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beskeptical
2005-Jan-11, 08:52 AM
you autistic.

This is a thread intended to counter the judgmental nature of some people who readily lay blame on others for various things. I intend to focus on weight but first some background.

Over the years a number of human disorders have been blamed on either the person themself or in some cases a parent's actions only to find out through research, the blame was misplaced. One very good example was the not too distant past when mothers were told outright, their child was autistic because the mother had failed to bond or essentially love the child correctly. Homosexuals were supposedly that way because they had a dominant mother.

After making these horrible and very painful claims to mothers of these children, it turns out the claims were completely wrong. Ooops. Oh well.

So now let me bring up the issue which has a more current basis. After years of blaming excessive weight on the person because it's pretty obvious the issue is calories in vs. calories burned, researchers have been trying to find ways to change the equation. Almost all of the research has been based on behavior modification in the past. And in the majority of cases, behavior modification is not successful. Are that many people really just lacking self control?

Well, finally researchers are taking a serious look at the fallacy of the underlying premise that it is just a matter of self control and behavior modification. This idea has been bantered about over the years. Genetic predisposition to obesity is well established. And drugs to suppress appetite have been researched because of the great market potential.

Now, however, there is much more focused research on the exact mechanisms of weight control. What is being discovered is that the drive to consume weight conserving calories is extremely strong and not something easily overridden. Just as you cannot hold your breath beyond a few minutes, and just as you will have a very hard time refusing water after a few days without it, your body has a physiological drive to maintain a certain calorie intake that is just as strong as the drive of thirst and even as strong as the drive to breathe. Just willing that drive away or trying to change it by behavior modification cannot always be done.

Reactions to the concept that weight loss is not a matter of will power lead many people to react with comments like, "It just gives the person an excuse to continue their over eating," and, "You have a choice to put the food in your mouth or not." These are very shortsighted statements just as was telling mothers their child's autism was the result of the mother's actions.

See if you can hold your breath. Now blame your failure on your lack of willpower. Despite this analogy, many people will conclude the drive to breathe is completely different than the drive to eat. Yes, it is. But the demonstration is intended to highlight just how strong our physiological drives are. Understanding the physiological drive to eat is critical to successful weight loss for millions of people. This doesn't mean one throws away the tools of behavior modification in treating obesity. But it does mean throwing away the blame if behavior mod is not successful.

NEUROENDOCRINE INTEGRATION OF BODY WEIGHT REGULATION (http://www.endotext.org/obesity/obesity5/obesity5.htm)
For more than 70 years, increasingly sophisticated methods have been brought to bear on the problem of the brain involvement in the physiology of energy homeostasis and the pathogenesis of obesity. A vast number of experimental observations have been produced and, particularly within the last decade, the combination of novel genetic and sophisticated physiology techniques has allowed for great progress. These methods have helped identify metabolic hormones and their relationship to key peptidergic systems in the hypothalamus. Although the central integration of afferent signals reflecting acute and chronic energy requirements has started to become clearer, the neuronal pathways that actually initiate changes in ingestive behavior or energy expenditure are still largely unknown. Furthermore, researchers are far from understanding the overall picture of central body weight regulation that involves multiple brain areas outside the hypothalamus. This chapter summarizes the current knowledge [May 28, 2003] and understanding of central nervous system anatomy and physiology in relation to mechanisms controlling energy balance.
I found the following particularly enlightening, the fact there is strong resistance to losing weight and little resistance to gaining it.

Control of Food Intake in the Obese (http://www.obesityresearch.org/cgi/content/full/9/suppl_4/S263[/url)
In general, humans display a system of weight regulation that is asymmetrical—a reduction in body weight is strongly defended but weight gain is not. The body seems to tolerate a positive energy balance. There is no mechanism that can detect a positive energy balance per se or that can implement a sufficiently strong correction to behavior to maintain body weight in an environment that promotes consumption. The evolutionary process has favored biological traits associated with preferences for high energy density (sweet and/or fatty) energy-yielding foods. The control of food intake in obese or weight-gaining individuals may display various risk factors that favor an increase in energy.
And these papers had some additional points like the failure of Leptin to be the key to the castle doesn't mean we have nothing else left to try.

Pro-opiomelanocortin and weight regulation: from mice to men (http://www.phoenixpeptide.com/allobesity/Catalog%20Files/POMC/POMCPAGE.htm)
Significant progress in our understanding of the mechanisms of weight homeostasis has been made by studying the many genetic mouse models of obesity. Positional cloning in the obese mouse led to the discovery of leptin as a feedback messenger indicating the adequacy of peripheral energy stores. This was the first in a series of important advances in this field. Shortly after this discovery, two research laboratories presented evidence for the role of hypothalamic pro-opiomelanocortinergic (POMC) neurons as important mediators in the regulation of feeding behavior, insulin levels and, ultimately, body weight.
Ghrelin, Appetite & Weight Control (http://www.annecollins.com/Weight_Loss/ghrelin-appetite.htm)
Scientists say they may have found out why people get hungry at mealtime, why dieters who lose weight often gain it back and why a certain type of stomach surgery helps very obese people lose a great deal of weight.

The reason may be a hormone called ghrelin, which makes people hungry, slows metabolism and decreases the body's ability to burn fat.

Leptin Appetite Suppressant

Another promising discovery, leptin, an appetite suppressant made by fat cells and thought to have great promise as a treatment for obesity, has turned out to be a disappointment because most overweight people are resistant to its effects.
Central nervous appetite regulation: mechanisms and significance for the development of obesity (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=197069 9&dopt=Abstract)

Diet, monoamine neurotransmitters and appetite control. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=115104 34&dopt=Abstract)

gethen
2005-Jan-11, 01:58 PM
Interesting post. But do you think that the role of hormones and other chemicals in the body accounts for the majority of overweight or obese people out there? Or are we talking about a few people with a genetic dispostion toward over consumption? I'm wondering why we're all not "fat".
Not in any way arguing with your point, beskep. Just curious as to how widely this is thought to affect the population.

mickal555
2005-Jan-11, 02:38 PM
You could say your mother made you autistic because it is genetic. I agree with you though.

teddyv
2005-Jan-11, 03:35 PM
Interesting post. But do you think that the role of hormones and other chemicals in the body accounts for the majority of overweight or obese people out there? Or are we talking about a few people with a genetic dispostion toward over consumption? I'm wondering why we're all not "fat".
Not in any way arguing with your point, beskep. Just curious as to how widely this is thought to affect the population.

Also, why is that North Americans are principally the ones who are overweight in the world at large. There are few obese people in West Africa and believe me, they can and will eat a lot (especially high starch meals). I'm pretty sure the same can be said for a lot of the world.

I think our food processing techniques may have a few answers as well.

gethen
2005-Jan-11, 04:22 PM
Unfortunately, the "obesity epidemic" seems to be spreading worldwide. In the August issue of National Geographic there is a map of the world showing the percentage of obese people all over the world, and very few places seem to be immune. Parts of Africa, China, parts of South America and a few other isolated spots show a very low percentage of obesity, but North America, Australia, much of Europe, Russia, and lots of the Middle East are at 15% to over 24% obese. It looks like prosperity breeds obesity. I would post a link to this map, but it appears you must subscribe to the online magazine to see it.

Ut
2005-Jan-11, 04:29 PM
Now match that obesity map with a map of McDonalds corporate expansion...

Candy
2005-Jan-11, 04:33 PM
Now match that obesity map with a map of McDonalds corporate expansion...
I was thinking the same thing. 8)

beskeptical
2005-Jan-11, 09:32 PM
There are very strong influences which are both environmental and genetic which result in obesity in the first place.

Genetic obesity is pretty straight forward in some cases. Some of the persons who responded to Leptin in the original trials were found to be Leptin deficient. Others have a clear family line of obese ancestors. Some Pacific Islanders and high latitude Northern American natives are such examples.

By the same token, I presume, though have not seen a lot of research, there are some equally predisposed to keeping very little body fat.

But for the rest of the population you get a mix of genetic and environmental influences. That's where the research showing we have a drive to maintain weight but no drive 'not to gain' it is revealing some of the reasons everyone is not fat in those countries McDs hasn't yet reached.

Some environments stimulate eating. TV commercials and other advertisements as well as cultural influences like parents overfeeding and families focused on food are some examples.

Next is the choice of foods and the average level of activity. High calorie, high fat foods you get at the drive through without leaving your car says it all.

There is very strong evidence hormones are involved in appetite controls. Pregnancy and the accompanying hormone changes obviously stimulate eating. While some women do not gain excessive weight in pregnancy, others do. Post menopausal hormone changes cause increased weight gain in some women as well.

Studies have shown high calorie foods stimulate extra insulin production. The insulin increase remains high and stimulates additional food intake. In order for the insulin level to decease, the person has to have lower caloric intake, in particular, lower concentrations of calories at a meal, and resist the appetite stimulation for several days before the insulin levels drop. In other words insulin production responds quickly to stimulation but only slowly returns to baseline levels when the stimulation ceases.

Exercise, by the way, decreases insulin production which directs cells to store fat, and increases glucagon (http://arbl.cvmbs.colostate.edu/hbooks/pathphys/endocrine/pancreas/glucagon.html) which directs cells to release fat for needed energy. That is probably why exercise is more effective than diet control in weight loss. It still isn't a panacea mind you. That's an oversimplification.

A person may or may not have gained weight due to appetite drive, or it may have been only lack of appetite brakes coupled with external factors. There are important interventions that should be undertaken to prevent excessive weight gain in persons where the brakes are the issue. This is the one time personal actions have the best chance of success. Clearly it is easier to maintain one's weight than to lose weight.

Again, the idea our drive to eat is extremely strong and in fact not always controllable by the overweight person trying to actually lose weight does not mean there are no interventions a person can make to lose weight. It is easy to go from either 'you might as well give up' to 'it's all your fault' and forget there is an in between there.

In order to find successful methods of weight loss, we have to first understand what the mechanisms of weight control really are. Food choices, exercise and awareness of environmental stimulators to eat are changes people can consciously make. But an overweight person must understand that refusing that donut is not just will power. The body actually is trying to obtain high calorie foods.

Some people refuse to believe it is more than willpower and just keep telling the person they made a conscious decision to eat the donut. The evidence that is a false premise is the number of people who cannot resist the donut. And, when people do manage to resist the donut, they often cannot resist indefinitely. The physiological drive to get back to that weight set point or beyond is too great and the weight is regained.

I recall an analogy in my field that was one of those minor revelations. For months I had done everything I could to get staff to follow the procedure for exposure to blood. Nothing changed. Then one of the education people said to me, maybe it wasn't a knowledge deficit. [light bulb!] You can go over the procedure, print it out and put it on the BB, send it home in paychecks, but when you see that isn't working, you have to realize your premise was wrong. Getting information out about the procedure assumes the staff do not know what the procedure is. But if they do know and there are other reasons they still don't follow it, then acting on the wrong premise will never fix the problem.

So we have had behavior modification including different food choices and encouraging increased exercise in every shape and form for weight loss and weight management. These methods only work in a very small number of persons.

We have had drug therapies that suppress appetite that have been successful only temporarily in most cases, so the benefit has not outweighed the risk. The drugs prove appetite suppression does work. In fact it works very well, considering how poorly behavior mod works. The problem has been all of the drug therapies so far are eventually compensated for by that very strong physiological drive to keep that overweight set point. We have to wait for research to find out more about appetite control and find drugs which are safe and to which tolerance doesn't develop.

So what would I recommend in the meantime as a health care provider treating an overweight person? The things that are easiest to control are exercise, avoiding appetite stimulators and some food choices.

Exercise is easy. Just don't get frustrated if the pounds don't drop off. And for people with no time, find ways to move while you are doing other things, at least at first. Having to walk your dog is one way it's hard to skip your walk.

Avoiding appetite stimulators is not too hard though it is very individual. So first you have to start looking for what they are, then make changes.

But for food changes, this is where I have very different recommendations. First, find out how many calories you actually are eating every day. You have to keep a food diary and you have to know what portion sizes you are actually eating. Don't give it a second thought that the numbers are high or even very high.

The first changes you should make are to substitute highly concentrated calorie foods for the same number of calories but in lower concentration. This does not mean you go from a cookie to a pound of carrots, though I suppose you could if you like carrots. :wink: But you can go from a cookie to a piece of toast. So you are going from sugar down to bread. It's a start.

As you start to decrease the concentration of calories you are eating and increasing your exercise, you will be affecting one physiological appetite control factor, insulin. Slowly, over time, keep substituting lower calorie foods while keeping the same total calories. Try to eat less more often. If you find yourself still craving the donut, that is a clue you are either changing your diet too fast or not avoiding the appetite stimulators, or maybe both.

Well, this is just one idea that I think fits the evidence better. There has not been research on such a plan, and there is no evidence yet how many people insulin production is even a factor in their weight control, nor, how big of a factor it even is.

It's really going to take more research before we may see any gains in weight loss therapies. One thing is fairly clear though, behavior modification has been a big failure in all but a few cases. It should be tried, but failure should not be viewed as merely a failure of choices. Prevention of weight gain and healthier eating habits is certainly no less important, especially for kids. But, again, if you cannot chose the apple instead of the donut, it isn't just a matter of willpower, no matter how obvious the opposite may seem. We can see that when the person who chooses that apple still craves the donut and goes back for it anyway.

beskeptical
2005-Jan-11, 09:36 PM
You could say your mother made you autistic because it is genetic. I agree with you though.We don't know that for sure yet. Genetics may not be the only factor in autism. :D Besides, it could be a defect on the Y chromosome. :wink:

mike alexander
2005-Jan-11, 10:00 PM
I have a close relative who has tried to lower his average weight all his life, with mixed results at best. As he told me, dieting as his doctor suggested was both physically and psychologically painful. As in pain, not inconvenience. He was unable to sleep, too tired to exercise, and the physiological responses created a continuous and unrepressible obsession with the next meal. In addition, it actually hurt. As a result, he couldn't work properly.

He has had some limited success with a very small change in caloric type and amounts in his diet and some exercise. But as he noted, if being slim means suffering he would rather carry a few pounds extra.

teddyv
2005-Jan-11, 10:01 PM
You could say your mother made you autistic because it is genetic. I agree with you though.We don't know that for sure yet. Genetics may not be the only factor in autism. :D Besides, it could be a defect on the Y chromosome. :wink:

I though autism was caused by vaccinations?

Just kidding! :D

Moose
2005-Jan-11, 10:32 PM
Ah, the old "nature" vs "nurture" debate.

I suspect, like most things, the truth lies somewhere in between the two extremes.

gethen
2005-Jan-11, 10:51 PM
Beskep, I read an article and I wish I could remember where (maybe in Time magazine?) in which the author said that once you've gained weight, your body does its best to maintain that weight. If you stop consuming a certain level of calories, your body may compensate by slowing down so that your weight holds steady. However (the theory went) if you maintain your same level of caloric intake, but increase your activity level (start walking 20 minutes a day) your body does not interpret that as deprivation and will not react by slowing things down. Therefore, exercise alone is a better method of weight loss than just dieting. Any thoughts?

(And I hate the word "diet." I don't "diet" but I do eat differently than I did 10 years ago because once I hit a certain age, the same foods I'd been eating all my life contained too many calories and I put on 10 pounds. :oops:)

tuffel999
2005-Jan-11, 11:27 PM
So this is where you have run to.........

Well I am going to make one post on this so that people understand that you are directing an attack at a person under the guise of being helpful and are board jumping with a topic from another board when you didn't like how it was going. I feel this was a very dishonest and underhanded thing to do on your part.

I will start with exactly what I said on FWIS and quote it here so it is clear what I was saying:


The way I look at it is this. The environment can not force anything to occur that is outside the parameters that are encoded by the genes.

So if you have the following items: iron, tin, limestone, copper, and coke in a normal person you could get a range of items from iron to brass to copper to steel with the right pressures and influences. Now say you only have tin, copper, and iron. You can no longer get steel but the rest of the possibilites can still occur with the right pressure and influences.


you aren't going to get me to agree that people are helpless victims of eating or alcoholism so long as it requires active input, I understand the genetic predispositions however, I understand that not everyone with those dispositions is obese or an alcoholic so that tells me that people are responsible for keeping themselves away from the slippery slope. I have seen enough people when properly motivated break addictions to know that it can be done and be done successfully. If noone could break an addiction then I would agree with you but since many people can there has to be some level of control innate to everyone to allow it. I don't expect the blind to see because it isn't something they have an active part in....the obese do though.

I also stated that noone could be genetically obese.......rather they could be genetically predisposed to obesity. If someone gains weight when expending more calories than they take in they have somehow violated the conservatoin laws.


1) People have genetic dispositoins to certain disorders. That much is easily established.

2) Things that are done consciously like eating are contolled by a person......otherwise it would be unconscious. This is why your holding breath is a logical fallacy...........it is a false analogy. You are comparing breathing which is unconscious to a series of conscious movements. If someone has some sort of need to eat they could eat something other than a triple cheese burger with fries. Celery is a good choice....low in calories high in fiber and if they cant "control" their eating it will curb their weight but yet people who are obese rarely if ever eat just good healthy balanced food. If you look back and honestly look at it you find most if not all people who are obese have a history of poor choices in what to eat.............and those choices are voluntary........noone forces you to eat the triple cheese burger over the salad (Foods that are high in calories, fat, and low in things that are neccesary like vitamins and minerals ie vegtables.....which too hate but I eat anyway becasue I should).

Skepti please DO NOT respond to this post. I have no need to get banned becuase of you getting under my skin because you attack a positoin other than mine and attribute it to me. I post this here solely so people understand what you are doing, what I said initaily, and why it is at the least rude and underhanded behavoir on your part.

gethen
2005-Jan-11, 11:53 PM
Looks like I missed something. [scratches head]

Gillianren
2005-Jan-12, 12:14 AM
me, too, but I just got here. I will say, however, that the post (sorry I can't remember who said it) saying that it's better to increase activity level is right. your body wants to retain that caloric intake.

worzel
2005-Jan-12, 12:15 AM
Control of Food Intake in the Obese (http://www.obesityresearch.org/cgi/content/full/9/suppl_4/S263[/url)
...There is no mechanism that can detect a positive energy balance per se or that can implement a sufficiently strong correction to behavior to maintain body weight in an environment that promotes consumption.
Of course there is, an environment that promotes body beautiful obsessions. I find it interesting that the country with the most obesity has the most "perfect" looking people too.

paulie jay
2005-Jan-12, 03:58 AM
There's a heck of a lot to read here - I'll only add that I'm not one for the advocation of "fat acceptance" societies. Education, activity and support (without gimmicks) is available for people who want to lose weight. But of course I'm not saying it's easy. Sadly a lot of people get swept up in the latest diet fad, fail, and then conclude that there's nothing that they can do.
Will power alone won't be enough - nothing motivates a person more than seeing actual results!

About 10 years ago I lost a significant amount of weight - 20kg in fact (44 lbs). I had convinced myself that I was destined to be a fat person, that there was nothing I could do, and the resulting depression saw me seeking comfort in food. A deadly cylcle. I even lied to myself about what and how much I was eating.

Then I decided enough was enough. I was fortunate enough to have a friend give me a sensible eating schedule, and I exercised regularly by which I mean really exercised. I stripped off 20kg of fat, toned up and got a part time job at the local gym. This didn't take very long (only a matter of months) and I've kept the weight off ever since. The thing that kept me going was that every time I stepped on the scales I was lighter. When you have that kind of motivation you feel that there's nothing you can't achieve.

I have tried to help several friends lose weight. Some were successful, some weren't. But every one of the unsuccessful people admitted that they were sneaking food and pretending that they had done the exercise.

What I'm slowly getting to is that it's my opinion that these people aren't lacking "will power" as such - its more a matter of how far out of their comfort zones they are willing to go. For some people its just easier to say that nothing works rather than actually doing it.

SciFi Chick
2005-Jan-12, 04:10 AM
...For some people its just easier to say that nothing works rather than actually doing it.

I know exactly what you mean. I gained quite a bit of weight in a short period of time due to the combination of emotional trauma and the lovely comfort that is food, not to mention quitting smoking. Then, my life got so crazy that it was impossible to concentrate on a diet.

It took a year, but I was able to meet all of the goals that were interfering with my weight loss and rearrange my life so that the only important goal I have this year is eating right and exercise. It really does take a combination of both.

Brady Yoon
2005-Jan-12, 04:51 AM
You made some very good points, but I disagree somewhat. \

I remember being in elementary school... and I was really fat and unhealthy and I was on risk for several health problems. I ate horrible food and practically never exercised. But now that I am in high school, I make better food decisions and eat lots of vegetables and fruits, and run 3-4 miles daily, and I have joined the school's cross country team (don't go there :D ) . My weight has dropped from 147 lb from when i was in 7th grade to 140 in 9th grade (right now), and I know I got a lot taller and more muscular during that time. Plus, blood tests told me that I was extremely healthy.

Of course, this is only one case, but I definitely know that better eating habits and exercise do help. For most people, it's a mix between the two. Some people have a greater chance of being obese, yes, but these are the same people who must try harder to stay healthy. You can't just blame everything on genetics, at some point, you must take action.

Brady Yoon
2005-Jan-12, 04:53 AM
Oh yeah, I ordered a cheeseburger at In n out. A person about a foot shorter than me ordered a double double, french fries, and a large drink... Shows you that the eating habits of America aren't that healthy. :(

SciFi Chick
2005-Jan-12, 04:56 AM
Bravo, Brady Yoon! I hate running, but I love this one ski machine that they have in my fitness center. I can just go and go, and it actually feels good. :D

sarongsong
2005-Jan-12, 04:56 AM
Maybe they had more money than you---just kidding---dang!---now it's time for a munchie run.

Brady Yoon
2005-Jan-12, 04:58 AM
Bravo, Brady Yoon! I hate running, but I love this one ski machine that they have in my fitness center. I can just go and go, and it actually feels good.

Yeah, it's weird. Exercise actually feels good...after you do it. :D


Maybe they had more money than you---just kidding---dang!---now it's time for a munchie run.

Hmm...seems I'll have to start thinkin outside the box. :x

beskeptical
2005-Jan-12, 08:36 PM
Beskep, I read an article and I wish I could remember where (maybe in Time magazine?) in which the author said that once you've gained weight, your body does its best to maintain that weight. If you stop consuming a certain level of calories, your body may compensate by slowing down so that your weight holds steady. However (the theory went) if you maintain your same level of caloric intake, but increase your activity level (start walking 20 minutes a day) your body does not interpret that as deprivation and will not react by slowing things down. Therefore, exercise alone is a better method of weight loss than just dieting. Any thoughts?

(And I hate the word "diet." I don't "diet" but I do eat differently than I did 10 years ago because once I hit a certain age, the same foods I'd been eating all my life contained too many calories and I put on 10 pounds. :oops:)Interesting. The metabolism slowing down to compensate decreased intake is well documented. The idea of increased exercise and same diet looks like a promising direction of research for sure.

beskeptical
2005-Jan-12, 08:39 PM
Interesting post. But do you think that the role of hormones and other chemicals in the body accounts for the majority of overweight or obese people out there? Or are we talking about a few people with a genetic disposition toward over consumption? I'm wondering why we're all not "fat".
Not in any way arguing with your point, beskep. Just curious as to how widely this is thought to affect the population.I just re-read this and realize I missed the first question. I have no idea what the percentages of various mechanisms of weight gain are. It does seem like there are many factors involved. But resistance to weight loss may turn out to be more consistent. Only research will tell.

beskeptical
2005-Jan-12, 08:47 PM
Ah, the old "nature" vs "nurture" debate.

I suspect, like most things, the truth lies somewhere in between the two extremes.Yes and no. Yes it's nature and nurture that cause obesity. But my point is it's 95% nature that prevents weight loss once you are overweight. That's what the research and the failure of 'nurture' to reach successful weight loss is indicating.

teddyv
2005-Jan-12, 08:49 PM
There's a heck of a lot to read here - I'll only add that I'm not one for the advocation of "fat acceptance" societies. Education, activity and support (without gimmicks) is available for people who want to lose weight. But of course I'm not saying it's easy. Sadly a lot of people get swept up in the latest diet fad, fail, and then conclude that there's nothing that they can do.
Will power alone won't be enough - nothing motivates a person more than seeing actual results!

About 10 years ago I lost a significant amount of weight - 20kg in fact (44 lbs). I had convinced myself that I was destined to be a fat person, that there was nothing I could do, and the resulting depression saw me seeking comfort in food. A deadly cylcle. I even lied to myself about what and how much I was eating.

Then I decided enough was enough. I was fortunate enough to have a friend give me a sensible eating schedule, and I exercised regularly by which I mean really exercised. I stripped off 20kg of fat, toned up and got a part time job at the local gym. This didn't take very long (only a matter of months) and I've kept the weight off ever since. The thing that kept me going was that every time I stepped on the scales I was lighter. When you have that kind of motivation you feel that there's nothing you can't achieve.

I have tried to help several friends lose weight. Some were successful, some weren't. But every one of the unsuccessful people admitted that they were sneaking food and pretending that they had done the exercise.

What I'm slowly getting to is that it's my opinion that these people aren't lacking "will power" as such - its more a matter of how far out of their comfort zones they are willing to go. For some people its just easier to say that nothing works rather than actually doing it.

