back to article Obesity witchhunt is a 'moral panic' - sense out of Texas

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 …

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At the fact overweight AC

Most if not all of your so-called facts are actually half-truth or plain wrong (mostly plain wrong actually). Especially the bits about glucose and carbs. That's from a physiologist.

Carbs won't make you fat. Although McDonald's or pizza hut's "carbs" will because guess what: they're actually mostly sugared fat.

However, I have to agree that an unhealthy diet is much easier to get than an healthy one. Not necessarily cheaper though. Just easier. So yeah, when you don't have time or don't wish to cook, you eat trash and end up overweight. Or you could go for plain rice and salad, it's actually almost exclusively "carbs" but you'll still lose some weight. Not as appetent as a triple fatburger with extra cheese, though.

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@ Pierre - 17th March 2009 23:13 GMT

Which part about glucose and carbs is wrong? UP TO 85% of carbs consumed by mass converts to glucose?

That is actually a fact (some nutritionists actually believe its up to 95% of certain carbs as consumed by mass)- as i said; it depends on what carbs you are consuming. Obviously not 85% of a celery stick will convert to glucose, but how much will a bowl of white rice? Pure carb with very little fibre content.

Please do not confuse losing muscle with losing body fat - the two are very different. If you want to lose lean body muscle you can go ahead and munch on carbs and cut down or remove protein (some vegetarians/vegans do this, and they end up looking like bean poles) because your body will strip down your non-essential protein mass to shore up essential functions (hence the whole essential amino acid boo-haa-haa)

Look, you can gain fat whether you follow a carnivorous or vegetarianvegan eating pattern. This is because ultimately the liver can and regularly does break carbs, proteins AND fats into glucose. Eating rice and salad as a meal will not provide you with amino acids, so you may lose some weight, but you.re not gonna lose fat on that - GUARANTEED. You lose more lean body muscle than fat when you bias your diet towards vegetarian/vegan eating habits, and that is unhealthy too.

Just as the human body can only use energy presented to it as glucose, also it needs essential amino acids to synthesize or replace key protein structures.

Try again with the formula, and speak from a technical point of view, not an emotional one if you can please.

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Anonymous Coward

Read "The Diet Delusion"

After several decades of complete confusion - thanks to the bumbling incompetence of the scientific community and our government masters - I am now beginning to understand the relevant aspects of human metabolism, through reading Gary Taubes' groundbreaking book "The Diet Delusion". Taubes himself is a journalist, not a scientist or doctor, so he has no axe to grind and no tenure to chase. He contents himself with reporting the facts, ever since Mr Banting found he was unaccountably obese in the 1860s and was eventually restored to slimness and health through a diet that eliminated starchy foods. Then we had Ancel Keys and his cholesterol theory, and a gentleman named Newburgh who insisted that fatties simply have no will power. (Neither of those theories has ever stood up in experimental tests, which usually prove exactly the opposite).

A word of warning - "The Diet Delusion" is a fairly massive, both in length and content, and will take several days to read. That's purely because Taubes lays the groundwork properly, gradually building up his explanation in simple terms that any lay person can easily follow. There turns out to be a lot of groundwork, but by page 400 you will be reading about the chemistry of insulin, triglycerides and fatty acids - and enjoying the intellectual stimulus.

Bottom line: Taubes has showed me that all my own empirical observations and experiences have a reasonable explanation, and I have not been going mad when the calorie sums didn't even begin to add up. The reason is one I hardly even dared to think of: the scientific establishment has failed utterly in its duty to inform us lay people of what is good and bad for us. Much of what governments tell us to do is not only useless, but positively harmful.

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Chocolate and beer do go together, sometimes!

Try Maltesers in your Guiness. It's a taste sensation!

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@Tony

Thanks!

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Pirate

@the fact overweight AC

Wow. Your leg muscles must be huge. I know my leg muscles can't lift that much weight. let alone walk around as well.

