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How Vitamin Supplementation Leads To Human Livestock Obesity

This is a short follow-up to the post a few days ago about how food enrichment or fortification promotes obesity. Consider this a TL;DR version for those not yet motivated enough to read the 7,000-word post. Perhaps this will motivate some to delve deeper.

But first, a bit of clarification. I get the sense that some may be misinterpreting or misunderstanding our thesis here. It is, admittedly, a subtle distinction because it’s a chain, not direct cause –> effect.

What we said is that a diet rich in B vitamins (and perhaps other added, isolated nutrients—or even minerals like salt) enables you to eat a shitty refined junk food diet if you should happen to choose to eat them. Without those vitamins, you wouldn’t have much urge to consume those obesogenic foods or beverages.

Some “traditional” diets may too have been relatively high in some of the fortified and enriched nutrients we’ve been talking about (such as B vitamins), but they didn’t have the kinds of junk food we do now. They didn’t have a taste for it, apparently, or perhaps it would have emerged more naturally and widely on its own, rather than through livestock farming-like food engineering, intended to have animals put on weight rapidly.

We would not expect people to become obese unless they chose to eat shitty foods. But, their consumption of B vitamin-dense foods would better enable them to do so, if that was their choice. For example, a non-obese body builder, traditional diet eater, or health nut is a poor counterargument to our thesis, irrespective of their level of consumption of these nutrients, because junk foods aren’t a part of their normal diets.

Let’s simplify the concept: B vitamins do not cause obesity. They simply enable someone to eat shitty foods that they would normally lose their appetites for. The vitamins themselves do not cause obesity.

Furthermore, this is not an idea that requires any formal “proof” or study, since it was already proven a century ago. That’s why the farming industry fortifies their feed. This isn’t new or controversial. In fact, it’s established knowledge and industry practice. It’s uniformly known and practiced in the farming industry and the results are predictable and reproducible 100% of the time. What we did is to simply point out how the food industry adopted similar practices for feeding junk food to Human Livestock.

We’re far from the only ones to make this connection. Unbeknownst to us at the time we published the monster post, Men’s Journal recently published More Nutrients, Less Nutrition: The Truth About Fortified Foods, by Mark Schatzker.

mj-618_348_more-nutrients-less-nutrition

Nutritional fortification could be altering our innate, healthy relationship with food. Photo by Yasu + Junko

Cheerios with protein. Jif with omega-3s. Tropicana orange juice with “3X the vitamin C.” Walk through any supermarket and you’ll find hundreds of products packed with added vitamins and minerals, promising a path to better health through engineered food, and appealing to our faith that the more nutrients we get, the healthier we become.

There’s just one problem. No one knows if adding nutrients makes people healthier. In fact, many nutrition experts fear that these products may have the exact opposite effect. Nutrient-fortified foods not only dupe consumers into buying calorie-rich, sugar-dense processed junk, they may actually contribute to weight gain more than unfortified products. And, more ominously, some scientists fear that fortified foods could rewire our natural cravings, curbing our desire to eat nutritious whole foods in the first place.

“Throwing nutrients into junk food does not produce good food,” says Dr. David L. Katz, director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center. “It produces nutrient-fortified junk.”

Sound familiar?

While some fortified foods offer a meager portion of nutrients, others may supply far too much. More than half of American adults take some kind of dietary supplement. According to a 2012 study in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition andDietetics, that can increase the likelihood of consuming certain nutrients in excess. Add in functional foods, and the amounts can become megadoses. A 2014 report in the journal Applied PhysiologyNutrition, and Metabolism analyzed 46 functional beverages — waters and sports and energy drinks — and many contained well above the daily requirement of a half-dozen vitamins, including B6, B12, niacin, and riboflavin. “The potential for massive dosing is very real,” says study co-author Valerie Tarasuk, a professor of nutritional science at the University of Toronto. “We have no evidence that intakes well in excess of requirements will confer benefit, but harm is an open question.”

One of those harms could be weight gain. In a paper published last year in the World Journal of Diabetes, Dr. Shisheng Zhou, a physiology researcher at Dalian University, showed that excess B vitamins can enhance fat synthesis, cause insulin resistance, and create an oxidative stress that cues the body to store fat in fat cells and then prevents the cells from releasing it to be used as energy. Countries that prohibit flour fortification with vitamins — including France, Norway, and Finland — have a lower rate of obesity than those that mandate it, Zhou notes. He goes further still, connecting spikes in U.S. obesity and diabetes rates with each new wave of fortification — first in the early 20th century, then again in the Seventies and Eighties, and most recently over the past decade. “It is necessary and urgent to review and modify the standards of vitamin fortification,” he says.

Keep chewing on this because you may find yourself into a solid Occam’s Razor paradigm, where every single other dietary paradigm you’ve ever considered from vegan to low-fat to ketogenic to paleo to Atkins is undercut and falls by the wayside.

So how do we know?

