The Monbiot Effect Series

Part 1 of 3:

George Monbiot Goes Off the Deep End with His Obesity Article in the Guardian

Part 1 of 3: George Monbiot Goes Off the Deep End with His Obesity Article in the Guardian
Part 2 of 3: George Monbiot's Feral Debunked
Part 3 of 3: George Monbiot's Rewilding Soul

By: Shawn Alli
Posted: October 1, 2015

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*All individuals and organizations receive 3 full days of pre-publication notice.


*Disclosure: I am NOT funded by any private interest groups (NGOs, foundations, industry or political entities).


* For George Monbiot's view on climate change please see Part 6 of 8: Environmental Journalists - George Monbiot.

 

This article is the first installment of an ongoing series to critically examine the influence of George Monbiot's work.

 

 

Monbiot's influence on environmental and socioeconomic issues is worthy of its own effect, which I call, "The Monbiot Effect."

 

Don't believe in man-made climate change? The Monbiot Effect will straighten you out.

 

Don't believe in organic farming? Watch the Monbiot Effect in action and you'll be a believer.

 

Don't believe in nuclear energy? The radiation from the Monbiot Effect will transform your genetic memory.

 

I'm going to slowly unpackage one of Monbiot's articles in the Guardian. The fact that many mainstream and alternative media journalists keep online articles short is nonsensical and underestimates the reader's desire to know more.

 

Readers should be warned that my writing often encapsulates broad tangents, and this series will be no different. Feel free to make some popcorn for the long read.

 

The Manipulation of Science

In August 2015 Monbiot writes an article in the Guardian, "Obesity is an incurable disease. So why is the government intent on punishing sufferers?"

 

Right off the bat, intelligent readers should be able to see the garbage.

 

The idea that obesity is "incurable" or a "disease" is powerfully stupid.

 

The idea that people are "driven to eat," "genetically conditioned," or "biologically locked into that condition" is beyond stupidity, even for Western-European scientists.

 

Monbiot uses three peer-reviewed articles to support this nonsensical claim. [1] [2] [3] One article is a review article that doesn't mention the words "cure" or "incurable." Another article is an actual research one. This one also doesn't use the words "cure" or "incurable." It's in the final article, an opinion piece (the weakest of the three), that Monbiot finds what he's looking for:

We urge individuals in the medical and scientific community to seek a better understanding of the biological factors that maintain obesity and to approach it as a disease that cannot be reliably prevented or cured with current frontline methods. [4]

 

The deception is brilliant.

 

Monbiot uses a peer-reviewed opinion article while referencing two stronger ones that don't mention the term "cure" or "incurable" to create the result he wants. That's ideological cherry picking at its best.

 

But let's really get into this article.

 

The Value of Information

In the beginning paragraph Monbiot compares overeating to crack cocaine addiction. [4]

 

If a stranger comes up to you on the street and mentions this comparison, you'd most likely dismiss it (which is the correct decision). Because Monbiot is a titan of environmental social activism with a column in a mainstream UK newspaper, the comparison magically holds more value.

 

To be fair, the increase in value of information isn't really magical, it's merely subjective. And it happens all the time.

 

An idiot says ABC premise and conclusion and no one listens. A respected scientist says ABC premise and conclusion and it moves into the category of "knowledge" and becomes a major headline. Subjectively, the information changes to knowledge and has a higher degree of value because it's being spoken by an "expert" or someone with "credibility." Objectively, the information is always information and has an equal neutral value.

 

As a philosopher, it's quite sad to see most Western-European scientists arguing for objective reality in medical science while claiming that they have no ideologies, or that it doesn't influence their work. Nothing could be further from the truth.

 

As I mention in past articles, I don't have a problem with ideologies or ideological science, as long as it's represented as ideological. While many individuals may think that the scientific method represents objective truth, such thinking is delusional. The most useful example is eugenics.

 

From the 1920s to the '60s Western-European scientists represent eugenics as objective scientific truth. It's only in the last few decades that it's "reinterpreted" as ideological science.

 

Many scientists now claim that eugenics (or any ideological science) isn't really "science" at all. But that's merely a scapegoat tactic.

