Humans are not the only animals getting fatter

Reply Wed 28 Aug, 2013 10:07 am
Lab animals on strictly controlled diets are getting fatter, generation after generation. Scientists are looking at all kind of potential causes -- "obesigens".

Air conditioning and heating?
Electric lights?
Fetal programming of metabolism?
The virus AD-36?

If you're in the mood for a good, semi-long read this article is fascinating: http://www.aeonmagazine.com/being-human/david-berreby-obesity-era/
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Reply Wed 28 Aug, 2013 10:20 am
cant be, we have been assured that the cause is gluttony and that government action on our food choices is required.
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Reply Wed 28 Aug, 2013 10:51 am
These lines struck me:

These theories are important for a different reason. Their very existence — the fact that they are plausible, with some supporting evidence and suggestions for further research — gives the lie to the notion that obesity is a closed question, on which science has pronounced its final word. It might be that every one of the ‘roads less travelled’ contributes to global obesity; it might be that some do in some places and not in others. The openness of the issue makes it clear that obesity isn’t a simple school physics experiment.

Sometimes the simple answer does happen to be the best answer; sometimes the simple answer is not the only answer, but is still the most important contributing factor. And sometimes, the simple answer is deceptive because there actually is no simple answer.
Reply Wed 28 Aug, 2013 11:19 am
I was looking for information on how the experiments were actually performed but I didn't see it in the article.

The first thing that came to my mind was, did they let each generation become more sedentary, and how did they control the amount of calories burned as well as the amount of calories on intake.
Reply Wed 28 Aug, 2013 12:21 pm
I agree, the simple answer is usually the best. Eat less, exercise more is always going to be good advice.

I recently saw this TED talk which made me think about such things a bit more. I remembered it while reading this article. This talk is well worth a listen:

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Reply Wed 28 Aug, 2013 12:23 pm
If you look in the comment section there is an interesting discussion about how the foods given to lab animals has changed over the years.

That could certainly account for some of the situation in labs.
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