Dietary Philosophy & Practice
Thou shouldst eat to live; not live to eat. ~ Roman philosopher and statesman Cicero
The essential issue of diet centers on one’s adopted philosophy of food. The Collective think of eating as a pleasurable experience: at its best, a culinary delight. Bon appétit.
The other side of the coin is that food is fuel. Few approach food as nutritional exercise in good taste.
Treating food for pleasure is an invitation for cumulative health problems. There are no obese 90-year-olds, nor fat and sassy 70-year-olds, who invariably suffer from chronic maladies by that age.
What a person eats is a vivid statement of awareness and spiritual maturation. Dietary selection and how much a person eats is a statement of character.
Apologists for the viewpoint that these life choices are not entirely a matter of will are simply in denial: themselves lacking what they deny is critical to healthy living. What comes out of one’s mouth, and what goes in, are within the control of every adult.
Eating healthy is simple. But consistently eating healthy can be a serious challenge when those around do not do so. Dining is commonly a social activity.
Diet is a practical application of the maxim to carefully choose one’s associations. For better or worse, the energy and habits of close relations exert a persistent influence on eating habits.
Fast foods are quick, reasonably priced, and readily available alternatives to home cooking. While convenient and economical for a busy lifestyle, fast foods are typically high in calories, fat, saturated fat, sugar, and salt, and may put people at risk for becoming overweight. ~ McDonald’s Corporation internal web site
Junk-food eaters can live a long life and suffer a miserable old age full of health problems. Eating in moderation, consuming fewer calories, and avoiding fatty foods is not an adequate dietary formula for good health. Selection is paramount.
Nutrition itself is directly associated with the development of multiple chronic diseases over time. ~ Chinese physician and nutritionist Zumin Shi
The body’s daily biological (circadian) clock, which is critical to health, is primarily set by 2 influences: light and diet. Artificial light can throw off circadian rhythm. Likewise, eating at irregular hours can subtlety create a cascade of detrimental effects.
The circadian clock is a very deep timing system that controls a large part of the physiology and behavior in all cells in the body to shape multiple processes. ~ American neurobiologist Charles Weitz
The Morality of Diet
Flesh eating is unprovoked murder. ~ American journalist and diplomat American Benjamin Franklin
In recent years it has become an increasingly popular moral concern, even among meat eaters, to not kill and consume animals known to be intelligent, such as primates (bushmeat) and whales. This is an affinity bias, as humans readily identify with other large animals that are known to have similar intelligence systems.
This bias is a selective ignorance. Cows are much smarter than they are given credit for. Pigs are quite clever, but bacon is too tasty to worry about the source. Birds, notably chickens – with their stunning intelligence – stir no moral misgivings.
People engage in the denial of mind in animals to allow them to eat animals with less negative feeling. ~ Australian psychologist Brock Bastian
Vegans try to gain the moral high ground by shunning animal fare entirely. They figure that fish – which can feel pain – deserve respect. But vegans never give a second thought about eating vegetables, even as flowering plants are more intelligent than any animal could ever dream of. Creature bias leaves humans blind to the savvy of verdant life.
To plants, herbivores are noxious weeds. While plants seek peaceful coexistence by offering fruit, they harbor no moral qualms about putting up their best defense, body count be damned.
Beyond pollinators as their patsies, plants have little reason to think that animals are intelligent. Rampant human deforestation rather proves the point.
To a plant, fungi and bacteria bifurcate by alliance: friend or foe. There is little middle ground. That is Nature’s sense of morality.
Vegetables are the food of the earth; fruit seems more the food of the heavens. ~ Sepal Felicivant
The 3 basic energy nutrients – carbohydrate, fat, and protein – are most wholesomely found in natural foods. The healthiest diet comprises mostly fruit and vegetables: high in natural sugars and carbohydrates, with modest amounts of more intensive vegetarian protein, and lipids from seed sources (and avocado).
Almost as important as what is selected is choosing to eat as little as possible. If you are past adolescence and gaining weight you are eating too much.
A low-carbohydrate diet affects the system within days: resulting in impaired attention span, lowered awareness, slower reflexes, and worse mood. Such a diet quickly begins to impair the body.
Vegetables are best fresh or fresh-frozen. Current practice in developed countries is to flash-freeze vegetables shortly after harvesting. The vitality of fresh-frozen vegetables is preserved for a while, but only for weeks, not months.
