Thursday, November 14, 2013

The curse of genetics

It is a tragedy how genetics have somehow caused millions of Americans, male and female, to put on great quantities of weight. There is obviously nothing to be done about this until the day Science comes up with some sort of gene therapy to address the situation.

This is particularly unfortunate given the fact that the single easiest way for anyone to increase their SMV is to lose weight. If only there were some other way to accomplish the impossible dream! Curse you, natural selection!


cailcorishev said...

Wow, someone got the foods right for once. High-carb, every one, mostly processed grains, with any fat most likely being "healthy" polyunsaturated peanut, soy, or canola oil.

Amy said...

Gene therapy for obesity exists: it's called a low-carb diet of whole unprocessed vegetables and fatty cuts of meat, supplemented with coconut and olive oil, grassfed butter, and snacks of fatty nuts. Bacon is optional, but a pleasant one at that.

ItsTheWooo has been writing about her 23andme results and how they gave her insight into how a low-carb diet actively helps her outsmart her genetic tendencies towards obesity and mental health issues.

I do think genetics is the larger part of obesity and overall poor health, but all the dieting advice we're given just amplifies the bad effects of genetics and encourages people to use excuses for not taking charge of their health or their weight.

It's your fault insofar as you refuse to take the necessary steps to figure out what works and then DO IT.

Miguel D'Anconia said...

Amerikans are by and large lard @sses. I'm ashamed to say I was born in the USSA. I begrudgingly admit it when I am traveling overseas.

cailcorishev said...

I think genetics probably explains the propensity to eat the foods that lead to obesity. I mean, I know, 100% certain, as certain as I am that the sun will rise in the east tomorrow, that eating a bag of chips will damage my health, stall weight loss, and possibly throw me off my diet for days or weeks. I know this, and yet I've done it more times than I'd like to count, and rationalized it at the time in ways that are embarrassingly stupid in retrospect. There must be something going on at the genetic/hormonal level to create such intense cravings.

Having said that, it's not an excuse. Some people have an intense desire to set things on fire; we still charge them with arson even though that may be genetic. I can refuse the cravings and eat right, because I've done that many times too. No matter your genetics, once you have the knowledge, it does come down to a choice.

Steve said...

Physical nature is a component of one's tendency to retain what one consumes. That said, what's consumed is a choice.

BTW Miguel, did you notice the cultural references in the image? Biscuits, crisps, the currency... This is not an American. said...

Save image for Fat Shaming Week? Saved.

Jack Amok said...

Gene therapy to make people slim? Shame on you Vox for promoting your sizeist hate. Preference for slim people is just a social construct. Instead of gene therapy to reduce weight, we should just re-educate people to accept... ah, I'm a bit behind the times here, what is the current PC term for "fat people"? Plus -sized? Oprahfied? Carb-endowed?

Anyway, gives me a shuddering idea for a sci-fi dystopian novel. Instead of gene therapy to reduce weight, what if they came up with gene therapy to change what was considered attractive?

"A couple more treatments, Mrs Puffankle, and your husband will truly appreciate your figure once more and stop looking at those nasty little stick women..."

JCclimber said...

I'm a vegetarian myself, and I can safely say I know a number of fellow vegetarians who are very similar to the land whale in this picture (the majority are thin and fit, however).

You are fooling yourself if you are going to blame her disgusting bulk on her grains. Because those aren't grains anymore. Those are processed sugars and fats originally derived from plant sources, while removing almost all the nutrition and fiber from the foods, and pumping them full of lab chemicals.

Sure, go on blaming "vegetarian" diets for weight gain. The real problem is that most who do that are too fucking lazy to find out about real nutrition, how to get and cook healthy foods in a healthy way that also tastes fantastic.

Instead you prefer store bought processed foods or taking a slab of meat and doing some seasoning and prep work on it and cook it. So for you it is either Paleo diet or a "vegetarian" diet like the one seen in this picture. I have a number of friends who "tried being vegetarian" in the past and now are claiming results from going paleo. Their version of "going vegetarian" was a joke, like this woman.

Duh, of course they're going to get better results from even a half-assed paleo diet compared to most ignorant Americans' version of vegetarian.

rycamor said...

JCClimber, no one mentioned paleo or vegetarianism before you brought them up. And in fact, paleo eaters are very much into vegetables--the unprocessed kind.

Also, no one blamed "her disgusting bulk" on grains, but specifically "processed grains", if you'll read above.

Peabody said...

Two years ago I started actively purging wheat and sugar from my diet and focusing on meats and vegetables, the leafier and greener the better. After four months of bacon and eggs for breakfast, I went in for my health screening to determine for which health insurance discount I qualified. The nurse told me to ignore the cholesterol level (219) and look at the HDL/LDL ratio - 6.4

Apparently this is good; she told me it was "a very pretty number." Never heard that one before.

My wife is a vegetarian, exercises far more than I do, and has gained weight since the marathon. Her go-to foods for breakfast and comfort are frosted wheat cereal and whole-wheat pasta.

Her cholesterol level is half of mine. I blame genetics.

cailcorishev said...

Peabody, you got lucky in running into a nurse with a clue. She's right, total cholesterol is virtually meaningless. To the extent that cholesterol matters at all (which it mostly doesn't), you want high HDL, low triglycerides, and a good ratio of LDL-B/LDL-A. Most tests don't even give you that last thing, which may be the most important.

