MENU

Reason.com

Free Minds & Free Markets

How Big Government Backed Bad Science and Made Americans Fat

Q&A with journalist Nina Teicholz

"Government made a big mistake with the dietary guidelines," says Nina Teicholz, author of New York Times bestseller The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet. "Given the track record that they have so far, you can really make a plausible argument that they've done more harm than good."

Consumption of meat, butter, eggs, and cheese were once encouraged as part of a healthy diet. Then in the 1950s, a Minnesota doctor named Ancel Keys put forth his diet-heart hypothesis, claiming that saturated fats raise cholesterol levels and cause heart attacks.

Keys produced landmark studies of the relationship between diet and heart disease that transformed nutrition science. He became a powerful figure in the science community. Contemporaries who publicly questioned the validity of his findings risked losing their research funding or becoming pariahs. When the U.S. adopted dietary guidelines in 1980, Keys' recommendations became enshrined in national food policy.

"We have made our policy based upon this weak kind of science called epidemiology which shows association, but not causation," Teicholz explains. "We have the situation where we just cannot reverse out of these policies that were originally based on really weak science."

Keys' flawed research is one reason Americans have been getting fatter and unhealthier for decades. Despite major advances in treatment, heart disease is still the leading cause of death for men and women.

"The really dominant view is that the dietary guidelines are good...and the reason America is fat and sick is that America has failed to follow them," Teicholz says. "That's when you start looking at the data...By every food category you can find, we have faithfully, dutifully followed the guidelines."

Today the science behind Keys' dietary findings is once again being challenged. Teicholz has launched the Nutrition Coalition, which aims to inform food policy with rigorous science.

"Our goal is educate people about how the dietary guidelines have not been successful...and to bring this alternative policy viewpoint to policy makers," says Teicholz. "More and more experts are willing to talk out about the science, and I think that will support change."

Produced by Alexis Garcia. Camera by Jim Epstein.

"Blizzard (PON 1)" by Kai Engel is licensed under an Attribution-NonCommercial License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/) Source: http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Kai_Engel/Chapter_One__Cold/Kai_Engel_-_Chapter_One_-_Cold_-_03_Blizzard_PON_I Artist: http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Kai_Engel/

"Rainfall Serenade" by Kai Engel is licensed under an Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/) Source: http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Kai_Engel/Evening_Colors/03_-_Rainfall_Serenade Artist: http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Kai_Engel/

Photo Credits: Tom Wallace/ZUMA Press/Newscom

Subscribe at YouTube

Like us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our podcast at iTunes

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Live Free Or Diet||

    Anthropogenic global warming parallel...

  • shawn_dude||

    Because weak dietary science is just like a broad series of reproducible and reproduced climate science studies.

    It's like claiming the existence of Flat Earth "science" proves vulcanology is phony.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    Yes, the hockey stick is so reproducible that any kindergartner could do it ... and faithfully misreproduce the Medieval Warming Period and the Little Ice Age.

  • JesseAz||

    "a broad series of reproducible and reproduced climate science studies."

    LOL. Um... what.. there are currently about 30 different climate models that get cited at any given time. Both have temp growth rates well above what we have shown in either balloon, land, or satellite data. They get re-tuned every few years with hindcasting (nothing more than polyfitting a line).. Then declared great. The fact is the models suck and are almost all running hot. There are more than 3 dozen peer reviewed papers the last few years stating the assumptions on the feedback coefficient for carbon are at least 30% and could be as high as 80% too high.

  • JesseAz||

    All have... originally discussed only the HADCRUT and GISS data sets... Didn't edit right.

  • Live Free Or Diet||

    Feedback is something modelers have been struggling with for decades, yet the calculations are easily learned by any electrical engineer, and work out very differently than the big runaway systems the modelers keep coming up with. See Network Analysis and Feedback Amplifier Design, by Hendrik W. Bode (1945), and it will show JesseAz is right about feedback effects being relatively limited and low.
    In fact, recent cloud and water vapor data make the feedback data look largely negative, though I have not seen any confirmation yet on that finding.

  • Jima||

    Nor will you, as it is contrary to the established funding mantra/religious belief system which is often called "Climate Research". No doubt there are actual, live, relatively unbiased climate scientists, but they are like albino black bears - rare and quickly lost in the cacophony of noise from their "conventional" peers.

  • sharmota4zeb||

    Remember how return on investment for science research went down? It happened after we diversified the STEM workforce.

