The Role of Marketing in the Obesity Epidemic

The Role of Marketing in the Obesity Epidemic
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The unprecedented rise in the power, scope, and sophistication of food marketing starting around 1980 aligns well with the blastoff slope of the obesity epidemic.

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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.

In the 1970s, the U.S. government went from just subsidizing some of the worst foods to paying companies to make more of them. In the 1970s the farm bills reversed longstanding policies aimed at limiting production to protect prices and instead started giving payouts in proportion to output. Extra calories started pouring into the food supply.

Then, Jack Welch gave a speech. In 1981, the CEO of General Electric effectively launched the “shareholder value movement,” reorienting the primary goal of corporations towards maximizing short-term returns for investors. This placed extraordinary pressures on food companies from Wall Street to post increasing profit growth every quarter to boost their share price. There was already a glut of calories on the market, and now they had to sell even more.

This places food and beverage CEOs in an impossible bind. It’s not like they’re rubbing their sticky hands together at the thought of luring more Hansels and Gretels to their doom in their houses of candy. Food giants couldn’t do the right thing if they wanted. They are beholden to investors. If they stopped marketing to kids, or tried to sell healthier food, or anything that could jeopardize their quarterly profit growth, Wall Street would demand a change in management. Healthy eating is bad for business. It’s not some grand conspiracy; it’s not even anyone’s fault. It’s just how the system works.

Given the constant demands for corporate growth and rapid returns in an already oversaturated marketplace, the food industry needed to get people to eat more. Like the tobacco industry before them, they turned to the ad men. The food industry spends about $10 billion a year on advertising, and around another $20 billion on other forms of marketing, such as trade shows, incentives, consumer promotions, and supermarket “slotting fees.” Food and beverage companies purchase shelf space from supermarkets to prominently display their most profitable products. They pay supermarkets. The practice is also evidently known as “cliffing,” because companies are forced to bid against each other for eye-level shelf placement, with the loser pushed “over the cliff.” With slotting fees up to $20,000 per item, per retailer, per city, you can imagine what kind of products get the special treatment. Hint: It ain’t broccoli.

To get a sense of what kind of products merit prime shelf real estate, look no further than the checkout aisle. “Merchandising the power categories on every lane is critical,” reads a trade publication on the “best practices for superior checkout merchandising.” They were referring to candy bars and beverages. Evidently, even a one percent power category boost in sales could earn a store an extra $15,000 a year. It’s not that they necessarily don’t care about their customers’ health; publicly traded companies, like most of the leading grocery store chains, are said to have a fiduciary duty to increase profits above other considerations.

Tens of millions of dollars are spent annually advertising a single brand of candy bar. McDonald’s alone may spend billions a year. The food industry now spends more money on advertising than any other sector of the economy.

Reagan-era deregulation removed the limits placed on marketing food products on television to children. Now, the average child may see more than 10,000 TV food ads a year, and that’s on top of the marketing online, in print, at school, on their phones, at the movies, and everywhere in between. Nearly all of it is for products detrimental to their health.

Besides the massive early exposure and ubiquity, food marketing has become highly sophisticated. With the help of child psychologists, companies learn how to best influence children to manipulate their parents. Packaging is designed to best attract a child’s attention, and then placed at their eye level in the store. You know those mirrored bubbles in the ceilings of supermarkets? They’re not just for shoplifters. Closed-circuit cameras and GPS-like devices on shopping carts are used to strategize how best to guide shoppers towards their most profitable products. Behavioral psychology is widely applied to increase impulse buying. Eye movement-tracking technologies are utilized.

The unprecedented rise in the power, scope, and sophistication of food marketing starting around 1980, which aligns well with the blastoff slope of the obesity epidemic. Some of the techniques, such as product placement, in-school advertising, and event sponsorships skyrocketed from essentially zero to multibillion-dollar industries since the Eighties. This led one noted economist to conclude that “the most compelling single interpretation of the admittedly incomplete data we have is that the large increase in obesity is due to marketing.” Yes, innovations in manufacturing and political maneuvering led to a food supply bursting at the seams, with close to 4,000 calories a day for us all, but it’s the advances in marketing manipulations that are used to try to peddle that surplus into our mouths.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Video production by Glass Entertainment

Motion graphics by Avocado Video

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.

