Nope, it's not the cheeseburger, it's the air that's making you pack on the pounds.

A Danish study of weight-gain statistics over a 22-year period found that increased carbon dioxide in the air may be causing people to eat more and therefore may be making people fatter. Boiled down, the idea is that the pH value of our blood affects our nerve cells, and they affect how hungry we feel and our metabolism. When we breathe in more CO2, our blood becomes more acidic and we feel hungrier.

The study revealed that thinner people and fatter people were gaining weight at about the same proportion, indicating that environmental factors may be at work. Additionally, about 20,000 animals were studied to have gained weight even when given food under controlled conditions, further supporting the theory that the air may impact food intake.

Either way, CO2 levels in the U.S. are highest on the East Coast, where obesity rates have risen the highest over the past quarter century, according to the study. And we thought it was the Philly Cheesesteaks.


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  • 33 Comments
      paulwesterberg
      • 2 Years Ago
      I thought that most of the weight increase was due to suburban sprawl and increased time spent driving and stuck in traffic.
      noevfud
      • 2 Years Ago
      Also means much more Pollen.
      At_Liberty
      • 2 Years Ago
      mmmm... cheese... burger... oh sweet death :-)
      RC
      • 2 Years Ago
      LOL so much for shaving weight from vehicles as a mean to increase fuel efficiency. Gas needs to be TAXED.
      Actionable Mango
      • 2 Years Ago
      I've always wondered what happens to all that CO2 when people consume carbonated drinks and aren't belching. I assume it is absorbed into the blood, carried to the lungs, and exhaled. But I really have no idea. If it IS absorbed into the body, won't that have way more of an effect?
        paulwesterberg
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Actionable Mango
        I bet the corn syrup in carbonated beverages causes more weight gain than the CO2.
      Uebermensch
      • 2 Years Ago
      More proof that, as long as taxpayers are willing to pay, there are people who will sell you any "study" you want. http://endofthewest.blogspot.com/
        GoodCheer
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Uebermensch
        Your concept of 'proof' is probably different than that employed in such studies.
      • 2 Years Ago
      I think that's an In-N-Out Burger Double-Double. Best burger ever.......mmmmmmmm!
        Grendal
        • 2 Years Ago
        I think it's been 12 years since I had an In-N-Out burger. Damn. Though I do live next to "Bobcat Bite" which was rated the #1 burger in the US on a couple food shows.
      Nick
      • 2 Years Ago
      Perhaps Co2 has a dumbing effect as well? The people you see at McDonald's are not only fat, they look also insane.
        EZEE
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Nick
        In a sense, you are right, but probably not how you think. McDonalds has tried various healthy items, but in most cases, they have failed. The reason why they have failed is part of the 'insane' thing. They would test the stuff, and because they have the resources, it DID taste good. So during tests, people liked it. But, it didn't sell! So they got suspicious. They then said, 'here is our new, healthy Xx sandwich.'. The ratings immediately went down. They then too two identical Big Macs and called one 'healthy' made with healthy ingredients. The other was just said to be 'normal.'. During tests, the 'healthy' big Mac failed, even though it was exactly the same. People steered away from the healthy stuff, even though it was only being called healthy. The conclusion they came to was that people go to McDonalds for comfort food and don't expect, nor want it to be healthy. Of course, the problem for them is, some loud people scream abut the food not being healthy, then there are others who weight 6,000 pounds who sue McDonalds because for some reason, they had no idea it was fattening (you would think that after they crossed 400 lbs they might get the clue).
          EZEE
          • 2 Years Ago
          @EZEE
          @Grendal Wow! So it is sort of a sub conscious 'Chicken and the Egg' thing when it comes to this. People may not even realize it is a 'fix' they are looking for. I started doing P90X about...well, last July (don't ask me to do math right now). That is hardcore on the diet, and once I got over the bad stuff, I had no urge to eat it anymore. I really don't miss it. Now - Christmas time comes around and my mom makes cookies. Oh. Dear. Lord. It was like I was an addict taking a hit after 5 months. Once I finished them I went back to being hardcore, and I am fine being without again. Trippy stuff. So like, McDonalds is a dealer.... :D
          Grendal
          • 2 Years Ago
          @EZEE
          @Marco Which was the point I was making also. People often blame the dealer for their addiction. And to an extent the dealer knows they are selling drugs and getting people hooked. But ultimately people have the knowledge all around them that, if overdone, what they are doing is unhealthy. Having a few drinks every once in a while does not make you an alcoholic. Having a couple cheeseburgers every once in a while doesn't make you weigh 400 pounds either. And you're right that acting superior to someone who eats a burger joint is prejudicial. In the US you can't make fun of someones race but it is still perfectly okay to laugh at someone with a weight problem.
