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Gaining On the US: Most Europeans To Be Overweight By 2030 329

An anonymous reader writes "Welcome to the club, Euro friends. A World Health Organization analysis concludes that within 15 years a majority of Europeans will be obese or severely overweight. In almost all countries the proportion of overweight and obesity in males was projected to increase – to reach 75% in UK, 80% in Czech Republic, Spain and Poland, and 90% in Ireland, the highest level calculated. Women fare a little better. In reviewing the results, the lead researcher said: "Our study presents a worrying picture of rising obesity across Europe. Policies to reverse this trend are urgently needed.""
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Gaining On the US: Most Europeans To Be Overweight By 2030

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 10, 2014 @06:54AM (#46965629)
    BMI is a [poor] approximation of body fat percentage [] (that article lists a few ways to measure it; I know people with eletronic scales that use bioelectrical impedance analysis [] when you step on them barefoot). Wikipedia has a section on it in the BMI article [] including a scatterplot of BMI vs. body fat % [] I hadn't seen before. Basically, BMI is used because it is much easier to measure than body fat %, but it does not tell the whole story. Importantly, BMI is far more meaningful for a population than for an individual because the error cancels out to some extent.
  • by dutchwhizzman ( 817898 ) on Saturday May 10, 2014 @08:10AM (#46965839)

    The amount of sugar and other carbs in our current diet is way higher than it was. Also, we stopped using fat as our energy source since some studies suggested (falsely) that fat was the cause of cardiac diseases and obesity. Those studies have since been proven wrong and the new consensus is that our current high carbs intake is responsible for the enormous amount of obese people and diabetes type II patients.

    A human can live healthy with 0 carbs intake for an entire year, providing they use fat to substitute for energy intake. A human will die within 6 months if they have 0 fat intake, regardless of what they use to substitute that.

    The whole "omega fat" and cholesterol story is way more complicated and correlation and causation between fats, omega fats, cholesterol (various sorts of it) and cardiac disease is currently highly debated. Much research is finding that previous research is wrong and new things are being found every few months. Several papers that have been proven by independent re-trials seem to point out that the whole omega fat theory holds no statistical advantage and there are indications that it may actually be contra productive, but those results are too inconclusive.

    We used to have natural fats, natural carbs and way less carbs in our diet 70 years ago, compared to now. High fructose corn syrup didn't exist yet the way it does now and breakfast wasn't sugar frosted. We didn't limit our fat intake "because it's bad for your heart and you'll get fat" the way we do now and yes, we did often exercise more than we do now. Our whole culture has moved to prepared food instead of home cooking and our taste buds made us buy the food with the "richer" taste. We don't look on the labels to see what's in it, we just want it to taste good and end our appetite. That lead to a totally different diet currently, which leads to obesity.

    To make it more difficult, carbs and especially sugar are actually addictive and our modern stomach fauna will produce chemical substances to make our brain feel good if we eat carbs. We have to go through actual withdrawal symptoms if we don't have our trice daily fix of carbs (feeling faint and woozy) and we get a reward "after dinner dip" if we eat.

  • Re:BMI is a lie! (Score:4, Informative)

    by teg ( 97890 ) on Saturday May 10, 2014 @08:32AM (#46965899) Homepage

    If you cycle, then I suggest doing your BMI maths to find out how obse you are, BMI FUCKING SUCKS! Muscle is heavier than fat, bmi is your weight in relation to you high. therefore if you have a maximum about of muscle then you come in at Obse on this stupid fucking scale. Fuck all fat on me, mostly skinny build, have some nice leg muscles, no real arm or back muscles, no fat gut, im 183cms and 95KGs.. Overweight to the point that if I put on more weight i'm Obese!

    BMI is not perfect. However, unless you are a weightlifter or outrageously fit (not just "skinny fit", but bulging muscles) it's a pretty good indicator. And it's pretty easy to know if you are in the extremely fit part - if you're thinking about it, you aren't.