In the 1970s, the U.S. government went from just subsidizing some of the worst foods to paying companies to make more of them. In the 1970s the farm bills reversed longstanding policies aimed at limiting production to protect prices and instead started giving payouts in proportion to output. Extra calories started pouring into the food supply.

Then, Jack Welch gave a speech. In 1981, the CEO of General Electric effectively launched the “shareholder value movement,” reorienting the primary goal of corporations towards maximizing short-term returns for investors. This placed extraordinary pressures on food companies from Wall Street to post increasing profit growth every quarter to boost their share price. There was already a glut of calories on the market, and now they had to sell even more.

This places food and beverage CEOs in an impossible bind. It’s not like they’re rubbing their sticky hands together at the thought of luring more Hansels and Gretels to their doom in their houses of candy. Food giants couldn’t do the right thing if they wanted. They are beholden to investors. If they stopped marketing to kids, or tried to sell healthier food, or anything that could jeopardize their quarterly profit growth, Wall Street would demand a change in management. Healthy eating is bad for business. It’s not some grand conspiracy; it’s not even anyone’s fault. It’s just how the system works.

Given the constant demands for corporate growth and rapid returns in an already oversaturated marketplace, the food industry needed to get people to eat more. Like the tobacco industry before them, they turned to the ad men. The food industry spends about $10 billion a year on advertising, and around another $20 billion on other forms of marketing, such as trade shows, incentives, consumer promotions, and supermarket “slotting fees.” Food and beverage companies purchase shelf space from supermarkets to prominently display their most profitable products. They pay supermarkets. The practice is also evidently known as “cliffing,” because companies are forced to bid against each other for eye-level shelf placement, with the loser pushed “over the cliff.” With slotting fees up to $20,000 per item, per retailer, per city, you can imagine what kind of products get the special treatment. Hint: It ain’t broccoli.

To get a sense of what kind of products merit prime shelf real estate, look no further than the checkout aisle. “Merchandising the power categories on every lane is critical,” reads a trade publication on the “best practices for superior checkout merchandising.” They were referring to candy bars and beverages. Evidently, even a one percent power category boost in sales could earn a store an extra $15,000 a year. It’s not that they necessarily don’t care about their customers’ health; publicly traded companies, like most of the leading grocery store chains, are said to have a fiduciary duty to increase profits above other considerations.

Tens of millions of dollars are spent annually advertising a single brand of candy bar. McDonald’s alone may spend billions a year. The food industry now spends more money on advertising than any other sector of the economy.

Reagan-era deregulation removed the limits placed on marketing food products on television to children. Now, the average child may see more than 10,000 TV food ads a year, and that’s on top of the marketing online, in print, at school, on their phones, at the movies, and everywhere in between. Nearly all of it is for products detrimental to their health.

Besides the massive early exposure and ubiquity, food marketing has become highly sophisticated. With the help of child psychologists, companies learn how to best influence children to manipulate their parents. Packaging is designed to best attract a child’s attention, and then placed at their eye level in the store. You know those mirrored bubbles in the ceilings of supermarkets? They’re not just for shoplifters. Closed-circuit cameras and GPS-like devices on shopping carts are used to strategize how best to guide shoppers towards their most profitable products. Behavioral psychology is widely applied to increase impulse buying. Eye movement-tracking technologies are utilized.

The unprecedented rise in the power, scope, and sophistication of food marketing starting around 1980, which aligns well with the blastoff slope of the obesity epidemic. Some of the techniques, such as product placement, in-school advertising, and event sponsorships skyrocketed from essentially zero to multibillion-dollar industries since the Eighties. This led one noted economist to conclude that “the most compelling single interpretation of the admittedly incomplete data we have is that the large increase in obesity is due to marketing.” Yes, innovations in manufacturing and political maneuvering led to a food supply bursting at the seams, with close to 4,000 calories a day for us all, but it’s the advances in marketing manipulations that are used to try to peddle that surplus into our mouths.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Video production by Glass Entertainment

Motion graphics by Avocado Video

Doctor's Note

I think the natural reaction to the suggestion of the power of marketing is that “I’m too smart to fall for that; marketing works on other people, but I can see through it.” But that’s what everyone thinks! For a splash of cold water to shake us all out of this delusion, I next bring you some data: The Role of Food Advertisements in the Obesity Epidemic.

