Fat, Media

OMG, It’s Almost Like Fat Kids Don’t Eat Candy 24/7!

Over at the NYT’s “Well” blog, Tara Parker-Pope shares a new study on fat kids that has “surprising” findings: they get fewer cavities than normal weight kids!

Raise your hand if you’re as surprised as she is.

No? Me neither.

I mean, actually, I’m a little surprised that the results weren’t just even. (Are thin people not teaching their kids to brush and floss, or what?) But see, I don’t assume fat kids get fat by eating tons of sugary shit, nor do I assume that fat kids are lazy and thus might have lackluster oral hygiene. And if you don’t assume either of those things, then it’s really not surprising that their teeth aren’t rotting out of their fat little heads. Go figure!

Says Parker-Pope:

The findings don’t mean being overweight protects teeth, but they do raise questions about the differences in foods eaten by overweight children compared to their normal weight peers. It also debunks the stereotype of the overweight child who binges on cavity-causing candy and sugary foods.

Ding ding ding! By jove, I think she’s got it!

Except, wait–

One theory is that overweight children may actually be eating fewer cavity-causing sweets than normal weight kids and instead overeating fatty foods.

Yes, I suppose that’s one theory. Also, maybe fat children are taught to brush after every meal, and since they eat 9 meals a day, that explains it. Or maybe they all floss while sitting in front of the TV, when the thin kids are outside playing. Or maybe the candy, donuts, and pop fat kids all consume in massive quantities don’t cause cavities after all, and further research is needed! I mean, IT COULD BE ANYTHING.


On the upside, one of the researchers admits in no uncertain terms that their hypothesis was wrong, and they’ve got some head-scratchin’ to do now:

“We expected to find more oral disease in overweight children of all ages, given the similar causal factors that are generally associated with obesity and caries,” said Eastman Dental Center’s Dr. Dorota Kopycka-Kedzierawski, the lead author. “Our findings raise more questions than answers. Research to analyze both diet and lifestyle is needed to better understand the results.”

Our findings raise more questions than answers. Man, that’s music to my ears. If a lot more obesity researchers would just admit that much, I would be happy as a fat pig in shit.

(H/T Shapeling Ailea)

69 thoughts on “OMG, It’s Almost Like Fat Kids Don’t Eat Candy 24/7!”

  1. My guess is that fat kids are eating less sugary foods, because their parents are restricting their eating more in an attempt to make them thin.

  2. I think a very plausible theory would be that children who are naturally fat are shamed out of eating candy and foods thin children are permitted to enjoy without guilt.

    Because I would have thought the results would be even as well. The fact that they’re not means looking into something.

    So there’s my hypothesis – someone give me money to test it!

  3. I didn’t really finish that thought – and becuase they’re eating less sugary foods, they’re getting less cavities. But it’s hard to say.

    There are some… interesting theories in the comments. The frustrating ones: Fat kids eat more, therefore chew more, therefore the saliva protects their teeth. And, fat kids devour their food so quickly that the sugar doesn’t have time to eat away at the teeth. The less frustrating one: Overweight children are less likely to be suffering from malnutrition, which can cause weak teeth and bones.

  4. The frustrating ones: Fat kids eat more, therefore chew more, therefore the saliva protects their teeth. And, fat kids devour their food so quickly that the sugar doesn’t have time to eat away at the teeth.

    Damn, both of those are better than the ones I came up with for my absurd anti-fat list of possible explanations!

    And Becky and Time-Machine, that was my first thought, too. Followed by a variation on the malnutrition one–perhaps fat children’s parents aren’t psycho enough about diet that they would restrict growing children’s milk intake, hence fat kids getting more calcium.

  5. Weeellll…we do know already that fat people are less likely to have osteoporosis, which like tooth decay is a form of bone wasting. Nobody really knows what the mechanism is that causes that to happen either. But I’m surprised nobody in this story even brought that up as a possible connection.

  6. I thought the same as Becky – fat kids probably end up eating LESS sugar because of diets. Meowser’s theory about stronger bones is also an interesting one.

    Caries is not all about dental hygiene and sugar consumption anyway. I have two brothers, and when we were children, one of them was constantly eating candy and was lazy about oral hygiene, while the other was always brushing his teeth and ate less candy. Guess which one had at least five cavities every six months, and which one had no cavities at all until he was about twenty? There was no explanation other than genetic differences. The one with worse teeth was also thinner.

  7. Probably because cavities are caused by bacteria growing on the teeth and it’s the load-bearing exercise of carrying around more weight that’s supposed to prevent osteoporesis–totally different mechanisms are hypothesized.

    And the first thing that popped into my head was Becky’s idea too. Though I also like the idea that fat kids are more likely to have better nutrition. I would really really hope that thin kids aren’t vomiting to reduce weight and damaging their teeth that way, though that’s another idea that occurred to me.

  8. I’m waiting for the panicked headline: ZOMGZ CLEAN TEETH ASSOCIATED WITH TEH OBEEESTITIES!!! And on FOX news, “is your toothpaste making you fat? Film at 11.” Followed by a national boycott of toothbrushes by conscientious thin folks, and a PR recovery attempt by the dentists’s association.

    It always gives me perverse amusement to see doctorly folks try to comprehend how it is their “calories in, calories spent, it’s as simple as that” formula doesn’t seem to work in every instance. It’s such a neat, tidy theory on paper, they just can’t bear to part with it and their belief that anyone who is over a certain BMI is just packing away Snickers all day, and lying to cover for their “disordered eating.”

  9. Kate, if it makes you feel better, somebody also did seriously suggest that fatter kids eat more meals, therefore brush their teeth more often. Also, there was apparently a previous study done that found the same result, and researchers speculated that fat kids ate so much extra sugar that the bacteria just fed on the sugar instead of feeding on the teeth. Anything to avoid concluding that maybe fat kids just don’t eat more, hey?

  10. I’m remembering the time I was 12, having six cavities filled at once, and my dentist explained that one of the charming side effects of puberty is a change in saliva pH, which in my case was causing cavities for the first time in my wee life.

    Moral: cavities are caused by a multitude of factors, some of which are genetic and/or are due to the normal growth and/or aging process. Like another physical condition I can think of that someone may have mentioned recently….

  11. Kate, if it makes you feel better, somebody also did seriously suggest that fatter kids eat more meals, therefore brush their teeth more often


    Anything to avoid concluding that maybe fat kids just don’t eat more, hey?

    No kidding.

    Oh, and Piffle, the fact that different mechanisms are currently hypothesized doesn’t necessarily mean different mechanisms are actually at work. I mean, who knows if there’s a connection, but it’s not a huge leap. And as this very study shows, an educated hypothesis don’t make it true.

  12. My first thought was that fat kids are not allowed to have treats as often as thin kids. I was a fat kid, and I wasn’t allowed non-diet pop or any sweetened drinks, and the ice cream in the freezer was “adults only.” I’m pretty sure that I ate less sugar than the thinner kids. My parents never told me that it was because I was fat, and I didn’t have any siblings close to my age to compare myself to – but it seems pretty obvious in retrospect.

  13. Deniselle you hit it right on the head. I come from a long line of people with very bad teeth, and sweets/oral hygiene had nothing to do with it. My son fortunately inherited his father’s teeth, but my daughter got mine; unfortunately for her, since she was very careful about oral hygiene and they’d just rot anyway.

    My son, the big soda drinker and candy eater and lazy brusher – seldom gets cavities. I can’t believe they thought fat kids would have more cavities because of candy – it takes time for those sugars to turn into the acids that eat teeth, and brushing is supposed to take care of that. Whatever; I’m just pissed at their shock and at the fact that they seriously expected that. Assholes.