…In a study last year, 23 lambs at the University of Western Australia were intentionally fed a diet low in vitamin E, and then offered orange-flavored feed that had been fortified with vitamin E or a nonfortified feed. After 15 days, the results were clear: The lambs wanted the orange pellets. They preferred a flavor they didn’t ordinarily like, orange, because it was paired with a needed nutrient. “Animals have an extraordinary ability to seek out the nutrients that are essential for survival,” says Fred Provenza, a behavioral ecologist who has studied the eating habits of animals for more than 40 years.

Viewed another way, however, and the study’s outcome is disturbing: The micronutrient manipulated the lambs’ dietary preference. “The addition of a single vitamin can induce lambs to eat a food they would normally have no interest in eating,” Provenza says.

And adding those nutrients to carbs can fatten animals up. As counterintuitive as that may sound — vitamins contributing to weight gain — it’s old news in farming. More than a century ago, farmers knew that corn and barley (carbs, in other words) could make animals put on weight. But if that’s all chicken and pigs were fed, they would get sick. They had to be let outdoors to forage or be fed green feed and kitchen scraps. “Back then, livestock needed to eat vegetables to get their vitamins,” says Allen Williams, a former professor of animal science at Louisiana State University and livestock consultant.

That changed when we discovered that adding nutrients to feed allowed farm animals to thrive on a sensationally high carb diet. The feed was now nutritionally complete, and instead of making the animals sick, it made them gain weight faster than ever, Williams says. The animals were content to eat it. “If you supplement them with vitamins and minerals,” Williams explains, “they get lazy and have no desire to go out and graze. You can actually have an effect on their behavior.”

Could something similar be happening to humans? If we get our essential nutrients through white bread, sugary cereals, protein-packed bars, and vitamin-enhanced drinks, does it curtail our desire to eat whole foods? It’s a question worth asking, scientists say. “The fact that we no longer need to get micronutrients via a wide range of plants is one of many ways that the current food system in humans no longer fits our evolutionary history,” says Gary Beauchamp, the former director of the Monell Center, a hub for research on the science of food taste and smell.

Provenza suggests that we may already have the answer. “If people are on a diet of wholesome foods and they experience cravings,” he says, “it is the body guiding a person to select foods that provide nutrients needed at the cellular level.” A craving for eggs or steak, for example, leads to consuming a complex amalgam of protein, fat, vitamins, and minerals. Similarly, craving a salad brings the body a blend of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytonutrients. But if people are getting their essential nutrients from processed foods, the nutrients may be reinforcing the desire to eat junk foods over whole foods. “People are being conditioned to want to eat them,” Provenza says. “And when they do, they wind up overconsuming calories in an attempt to obtain necessary nutrients.”

The perverse result is that much of the food we eat resembles the feed that’s been engineered to fatten livestock: high in calories and loaded with essential nutrients.

“We never stop to think about it, but if you want an animal or a human to get fat quickly,” Provenza says, “you can’t do it without vitamins.”

So, while I can see certain advocates of dietary paradigms go, “see, carbs,” that would be a gross conflation, since, just as there are critical distinctions to make between sources of proteins (steak vs. hot dog) and sources of fats (butter vs. soy oil), there are equally critically important distinctions to make between sources of carbohydrate (a Coke vs. a potato). Plus, it’s Occam’s Razor all over again. What’s a simpler, more complete explanation? This, or that somehow billions of people throughout history seemed to have no problem with staple-food carbohydrate like rice, beans, corn, wheat, etc. but by some mysterious protective magic Americans and increasingly, other populations, have become susceptible to over the last several decades?

I just came from attending a three-day conference centered around the paleo diet and while the topics of discussion are quite varied with much value, this idea does not yet seem to be on the radar directly, though it is indirectly by eschewing junk food in most forms (except for “paleo” junk food). So it does address elements of a good healthy diet, should someone choose to adopt one. Good choice. However, I find it wanting for those of us with a deeper interest in addressing the human obesity crisis. That people aren’t “eating paleo” is a very poor explanation.

So, one can eschew grains, for instance, on the basis of evolutionary Paleolithic history, gluten, phytates, anti-nutrients, or by whatever else strikes one’s fancy, but then one is left with the niggling inconvenient truth that so many have fared quite well for thousands of years on them, and still do. And those who do tend to reside in countries that don’t fortify or enrich foods. I submit that the answer that fits all the variables best is the one that ought to be used until a better fit comes along.

Richard Nikoley

I'm Richard Nikoley. Free The Animal began in 2003 and as of 2021, contains 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from health, diet, and food to travel and lifestyle; to politics, social antagonism, expat-living location and time independent—while you sleep—income. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. Read More

56 Comments

  1. thhq1 on May 30, 2016 at 16:51

    Our daily need for thiamine is 1.2-1.3 mg.

    http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/much-vitamin-b1-b2-b6-much-5929.html

    Our daily consumption of thiamine in 2000 was 3 mg.

    We are clearly getting way more than we need, and from unnatural sources. In 1909 62% of thiamine came from fruits, vegetables, meat and dairy. In 2000 59% of thiamine came from fortified grains.

    • Thhq on June 1, 2016 at 08:03

      From the query in the other blog thread about brewer’s yeast, and the Vegemite effect, I found that 2 tablespoons of yeast delivers 600% of the thiamine RDA. And people dose way beyond that, to 100x RDA or more.

