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Twice now I've heard Rush claim that there can't possibly be poverty and malnutrition in America because so many lower-class people are obese. And since I rarely subject myself to his rants, I have to assume that he's tried to sell this idea on many other occasions.

As with his startling misapprehension about how birth control pills work (Want to have sex? Take a pill first. Kind of like Viagra.), Rush's "logic" betrays his utter ignorance about how the real world works.

It turns out that obesity is associated with poverty all over the world. The explanation is most interesting…

Most of what follows is from the recent book Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It, by Gary Taubes, an award-winning science reporter who spent a decade researching obesity and debunking many of the myths about it.

Among several examples, Taubes discusses the Pima Indians, an Arizona tribe who were prosperous and healthy hunters and farmers until white settlers reduced them to poverty and dependency beginning in the 1850's. Today they have perhaps the highest incidence of obesity and diabetes in the U.S.

What the Pima have in common with indigenous peoples all over the world is that when they began trading with Europeans—and adding refined sugar and white flour to their diets—they began to grow fat.

I'll skip the scientific explanation, which is fascinating but too complicated to recount here, and get to the bottom line: it's now incontrovertible that obesity is caused by a diet high in easily-digestible carbohydrates. And, all over the world, carbohydrate calories are invariably the cheapest calories. So poor people tend to subsist on foods that make them grow fat—even though they may actually be undernourished.

In a particularly perverse twist, eating nothing but carbs can cause fat cells to grow even while your other cells are starved for the energy they need—making you, yes, both fat and lazy.

Someone needs to explain this to Rush and the other right-wingers who insist that the prevalence of obesity proves that there's no such thing as poverty.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (5+ / 0-)

    What is valued is practiced. What is not valued is not practiced. -- Plato

    by RobLewis on Thu Oct 04, 2012 at 09:42:19 AM PDT

  •  Well, that goes without saying... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Vatexia, JeffW

    The man looks like he has 4 square meals and a few snacks every day, whether he needs them or not.

  •  There's a very good reason he's so out of touch... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Vatexia, JeffW, Cassandra Waites

    He doesn't give a fuck about poverty, and anyone with the gift of sight can see that nutrition is not exactly a priority, much less a thought in his mind.

    "Give to every other human being every right that you claim for yourself." - Robert G. Ingersoll

    by Apost8 on Thu Oct 04, 2012 at 09:47:38 AM PDT

  •  Hard to think... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sow hat

    ...when all you have between your ears is lard and Oxycontin.

    Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

    by JeffW on Thu Oct 04, 2012 at 09:58:45 AM PDT

  •  you can be fat and malnourished at the same time (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cassandra Waites

    If you have lots to eat, but it's mostly empty calories - i.e. the kind of food that people with limited incomes are most likely to buy, especially if they have kids to feed - then absolutely you can overweight and even obese but also be eating a diet deficient in protein, calcium, and vitamins and minerals, with all the health problems (especially developmental issues) associated with that.

    Paradoxically, spending more money on food stamps, SNAP, WIC, etc. would cause the people who use those programs to not only eat less food overall (regular size meals of quality food vs. big meals of cheap empty calories), but be healthier as a result of being both thinner and better fed.

    To those who say the New Deal didn't work: WWII was also government spending

    by Visceral on Thu Oct 04, 2012 at 09:59:02 AM PDT

  •  Remember when he was arguing that... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ...someone earning $250k was NOT rich?

    So, one with $250k/year is not rich, while one with $20k/year is not poor.

    Conservative wisdom!!

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