Fight Obesity – Part 2

Quit sugar, eat MORE fat, and become slimmer and healthier.

The healthiest and probably the easiest way to lose weight and help fight the obesity crisis is to take up a diet that is ‘low in sugary carbohydrates and high in healthy fats’.

As mentioned in Part 1, this way of eating is against the dietary advice from government health departments and dietitians. However, the ‘high natural fat, low sugar’ diet is a medically accepted regimen that is attracting the backing of health experts worldwide.

In fact, this new diet has a very large social media following. It has many respected medical experts stating that it is the ‘only’ healthy way to lose weight, fight obesity, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.

For example, the U.S. dietitian Dr Gary Taubes argues that tackling obesity is not about eating less, but ‘what’ is consumed. He is emphatic that a low carbohydrate, high fat diet is the answer.

Actually, a similar diet based on limited sugary carbohydrates was popularized by the British undertaker William Banting in the nineteenth century. He himself was obese, and the change of diet worked wonders for him. The Banting diet spread throughout Europe, and in Scandinavia banta remains the main verb for ‘to be on a diet’.

The new but similar ‘low carbohydrate, high fat’ diet is not a short-term ‘miracle fat and weight loss’ programme. It is a long-term way to eat healthily.

In some cases, obese people have reported losing up to a stone in weight in four weeks. Amazingly, they did not count calories, and hardly ever felt hungry. The suppression of hunger is thought to be due to the way that the body processes foods in different ways.

For instance, with a diet that predominantly consists of starchy and sugary carbohydrates, these are converted into glucose that the body uses as its primary energy source. Any excess sugar becomes fat and is stored for future use.

However, if carbohydrates are severely restricted in the diet, the body then has to use fuel other than glucose for energy. This is usually from stored fat in the body and from any fats in food eaten. In fact, there is little physiological requirement for carbohydrates, and non whatsoever for sugars.

Experts say that the key part of a ‘low carbohydrate, high fat’ diet is to limit total carbohydrates to a maximum of 50 grams each day. That will free the body from sugar addiction and help with weight loss in a natural way.

The trouble is that cutting right down on carbohydrates is not easy. However, when healthy fats are eaten, cravings are reduced because the stomach feels full.

Active people who are on their feet most of the day can actually eat up to 120 grams of carbohydrates a day and still benefit because they burn off the extra glucose. Unfortunately for those with a sweet tooth, these figures for carbohydrate intake apply only to those from whole foods such as vegetables, fruits, pulses, and nuts. These foods contain carbohydrates that are full of nutrients that metabolize slowly.

Sweet foods with sucrose and fructose, or those made of starch like potatoes, are forbidden. The best thing however is that the number of calories in food do not count in ‘low carbohydrate, high fat’ diets. Who likes counting them anyway? The balance of nutrients and healthy fats prevents craving.

Sugar addicts will not find the switch over easy. They are advised to concentrate on portion control for proteins and fats, and gradually reduce the intake of starchy vegetables such as potatoes and parsnips.

In the end, one has to reappraise old notions about nutrition.

Continued in Part 3.

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Fight Obesity – Part 1

Quit sugar, eat MORE fat, and become slimmer and healthier.

It has been reckoned that in the UK (2016) almost six out of ten women and two-thirds of men are overweight. Dietary guidelines are to eat lots of carbohydrates, consume little so-called ‘heart disease-causing’ saturated fats like butter and whole milk, to eat ‘low-fat’ foods, and to make sure five fruits and vegetables are eaten every day.

It is clear that most of this dietary advice is not working. The part about fruit and vegetables is fine because those foods are sources of healthy dietary fibre, vitamins and minerals.

The obesity epidemic is out of control. Yet many people do their best to ‘eat less’ and to ‘exercise more’. But we continue to get fatter and heavier. The only thing that the dietary guidelines seem to be doing is to fuel a ‘billion-pound diet industry’. The population is turning into one of “sugar-craving, disappointed yo-yo dieters”.

Thankfully, this health disaster may now be at a turning point. South African and U.S. scientists have shown that the ignorantly promoted ‘low-fat, more carbohydrate’ diet recommended by food experts has been extremely ineffective. It even looks like these recommendations could be directly to blame for the obesity crisis.

The new thinking is that, regardless of weight, we should be eating MORE fat, not less, and severely restricting if not cutting out altogether sugars. Typical among these sugars are common sucrose (table sugar) and the very unhealthy fructose.

Leading UK cardiologist Dr Aseem Malhotra, has set out the case for a radical change of thinking to bring in a low-carbohydrate diet that is high in natural saturated fats. This could actually be the key to ending the obesity epidemic and reducing the escalation of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

A ‘low-carbohydrate, healthy fat’ diet could be the way out of sugar addiction and the key to losing weight and staying slim forever.

This new approach is about re-thinking what we eat, starting with stopping eating sugar-rich foods. Unfortunately, most people eat the equivalent of 22 teaspoons of sugar every day. The trouble is that sweet things are very addictive – they are like opiates.

The sugary, carbohydrate-rich diets we have depended on for years, together with all the fancy snacks available, have left many of us ‘hooked’ on sugar. But it is not only sweet treats that get us hooked. It is also the ‘complex carbohydrates’ such as starch – which break down into simple sugars – that maintain our cravings.

All processed foods contain sugar. If you ‘read the labels’ you may be startled to discover just how much sugar is added to packaged, canned and bottled products.

With sugars playing such a big part in our lives, it seems impossible to quit them. That is the opiate link.

Continued in Part 2…

Knowing More About Obesity

The vast amount of sugar consumed in the modern Western diet that is contained in processed foods and sweetened drinks is causing obesity and other health problems such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease. That is the current thinking. But what if this is wrong?

Results of a large study of over 132,000 people across Britain by scientists at Glasgow University suggests that sugar contributes little to expanding waistlines. This obviously goes against current thinking on the causes of being overweight.

Published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, the study results show that overweight men and women ate 14 per cent more fat than people of normal weight.

The study found that sugar accounted for 22 per cent of their energy intake compared to 23.4 per cent of slimmer volunteers in the study.

These results go against blaming sugar for the weight crisis. If they are right, matters will get worse when the expected new health guidelines telling people to eat more fat and less sugar come in. There is also the possibility that foods containing sugar will be taxed.

What can be made of the Glasgow University study results?

The study scientists analysed the dietary habits of 132,479 men and women taking part in a research project called ‘UK Biobank’, a large database of medical data and tissue samples. They looked at the kinds of foods making up the daily energy intake of the volunteers.

The trouble is that the foods eaten by the overweight people included ‘unhealthy’ fats that are common in processed foods.

Calories from fats, sugars and proteins are not equal. Weight gain can be caused by eating metabolically harmful calories such as net carbohydrates, which is the total carbohydrates minus fibre.

The coming new health guidelines will be about consuming ‘healthy’ fats such as those occurring in eggs, avocados, coconuts, walnuts, and in products such as milk, cheese and butter from grass-fed cows. No doubt the diets of the overweight people in the study consisted of junk food, pizzas, processed convenience foods and the like.

The Glasgow study is a welcome addition to the obesity debate, but to draw the conclusion that all fats cause obesity, and that sugar is not to blame, is too simplistic and a possible dangerous statement.

Clearly further research ought to be done, but the current health guidelines telling people to limit saturated ‘healthy’ fat intake and eat lots of carbohydrates seem to be the root cause of today’s obesity crisis.