The Science of a Chocolate Teapot
For experimental results see...
A lone researcher has dared to speak up against the obesity health insanity outbreak, one of several sweeping the western world as medical professionals attempt to shift blame for rocketing healthcare costs onto their customers. Samantha Kwan of Houston Uni says that the current obesity brouhaha - with its talk of chocolate …
For experimental results see...
I like the way the bootnote actually proves the NHS's claim: alcohol is more affordable than it was in the 70's. The fact that cars and TVs are too is not actually relevant, is it?
I take it you've not tried Youngs Double Chocolate Stout then. Yummy!
... before it furthermore swept on the mainland after having infested Britain and the US.
Eat this, stereotypers: A fit "overweight" is statistically happier, healthier and has a longer life than a thin, unfit person. The later is just as prone to illness, diabetis and the likes as unfit "overweight".
Yes, you heard right, big people are NOT unhealthier than others. Big people were once even considered the healthiest in a society, and the only ones to be able to survice bad times as opposed to those not being able to get as much calories digested from the same amount of food.
AN ALIEN: because they are laughing at us for our combined stupidity!
I didnt realise it before but i think i am doing things which are bad for me, but which only attract regular amounts of tax.
I drive, not walk. This is only taxed a small amount..... Oh, hang on, wait a minute, no....Its Taxed through the bloody roof!
I drink alcohol, which only has 15% vat on it now. .... Hang on, No it also has MASSIVE amounts of DUTY as well
I eat thick sliced white bread. This seems to have escaped the massive tax harpees thus far, but is still well over a quid a loaf.
i watch too much television, but at least i dont need to pay for that......, Nope wrong again....VAT on the telly i bought, licence fee and sky charges (with VAT).
I play computer games (yes the ones that attract VAT).
If i SMOKED, then this would also be TAXED TO THE HILT,
So, stop banging on about how bad for me everything is. If i didnt do any of it, you ministers wouldnt have your fat country pads and massive expense accounts.
i recall when i was younger and according to the BMI I was obese. 6" tall (1.8m), 26" (66cm)waist and 48" (122cm) chest and weighing 17.5 st (245lb 111kg) makes me obese.
Of course I spent all my time lifting weights above my head but that doesnt count.
With this article to a point. However, most fat people are fat because they eat too much and do too little exercise. Whilst I believe there is some basis to claim "witchhunt" I think it dangerous to pin the hope on doctors being the sole cure, as the changing of someones lifestyle is akin to leading the horse to water, and making it WANT to drink it; which is not always difficult.
The answer is : STOP EATING SO MANY BURGERS YOU LARDY ASS LAZE MONKEY.
BMI is a lot of nonsense. Heavyweight boxers, by this measure, are all obese. Fitness professionals have known this for ages. By the same token, the '5 a day' and alcohol unit targets were dreamt up with no medical evidence whatsoever. In fact, recent evidence shows that drinking above the limits leads to a longer, healthier life.
Finally, poeple constantly complain about how much all these, as well as smoking, ''cost'' the NHS, as if without them those people would instead live forever, whereas in fact they will die at some point from something else, which the NHS will also have to treat.
Fact is, some of the medical profession want you to have a miserable life, presumably because they do.
Is that it completely ignores muscle mass. Any reasonably muscled athlete will rate as fatter than the standard lardgut.
smart rationing cards based on the holders BMI. For those with High BMI their ration would be lower than "standard", conversely for those with low or normal BMI their ration would be higher or normal against standard as appropriate. Food bought outside the ration for High BMIs wanting a top up would be available but with 100% VAT.
Since we all have to eat, we will all need a smart ration card with biometric details, registered on a national database, to ensure that fraud and impersonation are not carried out. Thus it would provide two complementary services ration control and personal identification.
No card, no problem... all you can eat at twice the price!
=Im stringy, and i'm actually underweight on my BMI by one point (yes, ONE), and i show every sign of living to a ripe old age - 80+...
AND THERES NOTHING I CAN DO ABOUT IT!!!
(Exept top myself (not gonna happen))
its all down to my metabolism, recently ive been eating a 5,000 calorie diet per day, and i still haven't gained a pound! so shove that in your pipe and smoke it.
AC for obvious reasons.
Just let me get a mars bar to munch on - its in one of these pockets, im sure of it!
