Overweight and underwell

When it comes to being overweight, there are plenty of choices we can take responsibility for. But we don't know what we don't know, and there's a lot of research that proves we aren't being served the whole story. Here are some of the unhealthy guidelines we've swallowed because we simply didn't know any better.

When it comes to being overweight or obese, I’m not generally in the “it’s not their fault” camp. People engage in plenty of behaviors that lead to being over-weight and under-well.


  1. The government recommended switching from butter to margarine – a health-destroying trans fat.
  2. The government recommended moving to a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet.
  3. The government advised us away from saturated fats (of all kinds) toward the industrial seed/vegetable oils (PUFAs).
  4. The government subsidized soybean production and corn production, leading to soy oil and high-fructose corn syrup being very cheap, very plentiful, and ultimately “added to practically everything.”
  5. The government’s food pyramid placed grains as the “very large foundation” to a healthy diet.
  6. The large mainstream science journals were highly biased in their selection of research articles, strongly favoring those that supported the mainstream view as pushed by government, agencies, and organizations. Research money flowed to those who did such research. The bias was so strong that those who did research showing positive results from high-fat diets, saturated fat, animal proteins, and such were treated as pariahs.
  7. Large agencies and organizations such as the American Heart Association, National Cancer Institute, American Cancer Society, American Diabetes Association, and many others got fully onto the low-fat/high-carb and low-saturated-fat bandwagons.
  8. Book after book was written advocating diets and recipes that were in the low-fat, high-carb, PUFA-fat domain.
  9. The low-information mainstream media did a lock-step parroting of the dominant view.
  10. Over-prescription and overuse of antibiotics became its own epidemic. Yes, antibiotics cause weight gain.
  11. Food companies (and big agriculture) flooded the market with health-destroying concoctions, wrapped in glossy, seductive, and emotion-twitching marketing.
  12. A culture emerged, driven by counter-culture factions, that (1) reduced the value of personal responsibility, character, self-discipline, and social values, (2) elevated a “forgiving and therapeutic view” of humans, (3) was permissive and emphasized personal freedom (“Just Do It” / “If it feels good, do it!”), and (4) provided post-modern rationalizations (there is no absolute truth; all values are relative; no culture is better than another; being judgmental is the ultimate sin).
  13. Medicine – deliberately or not – fostered the view that pills and procedures could fix things.
  14. Labor-saving devices took movement and physical effort out of our days and lives.
  15. Most entertainment is now passive.

The list goes on… and normal is overweight, sick, and even disabled.

In all fairness, how would an average citizen – on his own – ever sort through or overcome this onslaught of bad forces?

It’s little wonder to me that so many people are so overweight or obese, many others are so sick with chronic disease and other conditions, and most struggle so much to get slim and trim. Case in point: It’s estimated that 45 million Americans go on a diet each year, spending $33 billion yearly on weight loss products that rarely work. Meanwhile 1 in 3 Americans struggles with a chronic disease that most likely is tied to nutrition. Turns out, living in a country of abundance may not be the best thing for us after all.

As an aside, the new research on soy and fructose is simply stunning – and not in a positive way. The average American takes 9-10% of their calories per day from soy. Because “it’s in everything.” Ditto for HFCS.

More to come…

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