Industry Programmed Our Kids For Obesity

Posted January 4th, 2009 by Bruce Maynard - (Permalink)

TeddyD uring the first half of the century, kids had cookies, pastries, ice-cream, candy, lemonade, and soda pop. Still, they didn’t get fat to the same degree that kids do today. And now children even get type 2 diabetes — a disease that only should appear after decades of metabolic abuse, not in childhood.

What has changed?

Diet? Sure, there are some changes, but nothing really dramatic. 1 Young children simply should not be able to get type 2 diabetes as a result of these changes.

What has changed is the introduction thousands of man-made chemicals that are completely new to us. Our bodies have not evolved mechanisms to handle all of these synthetic chemicals. Some can be detoxified using the detoxification systems we have, other slip through or even block our ability to detoxify as is the case with mercury. Others are able to reprogram our genes during development or act as hormones, producing effects at very low levels.

Some of these chemicals have been found to induce obesity in studies. In a recent Spanish study, scientists measured levels of a single pesticide, hexachlorobenzene (HCB), in the umbilical cords of 403 children and found that those with high levels of this pesticide were twice as likely to be obese at the age of six and a half. 2

Another study investigated the levels of a number of persistent organic pollutants in blood and found that people having the highest levels were almost 38 times more likely to have diabetes. 3

Another striking finding in Lee and co-workers’ study is that there was no association between obesity and diabetes in individuals with non-detectable levels of persistent organic pollutants. Obesity was a risk factor for diabetes only if people had blood concentrations of these pollutants above a certain level. This finding might imply that virtually all the risk of diabetes conferred by obesity is attributable to persistent organic pollutants, and that obesity is only a vehicle for such chemicals. This possibility is shocking. — Miquel Porta, Persistent organic pollutants and the burden of diabetes, The Lancet, August 12, 2006

Do you still doubt these persistent pollutants are an important risk factor for obesity? The chemical industry would be very happy to keep that doubt alive as would some government agencies. Unfortunately for them, their hope is torpedoed by a very recent study from Michigan State University 4 that suggest that exposure to DDE, a metabolite of DDT, the insecticide commonly used until the 1970s, may play a significant role in the obesity epidemic in women.

This study found that mothers in Michigan with the highest DDE levels had children who were on average more than 20 pounds overweight. The results were found to be dose dependent: Mothers with the next highest level of DDE exposure were likely to have children 13 pounds overweight on average.

The study authors conclude:

Prenatal exposure to the estrogenic endocrine-disrupting chemical DDE may contribute to the obesity epidemic in women.

These toxins accumulate in fat and can be found in higher levels in fatty fish and meat. Studies have found that 93% of fat samples from people across the US are contaminated with DDE at high levels.


How can relatively small amounts of toxins cause obesity?

We inherit our genes from our parents, but exposure to toxins can alter how a specific gene behaves throughout life. That is, your genes can be reprogrammed and that is what a number of toxins can do.

This can happen in early life; a toxic exposure during development can cause permanent changes. You can also have a continual exposure in adult life that influence bodily systems at very low levels. Hormones control or influence every major system and organ in your body and unfortunately, many of the man-made chemicals that surround us do have hormonal effects.


A particular substance has been identified as a possible culprit when it comes to obesity, early puberty, and diabetes: Bisphenol A. It interferes with the production of leptin which controls things such as appetite. Mice who are unable to synthesize leptin grow to be very obese. Inject them with leptin and they return to normal size.

Leptin act as a lipostat; when the amount of stored fat rises, leptin is released into the blood and signals to the brain that the body has enough to eat. However, most overweight people have high levels of leptin in their bloodstream, indicating that the signal doesn’t get through. The high levels of leptin have induced leptin resistance over time.

Here are some quotes from studies documenting the effects of environmental toxins on leptin and obesity:

… early exposure to xenoestrogens persistently disrupted adipocyte gene expression and leptin synthesis. 5

The continuous exposure of mice to BPA during the perinatal and postnatal periods caused the development of obesity and hyperlipidemia. 6

The incidence of obesity is rapidly increasing all over the world in epidemic proportions. The epidemia now affects young children and accumulative evidences suggest that the origin of the disease may occur during foetal development and early life. 7

How is it that a simple chemicals such as Bisphenol A can create a whole host of very serious health problems?

