Why didn’t junk food cause obesity in the olden days?

Answer by Jim Seidman:

In days of yore, most junk food was quite high in naturally occurring fats. When someone ordered a burger, french fries, and a milkshake, all of those were replete with fat. That meant that someone eating a junk food diet would experience a great deal of satiety after a meal, and likely only eat three meals a day.

In 1977, the United States Senate Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs issued what is widely known as the McGovern Report. Despite the objections of medical professionals, this report, written by a vegetarian aide of McGovern with no nutritional background, blamed saturated fat for a variety of health ills. The report recommended a reduction in consumption of animal fat. It also served McGovern's constituents back in South Dakota by encouraging much more consumption of grain, a major export of South Dakota.

Over the next couple of decades, junk food changed. Saturated fats were largely replaced by partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. Such oils are rich in trans fats, which are now known to stoke inflammation and lead to weight gain.

More recently, as the devastating effects of trans fats have become better understood, high-carb, low fat foods have become hugely popular. Unlike the junk food of old, foods that are predominately carbohydrates do not produce a lasting sense of satiety. People can drink soda and eat pretzels all day long, consuming far more calories than they ever could with the high-fat foods. These changes have been accelerated by farm policy, which has led to massive amounts of cheap corn that gets incorporated into junk foods. Cheetos made from corn meal, gummy bears made from corn syrup, and surprisingly many other products are cheap thanks to farm subsidies.

So, the short answer is that junk food has changed substantially in nature since the days of yore.

Why didn't junk food cause obesity in the olden days?

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What are important but uncomfortable truths that many people learn when transitioning into adulthood?

Answer by Anonymous:

1) All that talk about integrity is a sham. Folks that get ahead do so by ruthlessly and shamelessly lying, cheating, and stealing to get ahead and stepping on the bodies of the innocent and naive. If you aren't willing to play this game, be prepared to report in to a boss like this or else be a small business owner for the rest of your life.
 
2) Bosses play favorites. Work hard to be the favored one. Do things for your boss, including the dirty work that no one wants to touch. Suck it up. Be mature and put yourself in their shoes. Use your strengths to bolster their weaknesses and you will become indispensable.
 
3) Who your boss is will become more and more important to your success in your later career than how well you really do. (Your mistakes will be more easily "forgiven" if you have a boss that is on your side. If you're weak in numbers, a boss who favors you will still promote you and hire number crunchers to report into you.)
 
4) Following all the rules will land you in middle management forever. (And then you'll get laid off for being too expensive.)
 
5) You may need to bide your time (sometimes years) for revenge.
 
6)  The ability to change your mind, your loyalties and even morals at a moment's notice is important. The slow or stubborn ones lose out and may even lose their jobs as a result.
 
7) Beyond reading, writing and arithmetic, what school teaches you is generally pretty useless. Get out and work in the real world as early and as much as you can. Learn to break the rules and get things done.
 
8) There will always be someone who knows more than you.
 
9) Your mom was right when she reminded you to be humble and to mind your table manners.
 
10) When you have to choose between being smart or being polite, err on the side of being polite.
 
11) There are more ways to make the big money than by going through start-ups or the corporate world. Experienced tradesman are getting harder to come by. Try general contracting, lawn-mowing, snow-plowing, being an electrician, etc.
 
12) Whether you make it or not to the top often times comes down to spotting and then grabbing the right opportunities as soon as you see them. Know how to spot them. Then run, don't walk, to be the first to reach for the brass ring!
 
13) Conversely, know when to cut your losses short. (Have the same mindset as a winning gambler when you approach life: whether to double-down on a win opportunity/cut short losses will often make the difference between those at the top and those who stay in the middle.)

What are important but uncomfortable truths that many people learn when transitioning into adulthood?

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What we learn to see

What we learn to see

Do you see how slowly, how very carefully
this whole immensity has been fashioned? Nothing
has been discarded, all have been included, none forgotten
or despised, raised up or lowered to be one above or below another.
We were given eyes to see with, to see it all entire.
Although double-eyed, our great blessing is sight fused
to a single outlook and perception of depth, for discernment.
And what have we seen fit to see? What visions are taught to us?
As for me, I still keep and prize what was revealed to me
in my eighteenth year: three times the Ruler of the universe
tore away the delusion I’d lived as daily life, all that I had
known and thought was world.
Then I was shown there is but One
existence and being. What we see as many is only the wrinkling
in the fabric, the play of light and dark over the seamless making
of God’s cloth, a weaving without beginning, without end.Light was radiant over all: words ceased, for none were needed.
To be was to know; all was of a piece.  God, star, rock, man,
bird, blood, everything revealed the only Existence that Is.

I was, true, but there was no me, and no time to keep,
for all is kept within eternity. Timeless infinite peace, yet
peaceful without rest. This is no mystery when you know it.
Change is constant, but essence is centre: radiant
exultation of Being, an ever-continuous Creation!
Three times this gift was given me for all my days.
It has not returned to overwhelm me since,
but I wait upon it.
Until then, what I have carries me along:
to know what life is, and what it isn’t,
instructs me to know the way and to walk in it;
when to turn to the left, or to the right,
and when to turn away.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
5 July 1991, Tacoma, Washington
slight edits 23 May 2015, Victoria, BC
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