  14. I’m thin and have terrible teeth, thanks in part to years of bulimia and some very nasty medication side effects which caused a change in saliva production and ph.

    Also, my left cheekbone is still numb because I was shot full of novicaine and had a half-dozen fillings done this morning.


  15. FWIW I was a skeletor kid, and I wasn’t allowed sweets because my teeth were rotten. My first major dental work was at 3 and it never stopped. (Being rather malnourished could have played a factor, but so did heredity.)

  16. ZOMGZ CLEAN TEETH ASSOCIATED WITH TEH OBEEESTITIES!!! And on FOX news, “is your toothpaste making you fat? Film at 11.”


    Stop brushing your teeth to keep away the fatz! Genius!

    And joining the “teeth made of chalk” club. We also have a long line of mutated and un-straight teeth in our family. My little brother actually started growing a second row of teeth when he was four or so and my little sister once had a tooth grow out of the roof of her mouth.

    So our family is no stranger to oral surgery. -.-;;

    I got lucky – my mutations worked like this:

    Teeth Doctor: Hey! Your wisdom teeth grew in so far back and so small that they didn’t break the surface and are completely benign, so you don’t have to get them removed!

    Me: Goodie!

    I also got out of surgery when I was younger by falling on my face and accidentally smacking my teeth into place.

    No. Really.

    But I do think the strength of teeth is probably very much genetic, meaning that maybe the same genetic code that can lead to fat is often found in people who are genetically prone to fat? There are lots of genetic traits that are often found together, so that’s a possibility.

  17. My family – not so many cavities, my non sugar big focus on whole foods eating friends family – cavities galore.

    genetics ya think?

  18. I’m surprised no one has mentioned fluoridation of water yet. I swear I read something recently about kids (in general) getting more cavities because their parents are giving them bottled water instead of tap, believing it to be healthier. Except bottled water doesn’t have fluoride, which is strongly preventive against cavities. Could thin kids, for whatever reason, be drinking less tap water than fat kids?

  19. What a timely post, as I do believe that this afternoon’s visit to the dentist caused a little cognitive dissonance…for him:

    Dentist: You have what I like to call “frosting cavities.”
    Phledge: Which means?
    D: They’re in between the teeth. Do you floss regularly?
    P: Pathologically. I have floss in my backpack AND my car.
    D: Hmm. What do you drink?
    P: Usually water, occasionally coffee or tea with sugar, almost never soda.
    D: How often do you take coffee?
    P: Once or twice a week.
    Cut to “yeah right” look on dentist’s face.
    D: You don’t drink soda?
    P: Almost never. Maybe once or twice a month.

    Fuck you. It’s bad enough that I need fillings; don’t torment me with your disbelief.

  20. Well, my fat Daddy and I are both walking around with not a filling in our heads, and we can both be pretty lazy about oral hygiene. Not to the point of being really gross, but neither of us are particularly rigorous about flossing, and we both have the habit of just grabbing a toothbrush and scrubbing off the funk with no toothpaste. I have a toothbrush in my car for just such an occasion, or when I forget to brush before I leave the house.

    Meanwhile, my skinny mom and brother are both full up with cavities and fillings, and they’re the suckers that actually like, use Crest and floss.

    So, either good teeth are genetic, or flossing causes cavities. Take your pick.

  21. I’ve had I think 6 cavities. I do/did consume lots of candy and soda though (and I’m also rather lax with brushing sometimes). I also didn’t get my first dental checkup till I was, I think 14 (no dental insurance). If I didn’t consume the candy, and had dental care, would I still have the cavities? No idea. I don’t care. I like my Pepsi and chocolate too much. :P And 6 cavities (not all at once, either) isn’t too bad.

    This is somewhat OT, but I remember my class sold carnations for Valentine’s Day and one kid wrote the “I love you like a fat kid loves cake.” One of the teachers helping us with the fundraiser felt that this was really mean and changed “fat” to “hungry.” I thought that was cool on her part. I used to think nothing of that phrase until I read on fat acceptance.

  22. Kate Good point about the hypotheses.

    I’m thinking about the tap water idea, and I like that too. Poor people are more likely to be fat (something I personally attribute to stress–I think the body says “Hard Times! Lay down insurance pronto!”), and probably drink more tap water than bottled. OTOH, they’re less likely to visit the dentist and have floride treatments.

  23. Not all tap water is flourdiated, fwiw. It isn’t here. Also, an excess of floride (which many of us reared in the 70s and 80s got) can contribute to the breakdown of teeth.

  24. I come from a long line of healthy- cavity free mouths. I thought I was heading that way as well. Never had a cavity (and I was an ‘overweight kid’) until I became pregnant. Two kids and an adrenal based hormone issue later, I have had a total of 28 cavities and lost a tooth completely (it broke.)
    Margaret, I had four filings yesterday, and have 6 more scheduled in May (I wanted to wait until after graduation).

    I would also like to see the sample size and sociodemographics on that study, because a big part of my dental issues came from a lowering of my SES and not being able to afford dental care. My children, however, are covered 100% by Medicaid. My hypothesis is that working poor and middle class kids actually have less access to dental care. That probably varies by state, though.

  25. Only very tangentially related, my husband posted this in his blog today:

    I find it disturbing, and was wondering if you had any comments…

  26. I’m fat. I’ve never had cavities.

    I also haven’t had any pop since I was 11 (by my own choice — when I went away to stay with cousins for the summer, I only drank water because they didn’t buy pop (it’s expensive!) and once I got back, it just stuck with me) so maybe that has something to do with it. Who knows? I think it’s very telling that the only reaction of the scientists was “WHAT?! NO WAY!! CHECK THE DATA! I’M CLUELESS HERE!!” But I’m sure someone will say they did something wrong in the study so it isn’t true since there’s NO WAY we could ever say that fat kids are more healthy than skinny kids. IT’S GLAMORIZING OBESITY, YA’LL.

  27. Just a question, because I really need to know and I know the fabulous Shapelings can help me-what do you do when someone hits you with the ‘calories in/calories out’ thing? I’ve run into that argument a few times and I just get stonewalled and don’t know what to say. Please help.

  28. I have no cavities yet — I’m nearly 40.
    My mom has pretty strong teeth, too.
    I’m wondering if the obesity, diabetes and good teeth genes are in a packaged set from my mom’s side. Kind of like the china I’ll inherit someday.

  29. Hey DawnD,
    I guess I think that main fallacy in the article is associating willpower with fatness. Being fat does not mean you lack willpower. The ability to control impulses, when harnessed to meet goals in life, isn’t such a bad thing. It doesn’t work long-term, though, when it comes to a basic need, like sleeping or eating.
    “The ability to resist impulses and delay gratification is highly associated with success in life.” And fat people do this all of the time. And plenty of thin people have a hard time resisting impulses and delaying gratification.
    For more on how “willpower” as it pertains to food is unsustainable, see this (not fat friendly, exactly) article:

  30. Haha…this makes me laugh.
    “Fat people can have good oral hygenie! What’s next, there are fat people who lead normal lives?”
    Yes, I do consume sugary stuff, but I also brush my teeth and use mouthwash twice a day. Hopefully this article may blow away someone’s misconception about fat people being lazy.

  31. Wait (scratch head) why are people studding this? Fat kids get cavities and skinny kids get cavities we already knew this. Shouldn’t we be more focused on other things instead of weight correlations to mouth rot? It astounds me that the thought process to absolutely everything now days is … If they have a problem it must be because they are fat… and now they are trying to prove it. Shouldn’t they be more focused on teaching kids to brush their teeth instead?

    Of course this whole thing reeks of people trying to solidify a job for themselves.

