This interactive diabetes map is the scariest thing I’ve seen in a long time. The only places that approach the South in incidence of diabetes are a few reservation counties in the Plains and West. Is there something more than a poverty diet that explains this?
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Who would have thought that fried chicken and waffles for breakfast could lead to this?
c u n d gulag
Those single-wides provide mighty tight quarters for family members.
Quit hatin on folk’s breakfasts, man.
God punishing his Chosen Children for not eradicating the Godless Liberals fast enough from his Eden?
Maybe it’s because I’m re-watching BTVS these days, but it just seems like everything in this country is falling apart all at once.
I liked the Buffyverse apocalypses better. Snappier dialog, for one thing.
Can we get a map showing where sales of soda are concentrated, especially to kids?
joe from Lowell
I thought that map looked familiar.
The black belt.
Odie Hugh Manatee
Lack of exercise, low incomes, poor diets, food that isn’t real food, chemical additives and so on. Combine that with super sized portions that almost require a conveyor belt to feed you and there you go.
Bad food and bad choices.
My wife works for the health department in Georgia and is explaining the difference between the food you can get on WIC is very controlled, and food stamps you can pretty much buy any crap you want.
c u n d gulag beat me to it, inbreeding. But also add high-fructose fucking corn syrup, and the predeliction to using it, in the South.
It is the poverty diet! Filling up on cheap carbs. Diabetes, sure as shootin’
The Disgruntled Chemist
McDonald’s sweet tea.
I know every liberal’s favorite explanation of the explosion of type 2 diabetes among the poor is that it’s cheaper to eat shitty food, but that is simply not the whole story. People don’t make purely economic decisions about what they eat. They eat specific foods because that’s what they grew up with, that’s what their family ate, that’s what’s common in the area. This partially is why it is so difficult to change people’s diets. Personal habits are the other part of what makes it so difficult. Let’s not reduce human activity to rational economic decisions. That crap ain’t the truth.
@Superking: Um, that sort of implies a legacy of bad food linked to economic status.
Brick Oven Bill
The ‘southern crescent’ viewable on the map is an ancient sea-shore. On this sea-shore life-forms deposited carbon over the millennia, fertilizing the soil. This caused the soil to be good for growing cotton.
All of this is true.
If you look at the counties that vote Democrat in the south, you observe the same crescent.
I agree with @Superking. People are eating diets that sustain farmers (more calories a day for people who work out in fields) without doing any actual farming anymore.
I have to go help my buddy prepare the bbq lunch for my workplace. 184 bbq porks, 18 smoked tofu. I report, you decide!
As a matter of fact, there’s a large racial component to diabetes incidence– see the table here. Combine that with economic and access-to-services racial disparities, and I’d bet that explains a lot of the effect.
if you could see an
IQcognitive ability map it would be even scarier.
I blame it on okra.
@mr. whipple: I don’t fry mine.
Yes, culture is partially informed by long term economic status for continuous groups, i.e. families. But I bet if you look at the numbers, rates of obesity are higher in the south for all income levels. Rich people actually have an easier time being fat because they can afford more food and they can pay for the health consequences.
@joe from Lowell:
Oh shit, it knows Karate!?!?!?!?
Stop making fun of it for having the sugar leg!
@matoko_chan: That is related to childhood nutrition.
joe from Lowell
The black belt, Indian reservations, and some counties in West Virginia.
Obviously, it’s rural poverty. Note that most of the South does not have elevated levels.
Also, look how sharply the counties of Illinois contrast with Missouri to its west and Indiana to its east. Look at Colorado. There are obviously some reporting inconsistencies in the data.
@Superking: Hence my post about the lunch choices for folks working in higher education in Georgia. I personally don’t eat no swine, but I can roast a big ass hog when needed!
Brick Oven Bill
Here are maps correlating 1800s cotton production, Democrat-voting counties, and the Ancient Seashore. They mirror the diabetes map.
If you were to do a map of lactose-intolerance you would see the same pattern.
joe from Lowell
You can really see the rates pick up across Appalachia as you click foreward.
Again, this is a map of rural poverty, with a weaker correlation to urban poverty.
I am surprised that the numbers aren’t higher in the southern WV counties.
I hate all of you “inbreeding” joking fucktards. This is a serious public health issue, and people–especially poor and vulnerable people–are sick and fucking dying because of this. And the best you cockmongers can do is to make jokes about inbreeding and trailers.
Attention, fucksticks: I used to live in a trailer. In Mississippi. Until you’ve dealt with the shitty living options available to poor people (everywhere in the country, not just the southeast) and have something useful to say, try shutting the fuck up. Your jokes aren’t even funny, seeing as they’ve been used at least 10,000 times already.
As to why–some other people nail it. Lack of good food options, poor food culture (sweet tea didn’t fucking start at McDonald’s), and little exercise. Some of that can be chalked up to poor personal choices, sure, but a lot of it is structural. There are cities, and lots of them, in the deep South that don’t have sidewalks. Sidewalks! That alone makes walking places more attractive.
This is what happens when you don’t believe in public goods, and it fucking shocks me that people where I live now (Wisconsin) seem to think that the “let’s not tax anyone but poor people” model of the South is something to emulate.
Thus endeth the rant.
@Jude: Hey Jude! Great rant.
@Brick Oven Bill:
Attention ABL. Attention ABL Cleanup needed on Aisle 9, BoB has shit and stepped in it.
Note to BoB: I live in one of those Democrat (sic) counties and to tell you the truth you can’t tell the difference in waistlines between lactose intolerant and non-lactose intolerant. They must ship sugar here in freight trains to satisfy EVERYONE’S diabetes craving.
Also left unsaid: more diagnoses of a disease are not equivalent to a higher prevalence of the disease. We’ve become better at screening for and identifying type II diabetes. It’s not that, in four years, there was a sweeping epidemic. There are simply better and more tests for it.
c u n d gulag
@The Disgruntled Chemist: ICED TEA! Yeah, you’re totally right.
When I first moved down there, I went to a restaurant with my new boss for lunch and ordered an iced tea with the meal. Being a lifelong NYer, it NEVER comes with sugar, and I don’t like it in my iced tea anyway.
So, the tea comes, we’re discussing my role, I’m thirsty and take a healthy swallow- and promptly do a Danny Thomas “spit-take.” She started laughing, thankfully. She said, “Oh, I forgot to warn you. I did the same thing first time it happened to me.” And so, we got along great until she left.
But the tea was ungodly sweet. Rot your teeth sweet. Sweeter than almost any dessert I’d ever had sweet. So, yeah, that’s got to have something something to do with it.
@SteveinSC: You just had to reply to this asshole.
@c u n d gulag: That’s the way it was when I moved here 26 years ago but, at least in Athens, the ask you which you want now.
I’d say it’s a combination of poverty, diet and lack of infrastructure. Southern and Appalachian areas aren’t, by and large, very walkable areas. You have to drive to get anywhere. Nor is there a lot of public transport, so you aren’t even walking to the bus stop.