 

A broad definition of "practicing science" is one who utilizes the scientific method: an observation, a falsifiable hypothesis, empirical measurements and repeatability/ reproducibility/replicability.

 

However, in the 21st century, the repeatability of most research is non-existent, with most scientists being statisticians interpreting and reinterpreting results. Objective conclusions exist only in the imaginations of gullible liberal minded people who have blind faith in science.

 

Utilizing the scientific method to "prove" eugenics is still practicing science, albeit not good science, but ideological science.

 

Moving on.

 

Still in the first paragraph, Monbiot says:

...across a nine-year study of 176,000 obese people, 98.3% of the men and 97.8% of the women failed to return to a healthy weight. Once extreme overeating begins, it appears to be almost impossible to stop. [4]

 

So we have an observation and a conclusion. At least 97% of 176,000 obese people can't lose weight, therefore overeating can't be stopped. And to go one step further...therefore obese people are victims. It looks like a logical deductive argument. But that's the problem with philosophy. Cold hard logic (or neutral logic), fails as a method to explain and interpret human activity.

 

Though logic is great for mathematics, physics and computer software, when's the last time a politician, a friend, your parents or your employer utilizes deductive logic to explain something to you?

 

Most likely never.

 

And the reason for the absence of deductive logic is because life is more complex than premises and conclusions. Many philosophers would disagree because they believe that almost all human activity can be "reduced" to deductive logic.

 

But when's the last time you ever thought highly of a philosopher?

 

Genetic Determinism

Getting back to the initial observation, 97% of 176,000 obese people can't lose weight. I don't have a problem with this observation (nor should anyone else). The problem is in the conclusion: therefore it's almost impossible for obese people to lose weight.

 

The real issue is the cause of obesity. And while many books, peer-reviewed articles, and weight loss programs have an answer, the real cause (which everyone already knows), is bad parenting and lack of extraordinary willpower. That's it. Obesity is merely a symptom of overeating, not a disease.

 

So the question remains, why is the potentially obese person (POP) overeating? The usual answer is biological, "they're driven to eat because of their genetics." I'm sorry, but that's garbage. Genetic determinism (aside from chromosomal diseases) is a completely discredited theory.

 

Genetic determinism is only true for small insignificant things such as eye and skin color and hair type. But even ones eye color can change naturally for a small percentage of people in their teens and adult life.

 

Many intellectuals, scientists and journalists know that the term "genetic determinism" is unpopular, so they soften is as:

"biological impulses,"
"biological wiring,"
"biochemical adaptations," or
"biologically driven."

 

These terms are more palatable for the global general public to digest and accept as "factual knowledge." Word manipulation is a common arsenal in repackaging unpopular ideologies.

 

Looking at the peer-reviewed research article again, I do a word search for the terms "birth weight," "birth," or "born" to see if there's any mention of the birth weight for the 176,495 obese people. If the birth weight for...say 90% of them comes in as overweight, you may think that it's a pretty solid case for genetic determinism.

 

While on the surface it may look like genetic determinism, in reality it's not. It's cultural, also known as "bad parenting." Overweight and obese parents are overfeeding their kids from infancy to their teenage years.

 

In an email request for comment I ask the authors:

1.  Do you have the birth weights for all 176,495 obese individuals? If so, can you please send it to me? And, if you've already analyzed the birth weights can you please tell me the average?

 

Unfortunately, they don't have the records.

 

If available, I believe that 90% of the records would show a normal birth weight (around 7lbs). It's only because of bad parenting and a lack of extraordinary willpower that a POP becomes obese.

 

Let's try a hypothetical scenario:

 

Let's say that Shaquille O'Neal is born in the US under normal conditions and then immediately shipped off to a poor African community with chronic malnutrition.

 

Do you think that Shaq will have the height and bone mass that he has today?

 

Not with chronic malnutrition from the moment he's born. All of the genes associated with height and bone mass would adapt to the environment and the end result would be a smaller and much skinnier Shaq.

