March 24, 2009

Recession to cause more obesity, wrinkles, acne, and depression

The NYT reports that candy sales are way up since the recession started. No sales data are given, only anecdotes -- but what the hell, it's only journalism.

Update: Reuters reports that sales are way down for European chocolate due to people gobbling up the cheap crap that has hardly any cocoa, and which therefore has lots of sugar to compensate. Cocoa contains anti-oxidants, and studies I've browsed from PubMed suggest a little bit helps -- around 1 tablespoon of cocoa a day, or roughly similar amount of very dark chocolate. Dark chocolate also has about 10 mg of caffeine per serving, and has lots of energy-packed fat, so it's a great wake-up food. After discovering Lindt's 85% cocoa chocolate bar, I've certainly been doing all I can to keep Lindt & Sprungli in business.

The suggestion is that candy helps the bingers cope emotionally with the uncertainty. As I reviewed the evidence here, while a brief occasional shot-in-the-arm of glucose might calm you down, high chronic levels of glucose, and so of insulin as well, will actually make you more depressed. This of course makes you want another quick-fix of sugar, so you get locked into a positive feedback loop.

Look at the women in the NYT's article, btw -- the one on the left is just 23, yet looks like she could be 33, and so does her friend. Chronically high blood-sugar levels lead to higher concentrations of reactive oxygen species (the things that cause rust-like damage to your body, which anti-oxidants protect against), as well as Advanced Glycation End-products, where a protein and a sugar form harmful freak combinations that your body never intended to see.

As Gary Taubes points out in Good Calories, Bad Calories, one of the proteins most susceptible to glycation is collagen, which gives skin its youthful plumpness. That's why diabetics' skin ages more rapidly. And just look at the skin of the women in that picture -- before the anti-fat movement took over the country, you wouldn't have seen such repulsive skin on a woman until she was well into her 40s or 50s.


  1. what the hell, it's only journalism.

    ROTFL. This is my new mantra, the catch-phrase of the '00s and early '10s.

    Someone (perhaps you) should do a cultural study tracing how & when journalism ceased to be the disgraceful refuge of ne'er do wells, and became A Respectable Career for SWPLs.

    (I speculate that it's connected with the oversupply of liberal arts degrees among White middles & uppermiddles starting in the mid 20C. "Journalism can't be all that bad if Junior is, uh, choosing it as his career, can it darling?")

  2. Carnosine (available at can reduce glycation. Perhaps sales of LEF's super carnosine will also increase during the recession.

  3. The 2 girls choosing candy brings up something else: the idea that low-fat diets are responsible for the obesity epidemic. While low-fat diets cannot be defended, the problem isn't (only) that people are following them, it's that so many people, like the young women in the photo, can't stay away from the garbage. No self-control.

  4. I wouldn't say that the young woman on the left looks a decade older than her actual age. You can't see her skin clearly enough in the picture to make any judgments about it. Years ago, the fact that she is chubby might've made her look older than her early 20's, but today there are so many chubby young people that is no longer the case.

    If the woman on the right is the same approximate age as her companion, then we might be onto something as she clearly looks to be over 30. Her age isn't given, however, so it's just speculation.


  5. Ghirardelli 86% cocoa chocolate is even better. It doesn't have added cocoa powder to boost the percent and has more cocoa butter. It's smoother and less bitter.

  6. It also has about twice as much net carbs -- per 40 g of chocolate, Lindt has 5 g net, all of it sugars, while Ghirardelli has 9.8, 5.3 of which is sugars.

    If you're eating low-carb and making this a regular part of your diet, I'd go with Lindt. It's easy to eat twice as much chocolate as you normally do -- 10 g for Lindt, and about 20 g for Ghirardelli.

  7. Gotta get that dopamine somewhere... an old sage said: "Candy's Dandy but Liquor's Quicker. Words to live by.


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