  • Flinch||

    My main take on that is... drug companies are too busy chasing intellectual property while fending off regulators to do much science these days. Sad, really. Jonas Salk would be broomed off the stage in todays environment.

  • ChuckNorrisBeardFist||

    Show me one study that has be reproduced. Show me one model that is accurate.
    Show me a cute redhead girl..hey I like redheads

  • Cecil de Lionchipper||

    If I knew how to, I would upvote this. A coupla dozen times at least, as per our leftie brethren.

  • goneGalt||

    "We have the situation where we just cannot reverse out of these policies that were originally based on really weak science."

    Maybe THEY can't. But what's stopping you, me, and that man behind the tree from discarding these policies?

  • ||

    Exactly. Who listens to the government anyway?

  • Live Free Or Diet||

    I used to listen, much to my regret. I was up to 410 pounds before I figured it out. (More stumbled onto it, really.)

  • Cecil de Lionchipper||

    I hit 310 at one point before I decided to cut out the carbs and get all 260 lbs of BEEFCAKE!!!

  • Homple||

    America's eating habits made Americans fat. Not everything is the fault of the government.

  • Greg F||

    But but but ... they were the experts so we have to go along ... that is what Tony told me.

  • Frank White||

    Let's see. The person in the interview wrote a book documenting lots of evidence that says they did. OTOH, Homple provides a counter argument of, "Maybe not." Hmmmmm... who should I believe?

  • Homple||

    Believe your own eyes. Watch people in public, restaurants and grocery stores. Look at the fat people and see how many you think paid any attention to government publications.

    And see how many of the places that sell food to the fat people stock their shelves and menus with stuff recommended by the government instead of what people like to eat and will pay for.

  • Tony||

    But something about America has to make its people choose to be so much fatter than everyone else. A giant coincidence? We're all just terrible people?

  • Homple||

    I'm surprised you would think it possible for government science to be faulty. What next, your faith in global warming will be shaken?

  • Tony||

    Epidemiology is notoriously shaky science. Whether the greenhouse effect is real, not so much.

  • sharmota4zeb||

    Epidemiologists were great at identifying things that can kill you in 5 days, but discovering what can kill you in 5 decades is more difficult.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    Well Tony, you certainly are a terrible person.

  • JFree||

    Americans are leading the way to becoming as fat as cows. But the same thing is happening around the world as people move to what is called a 'Western' (read mostly food processed/prepared by intermediaries) diet.

  • Brian||

    I think you're just a lazy fat ass who shoves Ho Ho's in his face all day.

    And I don't think that's really a market failure.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Tony shoves a lot more than that in his face.

  • Ariki||

    The end consumer may still have a choice however what did government policies do to the producers?

    All of those 99% fat free labels stuck on food that is 99% sugar would beg to differ with you government is innocent line......

  • Elias Fakaname||

    Yep. The 'fat free' craze fattened more people up than actual fat ever did.

  • JFree||

    The only thing govt did there was make labelling necessary. Mfrs have always - and will always - goose their profits by substituting cheap ingredients for expensive ones. And it is the industrialization of the processing that requires the breakdown and re-adding of those ingredients.

    The marketing appeal of 'low-fat' did NOT come from govt either. It came from the easy cheap notion that losing fat in your food means losing fat in your body. Right or wrong doesn't matter. It is an obvious marketing link. And it took hold not because govt said XYZ but because women stopped cooking from scratch so much.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Government also pushed that fucking food pyramid which is totally wrong.

  • sharmota4zeb||

    You could say that parents who sent their kids to government run schools to learn these health tips deserve to watch them get heart attacks, but I wouldn't go that far.

  • Flinch||

    Except if it's kids being programmed to be fat via "dietary guidelines" that cannot be veered from or the lunch money stops. In the case of Houston... you are spot on. Stop eating 20oz steaks [it's twice what anyone needs], and put down the kolache.

  • handsoffmypineapples||

    Yes. Eating habits that were affected by government funded PSAs about what constituted a "healthy" diet.

    Is the premise not clear?

  • JFree||

    I agree this isn't the fault of govt. I doubt there are more than 100 people in the country who look at the food pyramid to decide what to eat.

    Since Americans don't grow their own food - or even make it from scratch anymore; what we eat is entirely a function of what someone else (restaurant or food mfr) puts in front of us. And that ain't govt.

