Monday, August 22, 2011

What Distinguishes the Rich from the Poor Today, Part I

In Part II of this series, I’ll be covering education. In Part III, I’ll be covering something I call “structural pliancy”. —GL

One of my brothers-in-law, C., is moving from Chile to America to take over a fairly large corporation. He is a highly educated, highly successful guy in his late-thirties—a big strapping guy of about 6’3”, a former rugby player, big on golf, with four small kids and a tall willowy wife who looks like a model.

[Originally a picture of a two-headed chicken.
I didn’t have the ©, so Blogger blocked it.]
Yeah, it has two heads—but it was
raised organically. So it’s safer 

than your lunchtime Chicken McNugget.
Though he’s been to the United States many times, for business and pleasure, he’s never actually lived there. So over a Sunday lunch, we talked about his first impressions about daily life in America—and what struck him was the food:

“It has no taste,” C. told me. “Or rather, supermarket food has no taste: Beef, fish, chicken—it all tastes bland and watery.”

He told me how vegetables too tasted oddly bland, and on top of that, he and his wife were worried about what is actually in the food.

The reason they’re worried about American food is because of the size of American children in his kids’ new schools:

“Our kids were among the tallest in their class in Chile—but they’re among the smaller kids in their U.S. classroom. On top of that, the girls in my older daughter’s class are starting to menstruate—and they are nine years-old! That’s not normal.”

C.’s conclusion: “It’s the industrially processed foods—God knows what they’re sticking in it. But we’ve got four children—and we want them to be healthy. So that’s why we started buying all our food at organic markets. The food bill is triple what it would be, but I don’t care, I can afford it: I want my family healthy.”

That—in a nutshell—is what will begin to distinguish rich people from poor people in the XXI century, as it has for millenia before: Diet.

But what kind of diet is the issue.

If in ages past, the diets of the wealthy had more calories, in this century and the future, the diets of the wealthy will have less chemicals and hormones.

And as in the past, we will see the difference in their children.

In the nineteenth century and before, the mark of the wealthy was fat: Plump women, plump men, and their plump children. They were all fat because they had the wherewithal to buy more food. More food meant more calories, which of course meant plumpness. It’s no surprise that early portrait photography almost uniformly depicted fat people: Photographs were expensive, and the people with the money to get their portraits done had the money to eat well.

The poor, of course, were skinny and frail-looking. They were short of stature—because they hadn’t received enough protein as they were growing up. Look at any nineteenth century picture of a crowd, say soldiers on a Civil War battlefield, and everyone looks as skinny and slight as a professional jockey—not an ounce of excess fat on anyone, and no one over 5’6”.

Today, in the XXI century—where presumably everyone has access to enough food—we can easily spot the poor as well:

They are fat. They sport massive bellies falling over their belts—or more often, hidden under tent-like t-shirts (both men and women)—and the flesh of their faces runs smoothly into their shoulders: They have no necks.

Their obesity comes from the cheap processed foods that they eat: Fried meats and starches, not to mention sugary soft-drinks drunk by the gallon.

The poor today are also big: Not merely fatter but taller, larger. This is because of all the hormones that they are ingesting, hormones injected into the cheap processed foods that they eat by the corporations trying to bulk up the poultry and beef they are selling.

The food processing companies are trying to maximize their profits by hurrying the growth process of the meats and poultry that they sell. To hurry this growth, they inject antibiotics—to prevent sickness, which makes the animals lose weight—and they inject growth hormones, which make the animals fatter, and therefore more profitable in less time.

A cousin of mine who’s a veterinarian told me never to buy chicken breast. “That’s where they inject the hormones,” she explained. “So unless you’re sure the chicken was slaughtered at least six months after getting a hormone shot, you’ll get a big dose of hormones when you bite into that chicken sandwich.”

“But chicken hormones aren’t the same as human hormones,” I said ignorantly. “They won’t affect me.”

“No: They affect you just the same,” she replied, going on to explain the details until my eyes glazed over. I never was one for biology, but I got the gist of what she was saying:

Hormones take a while to be rinsed through an animal’s system—a long while. Thus if you eat a chicken breast that only recently—say three weeks ago—got a dose of hormones, likely as not, you’re going to be injesting those hormones along with your turkey club sandwich.

This points to a troubling issue that I’ve noticed for quite a while, but which nobody seems willing to discuss: The feminization of men and the masculinization of women.

I am not talking about the social shift, whereby men are taking on more stereotypically “feminine” roles—such as, say, ironing clothes or washing dishes—and women are taking on stereotypically “masculine” roles, such as being the primary income provider. I have no problem with that—on the contrary.

I’m talking about the physiology of both men and women today. People look and sound different—radically different—from just a couple of decades ago.

Notice how so many men speak with a high-pitched nasal voice, and seem pear-shaped: Thin-shouldered, wide of hip. Notice with women, how so many seem to lack mature-sized breasts, and thus often resort to breast implants to get a more “normal” physique. Men’s chins seem non-existent—just a straight slide from the lower lip to their Adam’s apple (which is not particularly prominent, by the way). Women’s jaws, on the other hand, seem larger, wider.

If you look at the current population, then compare them to filmed crowds of the 1920’s and ’30’s—when talking movies appeared—what you can’t help noticing is that stunting of so many of the secondary sexual characteristics of both men and women. Go through the list of secondary sexual characteristics, and you notice how every single one of them seems stunted or somehow off in the general American population.

Though there are radical changes going on with how people look, it doesn’t seem as if many people are discussing these changes—in fact, if you do mention such obvious observations, people will shrug insecurely, or else automatically brand you as a “right-wing reactionary”, or an “enemy of diversity”, or some other such secular heresy.

It’s understandable how talk of aggregate human physiology might make some of us queasy—reminding us as it does of creepy nineteenth century eugenics “science”, or worse, Nazi ideology.

But to turn a blind eye on an obvious problem merely because it reminds us of something distasteful is no excuse at all. My thinking is, we must look that which disturbs us in the face.

C., my brother-in-law, certainly doesn’t pretend this change in physiology isn’t happening: He thinks it’s because of the chemicals that so many plastics sweat out, and which get into our food and eventually our bodies.

