Animals are Getting Fat Too

January 07, 2014

Animals are Getting Fat Too 

 Reference  UAB Reporter 

 You thought it was just us humans getting fat?  Well, in the last 50 years, we have certainly been victims of a widespread epidemic of obesity. We have blamed it on our diets, our laziness, our food, vending machines, school lunch programs, soda size, white carbs, and whatnot. But most of us have the impression that it is happening to just us humans.  Those lovely creatures in nature seem exempt. 

 Wrong!  David Allison, from the Univ of Alabama, Birmingham, is a professor of health statistics looked at 24 populations of animals exposed to humans and found that with a better than 1 to 8 million chance for error, these 24 “data sets” of 20,000 different animals all pointed to the same trend.  Marmosets in Univ of Wisconsin labs were his first clue.  These little monkeys are getting chubby. But so are rats in government research labs, rats in the alleys of Baltimore, housecats,  chimps, macaques….  So, it’s not just humans.  

There is something in the environment that is getting to all of us.  We can’t blame the Snicker Bar quite so easily.  His suggestion was that it could be changes in light, infection by viruses or something yet to be determined. I think we need to throw the net of curiosity and investigation further.  It’s my hunch there are the following issues we need to consider:

           a) Sensitivity to genetically modified foods – wheat being number one (yes, marmoset chow likely has wheat in it and alley rats get the same stuff we get) 

           b). 50,000 untested chemicals with their alternative chemical effects on us 

           c). Changes in stress and social support for us and our animals 

           d). Loss of critical nutrients like omega fats 

            e). Over-indulgence in new foods like trans fats and omega-6 fats 

             f). Sugar in everything 

            g). Artificial sweeteners 

            h) Background radiation from the electrical soup we live in 

             i)  Change in sleep 

              j) Acidity of our lifestyle compared to the prior alkaline lifestyle 

             k) Not to mention: chronic viruses, changes in light, changes in exercise, junk food machines everywhere, glycemic index, no exercise, and all the standard stuff. Some of those ideas strike me, and likely you, as being a bit far-fetched.  But when you deep dive into each and everyone, there turns out to be emerging discussion, research and robust intellectual support. 

 WWW. What will work for me.  We just put our dog on a gluten-free diet to help with all her allergies.  She is getting a bit chubby too.  I do observe that if we walk her every day, her chubbiness is well controlled.  Hmmm.  Hope all those ideas up there aren’t an excuse not to get my walk in every day too.

Column written by Dr John E Whitcomb, MD, at Brookfield Longevity, Brookfield, WI.