 

In a real life example, model Sarah Stage gives birth to an 8lbs 7oz baby. [5] Stage is a skinny model that gets a lot of criticism for her toned physique while being pregnant. [6]

 

But the question remains, why isn't the baby skinny like her mom?

 

It's because thousands of factors go into the baby-making process. Genetics is merely one. And remember...your genetics can change. The idea that your genetics is made in stone is complete ideological junk science.

 

Even in cases of chromosomal diseases, not all people with abnormal chromosomes will manifest the genetic abnormality. Some people are just carriers for it. Why? Again, it's not genetic. There is no genetic bible in general or specialized to you that will show you, if x happens, then y takes place.

 

You should think of genetics as a potential blueprint. Just because it's in the blueprints doesn't mean that's how it's going to look in real life. Intelligent Western-European scientists know that genetics, like everything else, is about influence, not determinism.

 

Obviously, Monbiot's position on genetic determinism is clear for obesity. But I'm curious as to what other ailments he would apply it to.

 

In July 2015 Canada's Chief of Defense Staff General Tom Lawson gives an interview to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) about sexual assault being endemic in Canada's military. [7] One of his claims is unbelievable. He says:

It's a trite answer, but it's because we are biologically wired in a certain way...and there will be those that believe that it is a reasonable thing to press themselves and their desires on others. [7]

 

Biologically wired in a certain way? For sexual assault?

 

Seriously?

 

I'm not sure how General Lawson comes to this conclusion (he apologizes the next day [8]), but no credible scientist on the planet would ever claim that humans are biologically wired to commit sexual assault.

 

And if you open up that door, then technically, every criminal act (and all actions in general) is open to the "biological wiring" argument.

 

In an email request for comment I ask Monbiot:

1. Do you believe that sexual assault is due to biological impulses?

2. Do you believe that intelligence is due to biological wiring (not including individuals with developmental disabilities)?

3. Do you believe that character development/emotional maturity is due to biological wiring (not including individuals with developmental disabilities)?

 

Thankfully, he's kind enough to respond:

1. I don't know. This is not an issue I have looked into.

2. Again, this is outside my field.

3. Once more, I don't know. None of these are issues I have investigated.
I'm the wrong person to ask. Sorry.

 

Contrary to what you might believe, there's no such thing as the gay gene, the alcoholic gene, the sociopath gene, the god gene, the depression gene or the obesity gene. Such deterministic notions are merely ideological ones by people striving to understand themselves.

 

Let's try another hypothetical scenario. You have a juicy burger in front of you. You're starving, you're obese, you want to lose weight, and you're sitting with your friends. What do you do?

 

Though the action will happen in a split second, it's a collection of influences: genetic, epigenetic, parental, personal, social, mental, emotional, environmental, cultural and even spiritual/religious. There is no genetic cause that "determines" what the next action will look like.

 

But let's get back to the issue at hand.

 

The Obesity Industry

Another reason why a POP is overeating is because they're not getting sufficient nutrients in their diet. As an infant, child, or teenager, a POP eating food with no nutrition will constantly eat more to get it. This is why most infants, children or teenagers who eat highly nutritious food don't overeat. Their body doesn't need any more nutrients.

 

The lack of nutritious food is a huge problem in developing and even developed countries. You might think that developed nation governments shouldn't have a problem with providing highly nutritious food for their residents; but such a notion doesn't take into account capitalism.

 

It's good business to have obese people.

 

Multi-billion dollar industries now cater to obese children all the way up to their elderly years. [9] [10] [11] [12] And based on current patterns, it will continue to do so for a very long time.

 

All of those generational cheap and expensive name brand cereals, breads, cookies and confectionary goods have no significant nutrition. It just tastes good due to unethical scientists. Like any other industry, the food industry has greedy CEOs that just care about profit and living a life of luxury.

 

But the blame also goes to corporate scientists. They intentionally create food products that lack nutrition or are fortified with synthetic vitamins and rebrand it as a great healthy product.

