The two men started publishing their findings with a splash: a 2007 article in the New England Journal of Medicine reporting that obesity spreads through social networks, as people are apparently influenced by friends’ weight gain to become obese themselves. More perplexing is their finding that obesity spreads through up to three degrees of separation. If a subject named a friend who was also in the study, and that friend’s friend became obese, the first subject’s chances of becoming obese were roughly 20 percent greater. Across one more degree of influence (husband’s friend’s friend or friend’s sibling’s friend—i.e., three degrees away), the risk was 10 percent greater. Weight gain appears to ripple through friend groups via some unseen mechanism such as altered eating or exercise behavior, or adjustment of social norms regarding weight.We are our brother’s keeper, and our brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, parents, children, friends, colleagues, and neighbors are our keepers.
The authors found similar patterns for happiness, loneliness, depression, alcohol consumption, the decision to stop smoking, and even divorce. “Our health depends on more than our own biology or even our own choices and actions,” they write in Connected. “Our health also depends quite literally on the biology, choices, and actions of those around us.”
The back-to-back, double whammy announcements that PepsiCo (PEP) is ditching high fructose corn syrup in Gatorade along with the results of a scathing new study from researchers at Princeton make it official — allies of the controversial sweetener have lost the war.
What the Princeton researchers found was A sweet problem: Princeton researchers find that high-fructose corn syrup prompts considerably more weight gain, as we noted here a while back. And, as we noted last year, there’s also an eerie correlation of the spread of HFCS into the food supply with the rise of obesity in the U.S.
Here’s Melanie Warner again, this time in the New York Times:
Hunt’s ketchup is among the latest in a string of major-brand products that have replaced the vilified sweetener. Gatorade, several Kraft salad dressings, Wheat Thins, Ocean Spray cranberry juice, Pepsi Throwback, Mountain Dew Throwback and the baked goods at Starbucks, to name a few, are all now made with regular sugar.
Why is Big Food buckling about bogus sugar?
What started as a narrow movement by proponents of natural and organic foods has morphed into a swell of mainstream opposition, thanks in large part to tools of modern activism like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter and movies like “Food, Inc.” and “King Corn.”Well, well. Voting at supermarket checkout seems to be working after all!