• This is a political forum that is non-biased/non-partisan and treats every persons position on topics equally. This debate forum is not aligned to any political party. In today's politics, many ideas are split between and even within all the political parties. Often we find ourselves agreeing on one platform but some topics break our mold. We are here to discuss them in a civil political debate. If this is your first visit to our political forums, be sure to check out the RULES. Registering for debate politics is necessary before posting. Register today to participate - it's free!

Why America is fat

sawyerloggingon

Banned
DP Veteran
Joined
May 6, 2011
Messages
14,699
Reaction score
5,703
Location
Where they have FOX on in bars and restaurants
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Independent
I saw this guy on Dr Oz last night ( my wife makes me watch it OK :lol:) and I think he is onto something. Americans have started eating so much prepared food instead of real food they prepare themselves that they have become food junkies. The pushers are the refined food industry who go to great pains to make things artificially good. I don't make excuses for obese people though, it's your body and you choose what to put in it so if you chose this crap that they alter instead of real food you can only blame yourself for your weight.

In the hands of food manufacturers, cheese has become an ingredient,” Mr. Moss writes. Thus we have cheese-injected pizza crusts and cheese-draped frozen entrees, cheesy chips and cheezy crackers. Cheese and its processed derivatives were deployed across a gazillion new products and line extensions during decades when Americans, as a fat-avoidance tactic, were actually cutting their milk consumption by 75 percent. From a fat-consumption point of view, he says, “trading cheese for milk has been a poor bargain indeed.” And that is the nub of Mr. Moss’s case: By concentrating fat, salt and sugar in products formulated for maximum “bliss,” Big Food has spent almost a century distorting the American diet in favor of calorie-dense products whose consumption pattern has been mirrored by the calamitous rise in obesity[/URL] rates. Entire food categories were invented to support this strategy (Mr. Moss is particularly fascinated by Kraft’s near-billion-dollar line of Lunchables snack trays), as processors bent the American appetite to Wall Street’s will.
Mr. Moss, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter for The New York Times who put the phrase “pink slime” into high rotation with a 2009 article on beef safety, deftly lays out the complicated marriage of science and marketing that got us where we are. Is that place a state of addiction? The book uses the language of addiction liberally — soldiers returned from World War II “hooked on Coke,” kids “lunge” for the sugar bowl, a typical salt lover is a “hapless junkie” — and it’s a metaphorical usage that must drive some research purists bananas.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/18/books/salt-sugar-fat-by-michael-moss.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
 

kingsbridge

Member
Joined
Jun 19, 2013
Messages
58
Reaction score
16
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Undisclosed
I've always heard that it isn't what you eat but how much you eat. I'm sure that what one eats is of obvious importance, but the problem really seems to be the amount of food people eat--and it's not just Americans. If we suppose the problem is the amount, we ought to think of the circumstances that lead people to eat larger quantities of food; television, internet, social media, etc., all seem like likely factors in this. Although certain companies and governments make it easier for people to consume fast food, it's really a lack of self-control that is the problem. An issue for all Western society, and not just Americans. But hey, we're all pretty the way we are, right?
 

sawyerloggingon

Banned
DP Veteran
Joined
May 6, 2011
Messages
14,699
Reaction score
5,703
Location
Where they have FOX on in bars and restaurants
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Independent
I've always heard that it isn't what you eat but how much you eat. I'm sure that what one eats is of obvious importance, but the problem really seems to be the amount of food people eat--and it's not just Americans. If we suppose the problem is the amount, we ought to think of the circumstances that lead people to eat larger quantities of food; television, internet, social media, etc., all seem like likely factors in this. Although certain companies and governments make it easier for people to consume fast food, it's really a lack of self-control that is the problem. An issue for all Western society, and not just Americans. But hey, we're all pretty the way we are, right?

