Developing world reaches a billion overweight people – time for a change?


The obesity epidemic is not only affecting the rich world. According to a new report, the number of overweight people in developing countries has quadrupled since 1980. In countries like China, Egypt and Mexico, there are now over a billion people with a weight problem.

BBC News: Obesity quadruples to nearly one billion in developing world

The Statistics

The trend is seen worldwide. Here’s the percentage of people with a weight problem in different regions in 1980 (yellow graphs) and 2008 (blue graphs):


Asia looks pretty good if you look at BMI numbers. But in reality things are a lot worse, as people of Asian origin on average are of a smaller build. When they reach overweight, as measured by BMI, they may already suffer from severe health problems, something that is illustrated by China’s ongoing diabetes disaster.

Despite lower BMI numbers, China seems to already have greater problems with weight-related ill health than Western countries do.

No Rethinking

A report by a British think tank offers no new ideas on how to solve the problem. Instead, the belief is that the obesity epidemic is caused by eating too little of starchy foods – and too much fat and animal foods. Really? When study after study has proven that such a dietary change on the contrary is the most effective for weight loss?

It’s perhaps not a coincidence that the UK is the fattest country in Europe. When British experts still believe in the outdated low-fat ideas that created the obesity epidemic, then there’s no hope of any help from them. But in the future, they will be questioned if they don’t update themselves… and finally people will stop listening to them. Fortunately there are already quite a few British critics rethinking this.

Einstein’s famous quote says: insanity is doing the same thing – over and over – and expecting a different result. It’s high time to stop the madness.


Insane Fat-Fighting Strategy in the UK

Many examples of people who rethought

Fantastic video on sugar and the obesity epidemic

Coca Cola-Loving Mexico Now Most Obese Nation on Earth


  1. Nayeem
    I am writing from Bangalore, India.

    I have seen the super market culture grow here only in the last ten years and people find it convenient to shop everthing at one place. But, it has its own drawbacks one of it being the easy availability of junk food. Hence, the above report pointing to growing obesity.

    I saw this article in one of India's newspapers explaining the findings and suggestions of a study done in India regarding the burgeoning sugar consumption and its effects on Indian population:

    Now it is left to the decision makers.

  2. Nate England
    I worked for the USDA for 10 years. I'm somewhat familiar with their efforts to promote our major type of farming to developing countries. Our major farming technique is industrial farming with its huge fields of monocrops and confined feeding operations. The reason for this promotion is the large influence our agricultural industries have on Federal policy. Everything from GMO seeds and fertilizers from the likes of Monsanto to huge tractors and other equipment from the likes of John Deere are all promoted as the necessary future.

    The stated goal of this promotion is to help these countries feed everyone. But what they actually do is to replace the small local farmers who don't have access to American capital and aid. Thus, the small farmers and their local economies are pushed out. Then, the already filthy rich and greedy corporations get even richer. At the same time these policies will destroy the land and water as American agriculture is doing here at home. A great book to read about this is 'The Vegetarian Myth' by Lierre Keith. I think Lierre's book is on the same level of importance as Silent Spring and The Jungle.

    Reply: #4
  3. Jo tB
    Nate, Funilly enough I saw a program on Dutch television last night about Hungary fighting the EU to keep Hungarian farming Hungarian. As of 2014 everyone in the EU can buy Hungarian farmland, and they are afraid that it will be bought by big agro, thereby killing off local farming practices. Obiously Hungarians can also buy farm land in other EU countries but the price is much too high for them. By comparison Hungarian farm land is cheap and so of interest to big agro. EU subsidies benefit big agro, another way of killing off the small farmer.

    It is the anti-Europe right-wing party in Hungary that is making an issue of it at the next EU parlement elections later this year (or is it next year?). It is becoming more moderate and so they are likely to get a lot of votes.

  4. murray
    Nate, your report reminds me of the disastrous impact of the Green Revolution in Bali. See the excellent book Priests and Programmers: Technologies of Power in the Engineered Landscape of Bali.
  5. David
    Jamie Oliver is looking a bit rough.
  6. Galina L.
    On one hand, many bring as a proof that carbohydrates are not fattening, the fact that many traditional cultures eat carbs as a major part of their diet without population having an obesity problem, on another hand, as soon as food availability get increased, population gets fatter, and in a Western World LCHF diet works the best to correct the problem. Is there some golden middle?

