Here’s some food for thought to kick off the week: Research over the last several years has shown that it’s actually harder for adults to maintain their weight today than it was 30, or even 20 years ago—even if they’re eating and exercising the exact same amount.
That was the conclusion of one study, at least—published in the journal Obesity Research and Clinical Practice back in 2016.
The authors of this study looked at the diets of more than 36,000 Americans between 1971 and 2008, and the exercise habits of more than 14,000 adults within the same time period. And, well… suffice it to say, the data tells a pretty depressing story.
So, let’s talk about it…
A crisis with chemical causes
Let’s jump straight to the most concerning finding: After analyzing the data, researchers found that, in 2006, any given person would have a body mass index (BMI) that was about 2.3 points higher than they would in 1988. (And yes, that’s even if they were consuming the same quantity of micronutrients and getting the same amount of exercise.)
In other words, a person today is likely to be a staggering ten percent heavier than they would have been in the 80s, regardless of their diet or exercise plan. The question is… why?
I’ve talked to you about several theories in this space before. With a particular focus on environmental obesogens in everything we touch and eat—even in the air that we breathe.
So I was pleased to see these study authors started there, too. They point out the hormone-disrupting chemicals you’ll find in pesticides, flame retardants, and food packaging as prime culprits in the collective fattening of America.
But of course, since no one ever wants to take my warnings seriously (other than you, of course)… let’s look at a couple of the other explanations these researchers came up with.
Like the rise of prescription drug use—a statistic that has only skyrocketed since the 70s.
(Keep in mind that Prozac, the first SSRI antidepressant, came out in 1988. It’s now one of the top prescriptions in the U.S. And that whole class of drugs has links to weight gain.)
Taking back control
Our guts have also changed dramatically since the 80s. We now know that certain types of gut bacteria have direct ties to obesity. (Plus, if you aren’t eating organic meats and animal products, you’re being exposed to hormones and antibiotics to promote livestock growth—which, in turn, promotes growth in you, too.)
Finally, the lead study author suggests that artificial sweeteners almost certainly play a role. (And you know I won’t argue with that.)
Unfortunately though, that’s as far as my agreement with these researchers is going to go. And you’ll understand, once you hear their entire reason for writing this report, which is… drum roll, please… because society should be kinder to obese people.
Listen to this deeply flawed nonsense: “They’re judged as lazy and self-indulgent. That’s really not the case. If our research is correct, you need to eat even less and exercise even more” just to be same weight as your parents were at your age.
Look—I will never condone fat-shaming. I was obese once myself, and I know all too well how painful it is. But if you want my opinion, this shameless excuse-making is absolute and utter INSANITY.
Our current “food” supply doesn’t make it easy to opt out. But I can say with a fair degree of certainty that previous generations didn’t eat a quarter of the ultra-processed garbage that we do—and that’s just for starters.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, it’s impossible to ignore the changes that have led directly to the modern obesity crisis. It didn’t just appear out of thin air. But while there may be plenty of reasons for it, there aren’t any excuses for being overweight or obese.
So I won’t stand for so-called scientists making my job harder by perpetuating the absurd myth that none of us have a choice in the matter.
Because you know what? You do have a choice. You make choices every single day that either contribute to your health, or pave the way toward disease. Which is why I can’t emphasize the importance of making the right choices enough.
You can start by picking up a copy of my A-List Diet book. Because no matter how many times you may have tried and failed before, I promise that if you stick with me, you will lose the weight—and keep it off—once and for all. (And you’ll eat delicious food in the process.)
P.S. You can also find endless, supportive tips for leading a healthy lifestyle and keeping chronic disease at bay by becoming a subscriber to my monthly Logical Health Alternatives newsletter. As a subscriber, you’ll have access to all of my archives—and bonus free reports! So if you haven’t already, consider signing up today. Click here now!
“Why It Was Easier to Be Skinny in the 1980s.” The Atlantic, 09/30/2015. (theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/09/why-it-was-easier-to-be-skinny-in-the-1980s/407974/)