I’d also wager health care delivery is limited in these areas. And that means an illness that could have been screened for and stopped earlier (like diabetes) goes unchecked until its too late.
What saddens me is that these same areas vote for people whose sole goal is to exploit them.
This is great news for John McCain
It’s not just “culture” at all, because the state borders are very visible in the map. Adjacent counties that are in different states often have very different rates. You can see the diabetes rates jump up when you enter Louisiana, Oklahoma, Alabama, etc. So it must also have a lot to do with the kind of medical & nutrition assistance that is available in the different states, especially across the south.
I can’t eat sugar so I look for alternatives, and since I watch my weight I look for low fat (or reduced fat) as well as sugar-free. This past summer I spent some time in western North Carolina looking after my Mom and I found there was a much smaller selection of less-sugary and low fat items than I find in northern Virginia. I thought it might be a result of income differences, but I checked the newer, bigger, (more expensive) groceries in my Mom’s town and found the same thing. For some reason it is much easier to find low/reduced fat and sugar-free items in the northern Virginia ‘burbs than in even the “nicer” grocery stores in that area of North Carolina.
Of course NVA has a higher income base than western NC, which would affect what products are available, but several factors I think may mitigate that somewhat.
1. My Mom’s town is full of northern retirees and has a somewhat higher income than the surrounding rural areas.
2. My neighborhood in NVA is heavily Hispanic working class. Many times when I go shopping at the local Safeway during the week I’m the only Anglo male under the age of 65 in the store. So I’m not shopping at the stereotypical yuppie grocery.
3. And the big, new groceries in my Mom’s town seem comparable in selection and amenities to the big stores in my area.
Hmm. Maybe this explains the disappearance of the bees. Hillbillies worked them to death.
I blame it on kudzu
I feel really guilty for laughing at that, but I did…
There’s a movement among First Nations to return to their ancestral diet; meat, low starch vegetables, no grains or sugar. Those who are able to do so find their Type 2 diabetes able to be controlled without medications.
As for myself, I’m part Native American (like half the country :) and have diabetes on both sides of my family. When I eat low carb my blood sugars are tightly controlled, my blood pressure goes down, my blood lipids improve, and my triglycerides plummet.
We are drowning in an ocean of processed foods.
One ingredient for this epidemic. High Fructose Corn Syrup. It’s in everything, soda, iced tea, every fast food, even if it isn’t sweet they put it in there, read a label of anything store bought that is edible. Odds are very high it’s in there.
See this video by a MD professor at UCSF Called The Bitter Truth:
yep. the maps for diabetes & obesity are very similar.
Do a demographic breakdown and you will see the answer. The highest incidents of Diabetes occur in African Americans and Hispanics then American Indians.
African Americans have a 70% higher chance of getting diabetes over Caucasian Americans and in Mexican Americans it is even worse.
The tendency to develop diabetes is frequently inherited and so some ethnic groups have a higher incidence of the disease, including Native Americans, African Americans, Puerto Ricans, and Italians. But these groups aren’t densely located in the high-diabetes areas of the South, except for African Americans.
I don’t know what the cause is but it has to be genetic or environmental or both. Those are the only options.
Strange how some of the states with the greatest need for universal health care, medicare, etc… are some of its most vocal opponents.
This. And also, those are some tired jokes. Maybe y’all can move on to observations about how dogs and cats behave differently.
yeparooni. The heart problems associated with diabetes? we’re tracking them back potentially in large part to “super-sugaring” of the proteins that control the heart muscle. HFCS is a big, big player in that. Plot the rise in subsidized HFCS production in this country against the rise in TII diabetes (and obesity, and any other factors you want).
@cathyx: Yes, that’s part of it. Another part is that fact that the gene manipulated wheat we are eating now is not what our grandparents ate. Contemporary wheat has more nutrient blocking phytates, for instance.
@joe from Lowell:
Don’t know why. My husband & I moved to “the black belt” in 1994/Diabetes Free from IL………..I was diagnosed with Type 2 around 2005 & he was diagnosed in 2008 w/Type 2.
We exercise more outside here b/c it’s warmer. We rarely eat the local dishes which are very rich. We had actually lost weight after moving here from walking so much more.
Age is the only thing that changed. Spooky…….I want to return to IL
One other obvious explanatory factor: Age. Type 2 Diabetes is both age and obesity related. If you have a population that has spent it’s life eating in ways likely to cause obesity, you will end up with a diabetes explosion as that group ages. Baby boomers are that group and they still make up a significant proportion of the population. I bet we will see declines in obesity/diabetes rates when baby boomers start dying in large numbers.
Or perhaps how food on airplanes is bad.
@Dave: Nice theory. People can come up with lots of cool things when they want to pull them out of their ass, can’t they?
Diabetes occurs most frequently at much higher rates in African Americans and Hispanics. Those particular areas of the country have the largest percentage of African Americans in the US, relative to other races in that region.
If African Americans get diabetes 70% more than their White counterparts, and the areas of the country indicated are anywhere from 30% to 86% African American (As apposed to New England, NY, and Penn with a 0%-6% African American Population) then you see that there is no mystery at all.
@Dave: That’s all true — no exercise, bad food, bad habits, etc., but I’m not so sure about this:
I mean, diabetes disproportionately affects the poor, Blacks, Latinos, and Native Americans. These are all groups who tend to vote more Democratic, even in the South-South.
(Just as an aside, this map is a good illustration of why I disagree with people who call Texas “the South” — that fried-food culture and a lot of the other peculiarities of the Southeast basically stop at the border with Louisiana. I mean, unless you mean that it’s under the rest of the country, but so is New Mexico.)
Don’t dis the prefab home. It can offer real protection from the environment. [Yeah, been there, done that.]
What makes a good home is the quality of the relationships among the people living there.
First–and in response to another post you made in this thread–is okra. Steamed okra is ridiculously good. Much better than fried and “stewed” which I used to love. Awesome with salsa or homemade chutneys as a garnish.
You’re wife is right in the differences between the food programs, but it really goes deeper than that.
Type II Diabetes is a complicated disease that usually takes years to develop. It’s not caused by sweet tea, or pig or McDonalds alone. It’s not caused by just a lack of exercise. One can eat these things occasionally, or even a lot if they physically active enough to burn the calories. Plenty of people go through their life without doing much of shit and don’t get it. Why? Good metabolism and physical activity.
Diabetes is caused–in most instances–by a combination of poor food choices, long-term consumption of more calories than required, and a long-term lack of physical activity to metabolize those calories. Genetic and our metabolism seems to play some role in the matter as well and this may well be a factor in the higher incidence among blacks, Hispanics and American Indians in particular but this is a controversial area of research.
