Fat Acceptance Roundup, Revisited

vintage-illustration
The Great Fat Acceptance Roundup” is great but not complete. Today’s Childhood Obesity News post adds to the collection with an overview of our other reports about various aspects of fat acceptance.

Often, the philosophy seems to shade over into borderline pathology. Unbridled fat acceptance can foster elaborate excuses, self-justification, creative rationalization, self-delusion, and other unhealthy practices and states of mind. To counterbalance that, many courageous obese people go online and admit to how they fool themselves, and try to fool others, about their “condishun.”

In this day and age, it is very easy to find such reading matter as the the online biography of a 300-pound 13-year-old, but that isn’t the worst part. The real tragedy is the contagious mindset that promotes, for instance, the alarming phenomenon of “gainerism.” Some people actually intentionally become morbidly obese, and treat this transformation as if it had no more consequence than the decision to become a blonde or have an ankle tattooed.

When fat acceptance is reinforced by tradition and the weight of cultural pressure, the situation becomes pathetic because its victims are un-rescuable. Sadly, there are nations and religions whose values include the encouragement of morbid obesity in women, even to the point of assuring it through coercion. In this area, the doctrine of diversity becomes very difficult to defend.

The concept of “healthy at every size” is endlessly debatable. At worst, it is a self-destructive doctrine that probably doesn’t need to be spread around because it can lead others down the same path, which is not a straight road. It evolves into a vicious cycle. Acceptance paves the way for more weight gain, and to validate the increased girth, more acceptance needs to be applied — and so it goes.

Regular as clockwork, new discoveries are made about disease conditions caused by adiposity, and new reasons to take this medical problem seriously are exposed. “The Harm in ‘Fat Acceptance’” touches on the basic sense of unfairness felt by many people who resent seeing such a large slice of the nation’s healthcare budget funneled into dealing with the consequences of obesity. For some critics, it is easy to become quite angry over what they perceive as self-imposed, and increasingly expensive, illness.

Fat acceptance has become an industry, populated by plus-size models, advice counselors, specialized dating services, and at least one nightclub devoted to overweight socializing. Fat acceptance has become a facet of romance and a feature of courtship.

On one hand, it is heartening to believe that love is possible for everyone. On the other hand, romantic relationships are already so fraught with drama and potential pitfalls that adding the problems unique to morbid obesity cannot be easy.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Image by wackystuff.

Kids and Compensatory Health Beliefs

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The idea that negative effects generated by unhealthy behavior can be neutralized by engaging in a healthy behavior is unlikely to lead to a good place. Compensatory Health Beliefs, or CHBs, seem to be pretty widespread. A typical example, “I can eat this piece of cake now because I will exercise this evening,” was cited in an article published in 2004, when researchers developed a psychometric scale to measure CHBs.

Several years later, the scale did not seem to be performing as expected, and the measurement of CHBs was deemed “problematic,” leading other researchers into investigating:

(a) the kinds of difficulties that people experience when completing compensatory health belief scales; and

(b) what steps will be required to develop a future reliable and valid measure of compensatory health beliefs.

The researchers learned that study participants who did not necessarily believe in a particular CHB would engage in the associated behavior anyway. Another thing they discovered was that talking about the existence of CHBs did not help people escape from them.

Not surprisingly, it was found that the Compensatory Health Beliefs scale needed work. It became a frustrating project, because of the gap between what subjects were willing to admit, and the technicians’ ability to accurately measure the scope of their self-delusional beliefs.

This type of problem is typical of the “soft” sciences, especially when self-reporting is involved. It’s all about internal conflict, self-regulation strategies, and the need to escape from the discomfiture of cognitive dissonance, which basically means holding two opposing beliefs at the same time.

By 2015, the struggle to sort out and articulate the issue was still going on. An article from that year offered this definition:

Compensatory health beliefs (CHB) are a popular strategy that is used to resolve the temptation dilemma in a way that enables the belief holder to avoid feelings of guilt. Compensatory health beliefs are defined as the conviction that unhealthy but gratifying behaviors can be compensated with a healthy behavior, for example: “I can eat this cake now if I go jogging tonight.” Such beliefs relieve the holder of a guilty conscience and justify giving in to temptation.

