Why English is “The Language of Obesity”

willclowergraphobesityItalian may be the language of romance, but English is the language of obesity.
Need proof?
If you line up all the countries around the world based on their obesity rates, you’ll see that English is the dominant language of six of the top nine most overweight countries.
These nations are located all over the globe, with different cultures, histories, and relative wealth. But what they all have in common is their language:
How do we explain this odd accumulation of obesity rates clustered around the calorie-free factor of language?
Hypothetically, it could be that the lexicon itself drives the problem. Maybe we just have more words for it, like Eskimos have 50 words for snow. Maybe we have so many terms and phrases for “swing through the drive-thru,” “supersize that,” and “pig out” that people are encouraged to do those things, like some kind of subliminal suggestion.
But of course, English is almost certainly reflecting the problem rather than driving it. American idioms around food are not the same as those in Ireland or New Zealand. We can definitely rule this explanation out.
A second interpretation is that countries like the United States, that are more business-friendly, are less likely to regulate additive sugars and artificial ingredients in food products. Choking grocery shelves with these unhealthy products might contribute to higher obesity rates, particularly among our children.
However, Ireland and England are both on the list, and these countries are in vastly more socialized political and economic systems. Scratch that explanation off the list.
A third thought is that there’s an educational gradient to obesity: more education is associated with less obesity. Although there’s some support for this idea within the U.S. anyway, it’s hard to say that this entire list of English-speaking countries is all less committed to education than the other thinner countries.
Socioeconomics also falls short. There is some idea that those with less money have a harder time finding good food. However, the U.S. has one of the highest standards of living in the world.
So much for all that.

So What Makes English the Language of Obesity?

It may all come down to the fact that the most obese country of all English-speaking countries—the United States—also has the biggest voice in the world. It’s like having someone with an oversize influence, who gets seen more and thus emulated more.
The same could be said across those countries that speak English, as the American image, mystique, and visibility can influence the cultural norms. One culture influencing another would be fine if it were only that the people in other countries were just wearing bluejeans, incorporating blues music, utilizing social media technology, and so.
But we have other cultural behaviors that contribute to the highest obesity rates on Earth. When those activities become incorporated right along with T-shirts, Elvis, and Facebook, language becomes the vector of that transmission. So English does not cause the effect you see, but it acts like a facilitator.
It’s the window through which the fume of our unhealthy habits escape to the world. It’s the convenient access point for all who speak it. And the outsize influence of American allure is what moves dietary norms in our direction rather than theirs.

In other words: the more other countries look to us, the more they look like us.

If you live in one of these other countries, remember the cultural habits you had when you were thinner and healthier: fewer processed food products, drive-thrus, and habits like eating on the run. Reincorporate more traditional habits before adopting the eating norms of a country in which two-thirds of the people are overweight, obese, and morbidly obese.
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STUDY: Behavioral Changes Associated With Lower Obesity

HOW you eat, can determine how much you are hungry for. This, in turn can contribute to obesity.

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That’s the theory anyway. But how does it hold up if you were to actually test it? 

These scientists performed a systematic and exhaustive review with a “meta-analysis of epidemiological studies to provide a reliable close estimate of the association between eating rate and obesity.

In other words, this is a study of studies, to see if others have consistently found a link between eating pace and obesity. 

They included data from 23 published studies and found that (across all these populations) those who ate quickly were statistically more likely to be obese than those who ate more slowly.

How Does This Make Sense?
In over 15,000 subjects who have run through our eating behavior change program, we find that slower eating leads to substantially smaller portions at the plate (from one-half to one-third). This may be due to the delayed satiety signals that can help curtain hunger, and so calories, and so weight. 

How Does This NOT Make Sense? 
I love this study, but it’s only a correlation. In other words, those who at faster tended to be heavier. While this makes sense, and there is a mechanism to explain why this would be true, there could also be something else that ALSO explains this relationship. 

For example, in the 1950s, someone found a correlation between coffee drinking and cancer. Those who drink coffee are more likely to get cancer. BUT, what were coffee drinkers in the 1950s also doing? Smoking. Once smoking was factored out, the cancer linkage went away.  

The Bottom Line for your Bottom Lines
This result makes perfect sense and certainly may be true. And even though this is a tentative result, it really costs you nothing to give this a shot for yourself to see if it has the same impact on your hunger, and so calories, and so weight. Good luck, you got this!

New Study: Eat Slow. You’ll Eat Less.

How many times have we said this? 
The amount you’re hungry for is only PARTIALLY due to calorie-debt. It’s also about how FAST you eat it! 
Two new studies (click here to see yourself) by researchers at the University of Rhode Island found that: 
A) men eat significantly faster than women, B) heavier people eat faster than slimmer people.
The author of the study, Kathleen Melanson,  found “very strong gender differences” in eating rates. At lunch, the men consumed about 80 calories per minute while the women consumed 52 calories per minute.
The men who reported eating slowly ate at about the same rate as the women who reported eating quickly,” said Melanson, director of the URI Energy Balance Laboratory.
The second study found that  individuals with a high BMI typically eating considerably faster than those with a low BMI.
One theory we are pursuing is that fast eating may be related to greater energy needs, since men and heavier people have higher energy needs,” said Melanson.
It takes time for your body to process fullness signals,” she concluded, “so slower eating may allow time for fullness to register in the brain before you’ve eaten too much.”
The latest research follows up on a landmark 2007 study conducted by Melanson that was the first to confirm the popular dietary belief that eating slowly reduces food intake. That study found that women who were told to eat quickly consumed 646 calories in nine minutes, but the same women consumed just 579 calories in 29 minutes when encouraged to pause between bites and chew each mouthful 15 to 20 times before swallowing.