Congrats on the weight-loss by the way. If you are that successful why not start your own slimming world or something. That way you can get the money to keep yourself more trim, if you really wanted.

Jolly Rodger, coz his BMI is minimal

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BMI

BMI will never work because Muscle Mass weighs more than Fat.

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Anonymous Coward

Photos

"6' 3" and 16 stone"

I think we need some photos!!

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Anonymous Coward

@FatAC

"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."

What exactly are the huge costs involved in eating normal amounts and walking about?

Unhealthy diets are almost exclusively expensive in terms of money; they're very very cheap in terms of time, however. So, basically I think you're pretending the problem is money when it's actually laziness.

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It's just another kind of fascism

Now that it isn't acceptable to vilify people for being darker-skinned or gayer than some kind of "norm", then the mob has to have a new target. And fatties will do nicely thanks, because "it's their own fault".

Bullying isn't right, no matter how you wrap it up in pseudoscience. Doctors are mostly failed vets and Giles Coren is an overeducated cock who hasn't even got the decency to be as funny as his old man was, which wasn't very.

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Beat you

6' 3" and 17 stone... I was told that my 'ideal' weight was 13 stones the last time I had this discussion, to which my response was "which limb do you want to chop off first?". There's no way I carry 4 stones in fat and I actually gain weight when I exercise regularly, because muscle is denser than fat - shock!

The BMI is a piece of shit, anyone who's been subjected to a medical knows that.

Here's another idea - why not just use your common sense, enjoy eveything in moderation and ignore all the hysteria-bullshit perpetuated by these publicitards.

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Fact?

Fact: you don't get to 41 stone through bad luck and being poor.

Stop complaining, walk to the market and buy some fucking vegetables. Learn to cook. Give up ready meals, COMPLETELY. Eat less meat - you don't need it every meal, the good stuff is expensive and the cheap stuff full of fat. Give up booze and lose that sweet tooth - try water instead of that diet coke I know you live on. Take the gastric band. Go for a walk. And take some fucking responsibility for your situation.

Cooking from scratch may not be as convenient as heating a ready meal but at 41 stone, my friend, I would suggest convenience is no longer your top priority.

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Anonymous Coward

Fact

When one consumes fewer calories than one burns, one will lose weight.

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BMI Bollocks

The BMI is bollocks as it doesn't account for body structure, lean muscle mass, etc. For me to get to a "healthy" BMI I'd have to weigh 170lbs. I'd look like walking death weighing that little.

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You can only get so fat...

The UK and Europe are catching up to the US, more fatties, but there comes a point when everyone can only get so fat, average of around say 22-25st. I know, that's what happened to me before I woke one day and realised I'd be dead soon if I didn't shift it pronto!

My local town centre is about 50% fast food places, 50% every other types of shops. We only have at population of about 60,000, yet we have 7 pizza places, 8 curry houses, 11 chinese takeaways, 5 chip-shops, 3 kebab houses and 3 major supermarkets! Just one little tin-pot place in the middle of the country, definately nothing special about our town that attracts so much crap fast-food!

I must say there definately seems to be a rise in the number of tubby kids now, maybe I just notice them more!

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Joke

Hmm. Texans. Witchunts.

Run, fat boy, run!

Needed saying. I've just downed a rather good bread pudding.

Feeling a bit sleepy now.

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Anonymous Coward

Fact!!!111!!1111!!eleventyone!!!

Actually eating healthily is more expensive than eating fatty shite. Take a look at any supermarket and you can buy ready meals for a quid that are really bad for you. That quid won't go very far in the fruit and veg department*

Fat does not get converted to glucose and then back again. fat is digested to fatty acids (and glycerol) which is then [directly] metabolised through the Krebs cycle.

Glucose does not get stored as fat. Glucose (and other carbohydrates) are metabolised for cell energy in preference to proteins and fatty acids and when there is an abundance of calories taken in then the excess glucose is stored as glycogen and the fatty acids in fat cells.

