputations done today in the US are related to diabetes (cutting off toes, fingers, legs and arms whose blood vessels have been destroyed by excess sugar). Many people today go blind because of diabetes. Enough of the scare tactics – even though those statements are true. I retired in May 2018 and was morbidly obese, on medication for high blood pressure, and on medication for Type 2 diabetes as my A1C blood sugar readings were 9.8 [anything over 6.5 is diabetic territory]. I had followed the government guidelines including getting regular exercise yet I was a mess. Like the doctor suggested in the attached video, I started studying. I’ve since lost 35 lbs, got my blood pressure to normal, and my A1C is 5.2 and I’ve stopped my diabetes medication. Moving is helpful, to be sure, but I was doing that. Exercise, however, can’t overcome a lousy diet. What did I do? I researched vegetarianism, veganism, Paleo, the USDA Food Plate [Standard American Diet – SAD – which upon reflection is appropriate], high carb, low carb, keto, and carnivore. Discovered that genetics is important but not determinant, exercise is nice as it helps your mood but doesn’t really help with permanent weight loss, we each react differently so there is no cookie cutter solution to the crisis we face. And we face a crisis: obesity, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, dementia (now called Type 3 diabetes), etc., are increasing. Root cause? Not excess fat or cholesterol but, rather, hyperinsulinemia, or the bodies inability to cope with the tidal wave of excess glucose and fructose – sugar – in our bodies resulting in insulin resistance. We aren’t designed to process what we normally eat in a SAD meal – and it is killing us. Dr. Ancel Keys (mentioned in the video) feed us junk science and recent studies have shown his work was incorrect. But we’ve been part of a huge failed (and seemingly inadvertent, initially well-intentioned) government experiment to make us healthy. So, for me, and many others, cutting way back on carbohydrates (low carb / high healthy fat diet) works best. YouTube has some great info: check out Drs Ken Berry (MD) and Eric Berg (Chiropractor specializing in weight loss via the Keto – low carb – diet). For books summarizing the latest scholarly findings see these: EAT RICH LIVE LONG by Ivor Cummins and Dr. Jeffry Gerber. The Big Fat Surprise by Nina Teicholz.
    We are in trouble as we’ve been fed nonsense. There is now evidence-base science from random controlled trials which show healthy saturated fat is ok and cholesterol is not the problem we were told it was for 50 years, and that processed carbohydrates are the real culprit. But, don’t believe me. Do your own research. The health epidemics are spreading and getting worse – that isn’t fear mongering, it is a fact. China declared a diabetes national emergency so this is truly global. This isn’t just interesting, it is deadly serious. God bless the TAC family!

  5. A big part of the problem is that it’s complicated— and different people, even siblings, will respond differently. Example, my sister was able to lose weight and be healthy on the only-eat-protein type diet; I got sick and didn’t lose weight. I am good with coffee and maybe on rare days a breakfast replacement powder in my coffee, my brother is dang near dead all day if he doesn’t get breakfast. (Even if it’s just a slice of zucchini bread, or a hard boiled egg.)

    On diet, I drive my husband nuts because I eat like a bird, have started to work out daily, and weight hangs on me like crazy. (I can lose weight, but it requires obsessively focusing on what I eat and making sure that I get at least 1600 calories a day; as this has rather nasty negative effects on my doing anything else, it tends to not happen for long.) The only time I lose weight in a normal course of events is when we’re doing cross-country driving because I can’t stand to waste half a burger we just paid way too much for, so I’ll eat the entire burger. It’s uncomfortable, but invariably I lose about five pounds when we vacation. It usually stays off until someone in the family get sick and I forget to eat regularly again.


    Genetics is a HUGE part of it– epigenetics, specifically; I suspect a major part of why we have a much bigger (heh) observable weight problem (the BMI is trash) is because the folks who are grandparents now were born to women who were told to starve themselves while pregnant, and we keep doubling down on it.

    We know this causes the child’s body to be conditioned similarly to that of a binge-dieter. My mom and aunt were born to a woman who ended the pregnancy inside of five pounds of the weight she was when she started; they both kept to no more than 15 pounds of weight gain when they were pregnant. Weight issues, all. The uncle that I KNOW grandma let herself totally go when she was pregnant, due to massive depression? That’s the one that’s skinny as a rail, even in his 70s. He practically LIVES on beer and junk food.

