Monday, 9 January 2012

Watch Out for the Obesity Virus!

Some scientists believe that there is a HIGHLY CONTAGIOUS virus out there that makes us obese! And apparently, you can catch this virus from a skinny person sneezing near you!!! Fat people can’t pass it on because once it infects a person it is busy making them obese and then mysteriously leaves them and so even though they are obese, they are no longer infected. Professor Richard Atkinson, Nutritional Scientist, University of Wisconsin explains this bizarre theory as a matter of fact in the shocking pseudo documentary called Fat Plague.

Discrimination Against the Obese

Narrator Jack Fortune explains that “current explanations” see the obese as prisoners of their genetic code or gluttons who just eat too much. Obesity is often seen as a simple result of eating too much fat and having a sedentary life-style. But, could it be that obesity is really caused by a virus that is spreading like a plague instead? By the way, too much fat doesn’t cause obesity unless its trans fats, but too much sugar is probably the main problem.

Obesity started on a steep incline in 1980. What the program doesn’t mention is that this is when The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) started jointly publishing the Dietary Guidelines every 5 years and many other countries followed suit. These guidelines haven’t changed much over the years as I explain in my article called Americans Continue Obesity Trend and they recommend a low fat/high starch diet. Starch and sugar are fattening (doh!).

Dr Nikhil Dhurandhar and Cohorts

Dr Nikhil Dhurandhar was originally from Bombay but knew that if he wanted his wild theory to fly, he’d have to go to America (no surprise there). He has been exploring his human version of the chicken virus that causes obesity theory for years now. This virus which is called AD-36 was literally picked willy nilly out of a list of 50 that caused flu-like symptoms in humans! What luck!

Meanwhile, McDonalds is mentioned or shown a lot in this program which usually means it’s sponsored by them. It would be convenient for them if a virus was promoted as the cause of obesity and not the crap sold in its fast food outlets. People could then happily still eat crap and also support the chemical industry by taking whatever “cure” in a pill they come up with.

Having a big corporation sponsor or two seems to me the only way such a load of rubbish can get on the air. Besides McDonalds, Mars bars, Coca Cola, and Pepsi got a mention.

Dr John Foreyt, Obesity Specialist, Baylor College, Texas admits he doesn’t know much but is open to new theories, even bizarre ones that don’t stack up. I think it depends on whether there is potential to make money off lots of people, and after all, there are lots of people who are obese, so this one is obviously in the running.

Professor William Russell, Virologist, University of St Andrews and Professor Stephen Bloom, Endocrinologist, Imperial College London have an input expressing their reservations, but in my view, not strongly enough.

Dhurandhar doesn’t care whether anyone believes whether a virus causes obesity or not, HE’S GOT DATA!

Pre-Fat Cells

I have read lots of books and articles on nutrition and never heard of pre-fat cells before. When I Goggled it, I came up with a few non-scientific hits. There was no Wiki definition.

Dhurandhar says that these are immature cells (!) waiting to become fat cells when the body needs to store fat. I guess what he is referring to is fat cells getting bigger as there is no such thing as immature cells waiting to become fat cells. They are not pre-fat cells. They are fat cells.

“The virus forces his DNA into the pre-fat cell which is powerless to resist.” Dhurandhar says this was actually done in a Petri dish! “The damage is done. Fat forever unless Dhurandhar finds a cure.” Definitely sounds like something out of Bollywood as entertainingly shown in this program, but why is Dhurandhar so serious?

Fat Rewards

The Dhurandhars moved to a comfortable suburb outside of Detroit, Michigan, so someone is paying them a nice packet. In fact, it’s a private (I wonder if this just means secret) donation of $2mil. He’s working at Wayne State University.

Dhurandhar works like a maniac, waking up in the morning between 6 and 6.30 am working until 7.30 or 8pm, then having dinner and spending time with wife and son before starting work again between 10 and 10.30 pm and finally retiring between 2.30 and 3am. I’d say this is a sure fire recipe for becoming a mad scientist. Three hours of sleep is just not enough to keep sane.

So, from this sleep deprived condition we get the view that the obesity epidemic is spreading across the US like a viral infection and possibly all over the world.

Virus Hoaxes

Professor Atkinson acts very helpful in this program. He explains that viruses lie dormant, like HIV, and that there may be a parallel between these two. “It’s not unusual. This is what viruses do.” I think he could have also included the bird flu epidemic here too. It makes me wonder if any of them are real. I’m inclined to believe Dr Mercola who wrote the Great Bird Flu Hoax. Now we are developing the Great Obesity Flu Hoax!

Dhurandhar believes that this virus started in India where the chicken version mated with the human version to produce the one that makes people fat. Now they are researching to see how far it has spread. It’s possible that it’s here in the UK (doh!). So they decided to test some willing guinea pigs (I mean people) here in the UK. Samples of blood were shipped back to the US for testing. Reactions from the volunteers were that they’d love a virus to blame for their condition and would welcome a course of tablets to help them to fight the virus to lose the weight. But the results clearly showed that there was no consistent relationship between obesity and the virus AD-36.

Well, besides no connection to the virus, surprise surprise, there’s no cure at this stage, but it’s still early days. Dhurandhar is publishing his fiction as fact in major scientific publications with funding from the prestigious National Institute of Health (more things to be sceptical of). Dhurandhar’s dream is to create a vaccine to prevent at least some types of obesity. His dream, and for the obese, a nightmare because, as I keep saying on my blogs, medicine creates more health problems than it solves. It only makes a few people wealthy.

Professor Atkinson says that people are sceptical about the AD-36 virus causing obesity theory because there is such discrimination against obesity. But with programs like this, they’re whittling away at folks and brainwashing them yet again to take more chemicals instead of improving the food they eat as I prescribe on my Simple Food Remedies blog. It really is shocking!

Photo credit: BBC News (28 July 2000), Can a Virus Make You Fat?