Food

The Government Is Making Us Fat and Susceptible to Viruses

The vast majority of hospitalized COVID-19 patients are overweight. Why won’t the government stop subsidizing junk food?

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In all the coronavirus coverage, one issue that rarely makes the headlines is the correlation between body weight and the severity of COVID-19's effects. And one angle that virtually never makes the headlines is how the government funds the unhealthy foods that increase obesity rates, thereby increasing our susceptibility to such diseases.

Last month the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a study showing that nearly 80 percent of those hospitalized with COVID-19 were overweight or obese. After age, body weight is the second greatest predictor of COVID-related hospitalization and death. Almost three quarters of all Americans ages 20 and up are overweight, and close to half of that group is considered obese.

That might be one of the reasons why Asian countries whose populations have low body mass indexes (BMI) have fewer deaths per capita from COVID-19, while the United States has one of the highest death rates from the virus in the world.

"The correlation between obesity and mortality rates from COVID-19 is clear and compelling," World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has said. "This must act as a wake-up call to governments globally."

It is not a wakeup call in America. Not only is the U. S. government not making any efforts to reduce the obesity epidemic, it is actively subsidizing food that contributes to the problem. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends that people fill half their plate with fruits and vegetables, yet the vast majority of its food subsidies—$170 billion from 1995 to 2010—go toward the major ingredients of junk food, such as corn, wheat, rice, soy, and milk.

"Hundreds of billions of dollars are funneled into subsidized foods that largely end up in drive-thru windows and in processed food manufacturers," said Eat Smarter author Shawn Stevenson on the Fat-Burning Man podcast. "A study tracked the results of the food subsidies by our government. The folks with the highest consumption of these government subsidized foods had a 40 percent increase in the risk of being obese. Our government is funding sickness."

Stevenson is referring to a Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) study that showed those who consumed the most government-subsidized foods had a 37 percent greater risk for obesity, a 41 percent greater risk of belly fat, and a 34 percent higher risk for elevated inflammation, compared to the lowest consumption quartile.

The resulting susceptibility to disease goes well beyond the current pandemic. In 2018, JAMA reported that poor diet is the number one cause of chronic disease in the United States. Small wonder, given that more than 122 million Americans are diabetic or prediabetic, 240 million are overweight or obese, and nearly 60 percent have some form of cardiovascular disease.

We have the power to make real changes in the way we eat and move. The government could help that process by taking its thumb off the scale and ceasing to subsidize these foods.

NEXT: A Decade Ago, Recreational Cannabis Was Only Available on the Black Market. During the Pandemic, It Became an 'Essential Industry.'

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  1. Fat shamer!! Don’t you know big is beautiful. This article is nothing but hate speach.

    1. Jennifer is a known weightist.

    2. I have to admit that Ashley Graham is hot

        1. probably more a +20

          1. ha!
            i see what you did there 😉

  2. How about stop subsidizing (or bailing out) anybody and every thing? Banks, farmers, petroleum, solar, etc, etc….?

    1. Absolutely! They don’t deserve it any more than the Welfare Queen in the grocery store with WIC, EBT, Utility Checks, SSI/”crazy checks,” etc.

  3. I am curious if the subsidies being counted are including things like giving property tax breaks to farmers. Property taxes aren’t a natural cost of business. They are something imposed by the local governing authority. It fits against my natural libertarian instinct to intentionally call for government to run farms out of business using taxes.

    1. and how much of those gov monies are going to corn to make ethanal fuel. I’m pretty sure its a major part.

    2. While opposing property taxes is fully within libertarian principles, granting a cut-out to one business or class of business while other businesses and individuals have to pay is decidedly not libertarian.

      Either equal tax cuts and eventual tax elimination for all or GTFO. (Not as concise as “Fifty-Four Fourty or Fight,” but the idea is still good.)

  4. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends that people fill half their plate with fruits and vegetables, yet the vast majority of its food subsidies—$170 billion from 1995 to 2010—go toward the major ingredients of junk food, such as corn, wheat, rice, soy, and milk.

    There should be no food subsidies nor a department of agriculture, but if you think corn, wheat, rice, soy and milk are “junk food” responsible for obesity and you take dietary advice from the USDA you are absolutely and completely fucking retarded.

    1. Some of those staple are used to make Doritos, therefore every food using those ingredients are equivalent to Doritos.

