Saturday, 9 June 2012

The Men Who Made Us Fat

Heads up for people in the UK, "The Men Who Made Us Fat":
  • "Around the world, obesity levels are rising. More people are now overweight than undernourished; two thirds of British adults are overweight and one in four of us is classified as obese. In the first of this three-part series, Jacques Peretti traces those responsible for revolutionising our eating habits, to find out how decisions made in America 40 years ago influence the way we eat now.

    Peretti travels to America to investigate the story of High Fructose Corn Syrup. The sweetener was championed in the US in the 1970s by Richard Nixon’s Agriculture Secretary Earl Butz to make use of the excess corn grown by farmers. Cheaper and sweeter than sugar, it soon found its way into almost all processed foods and soft drinks. HFCS is not only sweeter than sugar, it also interferes with Leptin, the hormone that controls appetite, so once you start eating or drinking it, you don’t know when to stop.

    British nutritionist John Yudkin was one of the first to raise the dangers of sugar but his findings were discredited in America at the time. Meanwhile, a US Congress report blamed fat, not sugar, for the disturbing rise in cardio-vascular disease and the food industry responded with ranges of ‘low fat’, ‘heart healthy’ products in which the fat was removed – but the substitute was yet more sugar. Meanwhile, in 1970s Britain, food manufacturers used advertising campaigns to promote the idea of snacking between meals.

    Outside the home, fast food chains offered clean, bright premises with tempting burgers cooked and served with a very un-British zeal and efficiency. Twenty years after the arrival of McDonalds, the number of fast food outlets in Britain had quadrupled

    Clips from the programme are available here.  The first episode touches on some of the stuff discussed by Stefan at Whole Health Source and  J. Stanton at Gnolls in his Why Are We Hungry? series,

    • "Jacques meets Dr David Kessler who explains the workings of hedonic food which works on the brain in the same way as addictive substances".

    The second clip covers the idea of 'skinny fat' (something I first read about on ADV's site), and there is even mention of sleep!

    • "Jacques Peretti has an MRI scan at Hammersmith Hospital to measure the level of hidden obesity in his body and gets an unwelcome surprise, he, like an increasing number of the population, discovers that he's a 'TOFI': Thin outside, fat inside."

    Hopefully this will be made available on the iPlayer (use HideMyAss or similar to get around any geographical restrictions).  BBC2 2100hrs on June 14th.

    That the obese eat more is not in question although it doesn't seem to explain all scenarios (if food is limited it appears some can still get fat by downregulation of metabolism).  The question is "WHY do they eat more?".  looks like we can add neuroscientific factors to any grand unifying theory.

    Whilst on the topic, you have to wonder how many researchers are adjusting for confounding factors such as gut flora, mitochondrial expression, wider phenotypic expression, epigenetics, inflammation and sleep/stress. This is before we get in to exercise profile and the grey areas of things like chronic light exposure and hormonal signalling, and even when you eat - your eating pattern throughout the day.

1 comment:

LeonRover said...

As dear Oscar said:

"One can resist everything except temptation."