Nice to see this sentiment somewhere on the Reg. Devil's Kitchen has been telling doctors to "shut up and patch me up" for ages. You can also find this kind of sense being talked about less rhetorically and more scientifically on the excellent Junkfood Science blog. It's about time we stopped listening to the health fascists and realised that people are individuals and have different priorities from each other.
Players vs Gentlemen. Now there's a grudge match I'd pay to see!
The whole BMI business seems a bit squirrely, but the word "constructed" makes one wonder whether we haven't someone who has been on a high-Foucault diet. Short's Latin Dictionary (on-line thanks to the Perseus project) is unwilling to commit to the novelty of "obesus" as meaning fat further than saying "perhaps not ante-Augustan".
...to completely eliminate the obesity * hysteria:
Require that all places where calories can be obtained (supermarkets, pubs, canteens etc.) have doorways of less than 1 foot in width.
Think of the boost to the economy of all those jobs in joinery and manufacturing slimline wheelchairs!
Imagine the amusement watching those of borderline rotundity stopped -just- out of reach of a vending machine!
* Ignoring any silly BMI related definitions, let's just assume it means "fat".
"damn near supernatural total body fat percentage of 12.5". As measured by brain scan?
One wonders who has a fully supernatural tbfp--the ghost of Hamlet's father?
For the last couple of centuries, doctors have watched their fortunes grow. In the UK today. doctors are among our most highly rewarded professionals, and penny for penny among the least effective. People are at last starting to wake up to the fact that mounting health expenses are down to what the extended medical industry creams off the top of the public purse, not what the patients try desperately to obtain at the bottom.
And it's not as though all that many patients are ever actually CURED of anything in reality - at GP level anyway. When medical advances happen, it's rarely down to doctors - far more likely to be chemists and pharmacists - and even they are motivated these days mainly by profit. And today, as over all those years, the medical professions have more fads and fashions than the ladies' clothing industry. Remember way back when doctors thought it was good for you to smoke? (Trick question - they never THOUGHT it was OK to smoke - they KNEW it for a fact).
So what's a doctor to do to justify a salary 4 or 5 times the national average? The only tactic left, it seems, is to say "Yes I'm earning a LOT of money - and I'm not solving your medical problems. But that can't be MY fault - I'm an educated professional! So it must be YOUR fault!" QED.
Try telling any doctor today that you have never, in fact, led the kind of lifestyle that produced a 'lifestyle illness' and you'll be met with exasperation, disbelief and sarcasm. It HAS to be your fault. It SURELY cannot be that medics simply don't know - and never did know - half as much as they'd like you to believe.
Those who are fit, but towards one extreme or the other (e.g. body builders or distance runners) will show as obese or under-weight respectively. Despite the fact that they are still supremely fit.
Fat is also good up to a point. It allows you to miss lunch by an hour and not pass out. It keeps you warm. It protects muscles. And, women take note, it gives you a nice figure!
Of course, none of those are excuses for being an unhealthy lard-butt and something does have to be done about the appalling state of people in Britain.
Riiiight... thank you, Mr Page, for reminding this rarely drinking, non-smoking 12 stone 5'10" (if I've converted those heathen units properly) man that he will be a drain on society. Eventually.
Hey, maybe worrying about it will shorten my life. In which case this article wasn't just amusing and instructive (as your articles usually are), but actually useful in real life. :-)
Seeing as BMI is the ratio of a length squared to weight, whereas we all know that weight is proportional to volume, which is length cubed, it's obvious that people with extremes of height, be tall or short, are going to be penalised by a system based on a square law. I'm slightly more overweight than Lewis Page, given that I'm only 6'2" but about the same weight but I don't consider myself to be overweight.
I'm surprised at you Lewis.
As rough and ready and as completely useless as a reliable indicator of future health problems BMI may be, we are kind of stuck with it, because people want numbers - as a society we are absolutely OBSESSED by weight and BMI as a measure of overall fitness - and no *real* method of ascertaining the ratio of fat to lean tissue is even remotely as accessible.
