Food addicted people are not happy people. Sure, they appear happy when they are sitting down to a delicious meal, but that happiness is only temporary at best. That food induced euphoria leaves shortly after the meal has been consumed, and the realization comes that once again you have blown your diet.
How do I know this?
I know this because I have also struggled with my weight in years past, and know the emotions that come along with it. There is no joy in watching the number on the scale rising each week when we step on it. We secretly feel ashamed every time we pull on a pair of pants that fit a few weeks ago that are now too small for comfort. And there is most certainly no joy in the way we feel as one who is obese. No one can honestly say they feel good when they can’t do simple tasks without getting out of breath. Even basic tasks such as tying your shoes can be a problem when you can’t breath while bent over to do so. Yes, I have experienced all of this, and none of it ever brought joy into my life.
Oh, did I forgot to mention the sickness and shame that comes from quickly binge eating in secret too? Odds are, if you are obese, you know exactly what I am talking about.
Life does not have to be one that revolves around food for pleasure and comfort. But sadly food is highly likely to continue dominating our lives for an indeterminate amount of time going forward. Besides our chemical and biological addiction to sugar and simple carbs, there is another piece to the obesity puzzle. That other piece is flavorings. When we enjoy a treat such as a chocolate milkshake, not only are we feeding our sugar addiction, we are also getting great joy from the human palatants mixed into the chocolate syrup and vanilla flavorings.
What are Palatants?
Palatants are ingredient systems that are specially designed to make pet foods, treats, and supplements taste better, ensuring that pets receive the vital nutrients they need. Palatants entice a pet to consume a food, treat, or supplement that, while nutritious, may be inconsistent with their native diet.
Now for the rub, this is also done to human foods as well. The entire food industry has flavor scientists whose main function is in creating delectable manmade chemicals which we add to foods to make them taste better. People expend a great deal of effort making food taste good. In pursuit of palatability, we sprinkle spices, use flavorful fats, and choose varying preparation methods. Appetizing foods take center stage at parties, holidays, and family gatherings. Restaurants, snack food marketers and grocery stores are now doing to human foods what the pet food industry has been doing to, or for, our animals. We have foods that are now highly palatable as a result of science and manmade chemicals. They do this to keep us coming back for more!
Many of us are addicts and the food industry provides us with our next fix. It is up to us to break the chain of this cycle through nutritional education and then using what we learn to better our lives. No one is going to do it for us, not even your doctor. It is up to you to fix yourself.
Are You a Food Addict?
Answer the questions in the Yale Food Addiction Survey and think about your results.
Note: I am not licensed to engage in clinical assessment or directly counsel and/or offer targeted therapy to a client with disordered eating.
This survey asks about your eating habits in the past year. People sometimes have difficulty controlling their intake of certain foods such as:
– Sweets like ice cream, chocolate, doughnuts, cookies, cake, candy, ice cream
– Starches like white bread, rolls, pasta, and rice
– Salty snacks like chips, pretzels, and crackers
– Fatty foods like steak, bacon, hamburgers, cheeseburgers, pizza, and French fries
– Sugary drinks like soda pop
When the following questions ask about “CERTAIN FOODS” please think of ANY food similar to those listed in the food group or ANY OTHER foods you have had a problem with in the past year.
I find that when I start eating certain foods, I end up eating more than planned.
I find myself continuing to consume certain foods even though I am no longer hungry.
I eat to the point where I feel physically ill.
Not eating certain types of food, or cutting down on certain types of food is something I worry about.
I spend a lot of time feeling sluggish or fatigued from overeating.
I find myself eating certain foods throughout the day.
I find that when certain foods are not available, I will go out of my way to obtain them. For example, I will drive to the store to purchase certain foods even though I have other options available to me at home.
There have been times when I consumed certain foods so often, or in such large quantities that I started to eat food instead of working, spending time with my family or friends, or engaging in other important activities or recreation activities I enjoy.
There have been times when I consumed certain foods so often, or in large quantities that I spent time dealing with negative feelings from overeating instead of working, spending time with my family or friends, or engaging in other important activities or recreation activities I enjoy.
There have been times when I avoided professional or social situations where certain foods were available, because I was afraid I would overeat.
There have been times when I avoided professional or social situations because I was not able to consume certain foods there.
I have had withdrawal symptoms such as agitation, anxiety, or other physical symptoms when I cut down, or stopped eating certain foods.
I have consumed certain foods to prevent feelings of agitation, anxiety, or other physical symptoms that were developing.
I have found that I have elevated desire for, or urges to consume certain foods when I cutdown or quit eating them.
My behavior with respect to food and eating causes significant distress.
I experience significant problems in my ability to function efficiently because of food and eating.
My food consumption has caused significant psychological problems such as depression, anxiety, self-loathing, or guilt.
My food consumption has caused significant physical problems or made a physical problem worse.
I kept consuming the same types of food or the same amount of food even though I was having emotional and/or physical problems.
Over time, I have found that I need to eat more and more to get the feeling I want, such as reduced negative emotions or increased pleasure.
I have found that eating the same amount of food does not reduce my negative emotions or increase pleasurable feelings the way it used to.
I want to cut down or stop eating certain kinds of food.
I have tried to cut down or stop eating certain kinds of food.
I have been successful at cutting down or not eating these kinds of food.
How many times in the past year did you try to cut down or stop eating certain foods
It is obvious that most people do not grasp why diets fail them when you see all of the obesity in todays modern world. The majority of western society now has a terrible obesity problem which is only getting worse and worse every year.
The food industry as a whole have flavor scientists whose sole function is to find ways to make foods more and more palatable. These people work for restaurants, junk food producers, and even grocery stores now. The entire food industry has an emphasis on making foods as tasty as they can, while ignoring how nutritious they are. It is hard enough to lose weight when we are addicted to carbs, but when we are also hooked on great flavors, the job gets even tougher.