“Put one of those plastic sippy-cups in a microwave, the kind that kids use,” he told me. “Stick it in there for twenty seconds, empty, then run your finger over it: That greasy stuff that the plastic sweats? That’s toxic like a nuclear meltdown.”

He’s right—and in point of fact, there are credible, mainstream studies pointing precisely to that fact: The chemicals sweated out by plastics under heat—like a microwave—secrete bisphenol-A (BPA). In fact, BPA is sweated out of plastic baby-formula bottles when they are microwaved—a common practice among harried mothers who don’t have the time or inclination to heat their baby’s formula in a glass baby bottle in a boiling pot, as of old.

BPA affectes estrogen levels in both men and women. In fact, bisphenol-A was originally developed in the 1930’s as a known estrogenic: It can severely affect a human’s estrogen level, be they male or female.

That’s why in Canada, they banned consumer plastics with BPA—all of them. In Europe, they have stringent guidelines as to where and what can have BPA.

But not in the United States. The FDA—captured like so much of the American regulatory apparatus by corporate interests—is on the fence about bisphenol-A.

So what is C. doing, now that he and his family are living in America? “All metal, all glass, no plastics, and no microwave” is his family’s mantra. “No teflon either, just in case”, he adds—and this is not some hippy-dippy tree-hugging rainbow-flag-waving Commie nut-case: This is a hard-core MBA-toting golf-club-swinging capitalist who constantly bitches about high taxes and government regulations.

Without the convenience of the microwave, and with the wholesale banishment of plastics and teflon from the kitchen, food preparation of course takes much more time—

—but then time is what C. has got plenty of: Not his time, or his wife’s time—the time of his private cook.

Like any wealthy household, C.’s family has a “support staff”—servants, in the judgement-free jargon of our day—who handle all sorts of chores: Cleaning, ironing, cooking. And the private cook they employ has strict orders: No plastics touch any food, no microwave in the kitchen, no teflon. Food is stored in glass containers, absolutely no food is stored—or bought—in shrink wrap. In fact, they have a rule that no food that has ever touched plastic is eaten in their home.

This is the way of the rich, in the XXI century: Not merely “healthy lifestyles” but healthy food—food harvested free of hormonal additives or chemical insecticides. Food cooked free of any inadvertent chemical additives.

Expensive food.

And we will see the difference, over time: The children of the rich will be healthier. They won’t blimp out from the moment they start eating solid food, the way poor people’s toddlers do. The girls of rich parents will menstruate at age 13—not 9. The boys of rich parents will crack their voices at age 14—not 10. The adult children of the rich won’t have difficulties conceiving childred of their own. Nor will they have stunted or abnormal secondary sex traits that currently beset the middle- and lower-classes. They won’t suffer from diabetes at the age of 40.

Once again, diet will be one of the factors distinguishing the rich from the poor.

This needn’t be the case—but it is, and the tragedy is two-fold:

First, our society is rich enough to feed everyone properly—yet only the rich will get the benefit. Therefore, our society begins leaving behind its ideal of egalitarianism, because a person’s origins begin to limit their possibilities. But unlike the Bad Old Days where inequality was a product of discrimination, stereotypes and racism, the future inequality will be of the sort prevalent in the Even Worse Old Days, where diet dictated possibilities.

Second, any effort to deal with the problem will be shouted down by both sides of the political spectrum: The Right will object to more government regulation of the food supply, and say that antibiotics, hormones and plastics are necessary for a “modern” food production and supply. And the Left will object to there being a problem at all, claiming it is “diversity” that accounts for the obvious physiological changes we are seeing among the general population.

Meanwhile, C. and his family will skip out on the whole debate: They will spend their wealth to ensure their children eat healthy untainted foods.

“Not only is it healthier,” C. reports, “but it tastes better too.”

So once again—as always—diet will be what distinguishes the rich from the poor. And once again, only the rich will get the benefit.


  1. Right on GL; the wife and I, poor tho we be, have been eating well for decades. We spend more than others for food and scrimp in other areas to do so. You are what you eat after all. Tired cliche but true none the less.
    Appreciate your posts and look forward to the next.

  2. That tall willowy gal your brother-in-law is married to, the one that looks like a model, that's your sister right? When you make things up, you should think them through.

  3. Anonymous wrote:

    “That tall willowy gal your brother-in-law is married to, the one that looks like a model, that's your sister right? When you make things up, you should think them through.”

    That’s pretty mean.

    By the way—and in case you didn’t know—but a brother-in-law can be married to someone who is not one’s sister. He can be the brother of the spouse of a sibling, or the husband of the sibling of a spouse.


  4. I think this is a very awesome observation. I am excited that what it shows us is that "equality" will likely never happen.

    It would not ever happen because what matters is not what is given to a person, but what a person requires and is ready to pursue.

  5. This Ukrainian woman I went on a date or two with said much the same thing. She said a chicken here would be like eating two chickens in Ukraine, and tastes worse. She had to ramp down her food intake a lot to avoid becoming fat. She was absurdly attractive in her 40s, and after two kids, so I figure she knew what she was talking about.

    If I had to guess, I'd say corn is the root of most evil. Feeding it to animals makes their grease nasty and fattening. Feeding HFCS to people ... makes them greasy and fat. Most of my meat consumption is ground beef in stews I make; I wash all the fat away and manage to stay absurdly lean. I may start becoming one of those hippies who eats grass fed beef and such in the long run, as I like the flavor of animals which aren't fed paste.

    I don't buy the animal hormone thing. I could eat testosterone all day and nothing would happen: it's not orally active. Same with most other hormones (IGF-1 in milk seems to be a common trope). I'd be a lot more worried about soybeans and BPA, though not to the point I won't purchase shrink wrapped garlic or whatever: it's not like cooties. You need a substantial mass of it to leech into your food to be dangerous. Biggest offender here is ... canned tomatoes. ANd of course, baby formula (also often soy based), which is so insane it almost defies belief.

    One of the best sources for information on all this stuff is actually meathead magazines, like "testosterone nation." Such folks are interested in health and performance and optimal hormone levels.

  6. HAHAHA !!!

    Oh for goodness sake GL, will you quit eating all that organic grass-fed beef in Chile. It's stunting your growth. Just inject your food with artificial hormones like we do - and quit worrying so much.


