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posted by janrinok on Monday June 16 2014, @12:01AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the a-big-problem dept.

Employers in Europe may soon have a duty to create reserved car parking spaces for obese staff, or adjust the office furniture for them as BBC reports that the European Court of Justice is considering a test case of a male nanny who says he was fired for being too fat - a ruling that could oblige employers to treat obesity as a disability. Employment expert Audrey Williams says the judges would have to decide "whether obesity itself should trigger preferential rights, or should only impact where an individual, due to obesity, has other recognized medical issues. Employers would have a duty to make reasonable adjustments to the workplace or working arrangements," says Williams. "This might include a review of where the employee is located and their seating arrangements, or even preferential access to car parking."

The US Equal Opportunity Commission already defines obesity as being a disability, under the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act. In a recent case involving morbid obesity, a Texan employee who weighed more than 680 pounds received $55,000 in compensation for being dismissed. In October 2009, the man was told to report to human resources where officials told him the company had reached the conclusion he could no longer "perform his job duties because of his weight and he was therefore terminated," the suit said. Ronald Kratz, who had gotten two promotions and high performance ratings over his 16-year-career, insists his weight did not interfere with his ability to perform his job duties as a parts sorter. Kratz, who lost over three hundred pounds since he was fired, has not been able to find another job despite sending out numerous applications, and his unemployment benefits have run out. "It has been really hard on the family."

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 16 2014, @12:55AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 16 2014, @12:55AM (#55714)

    Why do I have images of homer simpson?

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 16 2014, @01:59AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 16 2014, @01:59AM (#55737)

      Gas brake honk
      Gas brake honk
      Honk honk punch
      Gas gas gas

    • (Score: 1) by q.kontinuum on Monday June 16 2014, @07:52AM

      by q.kontinuum (532) on Monday June 16 2014, @07:52AM (#55819) Journal

      I don't know... Your secret fetish, maybe?

      --
      Registered IRC nick on chat.soylentnews.org: qkontinuum
  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by iwoloschin on Monday June 16 2014, @12:57AM

    by iwoloschin (3863) on Monday June 16 2014, @12:57AM (#55715)

    Ok, so sure, someone who is morbidly obese needs help. I get that. But why are we waiting until someone is morbidly obese to start treating them as disabled person? Why not start when they're mildly obese, or even just a little overweight, and use rewards to promote healthy behavior, in order to prevent someone from becoming morbidly obese in the first place? Sure, there's some folks with acute medical conditions that this won't help, but I suspect (based on personal experience) that most overweight/obese folks, given the correct persuasion and encouragement, would be happy to shed the weight, and not be that fatty who gets the close parking spot.

    Ironically, you'd think that with America's employer provided health care system most companies would be serious about having their employees lead a healthy lifestyle by now. I'm a little disappointed in capitalism right now.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by c0lo on Monday June 16 2014, @01:27AM

      by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Monday June 16 2014, @01:27AM (#55727) Journal

      Why not start when they're mildly obese, or even just a little overweight

      What does it mean "slight overweight" [wikipedia.org]? (hint: forget BMI [wikipedia.org])

      in order to prevent someone from becoming morbidly obese in the first place?

      "Cost of prevention" vs "cost of mitigation" vs "the effectiveness risk management" (i.e. if the impact is small but the cost of managing the risk is high, better accept the risk).
      Want an example? Consider NSA/CIA/DoD monetary budget - add to this the erosion of individual rights.

      --
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
      • (Score: 1) by q.kontinuum on Monday June 16 2014, @08:00AM

        by q.kontinuum (532) on Monday June 16 2014, @08:00AM (#55821) Journal

        (hint: forget BMI)

        How about body fat percentage? (Yes, I know the measurement is not 100% accurate, but should be good enough to give some guideline.)

        --
        Registered IRC nick on chat.soylentnews.org: qkontinuum
    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by zsau on Monday June 16 2014, @04:27AM

      by zsau (2642) on Monday June 16 2014, @04:27AM (#55778)

      Spend money on bike infrastructure. If it's obvious how you can safely get around on a bike without being splattered by cars, more people will do it. If they get around on a bike (just for some of their trips), they will be getting moderate intensity exercise. It worked in the Netherlands, it can work anywhere.

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Subsentient on Monday June 16 2014, @01:03AM

    by Subsentient (1111) on Monday June 16 2014, @01:03AM (#55718) Homepage Journal

    All this crap about a gland problem etc is not a disability. They did it to themselves and in most cases the only reason they're still fat is that they choose to keep eating lots of crap.
    I've got this problem to a limited extent, I'm a bit chunky, but fuck me if I decide that I should be treated specially because of my chunky fat ass.
    We are becoming a culture of excuses and no responsibility, and the adults are ending up like children.

    --
    “Man is not a rational animal; he is a rationalizing animal.” ― Robert A. Heinlein
    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by frojack on Monday June 16 2014, @01:31AM

      by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Monday June 16 2014, @01:31AM (#55729) Journal

      Same el-chunko here.

      But should we be given special parking spaces?
      Yeah, but, two blocks away from the building.

      --
      No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
      • (Score: 1) by Ethanol-fueled on Monday June 16 2014, @02:04AM

        by Ethanol-fueled (2792) on Monday June 16 2014, @02:04AM (#55738) Homepage

        I'm also a chunko. But when it reaches the point that people need any kind of special accommodation, including more frequent medical visits as a result of their "ailment," they should be placed on mandatory paid sabbatical to the penal pedal-powered power generation facility where they pedal on stationary bikes 8 hours a day to generate power. Diet will be controlled portions of chicken and vegetables. Punishment for not surviving the exercise is death.

        Everybody would win in this scenario. Except the ones imprisoned at the facility going through withdrawals. They'd be willing to suck dick for an extra portion of chicken, or perhaps a carrot stick, smuggled from the dining facility.

