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ON OBESITY
Karl Arnold Belser
14 November 2017




I wrote about obesity in my 2013 post Obesity and Public Policy. I blamed the obesity epidemic on politicians for subsidizing corn production (fructose) over imported sugar cane (sucrose). Corn syrup fructose is not sensed by the brain so that a person can overeat without becoming full, whereas cane sugar sucrose is sensed by the brain and quickly dulls the appetite. The result is obesity because the food producers load their products with corn syrup to promote sales.

I missed the NY Times article The Extraordinary Science of addictive Junk Food also published in 2013. I accidentally listened to it on Choice Magazine Listening  issue 303 on a recent trip to Palm Springs. The message is that the food companies have a huge research effort to make their products as desirable to people as possible and to tailor these products to a "sweet spot in recipe" such that people get addicted and consume huge amounts of food. Obesity is then no accident.

Of course both the corn producers and the food producers influence the congress to maximize their profits. Nobody really has the incentive to curb in obesity epidemic, especially because the citizens of the united States love their Cokes and potato chips. However, since this article was written there is now a wide agreement that sugary drinks and snacks are not good for you.
Hence change might be possible with enough public awareness

The sugary food items are only the tip of the iceberg because the food industry is trying to promote consumption of every kind of food. For example salt consumption is a causal factor in heart disease. See the article 30 Million People Were Just Diagnosed with High Blood Pressure.  In this case the solution is to treat the symptom rather than deal with the cause
.
The drug companies must be dancing in the streets because now people can just take a pill and eat all the junk food they want. What this means is that the drug companies are influencing the doctors to prescribe medicine instead of managing diet.

So for now, I just minimize my consumption of soft drinks, drink black coffee, eat cheese and nuts and meat as much as possible and avoid carbohydrates. Change happens slowly and I am old.  I can't waid for government action.
 
Last updated November 14, 2017
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