Friday, September 23, 2011

The Conspiracy To Make You Fat By Colleen Kane

By Colleen Kane  click


Let's face it: nobody around here is getting any thinner.
Certainly it cannot be our own faults, right? Seriously, though, obesity is a huge (no pun intended) issue in America, especially among impoverished populations, who tend to buy cheap calories, which tend to be unhealthy calories, and they may not have the time or know-how to cook healthier meals. But the poor are far from being the only ones packing on the pounds -- nor are they necessarily, entirely to blame for being overweight.
Below: the not-so-secret conspiracy to fatten you up.
Vanity Sizing
Vanity sizing is a term that's arisen in recent years to describe the practice of assigning a smaller size number to larger clothing than that number used to represent. Various national retailers are said to employ this practice; Old Navy comes up frequently in internet rumor mills. At some stores, jeans once labeled size 9, for example, are now labeled size 7. The gal wearing these, unaware of the sizing shenanigans, is proud of herself for dropping a size after making no effort to do so, then might be inclined to reward herself with an extra cheeseburger.
Corn is an ingredient in almost every processed food these days, often showing up in the form of corn syrup. Lower quality corn is even used to fatten up cows (which, by the way, are supposed to be eating grass). Corn syrup, of course, is said to have a similar affect in that it's fattening up the humans. How did this corn-dependence happen, you might ask if you haven't been watching the documentaries and reading the articles about how f'd up our food production system has become.
Corn is the crop most subsidized by the U.S. government, and because of these subsidies, foods sweetened with corn syrup have artificially low prices. There's no shortage of evidence that consuming too much corn syrup is contributing to obesity, and cows raised on corn end up as fattier meat. Meanwhile, growers of fruits and vegetables, which would be the less fattening choices, get less than 1% of government subsidies, so they cost more to buy.
Light Beer
Just because it's labeled "light" doesn't mean it won't contribute to a beer belly. As seen in this chart of regular beer calories and light beer calories, there isn't a whole lot of difference in the calorie counts of regular beers versus light beers. And considering light beers have less alcoholic content, drinkers of light beer might be inclined to drink more to feel the same buzz...
Addictive Fast Food
It may have once contained only recognizable ingredients, but today's fast food is chemically engineered to create a state of bliss in the mind -- a state the brain wants to replicate over and over again.
At least one study has found the magical combination triumvirate of sugar, fat, and salt so commonly found in fast food to be as addictive as heroin.
And don't get us started on fast food companies that get kids hooked early by giving them toys with their entrees.
The food additive Monosodium Glutamate -- which, probably due to the bad rep it's earned over the past few decades, also operates under the alias Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein -- appears in many processed foods, condiments such as Heinz ketchup, as well as in the fare served at fast food joints and chain restaurants like Friday's.
The book "The Slow Poisoning of America" by John and Michelle Erb claims that MSG is akin to "nicotine for food" -- it's included for its addictive qualities so that once people consume it, they eat more of the food and they come back to have it again.
School Ties
Due to budget constraints and subsidies (a.k.a. fat's best friend), school lunches are linked with childhood obesity. One study found regular school lunch eaters to be 29 percent more likely to be obese than children who brought their lunches from home.
Other studies have put the number higher than that. Guess what? Kids are never going to choose enough vegetables if given the option to eat just hot dogs. Guess where the subsidies come from? They don't come from the powerful kale and tofu lobbies, because those don't exist. The subsidies come from the powerful meat and dairy industries, ensuring kids are fed more of the fattening foods they're already getting in excess.
For much of the 90s and early 2000s, Coca-Cola and Pepsi were controversially inching their way in to funding needy elementary and high school campuses with exclusive deals, as if children needed even more soda in their diets.
Food Deserts

A very significant class issue surrounding obesity is the lack of access to healthy foods in poverty-stricken areas. Housing projects and other low-income housing neighborhoods often have nothing but fast food eateries nearby, with no supermarkets or farmers markets in walking distance.

This phenomenon is called a food desert. A lot of the previously cited ways to get fat are individual choices, but a lack of access to affordable healthy foods, in households where no one is available to take the bus to buy wholesome foods during business hours, means a lack of choice.
Soft Drinks

Somehow, some Americans got the idea that sugar- and calorie-laden soda pop was a reasonable drink choice to enjoy all day long. This despite the fact that each 12-ounce can of Coca Cola contains 40.5 grams of sugar, which is equivalent to eating 20 sugar cubes.
All that sugar means liquid calories flow into the body; even one soda per day packs on pounds over time. Drinking multiple soft drinks daily should henceforth be known as "taking the fat track to Diabeetusville."
Fat Substitutes & Diet Soda
Just because you're choosing low-fat foods or diet foods doesn't mean you're safe from weight gain, either. Everything depends on the type of foods. Synthetic fat substitutes like Olestra, which is used in light snack chips like Pringles, have made lab rats gain weight and then not lose that weight, and diet sodas have also caused weight gain in test cases.
These foods apparently trick the body into expecting something highly caloric, then it doesn't get it, so the hunger pangs aren't satisfied.

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