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Why Are So Many People in America Fat?

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  • #31
    Well, I used to be fat and now I'm not. What changed was I stopped eating grains and processed oils.

    Is it too big a stretch to believe that everyone else who is fat is that way because they still eat that stuff?
    Annie Ups the Ante


    • #32
      Yeah there's nothing different happening between the US and other developed countries, the US is just ahead of everyone else. We'll all be where you guys are in a few years, I assure you.

      I think a huge thing, both to do with obesity and other social issues, is a lack of self responsibility. I mean really, I was just like those obese people some of you in this thread have made fun of, for 4 years. I don't know what changed, but something did, and majorly. The old me was as close to the stereotype of an obese person as you can get, I was the definition. The me I have been for the past year or so is totally different. I don't know why there's that barrier and I don't know why I changed, or how others can, but that's the difference between letting those things you guys have talked about, turn you into an obese person, and not.
      Current weight lost: 82.9lb (37.6kg)

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      • #33
        Probably too complex to ever really solve. More abundance of non-local food and lack of exercise is surely key, but we had tons of food in the 1950s, and hardly anyone was jogging, and only "tough guys" went to gyms.

        Since some people stay slim even eating SAD, it should be pretty clear that one size doesn't fit all. Most of the street drunks I see are thin, so being thin doesn't say anything about character or self-discipline.

        Maybe it's as simple as like mates with like and those genetically predisposed to being fat have out-bred the slimmies.

        Maybe one thing is our lack of relationship with food. First we farmed. Then we had grocery stores. Then we had convenience foods (tv dinners). I've heard a fair number of people say they eat out more than four times a week and these people generally are not eating at 4-star restaurants. There is a disconnect between creating food, or even creating a meal, and what we put in our mouths.

        I've seen people who seem to almost be addicted to putting something in their mouths all day. Snacking, chewing gum, drinking soda. I don't remember that 30 years ago so much. Is it because we bought into the "grazing" concept? Or because so much of the food supply is non-nutritious that we overeat to compensate? Or?

        Someone mentioned knowing a lot of people who seem like they're on the verge of a nervous breakdown. While some stressors are very real, many are of our own making or acceptance. If cortisol and lack of sleep are truly linked to obesity, then perhaps we need to stop trying to impress everyone and just chill a bit.

        Too many factors in everyday life to isolate. But eating clean, nutritious food (that you grow or prepare yourself) and moving around an hour a day couldn't hurt.
        "Right is right, even if no one is doing it; wrong is wrong, even if everyone is doing it." - St. Augustine


        Who says back fat is a bad thing? Maybe on a hairy guy at the beach, but not on a crab.


        • #34
          An interesting aside...

          On a trip to Thailand we went on some guided tour thing for a day. The tour guide on the bus pointed out some oil palm plantations, saying that it was awful because they made saturated fat there.

          Then he added "That's why so many of us are now fat, unlike America where people don't eat saturated fat and are slimmer."

          I laughed at the joke - then he and others on the bus looked at me funny.

          He wasn't joking!

          If you've ever been to SE Asia you'll know why that was so freakin' hilarious

          I'm still a little confused how this guy could have gotten the idea that Americans are slim though, unless he's going purely by some soap operas and movies?


          PS: I can also confirm that no, most Asians don't eat much soy. Some soy sauce or a few tofu squares as part of a much larger dish is about it. However many of the adverts push the idea that soy milk is healthy - because Americans drink it!
          Last edited by AlanC; 10-30-2012, 12:54 AM.


          • #35
            Article in the paper today, West Australians are the fattest in the country. Over 2/3 are now overweight. This is pretty sad. Considering the weather and environs, even the half decent economy - people aren't on the breadline.

            Its purely the propagation is BS food, junk junk junk - I can't look anywhere without seeing it. The two big supermarkets are stocked with absolute junk. Every day I get comments in the breakroom about how I always have 'nice food'. People are boggled that I bring my own lunch, it's a freaking revelation for them.
            The Paleo Strongwoman - A site dedicated to strength, and feeding strength.


