Washington Post Rebuttal Washington Post Rebuttal


Obesity Threatens National Security

U.S. soldierChildhood obesity has become so serious in this country that military leaders are viewing the epidemic as a potential threat to our national security.

Obesity, it turns out, is the number 1 reason why applicants fail to qualify for military service, and it is posing serious health problems within the services.

Today, otherwise excellent recruit prospects, with generations of military service in their family history, are being turned away because they are just too heavy.

A recent report by Mission: Readiness, an organization made up of retired admirals and generals, found that an alarming 75 percent of all young people aged 17 to 24 are unable to join the military.

Many young adults do not qualify because they failed to finish high school or have criminal records, but the No. 1 reason, our report found, is obesity.

In the past 30 years, child obesity rates have more than tripled. One in three children, 10 to 17, is overweight or obese, and 27 percent of young adults, 17 to 24, are too heavy to join the military. Every month hundreds of potential recruits fail the physical entrance exam because they are too overweight.

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

Childhood obesity is an obvious threat to public health ... but national security? Have young adults in the United States become so out of shape that they are unable to keep up with the physical demands of serving in the military?

An eye-opening report by Mission: Readiness, an organization made up of retired admirals and generals, found that 75 percent of young people are unable to join the military, and the number one reason why is obesity.

In fact, 27 percent of young Americans are too overweight to join the military, according to the report, and roughly 15,000 young potential recruits fail their entrance physicals every year because they are too heavy.

This is a signal of a disturbing paradigm shift, one that is threatening to end children’s lives prematurely and interfere with their quality of life regardless of whether they choose to enter the military or not.

Even Bigger than the Drug Companies

The agriculture lobby is now more powerful than even the pharmaceutical industry, and insiders have made their way into top positions in Washington. As a result, they have been able to effectively manipulate the system to encourage an increase in the use of foods that contribute to the obesity epidemic. The primary culprit is high fructose corn syrup.

Today, 55 percent of sweeteners used in food and beverage manufacturing are made from corn, and the number one source of calories in America is soda, in the form of HFCS.

Without getting into the very complex biochemistry of carbohydrate metabolism, it is important to understand some differences about how your body handles fructose as opposed to other forms of sugar like glucose.

  • Fructose is the most lipophilic carbohydrate. In other words, fructose converts to activated glycerol (g-3-p), which is directly used to turn FFAs into triglycerides. The more g-3-p you have, the more fat you store. Glucose does not do this.

  • When you eat 120 calories of glucose, less than one calorie is stored as fat. 120 calories of fructose results in 40 calories being stored as fat. Consuming fructose is essentially consuming fat!

  • The metabolism of fructose by your liver creates a long list of waste products and toxins, including a large amount of uric acid, which drives up blood pressure, increases insulin resistance, and causes gout.

  • Every cell in your body, including your brain, utilizes glucose. Therefore, much of it is “burned up” immediately after you consume it. By contrast, fructose is turned into free fatty acids (FFAs), VLDL (the damaging form of cholesterol), and triglycerides, which get stored as fat.

The fatty acids created during fructose metabolism accumulate as fat droplets in your liver and skeletal muscle tissues, causing insulin resistance and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Insulin resistance progresses to metabolic syndrome and type II diabetes.

  • Glucose suppresses the hunger hormone ghrelin and stimulates leptin, which suppresses your appetite. Fructose has no effect on ghrelin and interferes with your brain’s communication with leptin, resulting in overeating.

The bottom line is fructose, a cheap form of sugar used in thousands of food products and soft drinks, can damage human metabolism and is fueling the obesity crisis.

Proof That Fructose Causes Obesity in Youth

The American Beverage Association claims there is “no association between high fructose corn syrup and obesity.”

However, a long lineup of scientific studies suggest otherwise:

  • Dr. David Ludwig of Boston Children’s Hospital did a study of the effects of sugar-sweetened drinks on obesity in children. He found that for each additional serving of a sugar-sweetened drink, both body mass index and odds of obesity increased in the children he studied.

  • The Fizzy Drink Study in Christchurch, England explored the effects on obesity when soda machines were removed from schools for one year. In the schools where the machines were removed, obesity stayed constant. In the schools where soda machines remained, obesity rates continued to rise.

They also showed signs of food-processing abnormalities linked to diabetes and heart disease. A second group of volunteers who were fed a similar diet, but with glucose replacing fructose, did not have these problems.

What Is It In Soft Drinks And Other Sweet Drinks That Is Damaging Your Health?

In one word, fructose.

The food and beverage industry doesn’t want you to realize how truly pervasive HFCS is in your children’s diet -- not just from soft drinks and juices, but also in salad dressings and condiments and virtually every processed food. The introduction of HFCS into the Western diet in 1975 has been a multi-billion dollar boon for the corn industry.

Further, the food crops currently subsidized by the U.S. government are corn, wheat, soy and rice. Growing little else but corn and soy means we end up with a fast food diet. In essence, these commodity programs are subsidies for the creation of junk and fast food, not REAL food that could have a positive impact on public health.

