Junior Ganymede
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The Excuses of the Priests of Pharaoh

August 14th, 2014 by Zen

When Moses began laying heavy plagues on Egypt, the priests of Pharaoh were able to explain it away, at least at first. This is seen in the Book of Mormon where people begin to explain away the prophecies, as mere guesses. Similarly, we are told that when Christ comes, the sign of his coming will be explained away as merely a comet, planet, etc. This is often seen with respect to miracles and curses.

I never expected to see that excuse making in myself.

We live in a period of time with the greatest medical technology ever. And yet, we are on the verge of losing useful antibiotics from overuse, while new strains of Ebola ravage countries in Africa. But let’s look at something more mundane and common and present with us.

Nearly half of all Americans will get type 2 diabetes, says study

Type 2 diabetes, linked in 90% of cases to overweight and obesity, is soaring. New research shows 40% of Americans and 50% of Hispanics and non-Hispanic black women will get the disease at some point in their life and the numbers are unlikely to be much different elsewhere in the developed world

The obesity epidemic has been with us for a while, and yet, we don’t fully understand why. Only about half of it is attributable to overeating. It is more complicated than calories in, calories out. Diets are universally a failure for weight loss, as important as a good diet still is. Between obesity and the concurrent epidemic of diabetes, that is a lot of people. If we will not listen to little plagues, the alternative isn’t smaller plagues.

Mundane and partially, or even totally explainable does not mean it is not a plague. And here, gentlemen and ladies, we have a plague.

Comments (7)
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August 14th, 2014 13:26:10
7 comments

Vader
August 14, 2014

I lost something like 50 pounds in no time at all once.

Of course, I ended up spending the rest of my life in a black plastic armored suit.


Bookslinger
August 14, 2014

Don’t forget the STDs. If you look at just those who are both sexually active and non-monogamous, herpes is at pandemic levels. Genital warts, yeast, chlamydia and trichmoniasis are not too far behind.

Moving on to non-sexual….

And then there are bedbugs in the larger cities that have a large number of foreign visitors.

BSE, aka bovine spongiform encephalopathy, aka chronic wasting disease, is prevalent enough in deer/elk/moose, that hunters must have every such animal they harvest tested before consuming it.

In the bigger picture, and to your point, the mistake that non-believers make is thinking that for it to be a curse from God, that _all_ the wicked will be affected, and _no_ innocent person would be affected. However, that is just not true. In most scriptural tragedies where God metes out punishment, the innocent suffer along with the guilty. And the scriptures are clear that many wicked people, as well as righteous, don’t get their judgement/consequences/rewards in this life.

Back in the 80’s it was as if one innocent person who contracted HIV from tainted blood negated the sin of hundreds of thousands who contracted it through immorality.


Vader
August 16, 2014

Back in my Jedi Temple days, when AIDs was first becoming a concern, I leaned towards the view that AIDs was one of those things Nature kicks up now and then on its own, and the law of chastity showed God’s wisdom and foreknowledge in warning us against behavior that would spread things like AIDs.

Having witnessed three decades of increasingly open warfare by the LGBT community against the Saints, I am leaning back towards the “curse of God” view.


Bookslinger
August 16, 2014

I’d like to take issue with your statement: “Only about half of it is attributable to overeating.”

It depends how your define “attributable.” And how you define “overeating.”

If you’re talking about root causes, then that is sort-of mostly correct: Most people and their doctors don’t understand or realize the root cause in that particular individual.

If you’re talking about the proximal cause(s), then that is wrong. The _proximal_ cause of obesity is nearly always __excess calorie consumption__, which is the definition of over-eating.

Because the food most people currently choose to eat has an average calorie density that has increased over the years, it _looks_ to the naked eye like we are not overeating in terms of _volume_, but we are over-eating in terms of calories. (Hence, weight-conscience people need to go for low calorie-density foods.)

As a _proximal cause_, the calories-in/calories out rule reigns supreme. The human body does not store fat in high levels, i.e. BMIs greater than 30, if the intake matches the expenditure.

The problems with determining root causes in individuals is that the causes are most often masked.

-Many people don’t know what a calorie is, or how they work in the body.

-Many people don’t realize the extremely high calorie-density nature of the foods they eat.

-Most people with a BMI over 35 (BMI of 30 is the low end of obesity, 40 is morbid-obesity) hide and/or lie about their food binging habits, or they don’t realize they are binging. The binging habit becomes their “normal”, or is reflected in their family or peer group, so they insist to their doctor they are eating “normally”.

-After dieting and achieving their goal weight, dieters immediately go back to the bad eating habits that made them obese in the first place. They fail to find, or even realize the need for the “third way” for -mainentance- of the desired weight.

-Most people don’t understand the body’s “starvation response” in response to crash diets.