      Does this normalize a higher appetite for shitty food? That’d be a good ward study.

      Thiamine deficiency affects 3 groups (CDC – you google it). Alcoholics, elderly and food faddists. So becoming b-orexic is a very real heath danger. I’d expect the major fad afflicted would be rawist vegan eating starvation level. A teaspoon of yeast a day is a natural fix.



    • Duck Dodgers on May 31, 2016 at 20:19

      thhq1,

      I don’t know if it helps you or not, but Zhou et al, believe that obesity is due to B vitamin overload, from fortification (and meat). Zhou specifically hones in on niacin.

      I should mention that the team found those theories to be weak and unconvincing, which is why we gravitated towards an Occam’s Razor approach. And it turns out we were not the only ones who were critical of Zhou et al:

      Management of nicotinamide N-methyltransferase overexpression: inhibit the enzyme or reduce nicotinamide intake? Reply to Zhou S, Li D, Zhou Y [letter] (2015)

      So, his theories of vitamin overload are controversial and not widely accepted.

      Perhaps the simple explanation (which Zhou even mentions in his papers) doesn’t get someone the funding one desires in the scientific world, and maybe this forces scientists to ignore Occam’s Razor. It’s a shame because they found some very important correlations that shouldn’t be overlooked.



    • LaFrite on June 1, 2016 at 08:42

      @Thhq

      About vegemite, think about it like butter. You wouldn’t binge on bread without butter, or let’s say it would be less appealing (*). Spread butter on it and you find yourself able to eat more than you would without.

      (*) Exception to this: freshly baked artisan bread from French bakeries that still know how to make bread 😀

      DD’s thesis is that enrichment of foods in vit B makes you eat more of those foods than you would were these foods not enriched. Since these enriched foods are usually of poor nutritional quality intrinsically, eating more of them with an unbalanced and artificial mix of vitamins (without adding back most minerals except for iron) is highly risky in the long run.

      I tend to think that if research has clearly demonstrated an enhanced appetite for refined highly processed foods by adding certain vitamins and whatnot minerals, you can bet that manufacturers of such foods will be exploiting this effect and push such artificial enrichment under the guise of health benefits. It is a no-brainer. In any case, it is also a no-brainer that eating real whole foods is preferable in the long run (health risk mitigation strategy).



    • Duck Dodgers on June 1, 2016 at 09:39

      Well, it doesn’t require enormous amounts of B vitamins to maintain an appetite. But, yes, if you ate 2 Tablespoons of yeast, you would easily have the appetite to consume whatever you wanted to. But that’s a bit different than spiking someone’s food with vitamins.

      Animals were well known to have a preference for the foods that were spiked with B vitamins. It was considered to be part of the palatability equation of their food.

      Scientists never found taste receptors for B vitamins, but it was determined that animals would make an association with the beneficial effects of the vitamin (how the vitamins made them feel) and what flavors were associated with those foods (umami from yeast for instance) and they would then crave those foods. Scientists could also influence these associations with other factors (education, experiences, etc). They figured out many ways to exploit the natural tendency of animals to seek out nutrition and associate unique flavors with those nutrients. In other words, all you had to do was making something have a unique flavor and spike it with vitamins to get an animal hooked on it.

      Therefore, giving someone a lot of vitamin pills, or eating tablespoons of yeast, would not have quite the same effect on junk food palatability, even though it would enable someone to eat junk food if that’s what they wanted to do.

      Does that make sense? The vitamins need to be mixed in the food for vitamins to be a part of the food’s palatability factor. Otherwise, supplemental vitamins just enabled someone to be able to make a choice to eat shitty foods.

      A classic example of this might be sprinkling yeast on a salad or on popcorn. The umami flavor of the yeast apparently becomes associated with the beneficial effect of the vitamins. So, you end up craving the umami flavor of yeast more because you remember that it made you feel good in previous experiences. The animal/farm studies suggests this could make you eat more popcorn or salad than you otherwise might eat.

      It’s hardly a problem when you add yeast to beneficial or benign foods. But it’s a form of dietary deception when you add palatable flavorings and vitamins to junk foods because it tricks the brain into craving something the body would naturally lose its appetite for.



    • Duck Dodgers on June 2, 2016 at 12:39

      Vegemite has a different effect than butter, due to the B vitamins.

      Vegemite was originally advertised in the Medical Journal of Australia, Volume 1 (1934), p.406, as being indicated in cases of “impairment or loss of appetite.”



  2. Mo on May 30, 2016 at 15:21

    So food industry engineering has created a giant CAFO for the human animal.

  3. Jin on May 30, 2016 at 15:24

    You could say the “hockey stick effect” of obesity stared at the beginning of the eighties.

  4. LaFrite on May 31, 2016 at 06:42

    I think DD’s thesis is quite straightforward:

    – manufacture foods based on refined ingredients devoid of proper levels of micronutrients -> eat mostly those -> appetite reduction ensues -> deficiencies, weight loss, etc.

