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Small Is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered
E.F. Schumacher

Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It

Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It - Gary Taubes Physical exercise doesn't work (but do it anyways more often than not because - unless you over do it - it will put you in a better mood than you otherwise would be, and everyone will be better off because of that).

Starving doesn't work (but do it anyways from time to time if only to remind yourself that we should not take food for granted, and we sure as hell should not be wasting any of it, but also do it because it will likely keep our immune system better in check: too much routine tends to backfire in some form sooner than later).

Avoiding eating white stuff on most days of your life will work (because until some 10 000 years ago we simply didn't have steady access to carbs - let alone to highly refined ones! - for this carb eating extravaganza phenomena to even turn into a potential health problem).

Even when we probably jumped on every possible chance to devour those sweet carbs (relatively speaking because they of course almost never tasted as good as our carbs today, so there was less of an incentive to try to get access to them at any means necessary in the first place), continuous binging on carbs was simply an impossibility.

Fruits tend to rot sooner than one can hope to eat them - even when you'd be a particularly persistant individual.

There were only so many opportunities to attempt something like that during a yearly cycle. And that's why eating carbs back then didn't matter dick shit in the real world.

Of course we all ran kicking and screaming inside the pre-historic fast food joints when ever they happened to be open, even when their french fries didn't really taste all that good to be honest. It was a welcome change to the usual diet nonetheless.

Carbs were a supplement - and more often than not the only alternative, although poor, source of energy when we - once again - failed to down the big ass ox and catch that colored fatty fish. Fuck. Even the relatively tasty insects were nowhere to be had!

Trust me. Wild apples do not generally entice your taste buds. But if it's between that or nothing at all, hungry person doesn't think twice. Beggars can't be choosers.

But health-wise carb binges then - and binging on food in general! - were such rare, isolated incidents that it didn't even begin to become an issue for thousands of years when we first started to till the lands around us.

If we hadn't cracked the code how to reliably preserve food over very long periods of time (when and if we even had the good fortune to actually come up with surplus of food), we wouldn't be here.

But it really started to take discernible turn for the "worse" only after we upped the ante and figured that mass scale farming (and animal husbandry) is where it's at. But for the longest of time that way of living was fine too because almost everyone had to labor away frantically anyways in order to get anything done at all. I doubt the women folk had much time to hone their pie recipes. Closest thing to sugar they had was honey, and we all know how easy that is to come by...

Only after we managed to succeed implementing modern breeding, cultivation and preserving techniques on a world wide scale whereby food could be produced, harvested and transported year-round and round the clock to any place in the world in a moment's notice, for what seemed like pennies a pound, the shit finally began splattering to the fan. Slowly but firmly.

Slowly but firmly we had managed to create this hungry man's paradise on Earth: eternal growth season.

We just figured no one would eat more than he can chew. Cause that would be like, well, pretty fucking stupid, right?

We assumed wrong.

Obviously we are still mentally in the exact same prehistoric survival mode where you eat all that you can get your hands on, e-ve-ry single time, and see if you couldn't manage to steal a bite or two from those poor bastards that are wasting precious resources in trying to actually chew down their food. Those retards...

And then we just continued to perpetuate this lie because, hey, selling food is the best business there is! Everybody needs food all the time, and fat people seem to need it even more. Simple mathematics.

Then we realized that treating those same overweight people with expensive - and useless - diets, drugs and other "treatments" was even bigger business than selling them food. But of course you can't have one with out the other! Cramming food with the right hand and popping pills on the left hand compliment one another nicely.

Is there a better - not to mention easier - recipe for steady income? Not likely.

And the last stroke of genius was to in effect label everyone as basically ugly sick fatsos who are just one step away from the grave. What better way to do it than encouraging skin tight fashion? Of course photoshopping every aspect of our modern life helps a lot too. Not to mention alternating with showing fat and beautiful people on TV every day, all day. Chances are that if they aren't actually preparing food on TV, they are either talking about food and eating and dieting, or otherwise showing what happens when one eats too much, or too little, or too plainly.