  32. Margaret, this: I remember my class sold carnations for Valentine’s Day and one kid wrote the “I love you like a fat kid loves cake.” makes me wonder — doesn’t everyone love cake?
    Mmmmm, cake. I love cake. I would marry it. I think I want cake to by my Valentine next year.
    My not-fat husband (whose teeth are an expensive nightmare) loves cake, too. I don’t think I could be married to someone who doesn’t love cake (since woman-cake marriages aren’t yet legal).

  33. An efficient digestive system means that nutrients are being delivered to the body where the body decides they’re needed. If a child is unable to thrive (ie. put on weight) it may be unrelated to the amount they are eating but connected to how their digestive system is working. If it’s very poor they’ll be thin and their body won’t be able to deliver nutrients to the hair, skin, teeth, bones etc. as well as a child with a strong and efficient digestive system.

  34. Come to think of it, I had a friend who was the fattest girl I’ve ever seen (a very close friend). She had braces, but she explained to me that she never – NEVER brushed her teeth – before or after the braces. And considering her breath, I guess that’s true.

    She never had a single cavity. Meanwhile skeletor here had been in the dentist’s chair countless hours being drilled and tortured, from toddlerhood on. She must have had awesome genes. Sigh.

  35. Jen, tell ’em to read the comments here or at the Rotund or at other blogs around the ‘Sphere and take note of the wide variation of intake/output of people of all different sizes. Then ask them if they know any thin people who eat tons of high-calorie food and don’t exercise much. If they say no, bring them to the nearest McDonald’s or any other fried-food joint, and point out all the skinny people eating the exact same shit the fatasses are eating, then getting in their cars and driving home. If they say yes, ask them why CICO only applies if you’re fat.

  36. I have a long history of avoiding, cancelling, or just plain skipping dentist appointments. This is why.

    Dentist: Do you eat a lot of sugar?
    Me: No.
    Dentist: Are you sure? Chocolate, cordial?
    Me: No.
    Dentist: Fruit juice?
    Me: No.
    Dentist: Lollies, chocolate?
    Me: Rarely.
    Dentist: Are you sure?
    Me: Yes.
    Dentist: Soft drinks? Coke?
    Me: No.
    Dentist: Are you sure?
    Me: Yes.
    Dentist: Fruit juice?
    Me: A glass a week, if that.
    Dentist: Hmm. Um. Fruit?
    Me: Yes.
    Dentist: What fruit?
    Me: Apples.
    Dentist: Raw apples, not candy apples?
    Me: Yes.
    Dentist: Well, how many?
    Me: A couple a day, I suppose.
    Dentist: [disbelieving look] Okay, well… Assuming you’re right, I suppose the acid from the fruit is hurting your teeth. Try to eat fewer apples, okay?

    This happens at least once per appointment. Sometimes twice. One awesome time it happened three times!

    They clearly don’t believe me when I say that I don’t drink a gazillion cans of Coke or eat a thousand bags of chips a day or crunch down on a kilo of chocolate. Yeah, I don’t take care of my teeth. I acknowledge that I am fast on the road to serious toothache and decay and all that crap. Yes, okay. But I’ve never eaten like that and I probably never will and I wish they’d stop asking every question as though I was a fucking liar. And asking again and again and again.

    And at the end of the appointment, after one or two interrogations — as though my answers would change in the hour I had been in the dentist’s chair — they tell me ‘okay, so, you really should cut down on the sugar, like don’t drink so many cans of soft drink, and try not to eat chocolate or lollies, okay?’ and I just … it makes me so furious.

    Gee, I wonder why I don’t want to go!

  37. If only fat kids did have bad teeth then dentists could agree to not treat them (as punishment for being TEH FATZ), their teeth would fall out, they couldn’t eat anymore and THEY’D BE CURED OF TEH FATZ!