          Grendal
          • 2 Years Ago
          @EZEE
          And like any dealer if you stop selling the "good " stuff or develop a conscious it cuts into your bottom line. And just like a dealer you can expect a backlash from selling your product. Your customers will eventually blame you for their addiction. This is not exactly a car topic, but there was a multi-generational study done that showed that if you want your kids to have better health that you need to have a time in your life when you were starving. If you were starving at some point prior to having kids there is a greater chance your children will be much healthier in life. The reverse is also true, if you have been well fed prior to having kids they usually have more health issues in their life. It was an interesting discovery. Humans aren't exactly wired to think multi-generationally and think about that larger picture. Though it does make sense if you think about it.
          Grendal
          • 2 Years Ago
          @EZEE
          Interesting isn't it? Nice comment, EZEE. Most people are well aware that cigarettes are not healthy but it doesn't stop people from smoking. The same is true for food with fat, sugar, and salt. Everyone knows these things are unhealthy in large quantities but most people still keep shoving it in their mouth. A recent Dr. Oz episode brought it into focus when a nutritionist said "No one gets fat from eating broccoli because it doesn't stimulate your brain like sugar, salt, and fat does." Someone who weighs 400lbs didn't get there from eating salads, raw nuts, and organic meat. So from what your McD study shows is that people hear the word "healthy" and realize they aren't going to get their fix of salt, fat, and sugar. All this typing and thinking is making me hungry... :)
          Ford Future
          • 2 Years Ago
          @EZEE
          The problem with a McDonalds test, is that people who eat health "self select" to Not Go to McDonalds. So, they're going to have a hard time with this kind of test. You'd have to sell healthy to the subculture that goes to McDonalds, by Not telling them it's healthy. It just has to taste good.
          marcopolo
          • 2 Years Ago
          @EZEE
          @ Ezee Curious thing about the new 'Puritan' busybody's, is that the message is so full of contradictions! "listen to what 'mother nature' meant your body to need. Yep, there it is, the chemical reaction of the human brain are wired to want, high doses of protein, (meat) sugar, etc. But who cares? We live in a society/civilisation which requires respect for the individual. (one man, one vote, right?) Then we have an increasing bunch of killjoys, demanding a reduction of choice, and insisting on 'protecting' people from their own choices. The cry that MacDonald, Coca Cola or any other item is somehow morally wrong, removes from people the right to make choices. But it implies something far more insidious, it implies that those lecturing are somehow smarter, and better equipped to tell others how to live their lives. True or not, it implies an elitist attitude. I'm not a fan of MacDonald's, but every time I hear one of these self-satisfied 'puritans' smugly sneering at Macdonald's customers, I want to buy MacDonald's!
      electronx16
      • 2 Years Ago
      One thing is for sure: if we could get rid of all the CO2 we would all be a lot thinner.
      Dan Frederiksen
      • 2 Years Ago
      interesting thought. I have noticed that higher stomach acid seems to result in higher energy uptake but hadn't considered CO2 in the air. I wouldn't think the relatively low concentration would matter much though. otherwise airtight homes should have even greater effect
        ufgrat
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Dan Frederiksen
        "airtight homes"? I think the effect would be death, unless they have their own oxygen generator and/or CO2 scrubbers.
          GoodCheer
          • 2 Years Ago
          @ufgrat
          Airtight homes generally have an air-to-air heat exchanger on a forced fresh-air intake, so that all incoming air is heated from the outgoing 'stale' air. So you don't die, which is a plus. I'm not sure I understand Dan's point though, since a well-designed system should have better indoor air quality, while not letting much heat convect out.
          • 2 Years Ago
          @ufgrat
          @GoocCheer: If I remember correctly, the first "Airtight" homes built in the 1970s didn't have heat recovery ventilators, and ended up having a number of problems related to being sealed too tightly (stale air, mold, etc). This may be what Dan Frederiksen was referring to. As you point out, tightly sealed modern houses solve this problem with mechanical ventilation.
      harlanx6
      • 2 Years Ago
      Come on! We eat too much and don't get enough exercise! It's not the Republican's fault! evType your comment here
      Spec
      • 2 Years Ago
      I Can Haz Cheezburger? WTF is this story doing here?
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