June 20, 2010

Obesity at Disneyland: It’s down from four years ago

Four years ago I spent Thanksgiving day at Disneyland and was shocked to see so many obese teenagers there — touring the place in wheelchairs and scooters because they were too overweight to walk. This sight made a lasting impression on me. I’m talking about 15-year-olds and 16-year-olds weighing up to 500 or 600 pounds.

So when I returned to Disneyland again this year on assignment from my two-year-old granddaughter Mena, I expected to see more of the same — and I was completely delighted when I didn’t.

What I saw instead was a group of obese young adults. Apparently the teenagers that I had seen four years ago had now grown up — but there wasn’t so many of them as before. Why is that?

My thesis is that Americans have finally become aware that the high-fructose corn syrup in their sodas and the partially-hydrogenated vegetable oil (trans fats) in their fries have caused them to balloon up far beyond anything that has ever happened before in human history.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, “Almost all nutritionists finger high fructose corn syrup consumption as a major culprit in the nation’s obesity crisis. The inexpensive sweetener flooded the American food supply in the early 1980s, just about the time the nation’s obesity rate started its unprecedented climb.”

According to the Harvard School of Public Health, ” In animal studies, eating trans fat promotes obesity and resistance to insulin, the precursor to diabetes.”

Several scientific studies have clearly indicated that the teens I had seen in Disneyland earlier weren’t just ravenous gluttons who couldn’t push themselves away from the table and who had no will power at all. These teenagers have been chemically poisoned for profit by the food industry.

How else can you explain this phenomena?

I recently ran into a young woman who I hadn’t seen in approximately the last ten months — and in that short time she had gained over 100 pounds. How the freak can you gain 100 pounds in less than a year? High-fructose corn syrup and partially-hydrogenated vegetable oil, that’s how.

And diet soda might also be to blame — where your tongue sends a message to your brain that something sweet is heading toward your stomach, but then it never arrives — and this drives your spleen, pancreas and liver crazy!

According to an ABC News report, “Calorie-conscious consumers who opt for diet sodas may gain more weight than if they drank sugary drinks because of artificial sweeteners contained in the diet sodas, according to a new study. A Purdue University study released Sunday in the journal Behavioral Neuroscience reported that rats on diets containing the artificial sweetener saccharin gained more weight than rats given sugary food, casting doubt on the benefits of low-calorie sweeteners.”

Not only that, but our livers are trained to filter out any chemicals that it doesn’t recognize as something that our ancestors were familiar with. And no liver is gonna be able to recognize artificial sweeteners from back in the caveman days! And so our livers get screwed. And so do we. Why? Because basically all that diet sodas consist of are water and chemicals. But I digress.

Even with time set aside for obesity research, we still had a marvelous time at Disneyland. Ashley wanted to go see Captain E-O. I wanted to go see Small World, to find out if they had messed it up with all those new changes (they hadn’t). And Mena just wanted to see Pooh. We saw A LOT of Winnie the Pooh. “He’s ALIVE!” exclaimed Mena.

Mena loved the Tiki Room and the Jungle Cruise. She hated the Haunted Mansion. And she started out to not like the Pirates of the Caribbean but was won over after a few minutes — although that night, she talked in her sleep and said, “I don’t like pirates.”

In any case, we sadly said goodbye to Disneyland after it closed at midnight and drove back to where we were staying in Inglewood, having had a truly wonderful time. And here’s the video to prove it:

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