  7. And FWIW, I wouldn't be surprised if GL had a tall-willowy model-like sister. I mean somebody had to get the looks in the family, right? :D

    Now excuse me while I go drink my whey protein/greens first/berry smoothie.

  8. I have a 2-year-old and at the pediatrician appointments they tell you what percentile your kid is on the growth chart.

    My kid is 10% weight, 75% height. We generally eat organic. Some exceptions, but not too many.

    Anyway this has gotten me thinking a bit about the sample they use for those charts. Is it the immediate peer group? From the last 10 years? What?

    Anyway, I have no answers at this point, but this is all very intriguing.

  9. The typical American diet contains 45% fat, 30% protein and 25% SIMPLE carbohydrates, for example table sugar.
    When fat and proteins are digested by anaerobic bacteria in the intestines they produce estrogen.
    That's why American girls menstruate sooner and why Americans are so tall.
    A healthy diet should not contain more than 15% protein nor more than 20% fat. The rest of the calories should come from COMPLEX carbohydrates.
    Also when your diet consists mainly of COMPLEX carbohydrates (vegetables, fruits, whole wheat flour, brown rice) the byproducts of digestion are water and carbon dioxide. You breath it out and you piss it away, cleanly.
    The byproducts of protein and fats are toxic.
    That's why autopsies of Americans reveal "huge" kidneys.
    Not only do those toxic byproducts make you lethargic, they also contribute to a propensity to suffer from cancer.

  10. Well here's the deal as I see it. There is absolutely no reason poor people in this country (U.S.) need to have poor nutrition. If they can read, there is plenty of info out there just along the lines that you are talking about G.L. And W.I.C. and food stamps cover vegetables and a 25 lb sack of unbleached flour. Fat poor people are too lazy to help themselves and educate themselves to change their lifestyle. And that is the long and short of it. We are poor, but we eat fine. But it isn't about rich or poor, it is about your priorities and whether you want your children to grow unhealthy. The majority of people in this country, rich or poor don't know one thing about sacrifice and setting priorities so that things will be better for you in the long run. It is just take, take, take, And EAT, EAT, EAT. Nature will flush these folks out soon enough...

  11. Have you considered that effluent containing synthetic estrogen entering public water supplies may also be a culprit?

    How many Western women take birth control pills regularly? How much doesn't get metabolized? How effective is sewage treatment for removing this and other prescription meds (e.g. psychotropics)? When did changes in secondary sex characteristics in our youth start to appear? When did Western sperm counts start dropping? The chickens of the sexual revolution have come home to roost (impotently).

    Fish are already affected (, which conjurs up an interesting thought experiment: who wins in a Planned Parenthood vs PETA cage match?

  12. Kansas here, not the model.

    I like this topic and article.

    It did not make the chlorella I drank tonight taste any better. Your article was good timing. I guess I will try choking the green goop down again tomorrow. It tasted like cattle pasture - a mix between the grass that goes and goes out.

    Fun read.

  13. Very instructive of what's going on in the States!

    Lucky I live in Switzerland, where food rules are very strict. But people are getting fatter too...

    My advice : eat less and healthier

  14. "That’s pretty mean.

    By the way—and in case you didn’t know—but a brother-in-law can be married to someone who is not one’s sister. He can be the brother of the spouse of a sibling, or the husband of the sibling of a spouse.

    GL "
    English sadly, is an extremely limited language. Other languages have different terms for each one of those 'bro-in-law' possibilities.

  15. Cool blog. Also, just to add, all food is processed the same where all fruits and vegetables are grown and chocked full of GMO's. The processing may in fact be better placed by some companies and for that you'll pay more and it will seemingly taste better. Also, I learned from a chicken farmer that if chicken is tender no matter where you buy it from it's because the chickens are kept in a confined area. Chicken that is tough is because they are allowed to actually move freely. That was interesting to realize that basically if the animal is abused then they'll have less muscle thus the meat is tough. With all the hormones added it's no wonder young girls are having their periords earlier and with all the hormones all of society is going to get fatter and fatter in years to come. If we continue our way of processing food I'm not sure where the next generations of humanity will end up. But it's not looking well in our favor if humanity is to survive. I do see that we will all have to come to a point of Equality eventually, where then we will all have a say in how our food is handled and processed and I don't see how our world will continue unless we all reach an understanding and allow all to exist as such. If it weren't for greed and ego I suppose we would already endorse an Equal Money System because the future is not looking promising for our youth and starvation and poverty is growing at faster rates than ever. It appears though that humanity may have to endure more suffering until we either destroy ourselves or finally see what is necessary if we are to continue our existence. It wouldn't be the first time we've had to start over because millions of years ago and more than once humans have destroyed their existence. Personally, I support Equal Money because I see it as the only way the future children of this world stand a chance. More and more are realizing that what is best for one is best for all. Cheers and Thanks

  16. GL, i'd love to repost this in my health and nutrition blog. do i have your permission?

  17. Equal money... Hmmm, sounds like someone has no idea what money is and where it comes from. People are equal in their Rights, that's it. People are not equal in their abilities and the free market is the ONLY method to distribute scarce resources towards the most needed end. Oh, FYI, real money can only come about from a free market. See to get a fucking clue!

  18. This is unfortunately generally true. I agree with most of your statements save the comments about women's breasts because throughout the ages, even 50 years ago, most thin women did not, and still do not even today, have huge breasts; those who do are rare and always have been, even with the rich. However, you have to really respect the poor who are fit, who fight the system and then wonder about the rich who are fat seeing there are plenty of anomalous examples to your theory, but I understand you were just generalizing. I try and never touch fast food because it does not metabolize the same, see: McDonald's Food, the Truth:, and eating just one meal will add a pound to my rear. I am female, 5'10" and my best weight is 127. I was under a lot of stress and so started eating fast food which caused me to gain weight up to 142 lbs - I actually started to get fat but I noticed and started dieting, Kate Middleton inspired, and now I am probably 134 lbs. I have to fight like Hell to get the last 6 lbs off and I know that if I so much as touch a fast food burger I will put, again, a pound on my butt-just from one meal!!!!!! The food is weird, something wrong with it. People do not understand that cooking saves time or is about the same as going out because a lot can be made at once and then enjoyed for days or frozen for a later date. People have just got to get a system going, to appreciate reduced fat cooking. I find the more I resist the fats, that I really do not crave them as much, really, but it is a difficult hurdle to overcome as it takes a lot of discipline to get over said hurdle.

