Why We’re Fat

As I dig deeper into our food system I find myself shouting down all the experts. They just simple have it all wrong. I imagine them standing in front of a dam and wondering where all the water is, missing the entire point.

We are fat because we eat too much. Our average caloric intake is upwards of 3,000 each day, when just a few decades ago it was around 1,500-2,000. We even waste too much food. We have enough food to feed the world.

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Now, rather than point the figure at you overeaters, which I really couldn’t do because we are all overeaters, I want to look at the root of the problem. There has to be an answer to why we as a society are overeating. I mean we can’t all enjoy being rolly polly’s. Most of us would probably love to be thin, athletic, sexual, and all the other benefits that come from being of a healthy weight.

The root starts with the quality of our food. What if we are eating too much because our food is lower in quality. What if it contains half as many nutrients and so we need to eat twice as much to get the same benefit. Could it be possible that our food industry would do something like this?

Would any food company intentionally sell us lower quality food so we will buy twice as much…

I can tell you psychologically that we love it. We love big portions, 5 course meals, foot longs over six inchers, etc. We love bulk purchasing and 2 for 1 deals. I mean who wouldn’t want more food when it comes at a cheaper price and you get a doggy bag to take home.

To go about confirming this theory of mine is hard. One would expect a ton of research on this oh so important topic. Maybe not, though, since it seems annoyingly straightforward and obvious. The ton of research is on other important topics, like how to get calcium into peanut butter, or how many nutrients there are in cheezy puffs.

Still, I was able to find one report, just one. Which speaks to just this issue. I can summarize the findings in one paragraph.

The mass production of food has resulted in a lower quality of product. This was not done intentionally since the goal was only to increase the amount of food available, and a focus on quality was irrelevant. To confirm this the study found seeds from the pre-industrial food era, around the 1950s. They planted the seeds and harvested the resulting apples. In comparison to our modern apples, the 1950s apples contained much more nutrients. They found that they were about 1/3 less nutritious.

Put another way, we need to eat three times as much food.

I really like this hypothesis. It is simple and elegant. The reason for our obesity epidemic is not some deficiency within ourselves. It is just our need to get the right amount of nutrients. We eat and eat and eat, just looking to get a healthy amount of vitamin C. In our modern society that means at least 3 oranges, or 3 cups of orange juice concentrate.

I want to sign-off here since I feel like this is something worth pondering. As I do I can offer two suggestions two you. First, avoid supermarkets since all they do is peddle thousands of low quality items to you. Second, think about the solution to this problem, to me it seems that we should move our mass production into quality mode. After all, if the fashion industry can mass produce high quality knock-offs within days, why can’t our food system…

2 thoughts on “Why We’re Fat”

  1. Steve, I see you don't believe me. It is not caloric intake that has changed so much. It is the new refined sugars and processed fats. They are toxic and the false emphasis on caloric intake turns people to them, in an attempt to reduce calories. Refined sugars induce the body to store more sugar and fat. Also, a general lack of nutrition motivates people to eat more. I love the stuff about knowing your farmer and local fresh nutrient dense food, but i'm getting distracted.

    I am going to be really annoying right now and point out..second sentence “simply” not “simple”. Also, if apples contain a 1/3 less nutrients we would not need to eat three times as much..we would need to eat one and a half apples to get the nutritious value of a 50's era apple. You do bring up an interestign point about selective breeding for traits like color and flavor; but your math is wrong and it distracts us.

    Best Regards,
    Bob

  2. Steve, I see you don't believe me. It is not caloric intake that has changed so much. It is the new refined sugars and processed fats. They are toxic and the false emphasis on caloric intake turns people to them, in an attempt to reduce calories. Refined sugars induce the body to store more sugar and fat. Also, a general lack of nutrition motivates people to eat more. I love the stuff about knowing your farmer and local fresh nutrient dense food, but i'm getting distracted.

    I am going to be really annoying right now and point out..second sentence “simply” not “simple”. Also, if apples contain a 1/3 less nutrients we would not need to eat three times as much..we would need to eat one and a half apples to get the nutritious value of a 50's era apple. You do bring up an interestign point about selective breeding for traits like color and flavor; but your math is wrong and it distracts us.

    Best Regards,

    Bob

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