This is the seventh in an 11-video series. The first several are:

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62 responses to “The Role of Marketing in the Obesity Epidemic

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    1. Fascinating argument. I find it interesting, that in your view, the imperatives inherent in our current economic system would lead to “socialist” reforms. True enough, the economic elites constantly argue for the weak minded to simply accept their dominance with its monumentally destructive impacts. In the process, opposition to unbridled corporate interests are and will be slandered with convenient epithets to prevent any rational outcome. So nothing new here. It just lacks any originality.

    2. I hope Dr G is not advocating for Socialism here. In socialist controlled countries, the rich elites are still in power! (eg: elite members of the communist party vs workers bees) Socialism has always been a failure every time it has been tried. (Current example: Venezuela, Cuba) History has shown that some form of capitalism is the only long-term sustainable system.

      In one of my former careers, I worked for an “employee owned company” where only employees could buy stock in the company. It gave the employees an incentive to make the company successful. And there was no pressure to meet profit thresholds for external stockholders, because there were none. Seems to me a much better system than the current system.

      But for things to change, the first step, in my opinion, would be to institute Term Limits for all political offices! The way it is now, both Partys are in bed with Big Corporations. These career politicians from both Partys work hand in hand with Big Business and care little about the average citizen.

      1. Darwin Galt,

        I heard Dr. Greger presenting facts and evidence; I did not hear him advocating any particular political position. How did you make the leap to the concern that he might be advocating for Socialism? Can you point to anywhere in the video or transcript that supports your concern?

        I have the same question for May; I don’t understand your comment at all. Are you a real person, or a troll or Russian bot?

        1. Agreed! They probably are Russian bots!!! Otherwise, just nasty people! I do feel however that it is tricky to have those two things coexist i.e. a strong economy and marketing all sorts of products (including unhealthy ones) and real sustainable good health.

        2. Dr J, Now, now, please no name calling :-) Although he didn’t come right out and say the words, his mention of Reagan-era deregulation and the tone of his statement about the market system has systemic failings, implies that he has a better system in mind. (see quote below.) You know, the old “sow some seeds of doubt” tactic. Actually, I agree with Dr G that there is plenty of room for improvement in the current system. But I don’t believe regulation is the answer. I really don’t know what the ultimate answer is. That’s why I mentioned that a first step would be to have Term Limits on all political offices. Break the connection of government and Big Money.

          “Then, Jack Welch gave a speech. In 1981, the CEO of General Electric effectively launched the “shareholder value movement,” reorienting the primary goal of corporations towards maximizing short-term returns for investors. This placed extraordinary pressures on food companies from Wall Street to post increasing profit growth every quarter to boost their share price. There was already a glut of calories on the market, and now they had to sell even more.

          This places food and beverage CEOs in an impossible bind. It’s not like they’re rubbing their sticky hands together at the thought of luring more Hansels and Gretels to their doom in their houses of candy. Food giants couldn’t do the right thing if they wanted. They are beholden to investors. If they stopped marketing to kids, or tried to sell healthier food, or anything that could jeopardize their quarterly profit growth, Wall Street would demand a change in management. Healthy eating is bad for business. It’s not some grand conspiracy; it’s not even anyone’s fault. It’s just how the system works.”

          “Reagan-era deregulation removed the limits placed on marketing food products … “

          1. Darwin,

            Food giants couldn’t do the right thing if they wanted.

            Yes, they could.

            They don’t want to.

            I watched Mic The Vegan’s video on how COVID-19 is deeply affecting meat processing plants and they aren’t doing any social distancing and they lied about people being positive and they asked people who tested positive to come to work after a few days and they gave beard nets rather than masks to workers knowing that they have a huge Latino and Black community doing that work and those are the two racial groups dying the most from this virus.

            At some point, they can’t make excuses. They are so wealthy that they just don’t care about society.

            Sports team owners are wealthy, too, but they shut down rather than have their players die and their players are younger and athletes.

            Yes, if athletes started dying they would seriously be in trouble and, yes, J Lo and A-Rod might be buying the Mets on sale because this really is going to cause people in every business to suffer.

            As a business person, we are already seeing companies not pay us and, yes, it is the same soulless big companies that made sure we knew that we are essential workers and they also put their own workers in jeopardy, but business people do take stands and those stands expose who they really are on the inside.

            People all around the world are demonstrating who they really are during this pandemic.