BMI *is* a reasonable measurement of weightiness as long as you aren't a serious athlete. If you *are* a serious athlete then you are not going to be worried that you are too fat so to discredit BMI with whines that "ZOMG, I have a BMI of twelvety-nine but I lift 200Kg with one arm and run 4000 miles on my lunch break so BMI is like, teh craps" is just whiney whining by almost certainly overweight people.

I agree that the only real way of seeing if you are healthy is by looking at any wobbly bits (or protruding bones for that matter) in a mirror and then seeing whether you can have a conversation with someone after walking up 3 flights of stairs**

Finally, regarding doctors. I believe the main focus of ire here is against the standard GP. I know mine is. These people are lazy, useless, overpaid whingeing bastards who should be beaten with sticks until I am bored with beating them. Surgeons, paramedics, A&E doctors etc. (anyone who works in a hospital, basically) are brilliant. GPs are less than such.

*of the supermarket, this is not reference to genitalia

**If you have to have a break on teh way up then you already fail

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@lIsRT

Require that all places where calories can be obtained (supermarkets, pubs, canteens etc.) have doorways of less than 1 foot in width.

So i have to leave my todger out of doors? Surely you jest!

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Happy

@Pete - taxing sperm

I don't think they'll stand still for much of that taxing business...let me know how it goes when you round them up and lay a tax on 'em.

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@ Fat Facts

"Fact - my biggest ever weight loss was over 8 months, when i lost eleven stone (2004)"

I work late so often buy takeaways rather than cook dinner, I drink coke all day long, take in far too many calories in beer form and never get any exercise. My ENTIRE BODY doesn't even weigh eleven stone.

Unless your "fitness regime" includes paying a personal assistant to come round and hide all your food, I don't see how you can blame your 40 stone weight on a lack of money.

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@ AC

"some nutritionists"

Some nutritionists are also clearly leeches. Swindlers, if you like. I typed a point-by-point answer to your "facts" but it was apparently blocked by our iron-fisted moderatrix for some reason. Too busy to re-type the thing, it was a bit long. But I can assure you that a whole lot of your "facts" are actually plain wrong. Eat more carbs, less fat, cook by yourself and drink water (or tea or whatever but NOT Coke) and you should be better. Gee, with such rubbish beliefs not wonder you're overweight. "I can eat as much bacon as I want, it's the bread that makes me fat". Yeah sure.

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Fact eleventyone!!! By Lee Posted Wednesday

Hi Lee,

Please look up Glycogenesis and get back to me yeah? And read the reply above this one from me if you'd like to correct some assumptions about my lifestyle.

thanks..

Fat Bloke

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@ AC By Pierre...

Please explain a weight loss of ELEVEN stone over 8 months by following a low-carb regime, and i will be a happy person.

I don't consume copious amounts of Cola; i've been off fizzy drinks since Dec 2006

I don't eat bacon or other high-salt foods because that would trigger high blood pressure, and my 140/82 (measured last week, twice) will do me fine for now considering my body weight

I have never hired a personal assistant as part of my fitness regime; i walk uphill to my gym (20 minutes), spend half an hour on the treadmill at 50% incline and 4/9 on the speed setting, usually completing a 4-5km walk and sweating like mad... then i walk home again...

I eat takeaway maybe twice to three times a month; it tends to be chinese or carribean, as i can't even stand most pizza sold in the country (stodgy, oily and stinks)

I can tell you that i consume alcohol up to 4 times a year; i know this because i only go drinking with a select group of friends and this is only when we can meet up. I have never been drunk

You seem to be judging a book by its cover - i stopped doing that ages ago for the obvious reasons...

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Stop

Hi AC

I'm not going to argue over a diet now, because I'm not a nutritionist (thank god for that) and *my* diet qualifies as "very poor" because I'm mostly a lazy bast*rd. However, we are the same age and I weight 65 to 70 kg (depending on how much I exercise) for 175 cm. A bit on the thin side probably, blame it on me being lazy and/or too busy, I tend to skip meals (and I do exercise quite a bit).

