In a nut shell, I am sure it all "started" with convenience and access to high calorie foods. But that is only part of the reason. Knowing that there are people who eat junk and/or fast food every day and do littler exercise and are still thin, well it should be enough to second question things when you try to blame it solely on the food. The food is only a small problem.
The main reason however is that our culture has evolved to the point where people will find any and every excuse to keep eating and eating all day long. Additionally, it has become normal and acceptable to be fat.
Here's some food for thought. Go to any country where being thin is the norm and even notice the people who have access to fast food all the time. You'll find that even in such cases, the fat person is still the exception.
So if such is the case, then what makes them different than us? They haven't been conditioned into thinking its normal to eat all day and be fat. They don't eat all day for no reason. They don't force themselves to eat 3 or even 6 meals per day even when they aren't hungry. They don't eat dessert every night, but even if they did they still won't eat too much because they know it isn't acceptable to be a disgusting fat slob.
So to sum things up, easy access is only a small part of the problem. The rest is what our culture has evolved to. And in all honesty, it is the mass marketing that has perpetuated that in of itself. The main goal of marketing of food is to convince people that they need it. If you can do that and convince people that they need to keep consuming, it shouldn't be a question why they keep doing so and getting fatter.
So if such is the case, then what makes them different than us? They haven't been conditioned into thinking its normal to eat all day and be fat. They don't eat all day for no reason. They don't force themselves to eat 3 or even 6 meals per day even when they aren't hungry. They don't eat dessert every night, but even if they did they still won't eat too much because they know it isn't acceptable to be a disgusting fat slob.[/QUOTE]
I dunno. The Dutch have specific times for coffee, as the English have times for tea. Sweets or other food is common alongside the coffee or tea. This is an additional two or three "meals" a day. And dessert after dinner is nearly mandatory. Anything less is uncivilized.
But yes, it is cultural, to an extent. There, "fat" people are just a bit plump. Here, plump is normal, and 50+ inch waists is "fat." But their meals are just as bad and often as ours. Maybe a bit smaller portions yes, and I think that the coffee/tea are set social "events" is a difference - the body responds to regular caloric intake differently than random mindless grazing.
Another factor perhaps, PE and sports are run very differently in European schools. School PE teaches skills such as swimming, if one wants to join a competitive sports team they join a private sports club. This prevents the split between the "jocks" and "nots" in school. Just my own observation, but most the my guy friends in HS who were on the football team are now obese. Whatever we're doing, I don't think it's working very well.
Metabolic danger of high-fructose corn syrup
[url=http://www.sott.net/article/249556-Dietary-Fat-Not-Glucose-is-the-Preferred-Fuel-for-Your-Body]Dietary Fat, Not Glucose, is the Preferred Fuel for Your Body -- Health & Wellness -- Sott.net[/url]
The evidence is both clear and overwhelming: Carbohydrate intake is the primary factor that determines your body's fat ratio, and processed grains and sugars (particularly fructose) are the primary culprits behind our skyrocketing obesity and diabetes rates. Mark [Sisson] writes:
"It follows logically that if you can limit carb intake to a range of which is absolutely necessary (and even up to 50 grams a day over) and make the difference up with tasty fats and protein, you can literally reprogram your genes back to the evolutionary-based factory setting you had at birth - the setting that offered you the opportunity to start life as a truly efficient fat-burning organism and to continue to do so for the rest of your life as long as you send the right signals to your genes,"
Why the Low-Carb/High-Fat Diet Works for Weight Loss
Switching from a carb-based diet to a fat- and protein-based diet will help rebalance your body's chemistry, and a natural side effect of this is weight loss, and/or improved weight management once you're at an ideal weight. One explanation for this is that you don't really get fat from eating too much and exercising too little. Nor do you get fat from eating fat. One researcher that has clearly established this is Dr. Richard Johnson, whose latest book, The Fat Switch, dispels many of the most pervasive myths relating to diet and obesity.