Genes are not passive, they are very small chemical manufacturing plants controlled by set of chemical messengers that turn specific genes on, or off, at the right time. If a certain gene is turned on, this might for example lead to the production of a certain protein or a change in cell function. This change in gene expression is very central in the differentiation of cells that enable cells that have the same genetic material to form different organs. Provided it is working as intended, this will give you every functioning system in the body you need to live a good life. Obviously, when environmental contaminants interfere with this process anything and everything can and will go wrong.

If the disturbance occurs early when a child’s brain is developing, this can result in various neurodevelopmental diseases that will follow the child throughout life.

And this problem is not limited to Bisphenol A and pesticides. Fire-retardants in electronics and furniture, phthalates in plastics and cosmetics, organotins on boats — these substances are everywhere and can be detected at high levels in people, food and indoor air:

Fire-retardants Levels Three Times Higher in Toddlers Than Moms. 8

Hormone-altering compounds from cosmetics found in teenage girls. 9

Experiments show that many of these chemicals cause the offspring of pregnant animals to grow up to be obese. The research is convincing, so much so that these chemicals already have been named “obesogens”.

Did I hear a cry of despair? Well, all is not lost, there are a lot of things parents can do to protect their children. The Environmental Working Group has resources for families that want to minimize these dangers. If the EPA and the FDA weren’t infiltrated by the industry and instead had fulfilled their duties in protecting the public, we wouldn’t have this problem, but as things are, you now have to be your own FDA.


Contagious? Yes, there are obesity viruses, suspected of causing a metabolic shift that can make the skinniest person inflate like a balloon. There are several pathogens that are reported of being able to cause obesity in animals. 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15

Studies even seem to suggest that virus-induced obesity can be contagious.

“Our animal experiments showed that the virus could be passed from one infected animal to its cage-mate within 12 hours of infection, also, blood from the infected animal, injected in the veins of a fresh set of animals, transmitted the virus and obesity.” 16


The effects of different diets might not be as annoyingly simple as often is claimed: that obesity simply is the result of higher energy input from the diet than what is expended.

If you eat food that impairs the abilities of the immune system to do its job properly, you will be at higher risk for virus-induced obesity, which means the association between junk food and obesity could in part be due to the extreme effects this kind of food has on the immune system. Polyunsaturated fats are very immunosuppressive. Sugar and high carbohydrate diets also have a suppressive effect, sufficiently so to be a major factor in determining if exposure to the polio virus will lead to disease or not according to research.

What if the obesity epidemic actually is a real epidemic? The food we eat today has very little in common with the food we have evolved to eat. It also contains immune-suppressing man-made substances. In our modern culture there is a catalog of ways to abuse the immune system, and we combine them all as best we can, smoking, drinking, eating junk food. We do not get enough vitamin D from sunlight. We even cover our skin with sunscreens and cosmetics containing chemicals that interfere with the immune system. There is no end to it. We live and work in crowded cities, put our kids in day-care and travel around packed together as anchovies in airplanes, buses, and trains while we continue to beat our immune system over the head with a big stick.

We should not be surprised if there are pathogens that take advantage of this situation. Obesity. Cardiovascular disease. Neurological diseases. These are just a few examples in which pathogens are implicated. If these diseases in a large part are infectious diseases caused by slow growing pathogens that create disease in insidious ways, in concert with each other and other factors, producing a plethora of ill health in 10 years from infection, how are we going to realize that this is what is going on? Stealth type pathogens are very difficult to test for. Maybe we need to revaluate the supposedly innocent mycoplasmas, chlamydias, and herpes organisms. And their interactions.


What is the reason for macrophage infiltration and inflammation in adipose (fat) tissue? Has the immune system just gone berserk, or is it desperately hunting down a pathogen? 17

It could be argued that it is possible that the inflammation in fat tissue is a result of a well motivated attack on a pathogen that has established a hold during what could be termed Th2 good times from the pathogens perspective, but then when leptin levels increase causing the Th1 arm of the immune system to be up-regulated, the immune systems unleash the dogs from hell, ceaselessly attacking the pathogens, causing an ongoing inflammatory state.