 

Do you want thousands of beneficial phytonutrients in your food? You won't get them in popular commercial brands. And even if the products do have phytonutrients, the amounts are insignificant due to pasteurization (fat-soluble vitamins and phytonutrients are the exception). However, most fruits and vegetables have both fat and water soluble vitamins and phytonutrients. So it's a trade off.

 

And the same argument applies to produce. Do you think that eating modern hybrid or GMO apples, broccoli, spinach, corn, or potatoes is good for you? Well, it's better than junk food, but not good enough.

 

The Decline of Nutrition in Food

The quantity and quality of nutrition in crops in Western-European countries is getting worse due to garbage agricultural practices. This includes getting a good dose of synthetic pesticides, herbicides and fungicides in every bite. [13] [14] [15] [16] [17] And that applies to organic crops as well. [18]

 

The peer reviewed literature is convincing.

 

Please note that I'm not comparing the vitamin, mineral and phytonutrient content of organics vs. conventional/GMO crops. That debate is too long and complex for this article. I'm merely showing the evidence for a significant decline in nutrients in today's crops.

 

7. The effect of nitrogen in reducing the percentage of calcium in plants has been confirmed under a number of widely variable soil conditions and in many plant species.

8. Application of calcium as superphosphate has not ordinarily been associated with any change in the calcium concentration in the plant.

9. A reduction in the concentration of calcium in plants has generally followed potash fertilization. No positive correlations of calcium in plants with potassium supply have been reported. [19]

 

During the early 1930s agricultural chemicals were hardly used. Manure and compost were the main fertilizers used. After the war practices changed and farmers became more reliant on the use of fertilizers and other agrochemicals as well as heavy farm machinery.

Agriculture which relies on NPK fertilizers and pesticides, that adds little organic matter to the soil and that alternates between soil compaction and ploughing, could produce food depleted in minerals. These practices affect the structure, chemistry and ecology of the soil in ways that could affect the availability of minerals to plants and hence the mineral content of crops. [20]

 

We hypothesize that Mayer's and our findings of overall nutrient declines may result importantly from decades of selecting food crops for high yield, with resulting inadvertent trade-offs of reduced nutrient concentrations. [21]

 

In fruits, vegetables, and grains, usually 80% to 90% of the dry weight yield is carbohydrate. Thus, when breeders select for high yield, they are, in effect, selecting mostly for high carbohydrate with no assurance that dozens of other nutrients and thousands of phytochemicals will all increase in proportion to yield. [22]

 

I think it's safe to say that modern farmers (not organic) are sacrificing quality for quantity.

 

And the problem only gets worse when you look for information online.

 

A simple Google search will bring up millions of web pages that list the amount of vitamins and minerals in various food products. But that's only in theory. In reality, a particular fruit or vegetable may or may not have such amounts. It all depends on the farming.

 

And unfortunately, consumers wanting nutritional confirmation are out of luck. There is no portable consumer device that can reveal the nutritional amounts of various food products. Perhaps a budding entrepreneur will capitalize on this idea.

 

The multi-billion dollar food industry is smart enough to capitalize on the new health conscious Western-European population by adding synthetic vitamins to their products (even junk food snacks).

 

Synthetic vitamins are definitely better than no vitamins, but if your body can't utilize it then it's worth nothing. While every person's body is quite similar to each other, it's also quite different in how it digests, processes, absorbs, and releases nutrients.

 

But let's get back to the real issue.

 

Bad Parenting

The real reason why a POP is overeating is because of bad parenting. While a POP is under 18, as a child and teenager they're more or less under the law (and financial dependence) of their parents/guardians/care-givers.

 

And if their parents start to overfeed them from infancy to their teenage years, after that, it's quite difficult for them to lose the excess weight. The amount of willpower necessary to lose all of that weight has to be extraordinary.

 

This is why the problem isn't just a "lack of willpower." The now obese person needs to have an abnormally large/strong willpower to go beyond their past conditioning: genetic, epigenetic, parental, personal, social, mental, emotional, cultural and even spiritual/religious.

 

Being a philosopher, I may not know many things in life, but I do know that if an obese (not overweight) adult loses the excess weight (without liposuction or surgery), such a person is well suited to be a leader and be successful in life.

