11

votes

Are we seeing the worst effects of the SAD lifestyle on our youth? Unusual body shapes (not just obesity)

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created April 09, 2013 at 2:33 AM

The people who eat the most processed stuff tend to be kids. The level of processing of food has become incredible in the last few decades. I am wondering if anyone knows about endocrine disruption or hormonally based issues that are popping up?

Specifically I am speaking of the phenomenon where preteens of both sexes have Gynecomastia. Not to be confused with training bra stage in the girls (I am female so I remember those years ugh). Its almost like the normal hormonal signs of emerging adulthood are kind of blurred. The boys are effeminate and the girls resemble the shape of an middle aged female with full blown metabolic issues along with the gynecomastia.

Now this was not once or twice I have seen this. I certainly am in no way an expert on young adults but I take public transit so I see lots of them. I realize that obesity is a trend but is it the cause or the result of the hormonal stuff? There has got to be side effects from eating nothing but gogurt and microwavable mini pizzas and things that come in neon green and hot pink...

C836b2644e7319bb957fbb794a97708e

on April 09, 2013
at 06:56 PM

Thank you this is a fantastic answer! Now I wonder if girls can have similar (not the regular breast development of puberty). Or perhaps weight may distort visually? I still think there is more to this than just weight though.

D964a9a8eef65e10b292394f32c74e31

on April 09, 2013
at 01:31 PM

This is a great answer, Erin! I have definitely seem this same thing in regards to puberty coming earlier. I have also first hand experienced the horrible sleep habits of a teen (my SIL) who just turned 18. I'm only 6 years older than you, in between the mid 90's kids and the 80's kids and I can say that when I was in school the nutritional landscape wasn't that much better but there were definitely better habits. The gem of the points you make is "there's no real nourishment" +1 for that!

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on April 09, 2013
at 12:04 PM

You couldn't tell that I wasn't simply chubby.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on April 09, 2013
at 12:04 PM

I'm pretty sure I had some transient (a couple months) gynecomastia when I was a preteen, but then I also had man tits back then (and to a lesser degree, now, working on that!) Do I blame low-fat, soy-infused, zenoestrogen-polluted diet? No, I'm fat because I overate and gynecomastia is common.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on April 09, 2013
at 11:47 AM

+1 because there is an obvious difference between gyno (which fit and fat people can get) and man tits, which the majority of fat people have.

C836b2644e7319bb957fbb794a97708e

on April 09, 2013
at 07:35 AM

*distort. Apologies typing on phone

C836b2644e7319bb957fbb794a97708e

on April 09, 2013
at 07:35 AM

Thank you this is a fantastic answer! Now I wonder if girls can have similar (not the regular breast developement of puberty). Or perhaps weight may distthings visually? I still think there is more to this than just weight though.

C836b2644e7319bb957fbb794a97708e

on April 09, 2013
at 04:55 AM

Roth- Also gene expression is an awesome angle to consider!

C836b2644e7319bb957fbb794a97708e

on April 09, 2013
at 04:26 AM

Also- I wonder its kind of like mercury poisoning in fish. Far more harmful if you are pregnant or nursing. We grew up on that stuff but it really hit the kids in the womb that are young adults now?

C836b2644e7319bb957fbb794a97708e

on April 09, 2013
at 04:13 AM

Roth-Believe me I will. I mean to have a legit discussion and in NO way to demean or insult anyone. And to be honest I dont really see it as a critique of the children themselves. I see it as a consequence of the overall environment- everything from the water to toys to food and beyond. Kids are kids! They are at the mercy of so much!

C836b2644e7319bb957fbb794a97708e

on April 09, 2013
at 04:10 AM

AxialGentleman- I am part of that 30 year old grew up on sugary cereal crowd. That is why I am so disturbed by what I am seeing. This seems to be something more?

C836b2644e7319bb957fbb794a97708e

on April 09, 2013
at 04:09 AM

Yes I am specifically talking about gynecomastia vs being overweight. As for references I am only able to state some observations at this time. I am hoping that I will gain some new insight from this discussion and will be able to narrow down my search on the topic.(And find some scientifically reliable references on the matter)

72cf727474b8bf815fdc505e58cadfea

on April 09, 2013
at 03:53 AM

+1 for requesting references. For that matter, is there evidence that people are eating more processed crap than they were a generation ago? Remember that "a generation ago" isn't hardy farmers eating eggs and bacon anymore; it's 30 year-olds who grew up with all the sugary cereal and factory-farmed skim milk they could eat, and spent a substantial portion of their childhood in the thick of the trans-fat era.