    I do think that 'nutrition science' is currently little more than a remnant of the Victorian-era 'calorimeter'. The pretense that what we put in our mouths goes directly to us cuz we're the deciders. When in fact there are thousands of species of bacteria (more bacteria in a healthy person's gut than cells in their body) inside us who we are actually feeding. They are the ones who provide a lot of the different nutrients/etc that we get from food. Digestion isn't just chemical.

    A lot of what we eat and fail to eat harms them - which in turn harms us cuz we NEED those bacteria. eg - excess sugar actually harms many bacteria. Lack of fiber/water means bacteria in later parts of the gut can't feed.

  • JFree||

    Just to cite a specific example where bacterial composition in the gut may itself be the cause of obesity. Fat folk have more Firmicute bacteria and fewer Bacteroidete and fewer Christensenella (a subspecies of Firmicute) bacteria than skinny/healthy folk.

    And there is some recent research that indicates the bacteria themselves may create the precursors of insulin-resistance and diabetes

  • ChuckNorrisBeardFist||

    Government is perfect and never makes mistakes! Way to go Comrade.

    You do understand how science works right? It keeps getting retested and is wrong. You seemed to also miss a telling sentence

    "science called epidemiology which shows association, but not causation"

    Just because B happened doesn't mean A caused it. Like you sitting next to a smart person.

  • shawn_dude||

    "How Big Government Backed Bad Science and Made Americans Fat"

    On a libertarian blog, this is real clickbait! "Big Government...made Americans Fat!" Evil, bad Big Government!

    The libertarian alternative? No regulation on what Corporations can market their food as. They can lie all they want. The libertarian remedy is lawsuit by private, middle-class citizens.

    If that's the alternative, please give me "Big Government" where at least voters can come together in a "class action" sort of way and have a big enough impact to make a difference.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    On noes!!!!! Dem big bad corporashunzz is makin' da foodz bad!

    You're such a textbook progtard tool.

  • sharmota4zeb||

    Shawn_dude, I motion that you are a harm to yourself and others. Who seconds that motion? The vote tally should be interesting.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    How many times can I vote for that?

  • Ariki||

    "They can lie all they want"

    So you think this doesn't already happen under big government? Is it still a lie if the evil corporations just happen to grease a few political squeaky wheels? Or does it then become truth because politics?

    The libertarian alternative is to desensitise lying, by people not purchasing shit products. Yes some people get ripped off but if they are free to share their experience with the world than that product wont last long.

    Other organisations will pop up that will test and review products and put the results online.......
    We already see this in the technology sector, how many people buy a phone or a computer without looking at reviews online? Clothes? Books? Shoes? Cars? Travel destinations?

    Wow its almost like the fee market works.......

  • handsoffmypineapples||

    It is not government's business to prescribe good behavior.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    So many people don't understand this.

  • JFree||

    It is govt's business to provide public goods - and knowledge itself is a public good if it is disseminated.

    The private sector has generally proven that it will only provide knowledge with an advertising-based model. Which means it won't provide knowledge that doesn't support its actual customers (advertisers)

    Agree completely that govt should only be providing info - NOT telling anyone what to do with it. And for govt its also a one-way street - the info has to be free and universally available and govt can't be in the business of restricting any other knowledge that may make it into public domain.

  • BigT||

    The govt provided lots of info and recommendations, most of it wrong.

    You may not follow govt refs, but many, many people do. The so-called food pyramid was taught religiously in the 60,s and 70s. Those parents passed on the wrong info to their kids, who became the fattest generation.

  • JFree||

    Food pyramid didn't exist in the US until the late 80's. Before that it was pie slices (all equal sized with words describing servings). And yeah that stuff (with way too much recommended grains/meat/dairy) is garbage - but it was because the bureaucrats producing it were captured by those three industries. Nutritionists themselves argued that the base level should be veggies and fruits - but those are not organized industries with a power base.

    IOW - those INDUSTRIES used government as their PR vehicle - and then built their advertising to support that PR. Govt shouldn't have allowed themselves to be used that way - but it is just dumb to blame govt as the origin of the problem. Any good PR person would have found an alternative PR vehicle - Doctors recommend Camel cigarettes - 1949 or 'breakfast is the most important meal of the day' (from a 1917 PR placement in a health magazine by Kellogg's). The notion that bacon and eggs were a healthy breakfast (cited in this article) did not come from 'doctors' doing research. It came DIRECTLY from Edward Bernays PR work for Beech Nut Packing (which sold bacon).