Eating raw vegetables is a positive goodness, though at some sacrifice of accessing nutrients during digestion.
Steaming vegetables makes the vitamin content more readily digestible by breaking down the cellulose, while leaving the structure, and most of the vitamins, intact. Cooking vegetables in water dilutes the vitamin content, and so is not recommended, unless in a stir-fry situation, where the entire contents are consumed.
The world in 2019 had 7.7 billion people. There are somewhere between a 1,000-trillion and 10,000-trillion ants, most species of which are edible and an ample source of protein. But then, sufficient protein is easily had with a healthy vegetarian diet. Potatoes are a well-balanced food in terms of carbohydrates and proteins (a little-known fact except perhaps to the Irish).
Humans vastly consume too much protein, mostly by eating other animals. The number of animals killed for food in 2009, 1 year alone, worldwide: 52 billion chickens; 2.6 billion ducks; 1.3 billion pigs; 1.1 billion rabbits; 633 million turkeys; 518 million sheep; 398 million goats; 293 million cows; 24 million water buffalo; and 1.7 million camels. That is a tremendous slaughter for unhealthy diets, and a considerable tax on land and water resources.
The amount of fat isn’t as important as the relative amounts, or ratio, of specific fats in the diet. ~ American biochemist and nutritionist Bruce Watkins
An essential fatty acid is a fatty acid that an animal needs to obtain from the diet. A fatty acid is either saturated or unsaturated.
A saturated fat is a fat molecule with only single bonds between carbon atoms. The carbon chain that forms the backbone of the fat is fully “saturated” with hydrogen atoms.
Saturated fats are needed to produce hormones, stabilize cell membranes, for padding around organs, and for energy. Deficiency can negatively impact the immune system. But a surfeit of saturated fats can clog the arteries and lead to coronary heart disease.
An unsaturated fat has 1 or more double bonds between carbon atoms. A double or triple bond in a fatty acid causes a dimensional kink in the carbon chain which affects the molecular structure in a meaningful way.
Unsaturated fats tend to be liquid at room temperature rather than solid, as the kinks prevent molecules from closely packing together. These fats are termed oils, which are found in plants and fish.
A fat molecule with only 1 double bond is monounsaturated. Molecules of fat with more than 1 double bond are polyunsaturated.
Double bonds in unsaturated fats prevent atomic rotation. This locks the molecule into a specific structure.
There are 2 significant unsaturated fat structures: cis and trans, depending upon how hydrogen atoms are bound to carbon atoms. Cis is Latin for “on the same side.” Trans is Latin for “on the opposite side.”
In a cis configuration, adjacent hydrogen atoms are on the same side of a carbon double bond. In a trans configuration, hydrogen atoms are on opposite sides of the double bond. A trans configuration restricts bending the carbon chain, giving a trans fat a similar structure to a saturated fat.
The human body lacks the enzymes necessary to break down the trans configuration. This allows trans fats to accumulate and clog the system: which is why trans fats are unhealthy.
All fatty foods contain a mixture of saturated and unsaturated fats. Animal fat is mostly saturated, while vegetable fats are unsaturated to varying degrees.
The terms saturated and unsaturated provide a characterization of what the predominant fat content of a food is.
Saturated fat foods include meat, dairy, chocolate, and certain oils: coconut, cottonseed, and palm. Foods high in unsaturated fats include avocado, nuts, and vegetable oils such as canola, soybean, and olive oil. Unsaturated fats provide antioxidants.
Only 2 fatty acids are known to be essential: α-linoleic (alpha-linoleic, ALA), and linoleic (LA). ALA is a ω-3 (omega-3) fatty acid. LA is a ω-6 (omega-6) fatty acid. Both are polyunsaturated.
When ALA and LA were discovered in 1923 they were designated vitamin F. In 1929, research on rats showed that they were fats.
ω-3 and ω-6 interact with each other. Their bioactivity cannot be characterized independently, as the two compete for the same conversion enzymes. ω-6 inhibits the conversion of ω-3 into the desired fatty acids. Meat and dairy are out of balance, with far too much ω-6.
A healthy diet would include roughly equal ratios of these fats, but we’re way off the scale in the Western diet. ~ cytologist Farshid Guilak
Seaweed, seeds (chia, kiwifruit, flax, pumpkin, sunflower, hemp), and walnuts are all rich sources of ω-3 in proper proportion with ω-6. Leafy green vegetables, berries (especially blueberries), mangoes, and wild rice also offer appropriately balanced ω-3.