508a4ebd259022f415326f7a6baec00c

(482)

on April 09, 2013
at 03:04 AM

I recently reflected on what I was fed throughout my childhood. I was active, and healthy, but eating GARBAGE! Processed meats, tons of sugars, tons of grains and carbs. And I thought for the most part my diet was healthy. Luckily, I was extremely active and maintained a good physique. But that explains why all those around me were fat, sick, and dare I say, "pathetic".

3327924660b1e2f8f8fc4ca27fedf2b2

(2919)

on April 09, 2013
at 02:43 AM

That being said, I completely agree. We're living in an age where we're just now starting to see some of the REALLY bizarre stuff that is going to occur because of the cumulative effect of negative gene expression/poor nutrition during conception and infancy. Raising a child begins even before conception with the mother's health. You should read up on some of Weston A. Price's dentistry of isolated cultures around the world.

3327924660b1e2f8f8fc4ca27fedf2b2

(2919)

on April 09, 2013
at 02:41 AM

Tread carefully. I can see this topic being closed on PH because someone will get offended at your constructive critique of children.

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8 Answers

5
32652cb696b75182cb121009ee4edea3

(5802)

on April 10, 2013
at 01:04 AM

One of the things you pick up reading Weston Price, Cate Shanahan, etc, is that the damage we do to our bodies with food isn't fully realized in our own bodies. It isn't even fully realized in our children's bodies. It is our GRANDCHILDREN who will benefit (or suffer) the most from our food choices. (I wish I could link to specific articles on this, but I can't remember any of the places I've read it at the moment.) One of the best indicators of health is supposedly the health/habits of the maternal grandmother.

So if you have a 13 yr old (b2000) who was born to a 25 yr old mother (b1975), who was in turn born to a 25 yr old mother (b1950), you are seeing the direct descendant of the beginnings of the processed food boom (post WWII). The grandmother born in 1950 would have been the first generation to be raised on jello salad, breakfast cereal, margarine, etc, rather than broth, porridge, butter, etc.

And yes, it is sad. I was considered a "fat" kid, but when I look back I just had a little more meat on my bones than the skinny kids. So many children today who already have "wheat belly" by age 10, and a lot of them are even healthy, active kids in many other ways. Yes, they are probably eating a lot of junk, but its the genetics (or rather the epigenetics) that are against them.

3
32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on September 07, 2013
at 12:44 AM

You sure you're not confusing being fat with legit gynecomastia? Any reference to suggest that gynecomastia is more prevalent today than before?

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on April 09, 2013
at 12:04 PM

You couldn't tell that I wasn't simply chubby.

C836b2644e7319bb957fbb794a97708e

on April 09, 2013
at 04:09 AM

Yes I am specifically talking about gynecomastia vs being overweight. As for references I am only able to state some observations at this time. I am hoping that I will gain some new insight from this discussion and will be able to narrow down my search on the topic.(And find some scientifically reliable references on the matter)

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on April 09, 2013
at 12:04 PM

I'm pretty sure I had some transient (a couple months) gynecomastia when I was a preteen, but then I also had man tits back then (and to a lesser degree, now, working on that!) Do I blame low-fat, soy-infused, zenoestrogen-polluted diet? No, I'm fat because I overate and gynecomastia is common.

72cf727474b8bf815fdc505e58cadfea

on April 09, 2013
at 03:53 AM

+1 for requesting references. For that matter, is there evidence that people are eating more processed crap than they were a generation ago? Remember that "a generation ago" isn't hardy farmers eating eggs and bacon anymore; it's 30 year-olds who grew up with all the sugary cereal and factory-farmed skim milk they could eat, and spent a substantial portion of their childhood in the thick of the trans-fat era.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on April 09, 2013
at 11:47 AM

+1 because there is an obvious difference between gyno (which fit and fat people can get) and man tits, which the majority of fat people have.

C836b2644e7319bb957fbb794a97708e

on April 09, 2013
at 04:10 AM

AxialGentleman- I am part of that 30 year old grew up on sugary cereal crowd. That is why I am so disturbed by what I am seeing. This seems to be something more?

C836b2644e7319bb957fbb794a97708e

on April 09, 2013
at 04:26 AM

Also- I wonder its kind of like mercury poisoning in fish. Far more harmful if you are pregnant or nursing. We grew up on that stuff but it really hit the kids in the womb that are young adults now?