Alternatively, the macrophages could be responding to oxidative damage, in which case we might be stimulated to theorize about the role of polyunsaturated fatty acids in obesity, since these types of fats are very likely to suffer oxidative damage.

Interestingly, studies have found granulomas in fat tissue. Granulomas are formed when the immune system aggressively responds to something it finds difficult to destroy completely. Most often this is an infectious pathogen. Immune cells surround the offending antigen, forming a nodule, enclosing a cheese-like mass of dead cells.

This cheese-like appearance is usually a sign that the granulomas have an infectious cause. To my untrained eye, the granulomas in the fat tissue of this study of obese mice, look pretty cheesy: 18

Similar in appearance to granuloma caused by mycobacteria:

So maybe infection plays a much larger part in the development of obesity than what commonly is thought — but if the offending pathogen is a stealth type organism, proving it could be challenging.

All this sounds remarkably similar to the disease process of atherosclerosis where infectious causes also have been investigated. The stealthy organism Chlamydia pneumoniae has been suspected to be a culprit along with a number of other pathogens. It would be interesting to find signs that Chlamydia pneumoniae is involved in human obesity as well. Are there any such signs? Yes! 19

“…total pathogen burden based on HSV-1, HSV-2, enteroviruses, and Chlamydia pneumoniae IgG serostatus showed the strongest association with fat mass.” 20

This is just an association, it does not tell us whether obesity causes higher rates of infection or if these infectious agents cause obesity.

We live in interesting times. Perhaps the current theory of heart disease will fall with a resounding crash at the same time as the obesity scam is exposed, pointing an incriminating finger at the vegetable oil industry, the chemical industry, and the regulatory agencies that have failed to protect us.


Obesity pushes the immune system accelerator to the floor and disables the brakes at the same time. The immune regulating hormone adiponectin is lower than normal because of fat cell leptin resistance. This is not a good thing because the monocyte immune cells are stimulated by the high leptin levels to release strong Th1 immune stimulating cytokines. Since the monocytes don’t live long enough to develop leptin resistance, the immune system is racing ahead at breakneck speed. It will run over and crush any unfortunate bacteria or infection that happens to come in its way with great efficiency, but if it starts attacking the body itself, it can do a lot of damage since the mechanisms for turning off the immune attack is not working properly. 21, 22, 23

But, studies seem to indicate that obesity skews the immune system towards a Th2 cytokine profile. 24

How does that add up? The immune system is amazingly complex. The concept of Th1-TH2 arms of the immune system is a generalization and a simplification and even though you can have a Th2 predominance does not rule out that you locally can have an active Th1-type immune response. Th1 and Th2 diseases can coexist. 25

Studies do indicate that the incidence and severity of specific types of infectious illnesses are higher among overweight people.


Junk food, environmental toxins and stress have compromised our immune systems on a grand scale. Insidious stealth type pathogens have seized the opportunity, establishing a global silent epidemic. We are not able to clearly follow the spread of the infections since the really serious consequences take years to develop. But, now we are slowly starting to understand the common mechanisms behind the epidemic increases in obesity, heart disease, asthma, and increasing number of similarly serious chronic diseases. It is a complex emerging picture, but at the centre of it all is a very simple fact. Our immune systems are there for a reason. We shouldn’t mess with them.

How are we going to be able to combat obesity if we are chronically depressed and fatigued by infectious agents that modulate and dismantle the immune system to ensure their continued colonization of our bodies? It is a viscous circle. A good place to start is to vigorously work to reduce exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals, MSG, aspartame, and avoid damaged polyunsaturated oils, sugar and other stuff that disrupt our wonderfully competent but complex immune system.

The food industry is to a large degree responsible for the deteriorating health seen in recent years through its campaign to promote polyunsaturated vegetable oils. This and irresponsible advice on nutrition from mainstream medicine along with an over-reliance on antibiotics and pharmaceuticals have created a breeding ground for all kinds of health problems, in a large part due to the effects on the immune system. We have been told cholesterol is the bane of mankind, even though high cholesterol protects against infection and cholesterol is mostly an innocent bystander in heart disease.