        • (Score: 3, Funny) by c0lo on Monday June 16 2014, @03:03AM

          by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Monday June 16 2014, @03:03AM (#55753) Journal

          They'd be willing to suck dick for an extra portion of chicken

          I'd recommend skipping the chicken and let them have only one protein supplement to their diet.

          --
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 16 2014, @05:38AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 16 2014, @05:38AM (#55795)
            There may be safety issues. Very hungry people could do worse than choke your chicken :p.
      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by c0lo on Monday June 16 2014, @03:07AM

        by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Monday June 16 2014, @03:07AM (#55755) Journal

        But should we be given special parking spaces?
        Yeah, but, two blocks away from the building.

        Or... let the free-market fairy [wordpress.com] sort it out.
        (ducks)

        --
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Lagg on Monday June 16 2014, @08:02AM

      by Lagg (105) on Monday June 16 2014, @08:02AM (#55822) Homepage Journal

      I'm happy that soylent is one of the few open forums left or you might just be hate-downmodded and told that you're "fat hating". But yeah, I'm not overweight as far as I know but I still try my damnedest to exercise and otherwise be healthy despite having severe pain from a bad surgery and back problems. I'd like to think that someone who is obese can at least put the effort forth to do the same. Or at the very least not act like they're victims. I know a few big people and their reaction to being fat is saying "yes I'm fat and that's my responsibility, go away" and one of them say that and at the same time try to exercise. So all I'm seeing here is professional victims, the worst of which are the ones lately trying to use a disaster as an excuse. Like the few people who were suing (people in america, mind you) because fukushima made them obese. I guess one can say this is expected from 'murikans but don't a lot of europeans like to pretend they're above such things as being fat?

      --
      http://lagg.me [lagg.me] 🗿
    • (Score: 1) by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 16 2014, @12:58PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 16 2014, @12:58PM (#55876)

      Look, there's a big difference between "chunky" and "disabled by weight." Disabled by weight in the sense that they exceed the weight limit of a physicians examining or surgical table. Disabled in the sense that they can't squeeze through 28" doorways. Disabled in the sense that "normal" office furniture and workstations are unusable.

      I think there's a legitimate question here: an employer has to have doorways big enough for a wheelchair to fit, and certain employers have to have sinks, tables, and countertops that accommodate wheelchairs. In cases where the physical difference from "normal" is pathological or accidental, one clearly wishes not to punish the individual further than nature has already, so the interesting question is: when the individual bears some sense of culpability for his physical differences, does it become OK for society to punish them? ADA requires companies to accommodate amputees, even if the amputee cut his own limb.

      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by q.kontinuum on Monday June 16 2014, @02:09PM

        by q.kontinuum (532) on Monday June 16 2014, @02:09PM (#55895) Journal

        Your logic is flawed. There is a difference between "not supporting" (as in not taking an action to help someone) and "punishing" (as in taking an action to make someones live less pleasant). I would not want to punish anyone because of obesity; basically it is his/her decision to do something about it or not. And I'm a good enough person (like most of us) to be willing to support people who need help without being responsible for the root cause of this need, or even if they were responsible but actively try to counter it now.

        But the question at stake here is, do we want to actively support people, who actively continue to disable themselves further, and even strengthen their own self-perception as helpless victims of circumstances, which the vast majority of them are not. And that's something I'm not so sure the majority wants to do.

        --
        Registered IRC nick on chat.soylentnews.org: qkontinuum
    • (Score: 1) by Jeremiah Cornelius on Monday June 16 2014, @10:56PM

      by Jeremiah Cornelius (2785) on Monday June 16 2014, @10:56PM (#56137) Journal

      "Food" has been modified to override the somatic awareness of appetite and nutrition. Carbohydrates are disguised as proteins, then combined with complex sodium-rich molecules, that stimulate appetite, rather than satiate.

      When you work for 12 USD an hour, it's hard to escape industrial, processed foods, even were you so inclined. The stuff is plentiful, cheap and "super sized". Factor in the ubiquitous "crave" advertising messages from bus stops to bank queues, and it is fat city...

      --
      You're betting on the pantomime horse...
    • (Score: 2) by Rivenaleem on Tuesday June 17 2014, @02:21PM

      by Rivenaleem (3400) on Tuesday June 17 2014, @02:21PM (#56387)

      Obesity should be classed as Anti-social behavior, subject to fines. It's a little known fact that in historical days in Ireland you were openly ridiculed, and often fined for being overweight. You were considered a burden on society and selfish, greedy pig, and were treated as such.

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Darth Turbogeek on Monday June 16 2014, @01:06AM

    by Darth Turbogeek (1073) on Monday June 16 2014, @01:06AM (#55719)

    There are indeed a section of people who have genetic misfires and have obesity problems. I understand that and sympathise - I didnt win the genetic lottery and I have to work at keeping my weight below 80kgs - and I blow out very quickly if I dont. Once nudging 100kgs, it was a b**** to bring it back and control it. I basically ride my ass off and watch my diet. Not everyone can do this, I appreciate that. I also appreciate that some are very time poor or have fairly poor access to good food.

    I absolutly appreciate some have a legitimate problem. I have those problems. I know it's fucking when time, money and genetics are against you. I am not going to roast those who make an effort. I know it took me a long time to move things in my life so I have cycle time. I know a lot of people would be scared shitless to ride where I do or as far. I'm fine with that. IF you have a legitimate reason for obesity, then sure, disabilty works for me. I have a personal view about what I can accept for myself and I will make the time - it's not for everyone. But I do applaude and support those that make the effort, even if it's not going well. I've been there. Keep going! I stress, I am quite fine with either those who have real reasons or are making an effort.

