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Old 01-13-2012, 08:56 AM   #1
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Programmed to be Fat

I'm actually in the middle of watching this right now in my other monitor, but I figured I'd post a link here because this documentary is VERY interesting, it aired last night on The Nature of Things, and is available to stream online:

CBC -The Nature of Things with David Suzuki - Episode - Programmed to be Fat?

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Are we fat because of man-made chemicals?
New science links environmental chemicals to the global obesity epidemic.


Controversial new science is raising suspicion that chemicals in the environment may be programming us to be fat. And it starts before we’re even born. That’s the subject of a new Dreamfilm documentary called Programmed to be Fat?.

Obesity in Canada has doubled in less than 30 years. 59 per cent of all Canadians are now either overweight or obese. It’s true that we eat too much and don’t exercise enough. But a small group of scientists have begun looking beyond the obvious because of a group that can’t chew, let alone jog: infant obesity rose more than 70 per cent in just 20 years. You can’t blame them for unhealthy lifestyles. The scientists suspect that, starting in the womb, man-made chemicals may be triggering changes to our metabolism that result in life-long weight gain.

Programmed to be Fat? tells the stories of three scientists whose unexpected findings led them to follow the research of a curious doctor in Scotland, baffled by her inability to lose weight. For three years she pored over existing research on environmental chemicals and finally published a key study in an alternative medicine journal. It linked endocrine-disrupting chemicals to the obesity epidemic. The scientists came across the paper while puzzling over their own research results. None of their studies were about fat, but they had two things in common – they were all researching endocrine-disrupting chemicals, and they all ended up with unusually heavy lab animals.

Endocrine disruptors are all around us – in plastic, in cans, in the water we drink, in the food we eat. They’re not supposed to enter our bodies, but they do. If they’re proven to cause weight gain, the implications for human health are profound.

Now, scientists are going beyond animal research to human population studies, testing the theory that fetal exposure to man-made chemicals is a key reason for our global obesity epidemic.
Iiick. Chemicals
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Old 01-13-2012, 09:00 AM   #2
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Thanks for posting this. May have to watch it on my lunch break. Very interesting premise!
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Old 01-13-2012, 10:07 AM   #3
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It's certainly another possibility! The list of possible reasons for our growing obesity problem is as long as your arm, but this possibility has been out there for consideration for awhile, and it's as possible/probable as many of the others.

But regardless of what is behind the problem, and it is probably not just a single thing, obesity doesn't have to be a personal problem for any of US.

I was obese. Now I'm slimmer and happy at the size I've become. It took work, and now JUDDD is helping me live a slim life. So regardless of why I became so overweight, I don't have to remain that size. And didn't. And won't ever again.
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Old 01-13-2012, 10:09 AM   #4
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It took work, and now JUDDD is helping me live a slim life. So regardless of why I became so overweight, I don't have to remain that size. And didn't. And won't ever again.
I love your attitude
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Old 01-13-2012, 10:17 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by SoHappy View Post
I was obese. Now I'm slimmer and happy at the size I've become. It took work, and now JUDDD is helping me live a slim life. So regardless of why I became so overweight, I don't have to remain that size. And didn't. And won't ever again.
True but that we are able to achieve weight loss through a plan does not mean we shouldn't research the causes for the weight gain to start with, most people are not successful with weight loss and finding the root of the problem is a good start! I certainly don't believe this is the only part of the answer, but I found it interesting because I would never have considered something like "plastic makes us fat", or whatever it is that's leeching chemicals that is affecting our hormones.
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Old 01-13-2012, 10:41 AM   #6
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True but that we are able to achieve weight loss through a plan does not mean we shouldn't research the causes for the weight gain to start with, most people are not successful with weight loss and finding the root of the problem is a good start! I certainly don't believe this is the only part of the answer, but I found it interesting because I would never have considered something like "plastic makes us fat", or whatever it is that's leeching chemicals that is affecting our hormones.
Totally, 1,000% agree with this. They can't find out the causes (and I think many combined at one horrible time in human development) soon enough! I was obese. Two daughters are obese. Little granddaughter is very slender. I want her to be able to remain like that!
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Old 01-13-2012, 11:10 AM   #7
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The field of epigenetics (how outside forces and things in our environment impact the expression of our genes) is burgeoning right now and is very, very interesting. Environmental toxins from the womb, and even before (what your own mother was exposed to) have been linked to not just obesity but the rise of autism and the like. It's incredibly difficult to tease out the cause and effect of it all, though.
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Old 01-13-2012, 11:12 AM   #8
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"Are we fat because of man-made chemicals?"