The thing about these refined foods though is that they are formulated to make you want to keep eating them to excess. "You can't eat just one".
 

lizzie

DP Veteran
Joined
Oct 22, 2009
Messages
28,580
Reaction score
31,551
Location
between two worlds
Gender
Female
Political Leaning
Libertarian
It's a simple numbers game. More calorie intake in, less energy expended= weight gain. No matter what you are eating, how much fat content is in it, how much sugar, or how much protein, how much salt, processed and fortified, or raw in its most basic form, if you eat more calories than you expend, your weight will go up. Imo, the real problems are laziness and anxiety. People often don't eat out of need, but out of nervous anxiety, and they are trying to mentally and emotionally feel better.
 

Josie

No Day But Today
Supporting Member
DP Veteran
Joined
Mar 25, 2010
Messages
39,593
Reaction score
21,134
Gender
Female
Political Leaning
Libertarian - Right
I agree with lizzie. It's about taking in more calories and not burning them off. Simple.
 

sangha

DP Veteran
Joined
Jul 1, 2011
Messages
67,218
Reaction score
28,522
Location
Lower Hudson Valley, NY
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Independent
I agree with lizzie. It's about taking in more calories and not burning them off. Simple.

Yes and no.

Yes, if you take in more calories than you burn, you will gain weight eventually. Simple, no!

What one takes in, and what one burns, are affected by a wide variety of factors, and medical science still hasn't figured out how all those factors interact with each other. Simple, it is not.
 

rhinefire

DP Veteran
Joined
May 3, 2007
Messages
8,480
Reaction score
2,067
Gender
Undisclosed
Political Leaning
Conservative
I wonder about the number of calories versus the amount burned because I ask what about people that gobble tons of food and never gain a pound? We all know those types. Me personally, I lose lbs. instantly if I burn more than I injest and excercise. If I stop they all come back however, I never get heavier than I was. So if I drop 20 lbs, then go back to my evil ways I'll gain the 20 back but not more.
 

Threegoofs

COVID survivor
Supporting Member
DP Veteran
Joined
Mar 31, 2013
Messages
53,211
Reaction score
19,329
Location
The birthplace of Italian Beef
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Undisclosed
First off- watching Dr Oz is bad for your health. He's an idiot.

Secondly, the reality of the American diet is that huge portions of calorie dense foods are the norm, not the exception.
 

lizzie

DP Veteran
Joined
Oct 22, 2009
Messages
28,580
Reaction score
31,551
Location
between two worlds
Gender
Female
Political Leaning
Libertarian
Yes and no.

Yes, if you take in more calories than you burn, you will gain weight eventually. Simple, no!

What one takes in, and what one burns, are affected by a wide variety of factors, and medical science still hasn't figured out how all those factors interact with each other. Simple, it is not.

Well, yes, it is simple. People vary, according to body type and metabolic rate, but with every individual, the same formula applies. It is a matter of knowing how much energy you expend naturally, and how much you expend purposefully, and keeping your caloric intake in balance, or out of balance if your goal is to either gain, or lose weight.
 

Andalublue

Hello again!
DP Veteran
Joined
Feb 2, 2010
Messages
27,099
Reaction score
12,353
Location
Granada, España
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Libertarian - Left
The problem with the food industry for the consumer is that healthier options are often made deliberately more expensive or difficult to find. I remember on my first ever visit to the US, a friend and I were heading away for a weekend in the countryside. We stopped at a supermarket on the outskirts of Washington DC to stock up. I was really shocked to find virtually no fresh food at all. There was no fresh fish counter, no meat counter, no baker and fruit and veg were all pre-packaged, pre-weighed, waxed and, as far as I could see, imported. I was pretty aghast. I thought that in the capital city of the richest and wealthiest nation on Earth I would see far greater rather than far less consumer choice that I would expect at home.

I guess when a whole industry's business model is based on offering more for less one should expect that increasing volume reduces quality. People want to eat meat every day, so they get it, but it's crap. If everyone was that bothered about the quality of their food farmers' markets would be the norm, not the slightly bourgeois side-show that many people seem to see them as.

As far as everyone being responsible for their own obesity, of course that's true, but it doesn't exonerate an industry that spends more on marketing and advertising crap than making the crap less crap. If advertising didn't persuade anyone to consume bad products then there would be no bad products and there'd be no advertising. Why would these companies spend so much money on ads if it didn't succeed in altering a consumer's shopping behaviour?
 

CanadaJohn

Canadian Conservative
DP Veteran
Joined
Jan 27, 2013
Messages
28,702
Reaction score
20,419
Location
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Conservative
It's a simple numbers game. More calorie intake in, less energy expended= weight gain. No matter what you are eating, how much fat content is in it, how much sugar, or how much protein, how much salt, processed and fortified, or raw in its most basic form, if you eat more calories than you expend, your weight will go up. Imo, the real problems are laziness and anxiety. People often don't eat out of need, but out of nervous anxiety, and they are trying to mentally and emotionally feel better.

There's truth to what you say, but it's not that simple - there are good calories and bad calories - the number one scourge of western society is refined sugars and their infusion in almost every processed food we eat. Natural sugars in fruits and other fibrous foods are good for you - but refined sugars added to baked goods or in its many liquid forms in almost everything else screws up everyone's metabolism and your brain's chemical balance and is the food industry's equivalent to nicotine in cigarettes. Likewise, saturated fats naturally found in meats and dairy are also good for you and their manufactured equivalent found in trans fatty processed foods are killers.

It's very hard to do, but I strongly agree with the diet philosophy of simply sticking to the outer aisles of any grocery store for all your food needs - those aisles have fruits and vegetables, meat and poultry, and dairy.
 

lizzie

DP Veteran
Joined
Oct 22, 2009
Messages
28,580
Reaction score
31,551
Location
between two worlds
Gender
Female
Political Leaning
Libertarian
There's truth to what you say, but it's not that simple - there are good calories and bad calories - the number one scourge of western society is refined sugars and their infusion in almost every processed food we eat. Natural sugars in fruits and other fibrous foods are good for you - but refined sugars added to baked goods or in its many liquid forms in almost everything else screws up everyone's metabolism and your brain's chemical balance and is the food industry's equivalent to nicotine in cigarettes. Likewise, saturated fats naturally found in meats and dairy are also good for you and their manufactured equivalent found in trans fatty processed foods are killers.

But the outcome is the same. Regardless of the quality of food, the balance of calories in to calories out is what determines weight. We're talking about obesity, not health quality.
 

GottaGo

Rock and a hard place
DP Veteran
Joined
Dec 2, 2012
Messages
5,635
Reaction score
4,910
Location
Miles to go before I sleep
Gender
Undisclosed
Political Leaning
Independent
But the outcome is the same. Regardless of the quality of food, the balance of calories in to calories out is what determines weight. We're talking about obesity, not health quality.

The in/out is a part of it, but the quality of the food, which effects how the body uses it, does have an impact also.

200 calories of potato chips versus 200 calories of fruits and veggies will produce different results.
 

sangha

DP Veteran
Joined
Jul 1, 2011
Messages
67,218
Reaction score
28,522
Location
Lower Hudson Valley, NY
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Independent
Well, yes, it is simple. People vary, according to body type and metabolic rate, but with every individual, the same formula applies. It is a matter of knowing how much energy you expend naturally, and how much you expend purposefully, and keeping your caloric intake in balance, or out of balance if your goal is to either gain, or lose weight.

Yes, but knowing how much much energy you expend is not simple, so keeping your caloric intake in balance is not either.
 

CanadaJohn

Canadian Conservative
DP Veteran
Joined
Jan 27, 2013
Messages
28,702
Reaction score
20,419
Location
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Conservative
But the outcome is the same. Regardless of the quality of food, the balance of calories in to calories out is what determines weight. We're talking about obesity, not health quality.