  • ChuckNorrisBeardFist||

    Yes, we need government for everything. Coffee has cancer! Salt is bad (for a few people). Gluten needs to be banned (even though it doesn't effect 99% of people). EPA did a great job with Flint water they should be in charge everywhere.

    It's ok Shawn that you can't think for yourself and need Government to think for you. We get it. You need help

  • brec||

    "Someone said something wrong on the internet."
    ----
    From the post: "Keys' flawed research is one reason Americans have been getting fatter and unhealthier for decades." In the post, quotation marks are omitted. Is this the position of Reason, of Alexis Garcia, or of Nina Teicholz?
    ----
    My impression is that this post is one in a line of posts that take a position on what is healthful nutrition or valid nutritional science. In my opinion, such posts stray from Reason's mission. Nutrition science is very hard because useful long-term experiments are difficult or impossible. Be careful out there.
    ----
    Yes, Nina Techholz is a best-selling author. She is not a scientist. If you're really interested, check a significant number of references in her book and see whether they consistently support her conclusions from them. People like to read views that align with what they like and are used to eating. Libertarians are drawn to views that are apparent refutations of conventional wisdom. (I've been around Reason, libertarians, and nutrition science for a long time.)

  • Ginkgo Biloba||

    Oh Ancel Keys was such a fool, he knew nothing about nutrition or anything, right? It's not as if he lived to 100 or anything...

    Oh the Japanese, eating more vegetables, 1/3 the meat and 3 times the fish of Americans, and no dairy at all, they know nothing, right? It's not as if they live an average of 5 years longer than Americans or anything... even though they smoke more...

    Yep we should all be eating more butter, more cholesterol, and more steak, because the Japanese are wrong, Ancel Keys was wrong, and Nina Teicholz is right...

    Apologies for the sarcasm by the way. I blame it on Big Government.

  • Greg F||

    Oh the Japanese, eating more vegetables, 1/3 the meat and 3 times the fish of Americans, and no dairy at all, they know nothing, right?


    Yet Eskimos eat a high fat diet and heart disease is virtually non existent.

  • brec||

    "Low incidence of cardiovascular disease among the Inuit--what is the evidence?"

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12535749/

  • Ginkgo Biloba||

    I don't know a whole lot about Eskimos, so I looked it up and it seems that what you say is false. For example (spaces in studies links because they are "too long" to post lol)
    https://www.ncbi.nlm. nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2981096/
    https://academic. oup. com/ajcn/article-abstract /27/9/916/4816080?redirectedFrom=PDF

    If artherosclerosis, stroke and especially osteoporosis is as bad as these studies say I doubt the Inuit are exactly longevitudinous as a group of people. I'm sure some of them do alright but you could say that for any diet or population for one or two...

  • Flinch||

    The average inuit [truly living off the land/sea] doesn't live past 45 years of age. With mortality that young, they don't generally have enough time to develop heart disease. Granted that's old data, but find Veniaminov's [Russian] study 1822-1836 as a starting point.

  • Ariki||

    That makes sense though.
    Where life is hard, Life is short.

  • Longtobefree||

    Choose one:
    Starve to death
    hunt polar bears and get eaten yourself

  • Nom de Sobriquet||

    "Yep we should all be eating more butter, more cholesterol, and more steak..."
    No one said to eat more of anything - the point is not to let 60 year old science continue to dictate what you put in your mouth hole.
    What is your source for the data you cite?

  • Ginkgo Biloba||

    For the dietary intakes I remember this is a good source: https://ourworldindata.org/about
    Longevity statistics are all over the place you can just google it.

    I'm not sure exactly what's wrong with 60 year old science? Surely scientific study is futile if future persons will disregard it as "old"... Luckily for Einstein, Darwin, et. al. most people don't see it that way!

    On the contrary it rather seems to me to be the case that 60 years ago was a great time to study nutrition and health. It was back when dietary differences were real and distinct, presenting a clearer picture (now all countries slowly converge towards the so-called "Western Diet"). Before blood pressure meds and statins etc. were introduced to nullify the effects of a bad diet, again muddying the picture. And last but not least before the various food industries got in the act, dairy, poultry, cattle industries etc. to fund scientists that produce results in their interest.

  • Headache||

    Big Pharma does the same.

  • Ginkgo Biloba||

    Also I remind you the title of the book is: "The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet."