    I did an experiment with my kids. I tried to eat sensibly, and ignored the scale completely. Seriously pissed off my doctors.
    None of my kids have the weight issues I did. The babies are nicely chubby, they hit about three and start sprouting up into lovely lean little kids, and all have healthy appetites.

    The mommy group ladies I did mall-walking with for a while? They were all fashionably rail thin– and their kids looked like I did when I was a kid, chubby. One of the last times I went, pregnancy weight came up in part because I was expecting again– they’d all worked to stay skinny while pregnant.

    Add in stuff like serious deficiencies in B complex vitamins (women, especially as they age, cannot get it from any sane diet alone) and doctors who are so freaking ignorant that their response to anything that doesn’t fit their theory is “the patient is lying” and it’s amazing we don’t have a much bigger health problem in this country.

  6. Haven’t smoked in years, but I still believe the coffee and cigarettes diet is probably as effective as most of the other fad diets-for weight control.
    I had one grandfather who died at 95. Started smoking and chewing at 12 when he decided he was done with school. The other reason for his longevity is that he rarely visited doctors. He ate eggs, bacon and pork chops steadily, yet I never saw him eat a snack. Also, in his retirement he went for long walks daily until his last year or two.

  7. Oh, the exercise I mentioned? It’s stress management, since I can’t go on walks like I use to– I do a minimum of 15 minutes/1k paces on an elliptical that’s on its lowest setting, averaging a bit over two steps a second, listening to music on sound-canceling headphones. Have gained a little weight but lost about two, three inches in my beltline, to the point that I can wear a back brace under what use to be my skinny jeans, and my resting heart rate has dropped about 5BPM on the low end of the month. (hormones mess with it; I don’t notice any other signs of being in better shape so I think it’s purely stress relief)

  8. Muscle is gained in the gym and fat is lost in the kitchen. Eat nothing that has an ingredient list. Lotsa veggies, some lean-ish protein, and whole grains as close to raw as possible in small amounts. Go crazy once in a while and mau on all the bad things just so you don’t stress out – pretty soon those things will lose their appeal.

    Drink your water, get good sleep, get out and move. Basically, what our Moms told us all those years ago.

  9. Simply put, IMHO, being sedentary and eating too much sugar in one’s diet = fatty weight gain. If a processed food is free then it usually has sugar.

  10. I am not entirely sure what Mary De Voe’s comment means. However, she touches on two truths: 1) there are no quick fixes – it will take some time to recover from an unhealthy lifestyle (it is not just a “diet”). But it is not a 1:1 relationship. Healthy eating can turn one’s blood markers around in a few months even though it took years to get into a bad spot. 2) Fasting is actually a key part of recovering from hyperinsulinemia (insulin resistance). I learned about intermittent fasting whereby a person extends their normal overnight “fast” (we don’t eat while we sleep) a few hours and skips breakfast (“breaking the fast”). So, instead of eating upon rising (assuming eight hours of sleep – big assumption, I know), you forego breakfast and wait to eat until lunch essentially eating just two meals a day. Why? The slight delay – no eating for 12 hours vs. 8 hours – allows your body to process the glucose from the last meal and for your insulin levels to lower. Combined with NO SNACKING BETWEEN MEALS (a key factor) and less carbohydrates, this is powerful as your body can slowly lower the stress of too much sugar. Our entire blood supply normally carries about a tablespoon of glucose and that is closely regulated. Unfortunately, American eat upwards of 16+ tablespoons of sugar daily. Over time, our bodies break down from trying to clean out that excess glucose, insulin resistance starts, fat builds up, tiny blood vessels become inflamed and decay, and the blood sugar rises and won’t settle back to normal. Our mitochondria – the engines of each of our cells – break down and the downward death spiral ensues. This is not an exaggeration in any sense. In fact, the epidemics caused by unhealthy eating are increasing, not decreasing. Final story. My wife is slim yet has diabetes. One test I was advised to consider getting was a Coronary Artery Calcification (CAC) scan. We both got one. Scores range from zero which indicates low risk of heart event up to 400 which indicates a high risk of an impending heart event. Her score – without any symptoms beyond diabetes – was 1382. Her high carbohydrate diet (an Asian who loves rice) helped cause her diabetes. I wanted her to get a genetic test done but she refused. She had a heart test done within two days which confirmed four blocked arteries. Seven days after the CAC test results she had quadruple bypass open heart surgery. Anecdotal to be sure. Yet the researchers who studied the effects of a high carbohydrate diet on the heart correctly predicted her possible dangerous situation. What you want to eat is certainly a matter of taste and your own decision. But, like my wife, there may be extremely negative effects lurking beneath the surface as our bodies crumble under the onslaught caused by our current disastrous dietary guidelines. Get smart on your own – don’t trust me or anyone else. Do your own digging – you might save the life of someone you love… and as Mary said, keep praying! God’s given us one life to live, and to live it abundantly. I don’t think he intended us to suffer for the last 15-20 years of our lives from diabetes and heart disease and dementia (like my aunt and uncles – another story). Maybe, just maybe, we need to be a little more attentive to the temple of the Holy Spirit we call home, our bodies. Just sayin… 🙂