On the BMI scale, at the borderlines between the categories it imposes, there is a lot of leeway and it is entirely up to the individual's judgement (or their health professional's if they really need help deciding) as to how to interpret the result - and whether they want to investigate properly. At the extremes of the scale there is almost no room for doubt, save for extremes of body type i.e. pumped up body builders vs willowy couch potatoes. It is the willowy couch potatoes who need to worry, as the BMI system won't flag them up (whereas the body builder would probably come out as morbidly obese but there is no way they are not going to be aware of the shortfalls of the "system" and will probably know their body fat percentage to a tenth of a percent). On the other hand a big fat bloater can have no doubt when BMI tells them they are just that - a big fat bloater.
Bottom line is if you're fat, you know it. BMI and the medical profession are not at fault - they are only trying to get the message across in terms that even the terminally hard-of-thinking can understand. It is the diet companies like Weight Watchers and Slimfast who prey on peoples obsessions who need to be given a slap.
Tried every diet going and can't seem to shift the weight? Do really well but always put it back on again? Well then here's a diet that's guaranteed to work - it's called THE EXERCISE DIET. Put down the fork and get on your bike.
It doesn't really help that health "professionals" have moved the goal posts drastically regarding obesity in recent years to massage their statistics. Obese used to mean so overweight, one can barely move without assistance. These days, it's a bit of a belly and a double chin!
What a great article. I sure all those fat persons reading it will be so happy for the ammunition. But wait, you claim that you want facts to be used? I loved the 'have a go at the cost of skinny people bit', that’s brilliant, but kinda contradicts the very assertion you made at the start of the article. You want to stick to facts… Ok there is some grounds for concern over the BMI thing, but the facts are clear - Fat people need to learn to stop eating as much food. If you do this, you will live longer and I won't have to pay taxes to pay for the myriad of problems poor diet has on your health. Furthermore, I might actually be able to sit on a train/bus seat without interruption cause some chubber chooses to sit beside me and can't confine his/her bulk to the one seat they paid to occupy.
is it really that bad a place to start?
Most people aren't muscle queens, or rugger buggers so if you do have a high BMI there is a strong chance that you are a bit of a porker
There are other tests which can be run,
give the side of your gut a smack... wait.... wait.... wait.... is it still wobbling about?
Yes? then you're fat, deal with it
Although this doesn't mean I agree with taxing the hell out of anything mildly enjoyable, it just seems that people always get so arsey about the BMI. It is only a guideline, you know if you are fat or if you are thin you just don't want to accept it
While Lewis may be one of the comparatively few exceptions, most of those I hear whinging about the BMI not being accurate aren't exactly weightlifters or Oxford Blues.
For the vast majority the BMI is a useful guide as to the healthiness of your weight. And remember kids - while it's less effort than exercising, trying to prove the BMI isn't accurate won't make you less fat.
My brother was told by his GP that he was dangerously underweight, and that he should significantly increase his caloric intake.
The next time my brother saw the same GP he was told "Ooops, nevermind, I added it up wrong".
So my advice is, do your own sums, and do use a calculator ;)
What my tight britches tell me every day....too much lard in the bucket.
"If i SMOKED, then this would also be TAXED TO THE HILT"
Not if you're smoking what I am :)
BMI should only really be a starter for 10, not Judge Judy & executioner.
The conversation should be "I see you have quite a high/low BMI, let's have a closer look at other risk factors like your parachute jumping and interviews on the Today Programme" rather than "I see you have quite a high/low BMI, you're going to explode/implode and DIE!"
Quetelet never claimed health implications - BMI was only intended as a population classification mechanism to see if it fitted a standard probability distribution. It's the flipping insurance industry that added them as a magic risk indicator. AIG's recent performance should tell you how good magic risk indicators are...
My goals in life are to:
1. Live to be an embarrasment to my children
2. Become a burden on society
3. And to do the above for as long as possible.
I hoist a 20-kilo beer stein, thus getting both my alcohol and my exercise in one go!
Your realize that there are actually people with strange metabolisms.
There are those who eat with wild abandon all manner of calories while sitting around doing nothing and gain no weight.
There are those who eat intelligently and in moderation while engaging in modest exercise and lose no weight.
For these groups, the BMI is less than useless. You'd need some sort of endocrine system analysis to assess the health of someone like that.
Though I reckon the skinny lay-about would rather stay that way while the rotund power walker would gladly take medication to help with a hormone problem.
