Category Archives: Obesity

Coalition Turns it’s Back on Obesity

fat-cat

Fat Cats

A specialist panel set up by the government to look into the problem of the obesity epidemic including possible solutions has been disbanded (British Medical Journal – article).  It seems the government didn’t like the advise it was getting and so has decided to silence the out spoken committee by sacking all it’s members.  Opting instead for the softly softly ‘nudge’ tactics –  Healthy lives, healthy people: a call to action on obesity in England

The group set up by the last Labour government as part of recommendations coming out of the Foresight Report, which went far beyond education about personal food choices but included legislation, taxes and tighter controls on the food and drinks manufacturers.  The panel was only too aware of the scale of the obesity problem, describing it as ‘akin to global warming’.

Ex member Klim McPherson said “Ministers were more inclined to involve food and drinks companies than scientific experts”.

Panel experts also expressed disappointment at Andrew Lansley‘s announcement for anti obesity measures to focus on eating less and exercising more.

Shadow Health Minister Diane Abbott, said: “It is becoming clear that Andrew Lansley’s number one priority is pleasing his friends in big business”.

TV chef Jamie Oliver said of the policy ” This whole strategy is worthless, regurgitated, patronising rubbish

Prof McPherson also went on to say “I think it was just naive frankly. People are controlled by their environment and the food industry has discovered it can make quite a lot of money selling junk food all over the place.”

Other panel members Professors Tim Lang and Geof Rayner, wrote in the BMJ that the policy is a “smokescreen” for “publicly endorsed marketing”. The strategy could become “collusion between the state and corporations to hoodwink consumers. At least nannies are overt.”

Professor Lang goes on to explain:

The closure of the expert advisory group is bad news all round, bad politics, bad policy, and bad science. It shuts the door on an important attempt by the state to recognise the systemic nature of what drives obesity…It’s plain as a pikestaff that obesity requires systems change, not a tweak here and there, yet that is what is being offered.

Well what is becoming absolutely clear is that real help for the overweight, as well a real solution to the obesity epidemic is coming no time soon, pretty frustrating for us though expected given previous and current policy.

This is a real shame as the solution at least in principle is a simple one.  Combat sugar addiction born in processed foods and the problem will become a thing of the past.  However when you consider who has their fingers in whose pies the solution can never be simple.

We are not saying the the obesity panel had it all right as they were in favour of legislation over education.  It cannot be right to withhold information about the addictive and damaging effects of a food and then make it harder or more expensive to obtain.  Simply increasing costs or telling them to eat less is a policy waiting to fail.  The majority of the population has a problem that they are totally oblivious too.

The man (or woman) in the street is simply not aware why he gets tired in the afternoon, why he’s hungry shortly after eating, why he gets brain fog, why he get’s depressed, why his libido is low, why despite eating low fat, low calorie he continues to gain weight, why he’s ended up with type II diabetes…or worse!

Advertisements

The Fat Storage Machine

Junk-food-collage

These foods are doing more than just making you fat.

Carbohydrates are great, they are the bodies preferred source of fuel providing instant energy when needed.  Endurance athletes need more than most as they are continually drawing on the bodies resources, consider them as a high octane fuel in a well oiled machine.  However they are also at the source of the obesity problem and so you should monitor very carefully both the type and quantity you eat as they have a dramatic effect on the body chemistry.

It is without question that blood sugar levels are the driving force in the fat storage mechanism as this determines the level of insulin production.  This goes against many who believe fat or more specifically saturated fat and over consumption are the drivers.  This is incorrect as increasing numbers of scientific studies now show that it’s consumption of a high carbohydrate diet and not a high fat diet that is the main cause of fat accumulation,  excess consumption of food is a symptom of being overweight and not the other way around.  It is the fat cells themselves that disrupt the body chemistry which tell the brain to eat more and more.  The alienation of saturated fat began in the 1950’s thanks to the now discredited findings of an American scientist by the name of Ancel Keys.

So back to the real culprits, when consumed carbohydrates are quickly converted into glucose and enter the bloodGlucose-Insulin-Cycle-graphic stream (blood sugar).  Of the two types of carbohydrate simple and complex it is the simple form (sweets, syrups, table sugar, alcohol, soda drinks, fruit juices)  that have the biggest impact on blood sugar levels.  These simple forms have little to no nutritional value but small amounts can be converted for use as instant energy, great…but hang on a moment.  In order for the body to be able to use glucose as fuel it produces a hormone called insulin whose job it is to transport glucose from the blood to the cells, liver and muscles.  The problem is these energy storage banks don’t have much capacity and so quickly become full.  When this happens all surplus glucose in the blood gets stored in the fat cells.  If this were to be an irregular event there would be little to worry about.  But it’s not, as our present day diet is filled with refined carbohydrates in the form of processed foods and drinks, bread, pasta, pastries, soda’s, fruit juices etc. As a result we find ourselves with consistently high levels of insulin working overtime to lower blood sugar.   The presence of high levels of insulin mean three things:

1. Fat cells unable to convert fat to energy

2. Weight Gain

3. Insulin Intolerance ( This is very bad!)

You have basically turned your body into a fat storing machine by constantly feeding it a high carbohydrate diet.  Because our bodies cannot tolerate sustained high blood sugar levels a condition called insulin resistance begins to take effect.  This is very serious and linked to many of the modern autoimmune and degenerative diseases we see today.

Insulin-resistance-cycle-graphicSo what can happen when your body is a fat storing machine? How about type II diabetes, heart disease, metabolic syndrome, cancer, Alzheimers to name a few.  Americans are adding, on average one and a half pounds of fat each year with Britain a close second.

%d bloggers like this: