Food fight: CO2 makes us fatter

Well, this is amusing. But, after looking at some numbers on food production, it may simply be that CO2 is helping us grow more food. And what happens when a well fed population has more food? It eats it of course. The caveat is that correlation is not always causation, the Green Revolution (the agricultural one, not the crazy one) and Norman Borlaug had a lot to do with this too.

Source: FAO agriculture report and Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center

From ScienceNordic: New theory: CO2 makes you fat

Danish researchers have announced a rather wild hypothesis: Perhaps we are getting fatter and fatter because of the increasing CO2 levels in the atmosphere.

I had to laugh at this “fact” sidebar in the article:

Researchers are wondering whether CO2 affects embryos in the womb, so the embryos develop a tendency towards obesity.

This is one of the hypotheses that will be tested if the researchers can raise funding for large-scale trials with rats.

Gosh, giant CO2 fattened people and fat rats. These might do well with the smaller climate optmized green cat-like overlords from our other crazy story this week.

CO2 enhanced person with future cat-like optimal climate engineered overlord. Click for source

Other excerpts (tinfoil hats optional):

CO2 makes us eat more

This discovery made it possible to develop a precise hypothesis for how CO2 makes us fatter: We breathe more CO2, which makes our blood more acidic; this affects our brain, so we want to eat more.

In 2011, together with researchers Anders Mikael Sjödin and Arne Astrup from the University of Copenhagen, Hersoug started to test the hypothesis on humans.

At the university’s Department of Human Nutrition, they placed six young men in special climate rooms, where some of them were exposed to increased amounts of CO2. After seven hours, the men were allowed to eat as much as they liked.

This little pilot study showed that the men with the greater amount of CO2 in their blood ate six percent more food than the men who had been in climate rooms with a normal amount of CO2.

“We could also see that the extra amount of CO2 caused the men’s heartbeat to rise, and this gives us an indication that CO2 affects the brain’s nerve cells – orexins in the hypothalamus – which among other functions control our appetite and the composition of our nutrient intake,” says Hersoug.

“A very small change in the activity of these nerve cells will presumably have great importance for our development of obesity or for maintaining our weight.”

Does CO2 give men beer guts?

If the researchers’ hypothesis is correct, it raises many questions.

CO2 is found in the bubbles in fizzy drinks and beer – does that have any importance for obesity?

“Of course I have considered whether CO2 has very local impacts, which could explain how beer guts develop,” says the researcher.

Exercise and vegetables can limit the ‘CO2 effect’

But Hersoug says the hypothesis gives us no excuse for dropping diets and exercise – on the contrary.

“We know already that a sedentary lifestyle is a risk factor for many diseases,” he says. “According to our theory, this may be because of the higher acidity in the blood arising from a sedentary lifestyle indoors in a CO2 concentration that is higher than it is outdoors.”

On the other hand, he says, “If you’re out running, you get your blood circulating and you can pump much of the CO2 out of your body, so our hypothesis is really further evidence that exercise is healthy. And exercise may be even more necessary in the future, when we can expect even higher CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere.”

Hersoug adds that fruit and vegetables also reduce the blood’s pH value, so the CO2 theory is also an argument for eating more healthily.

Oh noes! Blood acidification – the next CO2 scourge! Breath deeply, it worked in The Andromeda Strain. Do not panic.

Read the whole thing here while you munch on a bag of buttered popcorn.

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Harold Ambler

It’s well known that climate skeptics principally eat popcorn. Whether supplies at present are sufficient to get us through the next few Climategate-type episodes remains a mystery.
Readers of my book are encouraged to review it on Amazon. Everyone else should simply buy it. Thank you.

Doug W

It’s official. CO2 is now the “gaseous ex machina” explanation for, well, everything.

temp

Peak Popcorn tis the end of the world.

vboring

I hope this is a misrepresentation of the foundation of their study:
“At the university’s Department of Human Nutrition, they placed six young men in special climate rooms, where some of them were exposed to increased amounts of CO2. After seven hours, the men were allowed to eat as much as they liked.”
A sample size of 6 people, with a 6% difference in consumption means precisely nothing.

Pull My Finger

Hey, people used to think we were crazy for believing in aliens, the flat earth, witches and flying cars run on unicorn farts. Looks who’s (maniacally) laughing now!
Yours,
Syd Barrett

Algebra

Funny. I always thought beer guts were a result of liver damage.

TG McCoy (Douglas DC)

Love that “If I weighed 200 lbs. I would rip your throat out.” look on the cat…

Oldseadog

“… increased CO2… .”
How much increased CO2?
I think we should be told.

Pull My Finger

That is definately one unamused kitty.

TerryS

A study involving six males is being extrapolated to 7 billion people. That sounds reasonable.
Apart from that isn’t there a contradiction in there? They say:

We could also see that the extra amount of CO2 caused the men’s heartbeat to rise..

Surely that means they are metabolising faster and so will need more food to replace what their body has consumed.
On the other hand, the faster metabolising means other researchers will be able to claim more CO2 causes malnutrition.