And this is why DH and I decided last year to go back to the most chemical free food we could find. I raise dairy goats and always have excess milk. We raised two pigs on milk and no growth hormones although we did not buy organic feeds. They are in the freezer. Also raised a dairy cross steer the same way and he is also in the freezer. We planted a garden but with over 100 degree temperatures all summer and a drought, did not do so well BUT our winter garden of spinach, broccoli and cualiflower is doing well.
I have no idea what difference it is making but I "think" I feel better. DH is losing a little weight without trying so that is a good thing.
Many years ago, alcohol (drinking) was packaged in plastic for a short period of time until it was discovered that viny chloride was leaching into the alcohol So it is entirely possible for "stuff" to be in our food that is packaged in plastic.
I was raised on home grown meat and my mother always had a huge garden and froze food for the winter. She had two freezers and two refrigerators full of food that was not full of chemicals. Looks like I am returning to how I was raised.
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Old 01-13-2012, 11:19 AM   #9
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I think they will find these chemicals have to shoulder at least a part of the blame. But even setting aside all the chemical use in applications and packaging, etc. here, even in other cultures, when they start eating a diet and in the amounts that are standard for us, their obesity problem increases too.

Very interesting subject. And I do really advocate making use of the presence of Farmer's Markets in your areas when they are open and available! Talk to the growers. Find out how they treat their gardens and fields. You can fill your tables with fresh produce for about grocery store prices and get twice the nutritional value at the same time. Yummy.
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Old 01-13-2012, 11:24 AM   #10
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I would dismiss this entirely if not for the disturbing info about skyrocketing obesity in infants. That can't be attributed to gluttony, sloth, prescription meds, etc. Maybe there's something to this theory, but there's also the faulty low-fat craze and our all-day snacking culture and portion sizes with enough calories to feed a family of four. I live in an area with lots of obesity and there's nothing mysterious about it. Every time I go grocery shopping I see carts overflowing with junk, junk, junk. Every time we go out to eat we watch people inhaling multiple appetizers, huge platters of food, sugary mixed drinks and desserts. Maybe some of it is due to chemicals... but a lot of it is choices.
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Old 01-13-2012, 12:03 PM   #11
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I think it's much more complicated than that.

What makes one person able to eat a normal breakfast, a normal lunch, a normal supper, stay within a normal weight, from time to time have normal snacks, normal drinks, normal endulgences with friends... their body doesn't lie to them, it only craves the amount of food that's appropriate.

Then someone else, hungry hungry hungry, eat eat eat, always hungry, always gaining weight, always thinking about food, always obsessed with it, diet diet, lose weight, gain weight, still hungry, now starving... and now 100 pounds overweight and still hungry?

Is it REALLY that person B is lazy and lacks will power? Does person A really have to control themselves all day every day and is person A always thinking about food as well?

I truly believe that it's more than just eat less, exercise more... the obesity epidemic is more than just "eat less McDonalds", there has to be more to it, there has to be something that drives a big segment of the population to overeat. There's something broken there. After I gave birth to my son it became SO much harder for me to lose weight. For months and months the weight did not budge no matter what, no matter how much or how little I ate, DID NOT BUDGE. Hormones, lovely things. It's not far fetched to me to believe that things in our environment might be having hormonal effects on us and that these effects cause us to overeat/gain weight.
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Old 01-13-2012, 12:09 PM   #12
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Oh another interesting thing, in the beginning of the documentary they mention "Even other animal species living in proximity to humans have grown fatter". Strange no?
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Old 01-13-2012, 12:28 PM   #13
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On the other hand, 30 years ago, people did not eat like we do now. There was a lot less fake food, junk food, eating out, and snacking. Our entire culture W/R/T eating has changed dramatically and I'm not comfortable just shrugging that aside. We might be swimming in a toxic, fat-inducing environment but there's also personal responsibility at work.

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Then someone else, hungry hungry hungry, eat eat eat, always hungry, always gaining weight, always thinking about food, always obsessed with it, diet diet, lose weight, gain weight, still hungry, now starving... and now 100 pounds overweight and still hungry?
Certainly there are people with broken metabolisms but I find it one hell of a coincidence that they all appeared in the past 30 years -- coincidentally when our entire food culture also shifted. Back when people ate simple, real food that we had to prepare ourselves, obesity was a very rare thing.

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Oh another interesting thing, in the beginning of the documentary they mention "Even other animal species living in proximity to humans have grown fatter". Strange no?
They refer to our pets? That's no surprise to me. My mother's dogs are both basically spheres and I think that's due to their HUGE meals and the non-stop doggie treats they get! Mine get regular, measured meals and are at a healthy weight. (And all four dogs have the same parents.)
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Old 01-13-2012, 12:42 PM   #14
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Oh another interesting thing, in the beginning of the documentary they mention "Even other animal species living in proximity to humans have grown fatter". Strange no?
I have read that the dogs owned and cared for by fat people almost always end up fat too! LOL
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Old 01-13-2012, 12:48 PM   #15
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Well I'm not sure what they are referring to but when they were talking about it they were showing outside livestock not pets. THough if they're feeding their livestock grains I guess that might explain it, but I would be curious to see if they are also including WILD animals that live in proximity to humans, like are the squirrels, birds, rabbits etc fatter?

I mean yeah we eat more.

But back when people at simple real food, they didn't have all this chemical leeching issues we have now. So how can we really say that the issue is not the chemicals?

