Big Food – Big Money

The tourist guide stood outside of the Louvre with her hands on her hips watching a crowd approach for the morning tour. While holding a bright smile and expression of welcome, she thinks, "Mon Dieu, Les Americains, ils sont tous si gros (Americans, they are all so fat). Twenty American men and women, puffing, sweating and red faced, each with bulging midriffs, waddled toward her on the sidewalk as if carrying a heave load. Indeed, each was at least thirty pounds overweight, and some much more.

Americans stand out uniquely as being the most obese of all tourists in most European countries, as well as in Asia. It is a mark of American shame.

After World War II, many Americans visited Europe and because of the arrogant, and many times boorish behavior, we're known as "The Ugly American". Now, let's change it to "the Obese Ugly American".

Why is it that you rarely see an obese Roman or Parisian if you are in Rome or Paris? For the most part they are trim, svelte, energetic, and boyant. Why is there such a difference in Americans and Europeans, or Asians for that matter? We will get to that soon in this piece.

Consider what it is like living like that.  Carrying around excess body weight stresses joints, the heart and lungs.  Just walking up stairs or tying shoelaces become difficult. An obese person usually suffers from inflammation of the knees, hips, ankles and back. They hurt a lot.  Combine all of this and the quality of life is reduced to say the least, not to mention overall health. You know they want to be slender like the stars they see on the screen or read about in the tabloids and style magazines. It is heartbreaking.

Forty Percent of Americans are Obese

The following quote is from a US News, Health article by Felix Guesone, MD, dated Oct 13, 2017 entitled America’s Obesity Epidemic Reaches Record High, New Report Says.  

“America’s obesity crisis appears more unstoppable than ever."

A troubling new report released Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that almost 40 percent of American adults and nearly 20 percent of adolescents are obese — the highest rates ever recorded for the U.S.

"It's difficult to be optimistic at this point," said Dr. Frank Hu, chair of the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health. "The trend of obesity has been steadily increasing in both children and adults despite many public health efforts to improve nutrition and physical activity."

Overall, 70.7 percent of Americans are either overweight or obese, meaning that an unhealthy weight has become the norm, with normal weight Americans — a BMI of less than 25 — now in the minority.

Obesity puts you at risk for many health problems and diseases, according to Medical News Today. Obesity increases your risk of heart disease, osteoarthritis, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, respiratory issues, stroke, Type 2 diabetes and stroke. It's estimated that an obese person will, on average, live eight to 10 years less than a non-obese person. A high obesity rate in the population of a country increases health care costs significantly. Livestrong.com

How do we compare worldwide?

World Population: 7,505,257,673

World Obesity Population : 774,000,000

U.S. Population: 326,402,496 (Worldometer)

Top 10 Most Obese Countries (July 1st, 2017) (New Bariatrics)

The majority of the obesity on the planet resides in a few countries, in fact, the top 10 countries contribute half the entire world's obesity.

United States of America – 109,342,839

China – 97,256,700

India – 65,619,826

Brazil – 41,857,656

Mexico – 36,294,881

Russia – 34,701,531

Egypt – 28,192,861

Turkey – 23,819,781

Iran – 21,183,488

Nigeria – 20,997,494




The explosive new book, soon to hit the market, What is Wrong With American Healthcare, will explain in gruesome detail what is wrong, why we spend more per capita and have sicker people than other developed nations, and what we can do about it. Stay tuned for proof of why our crisis exists and how it has been fed by a system that is truly ill and on its last legs.

This sickness is so virile that it can cause the collapse of the entire U. S. Economy. Why didn’t you know this?  Because the problem has been ignored as if it does not exist because no one knows how to solve it. America, with its cutting-edge medical technology, the best hospitals on the planet, its superior physicians, is trapped in a system that experts predict will inevitably collapse. This could bring down the economy.

America spends $3.2 trillion dollars annually on healthcare; that’s $10,000 per person, or 16.9% of our GDP. Yet among 180 nations, we are ranked  37th by the World Health Organization in overall health of our people. How Does the US Rank Among Other Nations in Health Care?