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Weird. Education Actually Works To Control Calories

Look at this picture!! A FAT FREE cake has that number of calories? Whoda thunk? A normal person would read that and think twice. 

Well a new study shows that if you give people the calorie information (so they can make a more informed choice), and they are more likely to make a healthy choice. 

It sounds so commonsensicle that it couldn’t possibly be done! (I know “commonsensicle” is not a word, but it just works here).

Here’s What Happened
Under a law introduced by the city in 2008, chain restaurants with 15 or more locations nationally must provide consumers with calorie information. This study (just pubbed in the British Medical Journalanalyzed data collected from 7,309 adult customers in 2007 and 8,489 customers in 2009. 
Between 2007 and 2009, 
  • there were significant reductions at three major fast food chains. 
  • Average calories per purchase fell by 5.3 percent at McDonalds, 
  • by 6.4 percent at KFC, 
  • and by 14.4 percent at Au Bon Pain. 
  • 15 percent of the consumers in the study said they used the calorie information and, on average, these people purchased 106 fewer kilocalories than those who did not see or use the calorie information at the fast food outlets.

The researchers also found that average calories per purchase increased by 17.8 percent at Subway, where large portions were heavily promoted.
You can “eat fresh” and still gain weight if you eat large. 

Bottom Line
Education really works. See that picture I put up there at the top of this post? That picture shows a FAT FREE cake slice. If you didn’t read the fact that it also has a whopping 390 calories, you’d think you were making a great choice for the expanding horizons of your on bottom … lines.  

Put calorie labels on the food so we consumers who consume your consumables aren’t overly consumed by wondering what is in them!! Just give us the info. 

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British Fast Food? 7min 20sec for Breakfast; 12min 49sec for Lunch

That’s how FAST we eat, according to a new study. 

Around a third of people said they watched television while they choked back their breakfast and over half had the set on when they ate dinner.

Do You Think This Contributes To Their Obesity Problems? 

Of course it does. Nearly half of respondents said they were so busy that they didn’t pay attention to whether they felt full and only finished eating because the food was finished.

When this happens, you don’t give your brain a chance to register that you’re full before you overconsume. Duh. And when THAT happens, you basically put your body in training to overconsume more and more and more with each meal. 

Gee. I wonder why we have the problems with weight and health? 

In fact, Cat Gazzoli, CEO of Slow Food UK, a movement that encourages British people to enjoy their food, take the time to appreciate tastes and concentrate on what they have chosen to eat, told AOL Lifestyle: 
Taking a break to relax, reflect and enjoy anything from your lunchtime sandwich to a simple supper, not only gives you a chance to recharge and relax but also prevents overeating, consequent weight gain and cumulative stress.”

Is Lunch-On-The-Go Culture Damaging Our Health?

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Does Chinese Food Make You Fat?

Sorry, but that’s a trick question. It’s not the Chinese food per se, but something they put IN the Chinese food that’s packing on your poundage. 

The flavor enhancer monosodium glutamate (MSG), most often associated with Chinese food and after-dinner headaches, may also be expanding your horizons (for your waistline, anyway), according to a new study.

Researchers found that people who eat more MSG are more likely to be overweight or obese. 

Is that just because you’re porking down more Hunan Pork? 
Actually not. The link between high MSG intake and being overweight held even after accounting for the total number of calories people ate.

What did they do in this study? 

In the latest research, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, He and his colleagues followed more than 10,000 adults in China for about 5.5 years on average.

The researchers measured MSG intake directly by before-and-after weighing of products, such as bottles of soy sauce, to see how much people ate. They also asked people to estimate their intake over three 24-hour periods.

Men and women who ate the most MSG (a median of 5 grams a day) were about 30 percent more likely to become overweight by the end of the study than those who ate the least amount of the flavoring (less than a half-gram a day), the researchers found. After excluding people who were overweight at the start of the study, the risk rose to 33 percent.

The Caveat
MSG may be ONE element in our expanding horizons, but it’s not the only one. In fact, Americans’ typical daily intake of MSG is estimated to be only about half a gram, whereas estimates for Japan and Korea put average intakes anywhere between a gram-and-a-half and 10 grams a day.

Maybe it’s the combination of this chemical in your diet, that goes into your head and kills brain cells by exciting them to death, plus our gargantuan portions that’s doing it. But whatever. MSG is a GREAT thing in exclude from your diet. 

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With Obesity, We Have A PR Problem (Personal Responsibility, that is)

From Reuters: 

Scientists have found that a gene linked to diabetes and cholesterol is a “master switch” that controls other genes found in fat in the body, and say it should help in the search for treatments for obesity-related diseases.