  • by matbury ( 3458347 ) on Saturday May 10, 2014 @08:59AM (#46965991) Homepage

    Sorry, diet is a complicated topic, so this is going to be long...

    Yes, we have different carbs now. One of the most significant features of the modern diet is how we mill flour; with steel milling machines which produce finer, more doughy flour than traditional stone mills. This pushes the glycemic index (the speed at which carbs get digested into sugars and absorbed into our bloodstreams) of most bread and baked good above that of regular table sugar (sucrose).

    No, fat increases obesity too. Fat contains more available calories per gramme than sugar.

    Another problem is the reduced amounts of protein in modern foods. We have to eat a lot more food, i.e. we eat, get full, but get hungry again sooner, because our bodies aren't getting the protein we need. This could also explain the massive increase in meat consumption in order to compensate. However, large amounts of protein in one sitting can't compensate for an overall lack of protein. We need to eat protein with every meal/snack.

    And no, you can't live without carbohydrates, you'd die of starvation. Our brains can only metabolise carbs, they cannot break down fats and proteins to use for energy like other parts of our bodies. If we don't get enough carbs in our diets, our brains start to "digest themselves" producing ketones which make your breath smell of pears. It also provokes feelings of depression and lethargy. And we've all hear of low blood sugar and how it impairs our ability to think and work.

    If you don't want to get obese, don't go on calorie control diets; they just don't work and human will power isn't enough in "normal" people. If you have an eating disorder, on the other hand, yes, it'll work but you'll make yourself ill at the same time. Also, most raw vegetables have very little nutritional value; they need to be cooked (lightly) to release their nutrients and make them available to our digestive systems. The most effective approach is to cut out processed foods from your diet, although that's easier said than done; millions of years of evolution has predisposed us to select sugary, salty, fatty foods over healthier options, and most people go through a certain degree of "withdrawal" when they change their dietary habits, e.g. healthy food is less appetising, and cravings for "something else."

    The quality of our carb intake makes a huge difference. Many whole grains (but not all, check them on glycemic index/load tables) are "slow release" and so keep your bood sugar at a fairly stable, moderate level for longer, so you feel the need to eat less frequently, e.g. basmati rice, oats (porridge is great for breakfast), and barley (great in soups). Steer well clear of most breakfast cereals of the whether they have sugar added or not; the grains are usually processed in ways that make them worse than sugar, e.g. puffed wheat or steamed and rolled corn.

    A rule of thumb that seems to work well in most cases is, "Eat more plants, eat more non-meat protein, eat higher quality carbs."

    If you like an emotional/visual approach, this website's fun: []
    If you want to know more about carbs from a research evidence based perspective, "The New Glucose Revolution" is a good book. However, beware of caveats such a fructose being low on the glycemic index - It's just as bad, if not worse than sucrose, as has been revealed recently in the media. In large amounts, it also overstresses your liver.

    Happy and healthy eating!

  • by kheldan ( 1460303 ) on Saturday May 10, 2014 @12:59PM (#46967467) Journal
    Allow me to give you another perspective on why the BMI tables, even recently updated, are stupid and need to be deprecated/abolished/destroyed/ignored: They're based on statistical averages, whereas human beings are most certainly not statistically average. Even skin-caliper testing, administered by an experienced person, is more accurate at determining body composition than BMI tables are. Hydrostatic weighing is very accurate, but only if your bone density is either 'statistically average', or you know what your bone density is so the calculations used can compensate. The real 'Gold Standard' is a DEXA scan, which is primarily used for bone densitometry, but is also highly accurate for determining body composition.
  • by stenvar ( 2789879 ) on Saturday May 10, 2014 @02:04PM (#46967961)

    And no, you can't live without carbohydrates, you'd die of starvation. ... If we don't get enough carbs in our diets, our brains start to "digest themselves" producing ketones which make your breath smell of pears.

    Complete nonsense. Ketone bodies are produced from fat in the liver: []

    You really don't need carbs in your diet.

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." -- Bertrand Russell