    But what do you do with those who dont have the medical excuse, who are lazy, who drink soft drinks by the litre at a time, who suck down cheeseburgers, who sit in front of the PC or TV for hours on end? No bloody sympathy at all, get off your fat fucking ass and dont be such a blob. Stop drinking lolly water. If you have to eat fast food at least make it Subway or just simply stop eating 5 Big Macs at a time. Turn off the TV and go for a walk. For fucks sake, you see it all the time, people have excuses but one day they get a huge wakeup and they suddenly stop the excuses and they MAKE not being fat a priority. They manage to find the time, to find the food, to ditch the crap drinks. And that's where I have a problem with obesity as a disability, it's the millions who are self inflicted and could lose weight and not be obese, if they just sat down and saw the excuses for what they were. No, they are not disabled, call them what they are - fat lazy slobs who need a good hard boot up the arse.

    If you come back and say "but but but" I'll simply ask you - how many hours do you sit in front of the TV? How many hours in front of the PC? How much soft drink? How much junk food? Becuase if you say "but" and you have any of that to spare and you do not have a clear medical reason, then you are not fucking disabled. You are a lazy shit and I do not apologise for saying it.

    Oh and before you say your commute - Mine is two hours. I ride through winter, summer, wind and rain in the afternoons. NO EXCUSES. I park the car close enough to ride home. I turned 1 hour into 2.5 hours of riding. I'm up at 5am to give myself enough daylight hours in the evening (even tho now basically it's all dark, ebing winter here). Look at your commute and work out ways to change it to insert walking / riding time. You might be surprised at your options and your job may be more flexible than you think it is. If you are detirmined, you will find a way, others in your situation manage it, you probably can too.

    As I said, I appreciate there are real legitimate reason for obesity. I do not think everyone who is fat has an excuse however.

    • (Score: 2) by mojo chan on Monday June 16 2014, @07:37AM

      by mojo chan (266) on Monday June 16 2014, @07:37AM (#55816)

      Depression and stress are considered medical conditions that can lead to obesity too. It's a vicious cycle - people get fat, feel bad about themselves and their failure to lose weight and become depressed, so they put on more weight and the cycle repeats. A "good hard boot up the arse" is the last thing they need. Antidepressants perhaps, or counselling. This ruling is part of a more general movement towards recognizing mental illness as a legitimate disability.

      --
      const int one = 65536; (Silvermoon, Texture.cs)
    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by theluggage on Monday June 16 2014, @01:03PM

      by theluggage (1797) on Monday June 16 2014, @01:03PM (#55877)

      But what do you do with those who dont have the medical excuse, who are lazy, who drink soft drinks by the litre at a time, who suck down cheeseburgers, who sit in front of the PC or TV for hours on end? No bloody sympathy at all, get off your fat fucking ass and dont be such a blob.

      Thing is - who gets to decide which type you are? What about the borderline cases (which from the sound of it could be you, if something stopped you cycling*) - do you want to give that power to emplyers?

      The stuff about parking spaces and office chairs is FUD: these cases were about employers who fired people that they unilaterally decided were too fat to do their jobs (allegedly without any sound evidence to back that up) . That shouldn't happen unless a doctor declares you unfit to do your job .

      C.f. someone who gets respiratory disease from smoking - you'd generally expect them to be treated as "disabled" even though their condition was arguably self-inflicted. While doctors might have a dilemma over whether to continue treating a smoker who had found that cigarettes fitted oh-so-neatly in a tracheotomy tube, that's not up to the employer.

      Alternatively, maybe employers who profit from their workers sitting on their arse for 8 hours a day should take on teeny bit of the responsibility for the obesity epidemic? Exercise facilities, incentives, healthy food in canteens?

      (* Like you, I had the problem cracked for a while by cycling to work, and lost quite a bit of weight... then my heart gave out. Now I'm permanently on beta blockers that "may cause weight gain" and while I could probably still cycle to work I'd be too knackered to work once I got there. Its still my problem to fix, but its going to take a hell of a lot of self-administered arse-kicking.)

  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Appalbarry on Monday June 16 2014, @01:27AM

    by Appalbarry (66) on Monday June 16 2014, @01:27AM (#55726) Journal

    I highly recommend the Obesity Panacea blog [plos.org] over at PLOS, for a lot of science based discussion and research around the whole issue.

    I'd argue that one very big part of the equation is that each of our eating habits are determined largely by what we're raised with. A few years ago we hosted a student intern who was hitting 300+ pounds at age 18, and whose diet was - ENTIRELY - white bread, processed meat, processed cheeze slices and miracle whip. Plus gallons of soda.

    I put the blame for his condition squarely on his (also obese) parents for setting him up for failure, for not recognizing a problem years earlier, and for allowing him to grow so obese that any sort of physical exercise would have been extremely difficult, if not dangerous.

    That's why I support moves to get soda pop out of schools, and to encourage schools to have healthy foods instead of fries, pizza, and other crap.

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by frojack on Monday June 16 2014, @01:48AM

      by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Monday June 16 2014, @01:48AM (#55733) Journal

      Most of the time very heavy people are on Diet soda. Gallons of it.

      There is something wrong with the whole concept of diet drinks when the actually seem counter productive most of the time.

      One could almost make the case that the amount of real sugar in regular soda actually might suppress appetite but the fake sugar substitutes enhance appetite.

      We sure as hell aren't getting any thinner since the advent of diet sodas.

      --
      No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
      • (Score: 2) by tynin on Monday June 16 2014, @02:11AM

        by tynin (2013) on Monday June 16 2014, @02:11AM (#55742) Journal

        I'll give you my diet coke when you pry it from my cold, fat hands!

      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Darth Turbogeek on Monday June 16 2014, @02:35AM

        by Darth Turbogeek (1073) on Monday June 16 2014, @02:35AM (#55746)

        Absolutly correct - diet drinks are getting known in provoking the insulin response that causes fat storage. All the negatives of sugar response and no positives, plus the other chemicals that the body gets an addiction to. They are if anything worse than the drinks they claim to be a healthy sub to.

        I switched from diet to fresh and unprocessed fruit juices as possible (in moderation, the only thing I drink in litres is water now) and apart from a fucking feral headache or two at beginning, it's quite conducive to losing fat.

