The Men Who Made Us Fat

The overweight person fights a daily battle against two powerful foes.

The first adversary is themselves. The fat person grapples with their own appetite and hunger for food. They try the latest fad diet and force themselves to eat less and exercise more but sooner or later they fail and the weight comes back with interest.

The second adversary is everyone else. The general public are notorious in their public condemnation of the fat person. The person who is carrying the extra pounds or kilos has to deal with the small minded and judgemental people who see a fat person and immediately see someone who is a glutton and a sloth.

But what if we had all been conned?

What if grubby little men in suits and white lab coats had conspired to make us all fat?

Watch this series of videos and you will be amazed and shocked.

Published on 23 Aug 2012

Around the world, obesity levels are rising. More people are now overweight than undernourished. Two thirds of British adults are overweight and one in four of us is classified as obese. In the first of this three-part series, Jacques Peretti traces those responsible for revolutionising our eating habits, to find out how decisions made in America 40 years ago influence the way we eat now.
Peretti travels to America to investigate the story of high-fructose corn syrup. The sweetener was championed in the US in the 1970s by Richard Nixon’s agriculture secretary Earl Butz to make use of the excess corn grown by farmers. Cheaper and sweeter than sugar, it soon found its way into almost all processed foods and soft drinks. HFCS is not only sweeter than sugar, it also interferes with leptin, the hormone that controls appetite, so once you start eating or drinking it, you don’t know when to stop.
Endocrinologist Robert Lustig was one of the first to recognise the dangers of HFCS but his findings were discredited at the time. Meanwhile a US Congress report blamed fat, not sugar, for the disturbing rise in cardio-vascular disease and the food industry responded with ranges of ‘low fat’, ‘heart healthy’ products in which the fat was removed – but the substitute was yet more sugar.
Meanwhile, in 1970s Britain, food manufacturers used advertising campaigns to promote the idea of snacking between meals. Outside the home, fast food chains offered clean, bright premises with tempting burgers cooked and served with a very un-British zeal and efficiency. Twenty years after the arrival of McDonalds, the number of fast food outlets in Britain had quadrupled.

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