  19. So nice to read an article without superfluous serial commas!

    The one issue here is that the system is most certainly NOT able to provide organic, whole food for the masses. The system already runs on a knife's edge to provide the prole-feed for the Orcs in cargo shorts. We are but one or two failed harvests away from genuine food shortages and famines. Only with the hormones, additives and other concoctions could these "food delivery systems" operate. The population explosion since WWII is the real subtext of this problem, one which is even less likely to be addressed than the loss of secondary sexual characteristics among Dominicans and Neyoricans in the Bronx.

  20. poor people may be able to buy some raw foods with public assistance, but that doesn't mean that they have the time to turn 25 lbs of unbleached flour into bread. Most of them work several jobs and barely have time to sleep.

    People are so quick to judge, often because they fear the same fate themselves. In the US we are all painfully aware that despite all the best preparation, an accident, sickness or other personal or family catastrophe can wipe you out. Ours is a dog-eat-dog culture.

  21. gotta love americans. they strive for gucci handbags, bmws, the mini mansion, but when it comes to food, the cheaper the brand the better. such odd behavior.

  22. "The typical American diet contains 45% fat, 30% protein and 25% SIMPLE carbohydrates, for example table sugar."

    From "What We Eat in America, NHANES 2007-2008" (USDA)

    All males and females, all ages, daily intake:

    Carbohydrate: 256 g. ( approx. 50% of calories)
    Protein: 78.1 g. ( approx 15 % of calories)
    Fat: 78.3 g. (approx 33% of calories)

  23. A couple of points: Everyone who goes to a different country to live or visit brings their biases and the most fun is had when you "dis" the other countries food, sports, weight, intelligence, etc. It is normal. I'm sure if I went to Argentina I would have great fun laughing about the things you eat how stupid or undersized the population is etc. That was when I was a young man, now I have gotten past that and just enjoy the differences many of which are good. The Chickens in the U.S. may indeed be slightly larger or taste slightly different. I remember when I was in Spain last the eggs looked awefull so I didn't even eat them. In France I saw the meat open to the air, bugs germs, coughs and choose to not eat that either.

    Statistically young girls are menstruating a little earlier but most of this statistical trend is the result of the changing demographics not what they eat. Girls of European descent menstruate at about the same age as girls in Europe. Girls of African or Mexican descent menstruate at a younger age so the overall stats trend down. Why that would bother someone is beyond me except to say isn't it fun to try to tear down some other country over real or contrived complaints...

  24. Most chickens are NOT given hormones, it may even be against the law in the US. They are, however, often fed antibiotics.

    It was a practice in the 1950's but hasn't been for awhile.

    Beef is another matter...

  25. Dear Makro:
    Have a cheese burger with french fries and a shake at McDonald's and it'll confirm the caloric breakdown that I posted.
    This is not a criticism of the American way of life because here you can make a choice.
    You don't have to eat a lot of fat and protein. It's much cheaper if you don't.
    There is the case of a Vietnamise man, in the 1970's, who tried to return unused food stamps. His diet consisted mostly of rice and vegetables.
    It's, actually, very inexpensive to eat in the US.
    You can buy a 25 lb of rice fo $10. You can buy staple vegetables such as cabbage, carrots, potatoes, etc for change. As well as all kinds of beans and pasta for practically nothing.
    How well that food tastes depends on your cooking skill levels.
    Certainly, cooking rice and beans doesn't take a PHD degree.

  26. Very interesting post. You might want to turn C. on to cultured raw dairy products to further enhance his family´s health. Sally Fallon from the Weston A Price foundation calls it the natural selection of the wise. Those who pursue high quality nutrition don´t need to drink funny tasting smoothies or starve to be healthy, they just need to follow the nutritional guidelines outlined by Weston Price to achieve superb physical and mental health and healthy offspring.

    To eat well is not as expensive as people think. We used to spend more money on food eating the Standard American Diet than now eating a high nutrient high quality low quantity diet. We no lomger eat restaurant food and hardly anything we eat comes out of a package or a can. Since we make sure to eat lots of healthy saturated fats like butter, lard, coconut oil and healthy animal products from healthy animals, we need to eat a lot less overall and the surprise is we weigh a lot less overall. Our chronic debilitating health troubles disappeared. The real food tastes real good. Talk about win win. Thank you WAPF for being the shining beacon of wisdom in the desolate desert of conventional dietary (paid for by advertisers) wisdom.

    The high carbohydrate food pyramid nutritional guidelines are big agro friendly and a perfect recipe for fattening up. People need to realize that saturated fats were damned by the edible oils industry since they were their biggest competitors. The science they used is highly questionable, the conclusions inappropriate.

    Actually repeatable studies prove that saturated fat is not to blame for America's health problems, at all.

    Antibiotics do make fat - they do not cause weight loss, one of the reasons they are used so liberally with livestock is that they pack on the pounds. MSG and all its cover names make people fat. Period. They use it to fatten mice in lab experiments. Works like a charm. They have to add it to the bland nutrient poor food otherwise no one would eat it.

    Fructose makes fat, especially the high fructose corn syrup. It also kills the liver ever so slowly, but none the less deadly. They put that in everything, because without the zing of the MSG and the sweet of the sugars their products taste like garbage. Restaurant food, too.

    So don´t be fooled, make your own, grow your own or buy it from someone you trust.

    It´s so easy to eat well and be well, once we started eating real food we could never eat that SAD food again. I´d rather not eat anything for a day or two than crap that makes me sick.

    Thanks for letting me vent,

    Anita in Germany

  27. Your article was interesting, but a simple rich vs poor model leaves out the possibility of the educated poor; "educated", that is, in the restricted sense of understanding that hot food or water should not come into contact with plastic, that microwaves should not be used at all, and that proper diet is a must. The model also leaves out the uneducated rich; again, in the same restrictive sense. To use a term from statistics, perhaps there is or will be a weak correlation between health, sexual normality, & wealth; a correlation at all, to be sure, but one drug down by the factors mentioned above and by others. Some unhealthy habits are class-specific, others are universal; cellphones are an example of a universal unhealthy habit, since I have seen rich and poor using them with the same avidity without regard for the unfortunate fact that we should be wary of transmitters, without regard even for the gradual marshaling of longitudinal studies to the effect that this or that part of the body -- eardrum, testicles, brain -- can develop cancer in the course of long-term use... Still, interesting read, it makes one think clearly about the various factors in play at the very least.