        If you want to lose fat, drink water. It's what genuinely works and helps flush crap out of your body too as well as giving your body something to help burn the fat.

        • (Score: 1) by pendorbound on Monday June 16 2014, @09:26PM

          by pendorbound (2688) on Monday June 16 2014, @09:26PM (#56094) Homepage

          Gonna have to call BS on that one. I lost 200lbs (and kept it off going on three years) drinking 2-3 liters of diet soda a day. I know what a strong insulin response feels like (IE feels like shit) because a key part of my taking the weight off was curbing carbs and getting my insulin levels under control. Diet soda most definitely does NOT trigger the same insulin response that full sugar soda or other source of fast carbs does.

          I get that aspartame isn't anyone's idea of health food, but it doesn't magically break your metabolism the way a lot of people try to suggest. To me, diet soda is the most efficient way to get caffeine into my system, and being de-caffeinated is far worse of a metabolic effect on me than whatever aspartame and phosphoric acid might cause. It's not even the caffeine withdrawal thing that's a problem. I generally don't drink much soda over the weekends, and I'm fine. It's that the caffeine acts as a metabolism booster to a noticeable degree. Granted I'm sure there are other variables (reduced activity from less *zoom* probably), but on the few occasions I tried to cut out diet soda during my weight loss (for a week or so at a time), there was a noticeable reduction in my rate of loss for those weeks.

          As far as flushing things out... Soda is still mostly water. If the number of times a day I need to pee is any indication, it's flushing me out just fine, thanks. For me, switching to fruit juice would be the worst thing I could do. Might as well drink sugar water.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 16 2014, @02:39AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 16 2014, @02:39AM (#55748)

        Everyone is quick to say it is 'one thing'. But it is a major combination of things. If it was as simple as eliminating one thing a diet would be easy. Lucky it is. Its sugar. The downside is there are about 20 different kinds of sugar. It is in *everything*. Also most juices are just sugar bombs in disguise. Keep your carb intake bellow a particular level and you will lose weight. That level is different for everyone.

        However using diet drinks can be effective in a diet. However, if you just use it as an excuse to not reduce in other areas do not use diet drinks. I have noticed if I drink a diet drink I feel even more hungry than when I started.

        I stick to water. As my level of exercise is low. If I had a higher level. I could get away with drinking some sugar drinks.

      • (Score: 1) by Qzukk on Monday June 16 2014, @03:25AM

        by Qzukk (1086) on Monday June 16 2014, @03:25AM (#55760) Journal

        I lost somewhere around 30 pounds switching from dr. pepper to diet (didn't have the heart to step on a scale when I started, so I don't really know where I started from but it was north of 300)

        If someone came up with a diet cheese that was edible, I'd probably lose another 40 pounds.

        People rant about burning calories or whatever, but it's pretty much entirely about what you put in, because it is possible to put in WAY more than you will ever burn, even if you somehow managed to run marathons back to back (one marathon apparently burns somewhere around 2500 Calories, depending mostly on weight).

        Myself, my weight stabilized (at 6'4" 280lbs) with this as a complete and honest accounting of what I eat daily, numbers thanks to myfitnesspal.com:

        Breakfast: 2 eggs, scrambled, nothing added but a bit of pam to keep it from sticking. Three slices of bacon, two slices of pepper jack cheese, two slices of toast (assembled into two open-face sandwiches). Calories: 540

        Lunch: Healthy Choice cafe steamer (we have a freezer and a microwave at work, much more convenient than waking up early enough to make a lunch, and at $2.50 and ~300 calories, much cheaper both ways than eating out). Baby carrots, large red delicious apple. Calories: 450

        Dinner: 2 roast beef sandwiches, Calories: 563

        Snacks: about 1000 calories of cheese & crackers (a quarter pound of cheese and a handful of triscuits) (yes, it disgusts me when I think about it being a quarter pound of cheese that I just ate. No, that's not going to stop me)

        That's what I've eaten today between the time I woke up at 10AM and now (10PM). 2500 calories without even trying. I don't even buy chips anymore since I could eat an entire bag at one sitting and still be hungry. I don't buy ice cream, cookies, etc for the same reason. My doctor keeps telling me to quit eating dessert, but doc, it's the cheese that's killing me.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 16 2014, @05:09AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 16 2014, @05:09AM (#55790)

          Listen to your doc. And, if you think the cheese is killing you, stop eating the cheese as well. Use the money you save to buy the complete Futurama DVD set or a used thinkpad on which to run Debian Hurd.

          You don't need much food if you work at a desk.. just (hah.. easier said than done, I know) get in the habit of eating less (assuming you're looking for free advice :))

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 16 2014, @01:52PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 16 2014, @01:52PM (#55890)

          Breakfast: 2 slices of toast, coffee, and OJ: 270 calories
          Lunch: out - something between rice bowl and Big Mac. Let's go with the Big Mac Meal deal: 1130
          Dinner, or more likely 4:30 "Tea": quart of whole milk + yogurt: 700 calories
          snacks: maybe a couple of bananas, berries, or a beer: 150 calories
          drinks: water and unsweetened tea: 0

          Your body expects to wake up, eat, and be active. Every species does this, regardless of whether they wake at dawn or dark. Shift your calorie consumption earlier in the day, get your blood glucose synchronized with your activity, and your body will feel less pressure to store those calories against future activity.

          There's only 400 calories in a quarter pound of most cheeses.

    • (Score: 4, Informative) by opinionated_science on Monday June 16 2014, @04:08AM

      by opinionated_science (4031) on Monday June 16 2014, @04:08AM (#55771)

      There is a lot of confusion around obesity, largely due a wilfully ignorant political movement to decouple food consumption from environment.

      Diet and exercise is the entirety of the problem. Full stop. Genetics may affect your personal efficiency at being able to exercise (and to burn calories) or absorb calories (your muscle mass), and the microbial cultures in our digestive tracts probably play a crucial role.

