How Socialism Led to the Obesity Epidemic

Socialism is lethal by nature. That is most obvious when looking at the Soviet Union, or at the modern Progressives who advocate multiculturalism, immigration, abortion etc. But the most lethal element of socialism is modern Western food.

When socialists took over Germany in 1930s, they started preparing to war. This included building up a centralized stockpile of grain reserves. They reduced production of meat and eggs in order to concentrate on the grain production, which they believed was the more productive use of land – it supposedly took five kilograms of grain to produce one kilogram of meat. The British came to a similar conclusion, and tried to swap from meat production to bread and potatoes in World War Two.

But that thinking is wrong. It is correct, mathematically, if one only counts calories. But calories are not the only reason why food is important. What matters are nutritients – and lack of nutritients leads to overeating. So what has caused the obesity epidemic? Looking at the timeline, the obesity epidemic started developing in 1975, when the obesity rates started rising. And there were several developments which happened around this time that explain why.

In 1970s, some well-meaning politicians from the US government held meetings to determine how to counter rising rates of obesity and the heart disease in the US. In 1977., Mark Hegsted, a nutrition professor at Harvard, led a group of scientists in the study of the connections between food consumption and heart disease. The group issued the very first set of US Dietary Guidelines, which the Federal Government updates roughly every five years.

But the US Government guidelines – now used all across the West – encourage people to eat unhealthy, and have caused the Western obesity epidemic. They emphasise diet based on carbohydrates and low on fat – the government essentially declared that bread was what everyone should consume. One of reasons for this is that the grain diet is cost-effective. But grain-only diet cannot provide all the nutritients that human body needs. Carbohydrates are high in calories but low in key nutritients, which promotes overeating and has led to the obesity epidemic. Worse, because farm animals are being fed grain-based diet, even eating meat cannot easily replace the missing nutritients, because animals, too, are malnourished.

Second factor was introduction of cheap and potent sweetening agents such as corn syrup, again in 1970s. This led also to decreasing cost of sweetened foods, which may be one of the reasons why obesity rate is inversely correlated with median income. Since 1970., consumption of high-fructose corn syrup has increased from zero to 60 pounds annually in 2000.

Third factor was appearance of fast-food restaurants. This was chronologically the first event that happened, and the first jump in BMI happened after World War II, among those born after 1920. White Castle, the first drive-in restaurant, was founded in 1921. McDonald started operation in the late 1940s, Kentucky Fried Chicken in 1952, Burger King in 1954, Pizza Hut in 1958, Taco Bell in 1962, and Subway in 1962.

Fourth factor was the increasing participation of women in the work force. Because of the availability of the female work force, wages dropped, while at the same time standard of living rose – thus requiring both parents to work. Previously, wife was a housemaker – she cooked and took care of the house. But with the gender expansion of the workforce and waves of feminism, differences in gender roles largely disappeared, yet without the commesurate reduction in the working week of a single individual.

All of these factors have however had one common factor: a switch from high-fat to high-carb foods. This led to switch from dietary fat to dietary sugar, especially as carbs, sugar and other sweeteners were included into many refined foods. This is reflected in the health recommendations and the food pyramid.

Original food pyramid was introduced in Sweden in 1972, by the National Board of Health and Welfare. As usual for socialists, this had nothing to do with health: it was ideological, based around the idea of “basic foods” that were both cheap and nutritious, and “supplemental foods” that added nutrition missing from the basic foods. Thus the price was the main guideline in the pyramid, not the nutritional value or health. So using it as a health guideline – as it eventually evolved into – is insane.

Modern food pyramid originates from the US. Starting in late 1980s, the office of the US Surgeon General took a lead in waging the federal government’s war on dietary fat. The result of this was the demonization of animal protein sources (which often come with fat) and the introduction of low-fat high-carbohydrate diet. Hegsted’s report, from 1977., urged Americans to increase their carbohydrate intake to 55 to 60 percent of their total daily calories and to reduce fat intake to 30 to 35 percent of calories. Sugars and carbs were to be increased, while it advised reduction in specifically saturated fat from meats, eggs, butter and whole milk. Animal fats were to be replaced with vegeatble oils, and full-fat diary products replaced with low-fat equivalents.

