Finally! American research has told us the exact thing we have always wanted to hear: obesity is not our fault because being fat is caused by a virus. Well, that is, this is the second most news we wanted, with the first being that all we have to do is eat at many bacon double cheeseburgers as we wish to lose weight.
Now, this is not to disrespect our research minds. Who knows? The obesity virus link may indeed turn out to be true. It was with a small but significant virus responsible for some 85% of the ulcers we used to believe were only caused by stress and four-alarm chili.
Dental caries, commonly called tooth decay, is also the fault of microorganisms. To begin the decay process, we need someone who has the organism to spread it to us, such as an adult kissing a small child. Of course, we then also need to be rather flagrant about failing to maintain our mouths. Since much tooth decay, regardless of the bug, can be held in check through brushing, flossing and regular dental care, we do play a role in whether we have teeth or dentures by age 60. Thankfully, more and more Americans keep their teeth throughout their lives.
But let’s get back to obesity, for which the virus researchers may give us complete exoneration. This all by itself seems rather ironic. America is, after all, the fattest industrialized nation on the planet. We don’t just enjoy huge portions, we want to double “SuperSize!” those meals as well. Then, to top it off, we have contests to celebrate one of the seven deadly sins: gluttony. What Independence Day is complete without Coney Island’s hot dog eating contest or a Guinness World Book of Records’ official how-many-shrimp-can-you-down event?
Yet you can forget about those inconvenient details. According to these wonderful researchers, we have an out. It’s not that we’re greedy little pigs. A virus is forcing us to follow a 5,000 calorie meal with a double hot fudge sundae and to use a Diet Coke to wash down three pounds of butter-dipped lobster and mayo-enveloped potato salad. If our hips look a little doughy in summer shorts or our buttocks a might lumpy in bathing trunks, heyΓÇª this is biology’s doing, not ours. If only the nasty virus had not attacked us, we would wear size 0 jeans and sport an impossibly tiny waist line.
Wait! Are you accusing me of sarcasm about this very serious subject? How can you believe for a moment I don’t respect the fact that we bear no responsibility for our own excesses?
Lest you think I’m one of those anemic, thin people who can just stop snacking after only one Lay’s potato chip, please think again. My cellulite, usually well hidden in slacks, has seen more than its share of cheesecake. I’ve spent more than one evening binging between the salty snacks that make you crave something sweet and the sugary treats that make you yearn for something salty. Thus, I’m just as guilty as anyone.
Oh wait. That’s right. None of us is guilty of gluttony since a virus makes us eat a double cheese pizza at least once a week and scarf down Ben and Jerry’s Cherry Garcia and Chunky Monkey by the pint.
But this is my point actually. It very well may be a virus that helps create a biological environment for obesity. I’ll buy this theory as certainly as I would love to sit down to a nice big platter of fried clams and French fries with creamy cole slaw. What I do not quite get from this preliminary research, however, is proof positive that we as contributors to our culture of huge servings and frequent fast and snack food do not need to make some large changes.
Being able to blame the development of fat cells on a virus in no way mitigates the amount of damage obesity does to our health, for example. Nor does it absolve us of our fondness for large amounts of food high in fats, sugar, and other ingredients we know we should only consume in moderation.
As with dental caries, no vaccine will ride it to save us. At least, it won’t yet save us. While there has been much discussion in science about pills to melt fat, secret ingredients to prevent the absorption of cholesterol, and tablets to soak up too much extra alcohol, the labs just have not perfected anything yet. As you may have noticed, people still walk around with very round bellies hanging over their pants and most of us fight the battle of the bulge someplace or another on our bodies.
Even when researchers do make the great breakthrough, it’s very likely we will still need to keep our appetites in check to keep or recapture our health after decades of eating badly. Just as we can’t stop brushing our teeth, we probably won’t get a “get out of the fat farm free” card with respect to our dietary intake. In addition, there are surgeries today that help you lose weight and fat. Looking for Tummy Tuck doctors in Michigan will certainly help you lose weight in an easier method.
But don’t hang your head in shame in the meantime. Other research tells us that guilt and frustration may actually make us more inclined to overeat and we’re already doing a bit too much of that. Aren’t we?