Much at the root of the cause is that a.) food is much cheaper than it was a long time ago, it is more processed and has a higher glycemic index thus, it is easier for even poor people to eat too much, c.) most people eat way too many calories way too often and d.) our lives in general don’t require much physical activity and many people either don’t have the time, don’t make the time or simply don’t avail themselves of the opportunity to burn off the calories they consume.
A combination of these things above and our tendency as humans to be habitual creatures, set the conditions for the long-fused time bomb that allows diabetes to develop.
Diabetes is the biggest health problem facing America today. It is the cause of, or contributor to, much of the cardiovascular disease and stroke deaths. It is the leading cause of blindness in adults, it is the leading cause of limb amputations in adults. It is one of the biggest causes of kidney failure. It is obscenely expensive to treat and control and it requires constant vigilance and effort from those that have the disease to prevent the complications. Most importantly it takes a huge education effort to convince those affected by the disease on how to manage it and ameliorate the risks.
There is a coming epidemic wave of future diabetics amongst young people as it is astounding how many kids are either borderline obese or are already obese. They have established habits regarding physical activity and food consumption patterns (of shitty food and overly large portions) that will be difficult to break as adults. We haen’t seen the worst of this disease. In two-three decades, we are going to see a huge influx of people in their late 30s and 40s having medical problems caused by diabetes that used to only afflict mostly those in their late 50s and 60s.
This is not a joking matter as jude put it so well above. It is serious and it is only going to exacerbate our health care problems.
I am at work. I do not have the time now to read the above comments and will try to read them at home.
My son was diagnosed this past year with diabetes. It’s not a case of poverty. He makes 6 upper figures as a salary. He was, has been and is difficult to please food wise. Nothing green except lettuce and peppers, nothing orange or yellow and only bananas for fruit. His 5 siblings are the exact opposite in their tastes.
IOW it was his diet but not a poverty reason for it.
Again, I doubt it. Sure, diabetes detection is up, no doubt about it. But increased detection doesn’t preclude a simultaneous increase in diabetes incidence.
Nope. Why? This is a disease that is caused mostly by lifestyle choices. There is much more obesity amongst children and far less physical activity than when the boomers were kids.
Many kids of today already are well down the road with the precursor of diabetes–metabolic syndrome. There is going to be a higher prevalence of diabetes in younger generations than in the boomers–and it is going to start earlier than it did in boomers–unless something drastic happens to change this.
@superking: That doesn’t explain the ten year olds being diagnosed with Type 2.
They don’t even call it “adult onset” any more. And they used to.
Odie Hugh Manatee
We cut HFCS out of our diet years ago. Everyone in our family was skinny as rails growing up, same as our parents and grandparents, yet one of my sisters has ‘chunky’ kids and has chunked up over the years. Same with a brother and his kids. Yet another sister and brother are skinny and so are their kids. The difference? Maybe because the skinny sis and bro eat well and avoid all HFCS-containing products while chunky sis and bro eat anything that crosses their paths.
Anecdotal? Yes but we have a houseful of skinny people here who don’t eat HFCS laced stuff and it works for us. The body just doesn’t seem to metabolize that shit very well.
I would say this, plus a culture wars side effect. Healthy food is a “liberal thing”. Anecdotally, I know people who revel in unhealthy food since it shows they aren’t soft liberal commie fags.
I’m not claiming it explains 10 year olds being diagnosed with Type 2. I’m saying that as a marginally obese population ages, the rate of Type 2 among the population as a whole will increase. You don’t have to be morbidly obese to develop Type 2 diabetes, but if you eat poorly for a long time and are overweight, you will develop it when you’re older not when you’re younger. Kids only develop it because they are beyond morbidly obese.
Your first sentence is true but it is more complicated than that.
We don’t really have “more and better tests”. They are essentially the same as they have been for a number of years.
What has changed is that there is more screening of people for the disease and it is often identified earlier in people than it once was. Doctors are more aware of it and they are more vigilent in trying to head it off in the early stages before the complications set in.
Something else that has changed is that the threshold for the level of blood sugar required to diagnose someone as having diabetes has been decreased. I’m not sure when that happened, but I’m looking for the date.
Diabetes is not a mystery. It is what happens when an over-stressed pancreas runs down and stops.
Our pancreas evolved along with us while we were eating like the hunter/gatherers we once were. Ten thousand years of eating grains, and then, sugar, is the proverbial sheet of paper on top of the Empire State building. We were not designed to have starch & sugar (and once digested, it’s the same thing) dumped in our bodies on a regular basis.
After a varying period of time when the pancreas must leap into action at every meal (and if one is “grazing” all day, or dumping snack foods into our bodies, it’s a shorter time) the beta cells, which produce the insulin, which sweeps excessive blood sugar out of our cells, start to die.
The American Diabetes Association compounds the problem by encouraging diabetics to continue eating the way they always have, only “covering” the surges with injected insulin, or medications that ensure the beta cells work harder & wear out sooner.
They also tell diabetics to accept the kind of blood sugar control leeway that will guarantee glycation; that’s when their hearts stiffen and break down, their blood vessels break in a stroke, their nerves go and become neuropathic, and their retinas disintegrate and leads to blindness.
And then they throw up their hands and declare “Diabetes! What can you do?”
@Odie Hugh Manatee:
IMHO it’s not just HFCS (though that’s a prime culprit) alone, but more generally this move towards low-fat foods, which instead of encouraging people to eat better seems to have encouraged them instead to eat less fat but more sugars.
This crap about kids and young adults drinking all these products like Snapple and juices that are loaded with sugars (esp as you point out HFCS) is just maddening.
The sickest thing is the commercials attacking attempts to cramp down on this stuff as big govt gone wild. (E.g. ads against soda taxes in DC.)
yep. There is a direct correlation between the two is why (and I’m sure you are aware of this).
However, not all obese people get it and not all people who develop Type 2 diabetes are obese.
It is a very complicated disease.
I humbly agree. I suspect the ethnic groups most vulnerable to Type II are those who have spent the least amount of time under agriculture.
Yes. That is exactly what seems to be happening. While our own society seems to have rampant diabetes, the Pima and Inuit can run as high as 80% of the population.
You are partially on the right track were bear, but you are getting ahead of yourself.
Type 1/juvenile onset diabetes is caused by the destruction of the islet cells of the pancreas. These are the cells that produce insulin.
Type II /adult onset/Non-insulin dependent diabetes is a progressive disease. The first thing that happens is that your fat and muscle cells don’t respond to insulin signalling. This causes your fat and muscle cells to not mobilize the glucose receptors to the cell surface. This causes the elevation in blood glucose levels.
Edited to add: IT is like the insulin is the deliverman who knocks on the cells door. The glucose receptors go to the cell surface to answer the knock and get the glucose. In essence, the door knocker or doorbell isn’t heard by the cells and the glucose piles up in the blood like newspapers in front of a house where no one is home,
Your pancreas responds to the high glucose levels by producing more insulin in an effort to get the glucose out of the blood and into the cells. This is called hyperinsulinemia. This state can go on within a diabetic for years. IF the diabetes is uncontrolled for long enough, then what you say can occur–the pancreases can literally burn out and stop producing insulin.
