It is a prevailing feeling that obese people have only their self-indulgence or a lack of willpower to blame when it comes to eating. While we have the freedom to make our own choices in regards to what we eat, a recent article, 9 Reasons Why Obesity is Not Just a Choice does a nice job of laying out nine reasons for obesity:
- Genetics and Prenatal Factors
- Birth, Infancy and Childhood Habits
- Medications or Medical Conditions
- Powerful Hunger Hormones
- Leptin Resistance
- Poor Nutrition Education
- Addictive Junk Food
- The Effect of Gut Bacteria
- The Environment
Others could be added, but a major one, probably the most important, is the influence of the the Framingham Study, an on-going study started in 1948 in Framingham Massachusetts. Its seminal conclusion was that cholesterol is the culprit for heart attacks and must be avoided; today, a discredited conclusion. Ultimately this spawned the “low-fat, high carb” diet still followed as the prevailing basis for food and dietary recommendations, and one of the biggest mistakes made in dietary advice history.
Cholesterol avoidance and carbohydrate pursuits have destroyed our nations health. These credos set the stage for our eating habits for the last 67 years, and are still embodied in the misguided old and current Food Pyramids. It doesn’t take much to notice that the latest food pyramid tells us that more than 50% of what we eat should be carbs (base level) and half the second tier as fruits (sugar).
Unlike fat and protein, which make us feel full, carbs (other than the pure fiber) is all turned to blood sugar, which produce food cravings. Is it any wonder that after being asked to cut down on fat, our main source of energy, and to substitute carbohydrates and sugar-filled fruits as our main energy sources, that we’ve become a nation of obese people? Over 67% of the U.S. population has metabolic syndrome (diabetes, pre-diabetes, or obesity). As the “9 Reasons” article confirms, other factors are in play, but none equal the significance of the poor institutional advice we still receive about carbs.
We need to make protein, fat, and healthy vegetables our most consumed foods, the base of our new low-carb triangle, and put high grain, starchy foods, and sugar-filled fruits as the smallest component of one’s diet at the top. How could we get it so wrong when every day, every other person we see is over-weight or obese?