I really don't think this is ONLY a will power issue. I quit smoking cold turkey. That was nothing compared to the trouble I have controlling my weight. I have good will power, why is it so hard? And why did I spend a year and a half losing 100 pounds only to gain it all back? I mean, that's stupid! Why am I so dumb! Who in their right mind would honestly do that to themselves, but I'm not a special case. I even understand fructose bad, gluten probably bad, artificial sweeteners bad, bad bad bad. And yet, here I am.
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Old 01-13-2012, 12:53 PM   #16
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In the documentary, they state that chemicals like BPA may be changing our set point as babies. Like you have a certain amount of fat cells by puberty and after that point you can't lower your fat cell count, but that these chemicals might make it so that right from the start, you'd have more fat cells. Then they say that while they did ban BPA from baby bottles, it's still found in linings of tin cans, or on store receipts and lots of other things, and that 90% of north americans have BPA in the bloodstream at any given moment.

Then they went on to inject into pregnant mice the same amount that the typical person might ingest in a day. 2 micrograms per kilogram of weight. What they found is that the offspring of that experiment, those mice had more fat at birth and became fatter later in life than those mice whose mothers didn't have that chemical. Even eating the SAME AMOUNT of food as other mice and having access to the same exercise, they were still 10-15 percent fatter. And we're talking same calories! They believe that chemicals may affect the way our bodies respond to calories.

They named these chemicals as likely culprits, notice nicotine and fructose on this list!

Pthalates
Bisphenols
DES (Diethylstilbestrol)
Tributyltin
PBDE (Polybrominated diphenyl ethers)
PFOA (Perfluorooctanoic Acid)
PCB (Polychlorinated biphenyls)
Dioxins
Organophosphates
Atrazine
DDT (dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane)
Lead
Benzopyrene
Nicotine
Genistein
Fructose
MSG (Monosodium glutamate)
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Old 01-13-2012, 01:08 PM   #17
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But back when people at simple real food, they didn't have all this chemical leeching issues we have now. So how can we really say that the issue is not the chemicals?
Well, we can't. Part of what makes the whole issue so complicated is that there's no way to tease the complex and intertwined issues apart. Do we eat more now because empty calories are more readily available, cheaper, and tastier? Or is there something in the chemical makeup of food that's causing us to overeat? Unless we could send a segment of our population back to the days when our food culture was sane and our food was unadulterated, we'll never know for certain.

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I really don't think this is ONLY a will power issue.
I agree and never said that I thought otherwise. Far from it! But on the other hand I'm not comfortable saying that we're all just helpless victims of big bad chemicals and have no control over what we put into our mouths.
Quote:
In the documentary, they state that chemicals like BPA may be changing our set point as babies.
I doubt BPA is doing anything good for us but to say that it's actually changing our set points (when set point theory itself is unproven) is quite a reach, IMO.

Quote:
I would be curious to see if they are also including WILD animals that live in proximity to humans, like are the squirrels, birds, rabbits etc fatter?
Now THAT would alarm me -- although my parents have some chubby little squirrels around their house because, you guessed it, my parents provide them with an all-day never-ending smorgasbord of squirrel food!
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Old 01-13-2012, 01:15 PM   #18
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I doubt BPA is doing anything good for us but to say that it's actually changing our set points (when set point theory itself is unproven) is quite a reach, IMO.
Yeah but that's the whole point of the studies they're doing, to show correlation or causation. I mean right now there IS correlation, we are more exposed to BPA and we are fatter. I did find it interesting that the mice that were exposed though were fatter even though they weren't eating more, they need to study this further, and it does seem like they are!

Anyways I would never say that we're only fat because of chemicals, we are obviously fat because of a whole host of things... we sit on our butts all day, we eat bad food etc, but if we're also dooming our babies to being predisposed to fat, then it's starting a very nasty cycle!

It was an interesting documentary!
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Old 01-13-2012, 01:54 PM   #19
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Well I'm not sure what they are referring to but when they were talking about it they were showing outside livestock not pets. THough if they're feeding their livestock grains I guess that might explain it, but I would be curious to see if they are also including WILD animals that live in proximity to humans, like are the squirrels, birds, rabbits etc fatter?

I mean yeah we eat more.

But back when people at simple real food, they didn't have all this chemical leeching issues we have now. So how can we really say that the issue is not the chemicals?

I really don't think this is ONLY a will power issue. I quit smoking cold turkey. That was nothing compared to the trouble I have controlling my weight. I have good will power, why is it so hard? And why did I spend a year and a half losing 100 pounds only to gain it all back? I mean, that's stupid! Why am I so dumb! Who in their right mind would honestly do that to themselves, but I'm not a special case. I even understand fructose bad, gluten probably bad, artificial sweeteners bad, bad bad bad. And yet, here I am.
Not around here. Iowa. I lived for two decades in a dense forest of many acres and at the edge of open cropland. We had all of those animals, and ate wild game occasionally too. They were just regular. Not fatties.

Son-in-law in southern Indiana is also a hunter, and supplies much of the meat for the family. No fat game animals down their either.

I don't know where that would have come from.

I do, however, suspect that a lot of these authors do make liberal use of *poetic license* when they write their articles, in somewhat the same way that the research doc at UConn did concerning resveratrol. I could be wrong, but color me suspicious.
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