  11. In fact, the epidemics caused by unhealthy eating are increasing, not decreasing.

    While true, it’s misleading– short version, as all other causes of death go down, various ‘it’s caused by living’ reasons for death go up.

    I know first hand that those are prone to a lot of abuse, too. My sister passed away unexpectedly, the initial autopsy found no cause and specifically mentioned her liver was fine. Come the end of the year and she, along with every other difficult autopsy which needed to be finished before Christmas break and had been backlogged for months, were suddenly found to have died of alcohol abuse.

    It is a lot easier to incorrectly find a cause that is nebulous than to, say, incorrectly record folks as dying from car accidents.
    (Although the maternity death rates do go in that direction– every gal who dies in the year following a pregnancy is thus recorded, even if they were killed by something utterly unrelated. Similar to war deaths where someone was state-side, off duty and hit by a drunk.)

  12. Foxfier: First, sorry to hear about your sister. And rushed “science” does produce dubious results. However, I think the nuance “is it caused by living” misses the point. No one gets off this rock alive but we have some small say in the quality of our lives. We are facing epidemics caused by our change in diet initiated over 60 years ago in response to Eisenhower’s heart attack. Can we learn the true root cause of these epidemics? You are right to focus on that. Ivor Cummins, who I mentioned in an earlier post, was a bio-chemical engineer for an international company trained in root cause problem analysis, He got sick, the doctors couldn’t help him or answer his questions, so he applied his professional expertise and did his own in-depth research into the studies using PubMed. He makes a compelling argument that we are inadvertently doing this to ourselves as we try to follow government dietary guidelines which we now know were based on incorrect science. These guidelines shape school lunch programs, military chow hall menus, hospital feeding plans, retirement home certifications, etc. The daily pervasive influence of the bad info is unavoidable. The root cause seems to be hyperinsulinemia. What brings that on? Studies, which are increasingly clear and not nebulous, now show excessive glucose – which primarily comes from eating the large amounts of processed carbohydrates recommended by the government – is having negative health impacts on people all over the world. As peoples listen to advertising and adopt a Western style diet – after all the US government and the TV said it was good for you – the documented trend lines of worsening health are increasing. I am a zealot on this topic as I think life is a wonderful gift and we, unfortunately through too much trust in “experts,” have hurt ourselves and diminished our joy in life due to government suggested self-induced bad lifestyles. That is my point – evidence now shows we can live better if we eat better and what “better” looks like is becoming clearer prompted by the current health crisis. I am way up high on a soap box and will now climb down and resume my normal listening and learning mode here at TAC. Thanks for everyone’s patience with my rant started several days ago…I’m going to go have some bacon and eggs for breakfast! 🙂

  13. There are always exceptions to the rule no matter what it is. Yes, genetics play a HUGE part on a persons health as does diet or better yet, lifestyle, but at the same time I think some of us are so concerned and worried in doing every thing right in our health, dotting every ‘i’ and crossing every ‘t’ that we forget to live life and enjoy our God given lives to the fullest. Instead we worry about every little aspect of our health though we don’t know if it is something we can control or not, so we get stressed out about it and worry, affecting our health.