  28. Hormones in meat have no effect on the human body because they are broken down and digested.

    If you have a hormone imbalance, especially testosterone, you have to receive it in the form of injections. Some female hormones can be digested, but the pills are designed to pass through the small intestine (where most digestion occurs) and release their contents in the large intestine.

    Bisphenol-A is by law being phased out of all plastic materials except those used in manufacturing.

    Americans are fat not because of their food, but because of their sedentary lifestyles. They eat 2000 calorie dinners, then spend 4 hours in front of the TV or computer and they never burn any calories off.

    Exercise is a foreign word to most people. It's a simple equation, eat a little less, move around a little more. Drink water, not liquid candy.

    Instead of sitting and watching "Reality" TV or Faux news, get off your butt and go for a walk!

  29. Don´t go blaming the victims. It´s not laziness that makes people fat. The unhealthy food and drink is to blame whose makers pay Madison avenue billions for advertising to make us think their fare is delicious and nutritious, when it´s in fact slow poison.


  30. All very true, fat is and will be even more synonymous with poor. It's not only a matter of nutrition, the affluent has also better access to healthcare, fitness, etc. Agree that most food sold in the US is crap...

  31. Great points and great observations. I myself switched to the organic diet and removed teflon, microwaves, plastic containers, etc... from my home and went much further in adding water softeners, reverse osmosis, air filteration, tile floors and so on. Lastly, all products in the home from cleaning to toiletries were removed and replaced with non-chemical products.

    This was all done very rapidly and the changes in our physical appearance, cognitive function, vitality and every other aspect of ourselves in the following months improved significantly. You would think the improvement in physical appearance from the weight loss would be the best aspect of all this. However, if you actually make this change, the chnage in physical appearance was like a side benefit. The most gratifying changes are the improvement in cognitive function and stamina. It was like a became a kid again, but with a better brain!!!

    It is very easy now to relate to the better taste of foods. I did not notice this as much when we switched over. However, on the few occasions where I ate the Standard American Diet (SAD) outside the home after this change, the lack of taste was very noticeable.

    Anyhow, great post. Case in point, If I don't figure out a way to continue to increase my own income, I will no doubt be removed from my extravagant 200K home lifestyle (that is a house bought in 2005 for $200K, which is not much to show)and in the very near future I will be downgrading to a 50K apartment to save the diet for the family. After I cannot support that small roof, then the diet goes and I will be an overweight, breast growing imbecile who can't put two thougts together. And as you stated, from being unhealthy, I will easily be identified as "an unwealthy".

    It definitely does not need to be this way. Keep up the good fight if you are fighting. I'll leave you with the best source of infomration on the net about living a healthy lifestyle.

    Take Care!

  32. Dear Mr Lira
    I think you missed a very important point. Yes the food is important but vacines are the ones who are destroying the new generations. Your brother in law is woried about plastics in his food. What about mercury and trimerisol in your vacines? I'm sure your brother in law is a good father and he wants his children vacinated. What a mistake. Tell your brother in law that in the ols USA you can opt out of vacines on the religious bases. That will be his and yours best move that you ever made. Look into it.

  33. Suggest folks read The China Study by T. Colin Campbell to really understand human nutrition. Human epidemiology and clinical studies trump Womens Own magazine-like dogma. Order it from Amazon. A profound though easy read and real eye opener.

    So much of the above in posts describing claimed optimal dietary protein/carb etc breakdown is simplistic and hopefully organic horseshit!

  34. This article is right on the money!

    All a person has to do is go into a Whole Foods or other equivalent store in the US and look at the healthy looking people vs going to a Walmart or Food For Less and observing the fatties.

    Also, observe the people in other countries vs. those in the US. I went on vacation to Argentina and my friend commented, "Where are all the fat people?" There weren't any!

    I think Gonzalo calls it right regarding money being a component of people eating well or not. This is something I noticed a long time ago. However, you can be poor and eat well, but most poor people don't bother to take the time and energy to do so, instead eating fast food and processed food.

  35. "I went on vacation to Argentina and my friend commented, "Where are all the fat people?" There weren't any!"
    Yes, because people are starving in one of the largest beef producing regions of the world to to a wrecked economy and rampant corruption. It isn't always what you think.

  36. Great piece of advice. Muslims fast for 30 days out of the year on religious grounds, many don't even know that this is a very good method of detoxification of the body. So no matter what we eat, we need to cleanse ourselves and remember that we will live to an average age of 72 regardless.

  37. For anyone believing the China Study, I recommend reading Denise Minger's thoughtful rebuttal.

    Next, I recommend you move on to Price's Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, and peruse great sites like Robb Wolf's, Mark Sisson's, and Stephen Guyenet's. There is a LOT of quality information out there on diet, by scientists, doctors, and anthropologists; you just have to look.