3
C2fefd191418f9a7bd691077ab9b527a

(287)

on April 09, 2013
at 11:06 AM

I was born in '94, and a huge amount of my diet was low fat growing up....I was literally addicted to sugar since I was about 4.. I struggled with my weight and at the minute I'm about 30lbs overweight. (I'm 18) I'm slowly realising what triggers crazy eating behaviours in me...while I try to avoid bread ad grains, I've found that If I must have bread, that if I combine it with a good source of meat (or just a reasonable amount of protein) I'm not gonna be ravenously hungry, nor feel the need to eat and eat.... anyway, I can definitey say I've seen alot of obesity, and there are very few teenagers I know that are lean, they all have guts on them and while I wouldn't say they were fat, are quite soft looking ad seem to have underdeveloped muscles. Of course, our diets were cereal for breakast, sandwiches, crackers, crisps and a small chocolate bar and a fizzy drink or soda for school, and then it could be pasta for dinner... It was seen as reasonably healthy and that the fizy drink/soda was ust a treat....but by the time these kids were old enough to make their own choices, they've found it more dificult to have just one soda a day :O I've sat with girls who would eat 3 chocolate bars at lunch with a soda, after having soda earlier that day....they would get incredibly moody wiythout it... One friend tried to give up coke and her withdrawal symptoms were so severe she had a week off school as a result. To be honest, I'm not sure about the gynecomastia....all I have noted is that sexual development occurred far earlier than what was normal in my mother's day (my mam and her friends got their periods at around 13, some later-I know no one who got it after 12, it ranges from 7-11) I have noted that the majority of people my age have incredibly bad sleeping patterns, and find it so difficyult to sleep (even if they want to) others need something like soda or a carb ridden meal before bed to help them sleep... No one is ever full...and its generally cereal bars and rice cakes that people snack on (if theyre trying to be "healthy". There's no real nourishment. I know tonnes of people with mental health issues, particularly depression and anxiety.. :/ I don't know if this is definitely linked to our diets, but I thought It might provide some insight.

D964a9a8eef65e10b292394f32c74e31

on April 09, 2013
at 01:31 PM

This is a great answer, Erin! I have definitely seem this same thing in regards to puberty coming earlier. I have also first hand experienced the horrible sleep habits of a teen (my SIL) who just turned 18. I'm only 6 years older than you, in between the mid 90's kids and the 80's kids and I can say that when I was in school the nutritional landscape wasn't that much better but there were definitely better habits. The gem of the points you make is "there's no real nourishment" +1 for that!

3
72cf727474b8bf815fdc505e58cadfea

on April 09, 2013
at 06:30 AM

I was surprised to find this overview from the British Medical Journal in 2008 estimating that gynecomastia occurs sometime before age 14 in 60% in adolescent boys! However, that's almost identical to the rate found in this JAMA article from 1961. Both sources note that the majority of cases spontaneously resolve within a year or two. So, a cursory search suggests that yes, gynecomastia in adolescent boys is very common, but it's not drastically increasing.

One possibility is that gynecomastia becomes more obvious when overall body fat is higher, so an increase in obesity will increase the proportion of gynecomastia cases that are obvious to an outside observer.

C836b2644e7319bb957fbb794a97708e

on April 09, 2013
at 07:35 AM

*distort. Apologies typing on phone

C836b2644e7319bb957fbb794a97708e

on April 09, 2013
at 07:35 AM

Thank you this is a fantastic answer! Now I wonder if girls can have similar (not the regular breast developement of puberty). Or perhaps weight may distthings visually? I still think there is more to this than just weight though.

C836b2644e7319bb957fbb794a97708e

on April 09, 2013
at 06:56 PM

Thank you this is a fantastic answer! Now I wonder if girls can have similar (not the regular breast development of puberty). Or perhaps weight may distort visually? I still think there is more to this than just weight though.

2
Ee3e78e4ce4915b71add3a08de262f5c

on April 09, 2013
at 07:06 AM

I feel like I am in the age range that just missed the worst of the "epidemic." I am thirty now... so back in the 90's, I don't think there were many fat kids at all, maybe a few in the class. I was made fun of for being overweight, but I wasn't overweight if you compare 13 year old me to 13 old youths now. I see how hard it was for me to give up sugar and grains... I just can't imagine how this generation of kids will do it. It's heartbreaking to me. I seriously don't want to bring children into this world for that reason -- what will the quality of their nutrition be?

2
532cfd279d793e8fcc23b9f6d91dde5c

(1981)

on April 09, 2013
at 02:44 AM

My SO and I have noticed this and come to the same conclusion. Poor babies.

1
A048b66e08306d405986b6c04bf5e8e4

on April 09, 2013
at 11:36 PM

I see this all the time. I see little boys who look like middle-aged men, little girls who have breast tissue, teenage boys who are sporting "the pregnant woman" look...frightening.

1
F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on April 09, 2013
at 05:48 AM

Not sure if this is at all relevant, but in her book Dr. Cate describes four different body types: apple, hourglass, banana and... I forgot. She claims that the ONLY suitable body type for women is hourglass due to evolution/easier childbirth selection. All other shapes are there because of what we eat.

So you are on to something.

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