Japan's lessons for combating obesity without Ozempic

That’s a good point. And even in areas that aren’t food deserts, we have some big problems. Just go around your local grocery store and see what the cheapest foods are, in terms of how much you can get for $100. If you’re on a tight budget, you’re not going to be buying a lot of lean meats and fresh fruits and vegetables. You’re going to be buying a lot of 80/20 or 70/30 ground beef and a ton of boxed foods and mixes, like Hamburger Helper. And all of that is loaded with sugar, salt, and fat, because without those things, that food would taste like shit. Honestly, now that I think about it, the best thing we could do for the American diet is probably to do something to address poverty in America. If you’re working two jobs and living paycheck to paycheck, and worrying about making your rent payment, you’re not going to be able to make healthy food choices without adding even more stress to your life.


Well yes, our highly processed, corporate-supplied foods are.

Speaking as mentioned above about Michelle Obama’s efforts as First Lady to improve U.S. health, I remember my eyes being opened by a documentary about sugar, and about how corporate food interests managed to shut down her efforts. There’s a lot of money being made in selling “low fat” (but higher sugar, to replace the lost taste) junk. It seems that no mere White House occupant will be allowed to bite into those profits.


And the sugar industry was a major player in the way fats got demonized and sugar played down as problems in foods.


Kristen Wiig Yep GIF by Where’d You Go Bernadette

Reminds me of Oprah getting pilloried for, iirc, pointing out that maybe eating as much beef as so many Muricans do isn’t such a great idea.


Being overweight is frowned upon in Japan, just like it was in the US until the 70s. Once it got socially normalized (no more fat-shaming), the societal pressure is gone, with unlimited delicious cheap food, riding your car everywhere, sitting at your desk all day, watching TV after dinner, it would be a miracle of nature if people did not get overweight.

Agree Ozempic is a remarkable drug but fewer side effects than Metformin? I do not believe that is true. I am not alone in my complaints about its side effects, while having absolutely none I can associate with Metformin.


Things that have changed since the 70s that have an impact on weight besides social shame:
Increased stress in general, loss of buying power and increased food costs, reduced public transit so driving is more prevalent, increases in poverty, reduced opportunities for activity, changes in work-far fewer factory jobs requiring physical ability, increased portion sizes at cheap restaurants, or even at moderately priced ones, screwed up sleep habits, understanding the genetic component of weight, etc. etc.
If the puritanical mindset hadn’t locked onto weight as a moral issue so tightly metabolic differences might have been studied the way cancers are and we would understand much more about how and why people weigh what they do.
As an anecdata point I’m overweight, but I eat very little processed food and don’t drink sodas. My caloric intake is ok over time, even if one day may be high the next will be lower. I used to work 10-14 hour days on my feet moving heavy objects and in general moving around a lot.


Just consider Japan to be the latest spin on how people from the Mediterranean, France, villages in Soviet Georgia, or cave dwellers had the optimal diet all figured out. :pleading_face: If only shoppers in the US would copy them by buying and eating specific products, we’d all be in great shape and live to be over 100 years old. :roll_eyes: Don’t strain by applying common sense to the latest fad diet advice, because stress is even worse for your health than attempting to follow it.


ETA: Give it a few months, and there will be new advice to read. :crystal_ball:


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If shaming people for being overweight (or for anything, really) worked, we wouldn’t have an obesity epidemic.


Even if it were true (which is astoundingly unlikely given the source and the convenient element that all these uncited facts seem to universally fit his narrative :face_with_raised_eyebrow:) There’s also a complete lack of consideration for the built environment of Japan, which involves much more walking. The schools, which have more physical activity for students.

Granted, we also hyper-focus on diet, but so many of the same things that can be attributed to diet are also strongly affected by stress. We tell people that their food is what’s killing them but don’t give them time or space to pursue better options.


This reads a lot like thinly veiled victim blaming. You noted some real reasons, let’s not make “making it no longer spatially acceptable to fat shame” one of them. That’s not ok.


I have zero side effects from Ozempic or Trulicity, but Metformin causes all kinds of gastric issues for me.


The great thing about side effects is that everybody gets their own set.

The only long-term side effect I have from any of the meds I take regularly is a slightly increased sensitivity to light from one of them, so I wear sunglasses a lot more than I used to. Other people I know who take the same meds tell me about many more that I’ve never had (muscle soreness, etc.). I also have to be careful about my Vitamin D supplements; one source is fine, but another gives me some unpleasant intestinal effects.

My wife took Metformin for a while, but had to discontinue it because of the side effects she had from it. I’m very glad that your experience is different, though!


Yes, it must be my “Western sensibilities” that make me uncomfortable with the idea of the government mandating yearly waistline measurings and then “counseling” for all those who don’t conform to the ideal. Silly Western me…


… um what

 • people spent more on food in the distant past

 • the 70s are part of the distant past



Awesome, thanks for the reminder.


It is a remarkable drug. And it could help with the sugar addiction (NB not a scientific claim! :wink: )


Before he went full MAGA, J.D. Vance admitted exactly what was going on there in his book Hillbilly Elegy:


Took them a long time to figure out that a diet with too much white rice and not enough vitamin B1 was the cause of beriberi disease: