Can We Trust The Food & Drug Industry Part 2
Reshaping Physiognomy: Obesity, Fat is Normal
By N Oji Mzilikazi
Originally published in the Montreal Community Contact Volume 22, Number 20
October 18, 2012
When I was growing up (and I dare say, up to 30-years ago), obesity, including childhood obesity was uncommon. And even then, the overweight and obese didn’t log around the shapeless jiggling type of fat or have the misshapen look that is so prevalent. Theirs were solid fat, a thick fat, and both males and fat females could throw a hard right at that.
I came of age in a country, and at a time when all schools had P.E. – physical education, and there were inter-school and intra-schools sport competitions. Parents would kick children out of the house with the command, “Go outside for a walk!” “Go outside and play!”
Teenagers and adults would regularly swim/bathe in the sea, hike, go into the bush, play football, cricket, exercise, lift weights, often home-made, go for a walk, a run – run a couple miles, as fun activities. Guys would party on a Saturday night, hang out late, drink, get drunk, get high, and bright and early Sunday morning be on the football field – running some ball.
In short, the culture of my youth embraced, supported physical activity without the need to reference its benefits or use its ideological virtues to persuade. Physical, sporting activities were enjoyable recreation, communal, agents of socialization.
Migrating to Canada brought me face to face with a different mindset towards physical activity. It wasn’t lifestyle or fun. Physical activity was only fun up to primary school level. After that, it was perceived as a non-essential activity or a chore. Something one need to apply steely resolve to, in order to stay healthy, lose weight, fit into a dress, or was something one did in pursuit of an athletic/sporting career.
The failures to integrate physical activity as part and parcel of a healthy lifestyle accounts for thousands of Canadian males and females, who admire the magnificence of trees, having never climb a tree for fun, much more to pick a fruit. Also, parents unable to get their children out of their room, off the couch, and/or off the computer – to go outside and play, much more exercise.
Television, technology and their seductiveness have entrenched sedentary living. Victimized by poor diets and nutritionally bankrupt foods, society is inundated with shapeless young boys and girls; preteens and teenagers given to wearing large and extra large clothing, boys with “love handles” and gynecomastia – “tits”/“man boobs”/“moobs.”
The results of shapelessness, being fat/overweight/obese in a culture obsessed by sex appeal, beauty, and where slender is the “face” of advertising are teasing, bullying, being made fun off, called names, insults, self-esteem and confidence taking a battering, self-loathing, body issues, mental issues, and children driven to suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts.
The July 2005 “Canadian Community Health Survey: Obesity among children and adults” pointed out that 23% of Canadian adults were obese in 2004, 21% people aged 25 to 34 were obese, and one in four children overweight or obese.
Statistics Canada, in its September 2012, report on overweight and obesity in children and adolescents” revealed that almost a third of Canadians aged five to 17 are overweight or obese. Among children aged five to 11, the percentage of obese boys was more than three times that of obese girls.
Given all the statistics and warnings about obesity, how did it reach epidemic proportions? The answer lies with the government being beholden to the food and drug industry, the addictions deliberately spawned by their nutritionally bankrupt foods, and the preponderance of same in the marketplace, which makes it easy for people to continue to eat badly.
Nutritionally bankrupt foods invite illness and diseases, is the major player in the epidemic that is obesity.
Easy to cook, pre-packaged, fast foods, over-processed and engineered foods are the cheapest to manufacture, and easiest to sell. Their low price guarantees massive consumption, huge profits. They also have high salt, high fat, high sugar, a high glycemic index, high caloric contents, and are nutritionally poor.
Furthermore, they are designed for sensory appeal, physiological and psychological responses, and addiction. People cannot but get hooked.
Addiction of any kind creates a chemical imbalance in one’s system. Addiction results in biological and mental re-wiring. The cravings brought on by addiction must be fed. For that reason, addicts do anything to get their fix, and careen out of control when without. Hence, people cannot but eat, want to eat, all the time.
Frequent consumption of nutritionally poor foods and junk foods, and over-indulgence in same result in the intake of excessive calories. Calories that aren’t burnt are stored as fat. Excess fat leads to overweight, obesity.
Fat is not an inert mass. Fat is alive – living tissue. Fat lives, moves and craves food – demands feeding. Thus, overweight folks cannot but eat and drink all the time.
Obesity leads to a host of physical and psychological problems. Obesity brings on weight-related cancers, urinary incontinence, arthritic knees and hips, and increases the risks of surgical and obstetrical complications.
People with belly fat, abdominal fat are at the highest risk of Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke. The International Diabetes Federation calls diabetes the epidemic of the 21st century. The Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences study, published July 2010, predicts a surge in diabetes cases over the next decade – an estimated two million Canadians.