ALA is susceptible to oxidation, and so becomes rancid more quickly than many other oils. To lengthen shelf life, commercial producers partially hydrogenate oils containing α-linoleic acid. Soybean oil is exemplary.
In the US, soybeans are the largest source of edible oils. 40% of soy oil is partially hydrogenated.
ALA can oxidize at baking temperatures. Therefore, the best source of ω-3 is in natural foods not subjected to prolonged high heat.
A diet with adequate essential fatty acids enhances a sense of well-being, reducing stress and anxiety.
Fats are terribly satisfying to the palette. The common dietary problem with fat consumption comes in eating too much, especially saturated and trans fats.
Eating fatty foods creates a feedback loop that encourages bingeing by creating a surge of endocannabinoids in the gut, stimulating appetite, and so encouraging continued feeding. Endocannabinoids are modulatory lipids intertwined with appetite, pain sensation, mood, and memory. They also mediate the psychoactive effects of marijuana consumption – which explains a lot about pot.
Cleanliness and Contamination
United States governments at all levels do very little to ensure a safe food supply. The national FDA countenances “natural contaminants” in processed food.
A small glass (100 grams) of tomato juice may legally have “10 or more fly eggs,” or, for extra protein, “5 or more fly eggs and 1 or more maggots.” A jar of peanut butter (0.5 liters/18 ounces) may have approvingly stirred in 145 bug parts or 5 or more rodent hairs.
For those eating a lot of processed foods, annual consumption may be 0.5 to 1 kilo of flies, maggots, and mice. The FDA considers the issue one of “aesthetics.”
The answer is to buy fresh food, and otherwise inspect carefully any packaged food for contaminants. Peace of mind may be had in considering that foreign microbes in minute quantities keeps the immune system active and trained.
span style=”font-size: 115%;”>Conventional versus Organic
Organic plant-based foods are nutritionally superior and deliver bona fide health benefits. ~ American agricultural economist Charles Benbrook
The term conventional is used for commercial crops sprayed with pesticides, and farm animals fed growth hormones and antibiotics. The term is appropriate considering the unrelenting impetus of businesses to pollute everything, either by intent or neglect, to maximize profits.
Obviously, organic food is better for one’s health than produce conventionally grown. Organic produce has 20–40% more antioxidants than those conventionally grown. That is equivalent to 2 extra portions of fruit or vegetables without any extra calories.
Nitrogen fertilizers dilute phytonutrients. Fertilizer overuse on conventional crops is one reason that organic foods are healthier.
Conventional produce has 100 times the pesticide residues on them as organic and twice as much cadmium, a toxic heavy metal contaminant.
The toll on health of conventional foods is greatest on youngsters. Adults are better able to tolerate low levels of toxins.
Washing produce before eating it is well advised, regardless of its conventionality. With unwashed organic produce, you may be simply downing some extra protein in the form of arthropods.
Washing conventional produce may lessen the pesticide residue, but it is impossible to entirely remove pesticides from conventionally grown foods. The toxic chemicals simply become part of the food.
Genetically Modified Foods
GMO is the commonly used acronym for “genetically modified organisms.” While the term organism applies to anything alive, GMO most often refers to food crops that have been manipulated by inserting or removing 1 or 2 DNA strands from the genome.
None of these genetic modifications are to improve the nutritiousness of food. They are instead aimed at toughening up a plant: typically to withstand copious application of toxins, or for the plant to make its own. For this reason, GMO practically translates to poison.
The first target for genetic modification was corn. The corn was modified to internally produce its own pesticide (Bt corn, it is called): a most unnatural act. Potatoes were later modified to perform the same trick.
Snubbed By Cows
In 1998 an Iowa farmer tried an experiment. He filled one side of a large trough with Bt corn he had grown. The other side of the trough had natural corn. Then he let his cows in.
Cows normally eat as much corn as they can. The 25 cows in the pen all congregated on the side with the natural corn. When that was gone, they nibbled a taste of the Bt corn, then walked away. Many other farmers have had the same experience with their cattle and Bt corn.
Soybeans became politically controversial when they became genetically modified by the American agricultural corporation Monsanto to withstand application of its glyphosate herbicide (trade name: Roundup®).
Not Good Enough for Geese
An Illinois farmer had been planting soybeans for many years. He had the misfortune of being host to a flock of soybean-eating geese who landed in a nearby pond. Being creatures of habit, every year the geese returned.
