Russia, Obesity War and the TPP


Yesterday, Childhood Obesity News looked at the possibility that Russia might be winning the War on Obesity, because of the widespread prevalence of small garden plots where people grow a large proportion of the nation’s food supply. New readers are invited to have a look at that post and get up to speed, ready for the continuation of that train of thought.

But first, let’s derail for a brief digression into another reason why Russians might have an advantage over the citizens of many other nations when it comes to keeping their weight in the healthy range: Russia is cold.

According to Ben Greenfield, who advocates an hour of goosebumps per day, frequent cold exposure can lower blood sugar and body fat and reduce food cravings, all in a way that is less stressful than exercise for joints and other body parts. The work is done by the BAT, or brown adipose tissue, which can create heat by burning white adipose tissue, a.k.a. fat. Here is his explanation:

In most cases, you’d need to exercise or engage in caloric restriction to first burn glucose (blood sugar) and then move on to glycogen (stored liver and muscle sugar) before finally beginning to utilize fat as fuel source. But BAT can immediately and directly burn white fat.

Then there’s the hormone adinopectin, whose release can be stimulated by cold exposure. Adinopectin is said to break down fat, and too-low levels of it have been associated with obesity. Also, a frigid temperature apparently uses up blood glucose before the liver has a chance to turn it into fat. If this all sounds too weird, Greenfield has provided a massive list of references.

Russia is not only cold but dark, as Ellen Brown’s article reminds us. Yet, with only a 110-day growing season, the home and allotment gardeners manage to produce at least 40% of the nation’s food supply. Apparently they don’t mess with any of that GMO nonsense, either. Many are heavily influenced by a back-to-the-land cultural shift inspired by author Vladimir Megre.

This philosophy attracts people who are interested in results and who reject genetically modified foods for a number of reasons. They want nothing to do with glyphosate, the broad-spectrum herbicide that affects plants by “tying up access to critical nutrients.” And what is so bad about this weed-killer? Brown defines the crux of the matter:

Human enzymes are affected by glyphosate just as plant enzymes are: the chemical blocks the uptake of manganese and other essential minerals. Without those minerals, we cannot properly metabolize our food. That helps explain the rampant epidemic of obesity in the United States. People eat and eat in an attempt to acquire the nutrients that are simply not available in their food.

That is the theory in a nutshell, and here it is again stated by scientists:

Negative impact on the body is insidious and manifests slowly over time as inflammation damages cellular systems throughout the body. Consequences are most of the diseases and conditions associated with a Western diet, which include gastrointestinal disorders, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, depression, autism, infertility, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.

Glyphosate is blamed for the fact that the average American’s health care costs more than twice as much as in any other developed country. When the World Health Organization ranked 17 developed countries on the basis of overall health, the United States came in 17th, or last. Brown also points out that biotech companies are totally allowed to self-police. The Food and Drug Administration lets them decide whether their products are safe, and there is no requirement to provide the FDA with any information.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a trade agreement whose particulars are kept secret even from members of Congress, yet those same legislators are being pushed to fast-track the TPP. When even Bloomberg News calls something a “corporate power-grab,” that should be an enormous red flag. Some say the TPP will result in wage cuts for 90% of American workers. It will certainly lead to a massive increase in the use of the problematic herbicide that is already so widely used. If the TPP passes, the Earth will most surely be bathed in glyphosate, and there will be plenty of opportunity to learn exactly what effect the substance really has on childhood obesity.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “Tips For Burning More Fat With Cold Thermogenesis (And Why Icing Really Does Work).,”, Sept. 2012
Source: “Monsanto, the TPP, and Global Food Dominance,”, 11/27/13
Source: “Glyphosate’s Suppression of Cytochrome P450 Enzymes and Amino Acid Biosynthesis by the Gut Microbiome: Pathways to Modern Diseases†,”, 04/10/13
Image by Dennis Jarvis


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OVERWEIGHT: What Kids Say explores the obesity problem from the often-overlooked perspective of children struggling with being overweight.

About Dr. Robert A. Pretlow

Dr. Robert A. Pretlow is a pediatrician and childhood obesity specialist. He has been researching and spreading awareness on the childhood obesity epidemic in the US for more than a decade.
You can contact Dr. Pretlow at:


Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the American Society of Animal Science 2020 Conference
What’s Causing Obesity in Companion Animals and What Can We Do About It

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the World Obesity Federation 2019 Conference:
Food/Eating Addiction and the Displacement Mechanism

Dr. Pretlow’s Multi-Center Clinical Trial Kick-off Speech 2018:
Obesity: Tackling the Root Cause

Dr. Pretlow’s 2017 Workshop on
Treatment of Obesity Using the Addiction Model

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation for
TEC and UNC 2016

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the 2015 Obesity Summit in London, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s invited keynote at the 2014 European Childhood Obesity Group Congress in Salzburg, Austria.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2013 European Congress on Obesity in Liverpool, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2011 International Conference on Childhood Obesity in Lisbon, Portugal.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2010 Uniting Against Childhood Obesity Conference in Houston, TX.

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