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Pesticides Could Be Making People Fat (nuscimag.com)
53 points by jtdev 75 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 65 comments



consumes 5000kcal+ a day...

"Must be them damn pesticides."

Edit: I'm more interested in all the other ways jacking up your gut microbiome can negatively affect you, especially the potential links they're starting to find with autism[0].

[0] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3564498/


I don't know if you read the article, but it's more complicated than how many calories you eat. This abstract shows some of the complexity: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26967715


> but it's more complicated than how many calories you eat.

It is and it isn't. It's how many calories your body is able to metabolize. Usually those two numbers are similar, but the only way you're going to not get fat from putting 5000 kcal a day into your pie hole is if you have significant medical issues with your digestive system.

Also, it's odd that you'd say "it's not about calories" and link to an publication that literally has "in chronic over nutrition" in it's title.


> the only way you're going to not get fat from putting 5000 kcal a day into your pie hole is if you have significant medical issues with your digestive system.

As someone who, down a few hours of dance practice a day from my peak activity level, is running about 4,300kcal/day burn rate, I can imagine other ways to not gain weight on a 5,000kcal/day diet than “significant medical issues with your digestive system”.


With all due respect, that is crazy... A tour de France rider barely consumes 5,000 calories a day while competing in the tour de France. You either have a fantastic metabolism, are in high school and a multi-sport athlete, have a medical issue, or are miscalculating. Tangentially, there are oodles of Youtube videos about the diets of professional dancers... who practice 6+ hours a day... and none of them are even breaking 3k calories.

Edit: clarity.


> You either have a fantastic metabolism, are in high school and a multi-sport athlete, have a medical issue, or are miscalculating.

Or have significantly higher lean body mass than a Tour de France rider, since lean body mass is pretty much a multiplicative factor in energy consumption.

> Tangentially, there are oodles of Youtube videos about the diets of professional dancers... who practice 6+ hours a day... and none of them are even breaking 3k calories.

The thing about being a serious amateur dancer is you can be much bigger (both height and frame) than you could be and ever hope to go anywhere professionally in most styles of dance, which professionally tend to very rigorously filter for a very narrow range of body types (even, e.g., in ballroom, though classical ballet is the most notorious and perhaps the most extreme for this.)


You shouldn't be getting downvoted. You're being factually correct here, but a lot of people become armchair experts when the conversation goes to peak performance numbers.


It's definitely possible to burn 4300 a day if you're highly active and have a high FFMI (Fat Free Mass Index - the technical term for having a lot of muscle and low fat for your body size). Someone who has a FFMI between 24 and 25 - the peak without steroids - generally has a BMR in the high 2000s.


>Fat Free Mass Index - the technical term for having a lot of muscle and low fat for your body size

FFMI has nothing to do with having low body fat. It's literally the exclusion of fat from the index. You can have a high FFMI and a high BF%. A few years ago I had a DEXA scan done to assess my starting condition prior to starting an exercise regime. That scan showed me as having 30% body fat at a body weight of 260 lbs. Being 6'2" I had an FFMI of 23.4 and an AFFMI of 22.9. My calculated BMR at the time was in the 2200 kcal/day area. (Might be misremembering the BMR, but it definitely wasn't in the high 2000s.)


And it sends with "a new class of food and drink that is low- or no-cost to the consumer, convenient, savory, calorically dense, yet weakly satiating". Only one of those things is about calories.

Edit: we're not talking about people actually eating 5,000 calories per day. 5trokerac3 made that up in order to blame fat people for being fat.


It isn't about blame. Calories in/calories out is what we know influences weight. If you have some significant insight to contribute there, great! If not, please don't marginalise proper insight and factual knowledge by implying the person in question needs to feel bad for telling you.


Yet, weirdly enough, if a food item had all of those qualities except being calorically dense it wouldn't make people fat. Everyone one of those factors are things that lead to over eating, when paired with calorically dense you end up with the chronic over nutrition mentioned in the title.


Yes, but if it were missing the other factors and was only calorically dense, it also wouldn't make people fat.


That's like saying if cocaine made you feel like shit people wouldn't be able to get high on it. The issue isn't the food, it's the individual's brain.