– Many obese people have a “sense of fullness” issue. There are both biological/medical causes, pharmaceutical, psychological and even social causes (these would be considered “root causes”) that either turn off a person’s sense-of-fullness or cause them to ignore it. IE., they keep eating after they are “full”.

-Most people don’t understand that the body naturally reduces base metabolism in response to even a slight daily calorie deficiency below what the body needs that day, but the body does not increase metabolism above the balanced level when consuming an excess of calories.

-Most people don’t understand, and therefore never address, _why_ they are eating or over-eating.

-Childhood sexual trauma, and even non-sexual trauma, plays a bigger role than people realize. One reason for the epidemic of morbid-obesity in the African-American community is the rampant child abuse. Blacks girls are about 3 to 4 times more likely to be sexually abused than white girls. Black boys about 2 to 3 times more likely than white boys. Estimates run about 60% to 75% of black girls who grow up in predominantly black communities are sexually abused by age 18. And about 25% of black boys who grow up in predominantly black communities are sexually abused by age 18.

Pick out 100 random women, black or white or hispanic, with a BMI of 40 or greater, and 85 to 90 of them will have been sexually abused as a child, or had an equally traumatic experience. My informal interviews with the morbidly obese whom I know confirm this.

Childhood sexual abuse leads to lack of self-esteem, and lack of self-esteem is the NUMBER ONE (initial) proximal cause of over-eating and food-addiction in women. Many morbidly obese women eat as a form of sexual substitute, sort of as an alternative to sexual promiscuity. Eating becomes sex itself. Then they get addicted to the endorphin-highs of all the sugar and the chocolate. Watch how some obese women eat or even talk of eating, the emotions expressed are almost pornographic.

The rest ( back to that 10 to 15 out of the 100) will have a medical condition such as a tumor on an endocrine gland such as adrenal, thyroid, ovary; a few will have “Secondary PTSD” that they got from their mother who herself was sexually abused as a child; a few will have culturally inherited their parents’ over-eating/binging lifestyle; a few will be taking anti-psychotic medication that either stimulates appetite and/or reduces base metabolism.

-Likely due to my own lack of self-esteem, and sometimes emotionally abusive nature, I seem to attract other people of low self-esteem, which has included a number of obese and morbidly obese people. LDS singles groups are rife with the morbidly- and super-obese, especially here in flyover country. I’ve observed them, and how, why, and when they eat. I’ve been obese myself. (My highest BMI was 34. I’m now at a muscular 26, running, biking, and weightlifting.) i’ve observed and experienced that you can’t get over 30 BMI without making a lot of bad eating and lifestyle choices; that you can’t get to bmi 35 without _consistently_ making obviously bad choices, and you can’t get to bmi 40 without literally binging, almost daily, on high calore-density foods.

Yes, endocrine problems, tumors, inability to process/recognize the fullness hormone, anti-psychotics all play a part too, but what they do is influence/cause the overeating and bad-choice behaviors.

Food addicts who get to 40 BMI or higher are as manipulative and lying as drug addicts. It really is a self-destructive type of addiction in every sense of the word, having to do with endorphins, and most often, almost always, like 85% or more, with _psychological__ root causes.

Between BMI 30 to somewhere in the 35-39 range, you either have a person who is on their way to 40+ for any of the above reasons, or else you can chalk it up to plain ignorance of calories/food/exercise, lazy/bad habits, family culture, etc.

But in both/all cases, the _proximal_ cause of obesity is an excess intake of calories above the expenditure of calories, or as I like to say: “Calories never go down the toilet. You either burn it off, or wear it. “


Bookslinger
August 16, 2014

Further tidbits:

-Stomach stretching. After a food volume-binge (whether or not it was high calorie) the stomach stays stretched for a while even after passing the food on to the small intestine. The person then has to continue to eat more than the previously normal volume to maintain the same sense of fullness. If they can suffer the discomfort of a few days of pre-binge normal volume eating, the stomach will shrink back down, and they will again be sated with previous food volume levels.

-Intestinal bacteria that extract calories from dietary fiber. Most humans in first world countries do not have this bacteria. (Sorry, I dont know the names of the various strains.) Animals such as deer have it, allowing them to digest and live off of tree bark. Many people who were born in the Western Hemisphere south of the Rio Grande, and through all Central/South America have it. Dietary fiber, such as wheat bran, and the cellulose in fruit, is not counted in the official calorie count of foods. Most of us pass it without digesting it. Look on nutrition labels and you’ll see that dietary fiber is subtracted from total carbs and doesn’t go into the total or net calorie count. you’ve heard the term “net carbs”. however, animals or people with that bacteria in their gut do extract those calories. They will absorb more calories from that same slice of 100% whole wheat bread or that same apple or orange, than someone who doesn’t have that bacteria. This is one reason why people from third world countries gain so much weight after they migrate to first wolrd countries.