Odie Hugh Manatee
No, HFCS is not the product solely at fault here. It’s a combination of factors that have lead to the rise of obesity over the years though I do agree that HFCS should get a good portion of the blame. I remember when a kid that the ‘chunky’ kid in school was the exception rather than the norm. Most of the kids in our neighborhood are on the wide side and it’s pretty sad to see that. When I go shopping I marvel at the number of people who are overweight, it just seems so wrong to me.
I know there are many reasons for obesity but it just seems so sad to see these people having to deal with all of the issues that come with it. But hey, capitalism baby!
Jude, Thanks for sticking up for people in trailers. My father worked for an oil company. We moved to Montana in 1955. There were literally no houses or apartments for rent in the first town we lived in so Mom and Dad bought a trailer. I got so sick of Carville talking about dragging hundred dollar bills through trailer parks when he was discussing the Arkansas project’s methods in going after Clinton. I finally sat down and wrote him a letter and I haven’t heard him say the words “trailer trash” since.
I also feel a great deal of compassion for all the obese people I see here in NW Arkansas. I think a lot of these folks are suffering from depression. There is also a lot of ignorance regarding nutrition, etc. Kudos to Michelle Obama for trying to address the problem. I grew up on a typical southern diet, but my stay-at-home mom cooked everything from scratch. There was no HFCS in sodas in those days. Also, we didn’t have tv, so we were active all the time. I went to 8 different school districts in Kansas, Montana, and Texas and I can recall three fat kids in those schools.
The health crisis ahead of us is really scary. Huckabee tried to do something when he was governor (rumor has it that he had gastric by-pass surgery to achieve his own 100+ pounds weight loss). The AR legislature undid what few token things he was able to get through. I don’t know how to fix the problem. I am blessed to have a number of organic farmers in the county (plus my own garden), three grass fed beef operations within 30 miles, a lay monastery which raises organic, free range chickens, and a buffalo farm. This is definitely not a food desert.
As somebody who grew up ina single wide (though in MInnesota), and lived in Lafayette Louisiana for a few years, I just want to endorse your comment.
cheap oil. means cheap food, cheap additives, cheap corn and cheap corn-based chemicals, cheap meat.
also means you don’t have to walk anywhere.
it’s a great combination. on one hand you have bad cultural food choices, but they’re reinforced by how easy to get and ubiquitous this crap is. kids raised on crap are going to become adults who eat crap when crap continues to be cheap and plentiful.
c u n d gulag
You’re right. Sorry. It was completely tasteless without being the least bit funny. My “stupid” reflex kicked in.
@mr. whipple: Oh man, we made the best okra curry the other night. Wait what were we talking about?
Before even attempting a health care overhaul, the dems should have banned corn syrup and byproducts in the food supply. Would have saved far more in lives and preserved quality of life, and would have cost nothing in comparison.
Also, when are we getting rid of the utterly anti-capitalist farm subsidies anyway? Where are the supposedly purist teabaggers on this? Socialist fckking red states.
Okay, dude. So are you arguing that Diabetes isn’t a problem if those people have it, or did you just feel compelled to come here and defend the eating habits of the glorious master race?
This is not just a race thing. There are only about 5 black people in Carroll County and the diabetes rate is 9.4%.
James K. Polk, Esq
@WyldPirate: Excellent scientific summary!
IMHO, the number one cause for diabeetus is soda. A “small” size soda contains all the HFCS you should ingest for a few days.
It is not rocket surgery: Correlated to processed food (especially soda), lack of exercise, overeating and genetic makeup. Some unlucky duckies get Type II even when they control all the risk factors, just like some unlucky people are at risk for high cholesterol.
It was a strong genetic advantage for a long time during our evolution to be very efficient at storing calories. Modern days… not so much.
Bitter Mellon can be used to decrease insulin resistance a great deal (as effective as many meds) and it is safe (a common food in South-East Asia and China.) Check the Wiki on the subject.
Woodrow L. Goode, IV
@Superking: Would you– or one of the other idiots channeling Megan “Weight Happens” McArdle– kindly explain the exponential increase shown on the chart?
If, as you babble, the problem can be traced to menu choices based on regional heritage– that nothing about their diet has changed and nothing ever will– then why isn’t the incidence of Diabetes flat? Why has it gone through the roof?
If I look at data and notice that an event is happening a hell of a lot more than it used to– be it foreclosures, strokes, people wearing rubber or children named Britney– I assume that something has caused it and I start looking for factors that have changed.
You’d have to be a moron– or the Business and Finance editor of The Atlantic— to not figure that out. If an incidence rate changes, there is some casual factor.
I doubt the problem is any one thing– it never is. We drive everywhere and don’t walk or ride bikes. We sit in front of the TV and the computer, instead of playing sports or being outdoors. We do far less work on our gardens and houses (although we watch more shows about that).
But if I had to point my finger, I have no doubt– I mean zero— that agribusiness has figured out that the Glycemic Index is to their industry what nicotine is for tobacco. You give people lots of sugar and processed white flour and the body begins to crave it. You eat more often and you eat more food.
There’s been an increase in the amount of salt and sugar added to foods– and I’m sure, if we could get access to the industry’s internal memos, that we’d find they do it deliberately, because they know it sells product.
It’s working. Flavored milk is now 54% of the milk sold in schools (which is 7% of all milk sold). And sales of Chocolate milk are rising by 10-15% a year, with the segment with the largest growth being ages 29-45.
@Brick Oven Bill:
Given that lactose intolerance is higher among African Americans could this all be correlated to the cotton fields?
Having read a lot of ACW history I remember the concentration of slaves was highest in that crescent mainly because it is where cotton was grown. I’d like to see some overlays on this map, one adjusted for race & another adjusted for income.
@Chyron HR: What a dumbass you are. I am merely stating a demographic fact. People were disparaging the south because of the high rate of diabetes. When you account for population densities and demographics, it is no more prevalent in the south than it is in the North. There is simply a higher concentration of Hispanics and African Americans in the south per capita than in the north. An African American in the Bronx is just as likely to get Diabetes as one from Greenbow, AL.
Yes, climate. You ever spend a summer in Tennessee? It was so fucking hot here last summer that it took a super human effort just to pry my ass off the sofa. And I’m someone who is accustomed to running and kickboxing and eats brown rice and steamed veggies.
My only saving grace was to escape to the Pacific Northwest for a week. Obviously not an option for most people.
This all started when Ancel Keys (of K ration fame) took data from 35 countries to support his theory that saturated fat caused heart disease. He wound up only using the 7 countries who showed that, and ignoring the rest.
Um, if it’s culture, why is it going up so rapidly? Have southerners been inventing more
awesomebad for you foods over the last 5 years?