    No, I’m not saying we throw caution to the wind and just go hog wild when it comes to our health but to employ moderation in our diet in our lifestyle, and do what we can that we know we can control without undue worry or stress and let our lives do its thing.

    Don’t forget, experts are not always right. Often we hear people say, ‘they tell us we shouldn’t eat eggs, bread, meat etc.’ only to find out a few years later that they may have been wrong in their assessment and it’s ok to eat these things in moderate amounts. Have we ever wondered or try to find who ‘they’ are and why we should believe them at all given their track record in trying to tell us what to eat? Why give ‘they’ so much of our confidence and so much control over our lives?

    Most of us know our bodies better than even some our own doctors. Most us have a good idea what works for us and what doesn’t. Common sense and moderation are key I believe when it comes to health.

    With present company excluded, I wish some people would put as much effort in their spiritual health as they do in their physical health for if we are at the epitome of health and have neglected our spiritual health in the mean time then our perfect physical health won’t mean squat should God calls us tonight, be it at age 60 or 16.

  14. Bob S-
    Problem is, we’re not dealing with an epidemic. You don’t catch high cholesterol or diabetes; they’re a disease when the term is used to mean a disorder of function or form, but so are club feet. Describing the change in observed patterns as an epidemic is a metaphor, and one that has thus far not been effective in choosing responses that effectively fix the problem. (It’s really not helped by the way that an awful lot of the solutions are identical no matter what the problem is!)

    We’re dealing with a change in the pattern of causes of death where the sample is changed, the definitions are changed, and the quality of the data is known to be quite low.

    As peoples listen to advertising and adopt a Western style diet – after all the US government and the TV said it was good for you – the documented trend lines of worsening health are increasing.

    Which is known to be, in part, because along with being able to afford a western-style diet, they’re also able to afford to survive health issues that previously killed them. It’s the same effect that was behind the reports that after the US military adopted a new style of tourniquet, we had a huge increase in the number of amputees. It was because the percent of those injured who survived went through the roof.
    That’s why the increasing bad health is found when the average age and life expectancy is going up.

    As OC points out, the experts aren’t always right. Most often, they’re only partly wrong– most often for that, they’re both right and wrong, because it depends on the individuals involved.

  15. Foxfier and OC (and other commenters): Don started this thread with a video “How the Government made you fat”. Based on my limited research, the video was spot on and, for my two cents worth, caused by our consumption as a society of way too many processed carbs. When did the increase incidents by percentage – not just due to people getting older – start? A few years after the government guidelines were published and implemented. Granted, we are individuals and generalizations are dangerous and correlation is not causation; yet we don’t have much more than that right now (although the better studies are underway). What we have a better understanding of is the impact of another government program gone awry. Moderation may help but needs definition – under previous guidance 180 grams of carbs per day was fine; ongoing research suggests that is too high and linked to the rampant hyperinsulinemia. A study (I think in Europe from 2014) done of over 42,000 with cardiovascular events found that 30% of the group were undiagnosed diabetics – they had underlying hyperinsulinemia that hurt them but they didn’t know it. A better understanding of the impact of their dietary environment (my term – we are influenced by what goes on around us) “may” have helped them. Perhaps we are being led astray (again) on this. I don’t suggest we obsess about this – although I admittedly am both angered and embolden by what I’ve learned. Instead, remembering this is a Catholic blog, I emphasize God created us as a mix of mind, body and spirit. Impacts in one area are felt in the others. A sick person made so by following the consensus, even in moderation, is still using bad info and may not even know they are hurting themselves until the damage is done. We are individuals but we are also members of a larger community, influenced by what is happening around us. We are seeing more disease – yes, partly as our population ages, but also in larger percentages. The Centers for Disease Control say we are nearly at the point where 1 in 2 Americans are either diabetic or pre-diabetic. Early onset diabetes used to be around 35ish years old; it has dropped to the mid teens. This is age-related but going in the other direction. What is happening in our society to cause this? Should we rethink what we thought we knew about nutrition? Just some food for thought… 🙂

  16. Yes, Don did share the video, and then commented on his observations related to it, suggesting that the amount of sitting has more to do with it. Then many other folks chimed in for what they think, and why.