 

And now we can move onto the second paragraph in the article.

 

Perception

In the second paragraph Monbiot says:

If you try to lose weight, the body perceives that it is being starved...[4]

 

The body perceives?

 

While such a statement is quite common and true, as a philosopher it's still a contentious claim.

 

So the body's perception counts as one perception. And then there's the "you/conscious" perception. And then comes the "you" in the dream state perception, which is different than the conscious perception (unless you're having a lucid dream). And potentially, there's the subconscious/unconscious perception that has no agreeable definition.

 

That's at least four different types of perception in one human body. Four different ways of perceiving reality.

 

Getting back to our earlier statement about the body's perception, are the conscious or subconscious/unconscious aspects aware of the body being starved? Are these aspects of perception not intelligent enough to figure out that the person (conscious perception) desires to lose weight?

 

And if the subconscious/unconscious perception is intelligent enough to figure out the desires of the conscious perception, then why would it make sense that the body's perception interprets losing weight as a negative event? Shouldn't it perceive it as a necessary event to fulfill the desire of the conscious perception?

 

Ah...the endless mysteries of perception and reality.

 

The Problem of Choice

Moving on in the paragraph, Monbiot provides a quotation from the peer-reviewed opinion article:

Once obesity is established...bodyweight seems to become biologically stamped in. [4]

 

Again, this is just the opinion of scientists who "believe" in the ideological theory of genetic determinism for obesity.

 

But the statement is worth analyzing, particularly the words, "once obesity is established." This is a life-changing moment for a POP. This is when a person "chooses" to accept their obesity. This is a fascinating and foundational point for a POP (now obese). But it's all due to choice. As the cliche from the Matrix film series goes:

The problem is choice. [23]

 

And just to be clear, no gene determines that choice. It's 100% their own choosing.

 

The problem is compounded by the fact that the choice, like all other choices, is a non-physical phenomenon.

 

We're going from physical genes to non-physical choices.

 

Unfortunately, for neurologists, neuroendocrinologists, neuroscientists and all professions that begin with "neuro," there are no neurons stamped with the "obesity choice." It's a non-physical phenomenon that the current scientific method is incapable of taking into account.

 

Monbiot goes on to interpret the statement and says:

The more weight you lose, the stronger the biological pressure to get back to your former, excessive. [4]

 

Biological pressure?

 

Ah...the famous nature vs. nurture debate, a nonsensical notion that's worthy of unpackaging.

 

The term comes from Francis Galton, the founder of eugenics and cousin of Charles Darwin. In Galton's 1874 book English men of science: their nature and nurture, he says:

When nature and nurture compete for supremacy on equal terms in the sense to be explained, the former proves the stronger. [24]

...Differences of nurture stamp unmistakable marks on the disposition of the soldier, clergyman, or scholar, but are wholly insufficient to efface the deeper marks of individual character. [25]

 

The idea that nature and nurture "compete" for supremacy is one of the dumbest notions in all of philosophy, psychology and biology. The idea that your genetics is trying to dominate "you" and wages war against environmental, cultural, social, religious, academic, and political influences is powerfully stupid.

 

The truth of the matter is that everything plays a role in your development: genetics, epigenetics, parental upbringing, environment, culture, politics, peers, academics, society, religion and mass media.

 

Currently, there is no ideological or scientific theory that can explain how all of these influences shape your personality and actions. And aside from all of these influences, the greatest of all of them is consciousness/mind, also known as freewill.

 

Intellectuals, scientists and journalists that believe in the work of Galton, namely eugenics and nature vs. nurture, are practicing ideological science.

 

Moving on.


 
Forever Obese

In the next paragraph Monbiot doubles down on biological adaptations:

The researchers find that "these biological adaptations often persist indefinitely": in other words, if you have once been obese, staying slim means sticking to a strict diet for life. The best you can hope for is not a dietary cure, but "obesity in remission". The only effective, long-term treatment for obesity currently available, the paper says, is bariatric surgery. This can cause a number of grim complications. [4]

 

Biological adaptations? That's an interesting concept worth unpackaging.

