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  1. Standard memberfinnegan
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    09 Oct '15 23:091 edit
    "Is overeating more addictive than crack cocaine? It’s hard to compare addiction rates, or to produce a clear definition that holds true across all substances and behaviours. But consider this crude contrast: of people who use crack cocaine, 10%-20% become addicted to it; across a nine-year study of 176,000 obese people, 98.3% of the men and 97.8% of the women failed to return to a healthy weight. Once extreme overeating begins, it appears to be almost impossible to stop.

    A paper published in the journal Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews proposed that “food addiction” is a less accurate description of this condition than “eating addiction”. There is little evidence that people who are driven to overeat become dependent on a single ingredient; instead they tend to seek out a range of highly palatable, energy-dense foods, of the kind with which we are now surrounded.

    The activation of reward systems in the brain and the loss of impulse control are similar to those involved in dependency on drugs. But eating addiction appears to be more powerful. As the paper notes, in laboratory experiments most rats “will prefer a sweet reward over a cocaine reward”.

    Once you become obese, an article in the Lancet this year explains, biological changes lock you into that condition. Fat cells proliferate. The brain becomes habituated to dopamine signalling (the reward pathway), driving you to compensate by increasing your consumption.

    If you try to lose weight, the body perceives that it is being starved, and powerful adaptations (such as an increase in metabolic efficiency) try to bounce you back to your previous state. People who manage, against great odds, to return to a normal weight must consume 300 fewer calories per day than those who have never been obese, if they are not to put the weight back on. “Once obesity is established ... bodyweight seems to become biologically stamped in”. The more weight you lose, the stronger the biological pressure to get back to your former, excessive size.

    The researchers find that “these biological adaptations often persist indefinitely”: in other words, if you have once been obese, staying slim means sticking to a strict diet for life. The best you can hope for is not a dietary cure, but “obesity in remission”. The only effective, long-term treatment for obesity currently available, the paper says, is bariatric surgery. This can cause a number of grim complications.

    The evidence points to high-fat, high-sugar foods that overwhelm the impulse control of children and young adults
    I know this statement will be unwelcome. I too hate the idea that people cannot change their circumstances. But the terrible truth is that, except through surgery, for the great majority of sufferers obesity is an incurable disease. In one respect it resembles cancer: the changes in lifestyle that might have prevented it are unlikely to be of use in curing it.

    Fat-shaming is worse than useless. Another paper found that the more weight-conscious people are, the more likely they are to overeat: the stress it induces is a trigger for comfort eating. As the Guardian journalist Sarah Boseley points out in her book The Shape We’re In, “the diet industry ... is one of the biggest frauds of our time”. For the obese, temporary reductions in weight will almost inevitably be reversed.

    People who are merely overweight, rather than obese (in other words who have a body mass index of 25 to 30) appear not to suffer from the same biochemical adaptations: their size is not “stamped in”. For them, changes of diet and exercise are likely to be effective. But urging obese people to buck up produces nothing but misery.

    The crucial task is to reach children before they succumb to this addiction. As well as help and advice for parents, this surely requires a major change in what scientists call “the obesogenic environment” (high-energy food and drinks and the advertising and packaging that reinforces their attraction). Unless children are steered away from overeating from the beginning, they are likely to be trapped for life.

    Reversing the tide of obesity won’t be easy, but it can be done

    You might have expected this knowledge to lead to acceptance, empathy and an end to stigmatisation. Fat chance. A fortnight ago, just after the figures mentioned at the top of this article were published, David Cameron announced a review that could lead to obese people being deprived of social security payments if they fail to accept “treatment” for their condition.

    This review, conducted by Dame Carol Black, has already pre-empted its conclusions: eight times it describes obesity as “treatable”. Really? How? It will consider the case “for linking benefit entitlements to take up of appropriate treatment”. Are Cameron and Black proposing that benefit claimants will be forced to undergo surgery? Or will they be pressed into a useless and punitive dietary regime? These proposals look to me like a transfer of blame for the disease away from food manufacturers and advertisers, and on to those afflicted.

    Why do we have an obesity epidemic? Has the composition of the human species changed? Have we suffered a general collapse in willpower? No. The evidence points to high-fat, high-sugar foods that overwhelm the impulse control of children and young adults, packaged and promoted to create the impression that they are fun, cool and life-enhancing. Many are placed in the shops where children are bound to encounter them: around the tills, at grasping height.