    On the video itself:
    Frankly, I think that the video is an incredibly poor example of Prager University’s usually high quality work; it’s suggestive without offering decent data, and in fact is flatly misleading– even fluffy science news points out that the increase in weight is disproportionately among older people.
    The BMI that they’re harping on as being so worrying? It looked familiar. It is. That’s the BMI range– high end of overweight with the first bit of over-weight– associated with the lowest over-all mortality. Has been repeatedly found, incidentally– though usually not by the same people, since providing solid evidence that the BMI is a terrible diagnosis tool* tends to mean you don’t get funding next year.
    What this mostly means is there is a LOT of very obvious junk floating around.

    When did the increase incidents by percentage – not just due to people getting older – start? A few years after the government guidelines were published and implemented.

    Which guidelines? The Food and Nutrition Board is from the ’40s, and they’ve been nagging people to cut calories for 55 years, minimum.
    http://www.nationalacademies.org/hmd/About-HMD/Leadership-Staff/HMD-Staff-Leadership-Boards/Food-and-Nutrition-Board.aspx

    If you mean the 1980 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, then things are complicated by several of the measurements having been changed; BMI most famously, but ‘diabetic’ has also been expanded into ‘pre-diabetes’ and it became standard to put people on anti-cholesterol drugs based on age. (Notice that the stats are usually “being treated for high cholesterol.”)

    And it still doesn’t deal with that being about the time that the kids born to mothers who were trying to gain zero pounds during pregnancy were hitting their 30s, when metabolisms normally start to slow down.

    From the other route-
    Which incidents? If you mean “people being fat,” the statistics on that stink.

    For pretty much all of them– it is very hard to get good data on how many people are sick because they’re alive, instead of dead as would be the norm otherwise.

    • The BMI was designed as a screening tool. It’s supposed to identify a group that will include 95-99% of those who are obese, which means it has an insanely high false positive ratio in order to not miss that small percentage.
  17. Incidentally, you’ve been misinformed– the CDC estimates that up to one in three people have pre-diabetes or diabetes.
    https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/data/statistics/statistics-report.html

    and you’ll note their stat for pre-diabetes includes people who say their doctor mentioned “oh, your fasting blood sugar is higher than normal, but it’s not diabetes.” Which would incorrectly catch everyone who was stressed enough to get an adrenaline-based blood sugar bump.
    https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/data/statistics-report/appendix.html#methods-7

  18. Foxfier: I will be more precise in the future but I sense we are starting to chase stats. The latest CDC Diabetes Report Card that I could find (2017 – even though they typically publish them every two years) states 1 in 3 US adults are prediabetic. That percentage didn’t include those US adults who were already known diabetics so the actually number is larger than 1 in 3 adults. I relayed that I heard it was approaching 1 in 2 US adults. So the point is diabetes is a significant issue for many people. It did start slowing among US adults in 2009 but, unfortunately, the numbers of children and adolescents has been increasing. See especially pages 9-11 of the PDF report linked here: https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/library/reports/reportcard/index.html
    The report makes your point as well – that as people age, they sicken. I agree but wonder why diabetes especially is increasing. I, like you, find BMI unreliable which is why I didn’t mention it. I did stress the decrease in insulin sensitivity some studies are finding. A key cause in that decrease is increased consumption of process carbs but there are other triggers as well (lack of sleep and hormonal issues, to name but two). In my mind, what is emerging from the fog of uncertainty is several clues, one of which is the impact of excess carbs on our metabolisms. Is it clear cut? No. And I apologize if I overstated anything. One surprising thing I learned is that most doctors get very little education in medical school about nutrition. I heard from one doctor (Dr. Ken Berry) that he had about five hours of instruction on nutrition throughout his medical training. I then asked both of my doctors and they said it was similar. Getting reliable info in this area will mean we have to do our own digging through the muck to find the useful nuggets. The Prager video was a useful quick statement about a real problem – the negative impact of the government’s reliance on Dr Ancel Keys to shape our cultural dietary experience over the last several decades. Says who? Nina Teicholz who spent nine years as an investigative journalist trying to understand our dietary landscape. Her balanced and nuanced book, “The Big Fat Surprise,” cities hundreds of studies and reports and concluded we got screwed by Dr. Keys and our overall health as a society is worse because of what the government told us to do. I was persuaded by her argument and feel it is warranted to reassess our assumptions about what we eat to make us healthy. My journey has just begun and I appreciate the questions – they encourage me to keep digging and learning. And, yes, I heard the unasked question: I am aware other things are going on in the world and that Trump is in trouble – maybe – again. I do what I can, pray, and enjoy TAC every day along the way…

  19. Foxfier: I will be more precise in the future but I sense we are starting to chase stats.

    I’m looking for evidence. A lot of that is going to be stats, which are notoriously easy to twist, so I look at how they’re formed and what related stats there are, too.