    2. Luis, without the Department of Agriculture giving incentive loans and grants to the disadvantaged, minority, and female farmers, how can you possibly bring equity and inclusion to the farming community?
      Monsanto Mike is running the show again, it can only get better.

    3. I’d argue that milk is trash and has no business in an anyone’s diet older than 3. Every milk product is non essential from a dietary perspective.

      1. Yep, and milk consumption as a drink has plummeted in the past 50 years, even as the amount of milk produced has increased. Much of the surplus is made into cheese which the government buys, and Obama’s USDA gave a huge subsidy to Dominos and Pizza Hut to double the cheese on their pizzas, while Michelle was wagging her finger about school lunches

        1. milk consumption as a drink has plummeted in the past 50 years

          And to support the assertion that “milk is trash and has no business in an anyone’s diet older than 3”, you can point to a concomitant precipitous fall in obesity and heart disease, right?

          Would you feel better if the government were subsidizing more “essential” products almond or soy milk?

        2. But what would they have put on their pizzas otherwise? It’s not as if this converted pizza from a low-cal to a high-calorie food.

          1. And all of this is aside from the fact that the one, true style of pizza is supposed to have at least an inch of cheese on it.

            1. And a thiiiicccc crust.

        3. So “Good Food Fascist/Bad Food Fascist,” amirite?

      2. Milk is the perfect food for mammals and contains everything you need.
        It’s also unsustainable to feed to adults in an evolutionary context, so the genes that regulate lactose digestion turn off the ability by adulthood.

        In Northern Europeans and some African herders however, lactase persistence has evolved and allows the population to handle milk sugars without any ill effects.

        1. Milk is the perfect food for mammals and contains everything you need.

          Yeah, anyone who says milk is trash doesn’t know nutritional science, hasn’t been around to hear the virtues of consuming insect grubs that can be raised on runoff/waste, or both. Milk and egg proteins are arguably the best proteins for humans (and many other mammals).

          1. Milk and egg proteins are arguably the best proteins for humans (and many other mammals).

            Being more clear; it’s arguable whether milk or egg proteins are the best sources of protein for nitrogen retention, but the alternatives are clearly inferior from a nutritional perspective.

          2. “Yeah, anyone who says milk is trash doesn’t know nutritional science, hasn’t been around to hear the virtues of consuming insect grubs that can be raised on runoff/waste, or both. Milk and egg proteins are arguably the best proteins for humans (and many other mammals).

            Maybe milk from our own species. Name one animal besides humans, that consumes large quantities of milk after weening in the animal kingdom?

            1. Gee, you think it might have been because drinking milk was one of the easiest means for humans to get dietary fat on a daily basis?

              This, “well, no other animal drinks milk after weaning, so humans shouldn’t, either!” is nothing more than circular thinking. Homo sapiens have been doing it since the first livestock was domesticated. Our nation’s obesity rate is due to the increased consumption of refined sugars and processed food with chemical fillers and preservatives since the end of World War II, not fat consumption.

              1. “drinking milk was one of the easiest means for humans to get dietary fat on a daily basis?”

                Easiest means, not best means.

                How does every other omnivore species get dietary fat? Without milk, how do I get dietary fat? Tt’s not difficult to consume fat without including dairy.

                1. How does every other omnivore species get dietary fat?

                  40 is almost unbelievably old for a bear. A 75% survival rate for cubs is high and that number, translated to humans is comparatively worse because humans don’t reach sexual maturity until a decade after your average bear, they average 1 offspring per birth, and those offspring take immensely more time to reach independence.

                  So, assuming you know those facts, why would you presume “Name one animal besides humans, that consumes large quantities of milk after weening in the animal kingdom?” is a convincing argument for anything other than “Humans should die at 40 and just consider themselves lucky if 1-2 children survive to maturity.”? Otherwise, your argument carries no more meaning than the argument “Does a bear shit in the woods?”.

                2. Nuts are a good source. And not the kind Tony likes to put in his mouth.

            2. Maybe milk from our own species.

              Nope. Our own species’ milk is notoriously unreliable from a nutritive perspective. Moreover, the nutrients it provides aren’t poorly assimilated, but aren’t the best. Conversely, the milk from a variety of ungulate species, while not providing the same amount of digestion/assimilation as eggs, provides far higher and more predictable nitrogen retention.