The farmer planted Roundup Ready® soybeans in part of his field one year. The geese came but would have nothing to do with those beans. They ate only the natural soybeans.
The safety of eating Roundup Ready® crops is questionable, to put it mildly. Monsanto refuses to research the issue of safety beyond convincing governments of GMO being an acceptable political risk.
Monsanto also refuses to allow anyone else to do so. Monsanto has stymied independent research by vigorously enforcing its patents. That gives the appearance of something to hide.
The erosive damage to the environment and soil quality of Roundup Ready crops is also problematic. One known fact is that weeds are becoming increasingly resistant.
Generally, herbicides and pesticides that are not immediately devastating create detrimental cascade effects on the ecosystem, as they are repeatedly broadly applied in massive doses. There are no known exceptions to this blanket observation.
Genetics is still in its infancy. Only in the 21st century have geneticists come to appreciate the intricate interplay involved in epigenetics: the pervasive processes outside the genetic code.
We simply do not know enough to assess the knock-on effects that come with artificial insertion of genetic material. We do know that organisms naturally adapt or take up genetic material on an intelligent basis.
Organisms do not self-modify in a way that fundamentally threatens their existence – which is exactly what GMO experiments have done.
A miniscule fraction of genetic modification efforts are commercialized. The vast majority suffer from unanticipated side effects; many lethal.
How much testing is done on GM foods – to what degree and duration, especially health and environmental effects – is not publicly available. That is one consistency with GM food: GM food is an experiment that risks consumer health and ecosystem viability for corporate profit.
Suspicion of GM food is eminently rational, especially considering that they have been sprayed with toxins that ordinary plants could not withstand; or, alternately, food from a plant which created its own synthetic pesticides which you are eating.
Scientists have only a rudimentary understanding of environmental ecology. Because it is contrary to commercial interests, there has historically been surprisingly little research in this area. Only in the past few decades has the subject garnered much attention.
Because so many variables are in play, environmental ecology is inherently a difficult research area. Sussing the dynamic subtleties of Nature is beyond the reach of empirical science, which is inherently microscopic rather than holistic.
Any patch of Nature offers an entangled web with innumerable factors at every scale. While it easy to identify gross effects, the significance of more nuanced influences is exceedingly difficult to pin down over a duration of years; and few have the patience or means to try.
Vitamin supplements have been around since the 1930s. Their popularity exploded in the wake of the 1970 best-selling book Vitamin C and the Common Cold, by renowned chemist and Nobel laureate Linus Pauling, who claimed, without adequate evidence, that vitamin C could prevent colds, and even cancer. Pauling’s prestige started a fad that never ended.
As of 2016, the worldwide market for dietary supplements was (US) $133 billion. Consumers consider such supplements a hedge against nutritional deficiencies in their diet.
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One crucial aspect of vitamin quality is bioavailability: effectively passing into the bloodstream versus uselessly passing through the body. Befitting capitalist exploitation, manufacturers commonly skimp on quality to gull unsuspecting consumers.
Magnesium oxide is 1/10th as bioavailable as magnesium aspartate. Despite this, vitamin makers frequently use the oxide form, because aspartate is more expensive and bulkier. And – bioavailability be damned – the listed amount of magnesium on the label is the same.
Another quality aspect is adulteration. Cheap vitamins, and other supplements, typically have low-quality ingredients, and incidental unsanitary filler. Under capitalism you get what you pay for (at least sometimes on the high end).
Vitamins are best taken with food to increase their potential absorption. Fat-soluble vitamins should be taken once a day at most, but once or twice a week is best. As water-soluble vitamins quickly pass through, they may be taken once a day.
Weight loss and bodybuilding supplements are nothing short of dangerous, especially protein supplements. In the United States alone, ~50,000 adverse reactions to dietary supplements occur every year.
No consumer can ever know what’s inside a bottle. ~ American physician Amy Eichner
FDA allowance is a declaration of ignorance. The agency itself admits its impotence:
Remember, FDA cannot test all products on the market that contain potentially harmful hidden ingredients. Enforcement actions and consumer advisories for tainted products only cover a small fraction of the tainted over-the-counter products on the market. ~ US Food and Drug Administration
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Processed foods are attractive because they are cheaper, highly palatable due to high sugar, salt, and saturated fat content, are widely available, highly marketed, ready to eat, and their use-by dates are lengthy, so they last longer. ~ Indian-British epidemiologist Nita Forouhi
Processed food is essentially a gambit of convenience. Commercial processing invariably reduces nutritional content while often introducing chemicals of problematic benefit.
