Sunday, March 03, 2013

Fat people live longer 'because their brains get more nourishment under stress', says obesity doctor

Yikes!  How "incorrect"!

Fat people live longer than their skinny counterparts because their brains get more nourishment under stress, a German obesity expert has claimed.

Achim Peters says that overweight people are more suited to the stresses of modern life because their metabolisms are better able deal with it.

Professor Peters, of Luebeck University in northern Germany and author of the book 'Overweight Myths - Why Fat People Live Longer,' has been studying the brain and weight related issues for three decades. He says it is a myth that fat people die sooner than their thin counterparts.

He said: 'People react to a stressful, uncertain circumstances in two different ways. Some eat and become fat.

'The others refuse food and become thin. The ones who become really ill are the thin ones. The fat ones are, in comparison with the thin ones, much healthier.'

He added that being thin in itself not a problem, but those who lose weight when under stress are in danger.

'We have to worry much more about the thin stressed people than about the fat stressed people. Yet they are not regarded widely as having a problem precisely because they are thin. But in fact they die earliest.'

Professor Peters told a German newspaper that he and his colleagues studied 'toxic stress' brought on by factors outside of an individual's control, such as poverty, bullying, abuse, divorce, low self-esteem and trouble in the workplace.

Individuals who pile on the pounds under such circumstance 'get the nutrients they need to feed their brains.

'When the brain doesn't get them from external sources, it gets them from within - from muscles and even worse, from the organs. Thin stressed people are the least healthy people.'

He went on: 'So far, only the relationship between being overweight and mortality has been studied. The cause of the mortality is not in just being overweight, it lies in stress.'

He said that 'social imbalances' that lead to stress cannot be fixed with diets - rather, it is the duty of government to worry about taking away the stresses of modern day life to get people to shed some weight.  'Society needs to change, not fat people,' he added.

Asked if there is an ideal weight, he said; 'No. Modern research speaks only of weight diversity. Every human being has the survival strategy ideal for his or her life.

'The ostracism of fatties puts pressure on fat people psychologically.'

Indeed, he said, there are studies that prove that fat people earn less, are fired faster and are more often bullied.

He added that the idea that slimness equals beauty 'contributes greatly to the misfortunes of the overweight'.

'If you look carefully there were or are stressful circumstances for fat people who do not seem stressed. But these people have found a solution.

'They have become stress tolerant and in return, get a balanced mood. But they have to pay a price for this - eating.'

There are anti-stress therapies which he said were effective in the longer term and could alter eating behaviour and lead to weight loss.


Most Americans Say the Government Should Let People Drink What They Want

NYC Department of Health and Mental HygieneNew York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's big beverage ban, which takes effect on March 12, imposes a 16-ounce limit on servings of sugar-sweetened drinks sold by bars, restaurants, food carts, and snack stands.

This week Bloomberg urged the New York legislature to make food service businesses throughout the state comply with his pint-size prescription. But the latest Reason-Rupe Public Opinion Survey suggests the busybody billionaire may have trouble selling this policy outside of New York City. Only one in four respondents thought "the sale of drinks larger than 16 ounces" should be prohibited, while 71 percent said it should be allowed. Similarly, 28 percent thought Bloomberg's policy is "an effective way to fight obesity," while 68 percent said it is not. Democrats were considerably more likely than Republicans to favor a 16-ounce limit (33 percent vs. 20 percent), and there was a similar gap between self-identified conservatives and progressives. Looking at age trends, support for the drink diktat was highest among respondents 65 or older, 35 percent of whom thought it was a good idea, and lowest among 45-to-54-year-olds, only 16 percent of whom wanted to tell people how much soda they may order.

Think ProgressThere was more overall support for banning caffeinated energy drinks, an idea embraced by 34 percent of respondents and rejected by 59 percent. One reason an outright ban on energy drinks fared better than a limit on soda servings may be that most of the respondents (61 percent) were under the mistaken impression that energy drinks contain more caffeine per ounce than coffee. Another 25 percent thought the two kinds of beverages have about the same caffeine content, which is also wrong. Only 3 percent correctly said that energy drinks have less caffeine per ounce than coffee. Yellow journalists like New York Times reporter Barry Meier probably can take considerable credit for the public's confusion on this point, although the fact that energy drinks are newer and less familiar than coffee no doubt plays a role as well. (It also helps explain why reporters like Meier view energy drinks with such alarm, even though they pose a demonstrably smaller risk of caffeine overdose than coffee does.) Not surprisingly, support for banning energy drinks, which are especially popular among teenagers and young adults, rises with age. Support was lowest among respondents 34 and younger and highest among respondents 65 and older (23 percent vs. 48 percent).

Four Loko no longer counts as an energy drink, since its manufacturer, Phusion Projects, agreed to decaffeinate the fruity malt beverage in 2010 under pressure from the Food and Drug Administration. But it still contains about the same amount of alcohol per ounce as wine, which worries the Federal Trade Commission. This month the FTC announced that it had forced Phusion Projects to put a new "Alcohol Facts" label on Four Loko warning that each 23.5-ounce can contains what the government considers to be 4.7 servings of alcohol. While 14 percent of the Reason-Rupe respondents thought this information would encourage people to drink less, 17 percent said it would encourage people to drink more, and 63 percent said it would have no impact on consumption. I am proud to say that skepticism was strongest among 45-to-54-year-olds, 69 percent of whom saw the requirement as ineffective. That is also the age group that was most skeptical of Bloombergian beverage regulations, with 83 percent opposing the policy and 81 percent deeming it ineffective. Middle-aged respondents were not quite as libertarian on the subject of energy drinks, however: About two-fifths of them supported a ban.


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