            • #36
              Another primal friend and I were discussing a similar topic at work the other day. I made the observation that our unhealthy diet stemmed from all the science that went into food production. High yield crops became more important than nutrition. We sort of became responsible for feeding a good portion of the world and had to accommodate that demand. He took it one step further and noted that it started w/ WW2 and continued on into the cold war years. Initially during the war they had to come up w/ a way to serve millions of soldiers with preserved rations that wouldn't spoil and filled the gut. Later expanding on that technology it became important to stockpile foodstuffs in the event of Armageddon. By the time the threat of nuclear or some other disaster waned, some 50 years had passed and that type of food production, preparation and storage had become the norm. All that technology changed our entire way of eating and thinking.

              Might not be 100% the story, but I think it has some merit. And to those claiming Americans are lazy hence fat, I disagree. We are a work-a-holic society if ever I saw one, and I've traveled a good part of the world. Four day work weeks (with 1-2 hour siestas) and 6-8 weeks vacation per year are the norm in a lot of places. We are over worked, overstressed and eating "scientifically improved" garbage foods and then rely on our doctors and pills to fix it. Fortunately we here have found a way out.


              • #37
                It's complex. Lack of exercise is a popular cause, but you see a lot of fat people out exercising in the US. I was an obese marathoner.

                I think it is a mix of things, but mostly this movement away from real food. On onehand you have people drinking mountain dew and devouring pizza hut and little debbies and of course being fat. On the other you have people eating fat free yogurt and lean cuisines and being fat.

                The funny thing- in my day to day, I feel like the fat cow. Everyone at Cross Fit is buff, people at the farmers market are buff, the health food store, the barn. Then I went to Wal Mart the other many grossly obese people. But look what they sell- discounted soda, chips, sub sandwiches, bags of candy. The woman in front of me in line was probably pushing 400 lbsand the end of her mobility and had a large sub, chips and a drink. Probably a days worth of calories and none of it giving her nutrition.

                And I think that's the crux of it- empty calories make us fat, and the popular solution is a diet of fewer empty calories. People aren't nourished and their bodies do weird things.

                It's depressing- most depressing to see the obese kids- a common sight now. I was the fat freak..... today..... I'd be normal. And I can tell you- I'd be headed back to morbid obesity if not for primal/paleo. That combo of oils/wheat and sugar is like downing crack.

                Check out my blog. Hope to share lots of great recipes and ideas!


                • #38
                  Too much TV, easy access to fast food on every corner, too many comp games, addiction to sugar (sodas, candy), no exercise (P.E., recess) required @school, munchies from pot, not enough jobs so big gov't sending cks to far too many people who could work IF they could find wk.


                  • #39
                    Originally posted by SarahW View Post

                    But I think there are many pieces to the puzzle. Europeans have better healthcare and better access to primary care physicians (who will do the "I think you should lose some weight" talk), "convenience" vegetables are common in the supermarket (precut packages and salads) and people shop multiple times a week. They work less hours and take longer vacations. You know, all those terrible socialist things like that. They may pay more in taxes, but in general they have a higher standard of living, on average (at least, in Northern Europe, the southerners have their own peculiar ideas about life).
                    You make good points there. I think most people have annual leave of at least 27 days plus 8 bank holidays a year and work on average 40 hr weeks (I work 35 hrs per week)
                    Plus I think you eat out so much, or have I been watching too much US TV.
                    Though I have noticed that processed, convenience food seems so much cheaper than fresh, natural food.
                    For example you can get 10 doughnuts for 99 pence in my local supermarket or one apple for 40 pence. I thiink junk food should be taxed and rebates made on "real" food.