What is brought up is important, because if you "diet" you must be able to live essentially for the rest of your life with that regimen. The fact that many diets fail in the long run is because they are not sustainable.

beskeptical
2005-Jan-12, 09:00 PM
So this is where you have run to.........

Well I am going to make one post on this so that people understand that you are directing an attack at a person under the guise of being helpful and are board jumping with a topic from another board when you didn't like how it was going. I feel this was a very dishonest and underhanded thing to do on your part.Excuse me tuffel, but I have come here because the rules allow reasonable exchange of ideas without ad hominems and belittling of persons in posts. In addition, the BA does not delete or edit posts of other people unless there is specific offensive content or copyright infringement, and then only that material is deleted.

I have run nowhere. I have chosen to leave FWIS because the board is not moderated in a way that makes posting there very satisfying personally.

beskeptical
2005-Jan-12, 09:01 PM
Looks like I missed something. [scratches head]Nothing important.

A Thousand Pardons
2005-Jan-12, 09:06 PM
See if you can hold your breath. Now blame your failure on your lack of willpower. Despite this analogy, many people will conclude the drive to breathe is completely different than the drive to eat. Yes, it is. But the demonstration is intended to highlight just how strong our physiological drives are.
I can hold my breath for three minutes, sometimes, and I'd imagine I could hold it until I passed out. Then, my body would probably breathe automatically. But I could not-drink-water until I passed out, and my body wouldn't drink water automatically.

Not that I'd do that, or want to do that. People have amazing amounts of willpower, but just like breathing or drinking, there are seldom good reasons for totally avoiding eating.

beskeptical
2005-Jan-12, 09:22 PM
You made some very good points, but I disagree somewhat. \

I remember being in elementary school... and I was really fat and unhealthy and I was on risk for several health problems. I ate horrible food and practically never exercised. But now that I am in high school, I make better food decisions and eat lots of vegetables and fruits, and run 3-4 miles daily, and I have joined the school's cross country team (don't go there :D ) . My weight has dropped from 147 lb from when i was in 7th grade to 140 in 9th grade (right now), and I know I got a lot taller and more muscular during that time. Plus, blood tests told me that I was extremely healthy.

Of course, this is only one case, but I definitely know that better eating habits and exercise do help. For most people, it's a mix between the two. Some people have a greater chance of being obese, yes, but these are the same people who must try harder to stay healthy. You can't just blame everything on genetics, at some point, you must take action.There are people who do lose weight. There is no question. The evidence is, however, that there are very few people who do. The poor success of those fad diets mentioned in another post is not just because the fads are bogus, there's more to it. We have not done enough to look at why so many different diets fail so many people.

At some point you have to look at your underlying premise, is it just a matter of will power and food choice? Is it just learned behavior or failure to learn better behaviors? Or is there more to one's physiological drive to maintain weight, even unhealthy weight than we realize? It's pretty hard to hold your breath for very long. How do we know it isn't just as hard to take in less calories than will maintain our weight? Because it isn't logical at first glance? From the current preliminary research, the drive to maintain weight is turning out to be very powerful and a whole lot more than learned behavior and food choices.

On another note, Brady. It's wonderful you've made the changes you did. And I don't mean to discount them. We do have chubby kids who reach puberty, go through a growth spurt and turn a lot of that fat into muscle. That is a common pattern and puberty must be a time where our hormones are also at work on our weight without conscious input.

It's a very important time for kids to exercise and establish good eating patterns because preventing obesity is much easier than reversing it.

teddyv
2005-Jan-12, 09:32 PM
Of course, this is only one case, but I definitely know that better eating habits and exercise do help. For most people, it's a mix between the two. Some people have a greater chance of being obese, yes, but these are the same people who must try harder to stay healthy. You can't just blame everything on genetics, at some point, you must take action.There are people who do lose weight. There is no question. The evidence is, however, that there are very few people who do. The poor success of those fad diets mentioned in another post is not just because the fads are bogus, there's more to it. We have not done enough to look at why so many different diets fail so many people.[/quote]

See my earlier post. Fad diets don't work because very few people can maintain that type of eating over a lifetime. A healthier diet has to become a lifestyle choice, along with regular exercise. I am blessed in that I have never had any significant weight issues, however my wife does due to a hormonal condition. But she made a conscious decision to eat well (and balanced) and exercise.

This of course is not the only reason the diets fail, but I suspect it is a very significant reason.

beskeptical
2005-Jan-12, 09:39 PM
What is brought up is important, because if you "diet" you must be able to live essentially for the rest of your life with that regimen. The fact that many diets fail in the long run is because they are not sustainable.While this has been suggested as why people who lose weight gain it back, no one has really done the research to see if we are seeing cause and effect or merely the associated better eating because of other factors that resulted in the weight loss.

Certainly some diet components are important to change permanently. Excessive amounts of concentrated calorie foods, (sweets), and other eating behaviors that caused the obesity in the first place have to be avoided. But to go from there to the assumption the person doesn't really crave the high calorie foods and has just decided to eat poorly again from lack of 'will power' or 'motivation' as was also mentioned in another post, reverts back to that underlying premise, it's just behavior.

beskeptical
2005-Jan-12, 09:47 PM
See if you can hold your breath. Now blame your failure on your lack of willpower. Despite this analogy, many people will conclude the drive to breathe is completely different than the drive to eat. Yes, it is. But the demonstration is intended to highlight just how strong our physiological drives are.
I can hold my breath for three minutes, sometimes, and I'd imagine I could hold it until I passed out. Then, my body would probably breathe automatically. But I could not-drink-water until I passed out, and my body wouldn't drink water automatically.

Not that I'd do that, or want to do that. People have amazing amounts of willpower, but just like breathing or drinking, there are seldom good reasons for totally avoiding eating.The analogy with breath holding is not perfect. However, it illustrates the strength physiological drives can have.

Some people have more success than others overriding physiological drives, but on the whole, they cannot be over ridden by mere 'willpower'. The impression eating is willpower and not drive like breathing is just not turning out to be supported by the research.

SciFi Chick
2005-Jan-12, 11:42 PM
So this is where you have run to.........

Well I am going to make one post on this so that people understand that you are directing an attack at a person under the guise of being helpful and are board jumping with a topic from another board when you didn't like how it was going. I feel this was a very dishonest and underhanded thing to do on your part.Excuse me tuffel, but I have come here because the rules allow reasonable exchange of ideas without ad hominems and belittling of persons in posts. In addition, the BA does not delete or edit posts of other people unless there is specific offensive content or copyright infringement, and then only that material is deleted.


FYI - no one edits or deletes posts at FWIS either. Please do not spread lies about that board. Threads are moved to appropriate forums, same as here. People who read the instructions over there understand how it works. It's under the section entitled Site Use.

mike alexander
2005-Jan-13, 12:12 AM
People can acquire a compulsion about their beliefs that causes them to die for them. Religious compulsions come to mind, people who will let themselves be killed rather than renounce a faith. Patriotic compulsions. Soldiers who will go over the top to certain death in defense of a concrete homeland or more abstract political principle. Gang loyalty, where members will fight rivals with significant chance of damage or death over turf. All of these actions are 'bad for you' but some are admired. And no one asks how much is genetic predisposition vs. learned (which might be an interesting project).

A person with obsessive-compulsive disorder is generally not told that he has a failure of willpower. Neither is an acrophobic (I know a bit about this last one. Exposure to high places under certain conditions produces a stereotyped set of physiological reactions that can become completely debilitating. Looking at a PICTURE of a person standing on the edge of a high cliff can make me feel slightly ill).

But overeating is pretty much seen in our current society (Look at paintings of the upper class in previous centuries to note that a big gut was not always a stigma) as purely a matter of self-indulgence and lack of 'willpower'. Despite empirical evidence that most people who try to limit their food intake fail long-term. To keep saying that it's just lack of willpower (when the same people can show amazing willpower in many other areas of their lives) suggests that there is another component at work.

SciFi Chick
2005-Jan-13, 12:23 AM
People can acquire a compulsion about their beliefs that causes them to die for them. Religious compulsions come to mind, people who will let themselves be killed rather than renounce a faith. Patriotic compulsions. Soldiers who will go over the top to certain death in defense of a concrete homeland or more abstract political principle. Gang loyalty, where members will fight rivals with significant chance of damage or death over turf. All of these actions are 'bad for you' but some are admired. And no one asks how much is genetic predisposition vs. learned (which might be an interesting project).

A person with obsessive-compulsive disorder is generally not told that he has a failure of willpower. Neither is an acrophobic (I know a bit about this last one. Exposure to high places under certain conditions produces a stereotyped set of physiological reactions that can become completely debilitating. Looking at a PICTURE of a person standing on the edge of a high cliff can make me feel slightly ill).

But overeating is pretty much seen in our current society (Look at paintings of the upper class in previous centuries to note that a big gut was not always a stigma) as purely a matter of self-indulgence and lack of 'willpower'. Despite empirical evidence that most people who try to limit their food intake fail long-term. To keep saying that it's just lack of willpower (when the same people can show amazing willpower in many other areas of their lives) suggests that there is another component at work.

Do you consider the disorders you mentioned psychological or biological in nature? I know that some OCD's function with therapy and no drugs, but some use drugs. I've been wondering about the psychological component of compulsive eating for some time.

mike alexander
2005-Jan-13, 12:57 AM
SFC, I don't know. I do accept that any condition can display a distribution, from mild to severe. I do not know about the interplay of biological and psychological factors, save that one can affect the other. And indirectly I was implying that there are larger cultural components that help decide 'good' vs. 'bad' behavior (Watch Bogie and Bergman lighting up in Casablanca to see how cultural preferences have shifted over time. Or the idealized female physique seen in Renaissance paintings-I find it safe to assume the mostly male painters were not painting women to be unattractive in their eyes. Or, for heaven's sake, breast implants ).

But try this as an initial hypothesis. Humans can eat and store more than they need in the immediate term. We have physiological mechanisms that actually spare fat in the short run. This may SUGGEST that humans, like most animals, evolved in an environment where the work for food was hard enough to keep caloric balance pretty constant. Change the environment rapidly, to a condition of mainly sedentary work. Change the diet to one with huge amounts of sugar and fats, two of the most appealing appetite ehnancers (evolutionary heritage says yum!). Result is weight gain. Add sedentary activities that are for whatever reason extremely attractive (listen to all the computer gamesters).

Again, given the chance to gain weight, people, on average, seem to do so. This strikes me as being more than some personal failing.

And, yes, we should try not to bloat up. But I find it POSSIBLE that there are evolutionary components here that are stronger than many suspect.

gethen
2005-Jan-13, 01:38 AM
...And, yes, we should try not to bloat up. But I find it POSSIBLE that there are evolutionary components here that are stronger than many suspect.
The argument in a nutshell. I read Beskeptical's OP as a much more detailed statement of the same opinion.

paulie jay
2005-Jan-13, 02:37 AM
There's a heck of a lot to read here - I'll only add that I'm not one for the advocation of "fat acceptance" societies. Education, activity and support (without gimmicks) is available for people who want to lose weight. But of course I'm not saying it's easy. Sadly a lot of people get swept up in the latest diet fad, fail, and then conclude that there's nothing that they can do.
Will power alone won't be enough - nothing motivates a person more than seeing actual results!

About 10 years ago I lost a significant amount of weight - 20kg in fact (44 lbs). I had convinced myself that I was destined to be a fat person, that there was nothing I could do, and the resulting depression saw me seeking comfort in food. A deadly cylcle. I even lied to myself about what and how much I was eating.

Then I decided enough was enough. I was fortunate enough to have a friend give me a sensible eating schedule, and I exercised regularly by which I mean really exercised. I stripped off 20kg of fat, toned up and got a part time job at the local gym. This didn't take very long (only a matter of months) and I've kept the weight off ever since. The thing that kept me going was that every time I stepped on the scales I was lighter. When you have that kind of motivation you feel that there's nothing you can't achieve.

I have tried to help several friends lose weight. Some were successful, some weren't. But every one of the unsuccessful people admitted that they were sneaking food and pretending that they had done the exercise.

What I'm slowly getting to is that it's my opinion that these people aren't lacking "will power" as such - its more a matter of how far out of their comfort zones they are willing to go. For some people its just easier to say that nothing works rather than actually doing it.

What is brought up is important, because if you "diet" you must be able to live essentially for the rest of your life with that regimen. The fact that many diets fail in the long run is because they are not sustainable.

Exactly. That's why sensible eating combined with regular exercise will always be the way to go.

SciFi Chick
2005-Jan-13, 03:18 AM
Again, given the chance to gain weight, people, on average, seem to do so. This strikes me as being more than some personal failing.

And, yes, we should try not to bloat up. But I find it POSSIBLE that there are evolutionary components here that are stronger than many suspect.

I agree. I just wondered if we were on the same page. It's been less than two hundred years since the U.S. was largely agricultural. People worked in the fields all day or in the factories, and then ate. They didn't have access to foods processed with tons of sugar. Now, we're primarily sedentary. I think that's had a big impact.

