Transcript: Does Eating Obesity Cause Obesity?
Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.
One reason poultry intake has been associated with weight gain may be that chickens, these days, are mostly fat—up to three times more fat than protein. See, now we confine animals, genetically manipulate them, pump them full of growth promoters, deny them exercise.
How fat have our chickens got? According to the USDA, a hundred years ago, a serving of chicken may have had only 2 grams of fat per serving. Now, there may be over 20 grams of animal fat per serving—twice the amount of fat that’s in ice cream. Chicken now has ten times more fat; so that could help explain why chicken has been tied to human abdominal girth; no viral explanation necessary.
In fact, the chickens themselves may be technically obese, raising the concern: does eating obesity cause obesity in the consumer? A chicken carcass now contains two to three times the energy coming from fat, compared to protein. “Parents may think they’re…feeding their children a low-fat product, as it was [when they were kids], but [instead] are unknowingly feeding their children on a high-fat product. The cocktail of gene selection for fast weight gain, lack of exercise and high-energy food available 24 hours a day, is a simple and well-understood recipe for obesity [in these birds].”
Farm animals used to make DHA, the long chain omega-3 fatty acid important for the brain, but fast-growing animals fail to fully synthesize it in their muscle. This reversal in fatty acid status in intensively reared chickens is described as a most unusual new phenomenon. It is likely to be the result of this genetic selection for fast growth outstripping the biosynthetic process.
To obtain the same amount of DHA from intensively reared chickens today as would have been obtained in the 1970s, one would be required to eat six whole chickens—like 9,000 calories. These researchers, at the Institute for Brain Chemistry, go so far as to suggest that this may be, in part, why we’ve seen skyrocketing human mental illness.
Although the intensification of chickens alone cannot be responsible for this rise in brain disorders, they consider it part of the package of changes in our food system that has ignored human nutrition.
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