    – add a hefty dose of certain micronutrients (vitamin B) to these foods -> appetite increases for these foods -> but still, some deficiencies remain and probably lead to non-optimal energy management (fat storage rather than met rate increase, oxidative stress) due to the nature of these processed foods (high cal density, missing micronutrition to deal with excess cals)

    As a junk food manufacturer, I would certainly try to know all the tricks to make people eat my stuff (bliss point, appetite enhancers, etc) at a minimal cost for myself. Thus the flood of junk foods every-fucking-where.

    The corollary is: stop fortification and taste enhancement of otherwise insipid and non appetizing pseudo foods -> lose appetite for them, turn away from this junk -> big junk food business suffers loss of profit.

    So according to this thesis, fortification keeps an active vicious circle of offer-and-demand for junk. As a consequence, people are sicker than they should be, so other opportunists are plugging themselves to this dynamic (pharmaceutical industry, health insurers, etc).

    • Duck Dodgers on May 31, 2016 at 20:29

      You got it, LaFrite.

      Additionally, I believe the under-publicized 1981 fortification increases and ramp-up of “super enrichment” were a telltale fingerprint that not only clearly demonstrated this tactic, but put it into overdrive. It’s been rather surprising to me how few people realized that the industry’s super enrichment campaign even happened.

      I suspect that most people’s attention were tuned to the 1980 Dietary Guidelines, and not the rising enrichment levels that were done in conjunction.



    • Richard Nikoley on May 31, 2016 at 21:10

      You already just wrote what I was going to email about tomorrow looking toward a completely governmental, policy, political piece angle.

      After your comment on this earlier I was thinking, what if the Keyes / McGoverm / dietary guidelines were convenient, in a sense, not nesessarily conspiratorial, but convenient.

      Didn’t need to be eat more carbs. Didn’t need to be get your vitamins,

      You could die because you’re eating too much fat was the strongest message. And, ’cause “we care.”



    • Thhq on June 1, 2016 at 08:08

      If you’re a senator from South Dakota or a nutritionist from Minnesota the food pyramid makes perfect sense. Follow the money.

      Still working on why the two of them lived so damn long.



    • Duck Dodgers on June 1, 2016 at 09:59

      My sense is that even if the ABA were using farm research to sell more product (and I don’t know why they wouldn’t), the people in the government probably thought they were doing the right thing—or were at least perhaps convinced they were doing the right thing. Senators and FDA officials wanted people to eat more carbohydrates and they might have even been shown research by the ABA that it was nutrients missing from sugar and refined carbs that were causing obesity, and that adding in the limited enrichments would somehow solve that crisis. I could see that happening and people making policy decisions believing they had good intentions to fix it.

      I’m not anti-government myself, but I believe people who are anti-government criticize government as being an easy target for corruption even if the government has good intentions. In other words, it’s easy to fool a Senator or Congressman and that makes government too vulnerable.



    • Thhq on June 1, 2016 at 10:34

      It’s just how it works Ducks. Politicians need money. Lobbyists for farmers from grain-growing states provide the money. Public universities in grain-growing states are happy with the backwash of money, from the farm bureaus, agribusinesses and USDA. The ABA is mixed in there, but the engine is midwestern economies built on corn, soy and wheat. Drive across southern Wisconsin sometime. Soy on your right, corn on your left. After a mile it changes to corn on your right. For hundreds of mles.



    • Duck Dodgers on June 1, 2016 at 11:33

      Of course. Yes. That’s obvious. But I’m just saying that it’s possible McGovern thought he was doing something good in the process. I doubt he would have conceived of an enriched, junk food empire, and mass obesity, spawning from those policies. They were solely focused on increasing carbohydrates and reducing fat intakes to get the US back in line with other Western countries. The choice to use enrichments as a tool to further that policy probably seemed reasonable at the time.



  5. Vanner on May 31, 2016 at 09:37

    This is an interesting topic. My first thought is that adding fillers and vitamins to products to market them better in the name of “health” must break some kind business ethic — vitamin water? WTF!

    My second thought is that I think one of the problems here is not so much the use of vitamins and minerals, but how their use was implemented. Top-down policy tends to be short-term and needs revising very frequently (which is why it doesn’t work due to too much bureaucracy). For example, the need for iodine was apparent in the early 1900s, and the solution chosen was to fortify salt with iodine; which solved the issue. However, 100 years later we still have iodized salt that we may not need (because I can eat sea-food whenever I want). A better solution would have been to provide iodine as a medical intervention — as a supplement to those who had goiter issues. This would treat the individual instead of the whole population with better control of the dosage.

    My random thought is that I initially believed we could solve the articles proposed issues by engineering a food that was low to moderate in calories and met all our micro-nutrients; however, I forgot about context. Nutritional needs are always relative to the individual. We need an accurate guiding system that tells us what to eat (e.g. hunger and cravings). If we had a static food that provided all our nutritional requirements, we would still have too much of some nutrients and too little of others. This is because of all the random factors that influence the nutritional state of our bodies in a given period of time. Of course we also need to have enough food options to meet our nutrition needs; if you only have corn and rice, there’s gonna be a problem.

    The best arguments I’ve seen for engineered food comes from Rob Rhinehart:
    In Defense of New Food

    I tried his product, and it made me constipated even though it had lot’s of fiber; so it wasn’t for me. He’s a bit prone to reductionist thinking, but I like his innovative ideas. My idea would be to have a technology to better monitor the state of the body and tell you if you are low in certain nutrients — wait a minute, evolution already did that! All we need now is affordable, highly variable food sources.