Generally there is a problem with people getting fatter, less healthy etc. My old section officer was probably hugely obese by any scale but could cover 100 yards quicker than most and take someone down at the end of it, mind you after 100 yards you were home free as he bounced to a halt then.
My first resuscitation on ambulance duty was for someone equally overweight and it took eight of us to lift him out of the spectator stand he was in (footy fan, go figure) and cart him upstairs to somewhere I could jump up and down on his chest. He was so large that effective CPR was impossible, so whether its genes, depression or lack of self discipline (believe what you will, the food he regurgitated told me lots), Darwin got him in the end. Not that that is much comfort to his family as he was only about 40ish.
For whatever reason you are overweight, its a question of by how much, as at sometime you might need to be carried somewhere, and usually there's only two of us coming to help you. Remember the article on El Reg a week or so ago about fire crews having to come and lift heavy patients? It really can be that bad.
Eat Drink and be Merry by all means, but I'm not going to stuff my back for you after a certain point. I have a family to support.
BMI is not that bad.
The accepted thresholds for being BMI normal and overweight, etc have changed. The thresholds 10 years ago were different to the values accepted today.
And BMI is not designed to tell you if you will have lots of health complications later. It doesn't make that claim, even if others might.
It does correlate very well, in the general global population, with body fat, and as such is a useful tool.
Does it work for everyone? No, not much does. But stop all the whining. And stop the excuses. It doesn't work for you if you are very fit or very very unfit. That's probably not you.
OK, Pop Quiz time: which is more - the number of people with AIDS or Type 2 Diabetes?
Ans. Diabetes, by a factor of 4 or 5, throughout the world. Even african countries are now seeing people with the condition - brought on from eating too much and not exercising.
Now, consider all the fuss about AIDS. All the publicity, all the changes people made to their lives to reduce the risk of contracting it. Now multiply all those initiatives by 4, and that would be a proportional response to obesity. With luck, after years of changing peoples' attitudes, we might start to see the kind of drop-off in numbers that we saw with AIDS.
However, taxing fat or other daft, knee-jerk reactions, are not the answer: just as taxing sperm or hypodermics wouldn't help with AIDS. It needs education and social change to fix this problem.
 source: FT weekend magazine about a month or so, ago.
That first quoted paragraph tells you that this researcher is hopelessly naive. The idea of taxes on sweet or fatty foods has little to do with people's health and everything to do with tax revenue.
Taxing fags* has proved that such taxes simply do not work. Many people are effectively addicted to eating "unhealthy" food and the goverments of the world know full well that these people won't stop eating these foods just becase the price goes up by a few percent. So they apply their taxes and see a healthy increase in tax revenue.
Did people stop using their cars when fuel prices went through the roof last year? Did people stop smoking because a duty was placed on cigs? Will people stop eating chocolate and pies if a tax is levied on them?
I'm just waiting for the black market in illegally imported choccy and burgers
* No apologies to the merkins.
If BMI is "calculated by dividing weight by the square of height", then surely an increase in height will lead to a reduction in the BMI, not an increase.
If the numerator stays constant and the denominator rises, you get a smaller value.
I'm not overweight. Just not tall enough.
I wasn't going to respond to your post, but I've changed my mind. So doctors are useless and overpaid?
May I ask when was the last time that you had to tell a grieving couple that they had lost their child because some chav in a 4 x 4 was too busy texting his girlfriend to see a child on a bike?
Or have you ever had to explain to someone that they have terminal cancer and have perhaps only days to live; or, that a loved parent has dementia and will live for another 20 years as a complete vegetable?
Have you ever had to try to maintain life in a dying person? (I have; I'm told that I spent just over 6 minutes performing heart massage and mouth to mouth - it seemed like 60 minutes)
Or have you worked in an A & E on a Saturday night - you get lots of people that have consumed vast quantities of booze, so drunk that they don't realise they have broken limbs, that try to assault the people that are actually trying to help them.
Perhaps you have seen a child so battered that it is bleeding from every orifice, frightened out of its mind - and listen without comment as the parents tell you it "fell down the stairs".
Maybe you have watched as someone with advanced carcinoma sneeks out of the building for a quick puff of a cigarette that will kill them, and watch as they cough and wheeze, but still stick the damn thing in their mouth for one last drag.