    In my native Russia I can see more and more fat people on streets, even fat children. Without studying the statistic of food consumption, my personal impression- the reason is the capitalism which is obviously better than socialism, but creates an abundance and creative marketing which leads to the increase in snacking and the arrival of new products which are promoted as more nutritious, but in reality belong to the category of high-carbs-low-fat foods, which is not in the line with traditional pattern of eating.
    During socialism we had no fat children and less fat adults, but still considerate amount of people with cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancer and other modern diseases.

    Reply: #7
  7. sten
    Interesting points: Just carbs create heart disease, modern carbs cause heart disease preceded by obesity. Sugar is probably the difference in todays low-fat Western diet,. Through fructose sugar can disable satiety (leptin) and cause gorging/continued eating.
    Since fructose accelerates or causes the metabolic syndrome, also a lot more diabetes in the western world than Russia then.
    I guess all grain based diets will cause heart disease, even whithout sugar in the bread, as long as there is enough food to cause blood sugar spikes after most meals and there are several meals a day.
    To reverse arterial plaque blood sugar after meals must be kept as low as possible, else inflammation in arterial walls will re-build plaque. Google carbohydrates and postprandial blood sugar for details from trackyourplaque ! Lots of study references too!
    Reply: #9
  8. eddy
    There is no evidence for a gluten free diet for us average joes.

    Replies: #11, #13
  9. Galina L.
    There are still some famous sweet-potatoes and even wheat eating "primitive" tribes who are reported to be healthy. I guess, a LC diet fits way more better our modern life style.

    What I comment is just what I think, so I think that in traditional cultures people continue to consider meat and eggs as products which should be stretched as far as possible by adding carbs, so they very easy achieve the very wrong fat/carbs ration when animal products get more available. When they start eating more meat, they still consume too much carbohydrates.

    My father died from a heart arrest at 51, he was diagnosed with ischemia at 40. Dad was always thin except for a very brief period when he tried to follow a no-meat diet which his cardiologist advised. Without meat dad couldn't stop eating, and gave-up on a diet and going to his doctor after gaining weight at the middle. Weigh promptly went back to normal. He seems to be one of the people who had very lean extremities, and fat went only on his trunk. Doctor also advised to walk fast every day for at least one hour ,what my father did. Didn't make big difference in his longevity.

    Reply: #12
  10. Adam
    Well, I suppose if the advisory chair of the Grain Foods Foundation says going gluten-free is "imprudent", I guess that's all there is to it.
  11. Galina L.
    Mostly people who follow a gluten-free diet do so because they feel better this way, regardless of what some professor said. It happens with me all the time - to be told that what I am doing is a quackery, like it is impossible that LC diet made me resistant to infections and viruses, freed me from asthma medications, prevented my frequent migraines because there is a research that it is not possible - more likely miracle happened.
    You do the same. Since when do you trust in research results so much? I gave you a reference to the study that oats are wrong even for horses, I bet it didn't prevent you from eating you favorite oatmeal daily.
  12. sten
    Regarding your father, I was diagnosed with angina which is the same ischemia as your father had when I was 59. After 6 years struggle to find a solution and exercising as much as I could with my serious impediment, like your dad did, I was getting worse when I was lucky enough to find this site and do exactly the opposite to what my doctor recommended!
    In 6 weeks my angina was gone on a strict low carb high animal and coconut fat diet. That is two years ago now and my apoB/apoA was "less than normal risk for a heart attack 8 months ago. 0.63. Considering a couple of longer time left side heart stoppages between 2005 and December 2011, it must be regarded as an incredible improvement.
    So I have plenty of "free time" to waste here after the Lucky Strike with Kostdoktorn, Diet Doctor and Annika Dalqvist! Need to pay back some way!
    As I said, now I live more towards blood sugar neutral (BSN) eating and although it is mostly classical LCHF I add more greens and soups. Yet with fats to vegetables to get the most nutrients out of them. Yet I need to get rid of some more visceral fat around the organs as a key parameter, elevated morning sugar appeared after the first 6 months on LCHF.

    Strength training and low protein at night may balance out the remaining metabolic syndrome after a year or so I believe but I am adding some interesting things that's for another time!