Dr. Johnson discovered the method that animals use to gain fat prior to times of food scarcity, which turned out to be a powerful adaptive benefit. His research showed that fructose activates a key enzyme, fructokinase, which in turn activates another enzyme that causes cells to accumulate fat. When this enzyme is blocked, fat cannot be stored in the cell. Interestingly, this is the exact same "switch" animals use to fatten up in the fall and to burn fat during the winter. Fructose is the dietary ingredient that turns on this "switch," causing cells to accumulate fat, both in animals and in humans.
In essence, overeating and excess weight could be viewed as a symptom of an improper diet. It's not necessarily the result of eating too many calories, per se, but rather getting your calories from the wrong sources. In simple terms, when you consume too many sugars and carbs, you set off a cascade of chemical reactions in your body that makes you hungry and craving for sweets:
First, fructose is metabolized differently from glucose, with the majority being turned directly into fat because fructose stimulates a powerful "fat switch."
This rapidly leads to weight gain and abdominal obesity ("beer belly"), decreased HDL, increased LDL, elevated triglycerides, elevated blood sugar, and high blood pressure - i.e., classic metabolic syndrome.
Dietary carbohydrates, especially fructose, are also the primary source of a substance called glycerol-3-phosphate (g-3-p), which causes fat to become fixed in fat tissue.
At the same time, high carb intake raises your insulin levels, which prevents fat from being released.
Fructose further tricks your body into gaining weight by turning off your body's appetite-control system. Fructose does not suppress ghrelin (the "hunger hormone") and doesn't stimulate leptin (the "satiety hormone"), which together result in feeling hungry all the time, even though you've eaten. As a result, you overeat and develop insulin resistance, which is not only an underlying factor of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and a long list of other chronic diseases.
The resulting equation is simple: fructose and dietary carbohydrates (grains, which break down into sugar) lead to excess body fat, obesity and related health issues. Furthermore, no amount of exercise can compensate for this damage because if you eat excessive fructose and grains - the primary ingredients NOT found in our ancestral diet - it will activate programming to cause your body to become, and remain, fat.
High fructose corn syrup
Dwarf Hybrid wheat... with all its gliodin which is addictive and makes you eat more.
Question... what are the rates of celiac and GERD in UK/Europe? That will tell us whether they eat the older wheat or the noew dwarf hybrid poison.
I haven't spent much time outside of the U.S. (vacations only) but around here just about everybody is extremely stressed...all the time. Chronic stress will make you eat like crazy and keep you fat. Almost everyone I know is literally on the verge of a nervous breakdown.
The US got there first. UK, Aus & NZ are catching up fast. Rest of the first world is following. Don't think there is anything special happening in the US
Agree that much of it is cultural. The norms of eating have changed enormously in my half century
[QUOTE]Question... what are the rates of celiac and GERD in UK/Europe? That will tell us whether they eat the older wheat or the noew dwarf hybrid poison. [/QUOTE]
They eat the hybrid wheat. Everyone eats it, unless they specifically seek out the older wheats.
I was in London a few months ago during a day when they had a breast cancer marathon, and everyone was doing the marathon shirtless (or just bras for the ladies).
Let me assure you, they're catching up with us. It was not a pretty sight. Huge blobs of fat everywhere. Ack!
Even with their clothing on, I would no longer consider London to be a slender town. Lots and lots of overweight people.
food subsidies to cheap crap + bad information + food deserts + trade tariffs + high stress lifestyle + instant gratification culture + rising emotional problems and eating disorders + too damn many people to feed + television + natural instincts to gather and store as many kcals as possible for survival
it was bound to happen. we're screwed.
I do think that advertising is part of the equation. We are constantly bombarded (thru TV, magazines, billboards, internet) with images of fattening, unhealthy food, especially fast food, so that people get to thinking that that is how everyone eats, that they deserve to eat all that crap, that it is normal. Plus it is so available, so easy.... Cheap crap is convenient and a lot of people apparently think it tastes good..... It gets to be a habit.