And may I ask which you would prefer; advice and medicine from someone that actually is trying to help you get well, or from someone that is supplying what they have been told to, based upon how much profit they can make?
"i recall when i was younger and according to the BMI I was obese. 6" tall (1.8m), 26" (66cm)waist and 48" (122cm) chest"
When reading this I first thought '26" waist and 48" bust? phwoarrrr' but now I see I'm thinking of the wrong gender.
How about the government taxes you based on BMI/body fat and you have to pay them an extra £1000 a yr to be a lard bucket
Of course knowing this government, once that law was in place, you have liposuction or go on a diet and you'll then be charged with tax evasion.
PS some docs do do a good job... especialy the ones who nailed me back together after I got squashed by a car
"it's totally unclear that dying expensively early on ... is a worse result for society than the alternative."
Yeah, thank God John Keats, for example, died so young. We might have had a few more of those boring poems.
And you a writer, Lewis!
I'm not suggesting that as long a life as possible should be anyone's aim but neither can you measure the benefit to "society" of what comes out of someone's life across their lifespan in purely economic terms.
On the larger questions -
Obesity *is* an increasing problem - haven't you seen some of the people walking - rather, waddling - down the street? or some of the men standing around in the supermarket queues with bellies that make them look like they're pregnant? Never mind their lifespan - in the long run we're all dead, as Keynes said - but can they possibly be enjoying life as much as they might? At the very least the poor prunes couldn't run for a bus without panting, wouldn't dream of throwing a ball for their children, and probably wake in the night burnt with acid reflux. But, of course, this is none of the government's business. I'm with you there, if that's what your thinking. And, since the current administration can't even manage governmental functions with a modicum of competence, they'd better not poke their nose into things outside their proper role.
As for Coren, I bet you could take the little weasel with no problem.
I can't speak for GB, but obesity is indeed an epidemic problem in America and it something isn't done about it, it will break our healthcare system. And long-term obesity kills. Period. This is unquestionable. While we shouldn't torment fat people, we don't enable them with lies either. My wife was 80 lbs overweight and she was beginning to have serious health problems -- all of which were directly attibutable to obesity: high blood pressure, hyperclycemia, menstrual irregularities, etc. She's lost 70 lbs so far and has kept it off for three years. Within one year, all of her health problems have disappeared and she's as healthy as a horse.
I never realized that the actual reason why the F-22 will get it's shiny arse kicked by the Eurofighter anytime is not because it's a lousy aircraft, but because the pilots are overweight. Now *how* *much* does a shot down F22 cost to society again?
Ha! Take that Samantha Kwan of Houston Uni!
I'm always very interested by the "costs of healthcare" issue being raised for smoking, drinking or obesity related issues. Yet everyone seems to have forgotten that there are costs both ways.
Someone who lives to a hundred is a burden on the state usually from the day they retire. They stop paying taxes and start receiving a state pension, as well as continuing to get healthcare (which they increasingly need). This compares to someone who goes out in a blaze of glory at 60 with a heart attack bought on by obesity who is likely to cost the state very little. People dying of lung cancer or liver cirrhosis end up somewhere in the middle in terms of cost.
And I have to say I love the comments telling people to eat less and exercise more. If they really think that is the issue then why is the problem not already solved. Most people actually eat more calories than they expend with exercise. The difference is that some people have metabolisms that burn extra calories without additional effort whereas the efficient metabolisms store it away for use later as fat.
Finally, thanks for the point on diabetes. It is rather irrelevant though since (1) type 2 diabetes is easily controlled and rarely kills (2) type 2 diabetes is not infectious. The reason we worry about aids is because it is infectious and kills; but also because it has such a long latent period where people are asymptomatic. The most deadly diseases out there have these latent periods where someone is infectious but asymptomatic since that is the period where the disease spreads.
This means that for the first time since the 1970s class B and C drugs will be 70% more affordable than alcohol (and chocolate).
I wonder what teenagers will choose now that booze is off the menu?
Maybe people are just getting shorter.
"Ans. Diabetes, by a factor of 4 or 5, throughout the world."
AIDS case increase has been greatly reduced over the last 20 or so years through education and what not (drug warriors, take note!). I don't really see why you are comparing it to AIDS other than for shock value. AIDS is tragic because, without treatment, it kills you pretty fast and gruesomely, not because it is widespread. Compare type 2 to maybe the number of people infected with the plague and see if that fits what you are trying to accomplish. OH yea, and being fat takes a really long time to kill you. But yea, they're pretty much the same. O_O.