-Endorphin addiction to glucose highs. Glucose comes from sucrose, which is table-sugar, but it also comes from all carbs. The only difference between a complex carbohydrate and sugar is the _rate_ at which digestion breaks them down into individual glucose molecules. A person can get addicted to glucose highs regardless of the root cause of their overeating, whether it be a medical root cause, psychological root cause, or social root-cause. Therefore, while the over-eatng may initially be medical/biological in nature, such as an adrenal malfunction, it then _becomes_ or _takes on_ the psychological dimension of endorphin addiction.

-Fructose in our food. fructose is technically a carb, and counted as a carb in nurtrition data. it has 4 calories per gram as a carb. but the body processes it into a lipid/fat before metabolising it, and then must “burn” it as a fat, and all that that entails, rather than as a normal carb. See Dr. Lustig’s lecture on fructose at
http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=dBnniua6-oM

Sucrose, or table sugar, is a two part molecule consisting of one molecule of glucose and one molecule of fructose. They are broken apart almost immediately in the stomach.

the body does not like to burn fats/lipids unless it is already burning some glycogen (which is also glucose or carb molecules). Generally speaking, and this is oversimplifying, you must burn off one calorie from stored carbs (glycogen) in order to simultaneously burn a calorie from stored fat. you can’t burn 100% fat (and no stored glycogen) except in extreme and unhealthy circumstances, which usually involve the body consuming muscle mass at the same time.

The net effect of this is that you must continue to eat and burn carbs, and keep your glycogen store at just the right levels, not too high, not too low, in order to burn lipids/stored fat.

This makes a calorie of fat/fructose TWICE as hard to get rid of than a calorie of carbs.

-Glycogen levels. After digesting complex carbs down into glucose molecules, or breaking apart the sugar into glucose and fructose, the body uses insulin to re-assemble the glucose molecules into a chain of molecules
called glycogen, then stores them mostly in the liver, and somewhat inside muscle tissue.

When the liver is “full” of glycogen, the excess glucose/glycogen is converted to lipids, ie _fat_.

When exercising, if the glycogen levels are high/full, the body takes energy from the glycogen stores alone (again, oversimplifying for the sake of illustrating the overarching principle), because it doesn’t “need” to burn fat.

If the glycogen levels are too low, the body senses this, and goes into “starvation response” because carb-calorie intake has slowed or stopped, and then the body wants to _hoard_ fat, and burn muscle for energy instead of using up the last of the glycogen reserves. This is one reason crash diets or starvation diets are bad.

Therefore, the dieter must maintain just the right levels of glycogen, hence, maintain a steady and reasonable carb intake, during periods of intended weight loss.

-Fat free diets are bad. the body tends to hoard what it is not getting enough of . if you get too little fat in your diet, your body will hold on to fat. Dietary fat also plays a role in satiety. If you eat too little fat, you will never feel full.

-Protein intake. 70 grams of protein per day, even for someone who doesn’t exercise, seems to be a recommended minimum. More if you exercise. it is extremely hard to get this minimum on a vegetarian diet, and almost impossible on a vegan diet. Protein intake also plays a role in satiety. This is why vegetarian/vegan diets are, in most cases, not useful for weight loss or weight maintenance. Athletes who go vegetarian/vegan have to consume upwards of 4000 calories/day to get the necessary protein.


Zen
August 17, 2014

Bookslinger – You have many correct and valid points. But let me add a few.

Even animals in captivity with proscribed diets have been gaining weight, without a change in diet. More to the point, scientists are not convinced it really is all the simple story we have been sold.
http://aeon.co/magazine/being-human/david-berreby-obesity-era/

Case in point, one recent story suggests that early use of anti-biotics can put the body in a lifelong imbalance resulting in obesity.
http://phenomena.nationalgeographic.com/2014/08/14/early-antibiotics-change-gut-microbes-fuel-obesity/


Bookslinger
August 18, 2014

But again, those unknown or lesser-known factors are most likely operating under the overall calories-in/calories-out golden rule. Unknown factors are causing some combination, perhaps all, of the following:

– our base metabolism is decreasing, both us and lesser animals.
– the caloric content or density of the same volume of the same food is increasing.
– we are somehow more efficiently extracting calories out of the same food. IE, the South Ameican gut bacteria phenomena. This could be because those antibiotics get rid of good bacteria, which over time allows the calorie-extracting bacteria to flourish. It could be because we import so much fresh food from Mexico, Central and South America, and we are getting the bacteria via that vector.
– there could be one or more factors increasing our appetites, and/or lowering satiety, and we are in fact eating greater volumes.

An interesting book I found in the $1 bargain bin:
The World Is Fat: The fads, trends, policies, and products that are fattening the human race. Author Barry Popkin. ISBN 978-1-58333-313-6.

The obesity epidemic is world wide, and seems to go hand in hand with modernity and rising standards of living throughout all the world.

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