    • Vanner on May 31, 2016 at 09:55

      It’s illegal to have un-enriched/unfortified white flour products in Canada. So I basically have to mill my own white flour in Canada because my policy makers are trying to help “the population”. How about pushing harder on the programs to provide convenient affordable access to fruit, veg, meat, and beans.

      “The mandatory enrichment of white flour with B vitamins, iron and folic acid is a cornerstone of Canada’s fortification program aimed at helping to prevent nutrient deficiencies and maintain or improve the nutritional quality of the food supply. Flour enrichment is used as a public health tool because of its widespread use in foods consumed regularly by a large majority of the population.” – Candian Food Inspection Agency

      Where’s the evidence to support the above quote!



  6. king of the one eyed people on June 1, 2016 at 02:39

    Every time I come to this site you fucking save me more money. First you tell me I can stop gorging myself on expensive meat and refined oils and just eat large amounts of potatoes and a little liver etc instead. This cut my food bill by 2/3rds. 2/3rds! That is fucking huge.

    And guess what? I am now gaining more muscle at gym with less protien. I would not have imagined this – ever. Potatoes are good to me dude.

    Now you’re telling me I don’t need to buy expensive vitamins either. How the fuck will you generate Amazon affiliate sales if you keep telling us we don’t need expensive junk?

    The financial freedom your peasant ways has given me is truely liberating. I now see health as something even poor cunts like myself can have for minimal effort. Truely liberating. Really. It is.

  7. vizeet srivastava on June 1, 2016 at 06:55

    In addition to that iodized salt can lead to auto-immune thyroiditis which may lead you from hyper to hypo-thyroid overtime. Finally making you fat.

  8. CCL on June 1, 2016 at 09:47

    What about taking a multivitamin daily? Would this cause a person to forgo (or not crave) whole/healthy foods since they don’t need the vitamins from them, and eat more junk?

    Also, on a sort-of-unrelated note, what about the sprouted grain breads in the freezer aile at the grocery store (such as Ezekiel bread)? These apparently use the whole grain, which is actually sprouted wheat (not seemingly processed at all to separate the parts of the grain out). Is this an alternative to locating locally milled whole grains to make bread at home?

    • Duck Dodgers on June 1, 2016 at 11:57

      “What about taking a multivitamin daily? Would this cause a person to forgo (or not crave) whole/healthy foods since they don’t need the vitamins from them, and eat more junk?”

      It’s plausible. You might be less likely to make associations between whole foods and the natural vitamins you’re supposed to crave. The research shows animals evolved with taste buds and associative memories to instinctively draw them to nutritious staples.

      But the research suggests that it’s far more sinister to add enrichments to junk food because an association/memory between the beneficial effect of nutrients and the taste of junk food takes place when artificial vitamins are added to palatable refined foods. So, we are talking about different effects when comparing supplements and enrichments.



    • Duck Dodgers on June 1, 2016 at 12:12

      To answer your question on Ezekiel bread, that would be fine. My understanding is that they don’t even mill grains for Ezekiel bread—they seem to use a whole grain mash. But any company that grinds their own whole grain flour and sells in the freezer section (Berlin Bakery, Alvarado Street bakery) would be fine. Any artisanal bakery that sources 100% wholegrain, traditional, flour would be fine as well.

      The term “stoneground” can be misleading though. Manufacturers are allowed to “crack” the grain on a wide stoneground mill and finish it off in a roller mill with high levels of processing if they want to, and can still call it “stoneground”. So it’s generally best to know where your flour comes from.

      Having said that, reconstituted whole grain flours won’t kill you—reconstituted flour is still better than eating refined grains, but reconstituted flour is akin to concentrated orange juice. The major difference being that reconstituted flour may not have all of the grain added back in (it’s not regulated and the germ shortens shelf life) and reconstituted whole grain flour comes adding bran back into heavily processed and refined white flour. The white flour component of reconstituted flour is rapidly digested, which should reduce the amount of starches and chances for (cracked) RS1 reaching the colon. On the flip side, roller mill proponents say the higher digestibility of industrial flour is said to increase the absorption of nutrients—but it likely does so at the expense of feeding the microbiome.

      Anyhow, Ezekiel bread sounds quite good, and the manufacturer claims they do not actually mill their grains.



  9. CCL on June 1, 2016 at 15:02

    Thanks for the responses Duck! The Ezekiel bread is actually pretty darn good.

  10. chris d on June 7, 2016 at 11:46

    You say that “The vitamins themselves do not cause obesity.” However by definition an obesogenic food must increase appetite. If I eat a food that retards the metabolism or causes sloth, it is not obesogenic if it also retards the appetite. For example, pain killers retard the metabolism and also decrease appetite for many people and as such they lose weight while on them, you could say they are anti-obesogenic. Lets say I institute a new national policy through executive order that all soda must be voluntarily enriched with pain killers to prevent headaches. Soda drinkers now find themselves losing weight (among other side effects)and some even becoming not-obese. The soda was not anti-obesogenic without the pain killers, they made it anti-obesogenic and effected the consumption of calories away from the soda it self.