According to The Patient Factor, in an article published on November 17, 2017, here are the general, overall rankings by the World Health Organization of all of the nations on earth. How much of an embarrassment should it be to be the richest nation on earth, that spends an absurd amount per capita on healthcare, yet has a 37th level ranking across the board for healthcare for its people?

The explosive new book, soon to hit the market, What is Wrong With American Healthcare, will explain in gruesome detail what is wrong, why we spend more per capita and have sicker people than other developed nations, and what we can do about it. Stay tuned for proof of why our crisis exists and how it has been fed by a system that is truly ill and on its last legs.

Now, Back to Obesity: What is Making us Fat?

The answer is obvious:  the food we eat! What changed to make Americans the most obese people on the planet earth? Consider the average weight of the average American male. There's no doubt that Americans are bigger today than they were in the 1960s. Christopher Ingraham of the Washington Post announced some staggering stats to demonstrate exactly how big Americans have become: the average woman today weighs 166.2 pounds — which is almost the exact same amount as the average American man in the early 1960s.

In her book “Fed Up! Winning the War Against Childhood Obesity,” Susan Okie states that in the Fall of 2003, the director of the CDC declared obesity the number one health threat in the United States (Okie).

What is BIG FOOD

The term Big Food is used a lot in the media and it can mean different things to different people. In the most general sense it applies to the very large industrial food producers and manufactures, the ones that largely dominate the production and sale of packaged food and drink. The Food Rush.

Only 10 companies control almost every large food and beverage brand in the world.  These companies — Nestlé, PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, Unilever, Danone, General Mills, Kellogg's, Mars, Associated British Foods, and Mondelez — each employ thousands and make billions of dollars in revenue every year.

In an effort to push these companies to make positive changes — and for customers to realize who controls the brands they're buying — Oxfam created a mind-boggling infographic that shows how interconnected consumer brands really are.

Here's a further breakdown of the companies that own the brands and products we use every day:

Tasty food, and an abundance of it, began making people fat.  The Government’s viewpoint was that it was the fault of the consumer---just eat less, go on a diet, exercise, be smart.

The similarities between unhealthy food and tobacco go beyond the health effects. When it comes to corporate responsibility, executives at some of the nation’s largest food and beverage companies seem to have learned a lot from their counterparts at Big Tobacco in aggressively promoting consumption of unhealthy foods and, in the same breath, blaming the consumer. The Center for Science in the Public Interest

People got fatter.  Millions of ordinary people who were just a little overweight and didn’t consider it a problem until what you are about to read got Americans busy trying not to be fat.  The powers that be knew this a statistical modification in definition of BMI could change everything—the fatness of their stockholders primarily. Big Pharma and Big Food smelled money.

25 BMI Changed Everything

Body Mass Index (BMI): what has that to do with obesity?  One day BMI was 27, the cut off for being overweight and obese. The next, it was 25, making millions of people in the risk zone and considered to be obese and overweight.  If one day you were average, and the next were told that you were obese, or too fat, a health risk, and you were sensitive about your weight and health, what would you do?

In 1970 Professor Philip James (MD), noticed increased obesity in his patients, and set up the International Obesity Task Force (IOTF) and then he got himself appointed to write the World Health Organization’s report as to the definition of obesity.  Quite arbitrarily he set the cut off point at 25 BMI, reduced from 27 BMI.

Professor Judith Stern, Professor Judith Stern, vice president of the American Obesity Association, was critical, and suspicious. "There are certain risks associated with being obese … but in the 25-to-27 area it's low-risk. When you get over 27 the risk becomes higher. So why would you take a whole category and make this category related to risk when it isn't?"

Why indeed. Why were millions of people previously considered "normal" now overweight? Why were they now being classed with those who are genuinely obese?

James was asked about where the science for moving the cut-off to BMI 25 had come from. He said: "The death rates went up in America at 25 and they went up in Britain at 25 and it all fits the idea that BMI 25 is the reasonable pragmatic cut-off point across the world. So we changed global policy on obesity."

James says he based this hugely significant decision, one that would define our global understanding of obesity, partly on prewar data provided by US insurance company Met Life. But this data remains questionable, according to Joel Guerin, a US author who has examined the work produced by Met Life's chief statistician Louis Dublin.