We’ve been overwhelmed with propaganda about the dangers of saturated fat in meat and dairy and told to substitute this supposedly dangerous fat for polyunsaturated vegetable oils but we have now learned that it wasn’t such a good idea, since the omega-6 rich oils promote free radical formation and inflammation and can form dangerous substances when exposed to heat or when it is hydrogenated, all of which promote heart disease, obesity and diabetes.

So now, we are supposed to counter some of these effects by popping omega-3 rich fish oil supplements. The only problem with that is that we’re still very far removed from a diet that supports a balanced immune system. There are all kinds of suggested supplements that influence immune function, but with complexities of the interrelated feedback looped systems that comprise our immune system and the genetic variation as well as different toxin and microbial loads — you have to question the safety of simple general recommendations along the lines of “take fish-oil capsules.” As can be expected, studies document very mixed results in trials with fish oil capsules. It is a simple fix that may work wonders for a lot of people but which will kill others when their antioxidant defenses are overwhelmed, or their immune system is compromised. Yes, fish oils have strong immune suppressing properties.

Our understanding of the intricacies of the immune system is growing, but much of the expert recommendations in the area fails to take individual variation into account, and is also based on oversimplifications of the workings of the immune system.

The only workable strategy is to try to balance the immune system through

  1. The return to a diet that is in tune with our biology as it has evolved. We should eat what we have evolved to handle. This of course rules out all kinds of industrially processed oils!
  2. Remove all exposures to environmental toxins.
  3. Remove all negative stress.
  4. Correct any disrupted gut ecological balance.
  5. Combat any stealth infections present.
  6. Balance the Th1 - Th2 arms of the immune system.


Medical experts are baffled by the finding that there is a link between ear infections and obesity. 26

They cannot believe it is true but if it turns out to be true, they theorize it may have something to do with impaired taste function as a result of infections. 27, 28

Hello. How about pointing the finger in the Th2 direction? Ear infection is a Th2 mediated disease. 29 Research has uncovered links between obesity and asthma, which also is a Th2-mediated disease. 30, 31

The confusion among experts is telling; all they agree on is that more research is needed. There must be some missing pieces in the puzzle.

Yes, and the missing pieces are very small and hiding in the immune system. You can almost hear them laugh.


Among governmental agencies and mainstream health experts, there is very little concern about the consequences of a population-wide Th2 shift of the immune system. Besides, the ever increasing allergies, and extreme reactions to common food items, the ongoing Th2 shift means the immune system cannot adequately handle intracellular infections.

This is a great opportunity for stealth adapted viruses and bacteria to gain a foothold. When they do, they create a self-perpetuating state. They modulate immune function, further weakening the ability of the immune system to handle these infections and in the end, the effects of these smoldering infections can be very wide-ranging. One of these effects is the inducement of obesity. Another is the triggering of asthma. Possibly, they are an important contributing factor to the increasing rates of chronic disease.

A Th2 shift dramatically deteriorates the ability of the immune system to resolve intracellular infections such as Chlamydia pneumoniae and a number of other infectious agents that all have been strongly linked to asthma. How hard can it be to connect the dots?

Who’s to blame? Our obsession with bread in all shapes and forms, reckless practices in the food industry, mainstream medicine, and the pharmaceutical industry. What? Bread? Why?

Zinc is a very important mineral for the immune system. Lack of zink promotes a shift from Th1 to Th2 which makes the stealth bugs very happy.

Zinc is blocked by phytates. Phytates are substances found in grains, legumes and nuts that bind to minerals and limit their absorption in the gut. Food containing phytates need to be properly prepared to reduce phytate content, for example, soy foods. Bread can be problematic in many ways, but perhaps its effects on the immune system are not the first that springs to mind in relation to obesity, but perhaps it should.