              Name one animal besides humans, that consumes large quantities of milk after weening in the animal kingdom?

              This is a pretty luddite, anti-human, and self-righteous argument that belies your complete ignorance of the subject at even a trivial level. I freely admit that there are between none and virtually no species besides humans that consume large quantities of milk after weening. Now, let me ask you to go through the same exercise a couple different ways to show how specious and ill-considered your reasoning is:
              -Name one animal besides Humans that can effectively lactate continuously from sexual maturity through menopause, until death.

              -Name one other animal besides humans that, when provided adequate nutritional sustenance, fails to lactate at the same rate humans have/do.

              -Name one animal, humans included, for whom the best source of protein/nutrients is their own species.

              -Name one animal besides humans, that (e.g.) uses fossil fuels and electricity to keep their newborns from freezing.

              Having answered all of the above, what evidence do you have to support your assertion that in the 10,000 yrs. since ungulates were first domesticated, multiple species selected by humans and bred specifically for milk production produce an inferior product to the one species that wasn’t knowingly selected for the same/any purpose?

      3. Every milk product is non essential from a dietary perspective.

        Pretty much no single food product or source is essential from an adult perspective. We have, for hundreds of years at least, been living in societies where a shortage of any given nutrient can be resolved with a plethora of options from multiple sources. Acting like milk is some sort of exceptional demon is a pretty clearly motivated animus.

        1. “Acting like milk is some sort of exceptional demon is a pretty clearly motivated animus.”

          Not demonizing nor have I motivated animosity. Cow milk consumption by humans and our pets is not natural. Every omnivore in nature consumes meat, plants, nuts, eggs, etc. Nothing consumes milk after taken off the tit.

          1. Not demonizing… Cow milk consumption by humans and our pets is not natural.

            Demons are supernatural or ‘not natural’.

            Nothing consumes milk after taken off the tit.

            This, by your own admission, isn’t true. You added the caveat ‘large quantities’ specifically because you know that if a predator kills a lactating prey it will damned sure drink the milk. So, how is a wild cat occasionally drinking milk from prey natural, but a domesticated cat drinking milk from a saucer unnatural? Is is because cows are unnatural? Domestication? The cat doesn’t care about the source of the milk, the cows don’t care, so it would seem to indicate that you’re using ‘unnatural’ as a proxy for ‘inappropriately out of the natural order’ or ‘bad’ or ‘evil’. Supernaturally evil, demonic.

            1. the cows don’t care

              Especially relative to the way a wild cat naturally acquires rodent milk.

            2. You are confusing carnivores with omnivores and opportunistic with regularity. Carnivores will occasionally consume milk, but they do not target lactating prey. Omnivores may occasionally consume milk in the same fashion, but way more rare.

              Drink all the cow juice you want. I’ll eat the cow and wear its skin.

              1. You are confusing carnivores with omnivores and opportunistic with regularity.

                I’m not (if you don’t think bears, wolverines, badgers, or even raccoons, all of which are omnivores, won’t eat lactating mammals, you’re sorely misinformed) but, either way, immaterial. The only way ‘animals drinking other species’ milk is unnatural’ makes biological sense is if milk is toxic or animals otherwise avoid it (like monarch butterflies are generally avoided), which they don’t. Animals drinking other species’ milk, while uncommon or opportunistic, isn’t unnatural.

                Humans drinking milk is no more unnatural than humans wearing cowskin. If you convert all my milk product consumption back into gallon equivalents and add them all up, I’ve probably consumed no less than a gallon of milk daily for 20+ yrs. and I was in the best shape when I consumed the most of it. And I’m nowhere near the minority in that fact.

                I agree that more people shouldn’t be indiscriminately consuming more gallons of whole milk daily, but that goes for just about any food. If I substituted ground chuck for protein equivalents I’d be in pretty similar shape as if I’d drank a gallon of whole milk daily. Steak and milk both have their place in a healthy diet.

          2. If it is part of the Natural Universe, it is natural. Whether natural=good for you varies with metabolic abilities of each individual human.

            Milk sugar is still sugar and must be limited or eliminated for diabetics, however, making milk into cheese or butter eliminates a portion of the milk sugar in the manufacturing process, so for diabetics, these are better.