 

In theory it sounds correct. Once something happens to the body, the body memorizes it. Such is the case for the immune system and viruses. If you get a flu virus and let your body fight it naturally without a flu vaccine, you'll most likely have natural immunity for life against that particular strain.

 

An interesting scientific theory that explains the memory of biological events is that of neuron pathways in the brain. The more you do something the greater the "neural strength." Repetition equals success. This is quite interesting, but also lacking.

 

The problem is that obesity isn't the same thing as a virus or a repetitive action. Though an obese person regularly puts food in their mouth, the ability to control how many times they do so is based on their willpower (a non-physical phenomenon), not neurons and/or genetic memory.

 

Think of it this way. All of the actions you do in life are recorded by the body in terms of neurons and/or genetic memory. If you change the actions, you change the recording. This means that neurons and/or genetic memory will take a new neural pathway.

 

As your willpower changes your actions, the neurons and/or genetic memory have to change with it. There is no neuron or gene that determines your actions. It's just recording it based on your choices/willpower/freewill.

 

And in regards to bariatric surgery, I'm not denying that it's the most likely option for an obese person. But such a person is already past the goal post. If we likened this to hockey, if you're obese, you can say that the moment you score is the moment you go from a POP to actually being obese. To expect to go backwards in life quickly and without risks is nonsensical.

 

Still along the same lines, Monbiot says:

People who are merely overweight, rather than obese (in other words who have a body mass index of 25 to 30) appear not to suffer from the same biochemical adaptations: their size is not "stamped in". For them, changes of diet and exercise are likely to be effective. [4]

 

So having a body mass index of 31 instead of 30 "stamps in" biological adaptations?

 

Seriously?

 

Such thinking is due to junk ideological science.

 

Still along the same lines, Monbiot says:

The crucial task is to reach children before they succumb to this addiction. [4]

 

This addiction?

 

The truth about alcohol, drug and obese addictions is that it's always a choice. There is no genetic/biological determinism forcing a person to drink, drug or feed themselves. Granted, it may not be a fair choice due to circumstances, but it's always a choice.

 

Still along the same lines, Monbiot says:

...Unless children are steered away from overeating from the beginning, they are likely to be trapped for life. [4]

 

Trapped for life?

 

Seriously?

 

Again, such genetic/biological determinism is due to junk ideological science. It has no place in "real" science.

 

Still along the same lines, Monbiot says:

The evidence points to high-fat, high-sugar foods that overwhelm the impulse control of children and young adults, packaged and promoted to create the impression that they are fun. [4]

 

Overwhelm the impulse control of kids?

 

While that may be the case, such actions fall under the responsibility of the parents. They "choose" whether to give into their child or not. Good parents won't give in. And though the child will no doubt be angry with them, in the long run they'll thank them for a job well done.

 

Moving on.

 

Obesity Resembles Cancer

In the next paragraph Monbiot says:

I know this statement will be unwelcome. I too hate the idea that people cannot change their circumstances. But the terrible truth is that, except through surgery, for the great majority of sufferers obesity is an incurable disease. In one respect it resembles cancer: the changes in lifestyle that might have prevented it are unlikely to be of use in curing it. [4]

 

I believe it's incorrect to brand obese people as "sufferers."

 

While it's most likely true that they're suffering emotionally, it would be disingenuous to claim that they don't play a role in becoming obese. Only people who believe in the junk ideology of genetic/biological determinism, like Monbiot, would see them as a passive observer who suffers a fate out of their control.

 

Oddly enough, the idea that obesity is like cancer is actually true. Just not the way that Monbiot and Western-European scientists/doctors think it is.

 

Though they're completely different conditions, they share remarkable similarities:

 

Both are due to conditioning, parental (for obesity) and lifestyle (for cancer).

Both are capable of being cured via dietary means and changing ones environment/circumstances.

Both require the willpower to move forward to cure it (as long as the damage done isn't too far gone).

Both have multi-billion dollar industries attached to "treating" and/or "managing" the condition.

 

Moving on.

