19 August 2013

Part 2 - Has the obesity time-bomb already exploded?

It would appear so. 

A report by the University of Birmingham states that "Obesity rates in the UK are the highest in Europe and have increased dramatically over the past few years to such an extent that in excess of 20% of the population are now obese..."

This isn't exactly god news. I have observed the increase in people desperate to lose weight but are constantly fighting a losing battle. Why? Because they go from one quick fix to another? That perhaps maybe be part of it but, there is another reason and its not all your fault...

We have had the wool pulled over our eyes, including me. With a lot of clever marketing and re-occurring messages to blind us to the real truth, we believe that a low fat, high carbohydrate diet is the best for us. its what doctors tell you to do when you are overweight and have either been diagnosed with diabetes or high cholesterol or you are pre-disposed to it because you are overweight.

You are also told to reduce saturated fat intake because it causes heart disease so swap saturated fats for polyunsaturated vegetable oils. Messages everywhere; TV adverts, magazines, doctors surgeries constantly tell us whole-grains are good, why? Because they contain fibre, B vitamins and minerals such as iron. Even refined breakfast cereals are fortified so they have all the nutrients we need and will fill us up until lunch time...supposedly. 

Whilst I am not disputing the fact that whole-grains contain nutrients, grains are not necessarily the best thing since, well, sliced bread. The reason is that when you cut down on one thing, in this instance fat, something else increases to compensate and that's usually carbohydrates.

In an article written by Dr Mercola, researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham found that when overweight people were put on a reduced carb eating plan for a few weeks, they reduced abdominal fat by 11 percent. These results were more positive than those put on a low-fat diet. 

Translated, this means that that people placed on a low carb eating plan reduced their fat percentage because they were eating less sugar. Carbs are converted into sugar as its the body's prime source of energy. You only need so much energy; the rest will be converted into fat. Fat can be easily stored where as sugar cannot be. 

It does not make any difference whether the carbs are refined or wholegrain, they are treated exactly the same within the body.

You may not even realise how much carbs you are eating. You might also believe you have a healthy diet. If you have cereal or wholegrain toast (or both) for breakfast, pasta or sandwich for lunch and potatoes with your dinner and snack on low fat crisps or lots of dried fruit, you are ensuring your body becomes a fat storing machine. If you have been wondering why you are struggling to lose weight or your blood sugar levels never seem to stabilise, a high carb intake is the reason.

When you are used to eating in a certain way, the thought of cutting out something that's relatively quick and easy to prepare can be daunting. The thought of what will I eat might throw you into a panic. Think about it, if you reduced your carb intake by half, you would notice the difference. You cannot however, cut out one thing and not replace it. Thing is, what do you replace it with? You replace the carbs with foods that will satisfy and fill you up, namely... protein,fat and good quality non starchy carbs.

Just following this advice alone will make a heck of a difference in your weight, blood sugar and cholesterol readings.

If you are following a gluten free diet, you might want to try reducing the carbs because all you are doing is replacing one grain with another. Bloating, gas, constipation might be why you decided to forgo wheat and go gluten free, but because you are still consuming grains, you still might be suffering but not realising the reason why. Yes, even innocent looking rice can cause havoc particularly if its white rice!

Fair enough, changing ingrained eating bad habits isn't easy... but on the other hand its not that difficult either. You need to stop listening to the 'experts' and do what's right for your body and your health by re-educating yourself on what foods your body actually needs and not what you are told is best.