According to Statistics Canada 2010: 61 per cent – 13 million adult Canadians are considered to be either obese or overweight.
Overweight and obese people live shorter lives. The overweight and the obese reduce the productivity of a nation. Obesity could bankrupt the health care system.
Fat people need more of everything. The fatter the nation, the faster the resources/budget allocated for heath care is going to be utilized – consumed.
Policy originates from the legislature/government. When a government gets in bed with special interest groups of any kind, their agenda is the one that is always advanced. Take George W. Bush.
When he was Governor of Texas and seeking to become the president of the United States, he promised cutting carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. He became president, and in March 2001, reneged on that assurance citing “incomplete state of scientific knowledge of the causes of, and solutions to, global climatic change.”
The food and drug industries have been able to influence; exert tremendous pressure on governments, thus allowed to pedal products inimical to good health, as well as financially penalise those desirous of eating healthy.
As detailed in CBC’s “The politics of food guides” (July 30, 2012), Canada’s first Food Guide – Official Food Rules, released in 1942, “closely mirrored the interests of Canada’s main domestic agricultural producers.”
Also, the draft of the 1992 rewrite saw objections by the Grocery Products Manufacturing Council, the Canadian Meat Council, the Dairy Bureau of Canada and the Canadian Egg Marketing Agency. In the final version, recommended servings of their products were upped.
Recent studies show that egg yolks are unhealthy, and they accelerate coronary artery disease. Having more than two eggs a week puts you at risk.
For all the touting of milk as the perfect food, cow’s milk is not that healthy for human consumption. Now, more than ever, since steroids and antibiotics are essential feed for cows. Cow milk fattens.
Milk producing mammals, including humans produce unique milk for the nourishment of their young. They are then weaned off milk when growth determines their ability to eat solid foods.
Milk is baby food. Breast milk is perfect for the human young. When infants are weaned off breast milk, they do not need milk – cow’s milk. There is a protein in cow’s milk, absent in breast milk that causes allergies. (Milk allergies and lactose intolerance are two entirely different things.)
Contrary to what is preached by the Dairy industry, neither children nor adults need milk. It’s drinking can lead, and is a contributor to many illnesses. Don’t take my word for it. You can do your own research. Nonetheless, the Dairy industry will push milk, and push milk, and push milk – the telling we need calcium, as if milk is the best and only source, and so continue to fatten the nation.
Just as the Food and Drug industry produced a whole range of products to combat gastroesophageal reflux or heartburn, for people to eat foods their body rejects, earlier this month, scientists reported the creation of a genetically modified cow that will cut milk allergies in children.
In the name of profit, not health, millions of dollars were spent in experimentation so children with milk allergies would be able to drink a product their bodies don’t really need.
Soft drinks are one of the biggest sources of sugar. Sugar can kill you. Many foods and beverages advertised as “sugar-free” or “sugarless” contain artificial sweeteners that are just as dangerous and bad for one’s health as sugar. Studies show that boys are most at risk of obesity from consuming sugary drinks.
You cannot tell an addict to just say no. Government collaboration with the nutritional industrial complex has us chemically rewired and addicted to unwholesome foods. We do not want to eat them. We know they are bad for us. But we cannot control the desire to eat them.
Still, the food industry sell the illusion of the freedom of choice, and blame our lack of self-control together with “bad” parenting for overweight and obese children, and for us being fat.
After three years of talks, Health Canada’s sodium working group declared defeat in 2010. They couldn’t get the food industry to agree to a sodium-reduction strategy.
For all its sweetness, salt kills. Less salt equals less profit so they don’t want salt reduction.
Campbell’s Soup USA reduced the sodium content in their products, and boasted about the same and their healthy goodness in a TV commercial. To combat sluggish sales, in July 2011, they turned around and boosted the sodium content of their products.
If the populace weren’t addicted to high salt content in foods, Campbell would’ve seen no reduction in sales.
Fighting addiction to nutritionally poor foods is an uphill battle. But if you don’t, not only is your physical, mental and sexual health compromised, but you are going to produce defective offspring, children with weaker physical and mental constitutions. Begin by cutting out as much sugar and salt as is possible from your diets. Minimize your soda intake, and read those food labels.
Unless people (and parents) decide to personally take charge of their health, Health Canada take a stand against the nutritional industrial complex and their subversion of proper nutrition, and food addiction isn’t addressed, obesity rates will continue to climb. Fat will install itself as the new normal, and there is nothing nice about fat.
Part 3: Health & Sex
Part 4 (Conclusion): Health & Race