Unhealthy Weight Can Shave Years Off Your Child’s Life

It is becoming clear that poor diets, daily sodas and not enough activity are overtaking cigarettes as the greatest risks to youths’ health.

In the past 30 years, childhood obesity has more than tripled. Now, one in three children aged 10 to 17 is overweight or obese. What does this mean for these children’s futures? For many, an early grave.

Based on researchers' calculations, by the middle of this century the increased risk of diabetes, heart disease and cancer (faced by today's obese youth in particular) could lower the average life expectancy by as much as five years.

Even more disheartening: The dramatic increase in childhood obesity may have erased anywhere from four to nine months off children's lives already, according to researchers.

Every young adult deserves the chance to focus on their education, their friends, their future and on finding themselves and developing into their own skin as adults.

Sadly, instead many young adults are finding themselves facing a rash of adult diseases, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, cancer and osteoarthritis.

These are diseases that have no place in a young person’s life, so I urge you and your children to take positive steps to avoid these illnesses now; they are, fortunately, virtually 100 percent preventable.

How to Keep Your Child from Becoming Overweight

By changing your lifestyle (or your child’s) in the following ways, you will naturally reach the ideal weight for your body:

  1. Keep all fructose under 25 grams per day. Fructose is the number one source of calories in the U.S., and it is very clear that it is the primary cause of the obesity epidemic. Your children need to dramatically reduce foods that are high in fructose, such as fruit juices.

    Fruits need to be carefully measured as well to make certain that no more 25 grams of fructose are consumed. See the table below to get an idea of how much fructose is in your favorite fruits. Most processed food is loaded with fructose and is best avoided. For instance, there are about 40 grams of HFCS per can of soda.
Fruit Serving Size Grams of Fructose
Limes 1 medium 0
Lemons 1 medium 0.6
Cranberries 1 cup 0.7
Passion fruit 1 medium 0.9
Prune 1 medium 1.2
Apricot 1 medium 1.3
Guava 2 medium 2.2
Date (Deglet Noor style) 1 medium 2.6
Cantaloupe 1/8 of med. melon 2.8
Raspberries 1 cup 3.0
Clementine 1 medium 3.4
Kiwifruit 1 medium 3.4
Blackberries 1 cup 3.5
Star fruit 1 medium 3.6
Cherries, sweet 10 3.8
Strawberries 1 cup 3.8
Cherries, sour 1 cup 4.0
Pineapple 1 slice
(3.5" x .75")
Grapefruit, pink or red 1/2 medium 4.3
Fruit Serving Size Grams of Fructose
Boysenberries 1 cup 4.6
Tangerine/mandarin orange 1 medium 4.8
Nectarine 1 medium 5.4
Peach 1 medium 5.9
Orange (navel) 1 medium 6.1
Papaya 1/2 medium 6.3
Honeydew 1/8 of med. melon 6.7
Banana 1 medium 7.1
Blueberries 1 cup 7.4
Date (Medjool) 1 medium 7.7
Apple (composite) 1 medium 9.5
Persimmon 1 medium 10.6
Watermelon 1/16 med. melon 11.3
Pear 1 medium 11.8
Raisins 1/4 cup 12.3
Grapes, seedless (green or red) 1 cup 12.4
Mango 1/2 medium 16.2
Apricots, dried 1 cup 16.4
Figs, dried 1 cup 23.0
  1. Follow my nutrition plan and tailor your diet to your nutritional type. These are the foods that are right for your biochemistry, and these are the foods that will push your body toward its ideal weight. (By the way, these foods may be high in fat, high in carbs, heavy on protein or heavy on veggies, it all depends on YOU).

  2. View exercise as a drug. When you’re trying to lose weight, a casual walk here and there is not going to cut it. Many studies find that exercising for one hour, five days a week is actually needed, and I tend to agree with that. Sometimes you may need even up to 90 minutes of exercise every day.

    For best results, be sure you are incorporating the appropriate variety of exercises into your routine.

    For instance, their is compelling evidence that strength training and high-intensity anaerobic interval training may be especially effective for weight loss, so you’ll want to incorporate these into your workout program.

  3. Let go of your emotional blocks. Tools like the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) and Meridian Tapping Technique (MTT) are your friend and ally when it comes to losing weight. For some, emotional eating is more complex, and an experienced EFT practitioner may be able to help unravel some of your deeper emotional issues.

    For young children, in particular, making a few simple changes at home can also make a major difference in their future weight. Preschool-aged children, for instance, are less likely to become obese later in life if you:

    • Eat dinner together as a family

    • Make sure your child is getting enough sleep

    • Limit your child’s television viewing time

To give your child the best start at life, and help instill healthy habits that will last a lifetime, you should strive to lead by example. There is perhaps no better way to help your child lose weight than to model the healthy behaviors I’ve described above in your own daily life.