If you think you are skinny enough, we can always produce skinnier jeans tomorrow. Face it: this is a game you can't win. In fact it's a game where you will lose e-ve-ry single time.

All in all, this book offers a revealing story about how incredibly easy it is to succumb to doing bad science, how astonishingly easy it is to dismiss entirely and/or misinterpret (deliberately and otherwise) previous studies and whole lines of inquiries, how seemingly easy it is to actually start believing that you are in fact doing sound science when you are not, and finally how incredulously easy it is to in fact convince just about everyone who will listen that you are right because you very much believe that you are right (and I'm sure many sincerely thought they were correct), and not entirely because you've invested an awful lot of work in this theory of yours.

Hell, your whole social standing, your scientific credibility - and more often than not - your livelihood too more or less depends on you being right. What's the incentive again that would incite you to take a good hard objective look at your own work?

Just like there are knowledgeable and capable doctors with lines and lines of patients that all got well - or at least better - because of their expertise, there has to be doctors who under perform for what ever reasons.

Maybe they lost their original motivations somewhere along the line or maybe they never even had a real desire and the passion to become a doctor - let alone a great one! - in the first place. Maybe some in fact got to graduate more out of pity (or just privilege) rather than merit? The real world tends to be funnier place than we like to give it credit for.

How many decided to go through the mill just because they knew it at least would likely pay well, not to mention make them look important, intelligent and capable in other people's eyes? One in a thousand? One in a hundred? One out of ten? Half? Three quarters? We don't know and they aren't telling.

In every profession we can find folks who just aren't the sharpest tools in the shed. This is natural. There's a bell curve like in most every aspects of life.

It becomes not only unfortunate but positively counterproductive when such people who do not possess the needed qualifications despite everything end up in positions that actually matter.

Such position always come with real world implications and as such it means that their action - or inaction - will causes more harm than it does good. We should remember that this "holy fat war" isn't merely some abstract, academic dispute that would have little to no impact on anyone's life when in fact the exact opposite is true: people have died and continue to die because of it.

These people are indirectly responsible for a quite a few deaths, not to mention endless everyday dieting misery and ill-health because they couldn't fucking do the one job they were asked to do: to find out the healthiest way to eat and to establish whether heightened physical exercise actually helps to achieve and maintain this target or not.

It turns out the more we move, the more we tend to eat too. And that we don't merely compensate but in fact overcompensate. That in the real world scenarios training hard only helps to maintain this vicious circle.

That only professional athletes (and people who assume such an attitude) can pull it off, but even they can only do so temporarily, that is, until they achieve this specific goal they have set for themselves (or when they fail to reach it).

That for most people rigorous training tends to be counterproductive when the aim is to loose excess weight permanently. And that as long as you continue to eat wrong, you will never be able to maintain a relatively stable body weight.

Short term goals require willpower and willpower will always cease sooner than later.

Long term behavioral changes happen through self-awareness and self-acceptance. You shouldn't be doing things just because you might feel like you ought to do them to prove something to yourself and/or to others.

In the end you will want to be doing things for their own sake and because doing them makes sense to you personally which in turn will in all likelihood make you that much more happier individual.

But of course too much is at stake professionally that the establishment would allow vocal proponents of fat fighters to be all of a sudden publicly humiliated and ridiculed. Nope, these guys and gals will get to retire quietly, keep their fat pensions and accolades of yonder years.

As of now official diet recommendations are being realigned pretty much everywhere. And it can only be a gradual process because you can't give the public the impression that these people didn't know what they were doing.

New guidelines are being re-specified as better "data" becomes more readily available. That's how these things tends to work all too often I'm afraid.

In Heller's words: some men are born mediocre, some men achieve mediocrity, and some men have mediocrity thrust upon them.

My advice would be this: when in doubt, stay out (kick back, and just leave the problem solving to the real professionals to tackle).