            And, yes, I am someone who talks too much. The nervous energy of trying to save the lives of my workers and relatives exposes that and I could blame the very real brain problems that I still have and this virus has exposed how bad my brain still is, too. It has also exposed that I spend too much money trying to figure out how to do things, but that I come up with solid concepts by the end. I just come up with too many concepts.

            I finally did buy my microgreen trays and I bought types I could use hydroponically and types I could use soil and organic, heirloom seeds.

            It is a start.

            But if the companies I bought them from are lying about organic and heirloom, that would be them being who they really are. I trust them because they have stars by their product and because they have an quaint font on their own sites, but it will expose who I am that I will end up with a whole bunch of ways to do it because I can’t figure things out without trying them out.

    3. If you mean that such an analysis will eventually justify authoritarian politicians to use government to ‘rectify’ the obesity problem by interventions in the free market such as eliminating corporations, forbidding advertising of products the politicians consider unhealthy, or even making the ‘unhealthy’ products illegal, I agree with you. Any consensual action is moral, even though I think it may be harmful to people. People have the right to kill themselves. We did not create government to protect us from ourselves. As long as corporations don’t force me to buy and eat their products, marketing garbage foods to weak-willed people is fine with me. But I certainly do not want government to subsidize unhealthy foods, or even healthy foods, or anything really. Let the market prices reflect the actual production costs and we’ll see what people buy, healthy or unhealthy, wise or foolish. Just don’t make me pay for it.

      1. Yet our government forces everyone to subsidize food and ads for food that is unhealthy for human consumption…..as usual actual ‘socialism’ is fine for corporations but the second the people are thought about then suddenly it is a bad thing.

        We are not even talking about ‘socialism’ in regard to food safety as the original poster been implied. We are talking about regulation. Historically we had US food companies literally using poisons to preserve food (see The Poison Eaters)
        https://www.eater.com/2016/4/27/11518986/fda-harvey-wiley-poison-food

        This is what created the FDA. The ‘free market’ was also adulterating food very badly and lying about it. One such example is milk produced by swill herds, as muckraking journalist Robert Hartley wrote in 1842, was “very thin, and of a pale bluish color,” the kind nobody in their right mind would buy. So distillers added flour, starch, chalk, plaster of Paris, or anything else they could get away with to make the milk look healthy. This adulteration only increased the amount of bacteria in milk that was already virtually undrinkable.

        1. Reality Bites, Just for the record, I believe all government subsidies should be abolished.

          And when companies sell adulterated foods, such as in your example, the Constitutional way of remedying that is through the courts with law suits, not the creation of more bureaucracy, which can later be corrupted!

          1. Darwin

            Court cases have not prevented pharmaceutical companies from selling drugs that do more harm than good. The fact is that it is still good business to pay $1 billion lawsuits if you have already made $5 billion in profits. And big companies have much deeper pockets than individuals or community groups to fight or drag out court cases.

            That’s why throughout human history from Hammurabi to Rome to modern day USA, polities have decided that regulation is necessary to protect the public.

            Your approach has been tried time and again throughout history. It has always failed Just look at RB’s examples from the time in US history when reliance was placed on industry self-regulation and the court system to ensure food safety. It obviously didn’t work then and there is no reason to think it will work now..

            1. Fumbles, Regulations don’t work either! The government can’t (or won’t) even enforce laws now, much less regulations. Unless it’s a violent crime, like outright murder, or a minor crime like getting a speeding ticket, most law-breakers have no penalty whatsoever. For society to function properly, the populace must abide by moral and ethical standards as well as laws. I just don’t see much of that anymore, except for the average law-abiding citizen. But we’re talking about high level corporate executives and politicians. This is not the place for me to start mentioning specific instances, but I’m sure you can think of some :-)

      2. I surmise the subsidization of healthy food could be perverted to benefit industries that has no regard for the health of the nation. Did you see what happened with the Common Core?

        “As reported in multiple news outlets this week, new footage from an undercover video is providing shocking new evidence for what HSLDA has suspected for years: the Common Core State Standards are about money and politics, not the well-being of children.

