FOOD, FACTS and FADS

Exploring the sense and nonsense of food and health


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Binge Eating?

Binge-eating disorder is probably the most prevalent eating disorder that affects about 3.3% of women and 2.0% of men. It is estimated that 10 to 15% of people enrolled in commercial weight loss programs suffer from this disorder.  I would suppose that  there are many others that have never been diagnosed or are not even aware that they may suffer from this insidious condition or occasionally fall victim to its effects on weight. The condition may result in a lifetime of weight gain leading to obesity. There is an established diagnostic account of the binge-eating disorder based on the following criteria:

  • Binge eating episodes are associated with three or more of the following:
  • Eating until feeling uncomfortably full.
  • Eating large amounts of food when not physically hungry.
  • Eating more rapidly than normal.
  • Eating alone due to embarrassment of how much you are eating.
  • Feeling disgusted, depressed, or guilty after overeating.
  • The behaviors occur, on average, at least two days a week for six months.

Smolin and Grosvenor, Nutrition: Science and Applications, Third Edition.

The treatment focuses on the underlying psychological issues. Persons with this disorder will often be asked to record their food intake and note feelings and circumstances that prompt this behavior. The treatment can also include individual or group therapy and provide nutrition counseling on mindful eating. This approach can include paying attention to hunger and satiety cues, and slowing down the pace of eating to identify the triggers to this eating behavior. Sometimes it’s as simple as realizing that very restrictive eating and hunger is a contributor.

Judith E. Brown, Nutrition Now, 7th Edition

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The article is a first-hand account of a dieter and her journey with an eating disorder as well as the complexities associated with weight control.


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The Spread of Global Obesity

There is so much speculation about the causes of obesity?  The following article makes it pretty simple. Consider affordability, convenience, palatability and prosperity. It all adds up to increased consumption of fast foods and/or processed foods.

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The Best Way to Lose Weight (and keep it off)

 

So much has been said about weight loss, but finally the following article brings us some realities about maintaining those lost pounds we worked so hard to lose.

Extreme, restrictive, fad-type diets  just don’t work for most people in the long-term. However, some restriction of refined carbs or highly processed food and snacks can be effective.

It makes no sense to lose weight by deprivation and then to gain most of it back after a few months.

Will power is an old term that should no longer be associated with weight loss. Being vigilant is the new “will power.”  Being aware of what and when you eat can make a difference – e.g. keeping a food journal and a prudent use of the scale are simple things you can practice. For example, weigh yourself once a week, if the number goes up, cut down your calories. One way is to be aware of your snacking habits and choose nutrient dense snacks, such as cut-up veggies. Most snack foods are designed by the food industry to lead to the “eating right out of the bag” habit. Read serving sizes on the label – carbohydrate grams can add up very quickly.

Be aware of weight cycling. Drastic reductions of food intake can lead to rapid weight loss but also cause a drop in the basal metabolic rate (BMR) which may result in increased food cravings and weight gain. This makes it difficult to maintain the weight loss and contribute to weight cycling that decreases the likelihood that future attempts at weight loss will be successful.

An example of a successful weight control program is one that offered monthly lifestyle coaching sessions with goal setting, behavior change strategy development, and follow-up sessions to evaluate and fine-tune personal approaches. They should be individually tailored with sustainable lifestyle changes.

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The Realities of Calorie Restriction

 

Calorie restriction is not an easy thing to do in our obesigenic society. However, based on the the following study, even small changes seems to be able to result in not only weight loss but the beneficial effects on our overall health.

The debate about calories has continued for quite some time.

In 1918, Dr. Lulu Hunt Peters wrote the first diet book, “Diet and Health, With Key to the Calories.” The book was a best seller. She explained the new concept of calorie reduction for weight loss.

In 1958 Dr. Richard MacKarness published “Eat Fat and Grow Slim”. The title speaks for itself.

In 1971, Dr. Herman Taller wrote another best seller, “Calories Don’t Count”.

More recently, author Gary Taubes wrote a provocative book entitled “Good Calories, Bad Calories” and Nina Teicholz espoused the health benefits of calorie dense butter, meat and cheese, in her book called “The Big Fat Surprise.”

No wonder people are struggling with obesity and will continue to do so until we figure out the physiological, psychological, sociological and environmental complexities of weight gain, weight loss, and weight maintenance.

The following article emphasizes the health benefits of calorie restriction whether due to weight loss or the calorie deficit itself.

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To take a look at Dr. Hunt’s book by clicking on the pages:

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Women and Weight?

 

How does the average weight of women in the U.S. compare to the rest of the world?  The differences may be partly explained by our highly obesigenic environment, i.e. our food supply is more caloric dense and less nutrient dense. The article also discusses the problems of using only the Body Mass Index (BMI) for individual weight assessment.

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Ultra Processed Food?

 

Ultra processed foods have been suspect for quite some time in contributing to our obesity/diabetes epidemics? Recent studies support this hypothesis. This is not good news for the food industry that keeps on providing these foods for the U.S. food supply.

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