America: A Big, Fat, Stupid Nation
America, I love you. Sure, you’ve had your naughty moments, but what country hasn’t? Ultimately, I believe your filthy, battered heart is in the right place. This particular Irishman gazes over the ocean, happy to dream your dream.
Yet, the title staring down at you is said as ‘fact’. Disagree? OK, good, then let us begin…
Latest figures confirm the ridiculous: three out of four of you will be ‘overweight or obese’ by 2020. To gauge perspective: there are now more ‘fat’ people than ‘white’ people in America. Perhaps our bigots of the future will swing their hatred away from ‘race’ to the slim and healthy.
The shrinking minority are, indeed, the shrinking minority.
Stupid? Welcome to a population who know less about what they put into their mouths than they do about, well, take your pick…celebrities or cars or American Idol or iPhones? Animals have the intelligence to know what to eat and to never get fat (except the ones fed by humans). Yet that simple challenge, gaining nourishment without destroying the body, is beyond your capabilities?
Perhaps this crime is forgivable, purely symptomatic of the dietary ‘misinformation’ in circulation. However, the truly unforgivable stupidity has been in allowing this misinformation to propagate. To have believed the lies, to have fallen for the tricks, to have remained oblivious to the motives. Stupid, stupid, stupid.
“Insanity,” declared Einstein. “Is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” Was the sharp little man predicting your strategy against the impending obesity epidemic? Thirty years of repeating the same mistakes. Not just failing to halt the crisis, but actually exacerbating it.
And the new plan today? Fundamentally, it is identical. Michelle Obama’s current, corporate-led, child obesity campaign scores 100% on well meaning — and 0% on wholesale change. All that matters, what you are told to put in your mouth, is aligned to the same destructive, corporate-sponsored dietary doctrine. I apologize for my original accusation America, this is not stupidity — it is insanity.
Einstein is no longer around to identify and solve your problems. However, a little-known Welsh obesity researcher, Zoe Harcombe, may be the surprising, next-best hope for salvation. For the last six months, I have been peeling through the twenty years of obesity research that she has accumulated. Some insight will be shared in her upcoming publication ‘The Obesity Epidemic’. If you want to know why you’re fat, and who wants to keep you that way, I suggest you head to the Welsh valleys and plead with her for a little chat.
From an informed perspective, let me shine a little light…
Americans (still) rule the world. They can stroll on the moon, influence global diplomacy, finance unstable countries around the world…yet they cannot keep their own people relatively healthy? Of course they could, if it were actually desired. Unfortunately, for the world’s most powerful companies, an unhealthy America is, perversely, a very profitable America.
If I own a sock company, I need people with feet to maintain my business. Similarly, if I own a diet company (total combined U.S. industry value: est. $45-$100 billion), I need fat people. Luckily for the diet industry, the even more powerful food industry (estimated value: astronomical — U.S. food-based retailing alone >$1,200 billion) make their main profits from cheap processed foods. Foods which make people fat.
The medical industry is similarly grateful — the unhealthy obese are as vital for their profit margins as oil is to the oil business. And we’ve seen what happens when the oil industry has their supply stream compromised.
So, if industries (with a combined net worth and power exceeding many actual countries), need a vital supply chain to survive, we can safely say that they will probably work out how to get it.
They need fat people. So what do they do?
People in America like to think that they eat with freedom. Ultimately, however, they can only pick what is presented to them, and what they can afford. Then, the decision is based on what they believe to be healthy, tasty and safe. With that in mind, can you imagine how great it would be for the industries mentioned above, if dietary advice given could be contained and restricted to just one organization that they could pour money into? That scenario is not just some North Koreanesque wet dream. It is USA 2010.
The ADA (American Dietetic Association) has complete monopoly on dietary advice. To keep the bubble airtight, the full might of the law has even been implemented. Kim Jong-il would be proud of the attention to detail.
Staggeringly, in 46 out of 50 States, the message the authorities want you to have is protected. The law determines who is able to provide you with nutritional advice.
The Commission on Dietetic Registration is the credentializing agency for the ADA. A practicing dietician not registered with the ADA or CDR is liable to face prosecution in over 90% of the country.
With that in mind, who precisely is ‘sponsoring’ the ADA and the nutritional advice you receive?