    Why is chasing stats bad? You started out with pointing to stats, just not precisely– which gives me something to look into. It’s not like I could possibly think of all the ideas that even you alone have pointed to, much less everybody else that’s commented here!

    For the child diabetes… they are trying very, very hard to make that scary.
    The group with the highest rate of childhood diabetes diagnosis is fewer than 50 per 100,000. They’re in programs for the extremely high risk.
    It takes some close reading, but it becomes clear that is all forms.
    Because they want to highlight the higher diagnosis, and make it look scary, but actually saying “there were maybe 5,300 cases out of well over twenty million people were type 2, we should all panic” is simply ludicrous.

    That report card also makes it very clear that the “estimate” is grossly large without very good support; their pre-diabetes estimate is three times what they can find any evidence for.

    I agree but wonder why diabetes especially is increasing. I, like you, find BMI unreliable which is why I didn’t mention it.

    You did not, but many of the conclusions you’re building on use it as an assumed good, they just don’t state where they’re getting their stats on people becoming “fat.” That’s why I have to hunt down the specific stats and how they were formed.

    I heard from one doctor (Dr. Ken Berry) that he had about five hours of instruction on nutrition throughout his medical training.

    Since the current state of the matter is “we don’t actually know much,” that sounds like a selling point to me as long as the doctors don’t think that they are qualified to guide people on diet. (A rather unlikely ‘as long as,’ given how frequently doctors latch on to junk science and refuse to adjust it when it objectively doesn’t work. Example, I went to a doctor to get a skin condition on one of my hands looked at, and mentioned my hands sometimes start tingling. He immediately diagnosed me as diabetic and had me get a huge list of tests, and did much snide commenting on my weight. Short version: I am basically the opposite of diabetic and the idiot didn’t pay enough attention to the tests to notice I was anemic, which is why my hands were tingling. Bad circulation+ lack of red blood cells= oxygen starved hands. He concluded the screening (and the then three prior pregnancy diabetes screenings, one of them just a year prior) had to be messed up somehow, and I was clearly a hopeless case being difficult on purpose. eyeroll

    It is very likely we got into this situation because of activist gov’t reports; of course I’m going to look closely at what they’re trying to stampede people into this time.
    That doesn’t mean that I’m going to jump right on board with solutions that are actually pretty much the same as what the board has been suggesting since the 60s, even if they decide a prior big bad is now OK and switch to one of the secondary villains.
    For example, your carb-to-insulin pattern? That matches the science behind making everybody cut salt.
    Which eventually turned out to be effective only if you already had the problem. It didn’t cause the problem, and it didn’t help anything for those without the problem, it’s just an effective treatment.
    And they’ve also found that when you study individuals, rather than large groups, food doesn’t break out into neat patterns like “carbohydrates,” much less “processed carbs”– some people spike on each food, and some don’t, and they’re still trying to figure it out.
    One neat trick they found when trying to figure out why the patterns were not matching inside of each individual is that freshly cooked spaghetti, cold spaghetti, and reheated cold spaghetti are all different in how they hit your blood-sugar levels. (roughly decreasing with each step– which is good news for those who like lasagna, which is generally reheated to be served in perfect condition!) A test for individuals who can test their bloodsugar is at the bottom, here.

    I was persuaded by her argument and feel it is warranted to reassess our assumptions about what we eat to make us healthy.

    Except that evidence is mounting that expecting what we eat to make us healthy, or not, especially when looking at job-lots, is exactly the problem.