    Moving on, if B vitamins cause an increase in appetite, and junk food was not obesogenic before the addition of the B vitamins, then the B vitamins must therefore be obesogenic by definition.

    So do B vitamins increase appetite when added to whole foods? Would whole grain flour with the same amount of enrichment as white flour cause the same problems? I would think so.

    • Richard Nikoley on June 7, 2016 at 12:28

      “Moving on, if B vitamins cause an increase in appetite, and junk food was not obesogenic before the addition of the B vitamins, then the B vitamins must therefore be obesogenic by definition.”

      Logic too poor to even correct. Figure it out yourself because that’s just fucking stupid.



    • thhq on June 7, 2016 at 12:28

      The whole b vitamin/appetite argument is inconsistent, as there are other many factors that create appetite. For instance, I have an insatiable appetite for unfortified Tim’s potato chips yet no appetite whatsoever for b-rich vegemite.

      And then there’s pizza. Making the crust with whole wheat flour doesn’t slow down the gorging.



    • Richard Nikoley on June 7, 2016 at 14:56

      And you still miss the point as well. Neither of you have said a single thing pertinent to our hypothesis. Neither of you understand it, so far as I can tell.



    • thhq on June 7, 2016 at 15:34

      My insatiable appetite for the ultimate crap food potato chips existed before the ca 1980 catastrophe of increased b fortification, and continues long after I stopped eating b fortified foods. Maybe my appetite for chips comes all the b I get from eating pork. Or maybe it’s a hundred other factors unrelated to vitamin b. Convenience, price, umami, salt, fat, etc. I’ll give the b fortification conspiracy theory of obesity 5% credit, tops.



    • Richard Nikoley on June 7, 2016 at 16:07

      There has always been obesity. We are talking about a relatively rapid increase in propensity that began at a relatively indentifiable point in time.



    • thhq on June 7, 2016 at 16:19

      Read Colpo’s explanation of the Australian obesity increase (December 2015 I believe). He puts it squarely on the rise in sedentary behavior, saying that Australian calorie intake has not risen. He’s not blaming the vegemite. He’s blaming internets and gaming. 1978 was my first encounter with Pong and Pac Man.



    • Duck Dodgers on June 9, 2016 at 08:03

      chris d said: “So do B vitamins increase appetite when added to whole foods? Would whole grain flour with the same amount of enrichment as white flour cause the same problems? I would think so.”

      100% whole grain flour, by law, cannot have enrichments added to it.

      The natural B vitamins in whole foods do in fact increase your appetite for those foods—if you have no other tastier and more pleasurable source of B vitamins, of course. However, whole foods (particularly plants) tend to be very filling and calorie sparse and therefore it’s difficult to overeat them.

      Also, whole grains are well known to have satiating effects and lower palatability, so you are more likely to overindulge in refined foods than whole foods.

      Whole Grains and Health: Perspective for Asian Indians (2009)

      “Several factors may explain the influence of whole grains on body-weight regulation. The high volume, low-energy density and the relatively lower palatability of whole grain foods may promote satiation. Additionally, whole grains may enhance satiety for up to several hours following a meal. Grains rich in viscous soluble fibre (for example, oats and barley) tend to increase intraluminal viscosity, prolong gastric emptying time, and slow nutrient absorption in the small intestine. Newby et al.[14] report that a healthy eating pattern, including the consumption of whole grains, is associated with smaller gains in body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference (WC) in the ongoing Baltimore longitudinal study of aging”[15]

      I think it’s important to keep in mind that the research and food industry seems to consider enrichments to be a part of the overall palatability equation. So, enrichments are just one factor. Associating a highly palatable taste with a beneficial experience is the overall goal. When enrichments are added to junk food, the research says they play a role in that beneficial experience, that your memory associates with that food.



    • Duck Dodgers on June 9, 2016 at 08:12

      Thhq said: “For instance, I have an insatiable appetite for unfortified Tim’s potato chips yet no appetite whatsoever for b-rich vegemite.”

      According to the research, you most certainly would have an appetite for vegemite, if you have few other sources of B vitamins. It is apparent that you are having trouble reading and comprehending the concepts and research stated here. Please read more carefully.

      “Read Colpo’s explanation of the Australian obesity increase (December 2015 I believe). He puts it squarely on the rise in sedentary behavior”

      I assume you must realize that Colpo doesnt have all the answers and that some of his theories are controversial. If Colpo sincerely believes that sedentary behavior “causes” obesity, then he is very confused because we have already shown in the previous article that sedentary behavior was well known to cause a loss of appetite and wasting up until the 20th century. Therefore, sedentary behavior alone cannot be the cause of obesity. I can understand Colpo may not be aware of this inconvenient history, but I’m afraid that’s not our problem. Perhaps you should look into expanding your horizons, beyond Colpo.

      Thhq said: “there are other many factors that create appetite.”

      You are arguing a formal fallacy, Affirming a disjunct.