Your task should be on educating yourself about nutrition in order to make healthy choices for yourself, and understand that some foods you really need to just give up. If you do not understand this point, you are doomed to fail. It may not happen right away, but you will revert back to obesity over time if you do not heed this warning. You should also know that organizations that charge you a fee to lose weight on their program, and who also allow you to continue eating poor food choices, do not have your best interest in mind. These businesses only care about taking your money which you naively hand over in the hope of losing weight for good. Would it not be reasonable to expect an absolute majority of people paying for commercial weight loss programs should be successful at weight loss and management?
The Reason Diets Fail Us
We become fat not only because we eat too many calories for our needs, but also because simple carbohydrates and sugar make us so.
Protein does not make us fat, and fats are not the evil culprits as some people might want to believe. For instance, how many people have you personally known who went onto a low fat diet, only to fail miserably. The problem with low fat diets is that they are usually relatively high in carbohydrates. The simple truth is, we lose weight and keep it off when we restrict our intake of carbohydrates.
When we get serious about losing weight whether through diet and/or exercise, we almost always make changes to what and how much we eat. Whether you realize it or not, your weight loss comes from a reduction in your carbohydrate intake. simply because they are the easiest to eliminate. We stop drinking beer, and quit eating sweet treats to cut our caloric intake, but these calories are carbohydrates that are exceptionally fattening.
When we stop drinking sugar sweetened drinks and fruit juices, we replace them with other drinks that do not contain sugars. When we do this, we are not only eliminating calories, we are also eliminating fructose which is specifically responsible for making those soft drinks and juices sweet. When we quit eating sweet treats, we might think we are eliminating fats that get a bad rap. However, once again, we are eliminating simple carbohydrates with an emphasis again on fructose. Fructose comprises half of the make up of refined sugar. Diets fail us when we do not cut out sugar and simple carbs.
When we go onto a calorie restricted diet, we are cutting the total number of carbohydrates we are consuming too. That is just simple math. If we cut our calories by half, we also have cut our carbohydrates by about half. Because carbohydrates usually comprise the largest portion of our nutritional habits, that is where we will see the greatest reduction of macro-nutrients. Again, this is simple arithmetic.
When we diet, we are cutting our intake of fattening simple carbohydrates from our diet. This is the reason you lose weight. You have cut your intake of calories and carbs which cause you to lose water weight along with body fat. Every gram of carbohydrate you consume causes you to retain three grams of water, which is the only reason we lose weight so quickly in the first ten days or so.
When you begin eating low fat foods, you are not helping yourself in the least. The reason is, food producers will remove fat in order to remove some of the calories, but then they add sugar into the product in order to make it more palatable. For instance, when fat is removed from yogurt, it is usually replaced with high fructose corn syrup which is only going to sabotage your efforts! You might innocently believe that your low fat treat is a heart healthy snack, but the reality is it is only going to make you fatter because of the added carbohydrates and fructose.
Our diets fail us because they restrict foods that are not the culprits that make us fat. Protein builds muscle and tissue repair and replacement. Fats help our hormonal balance and assist with uptake of vitamins and minerals. Those carbohydrates and sugars that you are still eating are what spikes your blood sugar and insulin. Your diet will only last as long as you can stand being in a state of semi-starvation. And that is not going to be too long when you keep consuming simple carbs and sugar.
Diets fail us when we do not make changes that work towards our goals. When we reduce our consumption of protein and fats, we starve our bodies of energy and protein required to rebuild tissues. The resultant hunger which will always accompany this only brings about a failure to succeed at weight loss and management.
Just stop with blaming your genetics for your obesity. Of course genetics can, and do play a role in your metabolism and weight, but your problem is more so one of environment. You might honestly believe that since you come from a fat family that you cannot help your obesity, but this is simply not the case. Just because you have a family history of obesity and health problems, it does not mean your genes have doomed you.
Virtually every chronic disease is polygenic. That means that there are multiple genes which are in play when it comes to your health risks. Your genetics account for about 50% or less when it comes to your risk of obesity and poor health. When it comes to the genetic roll of the dice, you might just be a winner within a family of losers. You simply cannot just throw up your hands in defeat and blame your genetics for your obesity.
When it comes to obesity, there are thirty-nine genes that determine risk. However, only two have any real clinical import, and these are only found in about 16 percent of the population of obese people. If you had every other obesity risk gene, these will only have about a 22 pound impact on your weight. When we look at people that surround us, we can clearly see that we have a larger problem than just 22 pounds. Our society has a problem of obesity that has become a problem of up to 100 pounds and more. We need to quit blaming genetics for this and begin looking at the real problem causing our weight problems. The problem is largely the result of the environments we grow up in.
The Environmental Problem
Genetics actually play only about a 15 percent role in our risk for obesity and chronic disease. The other 85 percent of our risks come from our personal environments. What this means is, there is plenty we can do to take control of our lives in order to prevent obesity and diseases such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease, dementia, and virtually every other chronic disease. Your mother, and her mother may have been type 2 diabetics, but this does not mean you are doomed to the same fate. It is an 85 percent chance their diabetes came from their home environment instead. This is because they ate the same poor food choices that they introduced you too as well. This is not genes at play!
And when did you become introduced to poor nutritional choices?
You were introduced to these nutritional choices while you were still in your mothers womb. The foods your mother was eating while your fetus was gestating had an effect on your future much more than your genetics. Your mothers nutritional habits had an effect on your DNA called epigenetics. If she was eating poorly and was obese during her pregnancy, this placed you at the same risks as her. Conversely, if she had practiced good nutrition and was at a healthy weight, then you would also be more prone to the same. Your genetics might play a small role, but it is more so your mother’s behaviors that you were exposed to that determined your risks. You cannot alter your propensity for obesity and chronic disease. But once you know the problem, you can alter the outcomes for yourself and your children. Quit blaming your genetics.
Knowledge is The Key!
There are many weight loss businesses that will take your money while claiming to help you lose weight. The problem is not only that they are unaffordable for some, they also do not teach you much about nutrition. If you lack nutritional knowledge, you are not likely to ever be successful at losing weight and then keeping it off. When you apply good knowledge to your nutritional habits, you will be successful, no matter your genetics. It is also not enough to just become knowledgeable, you need to teach your children about good nutritional practices too.
David’s Way to Health and Fitness is a Free Resource!
It has been my pledge from day one to always be a free resource to our readers and followers. We believe that everyone has the right to be healthy regardless of their financial status. Everything here on the website is free. You should never have to pay for the simple truth about how to lose weight. It’s not rocket science. While many entities make a lot of money dispensing information concerning weight loss, the way to lose weight is so simple that we believe that it’s an unalienable right to have free access to these basic truths. The truth should not be available only to those who can afford it. We’re here to help you manage your weight and live a healthy and full life through good nutritional practices and physical fitness. ALWAYS CONSULT YOUR MEDICAL DOCTOR BEFORE BEGINNING ANY WEIGHT LOSS PROGRAM. We do not offer any medical advice or treatment of any kind. We DO NOT offer any advice concerning medical diets.
And I would do anything for love, I’d run right into hell and back I would do anything for love, I’ll never lie to you and that’s a fact
But I’ll never forget the way you feel right now, Oh no, no way. And I would do anything for love, But I won’t do that No I won’t do that
The words penned in that song by the rock star Meatloaf back in 1993 that reminds me of the response “would be” weight losers give when they are advised to quit eating sugar. They claim they desperately want to lose weight, and would do anything to do so, yet they respond with “I won’t do that”!
If you claim you are desperate to do anything to lose weight, but refuse to abide by solid advice, I don’t think you are actually as desperate as you think you are. When you are asking for advice, you are essentially admitting that you do not know what to do – so, why be quick to say no?
If this is you, you have already failed yourself.
Ask yourself if you take this position from one of emotion, or does it come from personal knowledge and experience?
Give up sugar?
But I won’t do that
No, I won’t do that!
When we consume sugar, it causes our blood sugar to rise. The result of this rise in blood sugar is a corresponding rise in insulin. This occurs when the pancreas releases insulin in order to get glucose out of your bloodstream and into your cells, where it’s needed for fuel. When we consume a meal, particularly if the meal is high in sugar or simple carbohydrates, we will experience a spike in our insulin levels. Too much of this is not a good thing as it leads to insulin resistance and/or type 2 diabetes. But, there are more factors to be considered when it comes to our insulin levels.
Are you sure you still won’t do that?
It is clear to most people that we all need healthy insulin levels, but most people actually have little understanding of insulin.
Insulin allows glucose to enter your cells for energy. But too much leads to insulin resistance which is where your muscles, fat, and liver no longer respond to the insulin signal. When we have insulin resistance, glucose cannot get into our cells which causes them to starve. When this happens, our body signals the pancreas to crank out even more insulin, which does not help the matter. Glucose just keeps building up in your blood while your cells are starving. This is happening for most people as a result of what they eat!
Insulin resistance can manifest itself in many ways. You may have outward and obvious symptoms, but then you might not. Some will be overweight, while others are still within healthy weight ranges. Your blood pressure could be high, it could be low. The same is true with your cholesterol levels. The point is, your consumption of sugar could be having a dire impact on your body whether you know it or not. The symptoms above are all part and parcel to metabolic syndrome which it is now known, you can have whether you are skinny or fat. Obesity is now being recognized as a symptom of metabolic syndrome rather than as a cause of it.
Insulin does not work by itself.
There are two more hormones that work in conjunction with insulin. Leptin and ghrelin also play a role in the hunger-satiety process. Leptin gets released from adipose tissue to let you know you have eaten enough, while ghrelin tells us that we are hungry. Insulin does double duty by telling our body to store energy, and to stop eating. When all is in balance, the insulin and leptin counter the ghrelin to keep our weight stable. However, when we become insulin resistant, the leptin signal becomes blocked. What this means for you is the ghrelin is now running the show, and you will find yourself hungrier and hungrier while getting fatter all the time. The prime directive of metabolic therapy is to get your insulin levels down. And this is important no matter what your scale tells you about your weight.
If you suspect you are diabetic, insulin resistant, overweight, or may have metabolic syndrome, see your doctor!
In the meantime, there are things you can do for yourself.
The first thing you can do to help yourself is to drop the attitude of “I won’t do that”.
Eliminate foods and drinks that contain added sugars and other simple carbohydrates. Simple sugars contribute to insulin resistance and overall poor health. High fructose corn syrup is a particularly bad offender. Just stop with the simple carbohydrates that contain glucose, fructose, and sucrose, such as candies, cakes, soft drinks, and added sugars and sweeteners. Learn to read food labels — you’ll discover that processed foods and sweets tend to be loaded with added sugars.
Change your nutritional habits to revolve around whole foods rather than processed foods that are full of sugar, unhealthy fats, sodium, and preservatives. Besides protein and healthy fats, try to include complex carbohydrates as they take longer for the body to break down. This means they absorb more slowly, helping to keep blood glucose levels stable. Complex carbs will also help you feel fuller longer, and help with weight and appetite control.
Increase your fiber intake. Eating insoluble fiber along with whole grains and complex carbohydrates reduces your risk of Type 2 diabetes. Aim to eat some insoluble fiber with each meal. Good sources include:
Fresh fruits: pears, apples, prunes, dried figs
Nuts and seeds
Vegetables like leafy greens, squashes, peas
Whole grains: brown rice, quinoa, oats
Beans: Lentils, navy beans, kidney beans
In addition to dietary changes, it is important to increase your activity and fitness level. With your doctor’s approval, choose a physical activity you enjoy doing, and commit to at least three days per week.
How about we change the attitude of I won’t do that to one of I will do that! Check us out on our Facebook page and give us a like and a follow. You can find us at this link Fit and Healthy Living with David’s Way.
Or, have we just become lazy and apathetic when it comes to our daily food choices?
It really is of no surprise that most people do not eat healthy diets anymore when you look at the abundance of high calorie, low nutrition foods we are surrounded by nowadays. Our grocery stores, convenience stores, and other retail outlets almost always have large displays of junk foods to pique our appetites. And this is not by accident. As with flavorings added to alcohol and tobacco products, the food industry is doing the same thing to bring in repeat customers.
Everywhere we turn, we are bombarded with advertisements and displays of highly palatable foods that provide little to no nutritional value, yet we still gobble them down. When we encounter highly palatable foods, our appetite instantly kicks into high gear, and this is when we must put on the brakes. Is it any wonder there is such a thing as the Yale Food Addiction Scale, 69% of our population now have a weight problem, and the American Heart Association now recommends bariatric surgery as a viable option for those who are severely obese?
How is all of this happening?
How did we become a society where we now have obese children with type 2 diabetes and other adult onset diseases? Our palates are not just out of tune with our nutritional needs, they are out to kill us. In the U.S. it is estimated that we have 300,000 premature deaths every year as a result of obesity. American eating habits cause as much preventable disease and death as cigarette smoking. Our nutritional habits are causing us heart disease, type 2 diabetes, several types of cancer, and musculoskeletal disorders including osteoarthritis of the knees. All of these are directly related to our excessive and unhealthy eating.
We often raise hell over the cost of medical care, yet the annual bill for obesity related health problems is about $117 billion as a result of medical bills and lost wages. And this is largely because we have become massive consumers of fast and heavily processed foods instead of low calorie, nutritionally dense foods that actually do us good. We have to take responsibility for ourselves and our children. The food industry is not going to change, it is entirely up to you in making healthy changes. You have to become aware of all that you are eating and then leave out the bad. And a part of this equation is that you also need to become aware that a good portion of the foods we eat nowadays are addictive in nature. We really are not nutritional idiots, we are a nation addicted to poor food choices!
“A repetitive behavior that some people find difficult to quit.”
We have a problem where it has become too convenient to go to your favorite drive through in order to find inexpensive and highly palatable foods. It is not uncommon to see multiple fast food places in a single block in many cities across America. And now, grocery manufacturers are also in a race with the fast food industry to the bottom, that rewards profits over health.
Food addiction is deeply enmeshed with memory. The memories we connect to certain foods are typically stronger and longer lasting than any other substance we might have had problems with. Childhood memories of food can have considerable power over our lives. Is it even possible to forget the yummy goodness of our grandmother’s home baked cookies?
Over the course of the last four decades, food researchers have engineered foods full of sugar, unhealthy fats, and salt which we find immensely alluring. Through their brilliant marketing, we are now easily manipulated to eat even when we are not hungry. Because of our addictive natures, we must learn to take control over our impulses to eat. And this all begins with learning as much as you can about nutrition, and then implementing that new found knowledge for the betterment of your health. And no, this is not going to be easy.
But, we can do something!
You are not a nutritional idiot, but you are going to have to be accountable for your health.
Our entire bodies are designed to not only like the taste of foods, but to also to make us want more and more of it. We have evolved over thousands of years to seek out foods that are not only sweet, but which are also loaded with calories. Today, we also enjoy the benefit of finding these foods in relative convenience, at low cost and with a wide variety. From the beginning of time, we have thrived with the nutrition of the time. It has only been about the last forty to fifty years that being hooked on food has begun to cause us harm. Our food supply has been drastically altered, and now we all are paying the price.
Food companies have learned to exploit our addictions to fast, easy, and fattening foods. but we do not have to resort to eating them. There are still healthy, whole foods that we can cook for ourselves. No one, but yourself, is forcing you to make poor food choices. Follow us here at David’s Way to Health and Fitness, and you will learn how to kick all the poor nutritional practices you have had to the curb. We are always a free resource to all who want to lose weight in a healthy manner and then to keep it off. You are not a nutritional idiot, but you might need a little help.
We believe that everyone has the right to be healthy regardless of their financial status. Everything here on the website is free. You should never have to pay for the simple truth about how to lose weight. It’s not rocket science. While many entities make a lot of money dispensing information concerning weight loss, the way to lose weight is so simple that we believe that it’s an unalienable right to have free access to these basic truths. The truth should not be available only to those who can afford it. We’re here to help you manage your weight and live a healthy and full life through good nutritional practices and physical fitness. ALWAYS CONSULT YOUR MEDICAL DOCTOR BEFORE BEGINNING ANY WEIGHT LOSS PROGRAM. We do not offer any medical advice or treatment of any kind. We DO NOT offer any advice concerning medical diets.
I hear this term used all the time, and have used it myself, but what exactly does it mean?
Yes, we should all have a desire for equilibrium in our lives. Equilibrium brings us a sense of peace and wellness when we achieve it. But do most of us actually know how to bring it about?
Work and pleasure should not interfere with each other. We might feel like a night out on the town having drinks with friends each week will bring us balance.
And we certainly have to balance our nutrition of healthy and not so healthy foods to truly enjoy the abundance of life before us, right? Many people believe that by enjoying their vices, their lives are balancing out, because they feel good in the moment.
Achieving equilibrium is a very exciting concept about maximizing the quality of our lives. We only live once, therefore we should not get bogged down in one aspect of our lives, to the detriment of the others. We should not want to find ourselves at the end of our lives filled with regrets. Sadly, what many people believe has brought balance to their lives was only an illusion. An illusion that has brought about more misery than it did in quality living. Bringing about equilibrium does not occur by giving into our vices. You might want to argue the point, but you would be living in the moment and not looking to your future by doing so.
The importance of a balanced life.
Maintaining a balanced life is important for your personal health and well-being in this fast-paced, modern world. Sustaining a balanced diet, alongside personal fitness, can help improve and stabilize overall health and wellbeing. Nights of drinking, days of eating junk foods, and a sedentary life will never bring you health or well being. However, this would be what many consider as having a balanced life.
A balanced life will provide the following:
Improved health. No matter who you are, it’s easy to let things like exercise and diet go by the wayside once our lives become too busy. But the reality is, the bodies we are blessed with are the only bodies we are going to get, and it needs to carry you until the end of life. That’s why it’s critical to continue to keep your body strong and healthy enough to enable you to do the things that excite you, even into your senior years.
Improved family life. Family ties are the tightest relationships you should have in your life, no matter how busy life can get for you. When you indulge in your vices, do they actually improve the quality of your family life? When your health has been ruined by your “balance” will you be an asset or a burden to your family? Think about it.
Financial benefits. When living a so-called balanced life that involves poor nutritional habits and other vices, think about the financial ruin that can come from the sickness and disease these habits can bring about. Lost time from work, and extraordinarily high medical bills can ruin a family. Is this balance?
Personal growth. A healthy life balance allows you to achieve higher goals in life. Skills and other abilities are enhanced through socialization, different experience, and trying new hobbies which you need time for. People have a higher level of worth and satisfaction when they can do the things they love.
Improved relationships. Spending time with the people we love helps to maintain healthy and long-lasting relationships. Stress, anxiety, and other work-related issues are often carried home and are detrimental to personal relationships. With a balanced life, we can maintain healthy relationships as a result of less irritability and depression. The rewards of hard work are more fulfilling when we can share them with friends.
Take care and look after yourself.
In order to achieve a balanced lifestyle, you must make sure you are healthy. Your body needs plenty of rest, exercise and healthy food. It’s important to take some time out from a busy day to enjoy activities and unwind by reading or meditating.
Everything in moderation is a phrase we hear and use often. Everything in moderation means that there’s a healthy balance to your life, so laugh, love, live, and be healthy. Balanced living means having a positive outlook, focusing on good habits, and lowering stress.
What has been the cause of America becoming a fat nation? Could it be that we are just a land of gluttons? Or is it that our population of today really has little understanding of health and nutrition. I surmise that the paradox is a combination of both factors, in that we have become a nation of gluttons who have little knowledge of nutrition. I also believe the lack of knowledge is not entirely the fault of Americans being as there has been far too much conflicting data which comes from our government.
We have a problem where valid, yet conflicting studies are at odds with each other, with one side of the issue winning out as settled science. My friends, there is no such thing as settled science, no matter the subject. Good science involves scientists not just proving theories, but also trying to disprove the same theories they have proven. The problem with our nutritional health is that one side has been deemed proven science. And the other equal theory has been neglected as a cause. It is we the people who pay the price as a fat nation when our own government is not ensuring we receive proper education on nutrition.
The Seven Countries Study
The Seven Countries Study was conceived by Ancel Keys, a Minnesota physiologist, who in the mid-20th century brought together researchers from all over the world. It became a collective effort to study their joint questions about heart and vascular diseases among countries having varied traditional eating patterns and lifestyles.(1)
The main hypothesis was that the rate of coronary disease in populations and individuals would vary in relation to their physical characteristics and lifestyle, particularly in fat composition of the diet and serum cholesterol levels. (1)
Who was Ancel Keys?
Ancel Keys is the man who pioneered the field of quantitative human biology. In his studies and work, he combined his research into a conglomeration of physiology, nutrition, and public health. Mr. Keys proved that through good nutritional habits, we do not have to suffer from ailments that at one time were accepted as genetically unavoidable. He proved that we can control our cholesterol levels, blood pressure, body weight, and our responses to stress through good nutrition.
Beginning in the early 1950’s, Keys began the landmark Seven Countries Study. This study involved 12,000 healthy middle-aged men living in Italy, Greece, Yugoslavia, the Netherlands, Finland, Japan, and the United States. Keys hypothesis for his study was based on the increase of heart attacks and poor cardiovascular health in Americans following World War II. He did not subscribe to the common medical wisdom of the day that atherosclerosis was an inevitable consequence of aging. Through studies of foreign populations, he concluded there had to be a means of mitigating the risk of people dying from heart attacks and heart disease.
Keys found that a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, pasta, and olive oil, with small portions of meat, fish, and dairy products — appeared to be protective against heart disease. In his studies and research, he found that Japan, where vegetables, rice, and fish were the mainstays, also had a very low rate of heart disease. But in the United States and Finland, diets rich in saturated fats were associated with heart attack rates 10-fold higher.
Keys was right in his findings, and a large amount of his findings are the basis for many of our governmental policies on nutrition. However, the problem is that his findings are only one side of the story and the other side of the story has been largely left out and ignored.
Sugar, especially fructose, are the cause of heart disease as well!
Ancel Keys was mostly correct about his theories. But the implementation of his findings in governmental nutritional policies has not stopped us from becoming a fat nation with preventable heart disease. This is part and parcel to the error of taking one side of an issue as an absolute. When we do this, we often neglect to see other equally important factors. In this case, the role of sugar has been greatly overlooked as a cause of cardiovascular health problems too.
Enter John Yudkin
John Yudkin wrote the book “Pure, White, and Deadly” in 1972. He argued the point that dietary and saturated fats were harmless which caused a rebuke from Ancel Keys. Yudkin’s theory was that sugar, especially fructose, are the cause of heart disease as well as cavities, obesity, liver disease, and some forms of cancer. He was just as correct in his findings as Keys was in his, but Keys won out. As a result the food industry successfully manufactured a huge market for its own processed foods, which contained little saturated fat but lots of sugar. The consequences of our government taking only one side of this nutritional and health issue is we now have an obesity epidemic such as we have never seen before in our history.
John Yudkin was born in London in 1910, earned a degree in chemistry and a Ph. D in biochemistry, and later studied medicine in London. As the Chair of Physiology at London University at Queen Elizabeth College, he persuaded the university to institute a Department of Nutrition in 1954, the first department in Europe devoted to undergraduate and postgraduate teaching and research in nutrition. In 1954 Yudkin became the Chair of Nutrition for Queen Elizabeth College. In the 1960s, he grew increasingly concerned with the role of nutrition in western afflictions like obesity and diabetes, and spoke of the problem of “the malnutrition of affluence.” Yudkin retired from Queen Elizabeth College in 1971, and became Emeritus Professor of Nutrition. (2)
John Yudkin believed that sugar is an important cause of coronary heart disease, and that saturated fat and cholesterol are not. There is much debate as to if his beliefs about saturated fat and cholesterol are valid, but this does not cancel the validity of his arguments against sugar. Yudkin conducted a study in 1957, in which the death rate from coronary disease in fifteen countries was correlated in relation to the average intake of sugar. The study concluded that men consuming relatively large amounts of sugar faced far greater odds of developing heart disease in the age range of 45 to 65, than did those who did not ingest as much sugar. Only in recent years are Yudkin’s studies beginning to be taken seriously as we have become fat as a nation.
Obesity, Heart Disease, Diabetes and Carbohydrates
In the early 1960’s, a gentleman named George Campbell began working on his book “Diabetes, Coronary Thrombosis, and the Saccharine Disease” with another gentleman named Peter Cleave. In this publication, they argued that all the common chronic diseases of Western societies constituted the manifestations of a single, primary disorder that could be called “refined carbohydrate disease. Because sugar was the primary carbohydrate involved, and the starch in white flour and rice is converted into blood sugar, they ultimately chose the name Saccharine Disease. Note, saccharine in this case means “related to sugar.”
Unfortunately, the medical community at the time did not take this work seriously. This was largely because Peter Cleave was an outsider without the proper pedigree or credentials. It didn’t matter that he was correct even without the expected bonafides. His career in the British Royal Navy as a surgeon who had first hand experience in multiple nations was deemed irrelevant despite his experience in noting how the chronic disease incidence differs between nations.
In the decades following WWII
Peter Cleave began corresponding with hundreds of physicians from around the world. He was seeking information on disease rates, along with the occurrence and appearance of specific diseases. He published a book on peptic ulcers in 1962 that contained detailed testimony from hundreds of doctors who confirmed the absence of ulcers in populations where sugar, white flour, and white rice were difficult to obtain.
Cleave believed in simplifying the way forward to reduce the problems of nutrition and western diets. He believed the problem was the incorporation of sugar, refined flour, and white rice to the western diet causing health issues. His belief was based on the fact that many chronic diseases did not occur until after we began consuming large amounts of these carbohydrates. He had a theory that if sugar, refined flour, and white rice were added to even the healthiest of diets, chronic diseases would soon follow. He knew from his travels and studies that indigenous peoples from around the world who lived almost exclusively on animal products, as well as agrarian diets, did not develop chronic diseases of western societies until the addition of those particular carbohydrates.
Because Cleave believed that all chronic diseases of western cultures had the consumption of simple carbohydrates as a primary cause, he was disparaged by the medical community of the time. He considered dental cavities as being the canary in the coal mine. If cavities are caused by primarily eating sugar and simple carbohydrates, followed by obesity, diabetes and heart disease, then the assumption until otherwise proved, should be the diseases were also caused by simple carbohydrates.
Diabetes, obesity, coronary heart disease, gall stones, and gall bladder diseases, along with cavities and periodontal diseases are intimately linked!
It was known and reported by physicians as far back as 1929, that one fourth of their heart disease patients also suffered from diabetes. Diabetics, as it became clear, were especially prone to atherosclerosis. This became even more evident after the discovery of insulin.
Studies conducted in the 1940’s revealed that diabetic men were twice as likely to die from heart disease as men who were not diabetic. Unfortunately for diabetic women, you are three times more likely to die from heart disease. It was also fund that diabetics had and exceptionally high rate of gall stones, and the obese had an exceptionally high rate of gall-bladder disease.
The Law of Adaptation.
Peter Cleaves believed in keeping things simple, which led to his theory that any cluster of diseases which are associated with each other must have a single underlying cause. He theorized that endemic, chronic diseases are caused by a rapid change in our environment. He referred to this theory as the Law of Adaptation. In this, he theorizes that any species needs adequate time to adapt to changes in the environment. The refining of carbohydrates represented the most significant change in nutrition since the introduction of agriculture. We had been cooking foods for about 200,000 years before we began consuming simple carbohydrates. If Cleaves is correct, we have not yet adapted to these carbs. The refinement of sugar and simple carbs has only been in existence for a little more than a century. In evolutionary terms, this is a mere blip in time.
The refining of carbohydrates has done it’s damage in a couple of ways.
The first problem with the refining of carbohydrates is it has led to overconsumption. Our appetite control apparatus is deceived by the concentration and density of refined carbohydrates. There is roughly a teaspoon of sugar in an apple. You probably never have a great desire to consume multiple apples in one sitting as you would teaspoons of sugar added to other foods. How many teaspoons of sugar do you find just in one serving of any soft drink or sweet treat?
The next part of the equation is that refined carbohydrates cause an onrush of sugar to the pancreas. After some time, this results in diabetes. The pancreas gets overwhelmed by the amount of work thrown on it in a short amount of time, and not so much the amount of work required from it. When we eat refined carbohydrates, the pancreas gets stressed to it’s maximum all at once. You probably do not like it when your boss does this to you at work no more than your pancreas likes it when you overwhelm it. At some point, there is going to either be a push back, or an altogether failure.
When we eat refined carbohydrates, there is little to nothing to meter the flow of blood sugar to the pancreas, as opposed to when we eat potatoes. When we consume potatoes, the conversion of starch into sugar, and the absorption of this sugar into the blood stream is a slower and gentler process than the rapid one that follows the consumption of any mass of concentrated sugar.
The link between sugar and disease has been obscured over the years.
Sugar as a cause of disease had been overlooked while fat had been the key focus over the years. When carbohydrates as a cause of disease has been studied, there has been a great error in not distinguishing the difference between refined and non-refined carbohydrates. Cleave made a point of this in 1956 when he countered the argument that the increase in diagnosis’s of diabetes was unrelated to the increase in the consumption of sugar and refined carbohydrates.
One of the fundamental flaws identified by Cleaves was the theories being promoted that the increase of meat consumption and fats were a result of affluence. The thought was, since people were eating more meats and fewer carbohydrates, this would be the cause of chronic ailments such as heart disease as a result of eating saturated fats. The problem with this thinking is the disregard, that although people were consuming fewer complex carbs, they were eating more and more refined carbohydrates. White rice replaced brown, white flour replaced whole meal. Sugary beverages and candy were also driving up the consumption of refined carbohydrates.
A result of this flawed thinking is the belief that chronic disease was caused by high fat intake with a decrease in the intake of complex carbohydrates. The fact that the increased consumption of simple carbohydrates had actually become a part of the equation was overlooked.
A fat nation and flawed observations.
The changing American diet led Ancel Keys to insist that the consumption of fat caused heart disease. Because of his beliefs, he insisted that we needed to begin consuming a low fat, high carbohydrate diet. And as obvious, Keys was able to convince our government of his ideas too. He theorized that since there was an increase in heart disease with the consumption of more fat and less carbohydrates, we were placing our health at risk. He theories were based on the increase of fat by Americans from 100 pounds per year to 130 pounds per year. But he overlooked the fact that there was also a spectacular increase in sugar consumption from the mid 19th century onward. In the 1830’s the average yearly consumption of sugar was 13 pounds for American citizens. By the 1920’s this number increased to 100 pounds annually, and then upwards to 150 pounds annually by the end of the 20th century. Is it any wonder we are a fat nation?
It was not until the 1990’s that epidemiologists began to acknowledge the difference between complex and simple carbohydrates in their dietary analyses. Even in 1989, when the National Academy of Sciences published their “Diet and Health” report, there was no differentiation between complex and simple carbohydrates.
When Keys linked the low fat, high carbohydrate diet of the Japanese to their low incidence of heart disease, he had overlooked their low consumption of sugar and refined simple carbohydrates. His assumption was that since fat consumption was low, and the rate of heart disease was also low, then it must be solely because of the low fat diet of the Japanese. The same can be said of the people of Crete and Corfu who had also been in Key’s research. All of these populations also had a correlating low intake of sugar along with their low intake of fat. We have grown into a fat nation as a result of this one sided thinking which government has based nutritional guidelines upon.
The problem with limiting analyses and over interpretation of limited and unreliable data.
John Yudkin took Ancel Keys to task for the limitations of his analysis, and his overthinking of very limited and unreliable data. Yudkin understood that there are actually many factors that contribute to heart disease deaths. As we can see from all of the obesity of today despite the availability of zero and low fat foods, Key’s theories were not absolutely correct. We are fatter as a nation than we have ever been.
Yudkin paid attention to the trends of diet and disease in developed nations, and to heart disease and obesity, rather than the slew of chronic diseases. Yudkin came to the conclusion it was sugar that was the culprit, not the fat in our diets. You can test Yudkin’s theory out for yourself by eliminating sugar and refined carbohydrates entirely from your diet and see how your health and weight respond. You do not have to contribute to us being fat as a nation.
Research scientists can be ego driven, government can be stupid.
In the 1970’s, the medical community began taking John Yudkin serious. However, the theories of Ancel Keys had taken precedence in governmental nutrition policy. It was thought that if one was right, the other must be wrong. Could we get any more stupid? At least researchers in Europe recognized this flawed analogy. They recognized that there was a problem with saturated fats and sugar in the diet. The researchers in Europe knew through their research that there sugars and fats have a common metabolic pathway. Disturbances in carbohydrate metabolism may be responsible for abnormal fat metabolism. This is a causative factor in the development of atherosclerosis and of coronary disease and how we have become fat as a nation.
As a nation, we have become fatter each year. While we are each responsible for our own health, it is no wonder that people have such little understanding of how our nutrition affects our health. Ego and ignorance have led to marketing and policies that have made us a fat nation.
Weight loss anxiety is a real problem for many who are trying to lose weight. It would seem that getting to a healthy weight would make us happy, so why be stressed about it?
People get anxious over losing weight largely because they have unreal expectations about how long it should take to get a fit and healthy body. They want instant gratification, and the truth is, that is just not going to happen by going on a diet. We have to realize that it took a good amount of time to gain weight, therefore it is going to take a good amount of time to lose that same weigh in a healthy manner. It can be explained in fine detail to some why their weight loss journey will be slow, yet they still expect overnight results. Again, overnight results are just not going to happen.
Healthy weight loss must begin in your head!
If you want to permanently lose weight in a healthy manner, you have to get your mind wrapped around permanent lifestyle changes. You can’t simply rush through a diet for bathing suit season, and the return to your old habits. When you do this, you are not doing yourself any good at all, you are only setting yourself up for endless yo-yo dieting which never brings about satisfaction. Weight loss and weight management requires a permanent change to your lifestyle!
Examine what pulls you down.
When you create a new lifestyle for losing and managing your weight, you have to carefully examine what it is that derails you.
What are the habits and patterns that get in your way to success?
You must do a self examination and ask yourself if your reasons for getting derailed might actually just be an excuse. If you are making excuses, you need to take responsibility for your thinking and change your mindset. Excuses are never going to get you to a healthy weight. Results are what counts, not lame excuses. Weight loss anxiety is not a valid reason for getting derailed.
Of course, there are times when we encounter valid reasons for getting derailed temporarily, but those should never be anything more than very short term circumstances. Whatever your personal issue, the pattern has to change if you want to be successful. If you encounter a valid reason to get derailed, then it is incumbent upon you to fix the problem. You are capable of far more than you know.
Have realistic expectations.
Weight loss anxiety happens when dieters set themselves up for failure with unrealistic expectations. The bottom line is, you might want to get back to what you weighed at eighteen years old, but you are likely to never have that same body again. That being said, you can still have a fit and healthy body and a nice figure at any age. You just have to be patient and continuously work at it.
At David’s Way, we only recommend that you try to lose no more than one pound per week, two pounds maximum. While that does not sound like much in the short term, one pound per week is very doable and comes out to fifty two pounds of weight loss in a year. Now think about how much better you would look and feel being fifty two pounds lighter than you are now.
Set small goals.
You can alleviate a lot of your weight loss anxiety by setting many smaller goals that lead to the accomplishment of your main goal in weight loss. These small, short term goals should be things that will improve your lifestyle without wreaking havoc in your life. This will help you immensely with your weight loss anxiety. Achieving the short term and smaller goals will give you small victories to be find joy in during your journey.
We all know that change is hard and it is especially difficult if you try to make too many changes, so start small and gradually make lifestyle improvements.
Find a network of support!
We all need support, especially during the tough times. Find a friend, family member or support group you can connect with on a regular basis. People who are connected with others, whether it’s in person or online, do better than dieters who try to go it alone. Support groups are great, you will encounter others who have been exactly where you are in your journey.
Stop your old habits!
If you believe that you can continue with your old habits that got you over weight in the first place, there is little reason for you to even begin trying to lose weight. If you keep returning to your old habits, you are bound to fail. We all know that change is hard, but permanent change must take place if you are serious about getting your weight to a healthy level.