    Sorry about your dad, but it is very hard to not follow doctors orders when one have spent the best part of ones life healthy assuming they will be there for you one day when you need them. It takes time and thought and lots of stubbornness to change that. Luckily for me I had good internet access already 2005 so I could at least check all the side effects. When I found that the listed ones - pharma official websites - were same as I had and my doctor hadn't told about them I lost confidence in the cardiologist. In a way that freed me to search for something better.

    Reply: #14
  13. sten
    Please read Perlmutters Grain Brain and you could get a new view of things as it is an eyopener. Perlmutter is a neurologist.
    I think it is about 11 usd as a ebook or kindle. Those formats are best as you can go back and search for interesting bits and pieces later. He has tonnes of references also.
  14. Galina L.
    I am so glad for you, Sten! Good job! It breaks my heart to think that my dad knew he would die young, three months before his sudden death he told me he would die soon and informed me about his wishes. I didn't believe him - my grandma was talking about being dead soon as long as I remembered her, she is still alive at 95 , but has an Alzheimer.
    I've formed an opinion from observing people that the ones with extremities with very little amount of subcutaneous fat at more challenged in the are of cardio health because their legs and arms resist any fat accommodation. Probably, intermittent fasting is worth to try, but I am reluctant to recommend it to you 100% because it may increase the glucose production by liver in some people, and you already have some fasting glucose increase. I would advice you to stop all snacking, and have no more than 3 meals, absolutely no food 4 hours before bed-time. Did you think about doing HIIT (high intensity interval training)? I don't know, how safe it is for a person with serious heart condition because the short intervals (30 seconds to 1 minutes) should be very intense, like 90% of max heart rate.
  15. Cyrille G
    Dear All,

    Check out the latest article on the BBC website: "Campaigners vow to cut sugar in food"

    Is the world finally getting a grasp?

    Happy new year and best wishes to all.

  16. Daci
    "I gave you a reference to the study that oats are wrong even for horses, I bet it didn't prevent you from eating you favorite oatmeal daily."

    Before I learned better, I loved oatmeal..And oatmeal cookies too. I shutter to think what I've done to my body over the years eating such garbage!
    And oats and other grains are not just bad for horses,but pet rabbits as well.

    Reply: #17
  17. Galina L.
    Thank you, I will add it to my collection of curious bits and pieces about the usefulness of eating grains. A while ago Eddy enthusiastically defended his love for oats in multiple comments on one of Dr.'s blog posts. To be fair, eating oats maybe not the worst thing which could be done diet-wise. Refined carbohydrates, sugar and juices are much worse.

    I got the research from the Paleo Guy blog The research in question is that one

  18. Mike
    Eating grains is bad towards your weight. Grains should be avoided. Juice and fruits should be minimal as it turns into sugar, too much is also not good.

    @Galina L. - The Paleo is the way to go.

    Check out the website for Paleo Diet Recipes

  19. Paul K. Hargrove
    What's the verdict on the popular supplement "Garcinia Cambogia" which was endorsed by the famous cardiologist Dr. Oz? It supposedly helps your body prevent fat from being made and it suppresses your appetite. I want to know if the supplement is compatible with the LCHF & Atkins Diets.
  20. Galina L.
    LCHF diet uses a macro-nutrient combination to achieve the appetite suppression and promote fat burning. I wonder, what happens with a body when fat is not being made when it should - it is either dangerous or not-existing effect of a herbal remedy. I remember Dr.Oz endorsing ketones, but not naturally occurring in a body, but bought and consumed as a supplement "Raspberry Ketones". I Googled that thing. The claim is it supposedly blocks enzimes which human body body uses to convert unused energy into fat. A person who is eating a LC diet shouldn't have an excessive glucose, also fat metabolism is much more complex than it is claimed in the explanation how the remedy works. All that is like red flag after red flag for me, and I am not a person who have been trained in physiology or biology, just somebody with a technical degree and a common sense + experience to solve my health issues..

    I wouldn't call Dr.Oz a quack because I recently learned that a web-site Quackwatch has even Weston Price listed there. Dr.Oz turned into a Jerry Springer twin with a medical degree who stopped being a reputable source of information long time ago providing sort-of tabloid version of medical news aiming for predominantly silly females (judging by his audience). Even when he gets something right like telling about the usefulness of low-carbohydrate diet, he explains it in the dumbest way possible - using a flaming torch on a piece of Styrofoam and telling something like- "just like than your fat is being destroyed by a low-carb diet".

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