Tuesday, April 06, 2010
Chemicals and Obesity: What if if isn't
all your fault?
As someone who was around
in the ’50s and ’60s when there was less obesity, I have to tell you
that diets were not that good. TV dinners, Wonder bread, instant mashed
potatoes, fish-sticks and whole milk predominated and vegetables tended
towards the overcooked. Food was cooked in Crisco, full of trans fats,
and cotton seed oils. Fresh vegetables came in during the late 60s,
but predominated on the coasts. There was less soda and no high
fructose corn syrup, and portion sizes were somewhat smaller, but the
caloric difference may not be enough to explain why we have an epidemic
of infant obesity today that we didn’t then. And I doubt that the
babies today are doing any less exercise, although their older siblings
may be indoors on computers more instead of riding bikes.
While diets included a lot more fresh vegetables after the
1960s and mothers showed an increased willingness to breastfeed, obesity
rates increased. And not just in couch-potato adults or fast food
addicts. The Harvard School of Public Health reported in 2006 that the
prevalence of obesity in infants under 6 months had risen 73 percent
since 1980. You need to look at more than calories in and calories out
when infants start showing up obese.
One thing that
has affected all of us, , from the developing embryo to the adult is a category of chemicals