    As Donald pointed out right off the bat– kids when he was a kid were more active; he notices that his behavior changes how his weight goes, too.
    I pointed to epigenetics, and for that matter the hormone changes are a pretty big deal– in the 90s it became quite normal in many cases to put a girl on hormonal birth control as soon as she started her first period, which is an insanely huge hormone experiment. (I had quite the fight with my childhood doctor because she insisted that any 14 year old female she saw must be sexually active, there were only liars and the honest sluts, and was very pissed I refused to “confess” to her.) The most popular form of hormonal birth control mimics a long series of miscarriages (pregnant to prevent ovulation, then cycle to prevent the uterine buildup from just sitting there) and most women gain weight their first trimester, even before the effects on emotion are figured in.

    Then there’s immediate environmental effects, including more soy in our diets or even BHA from grocery receipts that might be screwing with how our bodies deal with…well…everything.

    And, yes, I heard the unasked question

    I didn’t have an unasked question. I do not find the unasked question you heard relevant in any form to this discussion, much less something I would ask.
    I made quite a few very directly asked questions.

  20. Foxfier: First, my last comment about the “unasked question” was not aimed at you. It was my ham-fisted way of telling anyone else (besides you and I) following the conversation that I acknowledged I had gone down a rabbit hole and that I needed to pick up my head and look around at what else was happening in the world. My attempt at humor went sideways – it was NOT a poke at you – sorry! And to go back several days, you correctly pointed out this is complicated. Our life experiences are different: you a lady with children who has seen a lot of things and confronted lousy medical advice. Me an old guy who got fat, hypertensive and diabetic and got lousy government dietary advice and lousy medical advice along the way. We’ve both seen a lot to make us skeptical. After trying lots of different ways over my 65 years, I found a way to drop my weight and keep it off, get off my blood pressure medication, and reverse my Type 2 diabetes. I learned from others who showed me what worked for them. I compared and contrasted their advice with other evidence as best I could. So my story is anecdotal but not totally. Last night, I went back to the Ivor Cummins and Dr Jeff Gerber book, EAT RICH LIVE LONG, which is not a scholarly journal, and counted about 280 footnotes citing studies (about 30 notes were long and cited multiple studies) which challenge the old government hypothesis about following a high carb / low fat diet. These guys are getting beat up by the “establishment” for questioning long-held assumptions. They are very precise and logical and persistent in trying to get to the facts, to the root causes. I like that and I tried to condense their findings into my comments (and not all the books I’ve read support everything they assert). The new research – realizing it is hard to trust anyone about anything anymore – seems to suggest a case for looking at the general impact of too many carbs (as foisted on us by Dr Keys and the government for 50+ years) on our metabolism. The resultant insulin resistance “seems” to hurt us in multiple ways. I agree we all react differently to things in different states (cold vs reheated pasta; I too, like lasagna). But going low carb worked for me – and I’m not alone. I passed on those results and supported the video and suggested learning about nutrition for ourselves and not relying on others. Doing so may be useful and help us live fuller and healthier lives in service of God and our neighbors. Thanks for getting me to dig deeper!

  21. If folks are reading this still, they they clearly decided it’s worth their time.

    Again, I’m glad it worked for you– but the high carb, low fat works for some people, too. That would be the portion of the population who didn’t get fat, while following the 1980s advice. (Including avoiding sugar, which has been an evergreen.) My sister in law does best on the old advice, although she needs a lot more sugar than I could stand, and is skinny enough she complains about not having any curves below the ribs.

    Based off of the success I had both after joining the Navy (eating more meat, eggs for breakfast every day, and way too much chocolate– weight flowed off of me after bootcamp for the first time in my life, even though I was exercising less than in boot and heck doing less physical work than I did on the ranch; both foods are good sources of B vitamins) and when I was self-treating the hand tingles, if a doctor had checked my vitamin levels and if I had taken a simple B complex as a teen, I would probably have been able to lose weight and wouldn’t have screwed up my metabolism, maybe even avoided stunting my growth.
    shrug No way to know, barring a time machine, but I for **** sure know that the ‘diet and exercise works!’ mantra is baloney, as is the idea that carbs (all, wheat, or sugar) is to blame. I went through highschool with a daily intake of a bowl of cereal and milk for breakfast (until I was old enough to just have a cup of coffee), a handful of carrots for lunch, and a sensible dinner, usually beef, veggies and a half-serving of potatoes or sometimes a slice of bread– I was chubby the whole time, while doing physical work and being in quite decent physical condition. (Found out much later my mom had no idea I was only eating carrots for lunch, she assumed I made at least a PB&J, which is why she was one of the major “eat less, you’re fat” scolds.)