Anyway, my point was that your so-called facts are mostly wrong (except for the bit about the gastric band, and also the fact that trash food is heavily advertized, easily available, and appetent). My detailed rebuttal -which was sniped by the moderation team, probably for being uselessely long and boring- was a scientific (physiology and biochemistry) one. I'm not going to retype it because it would take quite some time, it would probably be killed again, and I don't really give a fuck anyway -and I'd bet you don't, either.

Your weight loss on a low-carb diet can probably be explained by the fact that your energy intake was adjusted to fit (or be a bit below) your energetic expenses, and not by the "low carb" part. These diets -in my very modest opinion- are mostly trends, but again, I might know a thing or two about normal human physiology (my paycheck would tend to say so), but I'm in no way a specialist in obese people's metabolism, so I might very well be mistaken. Extreme cases might, after all, call for extreme measures. Understand me well: I still don't believe in these trendy diets, but I have no way of proving they are rubbish. Put in another way, your "facts" were scientifically wrong so you certainly failed to prove that your diet has a scientific basis, however, there still might be one. I doubt it though.

In short, whatever works for you is probably good, and, as a psychologeek friend of mine would put it, "Obesity starts in the head" (yeah, he's a strange guy).

Be careful not to be abused by charlatans and swindlers. They abund. "Rip off the fatso" is one of the most lucrative occupation in western countries since "investment bankers" is getting risky. If the "facts" you presented here were given to you by a "nutritionist", I strongly suggest you kicked his/her probably skinny arse and find a real one.

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Joke

PS

Just to finish on a (dim)witted note, I almost regret not being overweight because I will never get to use the good old "I'm not big, I'm near".

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Anonymous Coward

@AC RE: Me

I read up about Glycogenesis which, as I suspected is the process by which glucose is stored as glycogen. Please enlighten me as to how this is at odds with my statements (I presume these are the relevant ones):

(1) Fat does not get metabolised into glucose

(2) Glucose does not get stored as fat

especially given I made the statement:

(3) excess glucose gets stored as glycogen

I have not made any statements about your lifestyle, but if you want to play then hell, I'm game.

Being overweight is one thing, being that overweight is something completely different. Assuming that the information you have supplied is true (on the internet you can never safely do so, but I see no reason not to at this stage) then you are exceptionally overweight with what appears to be a mostly healthy lifestyle.

So you appear to have a major problem, whether glandular, hormonal, metabolic or, and please take no offense, you are deficient in the lifestyle related truthiness department.

Whichever is the case you need better help than walking to a gym, certainly after losing 9 stone the only reason you put it back on can't be the cost of healthy food.

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Correction for Lee

I immediately apologize - that was a typo.

The process i meant to refer to is Gluconeogenesis.

Two specialists (NHS), one private consultant, three nutritionists later, they cannot find what is wrong with me. I lived on exactly the same food and exercise regime as my brother (who is thin and of socially acceptable proportion) for six months. He lost two pounds; i gained three stone. We kept a food diary and took it to my GP, who promptly accused me of cheating. We were sharing a flat, going for exercise together (gym discount) and working at the same company. Go figure.

Hey, at the end of the day, if the penny-pinchers have decided that fat people are going to be taxed based on their BMI, there is nothing i can do to stop it. I may be in the minority, but i have a serious problem, and i have tried and continue to try every day to lose the fat that seems to burden the society i live in. Pity society refuses to accept that this is a problem; maybe because they associate eating with pleasure and as such must somehow have made the assumption that people who eat more than others are seeking some sort of pleasure more than everyone else.

I am stuck between wishing that none of you EVER know someone real close who is fat e.g. your kids/eventual spouses etc, or that you ALL get fat and get lumbered with that which you thought you could resist till kingdom come.

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Anonymous Coward

Answers

"Two specialists (NHS), one private consultant, three nutritionists later, they cannot find what is wrong with me."

You're eating too much.

"I lived on exactly the same food and exercise regime as my brother (who is thin and of socially acceptable proportion) for six months."