It will make them fat if they eat it. Which is the very assertion you were disputing. The reasons why they might eat it have nothing to do with whether over eating makes you fat or not.


I don't like that the article appears to conflate "GMO" with plants that have been genetically altered with genes from an entirely different kingdom of life specifically so they won't die when sprayed with glyphosate. Lots of genetic modifications in the lab are nothing more than a faster version of guided hybridization. Even in Roundup Ready corn and beans, I suspect it's the glyphosate itself that's a much bigger issue for human health than using bacterial genes in the plants to make them tolerate it.


I'm not against accelerated husbandry (although I do take to heart some warnings about selective breeding needing ethics too - see congenital defects in purebred dogs). Gene testing chestnut hybrids to cull the ones without the blight genes would be much safer than what they do now, which is test infect the plants. That's how you get a pathogen to adopt a new host.

And that's my main complaint with transgenics, which perhaps we should use that word instead of GMO. We are not exhibiting an 'abundance of caution' in this work.

We have major illnesses crossing over from birds and pigs all through our history. Some pretty bad ones in recent times. Moving genes between these species (which we are doing, to try to make more pig organs biocompatible with humans) could be very, very bad. Do we have a good model for what gene groups can increase the likelihood of viruses crossing between species? If this information exists they should be shouting it from the rooftops. But they aren't, which suggests that no such practices are being observed.

If the next H1N1 turns into the Spanish Flu, 'I told you so' just isn't going to cover it.


The worst factor in the "Spanish" Flu was likely conditions in the battlefields of World War I rather than the pathogen itself. Hogs and chickens were kept close to troops so their mess could feed them under the tight land constraints of trench warfare, and those troops were cramped together, wet, cold, and undernourished. They then suddenly got redistributed into the general European population after hostilities ceased. But I digress.

If someone wants to take a juicier tomato and a tomato with more flavor and combine them to make a hybrid tomato, I don't so much care about a genetically modified tomato that could have eventually been hybridized in the greenhouse. As things get further from that, I have more reservations and I think we should look a little closer. Across species is a little more concerning. Across families moreso still, and so on as we talk about bigger and bigger jumps.

You make a good case about our own genetics specifically, too. Things that alter our DNA or the DNA of things we already share diseases with (other primates, horses, hogs, for example) should probably get more attention to possible risks and side effects.


Generally I tend to agree. Generally I am pro genetic enhancements.

But I do recall there was one type of genetically modified corn that was made to produce a specific chemical that caused insects' stomachs to explode. Supposedly it was there to reduce the need for pesticides. I recall thinking to myself, If it does that to insect stomachs, what would it do it animals' stomachs?

The other issue that we haven't fully gotten figured out is cross pollination concerns. Aside from the problem of Monsanto's suicide seeds that grow only once and can't be harvested again accidentally cross pollinating with regular seeds from nearby fields, there is another problem with people becoming legally liable for the actions of bees, butterflies and other pollinators. Some GMO's have unreasonably restrictive licensing. This has resulted in a person's field getting pollinated with by bees who were pollinating GMO plants from a neighboring field now getting sued for having plants they haven't licensed even though did not originally plant that particular variety.


There is definitely a need for the law to catch up to reality. Farmers should be able to use seed from their own plants even if they've been cross-pollenated. They shouldn't be able to advertise the patented traits without paying for the patent license. I think that's a fair balance. You can't put your proprietary thing out there to automatically install itself in other people's systems then sue them for having it installed. Imagine if a software development company tried that in court.


> killing the good bacteria in our gut microbiome can lead to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, decreased insulin sensitivity, type two diabetes, and metabolic syndrome

Seems like that should be the main concern and thing to highlight in the title of the article. I am less worried about be slightly overweight then fatty liver disease.


>nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, decreased insulin sensitivity, type two diabetes, and metabolic syndrome

All of these ailments are typically comorbid with obesity, so saying "fat" is a shorthand way of getting at these things in a limited-space headline.


Right but you don't need to be fat to get any of them. They are just 'associated' with it. As in they are diseases that are more likely to impact fat people.


Is there any direct evidence of causation or is someone shooting the wind again?

(There are ways to do it, but it's extremely hard and finicky math.)


