FuturePundit comments on the recent story about the shift away from the “Mediterranean diet” in the Mediterranean, specifically Greece. This is naturally leading to greater obesity. FuturePundit states:
Fresh produce and olive oil can’t compete with hamburgers and fries. We need to either genetically engineer ourselves to dislike junk food or we need to genetically engineer our metabolisms to handle junk food without harmful effects.
I’ve been trying to avoid fried foods myself; but one thing that I have been noting is that when I walk by a restaurant where there’s a lot of frying going on I get really, really, curious about what it might taste like. Tastes and impulse control exhibit variation, but the mean is simply going to cause a whole lot of chronic health trouble in a world of cheap calories.* Nevertheless, we need to admit that there’s a big utility return here. People really like fatty fried foods, though I think in classic Epicurean fashion the optimal pleasure is obtained by alternating between lightly cooked dishes rich in green vegetables with meat-centered items fried in saturated fats. But the optimum mix is probably still way too heavy on saturated fats.
Below the fold I’ve posted the chart of obesity rates by nation rank-ordered. I suspect some will be surprised by #2.
* I do think we should keep in perspective that the “obesity epidemic” is an unfortunate byproduct of a wealthy and well-fed society.