One Last Serving of Food for Thought   (May 14, 2009)

Readers responded to yesterday's examination of the causes of obesity with some interesting resources and ideas.

The obesity epidemic can be viewed visually via this slideshow map of the U.S.:

Centers for Disease Control, U.S. Obesity Trends 1985-2007

It is sobering indeed. Only 20 years ago a scant 8 states had obesity rates of 15% or more. As of 2007, only 1 state had obesity rates under 20%, and 30 states had rates of 25% or more. That is a dramatic demographic change in only one generation--certainly unprecedented.

I am leaving up the global BMI chart for context.

Readers offered up some very interesting resources and persepctives:

Tom Delane

The answer to your question "what causes obesity?" is quite simple. Vegetable oils! The human body is not able to digest this gunk and stores it as a fat that never goes away... Vegetable oil equals Transfats... Transfats are deadly to the human body... Margarines are incredibly dangerous.

Read Dr. Mary Enig's books on the chemistry of fats and lipids. Lowering Cholesterol is a scam propagated by the Drug companies. I am a Electronic engineer with a minor in Pathology (retired).

CHS note: Here are a few of Dr. Enig's works. If you don't want to own a copy, check your local library:

Eat Fat, Lose Fat: The Healthy Alternative to Trans Fats

Know Your Fats : The Complete Primer for Understanding the Nutrition of Fats, Oils and Cholesterol

Nourishing Traditions - Cookbook That Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition & The Diet Dictocrats (Mary Enig and Sally Fallon)
This book appears to be out of print.

Eat Fat, Lose Fat: Lose Weight and Feel Great with Three Delicious, Science-Based Coconut Diets (Sally fallon)

Change subject slightly: (Although Cholesterol is related to obesity)

Lower Cholesterol increases the risk of Cancer. Cholesterol is fuel for the brain and immune system plus cell replacement.. WHO gathered stats that shows world Cholesterol average is 240. If your Cholesterol drops below this figure, then your body immune system is fighting something. Probably Cancer... Women over 60 should have a cholesterol of 260 or higher. Lower there is a very high chance for breast cancer. Female cholesterol is different from male.

There are tons of studies and books that show that artificially lowering Cholesterol is extremely dangerous. The side effects are horrible like a possible blanking of the brain's memories, liver damage, and permanently damaging leg muscles. But, due to the political correctness of the Drug companies it is very dangerous to go against the establishment.... The doctors get large kick backs for prescribing STATIN drugs. I tell my doctor that the side effects are much too dangerous and I will take my chances with CHD. Non smokers like me are (never smoked) are at a low risk anyway.

Throw out all veggie oils. The worst is Canola. This oil is a GM oil and is reverting back to the poisonous rape oil from which it is made...

Cooking oils: The best is coconut oil. You wouldn't believe how much better your life is after using this oil for 6 months. Plus, coconut oil is very good on the skin. I shaved my head so I could use the oil on the scalp (hair is a pain in the butt anyway). I did it in 'Nam to pick off the suckers.

Olive, peanut, real lard (not the artificial junk in the supers) real lard requires refrigeration. My appetite is self regulating with coconut oil diet.

The best way to start the day; eggs and bacon fried in coconut oil especially on a high stress day.

I am a bit overweight (40 lbs) but I like it that way because I remember how horrible starvation is.

Like it or not we humans are carnivores! Natural fats fuel our bodies (most efficient fuel for little weak creatures like us that depend on running for survival). A Vegetarian diet is Ma Nature's way of getting rid of idiots (natural selection). Remember: A DIET LOW IN NATURAL FATS WILL KILL YOU!

Natalie M.

Please read Dr. John McDougall's work on

Eat a starch-based, no-fat, vegan diet like the really poor in the Third World and you'll never be fat again, even if you never move a muscle. Well, if you do no more than go for a walk every now and then. P> CHS note: Here are a few of Dr. McDougall's works. If you don't want to own a copy, check your local library:

Dr. McDougall's Digestive Tune-Up

The Mcdougall Quick and Easy Cookbook: Over 300 Delicious Low-Fat Recipes You Can Prepare in Fifteen Minutes or Less

The Mcdougall Program: 12 Days to Dynamic Health

The Mcdougall Program for Maximum Weight Loss

Jeff F.

I just read your "More Food for Thought" post, and you danced around something entirely central to my exercise regime. I have to be /doing/ something. Treadmills are not "doing" something, they're putting a lot of effort into doing nothing. Lifting weights falls into the same catagory. Movement purely for the sake of having moved my body is mind numbing--in exactly the way you describe. I cannot do it. Or rather, I can do it once. But I won't do it again for another year.

Sports, all sports, are games. They require technique, strength, endurance, strategy and you can know how good you are. You can get better, and you know how much better, whether it is qualitative or quantitative.

Walking, running, cycling and other human powered forms of transportation require strength, endurance and navigation skills. They move you from A to B. You do something, even if you don't care about point "B", you've still done it for the journey. I can ride my bike for 100 miles happily, but I could never sit on an exercise bike for the same amount of time.

And so on for martial arts, dancing and even ditch digging. You aren't just working your body, you are doing something.

In light of this, I would not dismiss all gyms. I just got back from a gym, however, it is not a normal Mc24Hr Fitness type gym. It's a rock gym. Now, I was just sitting in the sauna this morning, but I was climbing with my wife last night.

A rock gym has something you do, and it's social. I don't try to ignore everyone, in fact that's a bad thing--I might get a rappeler dropped on my head. Also, it's not uncommon to watch other climbers try routes and talk to them or their partners about the route, particularly when you are trying to figure out the route. So it is a community as well.

I would bet the key is having a central "doing something" activity that the gym is built around. The only gyms I know of that fit this model are rock gyms, but it might be possible to formulate other types of "magnet" gyms.

Anyway, thank you for the food for thought (which I accompanied with some real pastured eggs from my CSA and a side of natural bacon).


I enjoy your writing on fitness. I walk 10 miles a week, 2 a day 5 days. I also go on pretty big hikes up my local mountains. Ten miles and 1000 meters vertical is typical. I lift weights, have been for 5 years now. I squat and deadlift my weight 160lbs and I will never stop. Being strong is fun. It's needed too as I am 63 and like to take my dirt bike up the mountain. There are few things more physical and as crashes are routine a resilient body is required.

My weights are directed at joints, tendons and connective tissue. They are all unusually strong. I do 4 kinds of wrist exercise to stress them in all directions. Muscle is almost a by product.

Thank you, readers, for these recommendations of books and web resources.

Here are a few other books and films of interest on the subject:

The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite.)

The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals

Rats in the Grain: The Dirty Tricks and Trials of Archer Daniels Midland, the Supermarket to the World

The Informant: A True Story

Fast Food Nation (film)

Super Size Me (film)

In Readers Journal: Thought-provoking New essay by Zeus Y.

Tortured Democracy (Zeus Y.)

"Good faith" may have limited application in contract law, but it has no place in constitutional law. If you flout the highest law of the land, especially if you are a top-level decision-maker, you should be brought to justice. If you provably condoned, approved, and justified torture against established national and international law, you should be prosecuted.

"This guy is THE leading visionary on reality. He routinely discusses things which no one else has talked about, yet, turn out to be quite relevant months later."
--Walt Howard, commenting about CHS on another blog.

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