      Maybe you can also tell us that there are “many factors,” besides sunlight, that cause plants to grow. And then you extend your fallacy and tell us that this somehow proves that sunlight doesn’t cause plant growth.

      Arguing fallacies won’t get you very far.

      (Richard, I think we have a troll here.)



    • Richard Nikoley on June 9, 2016 at 08:19

      “Richard, I think we have a troll here.”

      No. Trolls add no value. They are nihilists.

      We’re dealing with a smart, obstinate person, kinda like us. 🙂



    • Duck Dodgers on June 9, 2016 at 08:26

      Well, I tend to think that thhq’s repetition of formal fallacies, over and over again, doesn’t really add any value. But that’s just my humble opinion. lol



    • Richard Nikoley on June 9, 2016 at 08:33

      There’s no doubt he’s a PITA in this thread. But I signed up for this a long time ago.

      I have a substantially long memory, and see beyond a particular thread.

      At any rate, all frustration is noted and accounted for and we will proceed forth. In terms of thhq, if memory serves, there has yet to be an objection in this area we’d care to spend any time in looking at for the next iteration.



    • thhq1 on June 9, 2016 at 08:48

      @Ducks sadly I left my signed copy of Kurlansky’s book Cod on the train a couple days ago. I had forgotten that cod swim with their mouths open, swallowing everything in their path. You don’t even have to bait your hook to catch them. You just pull them in. You should read it sometime.

      Read The Good Soldier Svejk too. Regarding Austria: “A country as stupid as this shouldn’t be allowed to exist.” Hasek doen’t have anything to say about the US or Australia. But Colpo does and I respect him. You’re pulling up dusty articles from the 1850’s while blowing off Pac Man as a probable cause for obesity? Watch this presentation of the Colpo’s theory of obesity.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oNsMgl9KKIA

      I’m treating you the same way I treated eager snake oil peddlers for 40 years as a research scientist. Show me how you can save me money. If you’re dodgy in your presentation thank you very much and goodbye.



    • Richard Nikoley on June 9, 2016 at 09:16

      Well, I dismissed your take on Colpo’s ‘sedentary theory of obesity ’cause Pac Man’ literally out of hand.

      30, 40, and 50 somethings didn’t begin to pack on the pounds in the 70s because of video games, and likely nobody else.



    • thhq1 on June 9, 2016 at 09:04

      I’m willing to apply the Razor to my pet theories and reduce them to just one: social norming. All the other stuff falls under that, including the Vitamin B and fructose.

      I prefer Pareto for sorting out major from minor causes.

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

      Where is Vitamin B is this type of analysis? Off the top of my head I gave it 5%. Sharpen up the number Ducks.



    • Duck Dodgers on June 9, 2016 at 09:35

      thhq1. Take it up with Zhou, et al. The correlations are very strong and coincide with enrichment increases in other countries. Though, maybe you prefer Zhou’s more convoluted theories than a simple explanation. That’s okay too.



    • Duck Dodgers on June 9, 2016 at 10:23

      “You’re pulling up dusty articles from the 1850’s while blowing off Pac Man as a probable cause for obesity?”

      Not at all. Obviously sedentary behavior will promote obesity if the appetite is stimulated beyond CICO. Nobody here disputes that. But to say that sedentary behavior is the main cause of obesity completely ignores the inconvenient history where sedentary behavior usually resulted in wasting and loss. I’m afraid there’s no way around that.

      Also, I’d hardly consider the 1865 edition of the New American Encyclopedia to be a “dusty article”—its observations on sedentary behavior were common knowledge at the time.

      If your theories can’t account for historical observations, then there’s obviously something wrong with your theories.



    • thhq on June 9, 2016 at 11:20

      Not a matter of “if” Ducks it’s a matter of “when”.

      Wesley’s diet for a studious person (ie sedentary) from the 1700’s: 8 ounces of animal products, 12 ounces of vegetable products. My estimate is about 1000 calories of meat and potatoes. Plenty of Vitamin B, but way less calories than what we eat today.

      https://www.faithandleadership.com/primitive-physick-john-wesley-diet-and-excercise



    • thhq1 on June 9, 2016 at 12:28

      Pardon while I muse. Taking Wesley’s 1000 calorie meat and potatoes sedentary diet a little further:

      -Macros would be about 40% carb/30% protein/30% fat. If the vegetable was bread, the calories would rise to around 1400, and macros shift to 50% carb/25% protein/25% fat. [Far different from 2010 USDA at 45% carbs/43% fat/12% protein.] Vegetables and fruits beyond bread, beer, beans, roots and grains would have been insignificant calorie sources at that time.
      -Today this would be considered a starvation diet. Every modern diet writer would be opposed to it for one reason or another. Yet this was one of the most popular books in England and America. If nothing else it describes the diet of the common man in simple terms.
      -Sedentary by 1700’s standards still meant walking or riding a lot more than we do today.



    • Duck Dodgers on June 9, 2016 at 12:46

      thhq, Wesley’s writing only further confirms what we’ve been saying.

      In order for a pre-industrial person to maintain their appetite—which was the goal for proper health back then—they needed either exercise and/or eat sufficient B vitamins from real foods. Wesley suggested both. It only supports what we are saying. If Wesley hadn’t suggested a diet with sufficient B vitamins, then his sedentary readers would have risked losing their appetites altogether.