    If you're a pescetarian/vegetarian/vegan that *is* telling you eat more of something, and if you're not any of those, I highly doubt reading such a title is going to make you want to eat less butter, meat or cheese. So, overall, I have to disagree with your first statement.

  • Nom de Sobriquet||

    The title doesn't imply their intake be increased, just that they should not be shunned. As far as 60 year old science, I wrote on the assumption that one would not extrapolate beyond the subject matter, but since you did, I'll clarify - 60 year old nutritional science. I can't tell if the idea that science has not yet trumpeted how much of this equation is genetic is concerning, alarming, or lazy. Further, your "pescetarian/vegetarian/vegan" examples are weak - those are diets of abstinence.

  • Ginkgo Biloba||

    As I've said, I simply disagree. I think people would be inclined to eat more of food X and would in fact eat more if a book was widely distributed saying "food X belongs in a healthy diet".

    As I also mentioned I think studying nutrition 60 years ago has certain advantages.

  • Flinch||

    Poorly phrased, but people need to put down the margarine and back away. What is squeeze parkay? Fully hydrogenated cottonseed oil. Is that food, or light machine oil best suited for low speed cutting?

  • Ariki||

    If oil doesn't drip out of a seed/vegetable/whatever when you squeeze it, its associated "oil" cant be good for you.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    Another problem we face is the prevalence of processed foods. That makes a difference too.

  • Ornithorhynchus||

    Japanese eat 'no dairy at all'? I thought ice cream (often in flavours Americans would consider weird) was pretty popular there.

  • Ginkgo Biloba||

    Recently they do (ice cream, yogurt, even cheese). But too recently to affect health statistics of older citizens (which is the most important data for things like heart disease, osteoporosis, alzheimers, cancer etc. which affect primarily the old).

    Probably it wouldn't (dairy) have that big an effect anyway, there is at least some benefit to things like yogurt (probiotics for the gut health).

  • Headache||

    Yogurt and cheese are fermented foods. The bacteria strains consume lactose and why they are more bitter than sweet. Unfermented dairy is not so good. The USDA mandates milk and cereals be fortified. In the case of cows milk Vitamin D and calcium. So, with price controls on milk, you get cheap synthetic D which interferes in the methylation process. The calcium is completely unnecessary unless your target is heart disease
    .

  • Elias Fakaname||

    Amd you get far better calcium through vegetable sources anyway. For example, broccoli has a far higher rate of absorbable calcium than dairy.

  • Headache||

    Oh the Japanese, eating more vegetables, 1/3 the meat and 3 times the fish of Americans, and no dairy at all, they know nothing, right?

    You left out the whale meat!

  • handsoffmypineapples||

    Does it need to be repeated that - after almost 70 years of research - no causal link has been shown between high cholesterol and heart disease? That's an awfully long time with an awful lot of money thrown at the question to have no real proof...

  • ChuckNorrisBeardFist||

    And a guy just died at 111 who smoked everyday and drank. What's your point? Each body is different.

  • Greg F||

    She is not a scientist.


    Paul Ehrlich is a scientist and an utter failure. I don't really care if she is or isn't nor should anybody that is truly interested in science. Science is about the evidence, not personalities. I have no idea if she has a clue as to what she is talking about. What I do know is "not a scientist" is not a scientific argument.

  • brec||

    Correct. I regret that sentence in my comment.

  • Ariki||

    "Science is about the evidence, not personalities"

    No.

    Science is about methodology, not evidence (most data is subject to interpretation), not personalities (some arseholes are right) or qualifications (adding letters too your name doesn't mean you are smart).

    Education is no guarantee of intelligence as the morons on the "film you Marxist professors" Facebook page can attest.

  • Cecil de Lionchipper||

    Agreed. Those professors should have their careers and reputations destroyed, as per the left's rules.

  • AD-RtR/OS!||

    If you can't get something as everyday as food straight, why would we trust you when it comes to the hard stuff?

  • Ginkgo Biloba||

    Well nutrition science isn't straight exactly. It's really quite complicated. Having said that Ancel Keys - whose research discovered the link between dyslipidemia and heart disease - was the first guy to figure out what was going on over half a century ago!

    So why is he so often talked about in the negative? Well, I can think of two reasons:

    1. Money. His research indicates that one should consume less of certain foods. This offends various large industries - no need to name names - whose profits would be decreased if consumption of those foods was lessened. These industries have a lot of money. A metric shit-ton of money. If you have a metric shit-ton of money, it's not difficult to defame someone, even if they were a great scientist, a genius who was probably cleverer than you, and a hero in the war effort (see K-rations).