Pure social engineering tinfoil hat bunk

Ged

““Of course I have considered whether CO2 has very local impacts, which could explain how beer guts develop,” says the researcher.”
Because ALCOHOL doesn’t do anything to one’s neurons or metabolism, or signal for adipocyte maturation, right? Nor that BEER is basically liquid, alcohol laced bread with lots of calories that people drink in far too great of amounts?
Do we have to throw our ALL our knowledge on science so we can demonize CO2?
Just… palms to face…

Mark Bofill

Get on the band wagon! Just think of it – the general obesity models to be generated on computers! The attribution studies! The hockey sticks we’ll create, the CO2-obesity junkets we’ll enjoy, the international treaties we’ll sign! Imagine all the billions of dollars we’ll do in research on diets during the paleozoic era! This is it folks – if you feel like you missed your chance with CAGW, sign up now!

MarkW

I’d like to see some evidence to support the claim that more CO2 in the air means more CO2 in the blood.
The body has feedback mechanisms to regulate CO2.

John W.

And here I thought it was the bacon.
CO2: Is there anything it can’t do?

Coach Springer

Peak Popcorn. +
It’s peak CO2 that’s the problem though.

Stephen Richards

Do we have to throw our ALL our knowledge on science so we can demonize CO2?
Just… palms to face…
et mains à l’air

MarkW

“We could also see that the extra amount of CO2 caused the men’s heartbeat to rise”
Heart beats faster. Which means the metabolism has increased.
These guys are surprised that the subjects with higher metabolic rates ended up eating more food?

John W.

@Algebra says:
“Funny. I always thought beer guts were a result of liver damage.”
Don’t be silly. Everybody knows beer guts and liver damage both cause beer drinking.

Is Michael Mann a cat-like optimal climate engineered overlord?
Anyone seen him with something to judge scale properly? I suspect that tree ring cross section he often appears next to is about 3 inches in diameter.

Mr Squid

I think we can safely blame Greece’s imminent default on CO2. CO2 is also primarily responsible for Justin Bieber.

MarkW

From vague memories of high school physics, I remember something about how respiration is controlled. Basically out body measures the level of CO2 in the lungs, and when it reaches a threshold point, we breath.
Seems to me that if the level of CO2 in the atmosphere were higher, this threshold level would be reached more quickly. (This is why I doubt higher CO2 in the atmosphere would result in higher CO2 in the blood)
As a result, the respiration rate will increase. More movement of the diaphram ( a pretty big muscle after all) could explain why the heart is beating a little faster.
Faster breathing, faster heart rate. Sounds like more calories getting burned.

Jack Langdon

This is GREAT, I thought everything was my fault and that I was too fat because I drink too much beer and eat too much.

Chris B

So that’s why fast food joints serve carbonated drinks……….to get you to eat more.

P.F.

So, when I drink Pepsi, should I belch out the excess CO2 or try to keep it in? If I belch it out, am I contributing to global warming, or just passing that which was there to begin with before the Pepsi was manufactured?
If I can keep it in, does that make me a CO2 sequestration device worthy of praise and admiration?
If I drink Diet Coke, does that counter the makes-you-fat aspects of the increased CO2?
Just wonderin’.

There must be a huge cloud of CO2 over the island of Tonga

Craig W

Getting fat during times of abundance makes sense.
We need to store fat before the next iceage, after all, it’s in our genetic code … right?

They get FUNDING for such tripe?
Steve Garcia

David Schofield

Now you see what I’d do is compare submariners [say 6 months high CO2] to a non submariner control group in the navy and see how the weight gain differed. But that would be too cheap and simple and oh what was that word again?..’scientific’….

steveta_uk

So if I stay in and watch the TV with the Mrs in the evening, I don’t develop a beer gut.
But if I go down the pub, I’m exposed to many more people breathing out, so the higher CO2 levels in the pub cause the beer gut.
Obvious really.

The effort to decarbonize the human body continues apace. Next, H2O. It will be incontrovertibly established that access to water increases blood volume, and hence weight. Therefore …

Frumious Bandersnatch

>Harold Ambler says:
>March 13, 2012 at 10:33 am
>It’s well known that climate skeptics principally eat popcorn. Whether supplies at present are >sufficient to get us through the next few Climategate-type episodes remains a mystery.
What in the world did sceptics use for forage before the invention of popcorn, chocolate and twinkies?

John West

“We breathe more CO2, which makes our blood more acidic;” …… “fruit and vegetables also reduce the blood’s pH value, so the CO2 theory is also an argument for eating more healthily.”
A reduction in pH value is more acidic, so eat less fruits and vegetables. Eat more chicken and beef!
LOL, good science fiction is at least internally consistant even if there’s rather implausible premisses, these guy’s can’t even do that. So, this is bad science fiction. No Stars.