  38. Funny but true:

    In the year 2011, the Lord came unto Noah, who was now living in Oregon and said:
    "Once again, the earth has become evil and I see the end of all flesh before me. Build another Ark and save 2 of every living thing along with a few good humans." He gave Noah the blueprints, saying: "You have 6 months to build the Ark before I will start the unending rain for 40 days and 40 nights."
    Six months later, the Lord looked down and saw Noah weeping in his yard - but no Ark.
    "Noah!," He roared, "I'm about to start the rain! Where is the Ark?"
    "Forgive me, Lord," begged Noah, "but things have changed."
    "I needed a Building Permit."
    "I've been arguing with the Boat Inspector about the need for a sprinkler system."
    "My neighbors claim that I've violated the Neighborhood By-Laws by building the Ark in my back garden and exceeding the height limitations. We had to go to the Local Planning Committee for a decision."
    "Then the Local Council and the Electric Company demanded a boat load of money for the future costs of moving power lines and other overhead obstructions, to clear the passage for the Ark's move to the sea. I told them that the sea would be coming to us, but they would hear nothing of it."
    "Getting the wood was another problem. There's a ban on cutting local trees in order to save the Greater Spotted Barn Owl. I tried to convince the environmentalists that I needed the wood to save the owls - but no go!"
    "When I started gathering the animals the ASPCA took me to court. They insisted that I was confining wild animals against their will. They argued the accommodations were too restrictive, and it was cruel and inhumane to put so many animals in a confined space."
    "Then the Environmental Protection Agency ruled that I couldn't build the Ark until they'd conducted an environmental impact study on your proposed flood."
    "I'm still trying to resolve a complaint with the Human Rights Commission on how many minorities I'm supposed to hire for my building crew."
    "Immigration are checking the Visa status of most of the people who want to work."
    "The trades unions say I can't use my sons. They insist I have to hire only Union workers with ark-building experience."
    "To make matters worse, the Internal Revenue Service seized all my assets, claiming I'm trying to leave the country illegally with endangered species."
    "So, forgive me, Lord, but it would take at least 10 years for me to finish this Ark."
    "Suddenly the skies cleared, the sun began to shine, and a rainbow stretched across the sky."
    Noah looked up in wonder and asked,
    "You mean you're not going to destroy the world?"
    "No," said the Lord.
    " The United States Government beat me to it."

  39. OK all you lucky rich people, buy yourselves an expensive computer, move into a fancy office, after you complete ten years of college (paid up), and work every day at your secure job for 30 years I guarantee you will have one if not several of the following diseases, (which your insurance will pay for, but hey, no one likes being sick.)
    Too bad you could have had your cake and eaten it too simply by knowing one small piece of info and spending less than $10 a month on it. It’s not about money anymore. If your mother had known this, you would have grown up looking like all those models we are now used to thinking are “normal” and you would not have had to have had orthodontics or glasses. You can look forward to the following:
    • Cancer (most forms)
    • Cardiovascular diseases
    • Congenital, hereditary and neonatal disorders
    • Diabetes and endocrine diseases
    • Hematologic diseases
    • Infections and autoimmunity
    • Kidney diseases and male urogenital disorders
    • Mental health and learning disorders
    • Musculoskeletal
    • Neurological conditions
    • Oral health
    • Respiratory
    • Skin disorders
    • Women's health
    • All forms of flu, colds, coughs and respiratory diseases and conditions.

  40. Your cousin may be a veterinarian, but, she must not work with farm animals. Hormones are not used in the raising of chickens in the US, and have not been since the 1970s:

  41. This is a subject near and dear to my heart. I eat almost exclusively organic and throw out food that is not up to my standard within the house. I spend $200 plus weekly on organic food for two adults. I like high protein and I am a very muscular and physically fit person. I do P90X. I make a fair amount of money and can afford this life style.

    I was driving over 6 hours (business) and stopped at a McDonald's in a small agricultural town (Central Florida) for coffee (no better options) I had to throw out coffee form the gas station I visited earlier. It was around 5:30 and I needed some caffeine. I was starving but wouldn't touch the food. I waited while the lady made a pot from scratch. I noticed the people in McDonald's were lower income minorities. They looked weak, sick, and overweight. I felt pity for them. I told my wife I could have taken 5 on at a time in a relatively fair fight. I'm a short computer guy 5'6 and very muscular around 200 pounds, 43 years of age and I am in extreme physical condition.

    I've noticed how people treat me and everyone else. They simply respect and acknowledge that I am successful, and subconsciously elevate me to a higher social status. I am short...imagine if I were tall (Obama would quake). As it is, I am successful (in my mind) and my life style choices are one of the main reasons why. FYI...I have no kids, and my wife doesn't work. We don't have a maid or a chef. I prefer to cook myself and my wife gets too bored unless she has something to do. Therefore, she can clean the house until she figures out a way to fill up her ours beyond frequent trips to the mall.

  42. Weston A Price is a quack!!

    BPA is a chemical in search of a problem. So far not one medical health problem is traceable in any way to BPA. BPA is the Alar of the 21st century.

    The life expectancy in the U.S. keeps increasing every year, do you really think the food is bad for them???

    A lot of Americans are overweight. It could indeed be because we eat too much and excercise too little. I go to Mexico where they eat basic food, a lot less calories and work their butts off. have you seen how fat most Mexicans are?? Maybe it's more about genetics then food.

  43. Not withstanding the poor quality of chicken meat in the USA (forced growth, brine injection etc., the use of hormones in poultry production is a myth.

    It is illegal to use hormones in chicken production in the USA. It has also been banned in Australia since the 1960s.


  44. A video that may interest you. Bankers

    Robert in Arabia

  45. People concentrate, as in this post, on the quality of the food that is eaten.

    That is only part of the story. Second, of course, is the amount.

    Then there is the whole life-style thing, sedentary jobs, or physically active but routine and constrained ones, the use of household machines and cars - exercise, etc. etc. which I won’t address here. Drug taking also changes the metabolism.

    Part of the getting fatter (as in Switzerland, where all the food is top class) is due to the break-down of social and cultural rituals around food preparation and consumption.

    First, a more frequent ingestion of industrially prepared food: fast food, frozen dinners, commercial sandwich, take-out, ‘kits’ to cook but that contain all the parts, ice-cream, pre-prepared desserts, etc.

    Even if the ingredients are controlled - no palm oil, no corn syrup, strictly rationed salt/sugar, no hormones in the meat, no additives of xyz kind, etc. these meals or food items will contain more calories and less healthful ingredients as the manufacturers cut corners and aim to provide a satisfying meal. Chinese take out contains more sugar, less meat, etc.

    Growing individualism and eating on the run, or in front of the computer, because of work schedules, parents stressed for time, kids left alone plus many other factors - e.g. advertising by the food industry - account for the rise in the consumption of this type of food.

    Second, the obvious corollary: less energy/time spent on obtaining food and cooking it. When food service is either the role of one person (Mom...) or a family affair (e.g. the kids have to make their own ice-cream) working from basic ingredients the picture changes. Energy and time must be spent, treats become exceptional, must be shared fairly, etc.

    Third, the relative abandonment of family, or communal work-place meals. Meals eaten communally from a shared potential ‘stock of food’ are socially regulated - each person gets some portion of x dishes (with some leeway), attention is not focussed on the food only but on other matters thru conversation, everybody eats about the same and leaves satisfied - that was a fun meal! And if used for all meals, throughout the day, the intake is automatically regulated by the social group, to some reasonable ‘average.’