Modern food pyramid is even worse than the Swedish original. In the original Swedish food pyramid, dairy is simply bundled along with other staple foods – and for a good reason, as dairy is not necessary for health and can be easily replaced by other foods. But in the American version of the pyramid, dairy got its own section, suggesting that it is a fundamental part of a healthy diet. And the reason for the change was very simple: dairy industry lobbied hard to make dairy an essential part of the diet. The original American version also suggests 6 – 11 servings of bread, cereal, rice and pasta per day – again thanks to lobbying by the food industry. But this is insanity. 6 – 11 servings means 6 – 11 slices of white bread, which is 726 calories and 143 g of carbs. And this would not make him satiated – rather, he would have to eat something else alongside it.

Secretary of Agriculture also altered the wording to emphasize processed over fresh foods and increase servings of wheat and other grains, among other changes. Where USDA nutritionists called for 5 – 9 servings of fresh fruit and vegetables per day, it was replaced with 2 – 3 servings. Meanwhile, the requirement of 3 – 4 daily servings of whole-grain breads and cereals was increased to 6 – 11 servings. Baked goods made with white flour – particularly crackers, sweets and other low-nutritient foods full of sugars and processed and thermically treated fats – were originally at the peak of the pyramid, suggesting them to be eaten sparingly. But they were shifted to the bottom, thus making them part of the basic diet, and the entire fat-free or low-fat food industry was created.

Unsurprisingly, obesity rates have significantly increased ever since millions of people started believing that eating eleventy quadrizillion slices of white bread is somehow healthy. And the changes to the pyramid did not stop there. When the pyramid was being revised in 1995., wording was changed from “eat less salt and sugar” to “eat less salt”. But the main reason why salt is said to be bad – high blood pressure – is a myth. There is no evidence for that, and in any case body can get rid of the excess salt through urination and perspiration. In fact, there is evidence that eating more salt reduces blood pressure in some people, and has no effect on the majority. Not so for sugar: refined sugar damages the body all on its own, and when there is an excess of sugar, it is stored in body as fat. And too much body fat can lead to inflammation, cardiovascular diseases, stroke, while the excess of sugar in the blood can easily cause insulin resistance and diabetes, inflammation (especially muscle and joint inflammation) and so on. As such, where low-sodium diet does not improve health, low-sugar diet definitely does. In fact, for people with certain heart conditions, more salt would be better as opposed to less salt.

Unsaturated fats had been lumped with “fats” as being bad for the organism, but in reality they are essential for health. These fats lower bad cholesterol and maintain steady blood sugar. Both of these not only help prevent heart disease, but also help brain function and – by maintaining blood sugar – prevent overeating, thus aiding in weight loss. By contrast, refined carbohydrates cause a sugar rush-and-crush, leading to overeating and, over time, insulin insensitivity, obesity and diabetes. At the same time, scientists have found little evidence that a high intake of carbohydrates is beneficial. Not all fats are bad, and not all carbohydrates are good. The cardioprotective properties of fats also differ massively between processed fats (e.g. crisps, margarine) and natural fats (e.g. nuts, oil). Fats found in wine, fish and olive oil all have strong cardioprotective properties.

Nor are all meats and animal products the same. Where milk and red meat raise cholesterol levels due to being high in saturated fat, foods high in polyunsaturated fat – such as vegetable oils and fish – reduce cholesterol. Societies in which people eat relatively large portions of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat tend to have lower rates of heart disease. Meat, fish and eggs have massive differences in terms of nutritional values and impact on health, and so it is wrong to group them together. Any kind of fish has strong anti-inflammatory properties, and thus is far more beneficial and less adverse than meat from land animals. Research by dr. Zabetakis found that olives, olive oil, marine food (i.e. salmon, sea bass, trout etc), red wine and fermented dairy products such as kefir, yoghurts and cheese have strong cardioprotective bioactivities. Fat deficiencies affect our hormones, immune system, digestive health, skin health, weight, and ability to deal with stress. They lead to heart diseases and obesity. This is also true for mental health (logical, since brain is mostly fat): fat deficiency affects mood, cognitive health, behaviour and overall brain function. And historically, humans ate mostly wild foods rich in omega 3 fats, such as wild fish, animals and wild plants – yet very few foods rich in omega 6 fats.