    2. The internet. The internet allows all kind of shit and disinformation to spead like wildfire, at the behest of the Weston A Bullshit foundation or however many "think-tanks" are out there. If the truth is your enemy, the internet is your friend.

  • Azathoth!!||

    Except that the book, and this article, are pointing out that we did what he said to do. He wasn't being talked about negatively then. He was listened to.

    He's being talked about negatively now, after decades of living by his prescriptions have helped not at all.

    This isn't a pre-emptive strike. It's research done by people whose pantries probably still reflect the guidelines set by this guy. Because that's what they had for the entirety of their lives.

  • ||

    Advice: Do the opposite of what the government says.

    You'll be better off.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    Like George Costanza.

  • ||

    I find it interesting they have a girl gluttonously eating pasta as if pasta is some sort of bad food for fat asses.

    As if it's the pasta's fault we're don't know how to consume it.

  • DrZ||

    "We have made our policy based upon this weak kind of science called epidemiology which shows association, but not causation," Teicholz explains. "We have the situation where we just cannot reverse out of these policies that were originally based on really weak science."

    Waitaminute..does this mean the science of "climate change" may not be yielding the truth?

  • AlmightyJB||

    The politics of climate change is where the truthyness seems to get fuzzy.

  • Tony||

    And it's not all of the planet's scientists who have the truth, it's the Koch brothers and Republican politicians alone in the world. The only people not engaging in politics. Eagle cry tear.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    Tony you are so full of shit in this subject (actually, on absolutely everything). There are many, many scmore enlists around the world who don't agree with your religion. You people bully the hell out of them if they dissent
    .
    You really are a shitty person.

  • Tony||

    Who? Show me their Wikipedia page.

  • BigT||

    Oregon petition 31,000+ signatures, including mine

    http://www.petitionproject.org

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    WTF does a Wikipedia page have to do with anything? They probably can't have one of they dissent from you fucking Nazis anyway. This country really needs to get back to giving hippie progressives like you regular beatings so you know your place.

  • Azathoth!!||

    Tony, you clearly don't grasp how many times in the history of scientific discovery one person stood against a consensus of the world's scientists and turned out to be right.

    And that person may or may not have been a recognized expert.

    Science isn't a consensus. Ever.

  • AlmightyJB||

    It seems as though the most extensive nutrition/exercise science is coming out of college and professional athletic programs. Unfotunately the average person doesn't have and won't have the metabolism of someone who works out 40 hours a week so it hard to say how much of it is even relevant to them. And of course they're mainly interested in performance not necessarily long term health considerations. Age, activity level, genetics, body type, current body size, health, etc all are going effect what works for each individual person. I think you have to just find what works for you and not get lost in the averages and statistics.

  • Echospinner||

    That is spot on.

    I am one of those perpetually thin people who could eat anything. It is catching up to me now as I have gotten older so for the first time I have to watch what I eat.

    My wife is the opposite. She struggled with weight for years. Now she is a nutrition coach and says the same thing you did. It is different for everyone.

    There is no one solution because we all differ in metabolism.

  • sharmota4zeb||

    If only there was some sort of mechanism to change humanity so that we are born with a preference for healthy food after millions of years.

  • handsoffmypineapples||

    You mean some kind of NATURAL way that people with a taste for the foods that make them healthier would be SELECTED to procreate more efficiently?

    Nah... that's crazy talk...

  • BigT||

    Careful. Our natural preferences were shaped by the scarcity of food, and high energy content food in particular. We are in a different environment now, with an abundance of food. We have not evolved to the new niche.

  • Cecil de Lionchipper||

    True, but you fail to mention that high fat foods provide higher satiety, and therefor reduced appetite, which in essence, fixes itself.

  • Longtobefree||

    Grandma was right, the feds were wrong. (on this too)
    Deal with it.

  • Kivlor||

    Keys' notoriously rotten study certainly doesn't help things. Plus advocating ~300g of sugar per day. That last one is really a bad deal and has probably had the largest negative impact on health from diet in the last 75 years.

    Of course the vegans have to show up to have a temper tantrum over these discussions because "meat is bad". Meat is good for you. In moderation. Fish is probably a better form of meat to consume than beef/chicken/pork. Minus the part where it has been contaminated by mercury from coal plants so you have to limit the intake. Of course, admitting that gets the libertarians in a tissy, so we can't bring that up in a Reason article.