There is a growing body of evidence on the health harms of processed foods. ~ Nita Forouhi
What a food is and how it metabolizes are two very different things. The biochemical reductionist approach to nutrition can only yield definitive answers that are offbase.
Nutrition is complex. ~ American epidemiologist Susan Mayne
Nutrition cannot be understood from a test tube. Yet relying on test-tube science has been a ubiquitous approach to nutrition research, as it may conveniently be carried out in a lab.
Observations on segments of the population over time may seem a good metric, but there are too many variables to draw any conclusions with confidence.
Every person has about 50,000 variations in their genes. ~ American nutritionist Steven Zeisel
The ability to estimate population trends in caloric intake and generate empirically supported public policy relevant to diet-health relationships from US nutritional surveillance is extremely limited. ~ American epidemiologist Steven Blair et al
The trials we have in nutrition aren’t answering the right questions, so they’re not appropriate. What we’re using now is pretty bad science. ~ American nutritionist Connie Weaver
Despite inherent uncertainties, opinions can be resolute.
We believe that the case is closed – supplementing the diet of well-nourished adults with (most) mineral or vitamin supplements has no clear benefit and might even be harmful. These vitamins should not be used for chronic disease prevention. Enough is enough. ~ epidemiologists Eliseo Guallar, Saverio Stranges, and Lawrence Appel, physician Cynthia Mulrow, and medical researcher Edgar Miller
The above quote contains a crucial assumption – “well-nourished adults” – by which the conclusion falters. The study which drew the above tart remark prompted the following condemnation:
I just felt sadness that such a poorly done paper would be published in a prominent journal and cause so much confusion. ~ American epidemiologist Meir Stampfer
Such is the state of nutritional research.
There are plenty of fad diets based upon sophistic belief and ignorance rather than a sensible sense of balance. Fad diets are typically based upon fixation of one aspect of nutritional physiology.
Many fad diets have phases, designed to provoke an initial rapid weight loss, followed by transition and maintenance phases. These unduly stress the body in the beginning and are ill-advised in the long term.
The Atkins Diet and South Beach Diet are exemplary fad diets that have retained popularity for decades. The Zone Diet is more recent, popularized by celebrity endorsement. All are health-adverse by poor food selection and wrong emphasis.
The Atkins Diet is a weight-loss diet, designed to quickly reduce fat by ketosis: forcing the body to use stored fat for fuel by starving it of carbohydrates. In largely eliminating the healthiest foods – fruits and vegetables – in its earliest phase, the diet shocks the system. Like most fad diets, the Atkins Diet recommends eating far too much of an ill-advised selection, particularly fat and protein.
The more moderate South Beach Diet generally follows the Atkins Diet formula of promoting weight loss by sacrificing healthy carbohydrates in favor of fats and proteins, though the diet, designed by a cardiologist, is aware of favorable fats.
While Atkins promotes continual minimization of carbohydrate consumption, South Beach lowers carbs for weeks. The South Beach Diet advocates eating often but little, thus damaging the system over the long term by not allowing sufficient time for autophagy to reap its benefits.
Eat as much protein as the palm of your hand, as much non-starchy raw vegetables as you can stand for the vitamins, enough carbohydrates to maintain mental clarity because the brain runs on glucose, and enough monounsaturated oils to keep feelings of hunger away. ~ American biochemist Barry Sears, author of The Zone Diet
The Zone Diet is based upon the rigid regime of eating 40% carbohydrates, 30% protein and 30% fat (40:30:30) every meal. This is also a long-term low-carbohydrate diet, as carbohydrates should be at least 60% of dietary intake.
The philosophy behind the Zone Diet aims at the supposed evil of insulin: eating carbohydrates increases insulin production, causing the body to store fat. This entirely misses the point that gaining weight is the most obvious signal of overeating.
The Zone Diet is complex, with a long list of forbidden foods, but meat is not one of them. The Zone Diet advocates overeating, especially sating on saturated fats.
Feelings of hunger are an essential dietary regime for those unhealthy enough to feel them. With a proper diet, hunger ceases, replaced by an empty feeling: the need for nutritional fuel.