"Even african countries are now seeing people with the condition - brought on from eating too much and not exercising."
Contrary to all the "give Rachael $20 for food" commercials (rachael is prolly in her 50s by now) , not all of Africa is starving. I would be more shocked if you said "there are no cases of type 2 in Africa." But as far as propaganda goes, this is pretty good. Zomg, even Africans are fat. Guess we can stop sending food, huh? (oops unintended consequence there.)
"Now, consider all the fuss about AIDS. All the publicity, all the changes people made to their lives to reduce the risk of contracting it. Now multiply all those initiatives by 4, and that would be a proportional response to obesity."
Lol. what kinda of fucked up Al Gore logic is that? We should spend 5 times the amount of fat education to eradicate it because there are 5 times more fat people than aids victims? I'm pretty sure fat people know being fat isn't good for them, they just have more important things to worry about. I'm glad you aren't in charge of my bank account.
"With luck, after years of changing peoples' attitudes, we might start to see the kind of drop-off in numbers that we saw with AIDS."
Wow you actually countered your own "start with a bang" point with your conclusion. Your first attempt at scaring people was to say that type 2 is 4-5x more prevalent than AIDS (zomg AIDS IS BAD!!), and in your conclusion, you say there aren't that many cases of aids.
Fact - A human body only utilizes energy ultimately presented in ONE form; glucose (stored as Glycogen in the muscles and common body fat in fat-storing cells)
Fact - Whether fructose, maltose, lactose or dextrose - it will all be reformed into GLUCOSE (sugar by any other name is just as sweet and deadly)
Fact - A body gets glucose from ingested food, fat stores or de-aminated protein muscle ONLY
Fact - A human body can ONLY make body fat from glucose, NOT from directly ingested fats, so eating fat DOESN'T make you fat...
Fact - Up to 85% or more of ingested carb content by mass (anything from ANY plant) converts to glucose
Fact - 80 to 90% of protein ingested by mass is WATER
Fact - ONLY a maximum of 10% of ingested fats can be converted to glucose by a human body (hence occasional floaters in the loo after a fish-n-chip dinner :)
Fact - Fibre-rich foods also provide glucose, just in lower amounts over a longer period
Fact - The liver can and regularly does break carbs, proteins AND fats into glucose; you cannot utilize them as an energy source otherwise
Fact - Most humans go through life following the primary energy path - energy derived from ingested food
Fact - Most humans would need to cut ingestion of carbs while maintaining protein intake to lose bodyfat (low-carb diet)
Fact - Most doctors preach ingested carbs as part of a 'balanced diet', when they can safely not be eaten (see Carnivore in your dictionary of choice)
Fact - Carbs are more responsible for blood-sugar fluctuations than any other food group
Fact - Categorizing carbs into simple and complex carbohydrates doesn't paint the correct picture on what is good for you and what is not. The amount of glucose ultimately derived from a food is the best way to rate how useful a food is to your system over a given period of time (glycemic index is the closet match)
Fact - Carbs are the CHEAPEST food produced and sold to people in the developed world today
Fact - Poor people tend to consume more useless carbs than other groups of people because THEY CANNOT REGULARLY AFFORD MORE
Fact - the £10,000 available for gastric banding to morbidly obese people could be better spent on an annual fitness regime and planned meal structures to effect a true lifestyle change.
Fact - This comment has been written by a morbidly obese person age 28, who has lost a combined total of over 40 stone over the last 8 years but gained it all back because i could not afford to maintain the regime that assisted me in my weight loss.
Fact - my biggest ever weight loss was over 8 months, when i lost eleven stone (2004)
Fact - i currently weigh 41 stone (260 kilograms)
You've obviously not tried Brooklyn Chocolate Stout. Mmmmm, double-ultra-yummalicious. Ideal. Combines two of my favorite comfort foods: chocolate and stout.
And I'm still hanging in there at 6ft, 165lbs. Got the kind of metabolism women hate -- the kind that runs like a Carerra on the Autobahn at 4am.
and the lardies will have to walk to the pub....
(might get cold on the walk)