“It wasn’t based on any kind of scientific evidence at all,” according to Guerin. “Dublin essentially looked at his data and just arbitrarily decided that he would take the desirable weight for people who were age 25 and applied it to everyone.”  (From The Guardian, Fat Profits:How the food industry cashed in on obesity.”

Guess what happened then?

Millions of health conscious people who thought they were okay, were suddenly hit with the idea that their health (not to mention social standing) was at stake for they were now in the obese class if their BMI was 25. Horrors! Now they have to lose weight. Then who gains from that? Let’s take a look.

Professor James said IOTF was funded by drug companies. He received checks at about $200,000 at a time, and said “I had a million or more.” But he swears that he was not influenced by drug companies, and all that money had no effect on his decision and action. But there is no doubt that, instantly, his report reclassified millions of people as overweight and massively expanded the customer base for the weight-loss industry.

But he avowed that he was above being bribed and was blind to the money-making potential for the drug companies in defining obesity as an "epidemic"?  Yeah right! The overweight were stigmatized overnight.

"Oh, let us be very clear," he says. "If you have a drug that drops your weight and doesn't do you any other harm in terms of side-effects, that is a multibillion megabuck drug."


The result was two-fold: The Food Industry got fat, the public got fatter. The drug companies cashed in on weight reducing drugs. Now, so far, the Food industry has ducked the bullet, always pointing to an equally guilty partner in crime, the fast food boys and America’s generally couch potato life, that we will discuss later in this chapter. 

What do you see when you walk into your supermarket?  Shelf upon shelf packed with highly calorific, intensely processed food, tweaked by chemicals for optimum “mouth feel,” addictiveness, shelf life, color, MSG, High Fructose Corn Syrup, carcinogens laced hydrogenized fats, sugar and other unpronounceable impossible to read chemical ingredients put in your food not for your benefit, but for the seller. This is the food making America fat.

Oh my goodness, here is what you should eat instead of the junk on the “mother” aisle of poison.  Row on row of low-fat, sugar-free options that are “healthy”, marketed to the very people made fat by the aisle next over who, now classified as fat, are desperate to lose weight. Many of the companies selling on the fat aisle are peddling products on the weight loss aisle.  Why do you hear the same tune being sung by both aisles?

Or should I say howl, as the game was afoot and a quick and massive kill in sight.  They jumped into the diet industry. Weight Watchers bought up by an investment firm; Slimfast bought by Unilever, which owns Ben and Jerry brand; Jenny Craig bought by a company that sells chocolate and ice cream, and Nestle is now the world’s most profitable company.  So you can play both ends against the middle and the public doesn’t notice or care. Make ‘em fat and then make ‘em skinny, relying on the yo-yo effect of human nature of never sticking to anything very long before they go back to the old way.

Next came gyms, home fitness, fad and crash diets, magazines with celebrities on diets pushing fitness DVD’s promising that you will be somebody other than you in a month. But do not forget, the object of Big Food is to sell food. Now we have the oxymoron “diet food,” something you eat to lose weight. An impossible rationale, like a snake eating its own tail. Usually with more chemicals and sugar than the originals and with promises of a slimmer, more vital, hotter you. Look at the sugar content (or sugar called by another name) in those high protein diet bars! Now the very companies charged with making us fat are getting fat from the obesity epidemic.

When Big Pharma discovered that amphetamines would help lose pounds, greed kicked in. Now they could market drugs they were already selling for a double purpose and even though they got sued and paid out big bucks, that greed paid off big time.  One pundit said: Avandia, for example, racked up $10.4 billion in sales, Paxil brought in $11.6 billion, and Wellbutrin sales were $5.9 billion during the years covered by the settlement, according to IMS Health, a data group that consults for drugmakers. “So a $3 billion settlement for half a dozen drugs over 10 years can be rationalized as the cost of doing business,” [Patrick Burns, spokesman for the whistle-blower advocacy group Taxpayers Against Fraud] said. (Time, July 5, 2012)

