Chapter 16

I am hoping that Chapter 16 will stimulate debate and push people into thinking what needs to be done to stop this horrific obesity epidemic. I make some hard-hitting suggestions, while simultaneously saying that they should not actually be seen as radical – I’m merely trying to return humans to eating what we ate before we got too fat to function as human beings.

I could debate on either side of the fence the role of government. On the one hand I naturally welcome government that intervenes as little as possible and lets individuals run their own lives. I could argue, therefore, that government should stop all public health advice and bow out and leave us to our own devices. However, we cannot escape the fact that public health messages have been given out since the change in dietary advice 30 years ago. The government started this obesity epidemic, so perhaps it is only right that government cleans up its mess and leads the U-turn back to our pre-1980 diet advice. For me, the government route has two additional advantages:

1) It would speed up the change process dramatically;
2) It would force government off the fence to show if they are on the side of public health or on the side of the food and drink industry – they can’t be on both.

I say in this chapter what I think will happen, rather than what would save the most lives the quickest – (immediate and unequivocal government leadership back to real food). I think that change will happen with a bottom up evolution of enlightened individuals. The sensible ones will realise that nature can feed us best and will eat nature’s produce. The gullible ones and the processed food addicts will likely continue to eat man-made food and will suffer obesity and various ailments as a result.

There are some shocking anecdotes about childhood obesity in this final chapter. It is bad enough that government has used 400 million citizens as an experiment to see what happens if we base our meals on carbohydrates. That children, our next generation, have been used as guinea pigs is unforgivable.

Chapter 16 leads into the summary – six pages of pulling all the evidence together with no pulled punches. Just a flowing summary of everything shared in the book – hopefully leading you to become so convinced that your only thought at the end is – what can I do to stop this? Harness that thought and join the growing bandwagon to return ourselves and our fellow humans to eating what we have evolved to eat.

“If we have been eating real food for 24 hours, agriculture gave us large scale access to carbohydrates four minutes ago and sugar consumption has increased twenty fold in the past five seconds. I wonder which food is more likely to be responsible for the obesity epidemic or any modern disease…”

Zoë Harcombe

Posted in Chapters
5 comments on “Chapter 16
  1. Corwin says:

    I have been a research chemist for over 30 years for a large industrial company. I have just finished reading your book on “Obesity Epidemic” and found it very interesting. One of the major questions that I have involves the transformation of carbohydrates into fat (triglycerides). I can imagine the conversion of glucose into glycerol thru biochemical processes, however, I have difficulity in coming up with a process where a fatty acid which is a component of the triglyceride can be derived from glucose. One would have to remove the many hydroxy groups as well as increasing the length of the carbon chain by a factor of at least 3 times. If there is a reasonable process how this can occur, it would substantiate the basis for your thoughts on how carbohydrates can lead to obesity.
    Thankyou for your response.

  2. Andrea Larkin says:

    I am looking forward to reading your book. I listened to you on newstalk on the radio and I think you have very interesting and valid points (margarine IS disgusting, for one )

    To the list of companies ruling the nutritional world I would add infant formula producers. I can’t think of a more modified, processed, man made food than infant formulae and yet it is fed to millions of babies around the globe – it’s bad for most and it kills some! I can’t get my head around how people willingly offer up their newborns as guinea pigs to the formula industry. And you will find it is that same formula industry giving advise on breast feeding, comparing their products with the original natural stuff as if it was like for like! I also wonder whether and how formula feeding changes our bodies and they way it metabolizes food later in life.
    But these are just my thoughts and probably a completely different kettle of fish, as the saying goes.

    But really, you’d think people get suspicious when in a recent episode of the television show “The biggest Loser USA” one of the ladies was offered $1000 for every pound she lost by no other than “Eat healthy” fast food chain Subway!

    An awful lot of people don’t know what natural food is anymore and prefer the smell of old oil in a chip pan to that of fresh meals made from real food!

    I agree with Jane, that society is so addicted to sugar it will be hard to wean people of it. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try! And maybe we can prevent the ‘less developed’ world to fall into the same starchy pit – there’s probably quite a lot we could learn from them!

    • admin says:

      Hi there – many thanks for your lovely note. You are so right on the baby formula – I analyse a Similac product on P220 of the book and it’s 50% corn syrup and nearly 10% sucrose and the rest is soy and other stuff. It’s horrific. And Abbott Nutrition (its makers) sponsor/partner, whatever, the American Dietetic Association and the British Dietetic Association. Any baby starting life on this is going to have a health handicap from the outset. It really is terrible.
      Marg gets an expose at the end of Chapter 12! Looks like you might agree with much of the book and enjoy it!
      Keep spreading the real food word.
      Thanks again
      Very best wishes – Zoe

  3. Jane Bowers says:

    Fascinating, absolutely fascinating and I am sure I will enjoy the book – sadly I believe far too scary for most people to take on board. And so many are so hooked on sugar in its different forms to consider it being taken away. The screaming masses and the dreaded ‘we are entitled …’ change in our society since WW2. And then there are the politics. As you say the manufacturers, and lets not forget the pharmaceutical companies, wield a lot of power. I imagine these sort of pros and cons being given by food manufacturers behind closed doors:

    If we do as you ask food prices will have to go up.
    The general public will not thank the government in power.
    We may have to reduce staff – job losses.
    And job losses will ricochete throughout different food chains due to the changes suggested.
    And don’t forget we support your political campaigns, we will withdraw that support.

    Keep up the fight.

    • admin says:

      Hi there – our first site comment! Thanks so much – the book is out next Thur (14 October 2010). We are due our first stock tomorrow into the publishers, so the first orders will be turned around asap.

      You are so right on the objections. In my view the only worthwhile thing that food and drink companies do is to employ people. We will need to find something else for these people to do if/when we return to eating food – real food. Colin Tudge’s “Feeding people is easy” is a great book to read on this topic. I think he’s wrong on the solution (he thinks we need to eat grains essentially as the way to feed the world – nutritionally we must find a way to feed people meat, fish, eggs, dairy as the main part of all of our diets). However I love his thoughts on how many people in the population should be working the land – nearer the 60% of people working the land in India rather than the 1% in the UK (or ‘developed’ world generally).

      We have got our priorities so wrong when we employ people to waste the world’s precious resources making plastic junk that gets thrown away in minutes and processed foods that are destroying our health – we would be so much better off lovingly tending the land, churning butter, looking after cattle and so on. I can’t see it happening but it’s the answer to our health and employment problems.

      Many thanks for your comment
      Best wishes – Zoe

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"The Obesity Epidemic is the most comprehensive demolition job on the arrogance and ignorance of the health profession I have ever read".
Barry Groves Author of Trick and Treat: How 'healthy eating' is making us ill