        “A Houghton-Mifflin sales manager prominently featured in the video explains that the more standardized the curriculum becomes, the more books she can sell across the nation, regardless of whether or not it’s a right fit for the children. She compared textbooks to t-shirts—one size should fit all. She went on to say that educational publishing companies are in it purely for the money, and when told, ‘You seem like you’re in it for the kids though,’ she laughingly replied: ‘I hate kids.'” Textbook Seller Makes Shocking Admission. https://hslda.org/content/docs/news/2016/201601150.asp

        Undercover Common Core Vid: Exec Says “I hate kids…it’s all about the money”. Project Veritas.
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c8tZGl1SVs0

  1. AND Jack Welch’s dogma is what had turned most corporations into the souless pigs they have become. See ANY Simon Sinek presentations to learn how companies can make money and ALSO take care of their most precious asset: their EMPLOYEES, not the stockholders.
    Simon gives me hope for the future of the world. He explains it far better than I. Check him out if you’ve given up on anything but our modern dog-eat-dog and to hell with employees share-holder profits only type corporations that have bludgeoned our workforce into the mess it is today.

    No thanks Jack Welch. There is a better way for humanity.

      1. Thanks for posting that, Wade TN!

        Last night, PBS had a documentary on Norman Borlaug and I was trying to follow it, but it would require me to take the whole concept of GMO and RoundUp and laying it over his concepts. He may have saved billions of lives and may have delayed us globally from running out of food.

        It was interesting to see the history from his perspective and what he was trying to accomplish.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norman_Borlaug

        No, I couldn’t quite get up to an understanding of a bigger picture, but I felt like “So this might be why they were genetically modifying wheat?”

        There used to be a starvation problem that was bigger.

        The UN just said that 250 million could be hungry and declared a risk of famine now and that is what is being discussed.

        It seems like sometimes motivations might not be as bad or good as we think. Money and need are both driving the bus.

        1. Sorry for giving an airhead concept.

          What I know is that I need to find out who the thinkers are in the global food movement. We are about to have a global food shortage and we already knew that would happen.

          When I listened to Dr. Greger talking about the fact that we could already just be 3-D laser printing meat and stop murdering animals and stop risking pandemic, that is already an exciting concept. I talked with my friend from Israel last night and when I talked about that concept, he stopped and said, “That is so hopeful and so positive. We already could have a solution.” He hasn’t been able to go more than 100 meters from his home since March. I haven’t had that yet. I go back and forth to work 7 days a week. Suddenly, I like that.

          1. Now, we just need Amazon to grasp the concept and start a Whole Foods line of 3-D printed meat.

            If we can print a functional kidney in 8 hours (with 15-year-old printing technology) and now we can print hundreds of times faster, one of the companies could become heroic.

            They could do an ad with not killing animals, not causing pandemics.

            Now is the time to become global heroes.

            Easy peasy.

            1. Mentally, I can already see the ads with the cute baby pigs and cows and a doctor in a mask delivering a baby, instead of standing near a ventilator.

              1. And, no, I will never go back to eating meat.

                But it would stop the abuse of animals.

                Possibly get rid of pandemics.

                Possibly stop the misuse of antibiotics and diseases caused by animal viruses.

                Plus, they have to deal with all of the animal waste, etc.

                People keep eating meat.

                People keep starving to death.

                So those, plus pandemics, all have to go up on the invisible logic concepts to contemplate board.

                    1. 3-D veggie snacks! Thanks for that, it is really the coolest thing I’ve seen in a while. Would love to know if those Italian kids don’t already eat way healthier than US kids though

            2. The problem we have with 3D printed meat is that it has no fiber in context and certainly is not a whole plant food. Our bodies have just as much trouble maintaining health with it as it does with the real thing. Our bodies are designed to function optimally on whole food as it grows from the ground,cooked or raw.

          2. Wow, a friend of mine from Palestine said something similar regarding not being able to go 100 meters from her home either, but wait, I think that was in October I think. Anyway, it really does suck to have our movements curtailed. Was the same for me in France mid March, but back now in US, and I can go anywhere. Nothing is open though…

    1. …But Sinek loves Apple’s model I think,no?…Arguably they do care about some of their employees, some, but too there is plenty of greed and baked in product sun-setting and purposeful consumer behavioral modification associated with their “whats your why?” model…. Ill check him out further, but my take on his bent was that we can “solve a problem”, and similarly fleece the public like any other corporation does, but by understanding how to get our employees excited about participating in the process. The psychology of the maker and the buyer can be known in order to exploit the end user in a joyful collaborative manner.