    The disease will keep ravaging the population (and slowly overwhelm the health service) until these circumstances change. But the government’s sole contribution has been to tear down mandatory controls, replacing them with a voluntary – and therefore useless – “responsibility deal” with manufacturers and retailers.

    It allows them to choose whether or not to use the traffic-light system, which is the most effective way of informing people about the likely impact of what they eat. And many corporations, unsurprisingly, choose not to. As far as nutritional content is concerned, food manufacturing is in effect unregulated.

    One day any food that merits a red traffic-light warning will be sold in plain packaging on high shelves
    Industry and government will resist the obvious solutions until they can be resisted no longer. Eventually the change will have to happen, with similar restrictions on advertising, sponsorship, display and accessibility to those imposed on the tobacco pedlars. One day, though not before many thousands have needlessly died, it will become illegal to advertise any food or drink that merits a red traffic-light warning. They will be sold only in plain packaging, with health warnings, on high shelves.

    Does this seem draconian to you? If so, remember that obesity afflicts a quarter of the adult population, and is rising rapidly. It causes a range of hideous conditions, just one of which – diabetes – accounts for one sixth of NHS admissions and 10% of its budget. In what looking-glass world is this acceptable? If smoking demands fierce intervention, why not overeating?

    This is the choice we face: to recognise that the only humane and effective means of addressing the obesity epidemic is to prevent more people from being hooked, by restricting the pushers – or to continue a programme of fat-shaming, bullying and compulsory treatment, whose only likely outcome is unhappiness.

    Now ask yourself again: which of these options is draconian?


    Twitter: @georgemonbiot. A fully referenced version of this article can be found at Monbiot.com

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/aug/11/obesity-incurable-disease-cameron-punishing-sufferers
  2. The Catbird's Seat
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    09 Oct '15 23:501 edit
    Originally posted by finnegan
    Is overeating more addictive than crack cocaine? It’s hard to compare addiction rates, or to produce a clear definition that holds true across all substances and behaviours. But consider this crude contrast: of people who use crack cocaine, 10%-20% become addicted to it; across a nine-year study of 176,000 obese people, 98.3% of the men and 97.8% of the wom ...[text shortened]... .theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/aug/11/obesity-incurable-disease-cameron-punishing-sufferers
    You were right. Your original comparison was crude and not very scientific at all. You say 10% to 20% of first time crack users become addicted. My experience in an area with a lot of crack addicts tells me the rate is much higher. But that aside, you compare that to people who become obese, and stay that way or can't lose weight and keep it off.

    Those are not first time abusers of food. I would guess that the majority of the population (near 100% ) has abused food, or overeaten at times during their life, especially at holiday dinners, or company outings, any place where there is lots of food and it is free. That would be much more comparable to a first time crack user, but still not a perfect comparison.

    Also consider that the last century is probably the first globally when subsistence was not the typical existence of most people. Having enough to satisfy hunger, and have proper nutrition wasn't the norm.
  3. Standard memberfinnegan
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    09 Oct '15 23:582 edits
    Originally posted by normbenign
    You were right. Your original comparison was crude and not very scientific at all. You say 10% to 20% of first time crack users become addicted. My experience in an area with a lot of crack addicts tells me the rate is much higher. But that aside, you compare that to people who become obese, and stay that way or can't lose weight and keep it off.

    Those ...[text shortened]... ence of most people. Having enough to satisfy hunger, and have proper nutrition wasn't the norm.
    I have edited my post with the addition of italics. Maybe I should have made it more obvious that this is a cut and paste, not my own words. As you may also notice from the bottom of the item, all the claims are referenced and supported with evidence. I am dubious about your expertise to challenge these statistics, for example about the number of crack users becoming addicted.

    Beyond that, you seem to be attempting to defend the food industry by saying all this is simply about people having more to eat than they had in the past. That is nonsense. The evidence of the effect of the way food is manufactured - for example, the impact of adding corn syrup to nearly anything - is as overwhelming as the evidence that tobacco causes cancer. The food industry knows perfectly well about the addictive nature of its ingredients - that is what they exploit to make money at our expense and especially that of our children.