It can also lead to under stimulation of the vagus nerve which in turn dampens the parasympathetic nervous system and causes and over-active sympathetic nervous system, which can raise heart rate and induce hyper-tention. This is the fun I am dealing with, in addition to metabolic syndrome.

That scenario totally perplexed doctors. As I lost weight, my heart rate increased and BP went up. I had been using mastic gum to repair aspirin damage to my gut, but that was killing off good bacteria. I also worked a lot with round-up when I was a teen.


Surely it's not my overall poor diet choices...


This. I didn't get fat because Monsanto knocked my door and shoved cheeseburgers down my throat for 30 years.

Nobody ever gained weight from not eating.

/Has lost 130 pounds in the last year by simply not eating when I wasn't hungry, instead of eating when I'm bored or sad.


I'll admit I'm only saying anecdotes, but I've met very, very few obese people who said they ate when "bored or sad". The friends I had who did gain weight, did during the fat-free craze of the late 80s and early 90s, when "guilt-free" candybars shot onto the market labelled as diet foods. It even has a name: the "SnackWell Effect".

ref: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snackwell_effect


Be honest. Did you write that wiki article?


He didn't. It's an old one and it's not an example of citation genesis either.


Agreed. It is clearly more complicated than "worthless lazy person can't control themselves."


I'm not sure this is only about people who have an extra 130 lbs.

Supposedly "obese" is about 30% overweight. A lot of people are more than half of the way there. And it's probably due to the same factors that could get them to official obesity. Which often does _not_ include eating when bored. The biggest one may be directly related to aging.


I remember speaking with someone who laughed at the idea that what eat has anything to do with our health. I was taken aback, but he's not alone in that.


They aren't mutually exclusive.


Nor are they mutually inclusive. The one person who eats 5k calories of Glyphosate laden foods vs one who eats 1.5k will unlikely have similar results. Also will Glyphsate laden processed foods give you same result as Glyphosate laden vegetables and fruit? They will probably both give you cancer though, you might just die skinnier.


It lost me at the opening sentence.

> It’s banned in several countries around the world, it’s a probable carcinogen, and it can cause severe kidney and liver damage, as well as birth defects, brain abnormalities, and mental illnesses.

This is terribly skewed, unscientific writing. Next time consult someone who knows about the science behind glyphosate before writing about it.



Just because you can find a paper, doesn't mean it supports the fact quoted.

Your article on carcinogenic - However, given the heterogeneity between the studies included, the numerical risk estimates should be interpreted with caution.

Your article on liver disease - you left out the title "in patients with fatty liver disease"

Kidney disease - association, not causation

Birth defects - from the conclusions "In this paper, we propose that glyphosate's chelation of Mn..may explain the recent increase in incidence of multiple neurological diseases and other pathologies."

Hardly definitive conclusions.


I wouldn't suggest we have a conclusion either, but what is the acceptable risk, in your family, for example, would you eat glyphosate?


Based on glyphosate’s relative risk compared to other pesticides, disease causing bacteria or heavy metal contamination, it just doesn’t rank very high at all.


I don’t know anything about this subject. What is the correct way to understand it?


Glyphosate is the safest and most effective herbicide to date. Countries banning it has nothing to do with the science behind it. The WHO classified it as a probable carcinogen based on a single flawed study. The rest of the claims are not backed by research.


So why are countries banning it then?


If it isn't because the science supports it, why is that important? Countries do weird things for the wrong reasons all the time. The Swedish government says the sale and consumption of MSG is "unwise" because it "might be bad", even though there is absolutely no scientific support for it. I'm sure you could find many, many examples of similar problems in practice and it does not take a whole lot of thinking to realise it might impact other areas as well.


I mean its not like science could ever be politically biased /s


Politics.


Pretty much what the article says.


Which of those statements are false?


...and no link to the research?


... the research that almost certainly hasn't been reproduced even once?


1. The only thing making you fat is excess calories - it cannot be any other way.

2. The article does in no way say that pesticides "might make you fat" - that is also pure non-sense, read (1) again if you didn't get the point. The article mentions it increases risk factors for obesity. (risk factors for obesity could be thought to be increased hunger).

