Why is America so fat?

Why is America Fat?

I was pondering this question after an interesting discussion with my health care providers ‘Wellness Center’ who called me to check in.  I have been wrestling with my weight since I left the Air Force in 1981.  Since that time I have tried to remain active but the cardiac cards were stacked against me and I was introduced to invasive surgery Cardiac Bypass Style.  After my 4 way re-plumb my weight went up significantly, in fact by over 50 pounds.  Up to this point I had been working with a strength trainer and was making excellent progress…  As my strength increased, my body fat decreased and I was in a very good physical place – except for my heart, obviously.  I had no idea that I was a prime candidate for this excellent and very painful 5 month vacation.

So for the past several years I was gaining weight, and trying every sensible diet to control it.  No matter what I tried I continued to gain.  An unwelcome traveler on this vacation was the multitude of prescription medications that I took for everything from Alpha & Beta blockers to anti depressants and my new found friend diabetes.  This recent addition to ‘what’s wrong with Charlie’ was a result of my weight gain and inability to control insulin levels, etc.

I consulted every on-line medical and pharmacological site I could find only to be frustrated by my lack of education in chemistry and pharmaceutical sciences.  This frustration surfaced during a conversation with my cardiologist and his assistant, who insisted that I lose significant weight.  According to the American Heart Association, I should weigh between 160 and 175 pounds.  Anyone that knows me can see that at weight and with my bone structure and frame I would look like a scarecrow or worse.

The point here is that I was fighting the effects of my medication; this medication was creating havoc with my metabolism and body chemistry and nullifying my dieting efforts.

I recently stopped taking all of my meds for financial reasons.  The result is that I am now losing weight.  Over the past few months I have lost about 25 pounds.  I am probably creating a very dangerous situation, but the extra weight will kill me more quickly than the high blood pressure and diabetes.

Enough background…

The issue is how we all became so fat.  The medical profession calls it an epidemic and I agree for more than one reason, but I’ll get to that.  We are out of control, not personal control, but the foods that we eat are killing us and causing this epidemic.

Here are a few rhetorical questions first.

1.  Why are young girls reaching puberty at age 9, when the old norm was 13?

2.  Why are young boys hitting their sexual prime at 13, when the old norm was 18?

3.  Why are we all gaining weight as if all we ate were fats?

Here are my hypotheses:

First: we have become less active and do not require the same amount of calories that we used to when we worked on the farm and industrial settings.  In fact we consume twice what we really need.  We are a sedentary society.  We sit in front of computer terminals all day and actually get very little exercise.  This does not help our obesity.

Second: the cards are stacked against us.  I mean the food producers cards.  We eat mostly processed foods from either cans or fresh frozen, but that is all processed and contains additives that preserve color and flavor.  We must all consume a ton of salt each, not that we over salt foods but that EVERYTHING we eat has salt added for flavor and preservation.  What are these preservatives doing to our bodies? And…

Third: we are being poisoned by the food producers and processors.  Except for a few producers and processors that offer organic products, everything we eat is genetically engineered to grow faster and bigger or fed growth compounds to create the same faster growth and increased size results. Regarding points 1, 2, and 3 above, this is why we are all experiencing these adverse effects.  We are consuming products that are full of these compounds that make animals and produce grow and mature at frightening rates.  I saw an article that claimed that mega-mart chickens were only 12 weeks old when processed and they were at full maturity.  How can we consume these compounds in our food and not expect the same results in us?  We are what we eat, so it is said, so if we eat foods that are forced to mature in months instead of years, how can we not expect to exhibit these same effects?

A recent expose’ of on genetically engineered plants explained that the world outside of the US bans all of our produce and meat products for this very reason.  These pragmatic people realize that we are creating our own dilemma and medical Armageddon and want no part of it.  We claim that these products are safe or harmless, yet we fail to recognize these signs for ourselves.  We are playing Russian-Roulette with a loaded automatic weapon, or if you like, we are tap-dancing on a landmine.

They claimed that ALL of the seeds for our produce have been modified!  There are no pure strain veggies, or fruits, or grains, or nuts.  They have ALL been tampered with.

I firmly believe that this combination of pharmaceuticals that modify our metabolism and the food that we consume containing growth compounds and genetically modified produce is creating the current situation.  Where are the scientific studies that will remove our doubt, and satisfy our concerns?  They are being blocked by the companies that make and distribute these chemical compounds.  Consider all of the recent law suits against the drug companies for these accidental death and medical problems created by drugs that were considered safe by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA).  The FDA allows these companies to self-regulate and to perform in-house testing on their products to prove them safe.  We are being asked to trust these billion-dollar businesses with our health.  After all they wouldn’t lie to us, would they?

Knowing this, why do we continue to eat things that we know will have serious adverse effects?  Economics!  Organic foods, if they really do exist, are more expensive than their mass produced and processed counterparts.  Short of growing our own produce and raising our own meats, we default to the mega-producers for our foods out of necessity.

The answer is very complicated and will be extremely painful.  We must start taking responsibility for actions.  As producers we must start looking at the long term effects of our products.  We must act responsibly and ensure that what we sell does no harm, in any way.

As consumers we must all become aware of our own situations.  We must demand that the products we consume are safe and have been tested and guaranteed safe by some regulatory agency. This agency should be funded by these producers, but run independently, not by these producers.

Until we can really trust these producers to work in harmony with us and not trying to ‘bolster the bottom line’ we must insist that we have a window into what and how they transact business.  We have a right to know that what we consume is safe, healthy, and wholesome for us and for our families.   

Why are we fat?  We are complacent…