    If it works for an individual, great, but don’t try to make everybody do it, even to the extent of changing the standards to your standard. That just screws up a different portion of the population, making it a wash, and an expensive one at that. Both in cash, and human cost.

  22. Fox Fire, Re B vitamins. Important for females. Taking a timed released B-Complex a week out from a period lessens pre-menstruation symptoms. It works. Best to take in the a.m.
    Having given up caffeine I take one every morning. The different Bs are good for energy, clarity, pain, skin and mood elevation. Even balance.

  23. Ahhhhhh this will be my last comment on this post. I’ve read all the comments and there are yeas and nays through out the post on particular ‘solutions’ for people when it comes to diet and activity whether the solutions are initiated by government, personal experience or medicine.

    At least for me, and I do speak for myself, I still maintain a healthy balance of all things in moderation but now, at this point of my life however, I do have to throw a monkey wrench into this discussion which was touched upon earlier and that it is not just activity(or inactivity), diet, etc. that affects our health and that is age.

    My metabolism has slowed considerably in the last 5+ years because of my age(66)but it is in the last year that I’ve had to make accommodations because of retirement from work and my now lack of an active daily physical routine. So for me, I am less active, burn less calories and so I have had to consume less calories to try to compensate. But it is still everything in moderation, just less of it.

    While I’m at it, there is another big bugaboo when it comes to listening to health and food advice and it is media. In an effort to sensationalize or start controversy, headlines are thrown about and unfortunately many people accept them as trustworthy without digging deeper causing more confusion and “fake news” to abound. https://www.msn.com/en-us/health/health-news/is-it-actually-ok-to-eat-red-meat-and-processed-meats-not-so-fast-say-doctors/ar-AAI4LT8?li=BBnba9O

  24. Amen, CAM! Those symptoms were never my problem, but it helps your blood and muscles so it makes sense.
    I take it with my fiber pills (konjac root, it’s cheap) in the morning; it’s great, once I got my iron levels back up I can stop taking iron supplements as long as I take a B complex, which is nice since iron makes me feel ill. (I use the Kirkland ones, started with one of the “B Complex Stress Blends” from Nature something.)

    There’s been some success in diabetics that got rid of all symptoms using B; not a lot of research into it yet, possibly because it might be a simple false diagnosis, but that’s what I ran into after that quack scared me silly.

  25. OC-
    as it happens, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is an animal rights group, and several of the other groups cited in that article are basically just saying “nuh-uh!” to overview studies that show the studies behind their theories could not be replicated.

    As far as advice from doctors go, “don’t screw with your diet unless there is something wrong or you have another reason to change it” is outstanding advice, though of course it will piss off any group that holds “we” need to all do X, Y or Z differently.

  26. Two recommendations which were probably lost in my earlier comments [likely because I got long winded]: 1) Look into insulin resistance (IR). Some recent studies are showing we haven’t properly appreciated its negative impact on our health. That is one of the key findings and themes in the Cummins and Gerber book. As correctly noted by others earlier, body shapes are meaningless. I was obese and my wife is a ladies size 2 (petite but not thin as a rail). We were both diabetic. She was also riddled with heart disease without any other symptoms beyond being diabetic. Was her quadruple bypass directly linked to IR? Not sure – but my study of insulin resistance made me ask some more questions of her doctor which brings me to my last point. 2) Look at the Coronary Artery Calcification (CAC) scan (sometimes called a CAC score). After years of pooh-poohing CACs, the American Heart Association (AHA) changed its recommendations in late 2018 to say adult Americans ought to get CACs so that they better understand their risk of a cardiac event. Regardless of your view on diet, this cheap ($125), quick (5 minutes roll in and out), non-invasive (no IVs to inject dyes, etc.), and accurate test can help you understand your status and what you and your doctor may want to do (or not do). The AHA PDF is linked to at this blog: https://theskepticalcardiologist.com/2018/11/11/coronary-artery-calcium-scan-embraced-by-new-aha-acc-cholesterol-guidelines-will-insurance-coverage-follow/
    God bless all the TAC family!

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