25 Years of Food Follies: 1987-2012

We're looking back at oddball food trends and nutritional nonsense. By: Jenny Everett

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Conspiracy theory: Fat people are wrecking the world
Photo: Jeff Pidgeon

2008-2009 | Conspiracy theory: Fat people are wrecking the world

Pixar's 2008 hit film Wall-e draws a dotted line between obesity and ecological catastrophe. Then, in 2009, British scientists at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine claim that a country with a lean population will consume almost 20% less food than a fat country like the U.S., yielding a smaller carbon footprint—in part because agriculture is a significant contributor to global warming, and in part, the authors said, because adiposity causes people to drive around in cars more often than walk. Most over-the-top headline that follows release of the paper: "Are Fat People Destroying the Earth?" But a writer on Slate.com, tracing the history of the obesity-ecology myth to the '70s, calls the argument fatuous: "The fattest people in the nation are not, as a group, the same folks you'd find driving Hummers or jetting back and forth between New York and L.A."

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