      Again, this was all figured out a century ago in the farming industry—it’s not at all controversial.



    • Duck Dodgers on June 9, 2016 at 13:16

      Funny enough, it seems John Wesley became a vegetarian after publishing those recommendations…

      Sins of the Flesh: A History of Ethical Vegetarian Thought

      …John Wesley (1703-1791), was himself a vegetarian. “Thanks be to God,” he wrote to the Bishop of London in 1747, “since the time I gave up flesh meals and wine I have been delivered from all physical ills.”



    • thhq on June 9, 2016 at 14:14

      Wesley wasn’t recommending vegetarisnism for everyone since the diet tor the studious person was written 14 years later in 1761. Maybe he had backslidden. Itinerant Methodist preachers were noted for eating whenever, wherever, whatever they were offered. In any case Wesley’s diet interests me for his 88 year longevity, remarkable for the time. At that scant level of eating autophagy was at work for sure.



    • Duck Dodgers on June 9, 2016 at 15:03

      “Wesley wasn’t recommending vegetarisnism for everyone since the diet tor the studious person was written 14 years later in 1761”

      Wrong again, sir. You should really be more careful to you actually read the links you suggest. The link you gave said that Wesley’s Primitive Physick was “first published in the 1740s”.

      And, indeed, it’s not difficult to find copies online from 1747. His letter to the Bishop was also from 1747.



    • thhq on June 9, 2016 at 15:53

      Well pardon my googlebooks Ducks, which says original 1761 edition. I’ll admit right up front that you’re smarter than me. However Wesley hadn’t altered his 1761 text into a vegetarian manifesto.

      https://books.google.com/books/about/Primitive_Physic.html?id=J-KxoQEACAAJ

      I can’t catch a break. I dig out useful information for you, learn something useful myself about 18th century diet, and all you can find to say is that I’m a liar?



    • Duck Dodgers on June 9, 2016 at 16:18

      As for Wesley’s 1747 letter to the Bishop of London, in that same letter he wrote that he had become a vegetarian 12 years earlier—temporarily resuming meat 2 years later, to silence his detractors, and then giving it up entirely, with success, some time before he wrote that letter. He was said to have been a vegetarian for most of his adult life. Despite that, he never told others to become vegetarians.

      You can read more here: John Wesley on… Vegetarianism

      Wesley’s letter to the Bishop can be found online.

      Wesley was way ahead of his time in terms of noticing the link between diet and exercise.

      Incidentally one of the most popular professional “sports” during the 19th century, was Pedestrianism (competitive walking). The pros would walk incredible distances and the sport of walking sparked the modern interest in athletics. Walking was said to promote one’s appetite, which was considered to be a good thing.



    • Duck Dodgers on June 9, 2016 at 16:23

      My apologies, thhq. It’s been a frustrating back and forth here, but hopefully you can see that we haven’t made this up. Obviously there are many factors and our goal was to simply highlight a factor that hasn’t been given much attention. Cheers.



    • thhq1 on June 9, 2016 at 16:39

      Yeah Ducks I probably shouldn’t have compared you with a codfish. Look out for those stinky baits. Half of what I say is bait, half is truth and I try to find links for that.

      Wesley was also on to Vitamin C (from turnips) as a cure for scurvy.



    • Duck Dodgers on June 9, 2016 at 17:37

      Roger that, thhq1. Good stuff. 🙂



  11. thhq on June 7, 2016 at 19:46

    Lotta good things in Sweet Stupidity

    http://anthonycolpo.com/sweet-stupidity-part-2-the-bitter-truth-about-robert-lustigs-anti-sugar-claims/

    Pay attention to Lustig’s new conspiracy hypothesis that sodium is added to Coca Cola to make it addictive. It’s fructose and carb-insulin all over again. I’m tired of everyone formulating hypotheses blaming the obesity crisis on some smoky room conspiracy. Use your Occam’s razor. Snacks, social norming (think of gaming and blogging, as Colpo mentions) and sedentarism.

    • Richard Nikoley on June 7, 2016 at 21:26

      You need an Occam’s Razor lesson.



    • Duck Dodgers on June 9, 2016 at 08:20

      “I’m tired of everyone formulating hypotheses blaming the obesity crisis on some smoky room conspiracy”

      lol.. This isn’t a “conspiracy theory”. The food industry simply used the research on animals to improve acceptance of junk food that we would otherwise lose our appetites for. That’s not a conspiracy. That’s just a straightforward business strategy.

      thhq, Colpo also thinks grains are evil. You should really try reading someone besides Colpo for a change. I think you’ve spammed us enough with his various theories at this point. They aren’t all that impressive when you look past our borders and beyond the past 50 years.



  12. Jackson Cu on September 16, 2016 at 12:40

    Sorry for being dense but… so if junk food weren’t fortified with B’s, how does that “disenable” them eating shitty food? Because fortification gives them a false sense of eating healthy, and without fortification they’d avoid eating junk?

    • Richard Nikoley on September 17, 2016 at 09:52

      Disenabling isn’t our claim.



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