 

Fat-shaming

In the next two paragraphs Monbiot digs into his opponents for shaming obese people:

Fat-shaming is worse than useless. Another paper found that the more weight-conscious people are, the more likely they are to overeat: the stress it induces is a trigger for comfort eating.

...But urging obese people to buck up produces nothing but misery. [4]

 

Think of yourself talking to an obese person:

"So let me get this straight. Your parents put you on the path of obesity in childhood. You eventually accepted it and became obese. And now you've decided to be conscious of your weight?"

"Yes."

"Oh..kay."

 

Moving on.

 

Obesity and the Government

I agree with Monbiot about the UK government's possible response. It's quite unethical to withhold social security payments from obese people who refuse treatment.

 

While the judgments will always exist, as long as obese people aren't harming others and within reason, I say...to each their own.

 

But Monbiot goes overboard:

Are Cameron and Black proposing that benefit claimants will be forced to undergo surgery? Or will they be pressed into a useless and punitive dietary regime? These proposals look to me like a transfer of blame for the disease away from food manufacturers and advertisers, and on to those afflicted. [4]

 

So food manufacturers and advertisers are causing the "disease" of obesity? Good luck arguing that in court.

 

Monbiot goes on to lament the effect that obesity will have on the UK health system:

The disease will keep ravaging the population (and slowly overwhelm the health service) until these circumstances change. [4]

 

Ravaging the population?

 

Seriously?

 

Monbiot is definitely in his own world.

 

Obesity doesn't "ravage" anyone. It's just due to bad parenting and a lack of extraordinary willpower. There's no need to add extra layers of subterfuge.

 

While I'm sure that obesity is pushing the UK health system to its limits, Monbiot fails to realize that it's good for business. Infinite supply and constant demand for services is the holy grail of any business.

 

The UK health system (along with the US and Canada) need their patients to maintain their over bloated health care system. Their condition is necessary to pay for all those exuberant doctor wages, new hospitals and fancy medical technology.

 

Solutions

Monbiot's solution is...a bit radical:

Industry and government will resist the obvious solutions until they can be resisted no longer. Eventually the change will have to happen, with similar restrictions on advertising, sponsorship, display and accessibility to those imposed on the tobacco pedlars. One day, though not before many thousands have needlessly died, it will become illegal to advertise any food or drink that merits a red traffic-light warning. They will be sold only in plain packaging, with health warnings, on high shelves. [4]

 

Illegal to advertise unhealthy food?

 

Seriously?

 

This solution has no merit in the real world. Monbiot is definitely thinking inside his own box.

 

Oddly enough, Monbiot doesn't mention Mexico's solution to obesity. Fat taxes. In 2013 the Mexican government passes new taxes on junk food. [26] And it's beginning to make a financial difference for corporations. [27]

 

In 2014 the city council in Berkeley, California passes a law taxing sugary drinks. [28]

 

In June 2015 San Francisco city council passes a law to put a warning label on sugary drinks (which applies to advertising as well):

WARNING: Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay. This is a message from the City and County of San Francisco. [29]

 

However, in July 2015 the American Beverage Association (the sugar industry) responds in kind with a lawsuit against the warning label. [30]

 

I'm guessing that these solutions aren't radical enough for Monbiot since obesity is "ravaging" the population.

 

My solution is a bit more realistic.

 

If you're obese, and don't want to be obese anymore, ask yourself why. If you don't have a strong "why" for a life-changing action, when the going gets tough you'll most likely give up.

 

And don't bother with bariatric surgery. Why would you expect to undo 20 - 50 years of damage and conditioning in a few days?

 

Choosing a dietary means to cure yourself of obesity is the slowest and best means of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual growth.

 

Why take the sympathy card from Monbiot when you can have the empowerment card and move forward?

 

Allow me to be clear. I'm not saying that you'll succeed on this path. But your intentions and growth will be genuine.

 

And in the end, a genuine life is worth its weight in gold.

 

The Monbiot Effect Series will continue next week on October 8, 2015 with Part 2 of 3: George Monbiot's Feral Debunked.