One of the main and obvious problems is the lack of follow-through. People make these promises to themselves, but somehow when jogging time comes around, the running shoes are left in the corner and the person is more likely to be inert in front of the TV.

The disappointing result of promises made by someone to herself or himself is not surprising, of course. Humans are famous for their ability to rationalize and justify less-than-optimal behavior.

A more worrying dimension to the problem was revealed by British research, namely:

Children use the same psychological ploys as adults to justify eating junk food…

University of Derby doctorate student Atiya Kamal says primary school children use Compensatory Health Beliefs (CHBs) in the same way as adults.

Atiya brought this new facet of the problem to public attention after interviewing about 100 children of both sexes, between 5 and 10 years old and finding that “children do hold CHBs in areas including physical activity, media related activities, a high fat and high sugar diet, oral health and sleep.”

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “Compensatory health beliefs: scale development and psychometric properties,” Tandfonline.com, 2004
Source: “A further look into compensatory health beliefs: A think aloud study,” Wiley.com, February 2013
Source: “Associations between Obesity and Diet-Related Compensatory Health Beliefs,” Questia.com, August 2015
Source: “Children ‘copy junk food ploys’,'” Derby.ac.uk, 08/30/11
Photo credit: torbakhopper via Visual Hunt/CC BY-ND

Advertising and Slogans

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Dr. Pretlow believes the millions of overweight and obese kids deserve something better, which is the basis for his book Overweight: What Kids Say; for his Weigh2Rock website; for the W8Loss2Go smartphone application; and indeed for his entire career. He says:

Obesity appears to result from eating for reasons other than hunger, for simple pleasure and as a coping mechanism for relief from sadness, stress, anxiety, and boredom. Nearly unlimited availability of cheap food facilitates this. Food companies market to this, as in “Comfort in Every Bar'”(Milky Way slogan) and “You deserve a break today” (McDonald’s).

According to legend, all the major food corporations learned their seductive advertising techniques from coffee companies. Whether that is subjectively true or not, the undeniable fact is that America is drowning in food advertising.

Anthony E. Gallo, longtime editor of the USDA’s Food Marketing Review, gave his answers to the question, “Why so much advertising?“:

First, the food market is huge, capturing about 12.5 percent of consumer income, and there is vigorous competition among food firms to compete for this market. Second, food is a repeat-purchase item, lending itself to swift changes in consumer opinions. Third, food is one of the most highly branded items in the American economy, thus lending itself to major advertising.

The unstated and probably inadmissible answer is that food is the product that most easily lends itself to emotional manipulation. An important tool in any type of indoctrination is the slogan, catchphrase, motto, saying, or rallying cry. For the Crusaders, it was “Deus hoc vult!,” or “God wills it!”

American revolutionaries yelled “Liberty or death!” Of course not all such slogans are warlike. The Latin saying “Per aspera ad astra,” or “Through hardships to the stars,” has many positive connotations and could appropriately refer to an individual’s journey toward normal weight and improved health.

Childhood Obesity News has mentioned motivational coach Steve Miller, whose battle cry is, “It’s time to shout FAT OFF!!! You deserve better!!!” What could be wrong with telling a fellow human being that she or he deserves a fate better than the current one?

Unfortunately, the ability of slogans to get people charged up is a sword that cuts both ways. Anyone familiar with McDonald’s advertising campaigns will probably feel a subliminal tug on the emotions that were once moved by the fast-food company’s encouraging words, “You deserve a break today.”

Logically, if we condemn McDonald’s slogan, we have to condemn Miller’s slogan too. Or do we? Because in truth, there is nothing wrong with implying that a busy, overworked person needs some respite from the harsh demands of daily life. But that compassionate sentiment goes off the rails when the corporation adds its own name: “You deserve a break today — at McDonald’s.” The harm is in equating a break, a mini-vacation, with a tray full of grease, salt and sugar — substances that neither refresh, renew, nor revitalize.

There is a strange twist to all this encouragement of consumption. We assume that advertising is fiercely competitive. But does it really foster brand loyalty? Can it actually shift brand loyalty? Nobody knows for sure.

Maybe advertising can only trigger generalized desire. When a person sees a Pepsi commercial, and there is nothing but Coke in the refrigerator, he or she will probably settle. But even if advertising does nothing more than stimulate hunger, rather than desire for one particular brand, it is still effective in the larger sense.