But the USDA simply put out a message that “fat is bad”, and the food industry doubled down on it – and many governmental scientific studies are funded by the food companies. The reduction of fat allowed the industry to sell “healthy” food that was low in fat but necessarily high in sugar and sweeteners such as sucrose and fructose syrup – all of which incidentally cause hunger, overeating and chemically-based addiction. Even assuming the food industry did not want fat addicts, they had to replace fat with something. By 2005., the low-fat diet was a 35 billion USD industry. Yet the 30% fat limit was drawn from thin air, whereas when the food pyramid was being developed, the typical American got about 40 percent of his or her calories from fat, about 15 percent from protein and about 45 percent from carbohydrates. But nutritionists did not want to suggest eating more protein, because many sources of protein are heavy in saturated fat. So the “fat is bad” myth led to the “carbs are good” myth. Dietary guidelines from the American Heart Association and other groups recommended that people get at least half their calories from carbohydrates and no more than 30 percent from fat – but as noted, the 30% fat limit had been drawn out of thin air. At the same time, carbohydrate intake was to be increased to 55 to 60 percent of total daily calories. All of this turned out to be a bad idea, and not just because colesterol had been misunderstood.

There are two different types of cholesterol – LDL (low-density lipoprotein) and HDL (high-density lipoprotein) – which have very different effects on the risk of the heart disease. Increasing the ratio of LDL to HDL in the blood raises the risk of the heart disease, while decreasing the ratio lowers it. By the early 1990s controlled feeding studies had shown that when a person replaces calories from saturated fat with an equal amount of calories from carbohydrates the levels of LDL and total cholesterol fall, but the level of HDL also falls. Because the ratio of LDL to HDL does not change, there is only a small reduction in the person’s risk of heart disease. In fact, it increases – the switch to carbohydrates boosts the blood levels of triglycerides, the component molecules of fat, which are also associated with a high risk of heart disease.

When a person switches from either monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fat to carbohydrates, outcome is that LDL levels rise and HDL levels drop, making the cholesterol ratio worse. In contrast, replacing saturated fat with either monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fat improves this ratio and would be expected to reduce heart disease. The only fats that are significantly more deleterious than carbohydrates are the trans-unsaturated fatty acids, produced by the partial hydrogenation of liquid vegetable oil, which causes it to solidify. Found in many margarines, baked goods and fried foods, trans fats are uniquely bad because they raise LDL and triglycerides while reducing HDL. Meanwhile, the omega-3 fatty acids (found in fish and some plants) can reduce the likelihood of ventricular fibrillation, a heart rhythm disturbance that causes sudden death. There is also no evidence that fat consumption increases the risk of obesity or various cancers – unlike the consumption of sugar. Overall blood cholesterol has no impact on risk of coronary or other diseases.

Consumption of refined carbohydrates – which are high in starch but have few other nutritients – leads to rapid rise in blood sugar and thus release of insulin, which directs glucose to muscles and liver. But this in turn often produces a significant drop in glucose levels, thus leading to hunger and overeating. High intake of starch from refined grains and potatoes is associated with a high risk of type 2 diabetes and coronary heart disease, as well as inflammation, heart disease, cancer, dementia and depression. Conversely, greater intake of fiber is related to a lower risk of these illnesses. The consumption of fiber did not lower the risk of colon cancer, as had been hypothesized earlier. Overweight, inactive people can become resistant to insulin’s effects and thus have problems regulating blood sugar. Peasant farmers in Asia and elsewhere, who are extremely lean and active, can consume large amounts of refined carbohydrates without experiencing diabetes or heart disease, whereas the same diet in a more sedentary population can have devastating effects. What this means is that white bread, white rice etc. in Western diet should be replaced with whole-grain equivalents, as they contain fiber.

Consumption of milk and milk products, advocated by the food pyramid, is also problematic. Especially cow milk. Milk is rich in nutritients and dense in calories, because it is supposed to help a baby (a calf, in this case) put on weight. And put on the weight they do: average calf gains ~1 kg (1,5 – 2,5 lbs) per day – and this continues for four months until they have weaned. Yet milk is completely unnecessary for humans. A group of studies done during 1990s looked at the countries where people drink a lot of milk (e.g. Denmark and USA) and the countries where they do not drink milk at all (e.g. Japan and Singapore). They found no difference in frequency of broken bones, osteoporosis or dental problems. In fact, looking at the osteoporosis data in raw, countries with high frequency of milk consumption have much greater incidence of osteoporosis than countries where milk is not being consumed. This is likely because body is far better at absorbing calcium from other sources: oranges, green beans, sunflower seeds, broccoli, almonds, squash, clams, rockfish…

The overall result was that the introduction of the food pyramid has made diet-related chronic health issues such as obesity and diabetes even worse. The first rule of medicine is “do no harm”, but the government’s war against basic nutritients – fat, salt and similar – has not only not done harm to the patient, it has harmed the patient, killed him, ground him into a sausage and fed him to the pigs.