The ever expanding vaccination program has been accused of causing asthma by inducing a Th2-shift. Unfortunately, the use of mercury in the form of thimerosal in vaccines seems to have a similar effect on the immune system, besides a host of other unpleasant side effects, including blocking the detoxification system of the body, causing us to accumulate heavy metals, pesticides and other environmental toxins. A double whammy. Oh, make that a triple whammy since vaccines frequently are contaminated with mycoplasma and other bugs that thrive in a host with a Th2-skewed immune system.

So besides being reprogrammed by environmental toxins, we expose ourselves to hormone-mimicking compounds, eat immune-damaging polyunsaturated oils and bread, vaccinate the living daylight out ourselves, pop pharmaceutical drugs — all which induce obesity and diabetes through various mechanisms. What can we do to escape?

To be able to have a working no-nonsense immune system, we need to rid ourselves of the toxins that hamper it. A key to success here is to avoid mercury at any cost. It can be very hard to recover if the mercury load is too great. The other stumbling blocks are stealth infections, cell wall deficient, and L-form bacteria that can infect the immune system itself. If you have gone too far along that route, you have an even harder battle at hand. But, it is entirely possible to overcome these problems!


I am not a member of the detoxification religion that claims that all ills can be gotten rid of through fasting and what not. Fasting could possibly be counter-productive here. We know that the fat we store in our bodies also stow away toxins. As in marine mammals and fish, the toxins get concentrated in the fat. When we lose weight, a lot of these toxins are released, which might be problematic. 32, 33

In fact, you could see the accumulation of body fat as a proper response of the body, trying to protect itself from the toxins by stowing them away where they do the least amount of damage.

If the toxin is responsible for the weight increase in the first place by messing with your metabolic systems, you could theorize that fasting could make it even more difficult to lose weight, and in the end might cause you to gain more weight than you lost initially.

That is not the only problem. If you starve yourself to lose weight, you also starve the immune system, enabling the obesity-generating pathogens to get a stronger hold, causing a host of problems, including even more weight gain in the end.

A study even suggests that yo-yo dieting may have a long-term negative effect on immune function. 34


What to do? I would argue for using a high quality-whey extract to supply glutathione precursors, bind heavy metals, and boost the immune system to combat smoldering opportunistic infections. Chlorella and milk thistle might also be helpful to clear out toxins.

I would also try a complete bad-bug elimination program for the gut which includes virgin coconut oil, which besides combatting virii, can raise the metabolic rate, provide energy, and reduce carb cravings. Besides that I would also combat any hyper-coagulable stateË 35 created by infection with the bugs in question. And use a low-carb, immune-stimulating diet. 36

And why not suck the fat away using liposuction? Yes, it is a pretty unpleasant and violent procedure, and there are risks 37 but it gets rid of both fat cells and toxins. After that, monitor leptin levels and other important hormones, supply bioidentical hormones as needed. Don’t be tempted to redistribute some of the fat from the stomach region to buttockal areas for cosmetic purposes. Don’t turn it into bio-diesel either. Send it back to the industries and governmental agencies that caused it to accumulate. Let them take care of the load of toxins.

The possibly problematic redistribution of toxins that occurs during a weight-loss program can apparently be countered by olestra but beware of the unpleasant side effects.


It seems to be very tempting to point the finger at obese people and say, “Control yourself! Why get a gastric bypass, you just have to stop eating!”

Well, as it turns out, it is not a question of laziness or low willpower. If your bloodstream is filled with artificial bioactive chemicals that are genetically reprogramming you, if your immune system has been hi-jacked by immune modulating stealth organisms, it could be argued that those that forward such sentiments are the ones that are guilty of laziness in regard to finding out the real truth behind the obesity epidemic, reaching for the easy explanation of painting fat people as weak and undisciplined or having bad genes. When instead it is lazy science, hard-nosed businessmen and corrupted regulatory agencies that should be blamed. It is business as usual, and obesity is big business.

So, next time, point your finger in the right direction — towards the chemical industry, the food industry, the agrochemical industry, the incompetence and/or corruption at the FDA and the EPA. It is all about money.

Just my two cents.

No diet will remove all the fat from your body because the brain is entirely fat. Without a brain, you might look good, but all you could do is run for public office.
— George Bernard Shaw

[References and footnotes]


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