It’s got to be something else. Caloric intake. Nature of the food. Something that has recently been changing. High fructose corn syrup replacing sugar could explain it. That doesn’t require any dietary changes – just an ingredient substitution that the food industry has been making on our behalf.
Though it also needs to be regional because everyone’s diet has been swapping in HFCS for sugar, so just saying that doesn’t cut it.
@Flugelhorn: Uh, as of last year, 44.5% of the California population was either Latino or Black or Native American. That’s notably higher than Mississippi for the same demographics.
If anyone should be rockin’ that map, it’d be California. And, uh, we’re not. Imperial county, down there along the Mexican border is 90% Latino/Black/Native American, 30% unemployment rate, and their 6.9% diabetes rate is vastly lower than the best county in MS and beats every county in AL as well.
If you’re going to say stupid shit, make sure the big fucking map of data that we’re all looking up backs it up, even in cursory ways. Okay? It’s not hard.
Hmm, I wonder how well that map correlates with the distribution of people who have eaten deep fried Mars bars?
Is there something more than a poverty diet that explains this?
It may also correlate with the areas where it is impossible to live with out the aid of air conditioning 3 months out of the year?
@Jamie: Depending on the humidity, it can be May through September, for FIVE months.
@Wag: Are they only loosening that standard in some states?
@Jamie: Like Arizona?
It should also be pointed out that eating lots of fried, fatty foods wasn’t common in the south until air conditioning and appliances that do the work for you. Heck, even into the 1980s, fried chicken remained a “special occasion” meal that my Gramma only cooked for milestone birthdays, family reunions, or religious rites of passage (i.e. First Communion).
Ever fried a chicken in a cast iron pan? It’s a royal PITA–hot, astoundingly messy, and almost impossible not to get burned a little by sputtering oil. It’s way too much trouble to do regularly.
And even then, the chicken was surrounded by butter beans, green beans, collards, turnip greens, sliced tomatoes, field peas, cauliflower, corn on the cob, squash, stewed okra & tomatoes. Everyone got *one* piece of chicken, which was more than enough given all the other foods on the table. But putting all that together to feed 10-20 people? A lot of work. No wonder condensed soups and packaged foods became more popular.
@Martin: Bullshit Martin. The areas that are listed on this map have concentrations of 30% to 86% African American alone. You just cited a number where 3 groups comprised less than half the population. In THESE populations, African Americans make up a significantly larger proportion.
You are arguing with yourself, dude.
what’s happening to my links?
Barb (formerly Gex)
Well certainly the “educated elites won’t tell me what to do” is part of it. Who is most opposed to Michelle Obama promoting healthy eating? Those in the south who take pride in celebrating their ignorance and perversity. It’s a microcosm of conservatism – the old ways are better. There’s nothing you fancy educated people can learn about the human metabolism that is better than the way we have always done it.
@WereBear: You have an incorrect picture of type II diabetes (the kind that’s acquired later in life and, as you say, largely in response to diet). The pancreas doesn’t “stop”, and type II diabetics have plenty of beta cells– they may produce somewhat less insulin than normal, but it’s not at all like type I diabetes. Instead, cells all over the body stop responding to insulin correctly; the pancreas is still talking but no one’s listening.
The fact that it gets hot in the summer is no excuse. Ever spend a winter in VT? It’s fucking freezing out. There are these things called gyms, they have AC and heat and everything. Try Planet Fitness, $10 a month. I’m fucking unemployed and can still afford that.
Speaking of High Fructose Corn Syrup, can I just say how damned annoying the HFCS commericials are? “It’s just like regular sugar!” I love that it’s always some know-it-all who can’t possibly think of any reason not to eat HFCS, and therefor happily chugs her fruit punch with a foot in her mouth after she’s put in her place by the other mom, who just happens to rattle off a list of facts about HFCS. “No, I don’t know who the first President of the US was, but how about we discuss the molecular structure of simple sugars instead?” Yeah, that’s realistic.
The commercials don’t bother with calorie count in HFCS foods or the fact that eating it in moderation is almost impossible if you eat processed foods because it’s in everything.
@James K. Polk, Esq:
Thanks, James K. Polk, Esq. I live with the disease myself. Was never obese according to BMI calculations but I was overweight from the time I got out of the miltary on. I had a shitty diet and was physically inactive for most of 20 years and had a serious family history of diabetes on one side of the family. My my maternal grandmother had it at 40 and she was never obese, either.
Your point about sugary drinks is a wee bit off IMO. IT’s more of a factor of quantities adn load at one time.
It takes energy to process low glycemic index foods. These can have lots of fiber and starch (like beans) vs something that has a high GI content (like baked goods from processed flour or something that has loads of fructose which is easily converted to glucose by the body.
Dumping huge loads of fructose or glucose in their simplest forms raises blood glucose levels much more rapidly than eating beans which take way longer to digest and convert the complex starches into glucose. Beans are like time-release glucose capsules where the fructose is converted to glucose and acts more like an IV injection of glucose into the blood.
Eventually, they muscle and fat cells just get used to not being glucose deficient because many people are in a constant “fed-state”. Then the servant that answers the door to get let the glucose in–the glucose receptors–gets lazy. They high glucose levels fuck up all sorts of things staying out in your blood at too high levels.
Sweet tea. To make it right, you essentially make simple syrup and infuse it with tea, instead of making tea and then putting sugar in it, which is what everyone else in the whole fawking world does.
Good point the hardiness of northerners may stem from the metabolic energy one burns trying to stay warm on those long cold winter nights.
There are a lot of things that have changed the rate. Many are what you say. Many are what others have said, like higher rates of obesity, fewer people working in physically demanding jobs, etc.
Two things from a medical standpoint has changed as well. One is that there is more awareness and more screening for the disease now than in the past. The reason why is that diabetes is a chronic disease that can be controlled but it causes many more serious complications such as heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, blindness, limb amputation. These diseases are enormously expensive to treat. Doctors are trying to head off or delay the complications for as long as they can so people’s quality of life can be improved or even prevent the disease from occuring. Many people can go into “remission” just by making lifetsyle changes and avert the damage from long-term complications.
joe from Lowell
@Brick Oven Bill:
Did you notice that the first map is for 2004, and you clan click forward to more recent years?
When you do, you find that, in addition to the Black Belt, you see the map of counties in which Barack Obama underperformed John Kerry, aka Appalachia.
Bruce (formerly Steve S.)
This is the idlest of speculation and anecdotal, but in my personal experience I’ve seen conservative friends/co-workers deliberately eating things they know are bad for them just to prove a point. The South has a disproportionate number of conservatives so maybe that explains some of it. Maybe Freakonomics has written something on this.
joe from Lowell
This cannot explain why the heightened incidence of diabetes pops out in the Appalachian counties as you click to more recent years. Those are among the whitest counties in the country, but also the poorest.
@The Disgruntled Chemist:
Sweetened Ice Tea is one of the greatest contributions of the South to our society.