For me, if I look at it from a societal perspective, I think there's more to it than will power.

If I look at it from a personal perspective, I'm not willing to trade health for poor eating, no matter how hard it is.

I think some people can't divorce their personal perspective from the objective one.

In other words, it might turn out it's not my fault I gain weight, but it's my responsibility to fight it.

mike alexander
2005-Jan-13, 03:46 AM
SFC:

And I believe you have also gotten a nutshell around it. If you wish to lose weight, no one else can do it for you. BUT, for some people the strong tendency to gain or hold weight should not be seen as some moral failing. I am convinced that there are genotype/phenotype subgroups which make losing and keeping off mass an incredible, and sometimes impossible chore. One does not see skinny Inuit. And as noted previously, the slender body image as ideal has a strong cultural bias.

And a culture that casts opprobium on a natural spare tire and drools over strategically placed bags of silicone is a little cockeyed to begin with.

Gillianren
2005-Jan-13, 04:38 AM
I'm a manic depressive. this means that my appetite can be at the whim of my weird brain chemistry. it's not as simple as manic=fine, depressive=overeating, either. when things are very bad, just the thought of getting up and getting food takes more energy than I can stand.

I don't doubt that this contributes to my current weight, as do the physical health problems I have that make even walking agony some days. however, I also believe that I am not a usual case.

however, I also relate to this in another way--a friend of mine suggested once that I don't need therapy or drugs or anything; I just need to focus. in other words, my mood swings were a failing of will power. this made me furious, because I had, at that point, been living inside my head for 26 years, and she, of course, had not.

basically, I think that people w/a compulsion to eat--and I do believe they exist--must feel the same way. however, I do not believe that applies to everyone. as has been said repeatedly, diets as they are defined in America are not the answer. sensible eating and regular excercise are the answer.

Brady Yoon
2005-Jan-13, 04:57 AM
Sorry if I'm being redundant, but how come the countries that eat the most fast food and fatty foods (such as the United States and Australia) have the highest percentage of obese people? Sure, genetics does play a major role. But the thing is, we can make choices about what we eat and how much to exercise. It's not like we are forced to be fat; make wise decisions and you'll be much healthier.

And about the failed diets, I would say that because they are very inconsistent, and only short-term. I see nothing wrong about the food pyramid. Fats and oils are at the top, not at the bottom! :wink: The weird thing about people is that they are not willing to sacrifice anything to become healthier. It's not like you can just think and be healthy, you actually have to do something about it.

beskeptical
2005-Jan-13, 07:04 AM
Of course, this is only one case, but I definitely know that better eating habits and exercise do help. For most people, it's a mix between the two. Some people have a greater chance of being obese, yes, but these are the same people who must try harder to stay healthy. You can't just blame everything on genetics, at some point, you must take action.There are people who do lose weight. There is no question. The evidence is, however, that there are very few people who do. The poor success of those fad diets mentioned in another post is not just because the fads are bogus, there's more to it. We have not done enough to look at why so many different diets fail so many people.

See my earlier post. Fad diets don't work because very few people can maintain that type of eating over a lifetime. A healthier diet has to become a lifestyle choice, along with regular exercise. I am blessed in that I have never had any significant weight issues, however my wife does due to a hormonal condition. But she made a conscious decision to eat well (and balanced) and exercise.

This of course is not the only reason the diets fail, but I suspect it is a very significant reason. :D I had to look at this twice. I thought, "now how did I post the exact same paragraph twice"? "Boy am I getting dogmatic or something." Then I realized it was just a typo in your quote.

Definitely people need to change eating habits and not 'diet' per se. But when people try to change eating habits, they still fail. This goes back to my analogy about all the things I tried to get people to follow the exposure procedure and nothing changed. All of my approaches were to get the protocol out, explain it, teach it. But until you look at the bigger picture, you keep trying and nothing changes.

There are lots of ideas out there. Change your eating habits rather than dieting is clearly the most logical choice given what we know. But how many people know that and still don't succeed in losing weight?

I saw one good study. I'll have to find a link. They took all the folks they could find who were successful in losing weight and keeping it off and then tried to find the common denominators. The only two things I remember were the successful dieters fidgeted, moved, and did other forms of exercise all the time. And, the kind of diet they used didn't matter. This is the kind of research approach we need.

It's easy to say, this or that is what's needed, this or that will work, people just don't follow it. But then you look at your data and find, no matter how logical it sounded, there are still very few people who are successful.

So as logical as exercising and eating right sounds, do you know of any studies that have evaluated one, how many people were successful following the diet plan, and two, how many people lost weight with that regimen?

beskeptical
2005-Jan-13, 07:16 AM
...And, yes, we should try not to bloat up. But I find it POSSIBLE that there are evolutionary components here that are stronger than many suspect.
The argument in a nutshell. I read Beskeptical's OP as a much more detailed statement of the same opinion. :lol: :lol: Yes, I have that problem with details. :P

beskeptical
2005-Jan-13, 07:36 AM
Sorry if I'm being redundant, but how come the countries that eat the most fast food and fatty foods (such as the United States and Australia) have the highest percentage of obese people? Sure, genetics does play a major role. But the thing is, we can make choices about what we eat and how much to exercise. It's not like we are forced to be fat; make wise decisions and you'll be much healthier.

And about the failed diets, I would say that because they are very inconsistent, and only short-term. I see nothing wrong about the food pyramid. Fats and oils are at the top, not at the bottom! :wink: The weird thing about people is that they are not willing to sacrifice anything to become healthier. It's not like you can just think and be healthy, you actually have to do something about it.We need to separate two things here. One is getting fat in the first place and the other is losing weight once it's gained.

The physiological research showing no brakes going forward but strong brakes going backward, while it is very preliminary research, could explain how culture and environmental factors contribute to obesity. As Mike said, we have sedentary life styles and all sorts of things in our culture that favor weight gain. If those things weren't there, we might not have as many overweight people in the first place.

Some people get fat and maybe before they did they could have made better choices that would have nipped it in the bud. But without research we cannot say that is the case. It might also be that some people have a drive to consume more calories if they are available. That fits with evolutionary factors that might play a role. It is also going to be true for persons whose genetic weight set point is high in the first place.

And some people are fine until they get pregnant or reach menopause and then they gain weight. I think the research is pretty strong in the area of hormones having a direct impact on weight gain. Of course, there is a lot of genetics in pregnancy weight gain as well as there might be an influence of age at time of pregnancy.

So lots of both nature and nurture in weight gain, but it isn't nurture in every case.

Taking weight loss separately from weight gain, that's where there needs to be more research since we have pretty good evidence most diets fail, including all the healthy ones.

beskeptical
2005-Jan-13, 08:03 AM
.....
however, I also relate to this in another way--a friend of mine suggested once that I don't need therapy or drugs or anything; I just need to focus. in other words, my mood swings were a failing of will power. this made me furious, because I had, at that point, been living inside my head for 26 years, and she, of course, had not.

...And 100 years ago, your brain chemical imbalance would have been seen as demonic possession or your fault or your mother's fault, (do they ever blame dad?). And all along, there was and underlying mechanism that just needed to be found.

Everyone should give healthy diet and exercise a try. And we need to do better with fast food, food marketing, and especially food marketing to children. The fact we really do need a pill or other treatment for obesity doesn't negate the benefit of good diet and exercise. But we need that pill, not just a lecture that all it takes is motivation or will.

Speaking of treatment, gastric bypass is often successful, but way too drastic for most people. But I saw a news item yesterday that intrigued me. It was an electrode that was implanted which gave an imperceptible shock every few seconds to the stomach. The impact was to suppress (or stimulate, can't remember), some chemical released from the stomach. The result was about a 17% weight loss consistently in the group. It could explain how bypasses are successful if somehow the stomach hormones are also suppressed along with making the stomach so small. The news report was more recent than this article (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=119691 04&dopt=Abstract) so the device must have been reported about from a newer study.

gethen
2005-Jan-13, 02:55 PM
Well, just to stir things up a bit: If we concede that genetics (or biology in general) plays a significant role in the inability to consistently consume a lower calorie diet, due to the body's being hard-wired to store fat for future lean times, why can we not also say that physical activity is equally hard-wired into our brains, since those incapable of keeping up with the tribe, or joining in the hunt shouldn't have passed on their genes. Throughout human evolution until very recently, being sedentary would have meant being dead. So shouldn't we be equally driven to move, to walk or run or perform some sort of physical activity?
I'm sure there are all kinds of holes in this argument, so have at it. 8)

SciFi Chick
2005-Jan-13, 04:40 PM
Well, just to stir things up a bit: If we concede that genetics (or biology in general) plays a significant role in the inability to consistently consume a lower calorie diet, due to the body's being hard-wired to store fat for future lean times, why can we not also say that physical activity is equally hard-wired into our brains, since those incapable of keeping up with the tribe, or joining in the hunt shouldn't have passed on their genes. Throughout human evolution until very recently, being sedentary would have meant being dead. So shouldn't we be equally driven to move, to walk or run or perform some sort of physical activity?
I'm sure there are all kinds of holes in this argument, so have at it. 8)

I think the motivation to do all of those things was removed when we quit being tribes. The industrial revolution didn't hurt either. 8)

mike alexander
2005-Jan-13, 05:28 PM
Fair question. One answer could be that it's the wrong question, or phrased improperly. What if instead I said that we are wired to hunt for food? This makes provisional sense to me. Then it becomes a matter of how hard it is to hunt for food in a given environment. A scarce environment would require caloric output as work in closer balance to food intake.

There is also the question of food quality in terms of nutritional value and caloric content per unit mass. A pound of fries packs a much bigger punch than a pound of carrots. The mean American diet has become very calorie-intensive per unit mass.

Kebsis
2005-Jan-13, 06:04 PM
I originally read the title of this thread as 'Fat people don't lack wallpaper'. Which I assumed was a reference to the mumu's they wear with the wallpaper like designs on them.

jt-3d
2005-Jan-13, 06:14 PM
I'm fat, really fat. I'm fat because I no longer have to run down a gazelle to eat but that doesn't mean I don't still like gazelle. Ranchers don't like running down gazelles either so they launched a propaganda campaign to get everybody convinced that cow is just as good as gazelle and doesn't need running down. In my case it worked, I love double cow burgers with cheese (which you also don't have to run down) and mayo (which comes from the mayo plant I think). I also love pizza which come from Italians and beer which is all natural so it must be good for me.
I hate excercise and typing.
Now I'm hungry.
I blame my mom.

A Thousand Pardons
2005-Jan-13, 08:35 PM
Some people have more success than others overriding physiological drives, but on the whole, they cannot be over ridden by mere 'willpower'. The impression eating is willpower and not drive like breathing is just not turning out to be supported by the research.
Yahbut my point was that breathing can be over ridden by mere willpower. There is a physiological pressure, sure, but it's not insurmountable. And a lot of the pressure to eat is psychological, not physiological in many instances. I've seen that personally.

mike alexander
2005-Jan-13, 09:38 PM
A Thousand Pardons wrote:


my point was that breathing can be over ridden by mere willpower

Up to a point. After that, breathing is overridden by incipient decomposition. :)


I think beskeptical is pointing out something right under our noses (besides the supersized value meal) that we cannot see because of current cultural predjudices: statistics show that large numbers of people weigh more than they should. Instead of starting with what looks like a pretty hard fact and analyzing mean and variance, looking for correlations and attempting to find causal links (genetic, phenotypic, environmental) we tend to use a fuzzy concept like 'willpower' and consciously or not attach a moral appendage to it.

"Willpower" is somewhat problematic. My father developed coronary artery disease very early in life, had a bad MI at 46, and experienced more or less constant angina for the next few decades. He also had severe migranes. Despite that he continued to work full-time (instead of taking disability) until he retired at 65. This indicates willpower to me. He was also overweight his entire life. He knew that this was bad for him, yet his weight persisted.

The above is only to suggest that "willpower" is not some general attribute that can be applied to all situations. The case of a person who can work for two decades despite more or less constant pain yet not maintain a healthy body weight suggests that more than one variable is in operation. I don't think that anyone is saying that all cases of obesity are beyond personal influence. And I think that just about anyone in that condition could benefit from dietary and behavior modification. I only suspect that there are influences that are appearing now that have causes beyond the vague 'weakness of will'.

DogB
2005-Jan-14, 01:13 AM
I'm fat.

I also used to be a pack a day smoker.


I gave up the ciggies cold turkey.

For me it's about a million times harder to lose significant weight than it was to give up smoking.

Just my opinion.

Makgraf
2005-Jan-14, 01:30 AM
I blame this (http://www.danieldrezner.com/archives/001824.html)

paulie jay
2005-Jan-14, 01:31 AM
I just wanted to add (further to my earlier comments) that it's not my belief that everyone should strive achieve some arbitrary body size. If a person is overweight and they are comfortable with that fact, then I don't have a problem with it. But if a person wants to lose weight, then great - I'll do what I can to help them!