  38. @ viragobites

    Next thing you know they’ll be offering surgery to remove the teeth of fat kids so they can’t guzzle down all those donuts and cakes. Then again, fat kids don’t so much EAT food as shove it directly down their throats, do they? Maybe that’s why they have less cavities, as someone already suggested. The food just doesn’t have a chance to create cavities.

    And by the by, I was considered underweight as a child and I got cavities. That might’ve been because I ate sugary food, but it also could have been because I completely refused to brush my teeth.

  39. I’m “overweight” according to the BMI, and I’m not prone to cavities.
    I think it’s the calcium that fat kids get in all the chocolate and cheese pizza they eat. I piously cluck my tongue and remark how HORRIBLE it is that those THIN kids can’t be BOTHERED to CARE about their teeth. I further conclude that those kids must have uneducated, lazy, moral reprobate parents. I resolve to help them become informed about how unacceptable they are now, but how MUCH COOLER they’ll be once they take steps to reverse their cavities: after all, i’s a simple issue of calcium in – calcium out, I exhort. And I know that my thinking here is logically-sound, because I have GOOD teeth, which means that my brain is better protected from environmental contaminants, owing to the fact that I don’t have artificial fillings disrupting the vibrations of my four bodily humors.

  40. I actually have really shitty weak enamel that doesn’t protect my teeth worth a damn.

    Except, according to my childhood dentist, it had nothing to do with my eating habits and was a) possibly worsened by my biological mother not getting enough pre-natal calcium and b) IN LARGE PART, GENETIC.

    But, you know, those geneticists. Harumph. What do they know?

  41. Hmm. “Overweight” seems to be the wrong way to describe a kid who is in the 95%ile for her age group; ‘a big kid overall’ seems to be more accurate. Especially among younger children.

    I have never had a cavity. Neither have most of my sisters; one had one. We didn’t eat a lot of sweets as kids, but the last time I went to the dentist, he described my teeth as cavity-proof not because of diet, but because the grooves in my molars are quite shallow, meaning that no food gets trapped.

  42. Jen wrote: “Just a question, because I really need to know and I know the fabulous Shapelings can help me-what do you do when someone hits you with the ‘calories in/calories out’ thing? I’ve run into that argument a few times and I just get stonewalled and don’t know what to say. Please help.”

    How about, for starters the oft-quoted “the human body is a little bit more complex than a bunsen burner”. If you are talking to people of the female persuasion, remind them of water retention before their periods for an every-day (err, every month) example).
    I remember this article about a scientist discovering a virus that influences the absorption of calories in the gut (unfortunately, I cannot find it now, sorry). He talked about how they had a lady stay in the hospital for two weeks. They had calculated how many calories her body was using for its upkeep, and that (and only that) is what they fed her. She gained like 10 pounds.

    I find that anecdotes are often replied to with “yeah, but that is *one* person”. But doctors in a hospital sound a bit more like solid evidence (emphasis on sound).

  43. Margaret, this: I remember my class sold carnations for Valentine’s Day and one kid wrote the “I love you like a fat kid loves cake.” makes me wonder — doesn’t everyone love cake?
    Mmmmm, cake. I love cake. I would marry it. I think I want cake to by my Valentine next year.

    I hate cake. Ask any of my friends. There are a few select chocolate cakes that make it through to my mouth, but it is rare. I hate cake so much that this: http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=9914635
    is going to be my wedding cake. I may fill it with truffles :)

  44. As a kid I wasn’t fat – until the age of twelve, when puberty did a number on me and an incredible yo-yo began and resulted in my having carried an extra 100 lbs. of fat for at least twenty years now. But my teeth were always susceptible to cavities, which are now believed to be caused by an infection.

    My father suffered for years from stomach ulcers, and both my parents had to have all their teeth pulled due to periodontal disease – both conditions are supposed to be linked to infections of H. Pylori, especially the ulcers. It’s also said to cause some types of heart disease.