Of course…everything in moderation…
It’s bizarre how Flugelhorn and BO Bill apparently think that they’re making some kind of controversial, liberal-shaming argument by pointing out that there’s a higher genetic predisposition to type II diabetes among African-Americans. In Bill’s case, you can barely even understand what he’s getting at because he’s doing the cutesy nudge-nudge-wink-wink thing, talking about cotton etc., which is the style he always uses when he’s working on some ass-headed racist remark; it’s as if the word “black” is so deliciously nasty for him that he gets a little forbidden thrill just thinking about introducing it into the conversation, and imagines that this is how everyone else thinks too. Sad.
Anyway, this is just a simple piece of information that everyone who deals with diabetes professionally understands, and that’s why public health agencies — even in evil liberal governments! — put out information like this. I realize this is hard for someone like Bill to comprehend, but epidemiology and population genetics do not actually support his bigoted view of the world, so scientists and BJ commenters are both fully capable of acknowledging health facts like this without concluding that people of African descent are therefore genetically doomed to be [insert stereotype here].
Diabetes is a complex thing with no single cause, but genes can contribute a lot. This is well known. Diet also has a large effect, so it’s not an amazing surprise — or something for anyone to score ideological points with — when there’s a different incidence in different regions that have a somewhat similar ethnic mix but different diet or vice versa. And it is an increasingly huge health problem for Americans in general. Even if some of us are more vulnerable to it than others, it’s really not a good thing that we’re living in a way that tends to make us sick.
I never read LGM anymore, but has Paul Campos denounced this as a hoax perpetrated by doctors who irrationally hate fat people?
(The fact that this is actually not unlikely is one of the reasons I never read LGM anymore.)
@Jamie: “Northerners” are “hardy”? Tell that to all the Germans and Swedes who have been dropping dead of heart disease in the Midwest for 300 years.
Seriously though, your theory is medically goofy. Burning a lot of energy to stay warm does not strengthen the body in any way. You may be thinking of the fact that well-conditioned athletes have a higher resting metabolic rate, but that’s a result of the conditioning, not a cause.
James K Polk, Esq.
@WyldPirate: There is no more efficient way to get a material into your bloodstream than a concentrated solution of said solute. Sugary drinks are that concentrated solution and have a ridiculous effect on glucose levels in your blood if consumed in large quantities.
Sorry to hear you are affected by type II…
Ya’ll need to quit speculating and watch the youtube lecture cathyx referenced. It explains it all for you. It’s the HFCS!!!
A shit storm will hit the fan with bigAG and the corn processing industries if we ever get our congress critters aware. They also love corn ethanol as an alternative fuel. The energy return on corn ethanol is one. That means for a barrel of energy in to produce it, you get one barrel out. The EROI does not factor in environmental damage caused by modern agricultural practices. We would be a lot better off without it and so would our gulf. There is a dead zone at the mouth of the Mississippi River which varies year to year from 6 to 9 thousand square miles in area—much of it due to agricultural run off in the Mississippi watershed. After typing this I am in my “we are well and truly fucked” mood. Maybe we will kill ourselves before we totally kill the planet. Oh well, even when we are gone, there will still be cockroaches and Mexican fan palms; since living in NW Arkansas I would add chiggers and ticks to my list of survivors.
@Hob: You are talking about the early stages of insulin insensitivity. If it goes on long enough, the beta cells start to die off; because they are overproducing. At least, this is one explanation for why treated Type 2 diabetes can continue to worsen.
I’m sorry to hear you have Type II; have you looked into Dr. Bernstein’s take on the illness? While he is a Type I, he’s in his seventies and has been dodging glycation and its issues for decades; many of his patients don’t need medication at all.
And yes, it truly is a cascade effect. And it is a metabolic disorder; it even has a name, Syndrome X, which proponents believe is the source of most heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and now, they are thinking, even cancer (the latest research focuses on the fact that many cancers must have glucose as fuel, and a ketogenic diet shuts that fuel source off) and even Alzheimer’s (becoming referred to as “diabetes of the brain.”)
@WyldPirate: I know you said you were the one with diabetes… that part of the comment was directed there.
Ran out of editing time.
And everyone should be aware that overweight is a symptom, not a cause.
Syndrome X pulls calories into fat cells; people eat more; increased insulin production creates a perpetual state of internal starvation. Person eats, has no energy, is stricken with raging hunger.
Then they get called names and told “if they’d just stop stuffing their face…”
@James K. Polk, Esq:
Add to that movie theaters are trying to kill us. I ordered a small Coke a few weeks ago. I looked at the huge cup I got and said I asked for a small. The guy selling concessions said it is a small. The cup must’ve been around 24 or 32 oz (not sure).
I remember when a small Coke at a theater, in the 1980’s, was actually small, like say 8 oz or 12 oz.
I have no idea what changed, but clearly the film industry is trying to kill us.
Convsersely winters in the North have the same effect. The only difference is summers in the South, you can get up early before the sun starts scorching down and run and not get totally gassed by the heat.
In the North, it is colder in the morning or evening, when you have to time to jog outside, since you’d either be at work or school.
@James K Polk, Esq.:
Thanks, JKP. It’s a bitch to live with. I had an MI at 50 because of it and I knew the risks I was taking. It wasn’t as if I was some poor, uneducated slob. I understood the biochemistry behind the disease and I understand the physiological damage it causes as well as the genetics that are being investigated and pharmacology behind the drug treatment.
That’s what is so daunting about this disease. For one thing, you have the education barrier. People don’t or can’t understand what the disease can do and how to manage it. Then you have people like me. I understood what could happen, but I was mentally in denial. I couldn’t make the behavioral modifications to head off the damage–even after I was diagnosed. There were exacerabating factors behind this, but in the end, it took a heart attack and bypass surgery caused by the diabetes for me to change my lifestyle.
Really good points, werebear. Especially the last sentence and especially with kids.
One thing that people don’t understand is that overweight people that have metabolic syndrome/pre-diabetes and that are overweight is that they are often hyperinsulinemic. Insulin is a hormone that tells your body to squirrel away nutrients–including glucose, fat and protein. It also prevents you from metabolizing fat properly,, this is why your triglyceride levels skyrocket.
These people can be hungry as hell and not have eaten much of anything. They can also eat normally, and if they don’t timulate their metabolic rate via exercise, most have difficulty losing weight at all. Starving oneself usually makes (weight control) worse still
yes.this. HighFucktosingCornSyrup. ketchup.ketchup.ketchup. don’t let your kids have it. It ruins their taste buds and ability to appreciate anything that isn’t nuclear sweet.
look on a label for fruit juice sometime. used to be 10 years ago you could still get juice without it but now its in every kind of juice you pick up off the shelf. Isn’t concentrated juice sweet enough FFS? and if it isn’t corn its cane sugar.
Peanut butter. Maybe 2 brands that don’t have it.
go into any quickie mart in the country and I dare you to find a drink product that doesn’t have HFCS, caffeine or alcohol in it (and maybe all three at once).
pick up a copy of ‘Botany of Desire’ and read the section on apples and humans history of shifting its agribusiness to satisfy the sweet part of its taste buds.
