The Obesity Epidemic in the West
The Lee Vidor Theory of Bouncing and Jiggling.
Join Me On An Speculative Investigation into the Obesity Epidemic With A Surprising Result.
It's hard to argue that there is an obesity epidemic in the Western world, the question which is not being asked widely enough is why?
This epidemic is so widespread now that it's almost more odd to see someone of a correct weight than someone overweight. Personally I am spectacularly height-weight proportionate, and because of it sometimes in public company I feel frankly, odd. Like I'm showing off just by standing there and not being overweight like everyone else. I have thin-guilt. I feel as if I should grab a burger and guzzle it immediately in order to fit in and show my support.
It seems unlikely to me that all of this fat epidemic is being caused by overeating and lack of physical activity. Daily life has rarely been more stressful than it is now, and yet human metabolism rates seem to be dropping. I think it's time for science to concentrate its attention on the question of why this is.
Imagine what a solution to the fat epidemic would be worth!
Simultaneous with this rise in obesity there has been an unrelated rise in certain childhood diseases which were once quite uncommon, such as asthma.
The rise in childhood asthma is thought to be attributable to the decrease in bacteria to which children are now naturally exposed at young ages. I can't comment on the truth of this, it certainly seems possible and likely. Here I use it merely as supporting evidence for some radical speculation regarding dynamic health changes in populations as a whole.
This rise in childhood asthma and its apparent cause, to my mind serves as proof that it is possible to influence a population via a subtle but widespread change in human behavior, something almost imperceptible even.
It seems possible to me that there is now something fundamentally unsuited to the human metabolism in the methods or sources of our nutrition or lifestyle. In this I am not speaking only of fast foods, although they are also not good for us, I am discussing the biochemistry of the human body.
It seems possible that something subtle but important has changed in our entire environment-nutrition system, which is causing the human body to fail to metabolize fat as well as it did a generation or more ago.
I have absolutely no idea what this might be, this article is merely an attempt to disseminate this speculation into the scientific community, in order that it might be properly researched.
I find it increasingly hard to believe that all the overweight people in the world are merely inactive and overeating constantly. People seem to me to be no more lazy that they always were. But there is little doubt that they are substantially larger, and that increase is in the form of body fat.
And so my best speculation is this:
There is something new at large in our populations which is making metabolism drop in a large percentage of people.
This may be something which seems innocuous; simple chronic stress levels, (even though generally stress appears to raise metabolism). It could even be a bacteria perhaps, or even something innocent seeming in almost all of the foods we are eating, which increases fat absorption in people. By this I mean the type or preparation of our foods in relation to biochemical metabolism, I don't mean people are being poisoned.
I think I'd put my money on chronic stress as the cause though.
Let's investigate this:..
The Lee Vidor Obesity Theory.
If I had to make a guess without any research at all on the subject, and with only the expertise of an idiot, I'd say raised levels of chronic stress might be the best suspect.
The human organism responds to an uncertain future by storing fat. And storing it we certainly are.
Somebody qualified should look into this immediately. You could probably get a PhD for it. And rich too.
You might begin by correlating the rise in obesity in populations against the decline of the welfare states in Western Europe.
Insecurity is what creates chronic stress. And there's little doubt that levels of social insecurity have been constantly rising for the last few decades.
In addition there is a good correlation between wealth and the absence of obesity. As well as wealth and the absence of financial insecurity.
Furthermore.. And suspiciously..
Studies have shown that the likelihood of becoming obese is far greater when a person's friends are obese. This means that obesity is effectively infectious.
How can that possibly be true?
It is very telling indeed.
It could easily be true if obesity in others is an unconscious signal to the human brain to store fat for hard times to come.
Maybe what we need for the obesity epidemic is not more stationary biking, but only more good sedatives.
Of course fixing our social welfare systems would be an utterly unthinkable solution for our politicians.
An Update With An Apparent Solution..
A quick googling reveals that enough scientific evidence already exists (see below) to support the theory that it is chronic stress causing the obesity epidemic. Someone qualified should look into this, deeply and soon.
Well thank God that's solved. Fixing the entire world is so exhausting. What's next?
According to the articles below everyone should go immediately and get their Y2 receptors blocked and that's that.
We'll all be skinny.
More sex for everyone!
Omg I'll be so popular for that!
But why are scientists and researchers doing nothing with this research?
People are jiggling themselves into desperation all over the West. There must surely be money in this for medical corporations and pharmaceutical corporations! And they always like money.
Do I have to do everything around here?
A Scientific Article on Stress and Obesity:
Stress Related Obesity May Be Reversed
Stress related obesity may be reversed
Wednesday, 04 July 2007
New findings on the mechanisms that trigger stress-induced obesity, published today in Nature Medicine online, could offer hope to millions.
Professor Herbert Herzog, Director of the Neuroscience Research Program at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research, together with scientists from the US and Slovakia, have shown that neuropeptide Y (NPY), a molecule the body releases when stressed, can ‘unlock’ Y2 receptors in the body’s fat cells, stimulating the cells to grow in size and number. By blocking those receptors, it may be possible to prevent fat growth, or make fat cells die.
“We have known for over a decade that there is a connection between chronic stress and obesity,” said Professor Herzog. “We also know that NPY plays a major role in other chronic stress-induced conditions, such as susceptibility to infection. Now we have identified the exact pathway, or chain of molecular events, that links chronic stress with obesity.”
“There is not much we can do about the increased levels of NPY caused by stress, but we can do something about the damage it causes. If we can interfere before it causes fat to amass, it could have a major impact on cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer (which all have links with obesity). Basically, when we have a stress reaction, NPY levels rise in our bodies, causing our heart rate and blood pressure to go up, among other things. Stress reactions are normal, unavoidable, and generally serve a useful purpose in life. It’s when stress is chronic that its effects become damaging, he said.”
Scientists at Georgetown University (Washington D.C), part of this collaborative study, have found a direct connection between stress, a high calorie diet and unexpectedly high weight gain. Stressed and unstressed mice were fed normal diets and high calorie (high fat and high sugar, or so called ‘comfort food’) diets. The mice on normal diets did not become obese. However, stressed mice on high calorie diets gained twice as much fat as unstressed mice on the same diet. The novel and unexpected finding was that when stressed and non-stressed animals ate the same high calorie foods, the stressed animals utilised and stored fat differently.
“Our findings suggest that we may be able to reverse or prevent obesity caused by stress and diet, including the worst kind of obesity; the apple-shaped type, which makes people more susceptible to heart disease and diabetes,” says senior author of the Nature Medicine paper, Professor Zofia Zukowska of Georgetown University. “Using animal models, in which we have either blocked the Y2 receptor, or selectively removed the gene from the abdominal fat cells, we have shown that stressed mice on high calorie diets do not become obese. “Even more surprisingly, in addition to having flatter bellies, adverse metabolic changes linked to stress and diet, which include glucose intolerance and fatty liver, became markedly reduced. We do not know yet exactly how that happens, but the effect was remarkable,” she said.
Professor Herzog believes that these research findings will have a profound effect on the way society will deal with the obesity epidemic. “There are millions of people around the world who have lived with high levels of stress for so long their bodies think it’s ‘normal’. If these people also eat a high fat and high sugar diet, which is what many do as a way to reduce their stress, they will become obese.”
“Until now, the pharmaceutical industry has focused on appetite suppressants with only moderate success. Our hope is that in the near future pharmaceutical companies, using the results of our research, will develop antagonists against the Y2 receptor that will bring about a reduction in fat cells.
This is a popular science article on the press release of the above scientific report.
Stress Unlocks Fat Cells, Ups Obesity
Study Shows Molecule Released During Stress May Unlock Body's Fat Cells
By Jennifer Warner WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Chang, MD
July 2, 2007 -- Stress may stimulate obesity by unlocking the body's fat cells, a new study suggests.
Researchers found a molecule the body releases when stressed called NPY (neuropeptide Y). NPY appears to unlock certain receptors in fat cells, causing them to grow in both size and number.
But the good news is that by blocking those Y2 receptors, researchers say they may be able to eventually develop new drugs to combat stress-related obesity.
"We have known for over a decade that there is a connection between chronic stress and obesity," Herbert Herzog, PhD, of the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney, Australia, says in a news release. "We also know that NPY plays a major role in other chronic stress-induced conditions, such as susceptibility to infection. Now we have identified the exact pathway, or chain of molecular events, that links chronic stress with obesity."
Stopping Stress From Turning to Fat
In the first part of the study, published in Nature Medicine, researchers fed stressed and unstressed mice either a standard diet or a high-fat, high-sugar, "comfort food" diet.
As expected, the mice on the high-fat, high-sugar diet gained fat while those on the standard diet did not. But researchers found the stressed mice on the high-fat, high-sugar diet developed more body fat than the unstressed mice fed the same diet.
Those results prompted researchers to look for differences in how the stressed mice utilized and stored fat.
"There is not much we can do about the increased levels of NPY caused by stress, but we can do something about the damage it causes," says Herzog.
They found that when they blocked the Y2 receptors for two weeks, the stressed mice lowered their abdominal fat deposits by 40%.
"Even more surprisingly, in addition to having flatter bellies, adverse metabolic changes linked to stress and diet, which include glucose intolerance and fatty liver, became markedly reduced. We do not know yet exactly how that happens, but the effect was remarkable," researcher Zofia Zukowska of Georgetown University says in the release. "Our findings suggest that we may be able to reverse or prevent obesity caused by stress and diet, including the worst kind of obesity; the apple-shaped type, which makes people more susceptible to heart disease and diabetes."
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