The Truth About Overweight & Obesity
Enough pain, shame, frustration, and judgment. You can lose the weight you hate. Here’s the truth.
Dr. Gary V. Koyen, Ph.D. | March 2021
The many forces working against you
More than 70% of us are now overweight or obese. When it comes to being overweight, most people think “it’s their own fault.” It’s true that people make choices that contribute to being overweight or obese, but there’s much more to the story. Here is Part 3 of the story: How did I get fat, and why can’t I lose weight and keep it off?
Over the past 50 years, much has changed.
There are many forces working against you as you try to maintain your desired body shape and body weight.
Government and politics
The government recommended moving to a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet. The government’s food pyramid placed carbohydrates as the “very large foundation” of a healthy diet. The government recommended switching from butter to margarine—a health-destroying transfat, and from saturated fats of all kinds toward the industrial seed and vegetable oils (PUFAs: polyunsaturated fatty acids). The government subsidized soybean production and corn production, leading to soy oil and high-fructose corn syrup being cheap, plentiful, and ultimately “added to practically everything.” All in all, government and politics have contributed to an unhealthy food environment.
Research and science
The large mainstream science journals were highly biased in their selection of research articles, strongly favoring those that supported the mainstream view pushed by government, agencies, and organizations. Research money flowed to those who did such research. The bias was so strong that those doing research showing positive results from high-fat diets, saturated fat, animal proteins, and such, were treated as pariahs.
Agencies and organizations
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.
Media and publishers
Book after book was written advocating diets and recipes that were in the low-fat, high-carb, PUFA domain. The low-information mainstream media did a lock-step parroting of the dominant view.
Medical and pharmaceutical
Over-prescription and overuse of antibiotics became “epidemic.” (Antibiotic use can cause weight gain.) Medicine fostered the view that pills and procedures could fix things. Many pharmaceuticals have obesogenic effects, meaning they cause overweight and obesity.
Big food and big agriculture
Food companies and big agriculture flooded the market with health-destroying concoctions, wrapped in glossy, seductive, and emotion-based marketing. The quality and content of our food changed dramatically over the past 50 years, and generally not for the better. In addition, processed foods are loaded with chemicals and dyes, many of which contribute to inflammation, disruptions of bodily systems, imbalances in gut bacteria, and poor digestion. Industrialized foods often contain substances that are effectively toxic, with seed oils being a particular example. Much of our manufactured food is obesogenic—causing consumers to become fat.
Restaurants and fast food outlets
Over the past 50 years we’ve had a dramatic increase in the amount of calories coming from restaurants and fast food providers. These meals and beverages tend to have more sugar, PUFAs, and chemicals. They are generally higher in calories and lower in nutrients.
Changes in food culture
Food and beverages are now everywhere, all day long. It’s now common to have food and beverages everywhere (in meetings, while driving, while watching a movie or TV, when meeting friends, etc.). More and more, eating and drinking have become recreational activities rather than ways to satisfy hunger and thirst.
Labor-saving devices took movement and physical effort out of our days and lives, and reduced the level of natural activity required by our work.
Our chemical environment
We now live in a world of concentrated chemicals, metals, and minerals. Many of these have toxic, estrogenic, or obesogenic effects.
Most entertainment is now passive, and consists of watching rather than doing.
Corporate jobs and careers
More and more jobs required sitting all day, sitting before a screen, sitting in meetings, sitting on airplanes, sitting in cars, or otherwise being sedentary.
Because of all the above, it was easy for our “normal person” to become over-weight, soft, sick, or disabled. In fairness, how would an average citizen—on his or her own—ever sort through or overcome this onslaught of bad forces? So it’s little wonder that so many people are over-weight or obese, soft and weak, and plagued with illness or life-sapping conditions. Little wonder that so many struggle so much to get slim and trim.
Then is there no hope? No, there is hope and there are real solutions.
Learn more about the solution: