FOOD, FACTS and FADS

Exploring the sense and nonsense of food and health


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Obsesity: Simple Truths about a Complex Condition

If there was ever a complicated topic, the causes of obesity probably would be at the head of the list. Furthermore, solutions remain elusive.

The problem is spreading. Once considered prevalent only in high-income populations, overweight and obesity are  now on the rise in low and middle-income countries, particularly in urban settings. We now hear the term globesity as well as diabesity. Sounds like a changing food environment may be an important factor?

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Diabetes Awareness Month

The global statistics speak for themselves.  “This year 10 million more people are living with diabetes than in 2015, meaning that 1 in 11 adults now has diabetes, for a total of 425 million people.” Many people don’t know they even have a condition called pre-diabetes. Prevention is often effective and there are many prevention programs in the U.S; however, they do not seem to be utilized as well as they should be.

In my opinion, people can lose 10% of their body weight on any diet in time if they stick to the program.  The problem: Keeping the weight off. An effective prevention program for obesity/diabetes should contain weight maintenance training in terms of realizing what is necessary to prevent weight regain. Our bodies have developed many mechanisms for putting weight back on, not taking it off. A Forbes article found HERE discusses some pitfalls on weight reduction.

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The “Magic” of Weight Loss?

It has become more and more obvious that the simple advice for weight loss, i.e. “eat less” just does not work for many people. The body fights to maintain the weight it wants, and often that is not the weight we want. For most dieters, this results in losing a few pounds and gaining them back over and over again. Weight loss claims by many weight loss plans are “magical” and not realistic. How many times have you seen them display their results in terms of how their diet resulted in long-term weight loss? There is always the disclaimer that accompanies their before and after photos that says in fine print something like “results are not typical for every one.”

This was so obvious when the study on the “Biggest Loser” participants came to light that all but one in one of the seasons had gained a large percentage of their weight back. That is not to say their weight loss was futile since even a loss of 5-10% of body weight can have health benefits.

It has been reported that many people are just giving up on dieting – no wonder. Weight loss is difficult and weight maintenance is even more difficult based on past research and should not be portrayed as anything other than that.

My favorite quotes on the subject reflect how many dieters feel:

“In two decades I’ve lost a total of 789 pounds. I should be hanging from a charm bracelet”Erma Bombeck

“I am more  than my measurements. The cycle of body shaming needs to end. I’m over it…My body is MY body. I’ll call the shots.” Ashley Graham

“I’m not going to miss 95% of life to weigh 5% less.” Dan Pearce, Single Dad Laughing

“I finally figured out the big, elusive secret to weight loss. Don’t eat! Who knew?” Richelle E. Goodrich, Smile Anyway

“Healthy living is a learnable skill.” Claude Viens, The most powerful weight loss device ever made; The human brain

The obesity epidemic is becoming a global phenomenon. The obesity industry also continues to grow. With our current food environment, who knows when it may end

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Discrimination in Health Care?

Diet and Health: With key to the calories. Lulu Hunt Peters, 1918

Will this become the norm in the United States?  There is already prolific fat shaming from the public and health care providers. Check out this article about the French HERE and what is being considered in Great Britain. This is all the more reason for preventing weight gain in the first place; much research supports the sad fact that losing weight and keeping it off is a daunting task and may even be almost impossible for some.

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Big Food in Brazil = SAD

Soon all the “healthy” traditional diets of the world will be replaced with ultra-processed “big food” loaded with sugar, fat, and salt. If we think that obesity and chronic disease rates are high now, just wait a few years. It is well known that as the so-called Western diet or Standard American diet (SAD) invades traditional cultures, heart disease rates and obesity increase. This appears to be happening in Brazil according to an article in the NYT. There is a link to the full article in Dr. Nestle’s post. It is a long read, but the bottom line is that the large food companies, like Coca Cola and Nestlé  (no relation to Dr. Marion Nestle) have found new markets and delivery systems in poorer countries. This quote says it all:

‘For some companies, that can mean specifically focusing on young people, as Ahmet Bozer, president of Coca-Cola International, described to investors in 2014. “Half the world’s population has not had a Coke in the last 30 days,” he said. “There’s 600 million teenagers who have not had a Coke in the last week. So the opportunity for that is huge.”

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The Teaching Kitchen

A new approach to promote nutrition and help curb the obesity/diabetes epidemic. Patients listen to their doctors – we need more involvement of increased nutrition education in medical schools and in the doctor/patient relationship. This also serves as a great opportunity for the  registered dietitian/nutritionist to work with the physician.

Interestingly, the first diet book was written by a female physician, Dr. Lulu Hunt Peters called “Diet and Health: With Key to the Calories.”

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