Mac the Knife

“CO2 is found in the bubbles in fizzy drinks and beer – does that have any importance for obesity?”
Yup – Every time I crack a cold one, I need a ham sandwich, pickle, and some chips to go with it!
Loooove the foil ‘Cats in the Hats’!!!!
MtK

Cassandra King

Hey, its building a legal case against any company that generates CO2, from soft drinks to power companies as long as they have the necessary deep pockets its lawyer up time down at the commune. And if the evidence is not there then make some up, why not? Its all statistic based extrapolation and you could turn black into white with enough adjustments. Fake research is all the rage now.

Should be easy to test. People who work in horticultural greenhouses with intentionally enhanced CO2 should be the fattest in the world. I bet they aren’t.

Jason Calley

Levels of CO2 have been known to reach 3000 ppm in homes, schools, and offices. I would be surprised if an average person could even tell the difference between being in a room with the current 0.04% CO2 and a room with, say, double that, 0.08%.

Latitude

…co2 levels have not risen enough to do this

oeman50

I am going to volunteer to be a subject in the experiments to determine how the CO2 in beer affects us. No rats need apply.

Luther Wu

Who are these people and where do they come up with this craziness?

Mac the Knife

P.F. says:
“March 13, 2012 at 11:06 am
So, when I drink Pepsi, should I belch out the excess CO2 or try to keep it in? If I belch it out, am I contributing to global warming, or just passing that which was there to begin with before the Pepsi was manufactured? If I can keep it in, does that make me a CO2 sequestration device worthy of praise and admiration? ”
P.F.,
If you can keep it in, your CO2 sequestration capabilities makes you eligible for Carbon Offset Credits! Sweeeeet!!!

TerryS

Re: feet2thefire

They get FUNDING for such tripe?

They don’t get funding for this tripe, they use this tripe to get funding.
Since they are researching a possible adverse affect of CO2 they will probably get the funding from somewhere.

Eric Anderson

Wait just a minute . . .
Is that graph showing increasing food production — indeed, not just increased production, but increased production *per capita*?
That can’t be right. Doesn’t everyone know we are running out of space, the world’s population will result in a collapse of the food supply, and all manner of apocalyptic scenes will unfold? We need someone to beat back this outrageous idea of increased food production. Where’s that genius Ehrlich and his friends when you need them?!
/sarc (for the ironically challenged)

What makes us fat is pure white and deadly. Its called FRUCTOSE.
Calories in fructose are empty so they steal ingredients from other cells in the body.

This explains why Coca Cola ‘Hellenic’ have been employing Geoffrey Boulton as a climate expert, see: http://csrreport.2010.coca-colahellenic.com/images/pages/files/download_center/cch_CSR2010.pdf
…and yes, this is a Greek branch of the company, so CO2 probably has contributed to the destruction of Europe’s economy.

Jessica

I think we need to consider the possibility that rising CO2 levels are making some Danish researchers stupider.

Gail Combs

Actually the cat is telling you to STOP EATING VEGGIES it is meat eating that makes you thin.

RiHo08

Like everything else about our body, it accommodates to its environment. Go to altitude, climb a mountain, be a little hypoxic in the rarified air, breath more deeply, blow off CO2, voila we have more buffering bicarbonate in our blood than needed to balance CO2. This is especially true for our slow accommodating system, our spinal fluid. Ultimately, we develop “mountain sickness.” Walk down 600 feet and sleep the night away, and our kidney has time to dump the excess bicarbonate from the blood, a couple of days later, bicarbonate leaches out of the spinal fluid, and voila, we have accommodated. People do live at 15,000 feet, work and play etc.
Add CO2 to our environment and all sorts of things happen acutely; but, just wait a few days, and our body accommodates to higher environmental CO2 concentrations by…the kidneys keeping more bicarbonate until we have re-established a balance between CO2 and its buffer bicarbonate. Voila, in a short time, we are back to what we originally were, an eating, thinking, moving machine. The US Navy has done a lot of experiments on the environments inside submarines for 6 month stints, including sustained elevation of CO2. Since space is limited in a submarine, food, fat, and function are all considered long before sending sailors in nuclear armed nuclear powered submarines for prolonged submersion cruises. Information is available for those inclined to look before they leap.
A final note: although from our present environment we inhale 400 ppm CO2, we exhale 40,000 ppm CO2. Our body seems to accommodate a very large “flux” in CO2. The CO2 we exhale has to get from the cells to the tissues, to the blood, to be pumped to the lungs to be exhaled. The buffering capacity of our body is dynamic and constantly adjusting to its… environment.
The authors seem to be extrapolating acute exposure data to long term changes in behavior; i.e., eating more. Chronic exposure data with behavioral changes requires a lot more evidence to pursued me.

Gail Combs

Actually CO2 DOES make us fat it is all that extra sugar in the corn syrup that Coca Cola puts in your soda. CLICK

Gail Combs says:
March 13, 2012 at 12:18 pm
Actually CO2 DOES make us fat it is all that extra sugar in the corn syrup that Coca Cola puts in your soda. CLICK
========================================================
My Diet Coke has zero sugar in it !!