      However, there has been a malign movement of trying to equate lack of objectivity with a weakening of the need for themrodynamics.

      It has been measured in great detail the approximate energy expended to carry out exercise. Using CO2 metabolism and other technologies, it can be measured very accurately indeed. Clinical studies on marathon runners reveals a nice consistent number for "energy in a pound of fat". Approx 3500 kCals. So here's the rub. Professional atheletes are highly adapted to run efficiently so they will burn a minimum of the thermodynamic energy for 26 miles. But that is because they are adapted, probably have 14% body fat, and therefore are not carrying execess weight. But you and I will burn a MINIMUM of that amount, so why is society overweight?

      The next dubious piece of folklore surrounds aging. There have been clinical measurements of atheletes and their metabolic potential (as measured using CO2 metabolism) as being essentialy unchanged (30-60), so long as training was adhered to. Sure, our ability to develop new muscle declines as we age, but the cliff in society, is not supported by the biology. Use it or lose it. The longer you wait to get in shape, the harder it is, and the more problems it will be to maintain.

      Finally, there is the content of food, and their calories. Not all food is equal. Sugars (carbohydrates) have different enzymatics mechanisms to break them down, and physiologically different mechanism for storage. The biochemical explanation given in Lessig's talk on youtube is bang on the money. Glucose can be burnt by every cell in our body. Fructose and alcohol must be processed by the liver, and get stored as fat. Insulin is the hormone that will take free gluocose in the blood and deposit it in fat cells - rapidly. High fructose corn syrup, as the name suggests, is processed mostly by the liver and since gluocose triggers the insulin responce, excessive amounts cause the "selection" of cells that no longer respond to insulin. That's type 2 diabetes for you. There is a probably even a mechanism for the body to let food pass throught the body without absorption - I have NO evidence for this, but I suspect the microbes have a lot more to do than we know currently.

      There is nothing wrong with fructose in its natural form. Eat an apple, orange, pineapple. Lovely stuff. But fruit juices are basically pure sugars. Soda is bad. But so is pure fruit juice. The actual fruit has cells you need to digest to get at it, slowing down its absorption.

      The bottom line, calories matter. The daily limits you hear about? Complete fantasy. Think about it. Can all human males regardless of height or muscle mass really eat 2500 calories/day? Maybe if you are not in a sedentary occupation (yes, that's many of us). Fortunately, we have the technology to measure your resting metabolism. Daily limits of 1200 kcals/day are not unusal for sedentary jobs. Remember, you can run a marathon on 3500 kCals. Doesn't really make sense that sitting around all day would burn 2/3 of that, now does it?

      The objective evidence is in. It is diet and exercise. Not diet OR exercise, it is both. Sure, you can lose weight just by eating less, but raising the number of mitochondria (by building muscle though exercise), is far quicker and probably safer since a diverse diet is easier to maintain. Walk for an hour @ 3mph, you can burn ~356 calories.

      Also, if you do moderate exercise (defined as 60% of your metabolic potential), the body will preferentially burn fat. Its called ketosis, and so long as the carbohyrate level is not too high, you adapt to burning fat efficiently. This is quite literally what "getting fit is", improving the bodies mechanisms for expeneding energy.

      Perhaps society as a whole needs to recognise that this is not something that can be left to "if I have the time" and we need some practical ways of getting the population to see it is in their best interests to be fit(ter). Making excuses doesn't help anyone. If you've ever had to deal with the effects of diabetes through friends or family, you will know that is something to be avoided if at all possible.

               

      • (Score: 2) by sjames on Monday June 16 2014, @07:37AM

        by sjames (2882) on Monday June 16 2014, @07:37AM (#55815) Journal

        Just like we know that flapping wings lifts a bird off the ground. Yet some birds simply cannot manage it. They flap as hard as they can and nothing much happens.

        Some people have that problem with weight loss.

        I find it hard to believe that give the level of interest in loosing weight and with so few managing any lasting results that we have the right answers.

        We do know that if a fat rat has it's intestinal flora killed off with antibiotics and then re-seeded from a thin rat, the rat will become thin with no effort. That suggests that diet and exercise is not the whole story.

        Sure, it is thermodynamics but it is a complex system. It's not Kcal eaten and exercise done. It's KCal actually absorbed (which may vary by type of food) rest metabolism, muscle efficiency, etc.

        • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Darth Turbogeek on Monday June 16 2014, @10:25AM

          by Darth Turbogeek (1073) on Monday June 16 2014, @10:25AM (#55841)

          The reason why, almost without fail, that people yoyo in weight is that they stop doing the things that made them lose weight in the first place. The actual answer that has been proved to work over and over again is you put your health first and you do NOT stop doing that.

          The people who have a genuine health reason for beefing up are a minority. You only have to look thirty years ago to see the lower rates of obesity - people havent changed but the exercise is clearly lessened and the diets have gotten worse. So..... for most of us, you fix those two and you do NOT unmake the fix. There. It might take a while for some of us but it will work. It almost always does.

          • (Score: 2) by sjames on Monday June 16 2014, @04:48PM

            by sjames (2882) on Monday June 16 2014, @04:48PM (#55985) Journal

            So, if the fix works so well, why do you suppose it keeps getting unmade so often for so many? There must be some reason it is much harder than you think.

            • (Score: 2) by Darth Turbogeek on Monday June 16 2014, @10:38PM

              by Darth Turbogeek (1073) on Monday June 16 2014, @10:38PM (#56124)

              Did I say it was easy? See a few posts up of mine, I *know* how fucking hard it can be to stay in shape. If you are making an effort and it's not going as well as you like I sympathize. I know what you are going through.

              It's easy to fall off the fitness wagon and be a lazy slob however. That, for most people truly is the reason, nothing more. This isnt rocket science and the fact is that we're making it a lot more complex than it should be - eat decent food, moderate exercise, knock of the stupid drinks..... it works.