Doe, John
2005-Jan-14, 02:31 AM
I don't have any problems with people being fat. IMHO all this focusing on obesity in America is another example of smoke and mirrors. I see Beskep's point and, in a sociology course I took years ago it was suggested that being fat could be regarded as a visible indication of success; so we could be tacitly predisposed towards obesity. What I don't understand are those people with their bellies hanging to their knees who order three Big Macs, two supersized fries, and a large diet cola.

SciFi Chick
2005-Jan-14, 03:46 AM
Medical News Today (http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/medicalnews.php?newsid=18857)

This just came out today, so it looks like the conclusion from the science community is that less calorie combined with increased physical activity is the key to a healthy life.

I've tried each separately, and anecdotally I can attest that it only works for me when I do both. 8)

beskeptical
2005-Jan-14, 07:48 AM
Some people have more success than others overriding physiological drives, but on the whole, they cannot be over ridden by mere 'willpower'. The impression eating is willpower and not drive like breathing is just not turning out to be supported by the research.
Yahbut my point was that breathing can be over ridden by mere willpower. There is a physiological pressure, sure, but it's not insurmountable. And a lot of the pressure to eat is psychological, not physiological in many instances. I've seen that personally.It is insurmountable. You are assuming holding one's breath for minutes is equal to overriding the drive. That isn't what happens. We have voluntary control over automatic breathing. But one cannot hold one's breath for very long before physiological drive overrides your override. How many people have you ever seen hold their breath until they actually passed out (not counting someone underwater)?


Mike, we are so on the same page. I posted this before I got to your post. You do get what I'm saying as well. We take some things for granted without even recognizing the evidence our assumptions are incorrect might be right in front of us.

beskeptical
2005-Jan-14, 08:03 AM
Well, just to stir things up a bit: If we concede that genetics (or biology in general) plays a significant role in the inability to consistently consume a lower calorie diet, due to the body's being hard-wired to store fat for future lean times, why can we not also say that physical activity is equally hard-wired into our brains, since those incapable of keeping up with the tribe, or joining in the hunt shouldn't have passed on their genes. Throughout human evolution until very recently, being sedentary would have meant being dead. So shouldn't we be equally driven to move, to walk or run or perform some sort of physical activity?
I'm sure there are all kinds of holes in this argument, so have at it. 8)First, one cannot assume everything in our bodies are under similar physiological controls. Appetite, thirst, breathing, heart pump, sleep, growth, reproduction, mate selection and so on are not all going to be exactly comparable.

And second, I think as Mike was also saying, we are not likely hardwired to exercise, rather we have the capacity to run, hunt, etc. We may be hardwired to be couch potatoes if we don't have to hunt for food. I imagine a drive toward conservation of energy expenditure would have been more likely than a drive toward exercise whether needed or not. I can only speculate, of course.

beskeptical
2005-Jan-14, 08:54 AM
Medical News Today (http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/medicalnews.php?newsid=18857)

This just came out today, so it looks like the conclusion from the science community is that less calorie combined with increased physical activity is the key to a healthy life.Not to downplay the recommendations in this report, but it really only addresses the problem of obesity from one direction: "This is what everyone should do."

The bulk of the document does do a thorough job of publishing a standard for diet, weight, and exercise. And we do use such standards for many reasons. It was written so schools and whoever have a standard of what is a nutritious diet, and what is the standard for a healthy amount of exercise and weight. The four food groups needed revamp, the pyramid had lots of criticism including that it emphasized foods produced by some of the folks who had input into the guide. This version looks to be a big improvement.

But it doesn't address anywhere I could find, underlying causes or successful solutions for obesity other than pointing out the very bad diets Americans commonly consume. Other than surveys of how bad off we are in the US, it really only says what we should be doing. It doesn't address why we aren't or how to change other than the usual admonitions to eat the same calories you expend, switch to less concentrated calorie foods, yadda yadda yadda.

From the advisory committee (http://www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines/dga2005/report/HTML/D3_DiscCalories.htm) which is the reference for the more easy to read public version:
For weight maintenance, the aim is to consume essential calories plus discretionary calories to equal total energy expenditure. For weight loss, the aim is to consume essential calories but to consume only part of the discretionary calories. In this way, calorie intake will be less than total energy expenditure, but recommended nutrient intakes will be achieved.Makes you kind of want to say, "D'uh". And for this they spent how many tax dollars?

Here's an example of the references cited under "discretionary calories". It is a complete list for that section.
Flegal KM, Carroll MD, Ogden CL, Johnson CL. Prevalence and trends in obesity among U.S. adults, 1999-2000. JAMA 288:1723-1727, 2002.

Hedley AA, Ogden CL, Johnson CL, Carroll MD, Curtin LR, Flegal KM. Prevalence of overweight and obesity among U.S. children, adolescents, and adults, 1999-2002. JAMA 291(23):2847-2850, 2004.

Hill JO, Wyatt HR, Reed GW, Peters JC. Obesity and the environment: where do we go from here? Science 299(5608):853-855, 2003.

Institute of Medicine. Dietary Reference Intakes for Energy, Carbohydrates, Fiber, Fat, Fatty Acids, Cholesterol, Protein and Amino Acids. Washington, DC: National Academies Press, 2002.

Ogden CL, Flegal KM, Carroll MD, Johnson CL. Prevalence and trends in overweight among U.S. children and adolescents, 1999-2000. JAMA 288(14):1728-1732, 2002.
It's all surveys with one editorial article about changing the diet choices of the country.

That could be very useful if it leads to changes in things like super sized fries and junk food in school vending machines. The more aware, the more the public gets motivated to make positive changes. Look how many people still smoke compared to 40 years ago.

So, in a nutshell, the guide doesn't recognize, let alone address underlying causes for obesity other than to acknowledge that we chose bad foods and don't exercise. I think that's a given. The guide does provide a very thorough standard to work toward.

A Thousand Pardons
2005-Jan-14, 09:29 AM
It is insurmountable. You are assuming holding one's breath for minutes is equal to overriding the drive. That isn't what happens. We have voluntary control over automatic breathing. But one cannot hold one's breath for very long before physiological drive overrides your override. How many people have you ever seen hold their breath until they actually passed out (not counting someone underwater)?
It is not impossible to hold your breath until you pass out, it is impossible to hold your breath until you suffocate.

gethen
2005-Jan-14, 02:31 PM
It is insurmountable. You are assuming holding one's breath for minutes is equal to overriding the drive. That isn't what happens. We have voluntary control over automatic breathing. But one cannot hold one's breath for very long before physiological drive overrides your override. How many people have you ever seen hold their breath until they actually passed out (not counting someone underwater)?
It is not impossible to hold your breath until you pass out, it is impossible to hold your breath until you suffocate.
I once had a neighbor whose young son once held his breath until he passed out, in the throes of a nasty tantrum. As soon as he passed out he started to breathe again, so I'd say ATP's last sentence is correct.
But he overrode that drive only very temporarily--kind of like staying on a diet until you can't do it any longer?

This thread is full of really interesting stuff, but I'm left wondering what, if any, solutions exist to this problem. Do we really want the government to force the fast food joints to offer only healthy choices in moderate portion sizes? Wouldn't a better start be to bring back required "gym class" in our schools (assuming they can find an hour a day to do that--and let's not derail this discussion to the educational system)? It seems obvious that schools at least should make certain cafeteria menus contain only good choices, but we can't force kids to take the school lunch instead of bringing a package of Twinkies and a Coke with them for lunch. I just feel that it's imperative that we (our society) address this issue in a constructive manner, because we're all going to be paying the price of obesity in increased medical care costs at some point. Maybe that's already happening, but it will only get worse.

SciFi Chick
2005-Jan-14, 04:02 PM
I just feel that it's imperative that we (our society) address this issue in a constructive manner, because we're all going to be paying the price of obesity in increased medical care costs at some point. Maybe that's already happening, but it will only get worse.

It's funny you should mention that since just this past year, obesity was declared an illness and can now be covered by Medicare.

sarongsong
2005-Jan-15, 01:39 AM
...Again, given the chance to gain weight, people, on average, seem to do so. This strikes me as being more than some personal failing...I find it POSSIBLE that there are evolutionary components here that are stronger than many suspect.
What about a 'scare-factor'? We are daily bombarded with news of disasters and near-disasters at home and abroad that might be, I say might be, triggering some long-ago ingrained imprint to fatten up against an uncertain future.

beskeptical
2005-Jan-15, 03:55 AM
It is insurmountable. You are assuming holding one's breath for minutes is equal to overriding the drive. That isn't what happens. We have voluntary control over automatic breathing. But one cannot hold one's breath for very long before physiological drive overrides your override. How many people have you ever seen hold their breath until they actually passed out (not counting someone underwater)?
It is not impossible to hold your breath until you pass out, it is impossible to hold your breath until you suffocate.If you can successfully hold your breath until you pass out, let me know. I certainly can't.

You are getting into another subject, grapes. Is it absolutely impossible to over ride one's drive to maintain one's current weight? That isn't what I'm saying.

I'm saying the reason so few overweight people do lose weight and keep it off is because the physiological drive to maintain one's weight, regardless of how unhealthy and/or excessive that weight is, is a very strong physiological drive. It is not a mere matter of 'willpower' and 'bad choices'.

You could get into a philosophical discussion about what is willpower. If you can hold your breath as long as you are conscious, then the physiological drive to breathe can be over ridden. Well so what?

So you can over ride your drive to maintain excessive weight but you think of food day and night, you have to fight the urge to eat the donut constantly or you will go back to the kitchen and get it. You have to pay 100% of your attention to not eating what you begin to crave.

Try holding your breath until you pass out while you are running. In other words, while you are stimulated to breathe. A similar analogy might be a person trying to override their drive to eat while cooking a meal for others or while cleaning the kitchen, or while baking cookies for the kids.

The whole point of this is not to point out a person could lose weight if they really wanted to . That's the typical conclusion when using rationale like yours that a person could hold their breath therefore that's all one needs to do.

You can profess, 'they could if they would' all you want. That's what most have been laying on overweight people for years. So one says, 'they could if they would', and the majority do not lose weight and even those who do rarely keep it off. So you just keep saying it?

No, you re-evaluate the problem. Maybe the underlying premise that anyone, or even most people, could lose weight if they were 'motivated', or if they 'just changed what they chose to eat', or if they 'weren't so lazy' or whatever judgmental statement you wanted to put in the sentence was wrong. Maybe the underlying premise is people do not lose weight because for most people, the underlying physiological drive to maintain one's excessive weight is an extremely strong drive.

So now what do you do with that premise? You don't give up and say, "you can't control it, all is forgiven". Unfortunately, when someone goes down the road of the premise excessive weight is a biological not a psychological problem, the knee jerk reaction is, you are just justifying the behavior choice.

No, I am suggesting, as are many researchers finally, that if we want to solve the problem of obesity, it makes no sense to continue down the unsuccessful road of behavior modification. It's time to recognize there is more to it than willpower and start researching alternative methods that might work.

So far, successful methods have been radical surgery and appetite suppressants. The surgery carries great risks and is only open to the morbidly obese. The current appetite suppressants do not offer long term solutions and are frowned upon by the medical community who still equate diet drugs with drugs of abuse.

But there has been some promising research in the area of appetite suppressants by looking at such things as the underlying physiological processes that stimulate eating. In addition, there is some research looking at the reasons gastric bypass may work beyond the obvious smaller stomach. There is one device now in use in Europe that stimulates the stomach with a small electrical charge that seems to result in appetite suppression.

And in the mean time, knowing you are fighting a physiological drive might mean increased activity offers a much better prognosis than all the fad diets in the world. Maybe after trying unsuccessfully to change one's caloric intake, that effort should be dumped and only increased physical activity advocated.

Also, other diet approaches need to be studied. Rather than trying to decrease calories, gradual change to lower calorie concentrations might interrupt the insulin stimulation cycle I talked about earlier. If going from the candy bar to the apple just doesn't work, try going from the candy bar to buttered bread. Instead of a goal of decreasing calories, your goal would be to decrease insulin release.

beskeptical
2005-Jan-15, 04:07 AM
This thread is full of really interesting stuff, but I'm left wondering what, if any, solutions exist to this problem. Do we really want the government to force the fast food joints to offer only healthy choices in moderate portion sizes? Wouldn't a better start be to bring back required "gym class" in our schools (assuming they can find an hour a day to do that--and let's not derail this discussion to the educational system)? It seems obvious that schools at least should make certain cafeteria menus contain only good choices, but we can't force kids to take the school lunch instead of bringing a package of Twinkies and a Coke with them for lunch. I just feel that it's imperative that we (our society) address this issue in a constructive manner, because we're all going to be paying the price of obesity in increased medical care costs at some point. Maybe that's already happening, but it will only get worse.Market forces to change the menu at McDs is much more effective than government regs. I think there is a recognition the foods available are not helping matters. The more success Subway and Quiznos have over McDs and Burger King will bring the changes.