    Maybe that was the kind of link scientists thought might exist between fat and dental caries? I know my general health changed when I started to gain weight. It could have been mostly due to hormonal changes, but I became depressed , developed psoriasis, and fell prey to all sorts of vague symptoms in addition to the weight gain. On the other hand, my sister’s health was always delicate, and she started to become fat as a toddler, with depression setting in at an extremely early age – I’ve never known her when she didn’t show signs of what I now see was childhood depression.

    While I don’t see fat as a disease, per se, I do think it may be a result of disease in some people, as well as other things like depression, psoriasis, diabetes, arthritis and heart disease. Science needs to get on the stick and find effective treatments for the things that are hurting people – and other people need to be respectful and compassionate to EVERYONE, including those of us who are living with these conditions.

  45. The findings don’t mean being overweight protects teeth

    If it had gone the other way, though, you BET they would have suddenly meant that being thin protects teeth.

  46. Fillyjonk said: “If it had gone the other way, though, you BET they would have suddenly meant that being thin protects teeth.”

    I was just thinking that. 9_9

  47. I think Margaret may have raised an important point – mechanisms for staying thin, like bulimia and dieting, can lead to direct tooth erosion (thank you, stomach acids) and assorted oral diseases (gum disease, thin enamel, etc.) due to malnutrition.

  48. A Sarah, don’t forget that we all know nobody wants to marry somebody with FILLINGS. And no one can force me to find cavities attractive! Because it’s UNHEALTHY!

    Man, it’s not often I get to feel morally superior by virtue of genetics, but I do have apparently impervious teeth.

  49. If it had gone the other way, though, you BET they would have suddenly meant that being thin protects teeth.

    Oh goddess YES. They must have been SO disappointed that they didn’t have yet another stick to club us with.

  50. Krista, when I said “everyone” in terms of loving cake, I really meant to say “people of all sizes” — I do know people who really don’t care for cake, can take it or leave it, who are fat and thin and in between. But that wedding cake is awesome. My friend’s daughter has a wooden birthday cake with each pre-cut slice connected by velcro for easy slicing — that might work, too.
    Or a cake with someone jumping out. Not a stripper, of course. maybe a clown (wait, let me guess, you also don’t care for clowns)… I need to stop…

  51. @wellroundedtype2

    I have a family history of fat, diabetes (not me–yet anyway) and good teeth. I didn’t get any cavities until I was pregnant (have had, I think, 3 now). I wouldn’t be at all surprised if there were a package deal there. :^)

    And WRT to the article on “willpower”–in their description here:
    “People who stick to an exercise program for two months report reducing their impulsive spending, junk food intake, alcohol use and smoking. They also study more, watch less television and do more housework. Other forms of willpower training, like money-management classes, work as well.”

    …what came up for me was that they might very well be describing a TYPE OF PERSON who is successful–e.g., the sort of person who can keep up a habit in one area is likely to be able to keep up a habit in another. I don’t see that as “willpower training” really. For one thing, we don’t know whether these people were *already successful* at doing this sort of thing. I could see the classes as “imparting information,” or “providing support”, but the characterization as “willpower training” kind of disturbed me. That and the conflation of lack of willpower with “gaining weight.”

    I LIKED the fact that they mentioned that utilizing willpower takes energy, and that resisting food is one of those things that takes energy–and that this will reduce your capacity for exercising willpower elsewhere. Yes, if I spend all my energy dieting, I will be less likely to be able to think clearly enough to make good decisions around, say, whether this outfit is a good deal and worth my money.

    Thanks for the other link. If I can mange it, I will look later (it’s a little too disturbing right now, from what I could see at a glance, but it does look interesting.)

  52. Fun things to jump out of cakes:

    Cats, big fluffy white ones for a wedding.
    Sproingy springs
    Balloons (not sure how to work this one, but I see a lot of balloons floating out of the cake, perhaps a trapdoor under the table with a large supply of He2?)
    Grasshoppers (?)
    A chocolate fountain, rising majestically with cherries and strawberries to dip.

