Fat Shaming, Public Service or Both?

The video above, by Vegsource.com, has promoted a lot of conversation.

The video shows pictures of a number of authors of popular low carbohydrate diet books. A number of them are overweight.

One criticism of this video is that it is “fat shaming”. I agree with this. The music, the presentation, etc have a mean tone. To be fair, I don’t know if that was intentional. Nobody yells mean names at gamblers, smokers, etc walking down the street. They are just people, who may be very nice people and who may be making stellar contributions, but who have a problem they are struggling with. Overweight people deserve the same consideration. People are also more likely to consider what is being promoted if they don’t feel like you are trying to make them feel bad themselves.

Other people commenting on the video have pointed out that there are slim low carbohydrate diet book authors and slim low carbohydrate diet devotees. True. There are also fat vegans and I’ve also met overweight people on low fat plant based diets.

I also think it is slightly foolish to evaluate what a person is saying about nutrition and fitness by their appearance. I’ve met many good looking athletes who have made incredibly ignorant statements about nutrition and fitness. These people were just lucky with the genetic lottery and the circumstances of their lives. I’ve also met exercise physiologists who had incredibly useful things to say about nutrition and fitness, even though they would never be approached about posing on magazine covers.

Having information is one thing. Applying information is another. People have reasons for choosing to apply information or not that have nothing to do with the veracity of their information.

Yet, as short sighted as it is I believe that people do evaluate nutrition and information by how well the purveyor of that information looks. I had never seen pictures of these authors before this video and it made an impression on me. As myopic as it might be, I did find myself thinking “if those diets are so effective and such a joy to make into part of your life, why didn’t those authors stick with it themselves”? I think it is incorrect to think like that, but given how cruel animal produced foods are, how destructive to the environment consumption of those foods are and how bad animal product consumption is over the long term for human health it may not be such a bad thing for people to see the pictures of those authors and decide to stay away from their books.

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