Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Real Cause of the Global Obesity Epidemic

"The REAL Cause of the Global Obesity Epidemic"

This is a very interesting article. I have printed snippets but please go see the whole thing, at the link.

I didn't know even the young babies were getting fatter...[which as this article says means something is going on beyond bad behavior and lowered will-power. A three month old is not old enough to go nosh down the french fries and hamburgers.

[Bad habits] cannot explain the ballooning of one particular segment of the population, a segment that doesn’t go to movies, can’t chew, and was never that much into exercise: babies. In 2006 scientists at the Harvard School of Public Health reported that the prevalence of obesity in infants under 6 months had risen 73 percent since 1980. “This epidemic of obese 6-month-olds,” as endocrinologist Robert Lustig of the University of California, San Francisco, calls it, poses a problem for conventional explanations of the fattening of America. “Since they’re eating only formula or breast milk, and never exactly got a lot of exercise, the obvious explanations for obesity don’t work for babies,” he points out. “You have to look beyond the obvious.”
The search for the non-obvious has led to a familiar villain: early-life exposure to traces of chemicals in the environment. Evidence has been steadily accumulating that certain hormone-mimicking pollutants, ubiquitous in the food chain, have two previously unsuspected effects. They act on genes in the developing fetus and newborn to turn more precursor cells into fat cells, which stay with you for life. And they may alter metabolic rate, so that the body hoards calories rather than burning them, like a physiological Scrooge. “The evidence now emerging says that being overweight is not just the result of personal choices about what you eat, combined with inactivity,” says Retha Newbold of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) in North Carolina, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). “Exposure to environmental chemicals during development may be contributing to the obesity epidemic
As you can see they get into many issues, I have discussed before on this blog. For goodness sakes what are they doing to our food? FATTENING UP CHICKENS AND PIGS WITH ARSENIC? 

Pthalates – commonly used in many plastics – have been linked to obesity. See this and this. So has a chemical used to make Teflon and other products.
Most of the meat we eat these days contains estrogen, antibiotics and powerful chemicals which change hormone levels. Modern corn-fed beef also contains much higher levels of saturated fat than grass-fed beef. So the meat we are eating is also making us fat.
Antibiotics also used to be handed out like candy by doctors. However, ingesting too many antibiotics has also been linked to obesity, as it kills helpful intestinal bacteria. See this and this.
Arsenic may also be linked with obesity, via it’s effect on the thyroid gland. Arsenic is often fed to chickens and pigs to fatten them up, and we end up ingesting it on our dinner plate. It’s ending up in other foods as well.
The National Research Council has also found:
The effects of fluoride on various aspects of endocrine function should be examined further, particularly with respect to a possible role in the development of several diseases or mental states in the United States.
Some hypothesize that too much fluoride affects the thyroid gland, which may in turn lead to weight gain.


In the same way that the financial crisis, BP oil spill and Fukushima nuclear disaster were caused by fraud and greed, we are daily exposed to obesity-causing chemicals because companies
make an extra buck by lying about what is in their product, cutting every corner in the book, and escaping any consequences for their health-damaging actions.
In fattening their bottom line, the fat cats are creating an epidemic of obesity for the little guy. 

I agree, this is the foundation of the Obesity Conspiracy I refer to, also this is what I am talking about when I say size acceptance when it advances FAT, instead of FAT PEOPLE is actually advancing this agenda. After all if fat people are going to be told, ACCEPT YOUR FAT, why would anyone ask any of these questions? The profiteers continue untouched and the profit mill keeps running on. For you see it helps them to blame the victims rather then let truth be told:

Years ago, I wrote this essay...circa 2001.

"The Real Causes of the Obesity Epidemic"

Poisoned Endocrine Systems: Bloating Bodies

There is a basic increase in endocrine diseases due to environmental poisonings. Higher estrogen in the environment is leading to smaller sperm counts and now one in every seven couples is infertile. This is something never seen before. Hormonal diseases that used to be rare, like PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome), hypothyroidism and diabetes are now worsening in number. Scientists alone have identified 51 synthetic chemicals in our environment that disrupt hormones. Some mimic estrogen, which is a hormone that adds weight, especially in women, and others conflict with testosterone and thyroid. Among them include everything from PCBs, Dioxin and Furans, many from heavily-used pesticides on our food supply.
Girls are even entering puberty earlier due to these factors, which is leading to higher body weights at early ages. The obesity epidemic has been blamed on higher rates of weight due to the increased insulin (the cart before the horse syndrome again) and leptin from the fat cells. However, the article "Teens Before Their Time" in Time magazine points out: 
"The most prominent effect, reported last spring in the Journal of Pediatrics, was the boys exposed to DDE and girls exposed to PCBs were heavier than their unexposed peers at age 14. The study also noted an intriguing fact: girls with high prenatal PCB exposure tended to hit the first stages of puberty a bit earlier than others."

