I still think you guys are making it too complex. Entertain for a moment this simple idea...
People eat what's there.
The food supply in the USA is what it is, someone needs to eat it. It's true *an individual* could fly above the masses, and not eat it, we on MDA exist. But the masses have no other possible outcome than obesity.
To give an example from the stock market; I can outperform the market, but the masses can't outperform the market, because the masses *are* the market.
Note I'm not talking about what I'd like to be true, but rather observing what happens. Each time sugar, white flour and processed foods are introduced to a society, and reach levels that begin displacing real foods, the food supply by definition has changed, and people must eat the food supply, therefore they must get fat.
They *must* eat more calories, and get fatter, to get the same nutrition (because empty calories have displaced real foods). So "eat less" will only result in nutritional deficiencies.
The only thing we could say is "yes, but by demanding real food the food supply could be changed."
Meh, perhaps, but it would require significant government intervention, funding, redistribution of labor, changing of societal values.
We know Americans are eating more, 2,700 calories. We know 60% of these calories are sugar, grains and vegetable oil. That means they are getting 1,080 real calories from meat, milk, vegi, fruit and nuts. The sugar is worthless. Lets be generous and say the bread and vegi oil are worth 40% "real calories", so +430. Now they are getting 1,500 calories from real food.
Thus even though they over eat, they are under nourished and feel like shit.
Lets say they go on a diet and reduce their standard US food supply ration by 25%. They are now getting 2,000 calories, and in *theory* won't get fat, but are only eating 1,100 of real foods!
If they just "cut back" they will feel severely undernourished.
Also, we have not had any kind of food shortages here during the obesity epidemic. So why would an increase in the food supply make people eat more? Would you eat more if the supermarket got 50% larger? I guess if the supply is huge, the prices could come down and increase consumption, but this goes back to my previous point, why increase the supply unless there's demand first?
There's a lot of white flour, and sugar, and other junk out there because there's demand for these things. If people would shy away from them and buy other things, the companies would make more of the other things. It's happening now with whole grain, for example. There's a craze for whole grain, and now tons of products and companies are making whole grain food. 5 Hour Energy drinks came out a few years back. Now every energy drink maker has a "shot" style drink like 5 Hour Energy. Why? People buy it. Lots of it.
People are not eating junk food just because it is there and someone must eat it. People are eating junk food because they want it, and businesses make money by offering people what they want to buy. If people chose kale salad with sardines as the typical lunch of choice, there would be a kale and sardine joint on every corner.
Demand drives the food supply, not the other way around.
I think there are many reasons for more gluttony. Food is cheap and abundant in the US. Lots of food is crappy. The crappy food, unfortunately, many consider tasty. How many Americans actually dislike the taste of burgers, donuts, fries, soda, etc? People love that crap.
Consider too that most people are not really following the dietary guidelines either. If you look at the new "plate" the government recommends, it is basically 1/2 fruit and vegetables, and about 1/4 meat and 1/4 grains (grains are more like 30% I think, not quite a quarter), and a little dairy. Is that what most Americans strive to eat? Where does the 24oz Coke fit into that government recommendation? What about the Big Mac, which is actually full of that evil saturated fat? People still eat/drink globs of both.
People have different metabolisms and people's bodies respond differently. Two people can eat the same and one can be skinny and one flabby. That said, if they both eat less, they both will lose weight, if they both eat more, they both will gain weight. Basic biology does not change, just the rate and the type of tissue that grows/gets used for energy varies from person to person.
Perhaps you could also argue that people are math-challenged because they choose to be and IF they tried harder, they would not be so. It is difficult to attribute stupidity to laziness. I have seen a lot of hardworking students who simply don't cut it.
Few but ripe.
But they understand it very well.
People will have a nutritional deficiency eating 60% grains/sugar, they thus have to scale up their plate to get enough nutrients to survive. Remember we are not talking about a small displacement like 15%, we are talking about *60%*. That they are only eating 2,700 is actually kind of amazing self-control.
Others will bring up carbs make you fat; they make you hungry, they spike insulin, you need to eat more. There's a lot of evidence to believe that's the case, but it's not my point and it doesn't matter. What's there did make them fat.
I'm suggesting an alternate hypothesis free of encumbrances on how things "should" work; that people eat what's there. Making no statements about how things came to be (meh perhaps it was driven by supply/demand or perhaps it was driven by the corporation's manipulation of human nature or perhaps government intervention with their carbo dietary recommendations). Doesn't matter, food supply problem exists now.
This is absolutely true in the short-term. Tomorrow the US population has no other option than to eat what's there, 60% grains/sugar/vegioil. That will make them fat, because it did. We could discuss why, but it doesn't matter.
Sooooooo, so that only leaves one option: changing what's there over the long-term. But this is where it gets weird. Nobody has any idea how to do that. We can't say "oh we are going to have McD and SBUX on every block trying to exploit you with location and over-supply of sugary substances, and a massive shortage of healthy Mom & Pop restaurants, but DON'T eat what's there". People have to eat something, and we've already seen what they do.
Americans are struggling to resolve this, they refuse to restrict corporations because their values say to restrict free-markets is wrong, and their values worked up until now, but clearly this problem exists and isn't resolving itself thru free-markets.
Einstein put this this way; "you can't solve a problem by using the same thinking you used to create the problem".
I'm not sure supply = demand works with sugar or other addictive substances. Or it does, and that's the problem; because the demand for sugar is infinite?
Kids naturally run to sugar and eat it first. That's human nature. You put it there, they eat it. Increasing supply, increases demand. Three SBUX on one corner?