In the end, the best option is traditional diet: especially traditional Mediterranean or Japanese diet, as consumed on Ikaria and Okinawa. Both islands are known for their high numbers of centenarians, and some principles can be gleamed from their diets – and in fact, some of these principles have been noted already. Both diets are rich in food such as fish and vegetable oils, which reduce cholesterol in blood.On Crete, traditional diet contained much olive oil (a rich source of monounsaturated fat) and fish (a source of polyunsaturated fat). And though fat constituted 40 percent of the calories in this diet, the rate of heart disease for those who followed it was lower than the rate for those who followed the traditional diet of Japan, in which fat made up only 8 to 10 percent of the calories.

Mediterranean Food Pyramid

As always: traditional solutions are far better than state interference. Socialist caretakers such as USDA and FDA produce catastrophe even when they mean the best – and they often do not.

Here is a short Mediterranean diet guide:

  1. The basic foods
    1. Regularly: vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, potatoes, whole grains, whole-grain breads, herbs, spices, fish, seafood, extra-virgin olive oil
    2. In moderation: poultry, eggs, cheese, yogurt
    3. Rarely: red meat
    4. Don’t eat: sweetened beverages, added sugars, processed meat, refined grains, refined oils, other processed food (including factory-made “diet” food, such as “low-fat”, “no sugar” or “diet” produce – e.g. low-fat yoghurt, diet coke etc.)
  2. Foods to eat
    1. Vegetables: Tomatoes, broccoli, kale, spinach, onions, cauliflower, carrots, Brussels sprouts, cucumbers, etc.
    2. Fruits: Apples, bananas, oranges, pears, strawberries, grapes, dates, figs, melons, peaches, etc.
    3. Nuts and seeds: Almonds, walnuts, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, cashews, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, etc.
    4. Legumes: Beans, peas, lentils, pulses, peanuts, chickpeas, etc.
    5. Tubers: Potatoes, sweet potatoes, turnips, yams, etc.
    6. Whole grains: Whole oats, brown rice, rye, barley, corn, buckwheat, whole wheat, whole-grain bread and pasta.
    7. Fish and seafood: Salmon, sardines, trout, tuna, mackerel, shrimp, oysters, clams, crab, mussels, etc.
    8. Poultry: Chicken, duck, turkey, etc.
    9. Eggs: Chicken, quail and duck eggs.
    10. Dairy: Cheese, yogurt, Greek yogurt, etc.
    11. Herbs and spices: Garlic, basil, mint, rosemary, sage, nutmeg, cinnamon, pepper, etc.
    12. Healthy Fats: Extra virgin olive oil, olives, avocados and avocado oil.

11 Comments

  1. Question, doesn’t socialism usually lead to people starving? How could it make people fat when historically they didn’t even get enough nutrition to hide their bones?

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    1. Central planning leads to people starving. But that is an extreme version of socialism. Modern Western democracies have a far milder version of socialism, hence why they are not in so bad a shape as, say, USSR was – but it still leads to bad consequences.

      In the end, once you let politicians manage something, they always mismanage it in the end. And agencies such as US FDA are governmental bodies.

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      1. That sounds more like a problem with the individual’s self control rather than the government’s fault. After all without the FDA many businesses would just sell even worse cheap garbage to the common man. There’s nothing stopping someone from adopting a traditional diet in say Sweden, it’s just a matter of discipline not ideology.

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  2. Yeah but you do understand that without some government regulations, food businesses could literally just lie about what’s in their food and the health situation could be worse, perhaps even fatal. Also I don’t know how replies are structured on word press and for some reason google fucked up

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    1. Problem is, they are doing it anyway. And as I pointed out in the post, it were government-approved health guidelines that helped start the current obesity crisis.

      Sometimes WordPress will keep a comment in queue in approval – usually it happens when it is the first comment of the account, or it includes links.

      Like

      1. Fair, but it could always be worse unless it’s more profitable to not actively harm the health of the customer. Short sightedness is universal for both the right and the left.

        Liked by 1 person

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