              • (Score: 2) by sjames on Tuesday June 17 2014, @02:17AM

                by sjames (2882) on Tuesday June 17 2014, @02:17AM (#56186) Journal

                I never said you think it's easy. I just said it is probably harder than you think (at least for some).

        • (Score: 3, Informative) by opinionated_science on Monday June 16 2014, @11:46AM

          by opinionated_science (4031) on Monday June 16 2014, @11:46AM (#55853)

          Yes, there are probably a wide range of parameters that can make a difference. But none of them can change the physics. I would be surprised if they amount to more than a factor of two.

          Rat studies are interesting to get at the mechanism, but they are fundamentally flawed as the rats compliance is not optional. In a clinical setting the one thing that is not controllable is diet. They have tried it , but it is not legal to force people to eat something they don't want to, well often not..... I mean, would you like to be told what to eat (unless you are married of course...)? Exercise on the other hand, is much easier to measure...

          As I pointed out in my post, the daily averages the governments and food companies foist upon us are a complete fantasy. Your personal metabolism is just that - personal. But if everyone who needed it only consumed 1200 kCals , the food companies would be lobbying for the government to tell us to eat more. It is a system with a perverse incentive - companies cannot make enough profit. They don't stop selling something to you when it is good for you.... Just like big pharma, who I am sure would love to sell you a weight loss pill....

          In every instance if you expend more calories than you consume, you will lose weight. Once you gain the fat, it is harder to lose because those cells have to be emptied for long enough for your body to reabsorb them. Hence, some patients get "loose skin" in a appearance. But they will lose the weight. Hence, the longer you leave it, the harder it gets. There is some clinical research that suggests we don't lose them so easily....

          Being able to exercise is a skill like any other. We are born with a certain amount and we can improve it with practice. The problem with our society is that self-control is in short supply, at a time when the system is setup to feed us anything we want....

          • (Score: 2) by sjames on Monday June 16 2014, @04:54PM

            by sjames (2882) on Monday June 16 2014, @04:54PM (#55991) Journal

            What compliance? It has been tried with the rats free feeding and with equally rationed diets. Either way one day fat rat. Antibiotics and inoculation from thin rat later, rat becomes thin. Laws of physics suspended for rats or system analysis more complex than Kcal eaten - Kcal used? I'll take option B :-)

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 16 2014, @01:21PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 16 2014, @01:21PM (#55883)

        There have been clinical measurements of atheletes and their metabolic potential (as measured using CO2 metabolism) as being essentialy unchanged (30-60), so long as training was adhered to.

        There are also excellent studies that show muscle mass drops by about 2%/year starting at age 40, regardless of whether you're a couch potato or an elite weight lifter. Of course, these are all cross-sectional studies and the population variability is huge, so you can easily find anecdotal evidence to counter it. And if you do studies with fewer than 20-50 people in a group, you can easily miss such subtle effects.

        But there's little interest in doing scientific studies spanning 20-40 years. Seriously: 40 years is going to span multiple principal investigators' careers. There's little funding for intervention-based "wellness" studies, so group sizes tend to be 10-12.

        I think you're also neglecting the influence of sedentary activity. We all know a guy who can't stop bouncing his leg at the table, or someone who just looks tense all the time. If you're holding a 4% MVC most of your waking hours, you're going to burn a lot more calories than someone whose only activity is riding an hour long 60% VO2max bike ride.

      • (Score: 2) by Covalent on Monday June 16 2014, @02:30PM

        by Covalent (43) on Monday June 16 2014, @02:30PM (#55903) Journal

        This is it precisely, though I could take it a step further. No matter what your genetics, you cannot violate the Law of Conservation of Mass. You cannot gain 10 pounds by eating 9 pounds of food, even if it is complete and utter garbage. A gallon of soda can, at most, result in a little more than 8 pounds of weight gain (densities vary by sugar content).

        The reality, of course, is that 8 pounds of food will result in significantly less than 8 pounds of weight gain. I mean, you have to keep breathing, and every exhalation results in some carbon leaving your body. That carbon came from your food (predominantly, especially if you are overweight) so your body is losing mass in that way with every breath. You also lose water mass to sweat, urine, etc.

        So keep those portion sizes way down, and the carbon your body exhales will have to come from stored fat (and to a lesser extent glycogen), not from food. Voila! Exhale your way to a slimmer you.

        --
        You can't rationally argue somebody out of a position they didn't rationally get into.
        • (Score: 2) by opinionated_science on Monday June 16 2014, @06:07PM

          by opinionated_science (4031) on Monday June 16 2014, @06:07PM (#56031)

          Yes.
          weight of food != weight gained. Water is a major component of our bodies. Exhalation is not the only way to lose mass. You also excrete cellular matter and other waste via bile salt aggregation. The microbial cultures also get their cut.

          But when it comes to excess fat, the *minimum* energy you will expend can be measured using CO2 metabolic calibration. The "overweight" label is perhaps not specific enough, which is why obesity is used.

          A pound of fat ~= 3500 kCals. That means you can extract maxiumum of 3500 kCals - that is biochemistry.

          However, not everyone will get 3500 kCals, but the government nutrition advice gives a made up number that is probably only applicable for 10% of the population. Perhaps the population needs to get an objective metabolism measurement every year? Probably a lot cheaper than the costs of managing all the other diseases.

    • (Score: 1) by q.kontinuum on Monday June 16 2014, @08:26AM

      by q.kontinuum (532) on Monday June 16 2014, @08:26AM (#55826) Journal

      I put the blame for his condition squarely on his (also obese) parents for setting him up for failure, for not recognizing a problem years earlier, and for allowing him to grow so obese that any sort of physical exercise would have been extremely difficult, if not dangerous.

      I don't. It's just too easy to use it as an excuse. I started doing sport early, without my parents telling me to do so. My parents smoked, I despised that. My parents ate diet-butter and drank diet-soda, I rejected. (I'd rather drink water than this disgusting diet stuff, and if I want a softdrink, I want the real deal.)