By the way, if you look at total mortality instead of just heart attacks, the cholesterol/death chart is more-or-less a bell curve, with the lowest mortality rate corresponding to a total cholesterol of about 190. Above about 220 or so you start getting a correlation with more heart attacks; but below about 160 you start getting a correlation with other deaths, including strokes, suicides, and even murders. So if your wife has a 110, keep her away from any lethal instruments.

Laguna Beach Fogey said...

It's not only that these people are fat and therefore a blight on the landscape.

What irritates is that they appear not to care they are fat.

Andre B said...

Slightly off-topic. Today, colleague and I had lunch with a brunette from HBO that was just breathtakingly gorgeous. As we were going back to the office, we were debating her looks, and he said something like "we are slaves to the evolutionary perceptions of beauty ingrained in our brains".

I see where he's coming from. Sure, from an evolutionary standpoint, feeling attraction to a healthy looking, thin, proportionate woman with big hips, big breasts and flawless skin makes perfect sense. Her genes are of very, very good quality. So, does that define what human beauty is? Even though I am an evolution skeptic, that seems like a pretty satisfying explanation for the perception of beauty in human beings.

Actually, if I think about in a theistic perspective, my argument wouldn't be much different. I'd say she has maintained in her genes very few changes that could have changed her appearance for the worse. But here I am implying that God has created the human race in such a way that not only was originally (or ideally) beautiful in an objective sense, but also that this beauty serves a purpose: every attribute of beauty can be interpreted as functional. They signal strength, health, ability to give birth to healthy babies and to nurture and feed them etc etc.

My question: is there any way to argue for the objectivity of human being without constructing an argument that would be very similar to the evolutionary one? I argued with my friend that his view could be too reductionist and that he was at the risk of ignoring other variables... but then I thought about it more, and as it turns out, I kind of agree with him. Certainly, that brunette seemed to me very beautiful, and I could see function in all of her attributes. So is that what human beauty boils down to? The signaling of attributes necessary for survival of the fittest?

Thanks for any input in advance!

Markku said...

My question: is there any way to argue for the objectivity of human being without constructing an argument that would be very similar to the evolutionary one?

A landscape is pretty, yes? You don't want to f*ck it, no? So why is it pretty?

tz said...

See Lustig's latest. Literally.

If someone is told by the government to avoid fat and instead consume mass quantities of an addictive, fattening substance, it is harder to blame them.

Aside from maybe pulling out something in the sandwiches - which I can't see, there is literally nothing in that picture I have any desire to consume, nor have consumed anything like it in at least 6 months (the only fall was because of 1. a cheesecake coupon and 2. a favored tortellini which was being discontinued anyway - between which I paid for with 10 pounds gain). has several people who "cured" their type 2 diabetes.

Survival Gardener, AKA David the Good said...

"A landscape is pretty, yes? You don't want to f*ck it, no? So why is it pretty?"

This should be a T-shirt.

tz said...

Also on, see Julian Bakery - they had fake low-carb bread, then replaced it with actual low-carb bread that was the consistency of a kitchen sponge (with entertaining video showing what it can be used for).

Yes, genetics, but if you do GMO to make the sugar and carbs indigestible, they likely will be worse.

JCclimber said...

God is a master designer. The fact that 200 or 300 generations after the fall we are still functional and can live over 100 years, testifies to that fact. The fact that after a worldwide flood wipes the earth and yet there is still incredible beauty testifies also.

There is nothing inherently contradictory that we are attracted to the traits that are also associated with a higher purity of the original perfect genetic code.

It is the lustful desire to possess that which is not ours, to covet the use of that beauty which is the sinful part. There is nothing sinful in being attracted to the beauty, it is when we allow the thoughts to stray into territory outside our rights that we are going into dangerous territory.

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Jake said...

People like the lady pictured are addicts. Her addiction to carbohydrates is probably as powerful if not more powerful than a crack addict's. She has so wrecked her metabolism that even with hundreds of pounds of fat hanging off every inch of her body if she doesn't eat more carbs nearly continuously she finds she is starving. The irony is that at a cellular level she IS starving. All that fat stored away is chemically trapped and not available for fuel at a rate that can even come close to keeping up with her needs.

I say this not to absolve her of blame or responsibility, she's responsible for her actions and their consequences, but the challenge she faces to change is I think quite a bit greater than people who go on a diet to lose 10-20 pounds understand. She has to go on a diet AND go through withdrawal from a powerful addiction at the same time. She has to do this having already devastated her metabolism and overall healh.

I have pity for such people, then I go into the kitchen and throw out any of that processed junk that has accumulated in the pantry. We don't buythe stuff shown up there in any quantity, but it seems like both mine and my wife's parents have learned to bring their own junk-food-fixes whenever they visit. It really is an addiction.

Jill said...

I have had my DNA done. According to my genetics, I'm 3 X's more likely to be obese than your average person. Aside from pregnancy, my BMI has never been over 20. Yeah, I understand that the science of genetics is ever evolving and that they may be wrong on the genetics of obesity. Yet, I firmly believe I've never struggled with my weight because my mother taught us children moderation and fed us real food. So many girls don't stand a chance because of the way their parents fed them, because of all those negative habits they're trained to have as children. They also must overcome chemical estrogens, as well as other exposure that will take its toll on the thyroid. Although there are obese men out there with manboobs due to the same issues, girls are more likely to be obese because estrogen attracts fat cells. Honestly, I feel a lot of sympathy for kids who grow up on Pop Tarts and other crap. Many of them don't know where to begin.

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mina smith said...

processed foods f*ck up your body and make it impossible to be healthy. quantity and frequency are unimportant. any amount of processed foods are bad.

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