            1. And this also goes for buttermilk, yogurt, cottage cheese, cream cheese, etc.

    4. I have to disagree with your language, but I was about to make the same argument.

      Actual junk food, such as candy, restaurants, and fast food, are not subsidized but quite heavily taxed compared to staples.

      However, these complaints are about grains and dairy?
      This reeks about deciding on a villain and then going after them no matter how nonsensical the argument becomes.

      1. In other words, fight for social justice!

    5. Yeah, I thought the connection with corn and wheat was justifiable, but tenuous. To throw in wheat, rice, soy and milk is just plain ridiculous. Something like 6% of the soy yield is consumed by humans as “whole soy” products, the average American eats less than 5 grams of soy-derivatives daily. The author has a decent point about subsidizing food when obesity is killing us and let their personal biases drag them into the weeds of irrelevant details.

      1. How much more expensive would food — not particular foods, but food generally — have to be to get people to eat less of it? More than could be accounted for by government subsidies. And in many cases, government policy already has the effect of raising food prices.

        I just don’t see public policy as encouraging recreational eating: making people more often make the marginal decision to eat something rather than watch TV, take a walk, take a shower, play the piano, or something that takes a similar amount of effort?

        1. They would have more time to stuff ballot boxes, rally at Confederate soldier statues and loot Walgreens.

  5. “After age, body weight is the second greatest predictor of COVID-related hospitalization and death . . . ”

    And yet it somehow surprises you that most hospitalizations and deaths from the Communist Chinese Virus are among the obese?
    Are you amazed each day when the sun rises in the east?

    1. No study needed. They could have just asked the poor EMTs who have had to lug all the fat bastards to the emergency room.

      1. Reason why also most modern ambulances are heavy duty trucks, used to be vans or pickup chassis.

        1. Uh, no. From what I’ve seen, most private ambulance services actually use panel vans. The diesel flatbeds are for emergency services who need the clearance to reach places not necessarily reachable by normal passenger vehiclese and have to carry enough gear to treat any number of people on the scene when they get there. There’s also some bureaucratic number-shuffling and economies of scale at play as well.

        2. In a few years they may need a trailer hauling a forklift.

  6. 7-11 pizzas 24/7 and the freedom to be a fat shit are the problems. And, incidentally, Chinese food.

    1. Grub hub and the ilk couldn’t have helped either the few steps from the house to the car have now been eliminated. Here in small city Montana it’s swarms of red bags outside of all the shops.

      1. btw that isn’t a comment on regulating them!

    2. In all fairness, most Chinese food in the US is about as close to Chinese food as Salisbury steak is to tournedos.

      1. Not enough melamine?

    3. Chinese food is ok if you stick with grilled meat, with steamed vegetable and rice. Or cut the rice and add some nuts to the equation. The key to good fat etabokism is to avoid pressed foods and not mix carbs and fat industry. I’ve been Abe to drop weight with both specialized high carb and low carb diets, as long as I avoid processed food.

  7. “The Government Is Making Us Fat”???

    Jennifer, anything else the government is making you do? Perhaps if you searched around your housing module, you might find your free will.

    1. No kidding. Not saying that subsidizing farms and all that is fantastic but no one is forcing it upon anyone.

      Since when does a libertarian rag not advocate for free will and personal responsibility? No one is making you eat a big mac daily.

      1. Yeah shreek you’re all about the personal responsibility. Other than race rioters, of course.

      2. When you pay for something, you get more of it. No one should be saying that people don’t have personal responsibility, but it’s hardly anti-libertarian to point out there are unintended consequences of government behavior, too.

      3. Nice try you’re the same person advocating for lock downs and forced masking.

      4. Not saying that subsidizing farms and all that is fantastic but no one is forcing it upon anyone.

        Um, if it’s part of Congressional legislation, it literally has the force of law. Fucking hell, even when you try to make a decent point you fall flat on your ass.

    2. And she is also accepting the language that obesity is an “epidemic”, which empowers government in the first place.

      1. Of course it is an epidemic; you catch it from your co-workers.

  8. Sometimes I feel like Reason articles are deliberately manipulative. How can you go from the fear-mongering claim that “80% of hospitalized patients are obese/overweight” to “three quarters of adults are obese/overweight” and not see the connection between the two. It’s pretty much the population average that’s in the hospital.

    “Why is COVID killing women? Almost half of all hospitalized patients are women!”