Viewed from one perspective, the mega-corporations are not competing with each other, but acting in cooperative mutual altruism. Even if they know for sure that ads do nothing for brand loyalty, so what? It’s still more money in all their pockets. That just might be the world’s biggest conspiracy, how they all work together to stimulate eternal, undiscriminating hunger and thirst.

What if the goal of food and beverage advertising is simply to build a nation of addicts, for the benefit of all the suppliers? As a business motto has it , “A rising tide lifts all boats.”

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “Food Advertising in the United States,” USDA.gov, 1999
Source: “Steve Miller’s Weight Loss Master,” YourWeightLossMaster.co.uk, undated
Photo credit: Coca Cola Museum via VisualHunt/CC BY

Triggers and Limits

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In “Addiction Model Intervention for Obesity in Young People,” which Dr. Pretlow wrote with Carol M. Stock, we find this paragraph:

— Whenever you have money in your pocket, you end up going to the store on the corner to buy candy.

— When you pass by the donut store on the way home from school, you can never resist getting a donut.

— Whenever your brother puts his soda pop in the fridge, you always drink it.

Money in your pocket, the donut store, and your brother’s soda pop in the fridge are your problem food triggers.

Between them, McDonald’s and Coke have all these triggers covered. Any kid cruising around with money in his or her pocket is likely to roll into a convenience store for a sugar-sweetened beverage, or a fast-food joint for fizzy drink and a couple thousand calories worth of pseudo-food full of mystery ingredients. The best solution, of course, would be not to carry money or a credit card, but in today’s world that is unlikely to happen.

The second trigger is even less avoidable. They are everywhere — the donut stores, the fast-food restaurants, the food trucks, the mini-marts, the vending machines — and cannot be dodged. The only solution there is to make yourself a promise and keep it.

The third example, the brother who keeps his soda in the fridge, is emblematic of all unhelpful family members who leave tempting goodies accessible, especially within visual range. The constant cruel reminders are so hard to resist. If someone you know is battling obesity, don’t be that troll.

Dr. Claire McCarthy’s advice starts out strict, then she walks it back a little, to land on a doable compromise:

Don’t give your children any sugar-sweetened beverages. None. Zero. Zilch. Well, I suppose once in a blue moon, like at a special restaurant outing, is okay. But don’t have any soda or sugared juices in the house. They are calories your kid just doesn’t need (actually, nobody in your house needs them).

We have seen how some parents are irresponsible enough to give soda to babies (and then blame the babies!). Other parents are willing to try anything to keep their kids off sugar-sweetened beverages, including an appeal to the medial orbital frontal cortex, where the brain generates the ability to imagine a future reward, and the resolve to hold out for delayed gratification.

MedicalDaily.com published the story of the Sarisky family of Montana, in which the parents offered their two boys the “no-pop challenge” — a year without fizzy sodas or sports drinks, or even fruit juice. The deal was, each boy could either have $100 on the spot and pass up the challenge, or accept it and win $500 when the year ended.

Andrew went for the immediate gratification, but 10-year-old Jon opted for the fivefold reward. Just to make it official, the parents wrote up a fancy contract full of legalese, including a clause stating that it was a zero-tolerance agreement with no recourse to a second chance.

Before officially starting his year of abstinence, Jon enjoyed one last orange soda. He then spent the year on water and milk, and duly received his $500. Not every family could afford such an experiment, of course, and some don’t believe in what they see as bribery. But it is useful and encouraging to know that a person is capable of setting limits and ignoring triggers when a comprehensible and reliable reward is at stake.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “Addiction Model Intervention for Obesity in Young People,” Weigh2Rock.com, 11/10/14
Source: “The four habits that can keep your child at a healthy weight’,” Boston.com, 08/23/12
Source: “Soda Pop Challenge Success: Sixth Grader Gets $500 After Quitting Soda For A Year,” MedicalDaily.com, 01/04/15
Image by Michael Saechang

Happy Memorial Day!

happy-memorial-day

No post today. Happy Memorial Day!

Image by alexmillos/123RF Stock Photo.