I do advocate at my son's school to get the junk food out of the place. We parents are fighting the big soda industry money. You can't be passive when Coca Cola offers to fund education in exchange for vending machine placement.

As to the PE classes, that's a similar story to the weight loss failures. PE classes in their classic form are failing to teach good activity patterns. I've seen some innovative classes that use the gym workout model instead of the competitive sport model. I really don't think learning the rules to various competitive games need be included in high school curricula.

If you're a parent, getting involved in these issues in school is a worthwhile endeavor.

beskeptical
2005-Jan-15, 04:11 AM
...Again, given the chance to gain weight, people, on average, seem to do so. This strikes me as being more than some personal failing...I find it POSSIBLE that there are evolutionary components here that are stronger than many suspect.
What about a 'scare-factor'? We are daily bombarded with news of disasters and near-disasters at home and abroad that might be, I say might be, triggering some long-ago ingrained imprint to fatten up against an uncertain future.People might be eating because they are fighting with their spouse, but I somehow doubt they are eating because they are afraid of Bin Laden or the next tsunami.

But if you find any research on the topic, I'd be interested.

Gillianren
2005-Jan-18, 12:32 AM
when I was a freshman in high school, I still lived in LA County. and then the riot hit.

comfort food is a very real thing. school was closed for at least a day (I'd have to go back and check my diary from the time to be sure how long, and I'm not going to), and several of us spent the day off at my mother's house, cooking. I'm pretty sure I baked on 11 September, 2001.

this is all anecdotal, I admit, but it's a start, right?

sarongsong
2005-Jan-18, 01:28 AM
...this is all anecdotal, I admit, but it's a start, right?
Right---I was thinking of the cumulative effect...going at least as far back to those idiotic "duck and cover" school exercises against an atomic blast, which was near the time of widespread television acquisition in homes, combined with media's obsession with out-reporting and out-dramatizing each other ad nauseum, which may affect childrens' perception that all is not well, perhaps influencing their eating habits.

CTM VT 2K
2005-Feb-08, 10:31 AM
At the risk of re-starting this thread (I would have commented earlier, but I've was in the hospital unexpectedly for surgery when this discussion was held)....

I come from a fairly hearty family on both sides. My mother's family was a farming family. For generations, they worked the land in various parts of the world. With the advent of better and cheaper farming technology (Tractors etc.) my mother's generation didn't have to work as hard for the same result. They put on more weight, because the traditional family diet didn't change to match the decrease in exertion. My father's side is less clear (only traced back 3 generations, vs. 15 on my mother's side), but we can assume a similar nature.

When I was in training to become an EMT, I had my first alarm bell go off. My Blood Pressure in class read as 188/116 (I am in my mid 20s). For those that don't know the numbers, 120/80 is considerd "normal." I had HIGH BP. I knew my mother had Sodium Sensitivity and High BP. I started looking at my college-student diet, and realized just how bad it was. I dropped my sodium intake from > 5000mg daily to around 2000mg. Within a week my BP dropped to 140/90.

I started exercising. Not something I'd ever really done before. When I started running, I couldn't go a block without stopping. I kept at it, and got myself to being able to run for miles. I'm not fast, but I can run fairly good distances. I started spending time on the exercise bikes in the gym - I would listen to the radio or to a CD and read a book while I pedaled away for 45-60min a day.

I controlled my diet - I can't resist eating a whole box of Doughnuts or cookies or whatever sweet if it's there. I don't buy them any more. I do not allow them in my house. Now, I may eat a whole bag of baby carrots instead. I made smart decisions on what foods I will allow myself to purchase. I still will occasionally buy a sweet/fatty food item, but only occasionally, and only to prevent me from craving it so much that I "fall off the wagon."

In this thread the comparison to holding one's breath has been mentioned several times. You cannot hold your breath to suffocation, and it is difficult to hold your breath to unconciousness. The only way to suffocate yourself is to use some sort of barrier to prevent air exchange. In a manner of speaking this is what I did with my diet - I don't have the sweets in my home, they (essentially) are not available, so I do not consume them. As a matter of personal pride, I refuse to eat at a Fast Food establishment - it has been 9 years since I last ate at McD's. Every now and then I'll get a craving for it, but I go make it myself (controlling the ingredients so that I can make it as healthy as I can) and the craving passes.

I dropped (initially) close to 50lbs in a year and a half. Subsequent to that, I have put back on about 20lbs. I am stable at my current weight, about 195 (about 22% Body Fat), and reasonably healthy (Emergency Surgery notwithstanding). I don't call what I did so much a Diet, as a Lifestyle Change. I exercise regularly, I go out and do things outside whenever I get the chance, I eat right, I limit my exposure to bad foods. The only place will-power comes into it is when I pass the Entenmanns display in the store.... so I try not to go that way. When I do buy a box, it's gone in a day or so - but then I won't buy another box for a couple months. I eat large portions, but it's good food - high protien, low fat, and I only eat dessert when I eat out. In short, I burn calories with activites more akin to my ancestors than my contemporaries.

The only negative that I came across in my lifestyle change, was a problem with my gall bladder. Probably due to the rapid weight-loss, I started having problems with gall stones. I didn't recognize it as such until it was quite severe (Yellowing eyes and skin from a bile duct obstruction). I was in the hopsital getting treated for that very problem when this thread was originally active. Had I known going in that there might have been problems with gall stones related to such a rapid weight loss, I could have taken steps to deal with it before it became a problem.

Going forward, I will continue to live my active life, and be in concious controll of what I will eat. Once I find out where my new "normal" is coming out of the surgery, I will continue striving to maintain control of my weight. Otherwise, I'll be dead of a heart attack before I'm 35 (Family history of heart disease). Had I not caught my High BP 7 years ago, I would have continued fighting the "Battle of the Bulge" the way I had been, fad diet after fad diet - and losing. Getting out and being active (as simple as walking to work instead of driving - something I do, fortunately because of my proximity) is the most important. I do additional exercise, but the fundamental change was to an active lifestyle. I am now in the best health I have been in for my entire life. I plan to remain so for as long as possible.

beskeptical
2005-Feb-08, 09:49 PM
At the risk of re-starting this thread (I would have commented earlier, but I've was in the hospital unexpectedly for surgery when this discussion was held)....That's OK you have an important point here.


I started exercising. ....

I controlled my diet - I can't resist eating a whole box of Doughnuts or cookies or whatever sweet if it's there. I don't buy them any more. .....These two things have the potential for a physiological effect. Exercise and avoiding concentrated carbohydrates both decrease insulin production. For some people, and maybe for all but to varying degrees, eating concentrated calories -> insulin production -> increased appetite -> eating concentrated calories....is a weight increasing or at least a preventing weight loss cycle.

In addition, increasing exercise is much easier for younger people, though I do not mean to say older folks are unable, just that it's harder.


In this thread the comparison to holding one's breath has been mentioned several times. You cannot hold your breath to suffocation, and it is difficult to hold your breath to unconciousness. The only way to suffocate yourself is to use some sort of barrier to prevent air exchange. In a manner of speaking this is what I did with my diet - I don't have the sweets in my home, they (essentially) are not available, so I do not consume them. As a matter of personal pride, I refuse to eat at a Fast Food establishment - it has been 9 years since I last ate at McD's. Every now and then I'll get a craving for it, but I go make it myself (controlling the ingredients so that I can make it as healthy as I can) and the craving passes.While you are attributing the ability to resist concentrated calorie foods to certain behavior modifications, you made more than one change. While it seems to you that you are consciously avoiding certain foods it may be less of a conscious choice. In other words you can't rule out the exercise and changed insulin/eating cycle as the real reason you are able to resist those unhealthy foods. This may seem like a trivial or chicken and egg difference, but it is a key point. What seems like a choice you made in eating was really the choice in exercise, not in eating. Let me continue and then come back to this.

(Not to mention anyone who watched 'Supersize This' should be able to resist going to McDs'. Controlling food choices when calorie consumption is the same is a separate issue. Different mechanisms are involved. When people are on restrictive calorie diets, it is much harder to resist sugars and fats, but not hard to choose between equally concentrated calorie foods.)


I dropped (initially) close to 50lbs in a year and a half. Subsequent to that, I have put back on about 20lbs. And here is a common experience. People are sometimes able to lose weight but eventually gain it back. The fact you remain at a net loss is not to be discounted. But the fact that with all your efforts, all your behavior modifications, your severe health risk which is what anyone with a diastolic BP of 116 has, let alone a 20 yr old with that reading, even with all these factors, you gained 20#s back.


I don't call what I did so much a Diet, as a Lifestyle Change. I exercise regularly, I go out and do things outside whenever I get the chance, I eat right, I limit my exposure to bad foods. The only place will-power comes into it is when I pass the Entenmanns display in the store.... so I try not to go that way. When I do buy a box, it's gone in a day or so - but then I won't buy another box for a couple months. I eat large portions, but it's good food - high protien, low fat, and I only eat dessert when I eat out. In short, I burn calories with activites more akin to my ancestors than my contemporaries.Behavior modification to lose weight rather than dieting is preached by most dietitians and other diet counselors. And, it is sort of common sense.

But the results are in the pudding. Once you decide to take a certain approach to helping people lose weight, very few health care providers really go back and evaluate why it is that so few patients are successful. Providers instead look at the latest outcomes of the different options and choose one, or maybe offer patients the choice since the outcomes are similar with many different options.

Some researchers are starting to look at the problem of obesity from a different angle. There have been studies that didn't look at specific diets but instead tracked down people who lost weight and kept it off for at least a year. These folks were then compared to those who did not achieve these goals. Exercise and a sort of 'fidgety' behavior were the only common denominators in the successful dieters. And interestingly enough, that is what you describe.
I do additional exercise, but the fundamental change was to an active lifestyle. I am now in the best health I have been in for my entire life. I plan to remain so for as long as possible.I think it has been established that exercise is one important key to weight loss. What shouldn't be assumed though, is that it is the key for everyone and if folks just modified this behavior they could lose weight.

It may be true, but to assume all people have to do is increase their exercise makes the same mistake of assuming people can just change what they eat and the fact they don't is mere lack of willpower. We have been telling people all they have to do is make different food choices, when in fact, it is very likely an incorrect assumption that they actually can. How do I know? Look at the evidence. Willpower and behavior modification strategies fail 95% of the time. You can continue to call that willpower, but it is a useless term if it doesn't lead to insight and a subsequent strategy that works.

So, exercise is key to weight loss. It's key to good health. But if increased exercise cannot be achieved by many, or if it fails to achieve desired weight loss, then we need to do more research rather than assume things like the person is capable of choosing weight losing actions and just isn't doing so.

And we also have to avoid the trap of seeing a physiological drive to remain overweight as just an excuse to be overweight. That's another useless term like willpower in that it offers no insight. If telling people it's their fault they are fat and if they would just try harder they could lose weight was a successful strategy, then we may not want to offer an excuse that would encourage people to give up. But that isn't the case.

What benefit is there in laying the responsibility for obesity on the obese person? People who are overweight don't usually want to be overweight. If anything, attributing obesity to choice stops us from investigating the physiological mechanisms behind obesity and weight loss.

CTM VT 2K
2005-Feb-09, 04:55 PM
Just for the record, my last BP reading was 130/78. I am consistantly now in the 120s/70s, and have been for several years. I know I did damage, but I caught it and took the steps nessisary to maintain it at a healty level.

beskeptical
2005-Feb-09, 07:13 PM
Just for the record, my last BP reading was 130/78. I am consistantly now in the 120s/70s, and have been for several years. I know I did damage, but I caught it and took the steps nessisary to maintain it at a healty level.Reminds me I forgot to ask if you are also taking Lipitor. (http://www.lipitor.com/cwp/appmanager/lipitor/lipitorDesktop) It's turning out to be a pretty good drug. With that kind of BP at that age, was weight the only factor?

I don't think liver risks of the "Lipitor is not for everyone" applies to gall stones. And, BTW, one of the similar drugs is not safe.

CTM VT 2K
2005-Feb-09, 08:22 PM
Reminds me I forgot to ask if you are also taking Lipitor. (http://www.lipitor.com/cwp/appmanager/lipitor/lipitorDesktop) It's turning out to be a pretty good drug. With that kind of BP at that age, was weight the only factor?

I don't think liver risks of the "Lipitor is not for everyone" applies to gall stones. And, BTW, one of the similar drugs is not safe.

Nope. I'm no no medications, entirely self regulated. Weight was not the only factor, Sodium intake (and a family history of Sodium Sensativity) was aslo a significant factor.