      I do agree that parents usually do have a strong influence and can do a lot of damage (mine were supportive and never tried to force their habbits on me, partially because I didn't use to be fat skinny, partially because they accepted my individuality), and the first years can make it already very difficult to start caring for your own body. But if something bothers you, usually the only things you can change about it are your own behavior and attitude, and emphasizing the part others play in your problem doe not help you to resolve doing your part to change it. I'm all for supporting those who want to tackle their obesity, and I'm also all for helping those who already do their best, but are physiologically not able to lose weight without torturing themselves. But in that case this physical condition preventing them to lose weight is the disability, the weight is only a symptom.

      --
      Registered IRC nick on chat.soylentnews.org: qkontinuum
  • (Score: 2) by kaszz on Monday June 16 2014, @03:16AM

    by kaszz (4211) on Monday June 16 2014, @03:16AM (#55757) Journal

    In some places it's hard to find food outlets that server proper real food. And if colleagues drag you along to some junk food place. Good luck trying to get some decent in the first place. Bonus point for ducking the comments.

    So forbid businesses that serve mostly junk to make any kind of advertising. And reserve good locations for better alternatives. Same for products. Remove their right to advertise in any way. Make laws that for every soft drink you need to offer two juices without any additives. And so on.
    Public facilities that offer bars full of sugar and bad fats at late night through vending machines should enforce that the providers of such machines fill them with real food too. At minimum 50%.

    And deal with environments that make people depressed so that food don't become a self medication. With reasonable work loads at school and work. And more stimulating environment than gray concrete with clinical removal of any grass and trees.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 16 2014, @03:40AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 16 2014, @03:40AM (#55765)

      "...offer two juices without any additives"

      Ok, but in the US, fruit juices are essentially sugar water, a mere quarter step above Kool-Aid. I refuse to drink them for this reason and certainly wouldn't offer fruit 'juice' to kids if I had any.

      • (Score: 2) by frojack on Monday June 16 2014, @04:13AM

        by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Monday June 16 2014, @04:13AM (#55773) Journal

        Really?
        I read labels. In my fruit juice, there is fruit juice. Nothing more. Nothing less.
        You need to shop more carefully ?

        --
        No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
        • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 16 2014, @04:32AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 16 2014, @04:32AM (#55782)

          "You need to shop more carefully ?"

          You need to check your facts:

          "Excess fruit juice consumption by preschool-aged children is associated with short stature and obesity."

          https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8989331 [nih.gov]

          "...according to researchers from the Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences at the University of Glasgow in Scotland,

          ...the high sugar content in fruit juice is just about equal to the amount of sugar that’s dumped in soda."

          http://www.ivillage.com/study-finds-juice-and-soda-are-equal-sugar/4-a-562072 [ivillage.com]

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 16 2014, @04:50AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 16 2014, @04:50AM (#55786)

            The claim was made that "in the US, fruit juices are essentially sugar water". This implied that juices elsewhere in the world are not so full of sugar. The poster you are replying to understandably thought that this was a reference to sugar being added to fruit juices, which is not uncommon here. Shopping carefully can generally avoid adulterated juices entirely.

            • (Score: 1) by q.kontinuum on Monday June 16 2014, @02:46PM

              by q.kontinuum (532) on Monday June 16 2014, @02:46PM (#55909) Journal

              "in the US, fruit juices are essentially sugar water". This implied that juices elsewhere in the world are not so full of sugar.

              No, it does not. If I tell you that shit stinks in France, you might tell me that, surprisingly, it does in US as well. Nevertheless my first claim would hold true ;-)

              The poster you are replying to understandably thought that this was a reference to sugar being added to fruit juices

              That's a different claim; I agree this is likely. BTW: As far as I know, in most cases where juice is mixed with sugar, it is also mixed with water, essentially evening out to the same level of sweetness. Since Fructose [wikipedia.org] consumption is also problematic, the version with water and sugar might even be healthier. The main point should be:
              If you are thirsty, drink water! Juice is food, high caloric food, with some vitamins.

              --
              Registered IRC nick on chat.soylentnews.org: qkontinuum
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 16 2014, @05:10AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 16 2014, @05:10AM (#55791)

          I think the point is that actual fruit juice made entirely from actual fruit is mostly sugar and water. Apple juice, per 100 grams, contains about 10 g sugar and 90 g water and less than a gram of everything else (fiber, vitamins, etc). If you are thirsty drink water.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 16 2014, @01:36PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 16 2014, @01:36PM (#55887)

          Most fruit juices are sugar in disguise. There are about 20-30 different ways they name sugar. Ever wonder why apple juice is in everything? It is sweet (because of the sugar) and most importantly cheap and has tons of natural sugar and easy to mask with other flavors. Something like pure cherry juice would be borderline bitter. Maraschino cherries are sweat because they soak them in corn syrup. So they start with 90% apple juice add in 8-9% grape juice then add in a couple of tea spoons of cherry or whatever 'flavor' they are looking to sell you.

          Eating an apple is good. As the fiber is good for you and vitamins in the skin too. Drinking a glass of apple juice over a coke is debatable which is better (maybe the apple by a nano hair). A glass of apple cider would be better for you. But that is also usually considered bitter by people raised on sugar diets.

          Look to sugar. That is where most people gain weight as your body easily turns it into fat storage. It is in everything from your bread to your drinks. Good rule of thumb stay out of the middle of the store and go down the edges. That is where the bulk of processed foods are. Processing usually means taking something cheap that tastes like paste and give it a good flavor and sell it for double or even triple for good margin.

          If you think you are buying 'real' juices look again. You will see most of the time they are selling you apple juice blended with grape juice. A real litter of pomegranate would probably cost 15-20 bucks. There are basically 3 juices most people really buy, apple, grape, and orange. 99% of the remaining juices out there are blends with the good stuff burnt at the factory to run boilers. The 'good stuff' tastes like paste and people do not want to buy it.