Advertising Roundup

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For many years, we have been subjected to the pitiful sight of a multi-billion dollar industry whimpering about its victimization at the hands of people who don’t want junk food propaganda poured into the eyes and ears of children. There is a vast amount of material on the subject, and Childhood Obesity News has followed it with interest. “Self-Regulation — a Food Industry Case Study” reinforced the point that, as stated by Michael F. Jacobson:

The truth is that the food industry’s single biggest priority is preserving its ability to market junk food to young kids.

We looked at Big Food’s rude reaction to the Interagency Working Group’s guidelines. Like a stubborn legislature refusing to consider Supreme Court nominees, the Grocery Manufacturers Association made it quite clear that it would devote its energy and resources to resisting the recommendations.

Then there was Nestle’s audacious partnership with an august American institution. Despite its promise to not market candy to kids under 12, the giant corporation teamed up with the Girl Scouts to sell Girl Scout-branded candy. They also floated the extraordinary theory that candy with a Girl Scout logo would not attract children because “grocery stores are primarily adult-oriented venues.”

In a post continuing that topic, we reviewed the argument that no matter what, advertising to adults will inevitably be seen, heard, and absorbed by minors. The really enjoyable aspect was discussing the other diabolically clever marketing ploy — the creation of artificial scarcity. These candy bars were sold as “limited edition” rarities, available only at certain times of year, to the point where consumers were urged to pre-order the darn things, just to make sure they didn’t miss out.

A series on television advertising

There is so much to say about television advertising and children, we made a 5-part series exploring the ugliness. It’s not just the United States involved in this insidious propaganda. Scotland wanted to get rid of TV junk food advertising altogether. Australia made valiant efforts to curb the flood of electronic messages to kids.

Part 2 reviewed and rejected the argument that maybe TV advertising has no effect one way or the other. Part 3 mentioned how the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine determined the five most deplorable junk food meals, along with a technique for turning a TV commercial into a teaching opportunity, to help children develop their inner baloney detectors.

Part 4 looked at more of the the industry’s sneaky ploys, like how, in 1983, Big Food spent an average of $2.98 per child per year, in terms of advertising. By 1998, that was up to $36.60 per capita per annum. According to figures that appear reliable, 20 years later the industry was shelling out almost $450 per year to put ideas into the mind of each and every child.

Part 5 looked at the big media picture, encompassing not just network TV but video games, music videos, and other delivery methods, and reiterated the idea that little children are not equipped to discriminate between fact and fiction. We also mentioned research showing that kids can very easily be roped into forming emotional ties which, when connected with the food-industrial corporation, are known by the deceptively innocuous term “brand loyalty.”

But it’s not just young children who are affected, as shown by a post titled “When It Comes to Advertising, Teens Are Vulnerable Too.” Last but not least is a post that concerns the pitiful excuse for self-regulation that the industry has repeatedly and unrelentingly tried to foist on the public. Titled “How Is That Self-Policing Thing Working Out?” it includes a quotation from an important report:

The lack of success achieved by self-regulation indicates that other policy actions are needed to effectively reduce children’s exposure to obesogenic food advertising.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Image by Kim Støvring.

The Struggle Against Advertising

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Of course Big Food grumbled about being blamed for providing people with what people want, and muttered about their right to tell people about the available products. After all, the consumption of advertising is not mandatory. Nobody is being restrained with eyelids forcibly retracted, Clockwork Orange style, and made to watch TV ads. People are free to change the channel, turn it off, or throw it out the window.

It does sound reasonable, that a voice should be allowed to speak and a set of ears should be allowed to hear it. Then, the mind behind those eyes and ears should be allowed to ignore that speech. It’s a solid argument, based on the First Amendment as a core American value.

Kids are different

The problem is, children are different, and even adolescents are a special case. Kids have to be a certain age to marry, own a gun, vote, buy cigarettes or alcohol, drive a car, or do a great number of other things. Maybe they should reach a certain age before being allowed to experience any advertising. That would be impossible, of course, but the impulse to legislate the amount of advertising kids are exposed to is totally understandable.

One objection to unbridled commercialism has always been that children don’t have the intelligence, experience, or judgment to know when a message should be ignored. How could they? At home and at school, the rule is that the grownups know best, and are to be obeyed.

It is rather ridiculous to expect kids to understand the nuances of allowable exceptions. No matter how much music it plays or how many bright colors and adorable cartoon characters it displays, TV is just another grownup issuing directives — which children are preconditioned to obey.