    I don’t believe the author is ignorant of this type of manipulation. Maybe they’re statistically illiterate?

    1. Last one.

      Like smoking increases your chances of getting cancer by 11%. People hear that as smoking causes cancer in 11% of smokers. Apparently 50% of people will get cancer in their life, if 100% of people smoked, thatd only up it to 55%. (Did you know that lung cancer rates for women have increased and barely dropped over for men over the last 20 years) Or that smoking kills 600k americans a year(20% of all deaths). Pretty unlikely. They assume the masses arent clever enough to parse what theyre being told, and that is mostly correct.

      Stats are not naturally intuitive and the media and marketers abuses the shit out of them.

  9. Almost three quarters of all Americans ages 20 and up are overweight, and close to half of that group is considered obese.

    Obviously the solution is to tax excess body weight. Win-win.

    1. Hey, you may be on to something. Their habits do tax the sewage system.

    2. Fat redistribution?

      1. You can’t say “fat”, but I like it.

  10. the vast majority of its food subsidies—$170 billion from 1995 to 2010—go toward the major ingredients of junk food, such as corn, wheat, rice, soy, and milk.

    Subsidies suck, but connecting subsidies for wheat and milk to America’s junk food addiction is a stretch, to say the least.

    I’ll take personal responsibility for my own weight and health, thank you very much. Don’t tell me government is on the hook. That implies government could fix the problem, and I’m not buying.

    1. “Subsidies suck, but connecting subsidies for wheat and milk to America’s junk food addiction is a stretch, to say the least.”

      Not really. What the government subsidizes, whether directly or indirectly, has a significant impact on the prices for everything we would consider buying. And prices have a definite impact on what we choose to buy. The price of gasoline has a large effect on whether people buy trucks, SUVs or smaller cars, for instance. So, the extent to which governments tax gasoline, how much they want in royalties from oil extracted from public lands or offshore, whether they permit that extraction at all, and how strictly they regulate the pollution produced from burning gasoline all matter to how people consume gasoline.

      There is no avoiding the fact that our individual choices are influenced by the choices of all kinds of other people, government included.

  11. Isn’t socialized medicine going to force the government’s hand on this? Aren’t we going to eventually require BMI passports? Or was COVID meant to thin the overweight heard, enabling us to put that off for a while?

    1. they do that in Japan any man with a waist over 33″ has to pay more for health insurance.

      1. Well that’s hardly as scientific as the BMI. And I thought their healthcare was free.

        1. It’s a good enough numerical plug for a giant government healthcare system. Makes about as much sense as private insurance increasing your rates for being a hunter.

          1. Just never mention that you will be hunting with Dick Cheney. They will drop you.

            1. Haha. Like trying to get supplemental life insurance from USAA.

              “Tell us about all the hazard pays you collect. … Yes, we cannot cover you. We don’t know who could.”

  12. Yes, it’s stupid that the government subsidizes these crops, but most of the corn goes to ethanol for gasoline (another dumb idea), and the rest for animal feed, most of which indirectly ends up as fast food. Fast food consumers tend to be poor black and brown people, who not coincidently are obese and more likely to die of Covid, but which is it? They also have different genetics than whites which could explain a lot.

    1. They also have different genetics than whites

      I can solve that in 2 generations. Government cross-racial breeding program.

    2. “Yes, it’s stupid that the government subsidizes these crops, but most of the corn goes to ethanol for gasoline (another dumb idea), and the rest for animal feed, most of which indirectly ends up as fast food.”

      I would suspect that livestock feed is a larger percentage of corn grown than ethanol, but they are both the top two uses of it, for sure. With high-fructose corn syrup probably being another large end use.

      “They also have different genetics than whites which could explain a lot.”

      The human genome is not that diverse. There are really not that many biological differences between the races that can be explained by genetics, to the point that “race” is not even a well-defined term in human biology. Eugenics is rightly derided now as pseudoscience, and most attempts to use race in similar ways are not much better grounded in actual genetic science.

  13. I’m far less worried about a few billions in tax breaks or grants to favored industries. In a perfect world we don’t need them but government likes to incentivize. I am far more worried about neo marxist ideas that debt doesn’t matter and want to spend trillions in inflated currency. Spend time hammering those with real power to make that happen and stop worrying about the small shit right now.