          A few go as far as to blend in a few teaspoons of processed sugars (usually one of the crystalline forms). To bump the sweetness. For example would you consider molasses to be sugar? It is 100% sugar. It is a byproduct of making sugar white and granular. Yet they do not have to call it sugar. They have fought long and hard to hide it from consumers.

          It is why I am heavily invested stock wise in food processing groups. As people think they are eating healthy when in fact they are eating processed foods with sugar in it. The adkins fad a few years ago was the only one to actually put a scare into the food companies.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 16 2014, @04:49PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 16 2014, @04:49PM (#55987)

            Maraschino cherries are sweat because they soak them in corn syrup.

            Yeah, and pickles are bitter because they're soaked in vinegar. I fail to see the relevance of candied cherries to a discussion of proper fruit or fruit juices.

            There's definitely a segment of the population who fail to make a distinction between sugar, the chemical present in all food, and sugar as a refined additive to foods. These people are prone to marketing ploys like "No added sugar" in honeyed, juiced, or agaved foods. Most of us would rather see comprehensible ingredients on our food than a mass spectrogram, and we know that sweet components like honey means a lot of simple carbohydrates, even if it's not labeled "sugar."

            The reason orange, apple, and grape juices are popular is that those are naturally the sweetest juices. In fact, when most people say "juice" they mean one of those. I'd bet that if you just say "juice" to most people, they immediately think "orange juice."

            This whole thread is an argument between people who know that fruits are primarily mono- and di-saccharides and think of fruit juice as sugarwater, and people who know that fruits are mostly mono- and di-saccharides and think that the food industry will add refined sugar to those juices to make them sell better.

    • (Score: 1) by q.kontinuum on Monday June 16 2014, @02:33PM

      by q.kontinuum (532) on Monday June 16 2014, @02:33PM (#55904) Journal

      And if colleagues drag you along to some junk food place. Good luck trying to get some decent in the first place. Bonus point for ducking the comments.

      So, making obesity socially accepted will help you to duck comments from obese colleagues who try to drag you into their own miserable eating habits? I'm not against taxation of unhealthy food though.

      --
      Registered IRC nick on chat.soylentnews.org: qkontinuum
      • (Score: 2) by kaszz on Tuesday June 17 2014, @12:48AM

        by kaszz (4211) on Tuesday June 17 2014, @12:48AM (#56164) Journal

        If you are fit and eat proper food. Then there's always people that just has to vent their opinion on that. Making obesity a normal state is not a good thing but people shouldn't be ostracized for it either.

        The problem is usually that in a lunch restaurant you have to order what's available there. Or the people working there will ask you to leave. However you didn't want to go there in the first place..

  • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 16 2014, @03:37AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 16 2014, @03:37AM (#55763)

    Thanks you plastic world!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Obesogen [wikipedia.org]

    Ever wonder how people 100 years ago did not get to be 600 pounds *overweight*? Well, there is your answer. Obesogens, with which our environment is now almost saturated with, did not even exist 100 years ago. Normal endocrine systems controls weight to prevent things like morbid obesity from occurring. Yes, even sedentary people did not blow up to 150+kg that is now quite common sight in America.

    Some people being fat is one thing. The entire society becoming morbidly obese, that's something else. The normal weight is no longer normal weight. That's fucked up.

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 16 2014, @11:56AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 16 2014, @11:56AM (#55855)

    This kind of thing really makes me boil with anger.

    I myself am of limited mobility due to progressive lung disease caused by cystic fibrosis, at my current stage(maybe no more than a year left in me) I can no longer walk around outside without supplemental oxygen and regardless of this I still force myself to exercise for at least an hour a day.

    To see people purposely disable themselves with food is absolutely baffling to me, I long to be able to run again, even to be able to go to the local park without everyone avoiding eye contact with me and giving me a lot of space due to my oxygen equipment. Sympathy for me is a natural but people don't realise how isolating and degrading it can also be to the sufferer as they are no longer on the same social grounds as the people doling out the sympathy.

    In my opinion, people that are severely overweight have no excuses, they have options, they can do something about their situation avoid all the social stigmas and live a better life, and yet for some reason that simply escapes me , they choose to be the way they are - and for that, they deserve all the ridicule and hatred they get.

    Keep the definition of disability in the realm of people that genuinely can't help their situation, the people that get on with life the best they can regardless, give them aid where they need it and don't inflict them with unnecessary sympathy - don't give into relabelling an entire section of society through sheer insistent attrition by those that refuse to help themselves.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 16 2014, @03:31PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 16 2014, @03:31PM (#55946)

      Well, fuck. Now I'm just bummed.

  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by NullPtr on Monday June 16 2014, @11:57AM

    by NullPtr (3786) on Monday June 16 2014, @11:57AM (#55856) Journal

    ...is the inability to understand how the human body works. If you're going to abuse that, then why stop at eating too many calories and/or not doing enough exercise? People/companies already have the choice to treat fat people differently; if they don't, then don't force them to. I don't want my tax money used to promote/fight/defend this sort of nonsense. They're already costing me money in health care, and there's talk of taxing foods which lettuce dodgers enjoy (which punishes people for whom the food is an *occasional* treat); please don't take any more my money away just because their parents did such a bad job of bringing them up ("No, you can't have another ice cream; you're getting fat"). Instead, arrest the parents of morbidly obese children and take the kids into care before it's too late and we inflict this nanny-state nonsense on the next generation.

    Sure, some people have medical problems which make them obese. That's an entirely separate problem; I see no evidence that they've increased at anything like the same speed that many people's waistlines have.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 17 2014, @09:23AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 17 2014, @09:23AM (#56281)

    "680 pounds" is meaningless to most of us, can we please instead or at least in addition to use proper units?

    btw $ units '680 pounds' 'kg'
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