Time rolls on

The other big problem is, while all the debate was going on, network TV became increasingly irrelevant. Gone are the days when children waited all week for the Saturday morning cartoon shows. The explosive growth of all kinds of media, and particularly the Internet, made prohibition a pipe dream. Enormous numbers of kids have unimaginable amounts of entertainment available to them 24 hours a day, with never a day off.

Between 2008 and 2011, a combination of institutional pressure, media awareness, and public outcry caused food manufacturers to curb their acquisitive instincts a bit, and pull back on television advertising directed at children. “The Food Marketing Defense Model: Integrating Psychological Research to Protect Youth and Inform Public Policy” probably had a lot to do with that temporary relief.

In 2009, the research team of Jennifer Harris, Kelly Brownell and John Bargh published this monumental paper (with 262 references) that seems to include everything known, posited, suspected, observed, thought, or shown about kids and advertising, up to that point in time. Both comprehensive and comprehensible, it is a surprisingly accessible academic work that an average person could read in one long evening, and emerge feeling like an expert.

This is a very short description of the premise and the project:

Marketing practices that promote calorie-dense, nutrient-poor foods directly to children and adolescents present significant public health risk.

We propose a food marketing defense model that posits four necessary conditions to effectively counter harmful food marketing practices: awareness, understanding, ability and motivation to resist.

The paper also explains “why many commonly proposed solutions are unlikely to resolve the problem” and addresses one of those commonly proposed solutions, which is to let the advertising arm of the food industry police itself:

Given the financial bonanza that is the youth market, the clear importance to industry to foster brand loyalty early in life, and the ease of convincing children to eat foods high in sugar, fat, and salt, there is every reason to distrust the motives of industry self-regulation…

Childhood Obesity News will be talking more about that concept.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “The Food Marketing Defense Model: Integrating Psychological Research to Protect Youth and Inform Public Policy,” NIH.gov, 2009
Image by Ged Carroll

Leaky Gut Syndrome — the Big Reveal

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Research is sometimes funded by, and influenced by, parties that might receive undeserved profit from the results. In other words, the Food-Industrial Complex could have a reason to promote a theory like “Leaky Gut Syndrome causes obesity.”

If confusion can be sown in the public mind, attention is diverted, and the interrogator’s light might not shine so brightly on the often questionable ways of Big Food. It stands to reason that they might make up something with a silly name, and then blame it for the obesity epidemic.

On the other hand, there are reasons to believe that LGS is not only “a thing,” but a serious and damaging condition. Michael Pollan describes the danger to the digestive tract’s epithelial barrier and by extension, to the entire body:

Bacteria, endotoxins — which are the toxic byproducts of certain bacteria — and proteins can slip into the blood stream, thereby causing the body’s immune system to mount a response. This resulting low-grade inflammation, which affects the entire body, may lead over time to metabolic syndrome and a number of the chronic diseases that have been linked to it.

Intestinal permeability is fine in its place, which is conveying properly broken-down units of nutrition into the bloodstream. But there appears to be such a thing as inappropriate intestinal permeability, which admits substances that don’t belong in the bloodstream, causing great harm. In ways that are intriguing, indirect, and not yet fully understood, LGS seems to be a causal factor in obesity.

But what causes LGS? Childhood Obesity News has either mentioned or discussed several probable causes including alcohol abuse, mold, infection, radiation, antibiotics, parasites, Candida, lecithin, glyphosate, H. pylori, and Bacillus thuringiensis. Aspirin, ibuprofen, and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are also under suspicion of making the gut lining more permeable than it is supposed to be, or than is good for us.

Among the pharmaceuticals, opiate-based medications like Vicodin and Oxycodone are also accused. So are proton pump inhibitors, a class of drugs used to treat stomach ailments and digestive discomfort. (PPIs have come to be regarded as quite hazardous for a number of reasons — heart attack, dementia, and kidney disease being only a few.)

What about junk food?

As we discussed, genetically modified crops that are processed into snacks and other recreational so-called food products are full of Bt toxin, which has been indicted as a Leaky Gut Syndrome villain. Guess what else is pointed to as the cause of LGS? Excess sugar, and especially high fructose corn syrup, which is of course a prime component of junk food.