    So that leaves government to take the sole blame.

  • Kivlor||

    Additionally, there are other issues that lead to obesity, which we can't discuss because reasons. The one that always gets dropped is the effect of childhood trauma on obesity and overall health--including mental health--later in life. Kids who have scores of 3+ on the Adult Childhood Experiences Survey are at a drastically higher risk for obesity.

    What the researchers found was that these people know how to eat healthy, but they don't. In fact, what they found was that "educating" those who are incredibly fat has no effect long-term. What did work was therapy for their childhood issues, and helping connect the dots between their childhood trauma and their current self-destructive behaviors.

  • JFree||

    The biggest reason for childhood obesity is that they now get driven everywhere because it isn't safe for them to walk/bike.

    Saw something on the Internet (so it has to be true) that said the average 19 year old now is as active as a 60 year old. So shouldn't be a surprise that they will quickly resemble one - absent the wrinkles.

  • Longtobefree||

    because it isn't safe for them to walk/bike.

    Says the same government that doesn't know how to even eat.
    Time to call bullshit.
    Says the same government that eliminated most athletic recess activities that actually burn calories.
    Time to call bullshit.
    Says the same government that arrests parents who let their kids exercise outdoors.
    Time to call bullshit.
    etc

  • JFree||

    Oh for fuck's sake.

    It ain't govt that plays freaking video games and surfs all day
    It ain't govt that told mommy to drive their kids everywhere
    And it ain't the fucking fear of 'parental arrest' that keeps them from letting their kids wander.

    The fucking FACT is that stuff started in the 1980's. And it was caused by MADD (which pretended that the only problem was DRUNK drivers) - founded in 1980. By the NCMEC stuff re abductions/missing/etc - founded in 1984 (and afaik - no kid has ever been abducted by someone who escapes by walking/biking away). By the just say no campaign (1982) - by the drive-by shooting and gang wars of that era. By the introduction of bike helmets (1984 for kids) which just confirmed to most parents that non-helmeted biking was too dangerous. By the reality that 'killed by a car' is the main cause of death for kids - then and now - and an epidemic cause of injuries, near-hits, and 'scares'. And by the huge surge of kids born in that decade which created parents talking to other parents about parenting in a post-DocSpock era and making all that stuff spread. And it is PARENTS who remain fixated on that scary scary world so raise their kids to be protected little snowflakes in an SUV bubble.

    Nothing is as stupid as the ideologue who blames govt for absolutely everything.

  • BigT||

    'There are none so blind as those who will not see.

    All hail, mother government!

  • Longtobefree||

    So all fat people are crazy? Quick, grab their guns!

  • Cecil de Lionchipper||

    Some studies have shown that bird meat is even better than fish.

  • blondrealist||

    Other factors that are contributing to the obesity epidemic: more kids leading more sedentary lives and average daily caloric consumption is up significantly in the past 30 years for our population as a whole. The typical restaurant dinner meal has far more calories than 30-40 years ago, and we eat out more often than 30-40 years ago. When I was a kid, the menu was limited at McDonald's, but now much larger portions are popular menu items. More french fries and giant paper cups of Coca Cola seem to be bad choices. We're getting fatter because we eat too much and often don't get in as much physical activities as people generally did 40-50 years ago.

  • Star1988||

    Except ... common sense. Go into the wild, particularly away from the equator and survive. You will be eating mostly saturated fats - the fatter and older the animal the better. The thicker the back fat the better. Common sense on how you would be forced to eat in the wild should tell anyone that Keys was totally wrong.

  • Cecil de Lionchipper||

    Unfortunately, us city peeps have no clue where our food comes from.

  • Griffin3||

    It comes from the factory. How dare you kill animals when you can just get the meat that's already wrapped in plastic?!?! [/sarc] [/vegan sister]

  • inoyu||

    The science/government complex protects - itself, at all cost. I tune out the climate change alarmists while accepting that regulating pollutant discharge is a valid government function. So, carry on, be reasonable and shut up already.

  • Septic Service Owasso||

    Yeah, the pretense that what we put in our mouths goes directly to us cuz we're the deciders.

  • LifeStrategies||

    Since adult-onset diabetes is an acquired inability of the body to control its sugar levels, it's amazing how effectively Big Sugar has managed to disingenuously disassociate sugar from any correlation with diabetes...

  • Cecil de Lionchipper||

    B b b b but, settled science?

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online