When I was in London several years ago my neighbor in the flat below was a nutritionist in the NHS. Said that she had worked for several years in Scotland and had the damnedest time explaining to the locals that deep-fried Yorkie Bars were NOT at all what they should be eating. (You think the US Southern diet is bad? Ha!)
I’ve noted a definite change over the years. Back in the ’80s, I noticed a difference in weight between people in the Midwest and on the coasts. Now it seems that everyone I see everywhere is overweight.
Me, I think a lot of it is due to people eating out, fast food and the supersizing of portions over the years. Plus, yeah, the stupid rebelliousness of too many Americans “yeah, you can’t tell ME what I’m going to eat!”
Yes, my gosh. The sugar load has increased by orders of magnitude.
I remember when a soft drink was a treat you got on a Saturday, not a gallon size tub you had with you at all waking moments.
@WereBear: T2 long time lurker delurking to say WereBear, you hit the nail on the head with your posts.
I was lucky to be diagnosed when my diabetes was still very mild (just over the diagnosis numbers on fasting blood glucose and A1c). Listening the the Diabetes Associations and nutritionists would have driven me further down the path to more and more severe diabetes. Listening to Bernstein and adopting a paleo-type eating pattern allowed me to control my blood sugar without medication. NO processed food, little starch, NO grain, NO vegetable oils. 5 years after diagnosis, A1c of 4.9.
Listening to misinformation about this disease makes my blood boil. Which isn’t so good for control… Much of the medical and dietary information that comes the way of a diabetic *is* misinformation, unfortunately. In areas with exploding diabetes rates, I would wager it’s the only information they receive.
Nail. Hammer. Head, grumpy_realist.
I grew uo in the 60s and 70s and it was rare that there were any fat kids in the classes and schools I was in. Now, you look at elementary on up and there are chubby little fuckers all over the place.
I think you nailed it with the fast food, too. It started changing sometime in the 70s. In early “71, I lived in Nashville, Tn at the time and there were literally no fast food places at all. There were Krystals (like a White Castle) and only about two of them in the same city. Some drugstores had department stores had lunch counters/grills, but it wasn’t like there was a fast food restaurant was on every corner and There were not any restaurants with drive-thrus and pizza delivery places (or pizza places much at all then). You got 6.5 oz coke from vending machines.
If you look at old newsclips and pivtures from the time, you also will notice that you don’t see many people who are overweight, much less obese. Going back to the 40s and 50s, many are just rail thin.
It’s funny that a lot of these things seemed to change with the increase in the number of women in the work-force. I’m not saying that that is bad, just that it is difficult for families with two workers to provide for children in the same way and the temptation for people to buy quick, fast food rather than make more nutritious food at home.
Two other points:
Weight is tied a heck of a lot more to standard daily physical activity than anyone realizes. Lived in Japan, walked everywhere, weight stable. Moved to London. Walk as much as I can, but not as much as in Tokyo. Weight goes up, stabilizes 10 lbs higher. Moved to Nebraska (try finding a sidewalk there!)….10 lbs higher….move to Chicago and get a really sedentary job…another 10 lbs.
I also wonder whether the advent of video games (and parents being terrified of “danger” out there) has caused kids to be less active than when I was growing up. Used to be I’d get home from school, run outside, climb trees, hike the woods, etc. with absolutely no supervision. Doubt a present-day parent would allow that.
Yes and absurdly, the south and Middle Tennessee in particular has had some pretty rough winters the past few years. We got 3 major snowfalls last year which is unheard of for us. We aren’t equipped to handle it. A few flurries hit and schools close.
So that’s basically 8 months out of the year that we’re parking our lazy asses in front of the TV. April and October are nice, though.
Yes and absurdly, the south and Middle Tennessee in particular has had some pretty rough winters the past few years. We got 3 major snowfalls last year which is unheard of for us. We aren’t equipped to handle it. A few flurries hit and schools close.
So that’s basically 8 months out of the year that we’re parking our lazy asses in front of the TV. April and October are nice, though.
@Marmot: “Sure, diabetes detection is up, no doubt about it. But increased detection doesn’t preclude a simultaneous increase in diabetes incidence.”
I think there is also extra detection when the criteria change from Fasting glucose of 125 to 110 to 100.
Similar to an obsesity epidemic occuring right after the BMI criteria are adjusted.
@vlm: Thanks! I’m so glad you got a grip on it.
…is it too late in the thread to say that some of these folks might start favoring universal health care once they can no longer afford insulin?
That may well turn out to be the case, but I haven’t seen any support for it, and it’s not what the article you linked to says. What they’re talking about is that constant use of sulfonylurea drugs may suppress beta cell output– not that the production of insulin itself (without treatment) kills or weakens the cells.
I don’t want to harp on this, the problem is pretty much the same in the long run, but it just bugs me when research is misconstrued like this.
Diabetes distribution is a lot more correllated with diet than income.
Mmm chicken fried steak.
Oh, and wasn’t there some suspicion some time back that at least some of the diabetes problem (at least for Type I) is caused by early viral infections turning on (or off) particular genes?
This is a fascinating discussion and I am learning alot from it. I am fortunate that I come from a family with no pre-disposition for the disease and am, myself, a bit of a diet and fitness freak. No HFCS for me, if at all possible!
For those that are suffering from diabetes II, might I direct you to a new company that a friend of mine started? It’s an online tool for matching people with Diabetes 2 with clinical trials and other options that are in their geographical area. It is free to use and no medical data is stored without your consent:
Hope this can help someone!
Fallout from Atlanta, home of Coca-Cola.
Hob, I’m pretty sure I’ve seen mention of the Islet cells of the pancreas burning out over time due to hyperinsuliemia.
I’m looking for articles now. IT’s easy to test for. Just check for C-peptide levels in the blood via an antibody-based assay like an ELISA.
I’ll try to post something later if I can find it.
I recently did some work on incidence of diabetes and I had to keep reminding people over and over that diagnosis of diabetes was different from having diabetes. Many people who have it aren’t diagnosed with it. This number has probably shrunk over time, so its hard to separate out the growth rate from the disease itself from the growth rate in our ability to diagnose it.
Year 1: 80 people had it, but only 30 were properly diagnosed.
Year 2: 88 people had it and 60 were diagnosed.
If you only have diagnosis data it looks like the incidence rate doubled from 30 to 60, when really, much of the increase is because you became better at diagnosing the disease.
Woodrow L. Goode, IV
Control of your blood sugar (assuming you aren’t Type I) isn’t that difficult, if you think of your body as an engine and focus on keeping the “fuel line” clear:
1. Fuel up regularly. It’s better to eat many small meals a day than it is to eat one or two huge ones. If you’re skipping meals and getting hungry, you’ll overeat. Overloading your stomach with calories, means it won’t process them effectively.