You might think that, but I'd guarantee that you're wrong.

"He lost two pounds; i gained three stone. We kept a food diary and took it to my GP, who promptly accused me of cheating. "

You're GP was sort of right. What's happening - and it's pretty common - is that you are eating and blanking it out of your memory. Alcoholics do the same thing with drinking - they'll remember the two pints they had at lunch and forget that they worked their way through a bottle of vodka over the rest of the day. How many people with drink problems have looked at a pile of empties in total and honest disbelief?

You're snacking - for sufficently large values of "snack" - and your addicted mind is simply discounting those snacks in order to prevent your concious mind from being able to see what's going on and doing something about it, which would be a threat to your addiction. Your addiction has direct access to your brain and can literally change your perception in order to maintain its access to the addictive substance.

Get a headband with a camera and wear it 24hrs for a week (one frame per second would do) and then show the result to your Doc or your brother. The result will probably shock the hell out of you, assuming that you can manage to leave it on without cheating (which again you will probably not remember doing).

You have a mental illness and it needs treated - keep trying to find a physical reason for your weight and you're wasting your time.

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@ annoyingly clueless AC

"that was a typo. The process i meant to refer to is Gluconeogenesis."

Would you please be kind enough and stop this cut'n'paste of random cool-looking words from some Wiki article that you didn't understand?

Given the bad faith you display here, it's probably safe to assume that even the personal "facts" you gave are at best inexact. That closes it really. Go back to eating lard, as you seem to believe it's good for you.

Oh, and about your food diary: put the bloody things on the scale. Stangely enough, "pizza" is a single line, but one slice of pizza is not the same as 2 pizzas and a half.

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And this is the problem with the world...

Such closed-mindedness coupled with prejudice usually belongs to people to whom misfortune has not yet befallen..

I will continue on my path, costing you idiots an arm and a leg on the NHS, taking two seats in trains and planes while paying for one, forcing you out of queues whenever i feel like, and generally making your lives a nuisance with my physical presence, simply because when i asked for help, i was told i didn't need it.

Is that more along the lines of what you wanted to hear? Prejudices satisfied? Job done...

Off to find something fattening, and you'll pay for it in the future :)

Bon Appetito, dumb azzes!!

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Drugs

"Most people who get hooked on heroin start on marijuana". Yes, but even more start on *milk*. Think about it :-)

Post hoc, propter hoc.

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Cost of Healthcare

In the US health care is a for profit business. Can anyone guess what could go wrong with that idea?

Let me ask you this then. Which hospital does better financially? The one that charges up to 6 times as much for everything from surgery to paper towels then sends the patient home as sick as when they arrived (repeat business) or the one that offers affordable health care and gives preventative advice to their communities?

Here are is a list of common billing 'errors'

* Repeat billing: charged twice for the same procedure, supplies or medications.

* Length of stay: Were you charged for the day you checked out?

* Correct charge for type of room: If you were in a shared room, confirm you're not being charged for a private one.

* Time in OR: Sometimes hospitals charge based on an "average" time needed to perform an operation rather than the time your operation actually took.

* Up coding: Happens when a doctor changes an order for medication and/or service from an expensive version to one that costs less, like generic medications. And yet you're billed at the higher rate. And sometimes you're billed for both. Keep on top of this one; it's the most widespread of all common billing 'errors'.

* Canceled service: A medication, procedure or service that was prearranged and then canceled later will still show up on your final invoice.

* Everything from a box of tissues to your bedclothes will be given some exotic, technical name and charged at many times the cost you'd pay if you bought it yourself.

* Hospital room telephone calls. Excellent opportunities for profit abound.

I haven't even got to the fact that US drug companies charge US customers 2-3 times the price they charge national health care services in countries like France, Britain or Canada. Or that hospitals will introduce new coding standards as often as possible to disguise the true nature of the services they're billing for.

Fat people and smokers are the cause of all our health care woes? Riiiiight.

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