      The ill effects and byproducts of joyously creating needless elegant and beautifully expensive products for humanity like $1200 cellphones, can be easily seen in the third world nations which this first world, WeWork, consumption exploits.

      But ill check him out again….

    1. dr. cobalt: “So, umm… like, does this mean the Thrifty Gene Hypothesis is out?”

      Not at all. TGH is exhibited when some folks change to WFPB and yet have difficulty losing weight–or more than those of use with “less thriftiness” in our genetic structure.

      Hey Deb I thought the McRib __was__ 3D printed meat!!! I get it though–nothing no really complicated things to replicate in meat, but plants are far more sophisticated in phyto-complications that we don’t yet fully (may never) understand. Except to understand that our system is vastly better adapted to living on those whole, un-printed, plant foods. Can they print fiber into the meat? Get some whole-grain Flounder perhaps?

      Deb I don’t mind your over-posting, it shows your personality and also (for us old-timers here who remember the old board-with features) makes me laugh because they took away our ability to edit our posts in any way possible. Perhaps this was in hopes of forcing us (the choir) over to do battle with the common meatheads who dog and sometimes dominate the comments at Youtube? I do “battle” over there enough. I always liked this plant-eater “safe zone” as a bit of sanctuary to that market-brained mass of bodies and trolls ever-present on YT.

      I’m headed to the kitchen to assemble a bowl of oatmeal and greens and fruits and spices as I am addicted to that lovely combination of health and wellness promoting foods. It’s quite satiating too. Learned it from the Esselstyns. They’re good peeps. Well that Rip’s a product pusher, but they’re good products in the right line of thinking. I like the free information Caldwell, Ann, and Jane provide. Jane’s YT is “must see YT” for any WFPB eaters.

      1. Not to condemn all the commenters at YT. Plenty of them are innocent products of the marketing and some very small portion of them may in fact be our next wave of WFPB eaters and advocates. ‘Twas only 6 years ago and I was yet lost and confused as to how to eat for my best health-and might have made ill-informed comments somewhere. We can change, let’s hope more folks change faster.

        If you discount the “green aspect” benefits to the planet, please also recognize the “green money” aspect as explained by Robert Lustig and in fact recognized by Swiss investment bankers. Sugar-related health care costs is on schedule to break the world economy (before any virus issues became a threat). See any of Robert’s long talks for full concept.

    1. I agree Robert Haile! Planning meals. shopping with a list, sticking mostly to the produce aisles all helps.

      As for persisting with wfpb eating, I don’t think I could have made it through the past decades without good kitchen skills. Putting together a repertoire of meals that I actually look forward to eating was essential for me to stick with it.

  2. For those that may be interested, this is a very eye-opening interview of Scorpion (walter o’brien) by Dr Duc Vuong. Their conversation covers a a number of topics from the virus source (around 20:), vaccine, economics, business strategies, marketing, 5G, privacy issues and more.

    1. Since when is a general surgeon a specialist in virology or public health? They are not. Beware all doctors not staying in their lane of expertise regarding covid-19. Far too many opinions filling the air preventing people from seeing useful information from actual experts in the fields.

      1. No where in all this series of videos/interviews did dr vuong state he was a virology expert.. no where. He interviews people of interest and asks questions. That’s all. In this case it was Scorpion.

        1. Should I go to a brain surgeon for information on my feet then? The education of the doctors and their specialty matters. Far too many are seeking fame during covid and are just adding to an overflow of chatter that is redundant at best and useless at worst. The actual professionals that need listened to and being drowned out.

          1. How many of you reading this website even know the covid criteria for your own county and visited their website? How many know the name of your county health officer? THOSE ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT PEOPLE TO PAY ATTENTION TO. They are not trying to sell anything, they do not profit from doing their jobs. They make the same county pay and have no incentive to fill your time with useless chatter. They also know the specific circumstances of the area that you live in.

    1. Everyone knows how corporations work in the USA, upper management and stock holders get everything as the workers get crumbs.

      1. I doubt if the ordinary stockholder gets much either. They’re just a source of cheap capital.and get what? Perhaps a 2% annual average dividend. And it’s their capital at risk when stocks tank like now.

        It’s the upper management and the board that take home the multi-million dollar remuneration packages, come rain or shine.

