That Britain has a rising problem with obesity is visibly obvious. Some 22,000 11-year olds are severely obese. A UN study is naming the UK the third-fattest nation in Europe with a quarter of the population being obese. It is estimated that half the population will be obese by 2045, which is a frightening prospect and will put severe pressure on the NHS. Obesity related health issues such as Diabetes 2, heart and coronary diseases, blood pressure, cholesterol, to mention just a few will rise and ultimately the NHS will not be able to cope.
But don’t worry, the government has come up with an idea – to launch a consultation on laws that would force all restaurants, cafés, online outlets and fast-food outlets, whatever their size – to display calorie counts on menus. Many large chains, such as McDonald’s and Pret a Manger, already do this. Small shops and country pubs rarely do so. Will putting calories on menus really make a difference and reduce obesity?
Is every calorie the same?
First of all we need to know what the definition of a calorie is. A calorie is the amount of heat needed to raise the temperature of one gram of water by one degree Celsius. Calories in food provide energy in the form of heat so that our bodies can function. Our bodies store and “burn” calories as fuel. Many dieters count calories and try to decrease caloric intake to lose weight.
No they are not and here is why
However the dogmatic belief that “a calorie is a calorie” has done much to contribute to the ever-worsening health of the Western world. It’s one of the first things dieticians learn in school, and it’s completely false. Calories are not created equal; it is the source of the calories that makes all the difference in the world. Ground breaking research by Dr. Robert Lustig shows that calories from fructose are of particular concern.
According to Dr.Lustig, fructose is “isocaloric but not isometabolic.” What this means is that identical calorie counts from fructose or glucose, fructose and protein, or fructose and fat, will cause entirely different metabolic effects.
The reason for the difference in metabolic effects is largely because different nutrients provoke different hormonal responses, and those hormonal responses determine how much fat your body will accumulate and hold on to.
This is why the idea that you can lose weight by counting calories simply doesn’t work. After fructose, other sugars and grains are among the most excessively consumed foods that promotes weight gain and chronic disease.
Another dogmatic belief that simply isn’t true is the idea that obesity is the end result of eating too much and exercising too little; i.e. consuming more calories than you’re expending.
Here, research by the likes of Dr. Richard Johnson clearly demonstrates that this too is a complete fallacy. Like Dr. Lustig, Dr. Johnson places most of the blame on excessive fructose consumption, and his book Switch shatters the myth that obesity is the result of eating too many calories and not exercising enough.
What is frequently overlooked is your body’s ability to burn fat as its primary fuel. Due to insulin and leptin resistance, most people have impaired enzymes to burn fat.
It will not work
Those in our society most prone to obesity – who are mainly to be found in less well-off and poorly educational households – are already the least likely to take any notice of nutritional advice. They are also more likely to eat the junk food and sugar laden drinks to be found at the likes of McDonald’s, where calorie labelling shows no sign of slowing custom. Moreover, calorie labelling is a simplistic tool that does not accurately reflect real nutritional value. A hundred calories of carrots is still going to be better for you than the same value in chocolate. The move is infantilising and the government must rethink.
So if you are carrying more body fat than you want, what’s the answer? I believe there are two primary dietary recommendations that, if widely implemented, could help you regain your lean body and reverse our current obesity trend. This kind of diet will naturally shift your body from burning sugar to burning fat as its primary fuel, which will automatically help you shed excess weight, and counteract disease processes associated with a processed, high-sugar diet:
- Avoid, sugar, refined fructose, grains, and processed foods
- Eat a diet that consists of whole foods, ideally organic, and replace the grain carbs with:
- Large amounts of vegetables
- Low-to-moderate amount of high-quality protein (think organically raised, pastured animals).
- As much high-quality healthy fat as you want (saturated and monounsaturated). For optimal health, most people need upwards of 50-85 percent of their daily calories in the form of fat. Good sources of fat include coconut and coconut oil, avocados, grass-fed butter, nuts, seeds and oily fish.
The EatWright Plan can help fight obesity while not counting calories and eating delicious, no added sugar foods. For more information go HERE.
To Better Health,