2. Check the fluid levels. Water is arguably more essential than food. If your body isn’t getting enough water, it tends to hold onto everything like a sponge– including stuff you want to wash through.
And water means water. Not coffee, tea, milk, soda, juice or booze.
3. Run the engine regularly. If your car sits in the driveway, the battery runs down and it performs sluggishly. Same with your body.
If you focus on getting moderate amounts of activity during the day, your body works better. Running a triathlon is not necessary– simply parking in the back of the lot and using the stairs gives you considerable bang for the buck.
4. Use the right fuel. Complex carbs and high-fiber take longer to metabolize. I like The South Beach Diet, as do my doctors, because it’s comparatively easy to follow, nutritionally sound and gets results.
5. Recognize that your mileage might vary and adapt to conditions. Everyone’s body is different and we all have certain foods that are more dangerous to us than the literature suggests
In my case, I can do potatoes and even a moderate amount of sugar. But white flour (even whole grain) and raisins are like poison. Cheese and butter are no problem. Milk is.
After I had thyroid surgery, my metabolism died and my A1C (which had been in the mid 4’s) shot up to 11. It took 18 months (there is a lot of stuff out there that is wrong), but I’m into the 5’s now, and have stopped taking three of the four medications that were prescribed in a vain attempt to control my blood sugar.
No, they really only want your money. If they kill you then you won’t be able to buy any more movie tickets or concessions. Now they DO want you to get used to buying and drinking 24/32/40/ounce sodas, especially at $4/5/6 bucks a pop, and those $8/10 containers of heavily salted, buttered popcorn certainly helps push your thirst buttons in that direction.
It’s very easy to fall into the over-consumption of HFCS, especially in soft drinks. If you go to a fast-food outlet chances are the smallest drink size is 16 oz. and if you are dining in you can generally give yourself as many refills as your bladder and stomach can contain. Add that to however many sodas you might drink at home or at work, toss in all the HFCS that’s present now in everything from bread to BBQ sauce and you’ve probably got enough of the stuff in you to cause harm even if it weren’t specifically shitty for your system, which I think it is. I’m not a nutritional expert, but it seems to me that HFCS is not metabolized in the same manner or as efficiently as regular sugar.
A few years back I was probably knocking down at least a six-pack of Cokes a day, maybe more, and the more I drank, the more I craved. Get ’em nice and cold, pop one open and chug down half a 12 ounce can while the carbonated mist was still surrounding the pop top and then kill the can within 3 or 4 minutes. I had myself conned into believing it wasn’t all that harmful a habit, but my bloated gut wasn’t buying it and finally got my attention.
OH…by the way, I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone else put this out there, but this discussing reminded me of the New Coke”/”Old Coke”/Classic Coke”. I’ve long thought that this was less of a fiasco than commonly thought. Prior to being replaced with “New Coke” Coca-Cola was sweetened by sugar, a much more expensive sweetener than HFCS. Then it was completely pulled off the market in favor of the “New Coke” which used HFCS (and as I recall had sort of a sickening, artificial fruity taste; to me it tasted kind of like a bad batch of Pepsi). As we now know, “New Coke” bombed and the company “yielded” to popular opinion and pressure and brought back something called “Classic Coke”, which was NOT a return to the old formulation at all, but rather just a recalibration of the failed “New Coke”. Now this “Classic” version of “Original Coke” was sweetened with, yes, the much cheaper HFCS instead of the more costly real sugar. With sufficient marketing and hyping of this “consumer victory” in allegedly bringing back “Classic Coke” Coke soon regained most or all of the market share they had lost, and the company managed to replace expensive sugar with cheap-assed HFCS without any real public notice, uproar or scrutiny of what they were actually doing. Consumers got to feel like the “won” something and Coke reaped a rather substantial increase in net income by greatly reducing their ingredient costs.
And since I generally don’t believe in conspiracy theories this qualifies as my personal favorite. It ain’t a grassy knoll, but hey, it’s a theory.
Shorter version: I think the consumer side of the equation got severely corn-holed here, and the only attempt at lubrication was a liberal dowsing of high-fructose corn syrup.
Woodrow L. Goode, IV
@Tax Analyst: You’re directing your obloquy at the wrong target. When I was a teenager, working as an usher, studios took 70-85% of ticket sales for a movie.
That percentage began to slide up– and I believe that The Empire Strikes Back was the first movie where the studio had the nerve to demand 100%.
That’s now standard. Every cent you pay for admission goes to the studios. The concession stand is where the theater has to cover rent, utilities and salary.
Not surprisingly, theaters have jacked up both the prices and the portion sizes (that $4.75 mega bucket of popcorn costs maybe 25 cents to make). It’s also the reason they sell sushi and croissants.
This is why it’s a bad thing to sneak in food– you’re hurting the theater. The proper way to save money at the Mega-Plex (and take revenge) is to buy your food at the stand… and, when that movie is over, walk into a different one.
(Go to the rest room, come out and then go into a new show. Just make sure you know where you’re going and you don’t have your stub. If caught, you can say your spouse has them. You can also use this to see the movie twice.)
As long as you don’t choose a show that is likely to be sold out, the theater won’t care. They won’t permit it if you make it obvious. But they’re not losing money on double-dipping, so the incentive to make sure everyone clears out is gone.
OK, Hob, I found one article about pancreatic islet-cell burnout in Type 2 diabetes.
Mechanisms of β-Cell Death in Type 2 Diabetes:
Here is the abstract:
I don’t have time to read the paper now, but I will just to check what the force of the conclusions are behind each hypothetical cause.
I’ll check back to see if there are questions later.
@Woodrow L. Goode, IV:
Nice post and good, reasonable advice, Woodrow.
Yes, I realize this. Actually, I don’t really have a problem with movie theatres trying to make a profit. My comment regarding the high portion size/price of theatre concessions started out to merely be a reply to gene108’s comment that the theatres somehow meant to harm their patrons with the type and size of products they were selling to them. No business I can think of really wants to intentionally harm or eliminate their paying clientele, although there are some that sort of act that way a good part of the time.
Having worked in, owned and managed small businesses at various times in my life I have a good deal of sympathy for quite a bit of what the operators have to go through to make an honest buck, and I appreciate those that manage to do that and still give their customers a fair deal and deal with their employees in a decent, straight-forward and equitable manner, especially those that must compete with companies that have no concern for customers or their employees.
Sweet Tea and Karo Pecan Pie.
I’m not sure if there is anything specific about the South that could contribute to the incidence of diabetes. However, those of you that mentioned High Fructose Corn Syrup made think of how Coca Cola is based in Georgia. It could be the food, genetic, environmental, or otherwise. Certainly interesting though, I hope the information is put to good use!
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@WyldPirate: As a thirty-something, that reminds me of what always what jumps out at me from news clips of civil rights marches in the 60’s: how slender and well-dressed everyone is. People have gotten sloppy and I have no practical idea how to fix that.