    Of course, from someone who seems to think the gun industry saves lives, I expect little.
  4. The Catbird's Seat
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    10 Oct '15 00:301 edit
    Originally posted by finnegan
    I have edited my post with the addition of italics. Maybe I should have made it more obvious that this is a cut and paste, not my own words. As you may also notice from the bottom of the item, all the claims are referenced and supported with evidence. I am dubious about your expertise to challenge these statistics, for example about the number of crack us ...[text shortened]... en.

    Of course, from someone who seems to think the gun industry saves lives, I expect little.
    Of course, from someone who seems to think the gun industry saves lives, I expect little.

    Of course, you ignore that every murdering dictator in history, first disarmed those on whom they perpetrated genocide. So yes guns save lives, and liberty.

    I live in a city in which a whole generation was lost to crack addiction. Not 10% to 20%. A whole generation, every last kid who came of age after 1995 for a couple of decades ended up dead or incarcerated due to crack addiction. Not many were left out that tried it.

    In any case, you ignored my main argument that the food or eating addiction is measured from a different starting point, that of obesity, not from the first instance of overeating.

    I'll not argue that much food preparation, especially canned and ready to eat foods, loads food with non nutrition, and over salts everything. But people can choose to avoid that stuff.

    Let's face it, the thread title say it all. You simply believe that everything ought to be controlled by government. We humans are too stupid to make healthy choices on our own, and must be shepherded by our betters. No thanks.!
  5. Standard memberfinnegan
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    10 Oct '15 01:01
    Originally posted by normbenign
    [b]Of course, from someone who seems to think the gun industry saves lives, I expect little.

    Of course, you ignore that every murdering dictator in history, first disarmed those on whom they perpetrated genocide. So yes guns save lives, and liberty.

    I live in a city in which a whole generation was lost to crack addiction. Not 10% to 20%. A whole ...[text shortened]... oo stupid to make healthy choices on our own, and must be shepherded by our betters. No thanks.![/b]
    On guns you rise to the bait predictably and say nothing relevant let alone interesting.

    On crack, your anecdote has no weight.

    On food, your argument that the correlation of obesity with changes in the food industry arises because people make the wrong moral choices is stupid. The scientific evidence of the mechanisms by which food causes overeating and addiction is well established. You seem ignorant of it.

    On the role of government you are just a waste of space. The food industry is dangerously out of control and behaving disgracefully. Your ideological blinkers blind you to their abuse of market power. Either they are regulated by our elected and accountable governments or they are left to cause havoc.

    In general, your views are repetitive and predictable but consistently ill informed. You could start by actually reading the article I posted and noting that it is supported with references to justify every claim made.
  6. The Catbird's Seat
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    10 Oct '15 02:00
    Originally posted by finnegan
    On guns you rise to the bait predictably and say nothing relevant let alone interesting.

    On crack, your anecdote has no weight.

    On food, your argument that the correlation of obesity with changes in the food industry arises because people make the wrong moral choices is stupid. The scientific evidence of the mechanisms by which food causes overeatin ...[text shortened]... he article I posted and noting that it is supported with references to justify every claim made.
    You could start by actually reading the article I posted and noting that it is supported with references to justify every claim made.

    As I have pointed out the article you posted is totally illogical, because it uses non parallel starting points in its argument. It is therefore balderdash, and I refuse to waste time typing replies to the rest of your unsupported screed.
  7. Joined
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    10 Oct '15 03:29
    Originally posted by finnegan
    [i]"Is overeating more addictive than crack cocaine? It’s hard to compare addiction rates, or to produce a clear definition that holds true across all substances and behaviours. But consider this crude contrast: of people who use crack cocaine, 10%-20% become addicted to it; across a nine-year study of 176,000 obese people, 98.3% of the men and 97.8% of the ...[text shortened]... .theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/aug/11/obesity-incurable-disease-cameron-punishing-sufferers
    Food is addictive and must be controlled?

    Really? I thought left wingers wanted to legalize illicit drugs. If so, leave the food alone.
  8. Joined
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    10 Oct '15 04:36
    Originally posted by whodey
    Food is addictive and must be controlled?