Of course there is the inevitable catch-22 of having had a high BP reading - you get nervous every time they take one (and it's not like you go into the hospital when you're in perfect health either), so naturally your BP climbs #-o

I keep an eagle-eye on my BP, but I keep it well regulated by diet and exercise. Of course, had I not caught it when I had, I might have had a much more serious problem by now. I do expect, eventually, to be put on some BP meds - I want to stave that off as long as reasonable.

beskeptical
2005-Feb-10, 08:02 AM
So how's that cholesterol level?

farmerjumperdon
2005-Feb-10, 03:13 PM
Obese people do not lack will power altogether. They do lack the will power to change their weight. They have the ability to change. Of course it represents hard work, of course it is difficult, and challenging, and requires focus. None of that changes the accountability for their situation. And whether they choose to make the changes or not is not good or bad. I have passed no judgement of that sort. If someone is happier being obese than engaging in the changes necessary to become physically more healthy, I see nothing wrong in their making that choice.

But just because the pain of making the changes is greater than the pain of remaining obese does not relieve them of 100% accountability for who and what they are. I am an ex-smoker. Quitting was and continues to be the hardest thing I've ever done. But I did not quit until the perceived cost of cintinuing to smoke was greater than the perceived cost of quitting. Whether or not I continue to be a non-smoker rests solely on me and the choices I make every day.

Every time I pass a convenience store, every time I am present when someone else is smoking, and at every other time where the opportunity to smoke presents itself; I have to make a choice. The difficulty of that choice, or whining about the difficulty of that choice does not remove me in any way for being the sole owner of that choice. Do not become a victim whenever it is easier than owning your choices.

beskeptical
2005-Feb-10, 08:25 PM
farmerj, you and many others in this thread share your view. Where's your evidence?

If 95% of those that try to lose weight fail or lose and gain it back, why should we conclude, "gee, they could if they tried harder?" How do you know that? Because a person can skip one meal? Well, you can hold your breath for a minute. That doesn't mean you can hold it long enough to pass out. I would guess less than 5% of the population could accomplish that feat.

The time frame differs. But the assumption it is just a matter of will without considering the degree of will we might be talking about here is akin to holding that breath until you actually pass out. That's an awful lot of 'will' to attribute to 'anyone'.

farmerjumperdon
2005-Feb-11, 04:23 PM
Good question Beskeptical. My opinion is grounded in 2 points:

1 - I believe in free will, and allowing that my behavior is not the result of my choices would severely weaken or eliminate the reasons to believe free will even exists. I believe free will is one of those things that is either always available or never available. Other examples would be being pregnant or having integrity. There is no part way. Just because a decision is difficult, or the consequences are hard to manage, or the result is not as intended; doesn't change the fact that a person made a choice. So when I make a choice that is not "right", or the one I think I should have made, or the one someone else says I should have made, or the one that didn't work out the way I wanted - to then in any way justify my "wrongness" by exempting myself from the responsibility, is to not embrace free will. Unless you are also willing to not take credit for everything that ever worked out "right" for you, you are cherry-picking. See what I mean? If the things that worked out "wrong" are not your fault, but the things that work out "right" are to your credit, that is cherry-picking. IMO, you either believe in free will and own all your choices, or you don't.

2 - Actually, as I knock this out, I'm seeing these as pretty much the same point. I was going to say that some people seem to be able to excercise their will more effectively than others, and that some seem to pull it off while others don't, and that there does not seem to be any clear coorelation or commonality within groups that fail or succeed at maintaining healthy weight. But in keeping with my 1st point, I'd say it is more like everybody is doing exactly as they desire. The key is in not passing judgement. The reason people don't want to own their decisions has more to do with what others will think than with who and what they are. I'd say most fat people are OK with it. More OK with it than being OK with changing it. Their difficulty is with everyone who judges them "bad" or "weak" or "wrong" or whatever for being fat and not making the decisions necessary to not be fat. Again, when their self-acceptance with being fat is overtaken by their self-acceptance for engaging in the task of not being fat - they will change. And there is nothing wrong with them for going either way.

I do say all this with the caveat that there is a small (very small) portion of people that have genuine diseases (thyroid disorders and the like) that are exceptions to what I've posted. But for most everybody else, I say spend a few months working on the farm and we'll get you in healthy shape. If you leave the farm and regain the weight, then you made a choice not to keep up the activity level.

beskeptical
2005-Feb-11, 06:38 PM
In other words it's your opinion with a rationale but no evidence.

And in your opinion you mention there are a 'few' people who have 'real' disorders that prevent them from losing weight but you fail to address why their disorders cannot be overcome with 'willpower'. And if their's cannot, why couldn't the same appetite or metabolic mechanisms be at play in normal responses to weight loss?

You did not address why so large of a majority of overweight persons lack this free willpower you believe everyone has.

farmerjumperdon
2005-Feb-11, 09:28 PM
You keep missing my point about choice. No one lacks will power, but everyone makes different choices in putting it to use. Some exert a lot of will to lose weight. Some exert a lot of will to make money. Some exert a lot of will to get good grades. It's just a matter of what your priorities are. Almost anybody could do any one of these things, or most anything else along the lines of such modest goals, if they bring their energies to bear on a specific goal.

And on this particular topic, the obesity epidemic is simply too modern, or should I say recent, to be blamed on genetics. Obesity rates have been steadily increasing for about 4 decades. That is not genetics. The incidence of obesity related diabetes in kids is skyrocketing. That is not genetics. There are concentrations of obesity that indicate it's prevelance in certain cultures with no commonality other than glutonous consumption and a sedentary lifestyle. That is not genetics.

I can't is victim-speak for I've decided not to. There are some things people can't do. Eat less or smarter and/or exercise more are not among those things. I must or I have to is victim-speak for I will. There are some things you have to do, and yes breathing is one of them. Overeating or lazing about are not among them.

Everyone has will power, and I like your use of the term free will power; very good. But we all use it differently. Accountability however has been lost because of the modern epidemic of victim-hood that allows people to so freely exert that they can't, or must, or have to, or whatever; instead of just owning that they have arrived exactly where they are, as what they are, by nature of the choices they've made.

beskeptical
2005-Feb-12, 01:32 AM
You keep missing my point about choice. No one lacks will power, but everyone makes different choices in putting it to use. Some exert a lot of will to lose weight. Some exert a lot of will to make money. Some exert a lot of will to get good grades. It's just a matter of what your priorities are. Almost anybody could do any one of these things, or most anything else along the lines of such modest goals, if they bring their energies to bear on a specific goal.

And on this particular topic, the obesity epidemic is simply too modern, or should I say recent, to be blamed on genetics. Obesity rates have been steadily increasing for about 4 decades. That is not genetics. The incidence of obesity related diabetes in kids is skyrocketing. That is not genetics. There are concentrations of obesity that indicate it's prevelance in certain cultures with no commonality other than glutonous consumption and a sedentary lifestyle. That is not genetics.

I can't is victim-speak for I've decided not to. There are some things people can't do. Eat less or smarter and/or exercise more are not among those things. I must or I have to is victim-speak for I will. There are some things you have to do, and yes breathing is one of them. Overeating or lazing about are not among them.

Everyone has will power, and I like your use of the term free will power; very good. But we all use it differently. Accountability however has been lost because of the modern epidemic of victim-hood that allows people to so freely exert that they can't, or must, or have to, or whatever; instead of just owning that they have arrived exactly where they are, as what they are, by nature of the choices they've made.I'm not missing your point. I think your point is wrong.

You have added here all the things that 'aren't genetics'. The reason you have that wrong is you are only considering genetic conditions rather than the result of genetic based drives.

As I said above, though I'm not sure you read the OP, humans have a drive to not lose weight but no drive to not gain it.

All the reasons people get fat in the first place are not the issue here. The issue is once you are overweight why can't people just choose to lose? Because it is not as simple as willpower when it comes to over-riding a biological drive.

You think overweight people just need to learn how to eat carrots instead of donuts. As if they don't know that! All we need to do is give them these sensible menus and the rest is up to them.

At some point, when only 5% of those people who know all that stuff actually successfully do it, you can chose to believe they could if they wanted to or if they just tried harder. But some of us, including many researchers are saying, wait a minute. Where is the evidence for the premise those people are truly able to lose weight and it is just their choice not to? Is the evidence because you can skip one meal? Is the evidence because 5% of the people who try do?

You even admit there are some with 'conditions' that result in their obesity. Why can't they 'choose' to eat differently? Why are they different? Don't they also have free will?

Brady Yoon
2005-Feb-12, 05:36 AM
I'm not missing your point. I think your point is wrong.

You have added here all the things that 'aren't genetics'. The reason you have that wrong is you are only considering genetic conditions rather than the result of genetic based drives.

As I said above, though I'm not sure you read the OP, humans have a drive to not lose weight but no drive to not gain it.

All the reasons people get fat in the first place are not the issue here. The issue is once you are overweight why can't people just choose to lose? Because it is not as simple as willpower when it comes to over-riding a biological drive.

You think overweight people just need to learn how to eat carrots instead of donuts. As if they don't know that! All we need to do is give them these sensible menus and the rest is up to them.

At some point, when only 5% of those people who know all that stuff actually successfully do it, you can chose to believe they could if they wanted to or if they just tried harder. But some of us, including many researchers are saying, wait a minute. Where is the evidence for the premise those people are truly able to lose weight and it is just their choice not to? Is the evidence because you can skip one meal? Is the evidence because 5% of the people who try do?

You even admit there are some with 'conditions' that result in their obesity. Why can't they 'choose' to eat differently? Why are they different? Don't they also have free will?

It seems like one side is too far into genetics and the other is too far into free will. The simple fact of life is that some people have genetic predisposition to get fat or unhealthy. Life's not fair. No one said it was. Another fact is that we do have the free will to overcome our genetic predispositions.

Health is affected by many different factors, environmental, genetic, and behavioral being some. You can't control genetics or the environment (well i guess you can now :wink:), but you can make your own choices, whether they are good or bad.

The point isn't that some people have genes that tend to make them want to eat more, or that humans don't naturally have the desire to lose weight. When you need to do something for your health, it's something that you choose to do. Humans have overcome much harder obstacles than losing weight. It may be harder for some people than others, and that's who has to work harder to control their weight.

Genes do determine who we are, but not who we can be. Losing weight for some people is harder than others, but isn't everything like that? Getting into college is harder for some than others, etc.

My position on this issue is in the middle. It's clear that both factors play a part, and a balance is what is necessary in my opinion.

Brady Yoon
2005-Feb-12, 05:40 AM
All the reasons people get fat in the first place are not the issue here. The issue is once you are overweight why can't people just choose to lose? Because it is not as simple as willpower when it comes to over-riding a biological drive.

I don't think the arguments you have been making such as holding your breath make sense. Breathing isn't something that can be controlled. Eating can. They're both critical to survival, but obviosly one is an immediate demand and the other is something that can be adjusted to ones desires and needs. Don't eat something for 10 minutes. Easy, right? Don't breathe for 10 minutes. Not so easy. :D

Of course, you're the expert and I'm just a layman. New discoveries probably refute what I say.

Careless
2005-Feb-12, 07:06 AM
All the reasons people get fat in the first place are not the issue here. The issue is once you are overweight why can't people just choose to lose? Because it is not as simple as willpower when it comes to over-riding a biological drive.

I don't think the arguments you have been making such as holding your breath make sense. Breathing isn't something that can be controlled. Eating can. They're both critical to survival, but obviosly one is an immediate demand and the other is something that can be adjusted to ones desires and needs. Don't eat something for 10 minutes. Easy, right? Don't breathe for 10 minutes. Not so easy. :D

Of course, you're the expert and I'm just a layman. New discoveries probably refute what I say.
Umm do you drown as soon as you stick your head under water? no, you hold your breath through conscious effort. humans are good at holding our breaths. While we cannot hold our breaths until we die from it, it is possible to hold your breath until you pass out, which is what beskeptical was talking about. You could, through a large effort of will, knock yourself out like that. Go ahead, we'll wait to see your results (keep practicing) :wink:
That said, I would call it a question of willpower, though in many cases it's not an amount of willpower you can expect people to have. But sure, if we were to force people to live pre-industrial lives, sure, we could make most everyone thin again.
Btw, Asian weight watchers type companies: growth market

beskeptical
2005-Feb-12, 07:03 PM
In hopes of making concepts here more clear, and at risk of being redundant...

Brady, I'm not saying genetics make people fat, it's not their fault, they have no say in the matter it's nature not nurture.

To those who think fat people could change if they wanted to I'm not saying that's absolutely wrong, not true, it's genetic, it's not their fault, yadda yadda yadda.

What I am saying is:

1) Current research seems to show there is a biological drive to not lose weight. There is little or no drive not to gain weight. While this is a 'genetic cause', don't confuse this with all overweight people being genetically predisposed to be obese.