From Will:
Common sense has discovered that obesity is self-inflicted, and there is a “master switch” that causes 95% of all obesity. This new master switch is a breakthrough in health and is called, behavior. Will says that this crazy new finding should be helpful in reversing obesity, and the parade of metabolic problems that it produces. 

The bottom line to our Bottom Lines is this: 
When we eat poorly in quality, and quantity, this eating pattern produces health problems. The solution to the problem is NOT to invent a biological workaround by manipulating your genes. How crazy is that?   

I think this line of research is popular because it feeds the idea that we are not responsible for obesity. It’s not us … really. It’s something other than the food decisions I have made — and your genes represent a perfect scapegoat to let us pass the biological buck. 

Not all obesity is self-inflicted. One estimate I read pinned the number at about 5% — that is, about 5% of the population can attribute their overweight/obesity to causes outside their behavior. Not their fault. For the rest of us? Big broad middle of that bell curve of people of adiposity? We did it to ourselves by eating FAUX foods, and eating too much. 

The solution to a behavioral problem is a behavioral solution.    

Scientists find master switch gene for obesity | Reuters

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Weight gain increases with added sugars intake, data suggests

Weight gain increases with added sugars intake, data suggests

Trends in weight gain have paralleled trends in intake of added sugars, according to a review of 27 years of Minnesota Heart Survey data presented at an American Heart Association (AHA) event.

The researchers, from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, found that consumption of added sugars increased for men and women in all age groups from 1982 to 2009, according to the survey data, and trends were parallel to increases in body mass index (BMI).
According to this report: “Although other lifestyle factors should be considered as an explanation for the upward trend of BMI, public health efforts should advise limiting added sugar intake.”
Sugar-sweetened beverages are the largest contributor of added sugars in the US diet. Current guidelines from the American Heart Association specify that calories coming from added sugars should be limited to about 100 per day for women and 150 per day for men in order to reduce heart disease risk – about five percent of total daily calorie intake.

WHAT? Low fat diets could increase heart disease?

Could it be true? 

Has all our coaching to eat low fat foods (in order to save our hearts) actually put us at a greater risk?! Chair of the Harvard School of Public Health’s nutrition department Dr. Walter Willett is emphatic: 

“If anything, the literature shows a slight advantage of the high fat diet,” he said.“The focus on fat in dietary guidelines has been a massive distraction…We should remove total fat from nutrition facts panels on the back of packs.”

He added that while the pervasive dietary guidance given to consumers has been to eat fats sparingly, to load up on starch and eat non-fat products, “the food industry quickly realized sugar was cheaper than fat and laughed all the way to the bank.”
When America was healthy and thinner than we are now (lets say, 1958 when our obesity rate hovered at 12%), the percent of fat in our diets was closer to 37%. Certainly not the 30% advised by a raft of health experts. 

Healthy cultures eat healthy fats. When we were healthy, we ate healthy fats as well. Now we need to let go of “theory” and return to the behavioral habits that worked for us in the past. 

Here’s the article. Low fat diets could increase heart disease risk, say nutrition experts

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Obesity pill

How many times have we heard the promises of the miracle pills that will cure our obesity epidemic?
How many times have we been disappointed, or learned that this panacea causes more problems than it fixes?
How long until we devote our full attention to solving a behavioral problem with a behavioral solution?

Obesity pill works but safety is a concern: FDA | Reuters

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Eat For Guinness Glory

This woman has a problem. She’s just not heavy enough.

She is eating more to weigh more to become listed in The Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s heaviest living woman.

Listen, she has goals, aspirations, diabetes, and she’s not letting anyone get in her way. Her name is Donna Simpson, 42, and she now clocks in at more than 600 pounds. Her dream weight? 1,000 pounds.
She has already received a book deal and a reality TV offer, so she is definitely getting the attention she’s after. What does she want? To tell people that it’s okay to be fat, and people shouldn’t give you a hard time when you’re overweight.
And she disagrees with the doctors and researchers who say, “Darling, being that large is unhealthy. Bad for your heart, bad for your bones, bad for your kidney, bad for your system that has now settled into diabetes.” Her response is basically, nu uh.
Be that as it may, her quest to be a voice for fat acceptance is approaching the goal line. She’s a mere 400 pounds of fat away from the millennial mark. Good luck Donna, and bon appetit.

Obesity Drug Overstated It’s Effectiveness

There are pills for every condition … even those that arise through poor eating behaviors.

This newest new drug is a combination of an antidepressant and yet another drug used to treat alcoholism. Go figure. In any case, they just learned that drug did not perform as well as was originally reported by the drug company.

BOSTON, April 13 (Reuters) – Orexigen Therapeutics Inc (OREX.O) said on Tuesday that fewer patients achieved key weight loss goals when taking its experimental obesity drug than originally reported, sending the company’s stock down 11 percent.

The company said only 50.5 percent of patients who took the drug, Contrave, lost 5 percent or more of their body weight after 56 weeks, compared with a previously reported figure of 56.3 percent.

UPDATE 4-Orexigen revises obesity drug data; shares fall
| Reuters

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