    Really? I thought left wingers wanted to legalize illicit drugs. If so, leave the food alone.
    1st food is addictive. that is a fact and the control that he is referring to is not to criminalize it just not shove it down everyone's throat.. To me it is a glaringly obvious fact that the cost to the heath system WILL get worse. who is going to pay for it?? You can bet that the tax dodging corporations will not. This post does not talk about banning any food and I think ( good luck with it happening ) that it is a damn good idea. This type of passive control is already used with other addictive products. With this idea, an addict can still buy junk if they want. the only losers will be the corporations making money out of the suffering. who else will lose.
    .
    The public health costs will drop, along with all the benefits of being healthy. What can be bad about this idea?
  9. Germany
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    10 Oct '15 07:07
    Originally posted by normbenign
    You were right. Your original comparison was crude and not very scientific at all. You say 10% to 20% of first time crack users become addicted. My experience in an area with a lot of crack addicts tells me the rate is much higher.
    You conducted a survey among first-time crack users?
  10. Standard membershavixmir
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    10 Oct '15 07:29
    Interesting.
  11. Account suspended
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    10 Oct '15 14:381 edit
    Complaining about having too much food available so people can get fat if they're not careful?
    Yes that is a real problem.
  12. Joined
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    10 Oct '15 15:40
    http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/08/03/the-9-foods-the-us-government-is-paying-you-to-eat.aspx

    In the U.S., the government subsidizes unhealthy food rather than fresh fruits and veggies, making healthier foods very expensive. The U.S. produces so much corn, all GMO, that it has pumped it into 99% of every processed and packaged food.

    In 2009, the U.S. federal government paid $12.3 billion to America's farmers. Even as farmers profit from increased demand, the government remains a major player in the food business.

    The Atlantic has put together a list of the top nine products that the government most heavily subsidizes:

    Corn
    Wheat
    Soybeans
    Rice
    Beer
    Milk
    Beef
    Peanut Butter
    Sunflower Oil

    Corn, at the top of the list, raked in over $77 billion from the government between 1995 and 2010, and the subsidies have only been going up. There's a common belief that healthy food is inherently more expensive, and thus can only be for the wealthy. But in fact, healthy food could easily be more affordable for everyone, if not for agribusiness CEOs, their lobbyists and the politicians in their pockets.

    Lawmakers whose campaigns are underwritten by agribusinesses use billions of taxpayer dollars to subsidize the commodities that are the key ingredients of unhealthy food -- corn, soybeans, wheat, etc. This manufactured price inequality helps junk food undersell nutritious food.

    According to Salon:

    "Corn -- which is processed into the junk-food staple corn syrup ... -- exemplifies the scheme ... [I]t is a bargain, but one created by deliberate government policy that serves the corn industry titans, not by any genetic advantage that makes corn derivatives automatically more affordable for the budget-strapped commoner."

    The Environmental Working Group (EWG) also released its 2011 Farm Subsidy Database, although the USDA has reportedly refused to release all the data to confirm exactly who the billions in farm subsidies are being paid out to. Still, as EWG stated:

    " … despite lawmakers' boasts of enacting major reforms in the 2008 farm bill, the new data clearly show that wealthy absentee land owners and mega farms awash in record income are once again the main beneficiaries of federal farm programs – while struggling family farmers go begging.

    And once again, the database shows that many farm subsidy recipients get those fat government checks at addresses in New York City, Miami, Chicago and Los Angeles – not exactly farm country, and a far cry from the programs' original intent".



    Dr. Mercola's Comments:

    Follow Dr. Mercola on Twitter Follow Dr. Mercola on Facebook

    You're probably well aware that it's typically cheaper to buy a loaf of bread than a pound of broccoli or even a pound of ground beef than a similar amount of green peppers. And most people also realize that they can get a value meal at numerous fast-food restaurants for far less money than it takes to purchase foods to make a healthy meal, such as organic chicken and fresh veggies, for their family.

    Perhaps this disparity has struck you as odd. After all, what makes vegetables more expensive than bread or meat? It's clearly nothing inherent to their growing requirements.

    Not at all.

    Instead, it's the direct result of government food subsidies, which favor the very foods you should eat less of if you want to stay healthy.

