Saturday, January 19, 2019

America Fattens on Snake Oil

by Tina Dupuy (writer), Echo Park, February 23, 2007


I like to think of myself as someone who acknowledges trends but is not ruled by them. For example, I know the 1980's are back in fashion, but I didn't tease my bangs the first time around, so it's even less likely to happen now. And yes, pegged pants make your (and my) butt look big.

Speaking of which, if you're reading this and are American there is a greater than 65% chance that your butt is actually big.

The obesity epidemic is saturated with duplicity. Fat people lie about how much they eat, diet gurus "fudge" the facts about how much people can actually lose and food makers spin and bend the truth about their products. All the while Americans have themselves become the elephants in their own living rooms.

#I'm not supposed to deny myself."

#Lose 10-pounds in a week!"

"Eat all you want and lose weight."

"I'm big boned."

"Healthy menu options."



"Burn more calories."



"I don't eat that much."

"All the stars in Hollywood are doing it."

This health crisis is lies agreed upon. As much as I would like to blame the food industry for their sexy commercials about cuisine that one should rarely if never eat, the "forbidden fruit" which has never seen a tree, it's not all their fault. As much as I would like to blame the individuals for being junkie hedonists hell-bent on feel good food consumed with reckless abandoned, it's not all their fault. As much as I would like to paint all those diet hysteria gurus as snake oil salesmen cult leaders preaching the tenets of grapefruit this week and Grape Nuts the next - it's not all their fault.

It's ALL of their faults.

A case in point is the recent call to phase out trans fat usage in Los Angeles restaurants. It sounds like a radical change. Anything that requires a decal must be accomplishing something. It sounds good enough. "All food will be fried without using trans fats!" Uh, yeah, but all your food will still be, well - fried. Remember, Kraft took the trans fat out of Oreos in 2003. It didn't magically make them into carrot sticks. They're still a high calorie, high sugar sandwich cookie. They're still effen Oreos.

So we are still in this haze of misnomers, denial and omissions. We're still fat. The battle against trans fat is like a trendy diet calling for little sacrifice and yielding little results. It'ss like plucking your eyebrows in hopes that you won't need to get your teeth straightened. Will it make people consume less trans fat? Sure. Will it make people less fat? I won't hold my breath (unless that'ss the next miracle in weight loss -- then I may consider it).

Not that I like the idea of the government, local or national, banning things. But for a real radical change in the general public's waistline, would be a ban on high-fructose corn syrup. Since its introduction into the American food supply in 1980, we have gotten fatter and fatter. It's called "natural" because it presumably started out as corn. The same argument can be made for heroin, "It can't be bad for you, it's just poppies Think of this smack as a lump of concentrated flowers." Nutritionists generally agree that the HFCS is bad news for weight control. Take that out of Oreos and then I'll be impressed.

In this sea of dishonesty, I tend to believe the least popular answer has a higher probability of truth. The truth: being thin is hard work. On a daily basis you have to burn more than you consume. When there's a choice, it's more engaging to do less and eat more. The truth: the food industry is successful if consumers are consuming and they have been VERY successful. Making products you want to eat more of is just a good business model. The truth: reasonable and sound advice about eating doesn' start the newest diet hysteria and that doesn't sell any snake oil.

And the truth is also this: people don't want to hear sound advice. We've been told it. We just don't listen. We want to hear that if you hold your breath, you'll burn twice as many calories than if you breathe normally. It's the latest trend in weight loss -- all the stars are doing it.

About the Writer

Tina Dupuy is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
Want to write articles too? Sign up & become a writer!

5 comments on America Fattens on Snake Oil

Log In To Vote   Score: 3
By Matt Weston on February 23, 2007 at 05:59 pm
Beautifully written and argued. The call for all sides to share the blame for obesity is great to read. Are you worried that these new ethanol initiatives may further empower corn growers, making it even harder for nutritionists or gov't -- or whoever -- to snip corn syrup from ingredient lists? That would be a sad irony.
 Report abuse

Log In To Vote   Score: 2
By Ariel on February 23, 2007 at 06:36 pm
Oh wow, El G! I think it's the first time I see you complimenting an author on an article :)
 Report abuse

Log In To Vote   Score: 2
By V on February 23, 2007 at 06:58 pm
Great article! Great writing! I remember many years ago when I first came on a visit to the USA. I passed some place that had a lingerie sale on. I didn't have time to try stuff on so I just bought my size and went home, to Australia. When I finally put the things on, I was amazed that they fit perfectly everwhere except, there was this big, baggy, nappy-like arse flapping at the back. Now, I do have an arse, but I've since realized that by American standards, it's small. Then I moved here and for sure I have noted American chicks are simply more buxom. Bigger butts & bigger boobs. It's interesting. And I'm not talking about fat women, they're just bigger in general I guess - we're not counting the LA LA Hollywood set of course. So too though, I have been amazed when I order stuff in Asian restaurants and 75% of the time things that have no business being fried are fried. Hmmm ... Good article!
 Report abuse

Log In To Vote   Score: 1
By Tina Dupuy on February 23, 2007 at 07:51 pm
Thanks yawl.
 Report abuse

Log In To Vote   Score: 0
By Lady D on January 07, 2008 at 12:41 pm
No magic pill, I'm depresed. Great article.
 Report abuse

Add A Comment!

Click here to signup or login.

Rate This Article

Your vote matters to us