I found out about PCB, and found even that study buried at Pubmed, there are many more of them. Looks like some others are asking those hard questions too!  I need to explore that arsenic thing too. 


  1. I have long thought that factory farming and food additives are messing with our endocrine systems.

  2. When I was reporting this article, the arsenic thing blew my mind! I have to follow up on that. I believe the factory farming is very bad too. On rare occasions I can afford or obtain organic or the home grown food of others, and it tastes FAR different. In my old rural town, I even had access to real beef, and the different tastes were extreme. So I totally agree. I think some of us are more prone, the canaries in the coalmine so to speak, some people have stronger endocrine systems that can take the hits but others do not.

  3. There are so many things contributing to the obesity epidemic, as you well know. There's no doubt environmental toxins and factory farming play a role, especially for those whose immune systems and endocrine systems are already off balance. I grew up eating from animals we raised ourselves and from an organic garden and was really healthy as a child. The food available at the supermarket is a far cry from that food. I am working on being able to increase our grocery budget so I can afford more organic produce and hopefully pastured meat products in the future. Right now it's just not possible but we sometimes get grass fed beef or pastured pork and I agree, the taste is so much better!. I don't think it's the extra saturated fat in corn fed beef. I think it's more the hormones, antibiotics and especially the extra omega 6 vs omega 3 content. It seems like everything in our environment is so altered from what it's supposed to be that it's impossible to get away from it. I do what I can. I use only glass containers for storage and reheating of foods, I don't use any chemical cleaners in my house, Just water to clean and wipe surfaces. I buy organic veggies if the price is comparable and I buy conventional beef that is antibitioc and hormone free (we have this at a local store and I stock up when it's on sale). In the summer I buy from a farmers market that is not certified organic but they use organic practices most of the time. Basically, I do what I can do and focus on what I can prevent instead of what I can't prevent. It's not hopeless, it's just difficult.

  4. The point about babies weighing more is a genuine and interesting puzzle. Much of this post focuses on implausible explanations. Whatever the impact on children and adults, babies' weight cannot really be related to chemicals in food, since babies >6months consume only breast milk or formula. Perhaps they are gaining more weight in utero, but I don't think there is any evidence that birth weights are increasing, but someone could look that up. Perhaps their mother's breast milk is partially contaminated by toxins she is consuming, but that seems like a stretch. The only plausible mechanism would seem to be bigger mothers and fathers producing babies who will gain weight faster than previous generations even right after birth.


  5. The comment in this post about size acceptance strikes me as pretty gratutious. first off, if there are environmental factors causing people to be fat, that is not the fault of size acceptance. Second, size acceptance encourages fat people to accept themselves even if they are fat, not to eat arsenic-laced chicken. Third, people in size acceptance movement are asking hard questions along with scientists and others, about the environmental conditions that may be causing obesity rates to rise. Fourth, it is worth underscoring that at this point NO ONE KNOWS exactly what is going on. I agree that the things you point to in this post are plausible candidates for further study, BUT WE DON"T KNOW very much at this point in time about what is driving it.


  6. Last anon...

    Why wouldn't the powers the be love a movement that denies the health effects of obesity while they profit off the same? If you read enough of my blog, I am against the discrimination and hatred but I would love to see where there are actually people in the size acceptance movement asking some of these questions. I know many of acouple independent blogs. I don't plan to see NAAFA talking about endocrine disrupters anytime soon, if they can't even talk about what happens to people over certain weights in an honest fashion. Something is going on and in my case, I want to know what is going on. Thanks for admitting many of these things are plausible candidates for study.

  7. Why wouldn't the babies weights be related to chemicals in the food? The mother eats that food to nuture herself and the baby when she is pregnant. The babies are getting the food even if indirectly. Why is the mother's milk being contaminated such a far stretch?

  8. Kate you are right it is difficult. I buy organic food when I can afford it but that has been rarer and rarer though I can do better in the summer when the veggie/fruit stands are up and running. I attempt to avoid microwaving in plastics and other things like that. Thanks for your post.