Many people do have genetically obese body types. Many obese people are only obese because of environmental influences including learned behaviors. That isn't the issue.

2) Trying to treat obesity by giving advice fails 95% of the time because the advice does not address the problem of one's very significant and often underrated 'drive' to eat as much as it takes to maintain one's weight.

Advice includes all the diets, all the admonitions to eat right, exercise, control your exposure to eating stimuli and/or access to certain foods, yadda yadda yadda. In other words, behavior modification strategies.

3) For any problem, be it treating obesity or dealing with woowoos, when no progress is made, continuing to use the same methods to correct the problem most likely means the underlying premise is wrong but isn't being addressed.

This usually occurs when we continue to impart knowledge and give advice, and little or no progress is made with the problem no matter how sound the knowledge or advice is. The premise is the person(s) just need more information. They just need to follow xyz advice and the problem will be corrected. And in this case, the premise they are just "choosing" not to follow the 'sound advice' is contradicted by the evidence.

Brady Yoon
2005-Feb-13, 06:29 AM
Ok, I think I understand. It seems like you're saying that the drive to lose weight isn't strong enough to fight the drive to eat, and that because of this, we can't expect the same redundant directions given to overweight people to always work.

But what's your overall point?

beskeptical
2005-Feb-13, 06:33 AM
Ok, I think I understand. It seems like you're saying that the drive to lose weight isn't strong enough to fight the drive to eat, and that because of this, we can't expect the same redundant directions given to overweight people to always work.

But what's your overall point? :lol: :lol: :lol: You are kidding, right?

Jobe
2005-Feb-13, 06:35 AM
tuffel999- i think he would have something interesting to say about this. I seem to remember a thread along these lines before.

I think this just goes to show that if you have an attitude where you judge people alot (think: the homeless, fat people, poor people, etc) then not only are you flawed in your character, but also flawed in your logic.

:D

Brady Yoon
2005-Feb-13, 06:35 AM
lol ok, i get it. 8)

beskeptical
2005-Feb-13, 06:44 AM
The point is the biological drive to maintain one's weight whether the person is fat or not has been grossly underestimated. Unless we deal with the biological aspects of losing weight, 95% of the obese are not going to succeed in losing weight.



(moved instead of adding to above post since posts were added while I was editing.)

SciFi Chick
2005-Feb-13, 02:39 PM
Ok, I think I understand. It seems like you're saying that the drive to lose weight isn't strong enough to fight the drive to eat, and that because of this, we can't expect the same redundant directions given to overweight people to always work.

But what's your overall point? :lol: :lol: :lol: You are kidding, right?

Actually, I'm with Brady Yoon on this. If we determine that you are correct, what do you suggest obese people do, just accept their fate and move on?

SciFi Chick
2005-Feb-13, 02:40 PM
The point is the biological drive to maintain one's weight whether the person is fat or not has been grossly underestimated. Unless we deal with the biological aspects of losing weight, 95% of the obese are not going to succeed in losing weight.


What would that entail? Would it just be a scientific project and all the obese people should wait and see what happens, or what?

beskeptical
2005-Feb-13, 08:02 PM
If we determine that you are correct, what do you suggest obese people do, just accept their fate and move on?
Well, for one, maybe the $40 billion dollars spent on weight loss that only results in 5% success could be re-directed.
According to CNN: Americans were expected to spend more than $40 billion in 2004 on weight-control pills, gym memberships, diet plans and related foods, estimates Marketdata Enterprises, which studies the weight-loss industry.



The point is the biological drive to maintain one's weight whether the person is fat or not has been grossly underestimated. Unless we deal with the biological aspects of losing weight, 95% of the obese are not going to succeed in losing weight.
What would that entail? Would it just be a scientific project and all the obese people should wait and see what happens, or what?We have a problem. The solution we have been trying for more than 100 years has not yet worked. Should we:
A) Keep using the same approach anyway?
B) Give up?
C) Use the evidence based approach we are achieving tremendous success with in other medical fields?Hmmm..Let me think about that. :roll:

You start by collecting data. That's been ongoing. The The National Weight Control Registry (http://www.nwcr.ws/) has started collecting data on persons successful in losing weight. I don't see though, that they are looking for why these people have been able to achieve these behavior changes and others have not. They have, however, shown that fairly significant increase in activity is much more important than diet.

While I didn't look into the motives behind Beeslender.com (http://www.beeslender.com/weightLossArticleList.htm), (in other words I don't know what they are selling), it does seem to be a good source for links to various research papers and sites.

Obesity News, which I linked to from Beeslender, had a nice summary of the current science (http://www.obesity-news.com/abs09-00.htm#maintenance), and a list of current research on obesity medications (http://www.obesity-news.com/did_alpha_sample.htm#GW181771). They have a $90/year subscription to get all the publications on the site but there is enough 'free samples' there to get an idea of where obesity treatment research is going.

There is also research in modifying the gastric bypass surgeries to see if there may be less drastic surgeries that are also effective.

Currently, the diet drugs Xenical, (blocks fat absorption and isn't being absorbed itself), and Meridia (http://www.rxabbott.com/pdf/meridia.pdf), (affects brain neurotransmitters), have helped some people achieve modest weight loss success. Meridia is intended as a maintenance drug not just weight loss drug. Just as a person may take many medications for their lifetime, Meridia use is also intended as a "start it and stay on it" drug. The long term side effects and whether it continues to be effective are unknown at this point.

The problem here also includes educating doctors. Newer weight loss drug approaches are not the equivalent of older ones which used drugs that suppressed appetite temporarily, tolerance developed and the weight was almost always regained. This has made the image doctors have of weight loss drugs extremely negative. In addition, doctors, like many persons who have posted replies here, perceive obesity as a personal failure. With this attitude, doctors are unlikely to believe medication or surgery is indicated for treatment. "You don't need a pill, you just need to take in less oxygen and make a habit of it."*


(*I just realized the breath holding analogy needed a revision. Holding your breath is analogous to starving yourself. Losing weight would be more like breathing less. Can you maintain a lower oxygen intake by willpower?)

SciFi Chick
2005-Feb-13, 08:43 PM
Thanks for answering the question, although why you felt the need to roll your eyes at an honest question is beyond me.

beskeptical
2005-Feb-13, 09:20 PM
Thanks for answering the question, although why you felt the need to roll your eyes at an honest question is beyond me.Did it seemed directed at you? I thought I was just showing the answer didn't require any thought.

SciFi Chick
2005-Feb-13, 09:44 PM
Thanks for answering the question, although why you felt the need to roll your eyes at an honest question is beyond me.Did it seemed directed at you? I thought I was just showing the answer didn't require any thought.

Okay. my misunderstanding. Thanks for clearing that up. :)

sarongsong
2005-May-22, 05:48 AM
Fascinating look into the introduction of the 1980's 'food pyramid':
"...Of special interest to Luise was what I*had presented as the "absurd American food pyramid"---a dietary guide that first came out in the 1980s, and in which our "government" recommended starch as the foundation of our diet. This was of particular interest to Luise because, as I*read in awe, it was she and her team of nutrition experts who had created the concept of the food pyramid---but with a very major twist. The real food pyramid, Luise wrote, was completely different from the "adjusted" pyramid that was distributed to an unsuspecting American public...there had been a deliberate, unexplained switch made at the political level that completely distorted the pyramid...The new food guide, replacing the 'Basic Four,' would be a promotional tool to get the public to buy and consume more calories, sugar and starch." Ultimately, this would result in a poorer quality diet..."
http://www.serendipity.li/more/battle.htm

A Thousand Pardons
2005-May-22, 02:38 PM
Fascinating look into the introduction of the 1980's 'food pyramid':
"...Of special interest to Luise was what I*had presented as the "absurd American food pyramid"---a dietary guide that first came out in the 1980s, and in which our "government" recommended starch as the foundation of our diet. This was of particular interest to Luise because, as I*read in awe, it was she and her team of nutrition experts who had created the concept of the food pyramid---but with a very major twist. The real food pyramid, Luise wrote, was completely different from the "adjusted" pyramid that was distributed to an unsuspecting American public...there had been a deliberate, unexplained switch made at the political level that completely distorted the pyramid...The new food guide, replacing the 'Basic Four,' would be a promotional tool to get the public to buy and consume more calories, sugar and starch." Ultimately, this would result in a poorer quality diet..."
http://www.serendipity.li/more/battle.htm
Careful. That original pyramid had recommendations for small amounts of sugar--I don't see how they claim it was a promotional tool to get the public to buy and consume more sugar. Plus that pyramid came out in the 1990's, surely.

SciFi Chick
2005-May-22, 02:50 PM
Wait. Are you saying the government is intentionally trying to make us obese? To what purpose?

A Thousand Pardons
2005-May-22, 03:16 PM
To sell more food. It's a food conspiracy.

SciFi Chick
2005-May-22, 03:17 PM
To sell more food. It's a food conspiracy.

Of course. Why didn't I think of that? :lol:

frogesque
2005-May-22, 03:19 PM
SciFi:

I think the implication is that the processed food lobby especially the sugar based industries got the report modified. I don't have specifics but I seem to remember grumblings about it in the past. What is ironic is that those same industries are also heavily involved in promoting diet products taking the line that if folk are going to pay megga bucks for highly marketed processed junk then they might as well buy our brand. As beskeptical has pointed out, only 5% of dieters succede in long term weight loss so they are in a win-win situation.

To see how the business works look in any store before and after Christmas. Pre-Christmas the shelves are stacked with goodies that we know are 'bad' for us. Post-Christmas there's a glut of diet products that starts to fade just in time to catch the Easter Bunny. Mass marketing is mass manipulation to get product lines at eyelevel and trigger that impulse to buy. The market is anything but 'free'.

A Thousand Pardons
2005-May-22, 03:37 PM
I think the implication is that the processed food lobby especially the sugar based industries got the report modified. I don't have specifics but I seem to remember grumblings about it in the past.
I don't have a copy of the old pyramid to hand, since my google returned a bunch of the new ones, but I'm almost certain that it had small portions of sugar. Which report are you talking about?

frogesque
2005-May-22, 04:15 PM
ATP: I managed to find this site (http://www.consciouschoice.com/2004/cc1711/wh_lead1711.html) which, although it reads somewhat biased is fairly close to the sort of rumblings I remember. There are distinct differences to the pyramid on that site to the official new 2005 version (http://www.ring.com/health/food/food.htm)

Edit: Looking closer there's a couple of things I would dispute about the Optimal Health Pyramid at the bottom of my first link

1) Whilst I agree with the water intake I don't think it needs to be filtered if its from a domestic mains supply. Storing filtered water (de-chlorinated?) can present its own problems with bacteria build up in equipment and the water.

2)Aggresive Nutrient supplementation is not required for healthy individuals on a well balanced diet. The diet should be maintained so that adequate vitamins and minerals are contained at source.

A Thousand Pardons
2005-May-22, 07:38 PM
Edit: Looking closer there's a couple of things I would dispute about the Optimal Health Pyramid at the bottom of my first link
What about where it says "Avoid: sugar, pastries, desserts, refined starches such as breads, pasta, refrined grains such as white rice, high starch veggies such as potatoes. Also, fruit juices, trans fats, commercially processed vegetable oil" And she thinks it's possible many Americans followed the previous food pyramid?

frogesque
2005-May-22, 08:13 PM
Yeah, I've since printed off the .pdf version of the pyramid (the original didn't read too well on my old 15" monitor) and I'd not seen the bit about potatoes. Potoatoes (Whole boiled, not fries) to me are vegetables and a major contributor to vitamin C in the diet because of the quantity consumed. They are also very filling and relatively low calorie if taken without butter or mayo. The diet she proposes is not very practical for lower income families. Organic is usually way dearer than other methods of production and whilst it can taste better (usually due to local production and hence fresher) there is no evidence to suggest that it's more nutritious.

Without growing your own olives or sunflowers I fail to see how you can obtain vegetable oil that hasn't been commercially processed.

I also see a picture of peanuts in amongst the beans, lentils and wholegrains. There is no mention at all in either the pyramid or the attending blurb about possible nut allergies.

I didn't mean to give the impression that I was endorsing this diet version since I have never looked closely at it before. It's just that I remembered something from way back about a diet program being altered because of food lobby interests. I don't doubt that they would have baulked on seeing this diet and I'm not over impressed with the latest official version but I could see a lot of kids would rather have starved than to be force fed a basic fare of greens and if this was the basis of the original I'm not surprised it was changed. We are omnivors not sheep!

Gillianren
2005-May-22, 08:31 PM
I also see a picture of peanuts in amongst the beans, lentils and wholegrains. There is no mention at all in either the pyramid or the attending blurb about possible nut allergies.

yes, but I also suspect they don't mention wheat allergies or lactose intolerance, either--I suspect they assume you know enough to avoid foods to which you're allergic.