  53. @Moonlight0806:

    I completely agree. I find the possible motivations behind such a study to be really fucking off-putting and bizarre.

  54. Definitely a strange study. Too much funding obviously.

    Anyway, I was slightly freaked out by this comment:

    “Man, it’s not often I get to feel morally superior by virtue of genetics, but I do have apparently impervious teeth.”

    I’m just uncomfortable with idea of moral superiority existing for any reason, and certainly not because of genetics.

    Isn’t size acceptance about taking morals out of the picture in relation to health. We can’t pick and choose what to feel superior to others about and then complain when it works “against” us.

    Also, my Mum and Dad had crappy teeth and both had them removed before I was born. Mum lost hers by the second child and I am her sixth. My teeth are thin, hair is nearly nonexistant and nails have gone to shit. I’m questioning whether I just didn’t get enough of whatever I needed in utero for these organs to function properly.

    It’s obviously complicated.

  55. Are all calories created equal? Hmmm.

    I’m full of cavities and am relatively thin (was skinny skinny skinny until I had babies). I could care less about fatty saltly stuff (z z z z to the potato chips) but if there’s anything sweet… get out of my way or you’ll be injured!!!

    Could sugar speed up your metabolism as it’s rotting your teeth? Interesting… I’ll have to think about that one over a cup of hot chocolate… mwah ha ha

  56. Fun things to jump out of cakes:

    Cats, big fluffy white ones for a wedding.

    So yeah, I read this as “cakes, big fluffy white ones.” And the idea of cakes jumping out of other cakes is just delightful to me. (But I am a big fan of good cake — Krista, I’ll eat your share.)

  57. “I’m just uncomfortable with idea of moral superiority existing for any reason, and certainly not because of genetics.”

    Sarahau, I’m pretty sure that comment was just riffing on people who do feel morally superior for being thin, white, whatever, and using good teeth as another example of something people might feel superior about, but which you really shouldn’t, because you have no real control over it.

    Sometimes satire doesn’t come across well in text.

  58. I just want to chime in here and say, yup, I’m super thin, with terrible teeth. My [also very thin] siblings’ teeth are, on the other hand, fabulous – I think each one has had one or two cavities, EVER. By the time my baby teeth fell out, most of them had fillings, and now almost every adult tooth has one. It’s also been almost impossible to get fillings to bond properly, leading many replacements and already one root canal. I feel like I’m in waiting for root canal #2.

    And I hear you about the annoying disbelieving dentists. I can swear to them up and down that yes, I brush twice a day, and I floss once a day, minimum, and I don’t eat much sugar, but they still try to find some way to blame me. I should just be flossing three times a day, of course! There was one pediatric dentist I saw for years who assured me I just had the softest enamel in the universe. I don’t understand why they can’t cut me the same slack as an adult.

    But hey, at least every tooth came in straight, wisdom teeth and all. Everybody else out there who is lazy enough to have impacting wisdom teeth and need all that oral surgery, well, you’re just driving up my dental insurance premiums. Or would be, if I had dental. ;-)

  59. Dani:

    Wait! Saliva pH? There’s a reason I never brushed before I was 11 and never got cavities, then brushed maniacally after I got braces and wound up needing 5 root canals?! Holy crap!

  60. Ummm….



    As a mildly overweight pre-teenager, I really don’t brush much. Once every couple of days. I have had two cavities, and surprisingly, these were acquired when I was young and brushed twice a day or more.

    And as far as “Fat kids and candy,” goes…Well, I don’t eat anything really sugary. Frankly, the only kind of genuinely good candy in my book is a lollipop. Oh well, I guess we’re all just going to keep stuffing our fat faces until the cows come home, wrecked with obesity from being fed with a non-diverse, vitamin-less diet. (But who knows, maybe they don’t eat grass.)

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