What you see, when you just look

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In writing a new first chapter for my book, I've flirted with the idea that we are under some form of mass hypnosis. I don't want to assert that in any clinical way, 'cause I wouldn't know enough to make a good argument, and so far, I haven't found a way to express it credibily enough for inclusion.


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So I'm still out here in Seattle, in the home of my father-in-law, Clay, who previously worked in the vending industry. He and I have differing political views that make our conversations rousing and fun.

Today, he slides a couple of printouts across my desk (well, technically, it's his desk; his house, his desk) from in which Dr. Barry Popkin has "revoked" a theory that HFCS was tied to the rise in obesity. The 2004 article catalyzed a consumer backlash against HFCS that's still under way.

Oh, Alex

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I am a great admirer of Alex Beam. I used to edit his columns some times, and I would invariably need to look up a word, which in his case I always admired: he used the words appropriately, and I never sensed he was showing off by using the higher-priced word.

More substantively, I've always been able to rely on Alex for entertainment and unique perspective. Though unlike with his word choices, I haven't always been convinced his contrarianism was organic, is he not a columnist? He's supposed to be provocative.

How's your bolus rolling?

Let's start with this basic fact: The US population is estimated to grow at .975 percent this year. If everyone keeps eating at the same rate, doesn't that mean that food companies are looking at a growth rate of less than 1 percent this year? How's that going to play on Wall Street?

The juncture of sustainability and obesity

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Let's talk about the American diet, for a moment. I don't mean, what Americans eat. I mean, what do most Americans mean when they "go on a diet?"

Almost always, they're saying that they're embarking on a new path for a short period of time, with the intention of going back to how things were as soon as possible.

In this case, sustainability isn't a question, it is part of the definition: I am going to do something that I have no intention of sustaining.

On the journey

I’m writing en route from Boston to Seattle, where I’ll be living for about a month, attempting to keep (well, return to) a regular work schedule while participating in a family member’s effort to regain health. As departures from routine often do, I’ve encountered a couple of surprises during the journey. The first one isn’t so surprising, actually, given the prevalence of overweight in America; for those of you keeping score, the estimate is 145 million American adults, two out of every three of us.


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