A Couple of Examples

Wyeth Labs made Redux, an appetite suppresser called Fen-Phen from (Dexfenfluramines). It was marketed as THE answer to obesity.  Millions of susceptible believers stampeded to the pharmacy and gobbled these pills to become the advertised new svelte being all knew that was inside of them trying to get out.  But it caused pulmonary Hypertension and hardening of the heart valves. ''Even with the $4 billion settlement, you have to say that American Home Products (the holding corporation) pulled off a good settlement,'' said David Saks, a managing director at Gruntal & Company. ''Some of the early estimates were everywhere from $3 billion to $10 billion. (New York Times)

Then there is GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) that made Paxil that was not approved for patients under 18, but they marketed it for children and offered kickbacks to doctors and sales reps to sell it.  It hid the fact that the drug could increase risk of suicide.  Wellbutrin was another drug where Glaxo hired PR firms, gave lavish vacations to medical professionals to prescribe it for weight loss, sexual dysfunction, drug addiction and ADHD. One celebrity Doctor, Dr. Drew Pinsky, accepted $275,000. Avandia, a diabetes drug, increased heart risks. They hid the data.  (New York Times)

These criminal drug companies used their billions of income from drugs that harmed people knowingly, and like murderers, just paid a fine and walked away with billions.  Injuries and death were just he cost of doing business, indeed.

How Sugar Makes You Fat (From Greenfield Fitness Systems)

“Look at how many grams of sugar are in what you’re eating (on the nutritional label). Now divide that number by 4. That’s how many teaspoons of pure sugar you’re consuming. Kinda scary, huh? Sugar makes you fat and fatfree food isn’t really free of fat. I’ve said it before in multiple articles, but occasionally, I’ve had someone lean over my desk and say “How in the heck does sugar make you fat if there’s no fat in it?”. This article will answer that puzzler, and provide you with some helpful suggestions to achieve not only weight loss success, but improved body health.

First, let’s make some qualifications. Sugar isn’t inherently evil. Your body uses sugar to survive, and burns sugar to provide you with the energy necessary for life. Many truly healthy foods are actually broken down to sugar in the body – through the conversion of long and complex sugars called polysaccharides into short and simple sugars called monosaccharides, such as glucose. In additions to the breakdown products of fat and protein, glucose is a great energy source for your body.

However, there are two ways that sugar can sabotage your body and cause fat storage. Excess glucose is the first problem, and it involves a very simple concept. Anytime you have filled your body with more fuel than it actually needs (and this is very easy to do when eating foods with high sugar content), your liver’s sugar storage capacity is exceeded. When the liver is maximally full, the excess sugar is converted by the liver into fatty acids (that’s right – fat!) and returned to the bloodstream, where is taken throughout your body and stored (that’s right – as fat!) wherever you tend to store adipose fat cells, including, but not limited to, the popular regions of the stomach, hips, butt, and breasts.

As an unfortunate bonus, once these regions are full of adipose tissue, the fatty acids begin to spill over into your organs, like the heart, liver, and kidneys. This reduces organ ability, raises blood pressure, decreases metabolism, and weakens the immune system.”

One Ingredient:

Take a look at one ingredient we will find in just about every processed food in boxes, jars, bottls and cans on the shelves:  High Fructose Corn Syrup. It is sweet to the taste.  It is used because it is cheaper than sugar and is easy to manufacture. It is deadly.

In an article by Dr. Mark Hyman, MD., he says:

“Renaissance physician Paracelsus famously said, “The dose makes the poison,” meaning that even harmless substances can become toxic if you eat enough of them. Many people ask me, “Is high fructose syrup really that bad for you?” And my answer to this question is “Yes,” mainly for this very reason.

In America today, we are eating huge doses of sugar, especially high fructose corn syrup. It is sweeter and cheaper than regular sugar and is in every processed food and sugar-sweetened drink. Purging it from your diet is the single best thing you can do for your health!

In recent history, we’ve gone from 20 teaspoons of sugar per person per year to about 150 pounds of sugar per person per year. That’s a half pound a day for every man, woman, and child in America. The average 20-ounce soda contains 15 teaspoons of sugar, all of it high fructose corn syrup. And when you eat sugar in those doses, it becomes a toxin.

As part of the chemical process used to make high fructose corn syrup, the glucose and fructose — which are naturally bound together — become separated. This allows the fructose to mainline directly into your liver, which turns on a factory of fat production in your liver called lipogenesis.

This leads to fatty liver, the most common disease in America today, affecting 90 million Americans. This, in turn, leads to diabesity — pre-diabetes and Type 2 diabetes. So, high fructose corn syrup is the real driver of the current epidemic of heart attacks, strokes, cancer, dementia, and of course, Type 2 diabetes.

HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup) contains dangerous chemicals and contaminants

Beside the ginormous load of pure fructose and sugar found in HCFS, as an added bonus, it contains other chemical toxins. Chemical contaminants used during manufacturing end up in the HFCS and in our food. What we know, for example, is that chloralkali is used in making high fructose corn syrup. Chloralkai contains mercury. And there are trace amounts of mercury found in high fructose corn syrup-containing beverages. Now, it may not be a problem if we eat this occasionally, but the average person in the country consumes more than 20 teaspoons a day of high fructose corn syrup and the average teenager has 34 teaspoons a day. Over time, these heavy metals can accumulate in the body, causing health problems.

Additionally, when we look at the chemical components of high fructose corn syrup on a spectrograph, we can see that it contains many weird chemicals that we know nothing about. That’s why I say better safe than sorry.

Approximately 52 percent of adults consume between one and six sugary beverages per week, which are a primary source of high-fructose corn syrup in the average diet, according to DukeHealth.org. Further, close to one-third of adults admit to having at least one sugary drink each day. In addition to sugary beverages, many adults also consume a variety of foods that contain far more high-fructose corn syrup than they might think. In fact, there was a 1,000 percent increase in the consumption of high-fructose corn syrup between 1970 and 1990, according to ConsumerReports.org. In 2009, the average American consumed about 35.7 pounds of high-fructose corn syrup, reports the Illinois Farm Bureau, and that has contributed to a number of health problems. (SF Gate)

High-fructose corn syrup is chemically about the same as table sugar. Consuming too much high-fructose corn syrup, or any type of sugar, is associated with weight gain. Most foods that contain high-fructose corn syrup, such as baked goods and soda, are empty calories that also fail to supply anything in the way of essential vitamins and minerals. The more empty calories you consume, the more weight you're likely to gain. (SFGate)

Fast Food

This is the first answer that most people would give as to why we are obese. They would be right, if taken in together with the previous section on Big Food. Add to this the following data and you will see how there is a connection between a few big players, who, like the feasting of panthers, are laughing all the way to the bank.

TheDrsWolfson, in How Governments, Food Companies, Big Pharma, the Media, and Healthcare Companies Keep Us Fat and Sick, writes: “The phrase “follow the money” became a part of investigative journalism in the 1970s. When we follow the money that’s involved with governments, food companies, Big Pharma, media and Healthcare operators, it’s easy to see why all five groups want to keep us fat and sick. No one makes money when people are healthy.”

So how does this work? Start with the government.  Why is this such an important issue to the government? The U.S. economy needs healthcare spending in order to thrive. Let’s look at the numbers and then let logic guide you to a reasonable conclusion.  If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, then it must be a duck.

We are no longer are an industrial economy. Advances in technology, world-wide trade, the internet and use of automation make traditional jobs in America obsolete. Governments and politicians look for ways to replace these jobs. Jobs mean voters. Jobs mean taxes. Jobs mean a healthy economy. Displaced workers must go somewhere. Increasingly, that somewhere has been healthcare.

The above statement is the title of an article by Derek Thompson, in the January 9, 2018 issue of THE ATLANTIC. Thompson goes on to say:

Due to the inexorable aging of the country—and equally unstoppable growth in medical spending—it was long obvious that health-care jobs would slowly take up more and more of the economy. But in the last quarter, for the first time in history, health care has surpassed manufacturing and retail, the most significant job engines of the 20th century, to become the largest source o f jobs in the US.

In 2000, there were 7 million more workers in manufacturing than in health care. At the beginning of the Great Recession, there were 2.4 million more workers in retail than health care. In 2017, health care surpassed both.

There are several drivers of the health-care jobs boom. The first is something so obvious that it might actually be underrated, since it is rarely a proper news story in its own right: Americans, as a group, are getting older.

