Wednesday, July 22, 2009

You say calories, I say hypocrisy.

Food hysterics like to point out how high fructose corn syrup, enriched flour, and fried meats make us so obese as a nation. Nobody debates them on this. We don't blame people that overeat on these products or the simple fact that they overeat on anything. Instead, we nod and accept as fact that something else controls our lives. Then many of us go home and pray for an all powerful wizard in the sky to control our lives and 'give us the strength' to lose the weight.

A small rant to follow this large admission.

I'm pretty fat. That is accurate and yet it isn't what people really mean when they say fat. When people say fat, they really mean heavy. We don't gain fat and lose weight, we gain weight and lose weight. Fat is independent of weight. I'm lazy, stubborn, and lack willpower. I know what the fix is, but I never put the plan in motion. I regret that because I know a lot about food and nutrition so I look like a hypocrite when I distill advice. Just know that my heaviness is noted and it doesn't mean I don't know what I'm talking about. Now on to the rant...

Companies absolutely want you to buy their products. These products can spend years in R&D and companies try hard to come up with things that people will like. I think we can all agree on that, but what we can't agree on is this notion that the companies want to hurt you or make you fat. McDonald's wants you to try their Angus Third Pounder, they may even want you to eat them regularly, but they don't want you to eat them every day or eat every meal at McDonald's. They'd much rather have more patrons that came in at different times than have the same people come in at the same time every day. Their goal is to be busy from open to close. By having regulars that eat every day, they get into a rhythm. That means they get really busy a few times a day and they're slow the rest of the day. They'd much rather be steady to busy the entire day. Pepsico want me to drink Mountain Dew, but they don't want me getting half me calories from it.

What I'm talking about is personal responsibility and moderation. Food hysterics need a villain, and since they're trying to convert you into food hysterics, they won't risk insulting you by telling you to ease up. You don't have to become a vegan or go on some crazy diet to lose weight, it's all a matter of calories.

One of my professors at OSU lost a lot of weight from one year to the next. He taught a nutrition class and used himself as an example. Did he spend hours in the gym? No. Did he only eat raw organic foods? No. He simply took in less calories than his body needed and he got more active by walking more.


No crazy diets, no crazy workouts, just less calories and more activity. It's like this: 3,500 calories = 1 pound. Therefore, losing 1 pound/week would require someone to reduce calorie intake by 500 calories a day. If you aren't that big, then 500 calories is too many to shave. In that case, you can work out to tone and build lean muscle and raise your metabolism/ burn calories.

Enter Tyler...

Tyler is a guy that lost 100 pounds in a year. He went from a size 48 pant to a size 38. He went from 4xlt shirts to just xl. He worked out, he limited his caloric intake, and he even did it without denying himself. He ate bacon cheeseburgers every week. While he didn't eat that every day, he treated calories like cash. He had so many calories to spend in a day/week. Some days he would be frugal with his calories, other day he would splurge, you know, live a little.

Tyler had sleep apnea, back pain, and high blood pressure that all disappeared when the excess weight came of and it didn't have anything to do with the amount of HFCS or enriched flour he was the calories.


  1. Kind of simplistic though, because you're ignoring metabolism (i.e. I might need 2500 calories as a maintenance level when active, but if I diet my body might think starvation is imminent, slowing things down to 2000 calories as maintenance level).

    America has gotten extremely fat in the past 25 years so I think it'd be smart to look at what's changed as opposed to pointing to will power, because I don't think the change has been a weakening of will power. People have always been lazy, and always will be lazy. Corn subsidies aren't 100% of what's happened, but they're a good place to start.

    Your view of corporations is also kind of funny, they have no goal except making as large a profit as possible. If McDonalds could get every American eating there three times a day they'd do it. No corporation is leaving profit on the table, they have a responsibility to their shareholders to maximize profits as much as possible, morality or the good of the populace be damned.

  2. It would be absurd to think that any corporation honestly thinks it can have a customer return for all of it's meals. You are right, corporations do try to maximize profits and having a large chunk of their business that has to give up their products or stop consuming for extended periods while they diet is bad business. It's better for them to have someone eat frequently, but not to the point of any kind of illness or malnourishment. Also, there is no way to allocate responsibility in these cases. Are you saying that it is a companies fault that people get fat eating something that was never designed to be eaten that often? Would you support a subsidy for chains that cut portions and thus, lose business when people eat elsewhere?

  3. Absolutely it's food corporations fault that America is fatter than it used to be, along with bad government policy. Should tobacco companies not be at fault because some people wouldn't get lung cancer if they'd just smoke less? The argument you're making about food is like saying that people dying from smoking would be bad for business, so obviously tobacco companies wouldn't want anyone to get sick from their products. Corporations do not care about the well being of their customers when it interferes with their bottom line, to care would be the antithesis of their entire mission of maximizing profits.

    I know you think you've got the inside scoop here because of your degree, but you're just being a corporate apologist and putting all the burden on the consumer. There's a reason we have consumer protection laws in this country, because the relationship between corporation and consumer doesn't always put them on equal footing.

    Portion size has very little to do with anything I'm talking about.

    Why do you think people's will power suddenly weakened in the past 25 years?

  4. Also moderating comments is lame btw, that's not going to help you. If you don't like something it's not like you can't come in and delete it after the fact.

  5. Dude, seriously?
    "Why do you think people's will power suddenly weakened in the past 25 years?"

    I know what is in food. I know what it's made of and why it's in there and how it's made. I can say with all sincerity that there isn't anything in the food that weakens willpower. All they've done is improve their products so they taste better, look better, and have a better texture, all while working to bring down production costs.

    My training is exactly why I'm qualified to write on this and your comments are exactly why I feel the need to.


Put your comment here, kind sir/madame. Try to cite sources when stating facts and refrain from off topic comments or hateful/nasty rhetoric.