Sorry Lizzie - we're talking about obesity and weight gain/loss and to suggest that's not related to quality of health is nonsense - if you tell someone that they can lose weight by eating 1,500 calories a day, no matter what the make-up of those calories may be, you're setting that person up to fail. You cannot lose weight and keep a healthy body weight on a diet of potato chips, twinkies and Coke no matter how much you exercise. America, Canada, and other western societies have to accept that the types of foods we ingest are directly related to the size of our population. It's well documented that people who emigrate from more healthy, less processed food countries, to western societies tend to gain weight not because their lifestyle necessarily changed but because the types of foods they eat changed and that adversely affected their metabolism and their brain's chemical balances.

Telling an obese person that they're fat because they don't run on a treadmill enough is just ignoring the true causes of the obesity to begin with.
 

lizzie

DP Veteran
Joined
Oct 22, 2009
Messages
28,580
Reaction score
31,551
Location
between two worlds
Gender
Female
Political Leaning
Libertarian
The in/out is a part of it, but the quality of the food, which effects how the body uses it, does have an impact also.

200 calories of potato chips versus 200 calories of fruits and veggies will produce different results.

They will produce different results health-wise, not necessarily fat-wise. I'm not diabetic, but I have a strong tendency to have hypoglycemic reactions. If I eat sweet crap in the morning, and don't also include something with high quality protein, my sugar will bottom out about two hours later, and my pancreas starts dumping insulin. This increases my need for more calories to balance what I have coming in and going out, but everything is broken down to its most basic form, which the body utilizes to try and maintain balance, then stores the excess for future reserves if possible.
 

ecofarm

global liberation
Supporting Member
DP Veteran
Joined
Jun 4, 2010
Messages
120,550
Reaction score
35,600
Location
Miami
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Independent
Food is the source of many of society's problems.

Breakfast is the first act of violence every day.
 

Higgins86

Supporting Member
DP Veteran
Joined
Oct 13, 2011
Messages
15,919
Reaction score
7,978
Location
England
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Independent
I think portion size has a lot to do with it as well! I'm always shocked by how big a starter is in the average American Restaurant or how big a "large" portion is. For example a large in a European mcdonalds is more smilar to a medium in the US. For some reason many people seem to think more food is better but if you go to 3 star + restaurant in any US city you will see smaller portions and better quality food.
 

sawyerloggingon

Banned
DP Veteran
Joined
May 6, 2011
Messages
14,699
Reaction score
5,703
Location
Where they have FOX on in bars and restaurants
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Independent
The problem with the food industry for the consumer is that healthier options are often made deliberately more expensive or difficult to find. I remember on my first ever visit to the US, a friend and I were heading away for a weekend in the countryside. We stopped at a supermarket on the outskirts of Washington DC to stock up. I was really shocked to find virtually no fresh food at all. There was no fresh fish counter, no meat counter, no baker and fruit and veg were all pre-packaged, pre-weighed, waxed and, as far as I could see, imported. I was pretty aghast. I thought that in the capital city of the richest and wealthiest nation on Earth I would see far greater rather than far less consumer choice that I would expect at home.

I guess when a whole industry's business model is based on offering more for less one should expect that increasing volume reduces quality. People want to eat meat every day, so they get it, but it's crap. If everyone was that bothered about the quality of their food farmers' markets would be the norm, not the slightly bourgeois side-show that many people seem to see them as.

As far as everyone being responsible for their own obesity, of course that's true, but it doesn't exonerate an industry that spends more on marketing and advertising crap than making the crap less crap. If advertising didn't persuade anyone to consume bad products then there would be no bad products and there'd be no advertising. Why would these companies spend so much money on ads if it didn't succeed in altering a consumer's shopping behaviour?

You were in a part of town that does not want real food. Other parts of America are very different. Where I live there are health food stores all over and every super market has a health food section and lots of real food.
 

soot

DP Veteran
Joined
Apr 3, 2013
Messages
4,308
Reaction score
2,530
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Independent
I agree with lizzie. It's about taking in more calories and not burning them off. Simple.

Simple, sure. But not easy.

In the interest of full disclosure I'm currently about 35 lbs. overweight (205 when I should be about 170 @ 5'11").