This is my take on "dieting" LOL...
The dieting cycle:
So, here is why so many women at least are overweight.
So one day, you sit there and are like “Dayum, my clothes don’t fit, time to diet”. You recall your past failures and realize that you can’t muster the desire to drink two “healthy delicious” shakes a day ever again. It’s time to “change your lifestyle”.
Years of watching Oprah and reading Self magazine have you certain that jogging 6 days a week and eating a healthy, whole grain diet low in fat is the key to looking like Gwen Paltrow did in that InStyle spread where she shared 5 delightful low fat vegan recipes that all her fabulous friends love even more than pizza and cheese fries. And BONUS…Dr. Oz agrees with Gwennie and Oprah and he is a Doctor.
So you make a trip to stock the fridge. Mmmm….fruits, veggies, one pack of low fat chicken breasts (double check, you did get low fat chicken breasts right, not fatty ones?). Gwennie loves the $10 a pack tofu so some of that will do. Oatmeal. You need oatmeal to lose weight. And skim milk. Quinoa and kasha. And eggwhites, just buy the egg beaters, works out cheaper. Let’s see, some Whole Grain Tortillas (hmm, they have 75 more calories than the white ones, but Dr. Oz said they will keep me fuller). Yogurt, must have yogurt- oooo….fat free/sugar free Key Lime Pie! Dessert for breakfast oh hell yeah. Oh and I need to put the bananas back. I read in Shape that those are why people are fat.
You dust off the running shoes and head out for a jog. Get home, spend 3 hours making Gwennie’s ultimate low fat quinoa power salad. You didn’t have the $28.95 for Goji Seed Oil and maybe excluding that is why it tastes like shit. But you are making a “Lifestyle Change”. You are feeling hungry but fabulous.
People at work have noticed that you have stopped raiding the candy dish. You mention your diet and they are all “Oh hell yeah, you look amazeballs”. They offer you cake and you are all “Oh hell No” and while you dig into your “Fat Free German Chocolate Yogurt Product” you notice the hot guy in accounting eating bacon. You mentally think to yourself “He’s going to have a heart attack in 5 years but when I look like Gwennie Ima gonna drag him into the copy room and lick his abs”. You fail to realize this is a sign that you need to eat some meat.
This is getting hard. Really hard. So you ask the tweaked out temp receptionist how she stays thin. She hands you a bottle of “Metabolic Burn Pills” (they are endorsed by Jillian Micheals- SCORE). You spend the rest of the week tweaked out like Speedy Gonzales. The pills at $49.95 for a one week supply mean you can’t afford chicken. No worries. People in the US eat way too much protein, like that hot guy in accounting with the yummy biceps. Again, you miss your bodies hint to eat some god damn meat.
The ladies in the office summon you for Birthday cake day. You pop 2 “Metabolic Burns” and tell them to fuck off. You want the whole cake, but can’t summon the energy to get down the hall because you ran too hard last night to burn off the banana you binged on. So you surf online and there it is “Gwennie’s Cellulite Shocker”. WTF? She has porked up from a size 0 to a size 2!!!!!! So you go and walk, anywhere. You see hot guy from accounting eating his bacon. You ponder using your Cardio Kick skills to steal it. You decide not to. On the way home, you swing by Hardees and eat a Triple Thick Bacon Burger, Large Fries and a shake.
You recover from the weekend’s food fest with the sobering realization that you have to work even harder unless you want to be a fat cow like Gwennie. So you order “Insane Crazy Work Out”, throw out all the fruit in the house, and reduce your chicken allotment to 3 ounces a day. You tear your tortilla in half. Now you are cooking with fire. You pop 4 “Metabolic Burns”.
You step on the scale and see no weight lost. You cry to your friend and she offers kindly “oh, jogging must be putting on muscle”. Surely your clothes fit different? Yeah, looser over the boobs, tighter over the thighs. You double check that you aren’t washing in hot water. You modify your diet to raw vegan and double up on the “Insane Crazy Work Out”.
Birthday Cake Day. You glare. The perky woman in marketing skips in and lets you know you are “LOOKING GREAT” and informs you that she lost “25 lbs on Weight Watchers”. She lets you know that “everything in moderation works for her”, except you notice that her pants are snugger and she kind of looks like she has put on weight. You hand her the last of your “Metabolic Burns” pills (Jillian recommends these) and she smiles gratefully. You laugh privately “silly fool eats bananas”.
You turn on Oprah. She looks fat again. Really? A god damn personal chef and trainer and she still looks fat? Her guest is Gwennie. Gwennie is now a raw vegan and doing daily cleanses with her personal yogi. “The cellulite is gone and I am back to size 0”. She is also premiering a line of slimming undergarments that smooth her out under her yoga togs. Hmmm… “Metabolic Burns” or a pair of “Yoga Slims” so you can look hot while doing “Insane Crazy Work Out”. You say *(^*&^ it and order a pizza, throw on your sweat pants and watch Reality TV. You think dirty thoughts about that guy in accounting with the huge powerful thighs that barely fit in his dockers. I mean, all he eats is meat. You keep missing your body’s hint to eat a steak.
You go to work armed with your Lean Cuisine and a bagel with fat free cream cheese. You eat the birthday cake. You chirp “everything in moderation”. 8 weeks of agony netted you a 3lb loss and the new “Yoga Slims” you bought mean you can wear last years khakis. You give your “Insane Crazy Work Out” dvd’s to the perky lady from Marketing who is doing “The Hollywood Super Cleanse”.
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