    The Government is Subsidizing a Fast-Food, Illness-Causing Diet

    As you can see in the list above, the U.S. food subsidies are grossly skewed, creating a diet excessively high in grains, sugars, and factory-farmed meats. Notice the omission of vegetables or healthy fats from nuts and seeds. Is it a coincidence that the number one source of calories in the United States, high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) in soda, is made from the most heavily subsidized crop -- corn?

    I think not.

    HFCS is pervasive and in many processed food items you would never expect, including diet foods and 'enhanced' water products. Even most infant formulas contain the sugar equivalent of one can of Coca-Cola! But you see, U.S. farmers are growing an obscene amount of corn -- 13 billion bushels on more than 80 million farmland acres -- and industry has found a way to make use of it.

    Of course, they are not growing all of this corn because Americans can't get enough corn on the cob … they are growing it because the government pays them to, to the tune of more than $77 billion a year to produce corn as a raw material that can be processed into "food." You could not eat most of the GMO corn that is grown in this country unless it is processed at the factory into something that tastes better.

    Government subsidies have also allowed corn to become a staple in many foods and animal feeds.

    Why would a farmer choose to plant lettuce or Swiss chard when the government will essentially "insure" their corn crops, paying them back if the market prices fall below a set floor price? Likewise with wheat and soybeans, the second and third most heavily subsidized crops, respectively.

    Most of them wouldn't … and that's why the U.S. diet is so heavily loaded with foods based on the surplus, nutritionally devoid crops of corn, wheat and soy. One of the effects of the farm bill is to create a negative feedback loop that perpetuates the highly profitable standard American diet.

    Unfortunately, the government is showing no signs of subsidizing vegetables the way they do corn, grain and pasteurized milk. This is most like a result of the Department of Agriculture's deep alignment with agri-business. Current legislations protect the profits of these large industries at the expense of public health. This may surprise you, but the agriculture lobby is more powerful than even the pharmaceutical industry! As if this isn't all frustrating enough, most of the subsidies are going to mega-farms that are making more money than most Americans even dream of …
  13. Germany
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    10 Oct '15 15:53
    Originally posted by Phranny
    http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/08/03/the-9-foods-the-us-government-is-paying-you-to-eat.aspx

    In the U.S., the government subsidizes unhealthy food rather than fresh fruits and veggies, making healthier foods very expensive. The U.S. produces so much corn, all GMO, that it has pumped it into 99% of every processed and packaged foo ...[text shortened]... subsidies are going to mega-farms that are making more money than most Americans even dream of …
    Non-organic, GMO food is not less healthy than their organic, non-GMO counterparts.

    I'm also not convinced that agricultural subsidies are the main reason why buying healthier food is so expensive in the US - in the EU agriculture is also heavily subsidized but I can make a healthy meal at home for much less than what it costs to buy food at a fast food joint.
  14. Joined
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    10 Oct '15 17:47
    Originally posted by KazetNagorra
    Non-organic, GMO food is not less healthy than their organic, non-GMO counterparts.

    I'm also not convinced that agricultural subsidies are the main reason why buying healthier food is so expensive in the US - in the EU agriculture is also heavily subsidized but I can make a healthy meal at home for much less than what it costs to buy food at a fast food joint.
    Set aside the GMO issue. Corn syrup is pumped into 99% of packaged foods. Because the corn is so heavily subsidized, the colorful plastic and paper packaging of processed foods often costs the manufacturer more than the contents. Plus, the poorest urban neighborhoods often have small corner grocery stores that do not offer very appetizing fresh produce and it's often even more expensive than the better looking fruits and veggies found in the suburbs. It is cheaper to satisfy an empty stomach with cheap junk food than healthier food. When you are impoverished and every penny counts, keeping your family feeling full is often a number one priority.
  15. Germany
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    10 Oct '15 18:17
    Originally posted by Phranny
    Set aside the GMO issue. Corn syrup is pumped into 99% of packaged foods. Because the corn is so heavily subsidized, the colorful plastic and paper packaging of processed foods often costs the manufacturer more than the contents. Plus, the poorest urban neighborhoods often have small corner grocery stores that do not offer very appetizing fresh produce and ...[text shortened]... erished and every penny counts, keeping your family feeling full is often a number one priority.
    Wouldn't you say that the insistence of the American people to have high poverty levels, causing a large number of people to have to choose unhealthy options over healthy ones, is then the real problem?
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