There is a vegetarian Zone Diet, heavily based upon soy protein, ignorantly ignoring the dangers of indigestible soy that has not been fermented.
Most fad diets, such as the above, falsely advertise dairy and meats as healthy choices. Almost all fad diets advocate overeating, however inadvertently.
Raw Food Diet
From the physical to electrical, to subtle organizing energy fields, live foods are superior for our health and well-being than any other type of food preparation. Live foods not only turn us into super energy Beings on the physical level, but superconductors of both electrical and cosmic energy. ~ American physician and homeopath Gabriel Cousens (Note that homeopathy is a pseudoscience without any credit beyond the placebo effect (a mind game). Cousens is spouting tripe.)
Subsisting on raw foods as a strict dietary regime has been around at least since the 1950s, when Lithuanian holistic health practitioner Ann Wigmore advocated a diet of raw fruits and vegetable as a cure for various diseases. Adherents claim that that heating foods above 47 °C damages or destroys food enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and proteins, as well as decimating a food’s energy field.
Many fruits are at their best uncooked. But the digestibility, and thereby nutritional availability, of many vegetables is promoted by steaming them. Grains and beans are most readily prepared by simmering heat.
Unless one grows one’s own food, or lives in a farming community, a raw-food diet presents serious logistical and even health issues. Some raw-food commercial products are prone to spoilage and contamination.
While fruits, nuts, and vegetables are readily available raw, preparing a balanced diet from uncooked foods can be time-consuming. Preparing rice for consumption without cooking means soaking it in warm water for more than a day to soften it. Tubers, such as potatoes, are another challenge in a raw-food diet regime.
The raw-food diet is another fad diet, albeit better than most in emphasizing fruits, vegetables, and seeds.
Eat little, sleep sound. ~ Iranian proverb
Eating well by eating nutritiously is essential to good health. Eating as little as possible to comfortably maintain life is as important as selecting healthy foods.
The body changes when one resolutely adopts a diet of minimal consumption. Hunger gives way to emptiness. In other words, with a proper diet, in both selection and quantity, one no longer feels hungry. The stomach never growls. One simply feels out of fuel, and so eats.
Eating less lets cells get some of their energy supply from body fat: a process called ketosis. Body fat breakdown puts ketone bodies into the bloodstream.
Caloric restriction extends life span at least in part through increasing the levels of ketone bodies. An effective method for combating free radical damage occurs through the metabolism of ketone bodies. ~ American physician Richard Veech et al
Eating on schedule, or eating when not feeling the need, is not healthy. Unfortunately, most workers in industrialized countries lead over-scheduled lives. The alternative is to eat little at meals to accommodate one’s schedule – an unsatisfactory compromise.
A snacking diet – eating more frequently but less at a time – is not nearly as healthy a diet as eating 2 meals a day, 3 small meals at most. Giving autophagy its due time is important.
A sensible regime is to vary daily caloric intake: to eat little on some days. Fasting cleanses the body and slows aging.
A gourmet who thinks of calories is like a tart who looks at her watch. ~ American chef James Beard (who was fat and fond of tarts)
Obesity was once a symbol of wealth, but never of health: at least not to those who knew what health was.
Body mass index (BMI) is a rough way to assess the healthiness of body weight. BMI is derived by dividing weight (kg) by height2 (m2). BMI does not actually measure body fat. It is only a gross approximation.
16 to 20 BMI is by far the healthiest BMI. Women naturally have more fat than men, so a slightly higher BMI is expected for a healthy woman.
A person with a BMI over 25 is overweight; 30 or above indicates obesity.
Developed in the 1830s by Belgian polymath Adolphe Quetelet, BMI became popular in the early 1950s, as obesity became more common in prosperous Western societies. The singular cause: overeating.
A better indicator of health regarding weight is the waistline. A waist that measures less than half one’s height is healthy. A bulging gut is a surefire formula for health problems.
The best way to know if you have an unneeded padding of fat is to feel the abdomen for it, front and back. The less fat the better.
Gaining weight is easy. Just 10 extra calories a day drove a 9 kg (20 lb) gain in the average American’s weight from 1980 to 2010. Not exercising surely helps. People in the Collective who live for comfort habitually overeat and do little otherwise to stay healthy.
Converse to the ease of eating too much, losing weight is an exercise in discipline that the overweight seldom possess. As extra flesh is added, a person’s maintenance diet creeps up correspondingly, as does appetite. A 9-kg gain comes with 220 more calories for daily maintenance. Losing weight means consuming much less.