Evidence shows that a healthy, properly diverse, exquisitely balanced microbiome does not like junk food. Probably the vast majority of junk food ingredients are not good for the healthy, diverse microbiome. One reason why the gut bugs might react against junk food is that chemicals in it wreck the walls of their home.

Michael Pollan describes research from the lab of Dr. Patrice Cani of Belgium (the Université Catholique de Louvain) who fed his mice a high-fat, junk food diet. Pollan writes:

The community of microbes in their guts changed much as it does in humans on a fast-food diet. But Cani also found the junk-food diet made the animals’ gut barriers notably more permeable, allowing endotoxins to leak into the bloodstream. This produced a low-grade inflammation that eventually led to metabolic syndrome. Cani concludes that, at least in mice, “gut bacteria can initiate the inflammatory processes associated with obesity and insulin resistance” by increasing gut permeability.

The Big Reveal

It is unlikely that a corporate cabal would invent Leaky Gut Syndrome to take the fall for its obesogenic practices. The evidence so far indicates that the stuff in junk food is exactly the same stuff that causes LGS. To set up LGS as a straw man to take the blame for the obesity epidemic would be impractical and futile, because the most cursory look at LGS shows red flags and warning signs that lead directly to the doorstep of Big Food, Inc.

Another factor to consider is the sheer number of researchers working to tease out the secrets of the gut and what goes on within it. If the whole Leaky Gut Syndrome notion is a scam, the corporations would be paying an astonishing number of scientists and institutions throughout the world to promote it. If there is a link between LGS and obesity, it stands to reason that Big Food would keep quiet about it, because the link between their products and LGS becomes clearer every day.

RELATED VIDEO (4:48): “Dr. Patrice Cani: The vicious cycle of gut permeability and inflammation”

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “Some of My Best Friends Are Germs,” MichaelPollan.com, 05/15/13
Source: “Episode 31 with Mike Mutzel,” SigmaNutrition.com, 2014
Photo credit: Internet Archive Book Images via Visual hunt/No known copyright restrictions

Glyphosate, Leaky Gut Syndrome, the Microbiome, and Obesity

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Glyphosate is the toxin in the very popular weed-killer Roundup, which Ellen Brown describes as poisoning “everything in its path except plants genetically modified to resist it.” There are a lot of reasons to dislike glyphosate, including its link with obesity and its proclivity for promoting leaky gut syndrome which, in a more circuitous way, seems to also lead to obesity, one way or another.

Also, glyphosate gets into us. When it does, it blocks the absorption of essential minerals. Quite possibly, some compulsive eaters are in pursuit of nutrients that are decreasingly available because the body can’t take them up. Unknowingly and instinctively, and misguidedly, they may be trying to self-medicate with food.

Glyphosate is more than a broad-spectrum herbicide, it as an antimicrobial agent that kills creatures as well as plants. This appears to be one of many causes of leaky gut syndrome, which is called “nightmarish” by health journalist Leah Zerbe. She writes:

The problem is harmful pathogens like Clostridium botulinum, Salmonella, and E. coli are able to survive in the gut, but the “good guys” in your digestive tract, protective microorganisms, bacillus and lactobacillus, for instance, are killed off.

Some health proponents are doubly concerned about the combined effects of glyphosate and Bt proteins, which may affect the bioavailability of Roundup. A report says:

The combined effects were not investigated in terms of glyphosate’s other known interactions with the cellular biochemistry such as endocrine disruptions. Further studies are needed to understand the combined effects of stacked herbicides and pesticides on the human body.

“Stacked” seems to be another way of saying that mixtures can have synergistic effects. Meanwhile, just as we live on the planet, trillions of life-forms live in our guts. If they have a vote, which they emphatically do, they don’t much care for glyphosate.

We learn from Hrefna Palsdottir how one critic reminds the public that “harmful bacteria seemed to be highly resistant to glyphosate,” while the beneficial ones can easily be vanquished – which is not what we want. Also:

One article that received a lot of attention on the internet even hypothesized that the glyphosate in Roundup is to blame for the increase in gluten sensitivity and celiac disease worldwide.

However, this needs to studied a lot more before any conclusions can be reached.