  3. There is a program on OETA about the green revolution, where mass production of agritulture saved millions from starving; saved the world from turning to communism, trashed the environment, increased migration for displaced subsistance farmers and allowed population to continue booming. Today is Earth Day and a good time to reflect on history like this. I wonder if population pressure increases the demand for cheaper and more abundant calories?

    1. Norman Borlaug, father of the “green revolution”, Nobel Peace Prize laureate, stated that organic farming practices can at most feed 4 billion people even if croplands were expanded. Currently there are 7 billion people on the planet. Which 3 billion would you have starve? The pre-industrial age was not the Garden of Eden. Millions of people starved to death. And how were they farming everything back then? Organically.

      1. Reality Bites,
        Borlaug knew he was just putting a Bandaid on the situation. Civilization on Earth may be sustainable at 4 billion. It isn’t at 7 billion. So do you optimize a sustainable situation where there is a future for billions more or default to an over load that throws the baby out with the bath water? Earth wins in these equasions whether we want to sustain our lives or not.

  4. Ironically, COVID-19 has resulted in many shoppers ordering groceries online.
    We not only stop “impulse shopping” when something would otherwise catch our eye, we also have no idea here products are placed.

    1. People impulse order food online long before covid-19. It might discourage some, but the ‘foodie’ mentality has people insisting on buying ingredients to the latest food fad they came across. Anyone see that horrific dalgona coffee?

      1. Reality bites,

        Yes, people are impulse shopping like crazy online. They just don’t have their children doing the impulse parent-pressuring.

  5. Never forget that Food Network around that same time started marketing that being addicted to eating (being a foodie) is a good thing. Now people treat foods they are addicted to the same as any drug addict. We even see them on this forum defending their addiction often.

    If Paula Deans body is your goal, that Guy Fieri is looking more and more like her now days. Perhaps you can too.

    1. Reality bites,

      Yes, the Food Network has been a major source of concepts of how to cook and what to eat for a very long time. We can go back before them to Julia Childs’s infatuation with butter.

      I have been waiting for them to start being the leader in a healthier food movement, but even Alton Brown with all of his science has not started down the Whole Food Plant-Based path yet and he is getting heavier.

      I suspect he will be the one who immediately understands what to do and he will put out a show – maybe 10 years from now when he loses his ability to look “cool” while being heavy.

  6. Another great video in this series – I’m looking forward to the remaining four! It’s great that Dr Greger is presenting these different perspectives as contributing factors rather than trying to claim that there is one ’cause’ of the obesity epidemic.

    1. Deb, thanks for posting this. There are educated people commenting also. One mentioning that G6PD deficiency may be a factor too.
      Btw, anyone dealing with that, look up treatment with Vitamin E.

  7. I remember I read a book many years ago that talked about this behavioralism, its origin and it being applied in schools. I don’t remember everything and I would have to reread it, but I have a quote from it. I put a link below of that book from archive.org so anyone interested can read it and judge for themselves.

    “To the experimental psychologist, however, education became the process of exposing the student to ‘meaningful’ experiences so as to ensure desired reactions.
    “Wundt’s thesis laid the philosophical basis… for schools oriented more toward the socialization of the child than toward the development of the intellect; and for the emergence of a society more and more blatantly devoted to the gratification of sensory desires at the expense of responsibility and achievement.
    “The Wundtian redefinition of ‘education’ to mean feeding experimental data to a young brain and nervous system, rather than the teaching of mental skills, led to the abdication of the traditional role of the teacher as educator. Its place was taken by the concept of the teacher as a guide in the socialization of the child, leading each youngster to adapt to the specific behaviour required of him in order for him to get along in his group.
    “[Edward] Thorndike’s primary assumption was the same as Wundt’s: that man is an animal, that his actions are actually always reactions, and that he can be studied in a laboratory in much the same way as an animal might be studied… He extrapolated ‘laws’ from his research into the animal behavior which he then applied to the training of teachers, who took what they learned to every corner of the United States and ran their classrooms, curricula, and schools on the basis of this new ‘educational’ psychology.
    “Thornlike based conditioning on what he called the ‘law of effect,’ which held that those actions and behaviors leading to satisfaction would be impressed, or stamped in, on the child, and those leading to unsatisfactory results would be stamped out.
    “This thinking favors a society which operates more on the basis of gratification than on the basis of reason or responsibility.
    “[Wundt, Gates, Flexner, Cattell, Russell, and Thorndike] may seem irrelevant to today’s critical education problems: drug abuse, illiteracy, criminality, lowered standards, lack of motivation and self-discipline, and all the rest.” –The Leipzig Connection, by Paolo Lionni.

    https://archive.org/details/TheLeipzigConnection/mode/2up

    1. That meat plant concept was the one I tried to ask at the last Q&A.

      I even tried putting the question up the night before but I don’t understand the timing for the Q&A questions logic.