    1. Now on that we are just about to get the bill! Long before the 2024 election it is my opinion that we as a nation will have a much higher inflation rate than the government will admit. Because of that inflation rate interest rates will also increase greatly. Back in the 1970s and maybe into the 1980s the largest raise I got was because of the cost of living (inflation) had gone up so high. Those days where cost of living raises will soon be that way again.
      In a different article I read where the author was saying that the cost of servicing our national debt could exceed the ALL the discretionary spending that congress has it its disposal to spend. When that happens then the US is on the verge of bankruptcy. That will be a sad day for the whole world also.

  14. Cost of commodity ingredients is not driving the final price or availability of junk food.
    Even the cost of a big mac which includes beef is only 77 cents, versus its retail price of 4 dollars. Double the price of wheat (bun) and corn (beef) and that’s still a tiny part of the manufacture cost of a big mac, maybe only a few cents, as even much of the cost of beef is more than the cost of the corn to feed the cow.

    People are fat because they choose to eat in a way that makes them fat. People are conditioned to desire too much of stuff that is unfit for large scale consumption.
    Michael Pollan states it simply enough; eat food (not processed but something that still looks a lot like it did in nature), mostly plants, not too much.

  15. This story falls apart when you remember that its based on another fundamentally flawed government definition – BMI. A full 2/3 of Americans are “overweight”, because the government mandates that everyone who is 5’9″ must be either the same weight or unhealthy.

    1. BMI is a good metric at the population scale. It’s not great individually because of variation in body types, but those average out over populations and so too should weight. So when you have a population of hundreds of millions who are getting fatter by BMI standards over time, you can draw conclusions about that.

      1. Conclusions, not facts; or maybe better stated, you can draw conclusions with no guarantee of accuracy/correctness.

        Statistics isn’t magic, garbage in, garbage out. Did the population get fatter or did everyone get shorter and more muscular? Was the original population that set the standard de facto healthier or did more of them die in infancy? Was the original population more natively balanced with cultural work ethic and production and the new population composed largely of outsiders who consume beyond the previous balance? BMI doesn’t know nor care.

        1. you can draw conclusions with no guarantee of accuracy/correctness

          LOL! You just summarized DoL’s personality.

          1. “Statistics isn’t magic, garbage in, garbage out. Did the population get fatter or did everyone get shorter and more muscular? Was the original population that set the standard de facto healthier or did more of them die in infancy? Was the original population more natively balanced with cultural work ethic and production and the new population composed largely of outsiders who consume beyond the previous balance?”

            You guys are really sucking each other off to that? “Did people get shorter and more muscular?” LOL. Ok then.

            Again, I even posted supporting studies and let you know there were a bunch more out there. You don’t need to shoot from the hip just to argue.

            Learn first, then form an opinion.

            1. You guys are really sucking each other off to that? “Did people get shorter and more muscular?” LOL. Ok then.

              Americans have, on average, gotten shorter generation over generation since the country was founded. You’re the one sucking low-sperm count, estrogen-filled dick down the page.

              Moreover, your dismissal affirms my point, that BMI can rise for any number of reasons that could be completely sensible to completely ridiculous.

              1. Are you seriously denying that Americans are getting fatter? This is asinine. Just look around.

                1. I’m saying that for more than 200 yrs. various peoples around the world have been getting shorter, wider, and heavier. That, concomitantly, they’ve gotten healthier and live longer. BMI doesn’t capture that fact any better and even worse than height, weight, and waist measurements, is demonstrably inferior to even trivial body composition analysis, doesn’t even attempt at the how or why and shouldn’t be portrayed as such.

    2. I have a family friend who is 5’5” and weighs about 190 lbs.. He has below average body fat. He was a long time power lifter who also dabbled in body building. His musculature and bone density are exceptional.

      Not bad for a 65 year old man.

  16. It’s not about “those foods”. People are obese just from too much food, period. The slight degree to which government policies might shift consumption between particular foods and other foods isn’t going to change that.

    1. There’s good research that even those of us who are eating a similar amount of calories and getting about as much exercise as people in the ’70’s are still fatter today. The likely culprits seem to be several chemicals that mimic estrogen. There are other populations effects being noted other than obesity like much lower sperm counts in men, and penis size is actually trending smaller among newborn boys. PFAS, BPA, and others are used in plastics, fire retardants, etc. and often called “forever chemicals” because they do not degrade naturally.