Short bursts of weight loss are typical of dieters, who then relapse into old comforts, and eventually resign themselves to being heavier: living the ancient Chinese curse: “may you gain a few pounds each year.”
Overeating in childhood spawns more fat cells. Even if an adolescent later slims down, the extra fat cells remain.
As a habitual practice, overeating has a dulling effect on the senses and activity, both physically and mentally. This is readily apparent observing the effects of a single meal of overconsumption.
Habits have cumulative effect. The human body pays an enormous fat tax: a stunted existence that contrasts with the girth. Being fat provides all sorts of disadvantages. Excess weight makes one slow in every sense: physically and mentally, limiting both mobility and acuity.
Contemporary lifestyle is associated with a tide of metabolic abnormalities characterized by a core of excessive body fat accumulation. ~ French geneticist Emmanuelle Le Chatelier et al
The rate of obesity worldwide doubled in the 3 decades from 1980 to 2010. The rate of global child obesity rose 60% 1990–2010. 1/3rd of Americans are obese, and over 70% are overweight. Brits are not far behind. Over 30% of the people in the world are foolishly fat.
In the last 3 decades, not one country has reduced obesity rates. ~ American physician and health economist Christopher Murray in 2014
Obese children more often develop sleep apnea: pauses in breathing while sleeping. This happens when thicker tissues in the throat and neck sag, partly blocking the windpipe. Sleep apnea starves the brain of oxygen and heightens the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Less oxygen gets to the brain if overweight, dumbing one down. Further, obesity adds pressure on the fluid around the brain, lowering mental acuity as well as impairing vision. Obesity subtly diminishes memory and other facets of thinking and reasoning, even among otherwise seemingly healthy humans. A likely mechanism for these cognitive deficits is deterioration to the white matter sheathing that interconnects the brain’s information processing regions. The more obese, the greater the damage.
A thick layer of abdominal fat insulates and heats internal organs, cooking them. Such chronic overheating accelerates aging and promotes cellular dysfunction.
Fat deposits in the chest wall press against the lungs and diaphragm, making it harder for the lungs to expand and suck in oxygen. Obese people can feel out of breath standing still.
Obesity affects both the function and structure of the heart. Excess weight expands total blood volume, forcing the heart to work harder. Over-exercised, the heart muscle thickens. The heart’s pumping action becomes even more difficult.
High blood pressure is a common facet of being overweight. Overexertion leading to heart attack is the #1 way that fat folk die.
The body’s regulatory system goes awry in the overweight, as does the sense of taste. Lean people can taste the oil and fat in food. The body provides feedback of such rich-food intake. But the obese do not get the message. They are desensitized to fatty foods, and do not receive healthy hormonal feedback to stop consumption.
Insulin, manufactured by the pancreas, regulates metabolism, and thus provides energy to cells. Insulin fails to work normally in the obese. Fat people require more insulin, leading to diabetes, which inflames blood vessels and shortens life. Humans with type-2 diabetes can expect only 20 years of life left.
Obesity causes gallstones. Gallbladder metabolism is affected, increasing the cholesterol in the liquid bile that digests fats in food.
Fatty liver disease is commonly found in adults who are boozers or indulge in high-fat diets. The disease is also common in the obese. Fatty liver disease causes recurrent abdominal pain, infection, and fatigue. Long term, fatty liver disease scars the liver, causes cirrhosis and, ultimately, liver failure, if not liver cancer in the meantime.
Not only are Americans eating too much, they are eating garbage. 1/3rd eat more packaged food than fresh. 25% get sick at least once a year from what they eat. It’s no wonder considering that Americans eat, on average, 4 kilos of chemical food additives each year. High fructose corn syrup is the common sweetener in soft drinks and packaged foods. Over half of that syrup is laced with mercury.
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The biological dynamics of overeating are strong. The human system is programmed to overeat, although not to the point of obesity. Overeating not just an evolutionary hangover from leaner times; it is also an important aspect of spiritual evolution.
Discipline is an essential aspect of enlightened existence. The path to enlightenment is blocked by fat. Staying sharp and gaining personal power requires staying lean and keeping in shape. Biology is an imperative to the Collective, but an obstacle to one seeking holistic understanding and contentment. One on the path to enlightenment tempers biological drives with the will toward a healthy, full life.