But that tends to fluctuate over the course of a year from my "goal" weight back up to being a big fat pig and then down again.

I'm not ignorant when it comes to nutrition, or too stupid to understand how the facts about nutrition collide with the reality of diet and exercise.

I know what my daily caloric intake should be both when I'm largely sedentary and when I'm exercising regularly. I've weighed and measured enough food that I know what a proper portion looks like (to provide n calories) off the top of my head.

But frankly I don't always have time for that.

I work 60 hours a week in financial services, I'm raising two little boys, both my parents and my in-laws are in their late 70's, early 80's and require a lot more of my time than I am realistically able to give, I have a wife who requires proper "care and feeding" if I hope to maintain a happy relationship, and etc, and etc, and etc...

Sometimes, despite my knowledge and my best intentions, life takes over and after 11 hours in the office I run home, read my kid a bedtime story, and collapse on the couch to eat either take-out or the prepared packaged foods that Sawyer mentions in the OP while I continue working via laptop until I essentially pass out with my face in a bowl of "pink slime".

Then I wake up the next day and do it all over again, except maybe throw in T-Ball practice and an hour and a half on the phone with my mother's secondary healthcare insurance provider arguing over some inane nonsense.

Now, don't misunderstand me here. I'm not making excuses for myself. I know better, I could do better, I hold myself to a higher standard that 95% of society in almost every respect and there's no good reason why I allow myself to slack when it comes to diet and exercise.

The honest truth is that I don't like dieting and I don't like exercise. I don't like eating salad. I don't like getting up at 0500 to work out (and that is really the only time I have during the day to exercise).

So I get lazy sometimes (usually for about four or five months out of every year, so sue me).

But what about all the other people out there that don't have everything going for them that I have going for me?

Not everyone understands diet and nutrition. Not everyone understands how to manipulate fractional serving sizes to arrive at a desired number of calories. Not everyone works for an employer that has a gym in the building, nor can everyone afford to join a private gym. Not everyone's health allows them to exrecise at all. Heck, there are some people who just don't know how to exercise. The list of stuff thhat people either don't know or can't afford when it comes to proper diet and exercise can go on and on and on.

And those are the people that these food manufacturers are exploiting.
 

sawyerloggingon

Banned
DP Veteran
Joined
May 6, 2011
Messages
14,699
Reaction score
5,703
Location
Where they have FOX on in bars and restaurants
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Independent
But the outcome is the same. Regardless of the quality of food, the balance of calories in to calories out is what determines weight. We're talking about obesity, not health quality.

What you are missing here is a very small serving of refined , prepared food gives you more calories than you need and not enough bulk to satisfy your hunger.
 

Higgins86

Supporting Member
DP Veteran
Joined
Oct 13, 2011
Messages
15,919
Reaction score
7,978
Location
England
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Independent
You were in a part of town that does not want real food. Other parts of America are very different. Where I live there are health food stores all over and every super market has a health food section and lots of real food.

It def varies on where you go within the US. However would you not say that helath food stores and farmers markets are a little pricey for the average American family?
 

lizzie

DP Veteran
Joined
Oct 22, 2009
Messages
28,580
Reaction score
31,551
Location
between two worlds
Gender
Female
Political Leaning
Libertarian
Yes, but knowing how much much energy you expend is not simple, so keeping your caloric intake in balance is not either.

That is the reason we have statistical charts, based on height and age. There are always exceptions to the rule, but if you are a certain age, and a specific height, you can generally follow the caloric requirements on that chart, unless you are in the exceptional range who has metabolic disorders.
 

Higgins86

Supporting Member
DP Veteran
Joined
Oct 13, 2011
Messages
15,919
Reaction score
7,978
Location
England
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Independent
I know in the UK a major issue is how popular take-away food has become. When I grew up getting take out was a rare treat but nowdays people seem to rely on it. The population is no longer cooking their own food and have no interest in eating fresh.
 
Top Bottom