      Here is one recent study on the topic, but there has been a lot more.

      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7360961/

      1. and getting about as much exercise as people in the ’70’s are still fatter today

        I’m dubious of the veracity of this eqivocation. There are contextual issues that get completely ignored or lost in many analyses. Absolutely, running a mile on the treadmill and then eating a plate of fried chicken in 1970 is absolutely the same caloric consumption/expenditure as it is in 2021. However, the caloric expenditure of driving to the store in a car without air conditioning, coming home and putting the chicken in the fryer until done 90 min. later relative to calling Uber Eats and picking up the aready cooked chicken at the door 10 min. later is a significant and easily overlooked disparity. Moreover, the guy who’s doesn’t exercise and is thin in 1970 is so because he can’t get fried chicken 24/7 can literally become the overweight guy running miles everyday who’s fat because he can get chicken delivered to the door 24/7.

        Additionally, many of the Endorcine Disruptor studies are on scientifically on par with homeopathy. Demonstrating estrogenic effects in vitro that don’t translate in vivo or do translate at amounts several orders of magnitude higher than concentrations encountered natively. Even your own cite indicates as much in the conclusion:

        Several studies observe correlations between chemical doses and at least one sperm parameter; however, such correlations are sometimes inconsistent between different studies. Mechanisms through which EDCs exert their pathophysiological effects have not yet been fully elucidated in human studies.

        1. They adjust for activity levels between the 70’s (it was actually 80’s; I misremembered) and now.

          I’ve never heard that endocrine disruptor studies had a replication problem, but I will look into that.

          https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1871403X15001210

          1. You didn’t read your own source?

            And I’m not talking strictly about activity levels. The methods for controlling for activity levels are gross(ly inadequate) and the known metabolic effects of waiting 90 min. to get nutrition vs. 10 min. has nothing to do with physical activity.

    2. If you visit places that don’t have fast food and drive thru, the population looks much different. When a Ukranian sees a fat person in the Ukraine, they assume that they are wealthy or an American tourist.

      1. Or (soon), a Russian?

        1. You may be russian to a conclusion.

          1. Especially if you’re a hessian with a lot of aggression.

  17. We can’t get rid of these subsidies! They exist to combat the Great Depression! Think of the children! Think of the children of 1929, most of whom are dead of old age by now! You heartless bastards, next you will be telling us not to destroy crops to keep the prices high!

  18. 1. If almost three quarters of Americans are overweight and weight has nothing to do with Covid, we would expect almost three quarters of those hospitalized to be overweight. According to the story”nearly 80%” of those hospitalized are overweight, which is only a little more, and implies that weight is not a major factor in Covid.

    2. The government’s major intervention with regard to corn (maize) is to turn a large fraction of it into alcohol, which makes maize more expensive, not less — our contribution to world hunger.

  19. Population causes may be diffuse, multifactorial, and remain uncertain for decades.
    In the mean time, it is up to the individual to address individual health. Unlike lab rats, and zoo animals, humans have the capacity to recognize the interrelation between their actions and health outcomes.
    Eat less, eat better, recognize that not every minimal urge to eat need be fed. Exercise. Hangry is a marketing tool. If you are in poor mood, don’t reach for food.
    Willpower is hard. Being morbidly obese is also hard. Your choice.

    1. ^This.

      I keep seeing the Noom commercial where a clearly overweight woman says she tried giving up bread and pasta and succeeded ‘for, like, a day’. I can only think she looks like a cow because she has the effective willpower and self-awareness of a cow.

  20. Thanks for writing this. From what I’ve seen the US dietary model is possibly a recipe for human extinction, and certainly for economic collapse.

    The problem isn’t so much fat as it is sugar. Sure, fat quickly furs up arteries, but excess sugar is quickly turned into fat as well as bringing a raft of horrible pancreatic problems, such as diabetes.

    Horrifically, other countries are forced by US trade policy to adopt the US diet of death. When I left Australia, a staunch US trade ally, in 1985 most young people I saw there were in pretty good shape. I was there in 2015 or so and I was shocked how many people looked like obese Americans. Same thing with the UK.

    Some Americans defend their obesity. Being fat can be excused by the addictive properties of fat, sugar and salt. There’s no excuse for stupidity though. Being fat is nothing to be proud of. I know, I’m 50lb overweight myself.

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