    Lira is essentially right about the rich-poor food distinction, but the main factor in his in-law family may be the cook - someone who prepares from scratch all the meals - and the eating-together ritual that affluent families may stick to, independent of the quality of chicken breasts.


  46. Agree or disagree about the quality of available foods vs. organics all you want. Wealthy people buy quality food. A visible differentiation in society is that the healthy also tend to be wealthy. They have the resources to eat in the better restaurants, afford personal trainers, afford cooks, cleaning help, they have more leisure time for exercise, massages, etc...

    Overweight people tend to be the poor. They eat fast food, they have little available money or time for exercise, and healthy eating is expensive. They are ignorant of the benefits of quality food and a healthy lifestyle. Gonzalo is spot on. Diets and healthy lifestyles are only one part of the wealth equation.

    I would imagine plastic surgery, tummy tucks, boob jobs, nose jobs, hair implants, etc.. are other traits of the well to do. I think cars, education for offspring, etc... continue the list. The diff. betwn. the haves and the have nots are easy to spot if you are looking.

  47. Setting aside the whole subject of food and gastronomical preferences ... let's move to a subject that is much more tasteless. I'm talking about the economy, of course. Has anyone else noticed that nasty divergence that's been happening lately between the credit markets and the stock market? It's got that same sort of nauseating sensation that happened shortly before .... before the market collapsed in 2008.

    Peptobismol, anyone?


  48. Of course you are referring to people that have lost any ability to hunt,fish,kill and clean their own food

  49. If plastics and microwaves were so bad for you how would you explain the increase in life expectency every year?

    Yes you can find "experts" who wrote a book or have a TV show who can tell you what to eat or not eat and live forever. Did you ever notice that few agree? How can that be if they are "experts"?? In fact they contradict each other and every diet seems to avoid or include something the other diet did not.

    For those of you who think eating organic or expensive food (is that redundant?) will make you live for ever you have a sad suprise ahead. Ditto for those who think a specific food or supplement will let you avoid serious diseases.

  50. Your points are well taken, others have picked what nits i might mention, except one: In USA it is routine to cheat. Unless you buy from a grower you know, how are you certain produce is actually organic?

    Nevertheless, the healthiest people i know are rural "poor" working class folk with large (usually organic) kitchen gardens. They home can their surplus produce, and raise their own livestock. Usually, one or two items are produced in excess, usually for barter, sometimes for sale.

    Several have pointed out that USA chicken no longer legally contains added hormones. IMHO the problem is the GMO corn fed to these chickens.

    PS My blogger account no longer allows me to post to your blog using my blogger ID ?

  51. GMO derangement syndrome is common although doctors and science can find no reason for it. Fear of anything new is believed to be at the root of the syndrome. Do you drive a car or use a computer but yet have an ungrounded fear of GMO? Then you too have GMO derangement syndrome. There is a similar syndrome of fear of plastics. No science just fear. There is also a side effect where those afflicted feel the need to show they are somehow superior then you. This can result in acting out by only eating organic food. No cure is known or expected so be prepared to put up with a constant barrage of scare talk and "I told you so". Take two ears of GMO corn and call me in the morning.

  52. That's completely overblown.
    Don't eat chicken breast - fine. Don't use plastic containers to heat meals - fine. But why would it be bad to use glass containers in a microwave?? (Did your brother-in-law also stop/disallow use of cell phones?) Note: A stainless steel pot on a stove might be worse, as tiny amounts of nickel are released into the hot food.
    You also casually skip any explanation how chemistry/plastics might cause *opposite* effects at the same time: The feminization of men and the masculinization of women.

  53. GL,

    I think you are onto a good subject here and even agree with your basic hypothesis that there is a developing chasm between the classes in their health and their food intake. Seen a Whole Foods' parking lot lately? They are packed with people and with Mercedes Benzes and their like in the parking lot which I think adds some anecdotal evidence to your theory. I do though think you are a bit out of your depth on this subject. Of all your commenters I think Anita from Germany has it closest to right in her prescriptions she follows from the Westin Price folks. I am speaking here btw as a person who as a libertarian/conservative business owner is likely to the right of your brother. I highly recommend you read Gaury Taubes' book Good Calories Bad Calories and first get straightened out regarding the scientific facts and myths about calories, exercise, fats, cabs, the real reason the poor (and some rich) are so fat, etc. before the next few post on this subject. As a contrary thinker who loves to confront the status quo you will be amazed and greatly enlightened with what you will learn. I sure was. I also lost all my fat, allergies and aches and pains by simply changing what I eat. It required no hunger or exercise. Afterwards the the quality of your posts on this subject will be greatly enhanced and less embarrassing - sorry, but true.

    Read here what I guy I think you respect, Nicholas Taleb, had to say about it.

    Respectfully yours,

    Tom from St. Louis

  54. Stop watching your local third world country yellow press!

  55. forgive me if this is mentioned already. Eating healthy is actually cheaper then eating processed food. It is just less convenient, requires more time to prepare and you have to seek it out.
    Healthy meaning unprocessed vegetables, nothing sold in containers (grown with less or no chemicals), finding grass feed beef, chickens and their eggs raised on truly open clean lands. It means avoiding all the condiments that contain sugar that makes everything taste so yummy. Meaning you have to learn to use herbs which are actually beneficial to ones health. I'm have piece of mind with this diet and less pieces of fat around my waist line.
    Of course no deserts, that usually just deadly sugar.

  56. If healthy vegetables are not sold in a container are my home canned vegetables OK? I know how they can vegetables and it is exactly the same process. Hmmmm! So commercial canned vegetables bad, home canned vegetables good even though they are the same. Sounds like religion not science to me i.e. a belief based on faith.

    Sugar is deadly and yet 100% of carbohydrates you consume are converted to sugar to be used by your body. You did know your body runs on sugar didn't you? It would appear that "no sugar" is deadly.

    Beneficial herbs! And those magic herbs are??? I suppose you still believe in Santa Claus too?

  57. It seems to me that the American population has been used for experiments for all kinds of chemicals, including those in foods and pharmacological products. It seems this started several decades ago.