Hold yourself accountable!
Weigh yourself regularly and keep a journal that details what you eat, how much you exercise, your emotions, and your weight and measurements. By doing this, you can always look back and see a written record that will show you how far you have come in your journey. Sometimes, it seems like we are not making any progress until we look at how much we have actually progressed.
Weight loss anxiety does not mean you are a weak person.
People living with obesity have been ‘socially conditioned’ to turn to diets for a cure for their obesity, and to blame themselves when diets fail. If this is you, it is imperative that you know it was the diet that failed you, you did not fail the diet.
If you are not nutritionally savvy, it is not entirely your fault if you have gained weight and have not been able to lose it. Nutrition is not taught in schools as it used to be. Neither are too many parents teaching their children at home about the role of good nutrition. It is not your fault when people have never taught you what you need to know about weight management. That being said, if you want to be healthy, you still have to take action and begin educating yourself.
With weight loss, many factors work against your efforts. An unsustainable diet plan is one of those factors. Not only do we tend to gain weight back but multiple failed diet attempts can have long term devastating effects on our confidence to try to lose weight again. When we fail, we decrease our odds of giving 100% efforts with future weight losing attempts. Without giving a true maximum effort, weight loss will be even more challenging than it already is.
This fear of failure only keeps driving our weight loss anxiety deeper and deeper with each attempt. You have to create a new lifestyle that revolves around permanent healthy eating practices in order to succeed. Fad diets will never get you there my friends.
Think about this, giving 100% effort is scary because it robs us of any excuses if we fail. However, the converse of this is that if you keep giving 100% effort you cannot fail because you are continually trying.
Slow weight loss is always best, unless medically supervised for a specific medical reason. Unless your doctor wants you to rapidly drop weight, you need to approach your weight loss as you would a marathon runner instead of as a sprinter. Your health will be better served, and you will be happier with the final results. Additionally, slow weight loss will make it easier to manage your weight once you have reached your goal weight.
Slow yourself down!
Rapid weight loss that leaves you looking and feeling fit and healthy is something that only happens in the land of unicorns and fairy dust. You didn’t get overweight overnight, so quit trying to get to a healthy weight overnight. It’s just not going to happen, no matter how much you might wish it so.
Why slow weight loss is best for you!
When you lose weight rapidly, there is always going to be the risk of associated health problems that can come with it. Most people who lose weight rapidly, do so on starvation diets. There is never anything good about losing weight by starving yourself. When you are starving yourself on a low calorie diet, you become miserable. You are not only always craving foods, your body is actually wasting away through the loss of lean muscle mass along with your body fat.
There is nothing good about this. Rapid weight loss robs your body of needed nutrients, it can dehydrate you, and leave you susceptible to heart attack or poor heart health. Slow weight loss makes it easier for our bodies to adjust to the ongoing changes. For weight loss to be sustainable, the lifestyle has to be sustainable too. You can’t expect lasting results from a temporary way of living.
When we attempt to lose weight rapidly, we are prone to drastically cutting our calories which correlates to a reduction in protein, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats. When we do this, we are not fueling our body with sufficient calories and nutrients to where we can lead an active lifestyle. Instead, we will feel run down around the clock, and find ourselves wanting to just get the diet over with. Slow weight loss is always best as it will allow you to be able to perform your daily duties more efficiently. You will also have the energy to do the necessary exercises to lose weight.
Rapid weight loss leads to loss of lean muscle mass!
When we drastically cut our calories for rapid weight loss, we only hurt ourselves. By cutting our calories too drastically, our bodies will try to obtain energy from other sources, such as muscle cells as well as body fat. As a consequence of muscle loss, your body will become less toned. You will develop a condition that is often described as “skinny fat”. If you choose to lose weight at a slower rate, you will achieve a leaner and firmer figure. In other words, not only will you feel better, you are going to look better. After all, looking better is part of your goal, isn’t it?
Skinny fat is not exactly attractive. You will still look soft and squishy when you are skinny fat. And your metabolism will have slowed which only makes it easier to regain all of your lost weight, and quite possibly more. The bottom line is, a slow weight loss program will ensure that your metabolism will remain efficient, and you will lose weight at a steadier and healthier rate.
Rapid weight loss leads to unsightly loose skin!
Face it, rapid weight loss often leads to the loosening of skin for a good many dieters. your skin is an elastic organ, which requires time to adjust to the loss of your body mass. With rapid weight loss, you are highly susceptible to loose flaps of skin on your arms, stomach or other parts of your body.
Slow weight loss gives ample time for your skin to contract and fit your smaller body. This means you are more likely to have ordinary looking skin that does not wrinkle or sag. If a part of your desire to lose weight rapidly is centered on your vanity, you are not going to be happy with your new look when you have folds of unsightly loose skin hanging from your frame.
Do you like to have healthy hair?
Rapid weight loss can result in the loss of your hair. Again, if vanity is what you are driven by, you are going to be disappointed when your hair begins to fall out. When we drastically reduce our consumption of food, we deprive ourselves of important vitamins, minerals and fatty acids that are required for maintaining healthy hair. As a result, your hair will become drier and more brittle. You will begin to lose hair after some time.
We recommend you only lose 1 to 2 pounds per week.
It is always best to lose weight at a slow but steady pace. It is a fact, most studies show that people who lose weight at a slow but steady pace are more likely to keep it off long-term. And that is what we want, correct? You might believe that losing weight is the most difficult part of the battle. The reality is, the challenge of keeping it off for good is where the most diligence is required. As soon as you let your guard down after losing weight, your body fat is going to come back and clobber you with a vengeance. Ninety five percent of dieters will fail in their battle against the bulge.
Plans such as ours at David’s Way to Health and Fitness encourage slow weight loss, and help you build healthy eating behaviors. We encourage you to eat a well rounded diet that does not include added sugars or other refined simple carbohydrates such as white flour and pasta. We also recommend that you greatly limit the amount of processed foods in your diet as well. When you follow the David’s Way Plan, I guarantee it will help you keep weight off long-term. Just do not expect for your weight loss to come rapidly.