      It seems like now is a good time for a political movement to ask for 3-D printed meat because of them not protecting their workers at all.

      It is also a good time for people to be prepared to make entrees for people to try.

      There is going to be a ridiculously big meat shortage.

      Making 5 WFPB entrees and giving samples to people who can’t figure out what to do would be my idea.

      1. Nope, I just realized that, way back when, I read a book called, “Boy Clinton” where they said things like that Tyson Foods was involved in the Mena Arkansas arms for cocaine process and that they smuggled drugs in the body of the birds and turned young girls into prostitutes and all sorts of things. William Casey was the one who I was waiting for what he would say, but he died and people called the story a hoax, but a whole lot of names back then got arrested or murdered and I am not saying it about the Clintons or politics. I am saying that if those companies really are doing organized crime, then it can be genuinely that they have no choice.

        It is so hard to tell. Obviously, they were accurately accused of the whole cattle futures scandal where they played both sides of the market and let Hillary win so they could not have legislation against their environmental issues.

        I watched their ad last night that they have never used antibiotics and it was such a pure and wholesome ad that I wished that I believed it and didn’t have memories of stories of things from the books.

        Some of the people got arrested even after Bill Clinton left office, so I tend to believe that there might be a real basis for much of it. Hard to say because every time anybody was supposed to testify, they got murdered walking on the street for their money or their watch but nothing was taken in the botched robberies.

        Anyway, it was Tyson Foods that stayed with me from the book. Clinton seemed more like a cocaine and sex-addicted controlled pawn allowing them to get away with a lot of things. Seems like the money people might be more likely to be the ones doing bad things.

        I do like their no antibiotics commercial and would really like for them to do 3-D laser printing of meat and if they are corrupting and blackmailing politicians, I would like very much if they stopped.

  8. Hello! Question: I’m trying to loose 10-15 pounds and have PCOS. I’ve been following the How Not to Diet recommendations (vegan, greens and beans, no oil, lots of water rich foods, whole grains, no sugar) but not much has changed. There’s so little information out there about PCOS and weight loss, Dr. Greger, any advice? Would love to see this topic explored. All the blogs say to cut down on carbs but I know that’s not the way to go. Love you work!! Thank you so much. :)

    1. There isn’t anything special about PCOS that would necessarily change the “toolkit”‘ of techniques that you can use to lose weight. It really just comes down to decreasing the consumption of foods with high calorie density. “Vegan” is rarely enough as plenty of vegan foods are very high calorie density. Eating raw whole food plant based is often enough. Also, don’t forget moderate exercise as well. Personally, I find that intermittent fasting and very low calorie diets are the only way that I can lose weight, although many of my patients have lost significant weight by simply switching over to WFPB lifestyle.

  9. All,

    Just know that the anti-socialism agenda poster above is a troll, and so I offer here just a suggestion, because there’s never been a way to deal with these posts.

    …..Until now. (to be spoken in the voice of a famous nutrition doctor)

    My suggestion is please just don’t pay those political comments from this poster any mind unless the post focuses on nutrition, or perhaps how crony capitalism in the food industry is eating us alive while we are eating ourselves dead. (ok, i just couldn’t resist!)

    I think Dr. Greger is just sharing facts – and a bit of irony, as you all know, and while it is surely possible to imagine pitfalls and greediness in our system as he explains it, its also true that most people are just unaware this is even happening.

    For instance, its just pretty tough to defend gps shopping cart tracking combined with video surveillance designed to bend our behavior towards corporate interests, as if the tv/online marketing hadn’t already. Not to mention our grotesque production of 4000 calories of food for every man woman and child means there is a manager somewhere, every minute of every day screaming: “Sell that food! They must eat more food!” (…and starving people somewhere, every minute of every day screaming: “Hey, help! Look over here, we need that food!”

    Honestly, Dr. Greger just eloquently laid out how our own wonderful system works against our health in the name of profit over humanity.

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