    Are there other countries that do this to their people? It does seem to be spreading, but people from other nations look at the U.S. population and get incentive to fight.

    We have two grocery stores in my town, plus one natural foods store (which is small). I tend to go to Wal Mart because of affordability but try to take in a few items from the natural store when I can.

    When I go into Wal Mart it is ALWAYS depressing. The customers mostly resemble the people that Mr. Lira describes. It is really gross. I look into their carts and they have the worse food selected. All kinds of processed garbage.

    I think when you eat to the best that you can, it is actually cheaper in long run. You don't need as much food to eat when you eat better quality food. The processed food only makes you hungrier.

    So many people around here drink several cans of pop a day. They always say they know it is bad, but don't seem to have the initiative to stop. Just cutting out pop can aid in improving health. All that sugar makes people hungrier, too.

  58. Experiments!! And then you point to soft drinks as the boogey man. And then the brilliant statement that sugar makes you hungry. Are you aware that your body runs on sugar; you must have sugar to live. Your body converts 100% of all carbohydrates into sugar and can convert protein and fat to sugar as well if it is needed. An apple, a healthy apple, contains more sugar then a can of pop. You are using superstition and old wives tales in place of science for your health information.

  59. You forgot a few things:
    GMO's - Genetically Modified foods; Corn, Soy, in turn Genetically modifies your body, sterility, found in blood and intestinal flora
    MSG - excitotoxin, makes you want to eat more, increases weight, chances for cancer, etc!
    Flouride- which replaces iodine in the thyroid, reduces the thyroid action, the human metabolic center.
    Hormones/GMO in Milk - use only RAW milk, heating destroys the good bacteria
    Mercury in the vaccines and amalgum fillings, really bad stuff!
    Mix this all together and you have the end of the human race in a few generations. the ultimate population control being fed to us slowly/daily, under the radar (table).

    We are rich enough to afford better food, the wife hates paying the high costs. so we do some of each, get the fruits and veggies at the regular market, get the meat, eggs and RAW milk at the health food stores. As mentioned, it tastes better and it is good for you. We avoid a lot of stuff, so it takes time to find the healthy food and read the labels. even the names are misleading in many cases, so we are learning as we go. there is hardly anything in a package that does not contain one of the poisons mentioned. Search it all and make a list, there are free shopping guides on line as well. Good Luck.

  60. Here in the US, I was onto this since about 1987. Ditched the microwave, teflon, and taught my kids how to read labels and what not to eat, and believe me, its difficult - 85% or more of what's in the "grocery store" is off-limits. My daughter didn't start menstruation till she was almost 15. Early on I'd attempted to educate others, but their psyche's are self-centered owing to a lack of community sense to the point where they all think they'z geniuses, and that I couldn't possibly be correct. LOL. Everybody here seems so very very smart - to themselves.

  61. GL: "if you do mention such obvious observations, people will shrug insecurely, or else automatically brand you as a 'right-wing reactionary', or an 'enemy of diversity', or some other such secular heresy."

    No, no one will brand anyone else a reactionary for noticing such things.

    All of the quality critique of what is happening to the food supply -- e.g. estrogenic (feminizing) contaminants, among other things -- comes from the left. See, e.g., "Our Stolen Future", and "Toxic Sludge is Good For You", just to mention two titles. There's many more.

    The right will never critique such things, because it is bad for business.

  62. I agree a thousand % my father never had a micro wave in our home ans plus we use to go to a meat packing plant! as a child wow ! the ground beef was real ! and our milk ect... and us kids where way healthier than what you see out here today and yes the rich kids eat better I've seen it in my own and relatives kids how they come out in life young. Curtis R. Bell

  63. Well Gonzalo. All you have to do is have him read the Omnivore's Dilemma and watch King Corn and you will have it covered.

    Me and my wife have been having our kids eat organic and have been growing our own food for quite some time. It's interesting when my kids eat foods high in preservatives. It took a few times for us to figure it out, but our kids would get sick to the point of vomiting. We identified and removed the offending processed foods and they are fine.

  64. Sir -

    an interesting thought. Not sure I agree or disagree, or if, indeed the size of the children in a country like Chile is the proper metric when assessing the quality and nutrition of food.

    Still, if you pick up a copy of HG Wells's "The Time Machine" from a century ago, and flip towards the end where the world has evolved into two humanoid races (the Morlochs and the Eloi), Wells to some degree may have used this an early proxy for what you observe. Wells was, of course, an avowed socialist, and his science fiction writing frequently was a thinly-veiled vehicle for his ideas.

    In this case, in the distant future, the poor become essentially nearly-blind, stooped troglodytes working in horrible, darkened caves, whilst the rich become apparently healthy, physically perfect beings living up in the sun.

    Of course, it's later revealed exactly the nature of the relationship between the two, but if what you say is true - i.e., that the poor will eat rubbish food, and the wealthy will have access to nutritious food, well, it's not a far cry from Wells's vision.


  65. Brilliant article GL, so pleasantly surprised to see such an insightful piece on what I thought would only be a great blog on economics. I'm going to go so far as to offer what I think may be an example of this "wealth is health" future that you're proposing that manifests in the children of the wealthy vs the children of the poor being here NOW. Of course I might be wrong in this example but let's see if other people see it this way too.

    Y'all know Will Smith? He's kinda famous. Notice the two children he has with Jada Pinkett: His son Jaden, now 12, is already an established, kick-butt actor himself and his daughter, now 11, has jumped into pop music. But notice their body sizes and looks: they're comparatively small in stature but growing healthily, as used to be normal for their age, and don't already look like they're just a couple years shy of adulthood. You know, the way many of their peers who are their fans look (i.e. poor people in the general population). They seem to fit the bill of what you're talking about here GL.

    There is hope for the poor and the "middle class" though - Getting informed and voting with your dollars works. Look at high fructose corn syrup - there's been so much exposure about its ill-effects that now manufacturers are voluntarily taking it out of their products and using No HFCS as a marketing tactic because enough people complained and stopped buying foods with this poison in it. A future where good food and good health is the domain of the wealthy only doesn't have to be and I think the tide is turning against that.

    Here endeth my two cents.

  66. Your prediction is coming true.

    IBM Granted Your-Paychecks-Are-What-You-Eat Patent


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