                    • #40
                      The two big supermarkets are stocked with absolute junk.
                      This is true. The grocery store, even the health food store is full of foods I would not. I'd say 60% of the health food store is processed crap with "good ingredients" even if you eat whole grains, and 80% of the regular grocery. I look at my local regular grocery and in terms of shelf space, there are say, 15 aisles. Produce is 1.5 aisles, meats that I would buy are about .25 aisle, dairy that is not sugar free yogurt is about .25 aisle. Canned goods that are OK, maybe .125 of an aisle, same with frozen foods. Add in the wine aisle because it is OK on paleo.... and you come up with maybe 15% of the store that is items someone only eating whole foods would eat. If you expand into "healthy whole grains" (but not processed) maybe you end up with 18% of the store being shoppable for healthy foods.

                      Sooo.... a vast majority of available foods are unhealthy.

                      Check out my blog. Hope to share lots of great recipes and ideas!


                      • #41
                        But...but...they're made with natural flavors with other natural flavors...
                        F 28/5'4/100 lbs

                        "I'm not a psychopath, I'm a high-functioning sociopath; do your research."


                        • #42
                          I don’t think anyone here is wrong. The obesity problem involves so many variables and probably all of them have been brought up in this thread. I don’t mean to be harsh to anyone for being fat because pre-primal I was no different. Like many of you I was obese and in very poor health. I drank soda and ate garbage every day, and I never exercised.

                          Many on this thread have brought up the notion that people’s attitudes have changed over the past few decades. I agree. I grew up in the late 70s and 80s and even then junk food was considered a “treat” to most people. Same with soda. When I was a kid I didn’t know anyone that ate junk food on a daily basis. That was for special occasions. There weren’t vending machines everywhere like there is now. Look around - those things are everywhere! Nowadays people eat junk food exclusively and graze all day. Most people didn’t graze back then either. I mentioned how stressed people are here in the states. Ridiculously stressed. Is it like that in other countries?
                          “You may have thought you heard me say I wanted a lot of bacon and eggs, but what I said was: Give me all the bacon and eggs you have.” - Ron Swanson


                          • #43
                            I think everyone's brought up valid reasons why Americans are so damn fricking fat. But what about the toll chronic sleep deprivation takes on the body? I know people who are actually proud of the fact that they "get by" on 6 hours or less a night. And these aren't on-call physicians or firefighters or any sort of professional people who have 24/7 obligations. They stay up watching stupid brain cell-obliterating TV, rampant consumers of blue light via computer screens and cell phones.

                            "B-b-b-utttt... there just aren't enough hours in the day, I'm too busy eating my six low-fat meals, driving my children all over town to endless extracurriculars, driving to the gym to walk on a treadmill for 30 minutes, then scrubbing my toilet at 10pm because I'm just SO damn busy..." and then falling asleep in front of the TV. Come on now. You're busy trying to prove how fabulously multi-tasking you think you should be. It's a message that's constantly reiterated on TV screens all over the US. Television and media that by their own definitions, you really don't have time to be watching!

                            Sorry to rant, I got going for a moment there.
                            “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” Rumi


                            • #44

                              I honestly have no clue, it's one of the great mysteries of our time.
                              Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who has said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own experience.

                              In the mind of the beginner, there are many possibilities; in the mind of the expert, there are few.

                              I've shaken hands with a raccoon and lived to tell the tale

                              SW: 220- 225 pounds at the beginning of January
                              CW: 180 pounds

                              Goals for 2012: Lose a bit more fat and start a serious muscle and strength routine


                              • #45
                                I am sure the stress doesn't help. In my city, people do NOT seem particularly stressed. However, we have tons of recreation here and if the weather permits the sidewalks, running paths, and parks are generally packed on any given day. I am sure being outside playing in the sunshine and fresh air destresses people. Not too mention the exercise and vit D from playing outside is enough to burn up excess insulin. And makes us happy. (Volunteer work is big here too) All those small things tied together must make a difference. I generally only see obese people a couple times a year when I head to the burbs to hit up a shopping mall.