Putting Exercise on a Pedestal

When it comes to questions of consumption and health, Big Food and Big Beverage are staunch fans of the energy exchange equation. The perfect example is a piece of propaganda (now vanished from the Internet) originating with the International Sweeteners Association that touted “the importance of physical activity in weight management.”

Not an outright lie, but an effective coverup. It went on to say that “combining a well-balanced, reduced-calorie diet with increased levels of physical activity will offer the safest and most effective strategy for weight management.” Increased levels of physical activity means More Exercise, and anybody who doesn’t do More Exercise deserves whatever flabby physique they wind up with.

The answer is to be found not only in More Exercise, but in artificial sweeteners. “This in combination with physical activity also helps reduce the development of chronic disease and improving mental health.” Mental health! Under the onslaught of constant gaslighting from the industry, what level of mental health can the public be expected to maintain? But it gets worse, with this classic baloney:

Making small changes to your lifestyle, such as consuming foods and beverages sweetened by low or no calorie sweeteners, is a successful way of reducing calorie intake without feeling deprived.

Sure, deprived of nothing, except possibly our lives. Remember Gilda Radner, the sweetheart of Saturday Night Live‘s early days? The cancer she died from is suspected of being caused by the massive amounts of artificial sweeteners she consumed to stay slim for TV.

And she saw it coming. One of the most retrospectively grotesque performances in all of show business placed Gilda in the role of a pop star crooning a love song to saccharin. Part of her dialogue goes,

Statistics prove that most guys prefer skinny girls with cancer over healthy girls with bulging thighs.

The industry’s infatuation with exercise enables it to lay all the blame for obesity, and any other damage, firmly on the consumer. In effect, they are saying, “Don’t preach to us about what we put in the brightly-colored packages and bottles. It’s not our fault if you get fat, it’s your own fault for not doing enough exercise.”

Innocence is sullied

In the face of all this, any news that reaches the public about the benefits of physical activity, no matter how honest and accurate, is bound to look like part of the conspiracy. The year 2013 was replete with reassurances. The American Physiological Society notified the public that, for shedding pounds, aerobic exercise is much more effective than resistance exercise.

Inserm, France’s equivalent of our Department of Health and Human Services, reaffirmed the benefits of regular physical activity but added a remark that might seem to express an ambivalent or equivocal attitude toward Big Food and Big Beverage:

Such activity is limited, however, by our lifestyle in today’s industrial society. While varying degrees of physical inactivity may be partly explained by social causes, they are also rooted in biology.

Meanwhile, in America, the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study continued to gather information and, quite rightly, to advise exercise for kids. Strangely, it took until 2013 for the establishment to come up with “some of the first evidence of a causal effect between gym and childhood obesity.” Researchers also noted that physical education in grades Kindergarten through 5 was more effective for boys than for girls, in reducing and preventing obesity.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “For those short on time, aerobic, not resistance, exercise is best bet for weight, fat loss,” EurekAlert.org, 01/02/13
Source: “Why Good Resolutions About Taking Up a Physical Activity Can Be Hard to Keep,” ScienceDaily.com, 01/04/13
Source: “More gym for kids means less chance of obesity, Cornell study says,” LATimes.com, 05/21/13
Source: “Gilda Radner Saccharin” youtube.com, current
Image by Saturday Night Live/YouTube

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

FAQs and Media Requests: Click here…

Profiles: Kids Struggling with Weight

Profiles: Kids Struggling with Obesity top bottom

The Book

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.

Food & Health Resources