"Whenever I go into a restaurant, I order both a chicken and an egg to see which comes first"

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

It’s Healthy To Be Fat

Scientists are at it again.  It’s OK to be overweight.  Not just overweight, but really fat.  Apparently there is no correlation between extra pounds and good health.  As reported by Paul Campos in the New York Times (1.3.13):

A study…found that all adults categorized as overweight and most of those categorized as obese have a lower mortality risk than so-called normal-weight individuals. To put some flesh on these statistical bones, the study found a 6 percent decrease in mortality risk among people classified as overweight and a 5 percent decrease in people classified as Grade 1 obese, the lowest level (most of the obese fall in this category). This means that average-height women — 5 feet 4 inches — who weigh between 108 and 145 pounds have a higher mortality risk than average-height women who weigh between 146 and 203 pounds. For average-height men — 5 feet 10 inches — those who weigh between 129 and 174 pounds have a higher mortality risk than those who weigh between 175 and 243 pounds.

Portrait of a young woman in swimwear holding rubber duck in bathroom Stock Photo - Premium Royalty-Freenull, Code: 693-06323974

Now, this is a good thing, for all but the most neurasthenic among us worry about our weight, and we are deluged with information about how to lose it.  The obesity industry is a multi-billion dollar one, and few among fat cat corpulent….scratch that….corporate executives really want to do anything about it.  In fact, there is an unholy alliance between the diet industry and the fast-food, soft drink, beer, store-bought pie, all-you-can-eat cheapo buffet restaurants, Twinkie, and candy industries.  The foodies push ridiculously fattening food, and the Big Loser companies want you to lose it.  It is a win-win situation for corporate America.  We can’t resist stuffing ourselves and diet programs don’t work. 

Now the Government (CDC, NIH) has to come and stick its big nose into the business of America and mess up one of the great money-making collusions of all time.

This would be true if health were the only issue here.  While many of us know that our weight is affecting our health - I have one friend whose bulk is causing his knees to buckle and another whose girth makes him pant going around a flat block – the rest of us want to look svelte because of prevailing social norms. Every magazine screams svelte, long-and-lithe, elegantly trim, sophisticatedly shapely.

This wasn’t always the case, of course; and in a happier day, the norm for female beauty was for, as the French say, femmes fortes:

I have met all kind of crazy dieters in my life.  One friend of mine ate only one meal a day.  Of course he never lost weight because of the size of his dinner, but according to him if he didn’t do a Ramadan every day, he would be twice the size.  Another friend weighs himself only after he has taken a dump and spent an hour in the steam room and sauna at the gym.  With that artificially low scale number in his head, he feels he can go out and drink martinis and ribeye and still remain the right weight.

Another acquaintance told me that he could tell if he was gaining a few pounds by the tightness of his belt.  Of course, he sucked in his flab when he put on his pants in the morning, smiled at the loose fit, then let the flubber loose for the rest of the day.

All this by way of saying that the new CDC/NIH study will not change anything.  Not only are we barraged by ads for obesity foods, working in repetitive shit jobs that only snacking can alleviate, or eat to relieve the anomie, angst, and hopelessness of a crude, manipulative, exploitive, and totally depressing American materialism; food is addictive:

David Kessler, former Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) wondered why people were so addicted to snack foods:

Kessler was on a mission to understand a problem that has vexed him since childhood: why he can't resist certain foods.  His resulting theory, described in his new book, "The End of Overeating," is startling. Foods high in fat, salt and sugar alter the brain's chemistry in ways that compel people to overeat. "Much of the scientific research around overeating has been physiology -- what's going on in our body," he said. "The real question is what's going on in our brain."  (Washington Post 2009)

The Dorito is the perfect storm of a bad food – the corn gives it sweetness; it is cooked in fat giving calories; and it is loaded with salt.  Many snack foods provide this tempting and addictive combination.  Not only do we reach for snack foods because of psycho-social reasons, once we start in on them we cannot quit. (Obesity – We’re In It for the Long Haul www.uncleguidosfacts.com)

We will keep on eating food that is bad for us, while constantly dreaming of looking good:

Retro Businessman in Panelled Room, Gray Suit, Mens Club

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