Absolutely, and researchers are finding out more every day. Glyphosate has been the topic of a former Childhood Obesity News post, and here are the highlights:

  • Russian farmers want nothing to do with the stuff.
  • The negative effects of many substances can’t be measured over months. They need to be observed over decades, which nobody has yet done.
  • Legitimate science has made the case that America pays twice as much for healthcare as any other developed nation because of glyphosate.
  • Regarding the safety of this or any other chemical, whose word do we have for it? Assurances of these chemicals’ benign nature comes from the biotech companies that manufacture them. And they don’t have to tell the Food and Drug Administration anything.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “Monsanto, the TPP, and Global Food Dominance,” Maxkeiser.com, 11/27/13
Source: “How Much Roundup Are You Eating?,” RodaleOrganicLife.com, 06/19/15
Source: “Bt Toxin Kills Human Kidney Cells,” I-sis.org, 03/14/12
Photo credit: Chafer Machinery via Visualhunt.com/CC BY

Leaky Gut Syndrome and Obesity

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It should surprise no one that some of what we put into our intestines can have harmful effects. Apparently, some things make tiny holes in the intestinal lining. Then, when other things come along, they can slip through those holes and gain access to the bloodstream, and from there spread throughout the body and affect various organs.

According to this worldview, when presented with foreign materials, the body recognizes a dangerous invader that cannot be assimilated. The only other option is to attack. Attack mode includes inflammation and other harmful results, some of which lead indirectly to obesity. Science is teasing out the strange and mysterious ways in which various substances, when acted upon by diverse bodily processes, contribute to the obesity epidemic.

Researchers wonder if interfering with the basic construction of food can somehow made it more addictive. There has been speculation about whether GMOs (genetically modified organisms) facilitate obesity, particularly the corn that makes high fructose corn syrup. It has also been noted that about 70% of processed grocery products are made from genetically modified foods, and that their consumption has increased over the same time period when the obesity epidemic has really taken hold.

Do killers discriminate?

Genetically modified foods and pesticides may be seen as a package deal, because the main reason for modifying a plant is to make it insect-resistant. According to one theory, LGS in humans can be caused by a bacterium that does not seem likely to be a good neighbor in the gut microbiome.

Bacillus thuringiensis sounds like a creature we might wish to avoid. The folks at Sunrise Natural Medicine offer this alarming description:

One of the most common genetic modifications is the addition of a gene from the bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) that produces a toxin which, essentially, causes insects stomachs to explode by making the gut hyperpermeable…

The Bt toxin is also isolated and used as a pesticide spray…

It was initially determined that Bt toxin is not harmful to humans, but more recent evidence says otherwise, suggesting that the Bt toxin adversely affects human membrane integrity as well…

Stated another way, GMO food contains a poison that blows holes in the stomachs of insects. Yet the possibility that Bt toxin might drill exit wounds through the human gastrointestinal tract has been cavalierly discarded. GMO products are the basis of the large majority of processed foods on the market. Also, they are eaten by the animals that we eat.

Since this has become the norm, there has been a worldwide increase in food allergies, gastrointestinal inflammation, and obesity. Food sensitivities and allergies are linked to addiction, or at least to an increased vulnerability to addiction. Some force or forces have caused increased gut permeability.

Meanwhile, Bt protein shows up in the blood of pregnant women and of newborn babies. The Institute of Science in Society reports on French research:

This study indicates that Bt toxins are not inert on human cells, and may indeed be toxic. As Bt toxins are produced by bacterial species existing naturally in the wild, and are used for organic agriculture, inadequate safety assessments were involved in the approval of Bt crops.

Bt crops have previously been shown to induce hepatorenal abnormalities in rat feeding studies as well as immune responses that may be responsible for allergies observed in farmers and factory workers handling Bt crops, affecting the eyes, skin and the respiratory tract.

Allergies correlate with obesity. Also, while a connection may not be direct or easily identified, if Bt toxin kills kidney cells, it quite probably can do other things that we don’t happen to know about yet.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “‘Leaky Gut,’ GMOs, and Why You Should Care,” SunriseNaturalMedicine.com, 10/18/2012
Source: “Genetically Engineered Food Alters Our Digestive Systems!,” ANH-USA.org, May 31, 2011
Source: “Bt Toxin Kills Human Kidney Cells,” I-sis.org, 03/14/12
Photo via Visualhunt

Childhood Obesity News | OVERWEIGHT: What Kids Say | Dr. Robert A. Pretlow
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