My friends, it is a beautiful army. Partners (recent and current — and their latest annual revenue figures):
Coca Cola (revenue $31.4 billion), GlaxoSmithKline (revenue $42.5 billion), Hershey’s (revenue $5.3 billion), Unilever (revenue $55.8 billion), Aramark (revenue: $12.3 billion). There are even some ‘premier sponsors’: Mars (revenue: $30 billion), PepsiCo (revenue $44.3 billion), Truvia sweetener (revenue of parent company Cargill: $116.6 billion), Kellogg’s ($12.7 billion).
ADA ‘sponsors’ have combined revenues of over $400 billion.
Why are these gargantuan companies — whose only intention is to make money, not make you healthy — allowed to fund the ADA?
The ADA themselves can perhaps assist us. On their own website (in the section where they are trying to seduce corporate America), they offer a helping hand:
As ADA past president Martin Yadrick stated in a 2008 US News & World Report article: “We think it’s important for us to be at the same table with food companies because of the positive influence that we can have on them.”
But, Martin, darling, they are paying you to be at their table. You are publicly telling America that you are somehow the one wearing the trousers in the relationship? My headline must be correct — even the ADA seem to think that America is stupid.
So, with the system in place, what would be the ideal message that corporate America could choose to create to strengthen their businesses?
If you want to know when (and how) the obesity epidemic started, you do not need a degree in science to understand the details. Just a simple little line, that a child could understand, will tell you all you need to know.
Have a look at the graph below. Notice the steady line for decades and then the upward leap from 1977 onwards?
What strange event happened in 1977? Elvis died; perhaps the aliens who took him started to replace his fellow Americans with clones of fat, singing, hamburger-addicts? The truth is no less remarkable.
In 1977 America changed its health advice. In a nutshell (or, more likely, an ADA approved Mars bar): Eat more starchy foods, eat more carbohydrates, saturated fats are bad. If that sounds like pretty good advice to you, then you don’t know enough about what you are putting into your mouth.
Your grandparents were raised in a generation aware that God’s supermarket was better than man’s. Saturated fat was a vital part of their diet. For them, obesity was not a common health problem. They were not suffering malnutrition in the fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K). Remarkably, you, dear Western reader, probably are.
A processed product with ‘zero fat’ stamped on it (invariably high in sugar, chemicals and carbs instead) is great for making profits, but useless for losing weight. Wreaking havoc with insulin and your body’s biochemistry is not clever. The majority of the western world now do so on a daily basis.
If you want to have some fun with graphs, you can go and look at the corresponding obesity spikes in other countries when they followed the 1977 change in US advice.
In Canada, the point was near-parallel. In Britain it happened in 1983. The Australians struck around the time of the Brits, launching their magically stupid ‘Health Pyramid‘. The obesity rate in each territory began its steady ascent. Big fat corporate party time.
Your commercially sponsored weight loss advice is making you gain weight. It would be laughable, a comic irony, if the consequences were not so tragic. From diabetes to obesity to cancer to heart disease, the price being paid for corporate profit is in lives.
It is not up to me to tell you the science; research that yourself. Do it thoroughly, the corruption and manipulation of facts is on a far greater, more shocking scale than the story I have detailed so far.
Look at the true details of the Keys’ ‘Seven Countries‘ study. How the food industry have used it to falsely demonize fats and change global policies. How we have been lied to about the relevance of calories. How the false ‘crimes of cholesterol’ can be simply resolved by picking up a globe and looking at the proximity to the equator of the ‘Seven Countries’ involved in the study.
Educate yourself and spot the lies that your trusted sources are feeding you. Alarmingly, few supposed ‘experts’ are free from bias. Including many learned figures who try to voice opinion on this great site. Do not ever underestimate the power of industry and the corrupting influence of money. People have vested interests and through intent, ignorance (or a dangerous combination of both), preach some unforgivable lies.
This issue is about money. This issue is about race. Obesity in black Americans is 50% higher than that of white Americans. Obesity in Hispanics is 25% higher than that of white Americans.
Obesity rates are highest in the poor – they are the ones who rely on cheap processed foods to feed their families.
The poor, carb-addicted fatties make the thin, rich shareholders very happy.
America is, of course, no more ‘stupid’ than other nations. Across the western world. Nutritional advice has been polluted by the omnipotent corporations who profit from ill health. However, USA, the world looks to you for a guiding light.
The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist. Spot the devil. Uncover the scientific facts about fat and carbohydrates. Stand up for the truth. Or stay big, stay fat and stay stupid.
Justin Stoneman is a writer, broadcaster, producer and composer.