 

 

References:

[1] Hebebrand, Johannes, et al. "Eating addiction", rather than "food addiction", better captures addictive-like eating behavior. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, Vol. 47, November 2014.

[2] Fildes, Alison, et al. Probability of an Obese Person Attaining Normal Body Weight: Cohort Study Using Electronic Health Records. American Journal of Public Health, Vol. 105, Iss. 9, September 2015.

[3] Ochner, Christopher N., et al. Treating obesity seriously: when recommendations for lifestyle change confront biological adaptations. Lancet Diabetes Endocrinology, Vol. 3. No. 4, April 2015.

[4] Monbiot, George. Obesity is an incurable disease. So why is the government intent on punishing sufferers? Guardian. August 11, 2015.

[5] Tooley, Heather. Sarah Stage Gives Birth to Large Baby: Model Criticized for Being too Skinny During Pregnancy Has 8-pound baby. Inquisitr. April 15, 2015.

[6] Neporent, Liz. Pregnant Model Sarah Stage's Tiny Belly Causes Social Media Uproar. ABC News. March 10, 2015.

[7] Gen. Tom Lawson: 'Biological wiring' behind harassment. Canadian Broadcasting Corporation News. YouTube video. Posted by: National, June 16, 2015.

[8] 'Awkward characterization': Lawson apologizes for 'biological wiring' remark. CTV News. June 16, 2015.

[9] Big business. Economist. September 25, 2003.

[10] Simon, Emma. How the City is making money from fat people. Telegraph. July 17, 2012.

[11] Peretti, Jacques. Fat profits: how the food industry cashed in on obesity. Guardian. August 7, 2013.

[12] Who's Making Money from Overweight Kids? The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. 2015.

[13] Amvrazi, Elpiniki G. and Albanis, Triantafyllos A. Pesticide residue assessment in different types of olive oil and preliminary exposure assessment of Greek consumers to the pesticide residues detected. Food Chemistry, Vol. 113, Iss. 1, March 1, 2009.

[14] Matti, Mariam. Dirty Dozen list: Apples top 2014 list of most pesticide-contaminated produce. CTV News. April 30, 2014.

[15] Griffith-Greene, Megan. Pesticide traces in some tea exceed allowable limits. CBC News. March 8, 2014.

[16] Siddique, Haroon. Pesticide residue on food could affect sperm quality, says Harvard study. Guardian. March 31, 2015.

[17] De Poloni, Gian. Pesticides in WA fresh produce too high, report finds. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. June 30, 2015.

[18] One out of four organic fruits, veggies have pesticides. CBC News. May 8, 2002.

[19] Beeson, Kenneth C. The effect of mineral supply on the mineral concentration and nutritional quality of plants. Botanical Review, Vol. 12, Iss. 7, July 1946. p. 449.

[20] Mayer, Anne-Marie. Historical changes in the mineral content of fruits and vegetables. British Food Journal, Vol. 20, Iss. 6, 1997. p. 210.

[21] Davis, Donald R., et al. Changes in USDA Food Composition Data for 43 Garden Crops, 1950 to 1999. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, Vol. 23, No. 6, 2004. p. 679.

[22] Davis, Donald R. Declining Fruit and Vegetable Nutrient Composition: What Is the Evidence? HortScience, Vol. 44, No. 1, February 2009. p. 19.

[23] Matrix Reloaded. Warner Brothers. 2003.

[24] Galton, Francis. English men of science: their nature and nurture. MacMillan & Co. London, England. 1874. p. 12.

[25] Ibid. p. 13.

[26] Boseley, Sarah. Mexico to tackle obesity with taxes on junk food and sugary drinks. Guardian. November 1, 2013.

[27] Boseley, Sarah. Mexico soda tax cuts sales of sugary soft drinks by 6% in first year. Guardian. June 18, 2015.

[28] Frizell, Sam. Nation's First Soda Tax Passed in California City. Time. November 5, 2014.

[29] Steinmetz, Katy. San Francisco Approves Warning Label for Sugary Drink Ads. Time. June 9, 2015.

[30] San Francisco sued over soda warnings, advertising ban. CBS News & Associated Press. July 27, 2015.