By 2025, one-quarter of the workforce will be older than 55. That share will have doubled in just 30 years. The graying of the nation will have widespread economic and political implications, like declining productivity and electoral showdowns between a young, diverse workforce and an older, whiter retirement bloc. But the most obvious effect of an aging country is that it needs more care—and that means more workers.

 Recently, the growth in health-care employment is stemming more from administrative jobs than physician jobs. The number of non-doctor workers in the health industry has exploded in the last two decades. The majority of these jobs aren’t clinical roles, like registered nurses. They are mostly administrative and management jobs, including receptionists and office clerks.”

Think of the massive number of those employed by the Federal Health and Human Services (HHS), state department’s of health, and county health departments. Just become invisible and walk through any of the huge state and Federal buildings constructed for and used solely by employees of health services.  Some just shuffle papers, some are asleep, some playing games or looking at pictures on their computers. The waste and inefficiency is suffocatingly painful to watch and realize how much it is costing YOU.

Healthcare Costs 1/5th of the GDP

The Definition of Gross domestic product is the best way to measure a country's economy. GDP is the total value of everything produced by all the people and companies in the country.

The Advisory Board, a research platform for the healthcare industry, says in a February 16, 2017 report that according to the CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services), that US healthcare spending was to reach nearly 20% of the GDP by 2025. “Overall, CMS projected that total health care spending for 2016 reached nearly $3.4 trillion, up 4.8 percent from 2015. According to CMS, U.S. health care spending is projected to reach nearly $5.5 trillion by 2025.”

Were the need for healthcare to cease, or be reduced dramatically, the U.S. economy would be in crisis of unprecedented proportions. So, what has the government been doing to promote sickness to stabilize/grow the economy?  Consider the following on how the Government is making us fat and sick. Is this coincidental?  

Is it just a random path taken at one time that now wanders, lost, in an explosion of ever escalating costs and ever descending spiral down in results? Is the obesity, drug, and healthcare crisis just coincidental?  Nothing is coincidental.

Dietary Guideline

The government published dietary guidelines in 1980. It promoted low-fat diets with increases in carbohydrate consumption. These recommendations have led to more obesity, heart disease, and diabetes! Brain diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s are rampant in society. Americans were advised to eat more sugar in the form of fruits and carbs, while cutting back on saturated fat. Then, in 1992, the government published the USDA Food Pyramid. Here’s where things get really bad.

Didn’t they know that eating 6-11 servings a day of what are basically refined carbohydrates  lead to heart disease, cancer, inflammation, dementia and most anything that can go wrong with your health? The body breaks these refined carbohydrates down into sugar. To top it all off, the Food Pyramid further warned to limit consumption of fats and oils which are needed by the body.

Despite overwhelming evidence, the Food Pyramid advised Americans to eat the things that made them sick and to avoid the things that made them healthy. Why?  The grain category is twice the size of the vegetable category! This is the diet of some other planet! This planet could only be controlled by food manufacturers.

Who was responsible for setting these standards?

Did Big Food and/or Big Pharma set these standards via their giant lobbying power? Surely not!! Who benefits from this aberrated diet that only can make people sick? I don’t believe in coincidences, particularly when it comes to big money. Thus, the only conclusion is that U.S. economy needs you to be obese and sick. If there is any other logical conclusion, please let me know.

Complacency

Americans are complacent beings. They make lots of ruckus when it comes to certain issues that are right there in plain view; race, guns, politics, but they sink back into apathetic slumber when they are semi-happy enough with their just enough income, TV, football, and bland copycat lifestyle.  So for years this simply insane pyramid was the holy writ clung to with biblical tenacity.  Then a few nutrition experts challenged. During this time Americans had swelled like balloons, the health index plummeted, and pain increased resulting in painkillers which then converted to a drug crisis like none every before among sick, fat Americans. Does this remind you of the Star Trek Episode of a planet of drug addicts being supplied by a nearby planet whose only product was the drug itself?  Captain Kirk and crew managed to wake enough of the people up to do something about it, and then changed the product of the supplying planet, but it involved a major conflict in doing so.  What we need is for Captain Kirk to return in real life and help us through our present crisis.