3. This isn't entirely new knowledge. The gut microbiome has been in the spotlight for a while now. I first heard of this 3 or 4 years ago


A calorie is not a calorie. A calorie of animal protein is less efficient to digest than a calorie of sucrose. If you're lactose intolerant, you will get a different number of calories from a glass of milk than someone who is not. Chugging a can of Mountain Dew quickly probably means you won't digest all the sugar before your gut bacteria get to it. Messing with metabolites in your gut can change the way your body absorbs and stores energy.


So you disagree that obesity is caused by excess caloric consumption? I fail to see your logic on that part if that is so. It seems you are arguing with me about something (entirely) different on which I never said anything about..


Pointing directly and solely to caloric intake when discussing obesity is the “It’s just economics 101” of the nutrition issue: technically right, but so lacking in nuance that it ceases to be interesting.


That's a fair point. But saying pesticides causes obesity just paints the wrong picture imo.

Contributes would've been a better word.


Guess what makes people eat more? Being hungry. If pesticides cause hunger, they make people fat. If pesticides are literally lowering people's blood sugar, it could be dangerous for them not to eat more calories.


I know that, you are missing the point. Re-read the original post or read through the thread...


> 1. The only thing making you fat is excess calories - it cannot be any other way.

This might be true in thermodynamic sense but it is a useless and trite statement.

It's like saying "people are in debt because they borrowed money" - true, but banal and trivial, and pretending it's the whole story and saying nothing of medical debt, student loans or living from paycheck to paycheck and payday loans dayloans is only good for feeling better than someone, most likely while pretending that all people in debt are stupid because they buy too many cars and TVs or whatever.

The whole area (both nutrition and debt/poverty) is very complex, especially when looking at whole society. Thinking in simple caricatures, and dismissing people as stupid is helping nobody.


I get you, it was simply a critique of the wording which I should've made more clear. Like I wrote in another comment on this thread, saying instead that pesticides are (might be, really) contributing to obesity would have been more accurate and doesn't accidently paint the wrong picture.


Why can't it be any other way? Gut biome and other factors clearly play a large role in how much energy you absorb from the food you eat - the human body isn't a blast calorimeter where all food is converted to fat with 100% efficiency.


I'm making a strict logical point. You cannot make adipose tissue out of thin air, you need to be in a caloric surplus for that to happend is the point I want to get across. Saying "pesticides make you fat" is wrong, it is not a direct cause of the buildup of fat.

I'm not trying to troll or anything, but just let us not contribute to any more ignorance on nutrition.


Yes, if calories in > calories out then you will gain weight.

There are significant factors which affect both how many calories your body will take in, as well as how many it burns out, even if two people have identical activity levels. So while that "calories in vs calories out" statement is true, it's also trite. Faster metabolisms or better metabolic efficiency can lead to lower weight gain than another person might experience for a given level of activity.

It is useful advice on an individual scale - you yourself cannot directly affect your metabolism or your gut biome at the present time so the only thing you can really affect is exercise and caloric intake. It is not predictive between persons in the sense that two people on identical diets and exercise regimes will experience identical amounts of weight change.

Fecal transplants are an interesting wildcard - the idea is to kill off your own gut microbiome as much as possible and then replace it with someone else's. In some case studies, this has had significant efficacy in weight loss. My understanding is these fauna have significant effects in "pre-processing" this food as well as consuming some of the energy for themselves, so yes, microbiome can directly affect weight gain/loss.


> Saying "pesticides make you fat" is wrong,

It may be, but your argument doesn't support that.

> it is not a direct cause of the buildup of fat.

Indirect causes are still causes, and often the more important causes in terms of practical decision making.

“My stabbing him didn't kill him, his brain tissue being oxygen deprived killed him” may often be true if you limit concern to the most immediate direct cause, but we tend to look beyond that in assigning responsibility for good reason.


> 1. The only thing making you fat is excess calories - it cannot be any other way.

So, why do you consume so much? Who calls for more and more calories? Why do you get hungry all the time? Why do you not get the needed nutrients from the food you eat? What destroyed the function of your digestive system? Why is your microbiome so different from a healthy person?


We entirely agree, that is not what I stated either. I'm simply saying that it isn't a direct causation.




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