July 9, 2010….The White House Decides to Fight the Obesity Epidemic…With the Same Program that Caused the Obesity Epidemic!
It’s wonderful that the White House has decided to focus on obesity as an epidemic. This appears to be an excellent move as the US population is more obese and sicker than ever before in the country’s history. What am I concerned about? The White House’s plan to help solve the epidemic of obesity is the same program that medical associations have promoted for weight loss for over 40 years….This plan is based on the very precepts that caused our nation to develop this epidemic…. An epidemic that fuels the coffers of the pharmaceutical industry, keeps us medicating/treating, ties us to health care at an earlier age.
It amazes me that no one acknowledges that the current “solution” is the exact same “solution” to overweight that has been espoused since the early 1970’s. Since the early 1970’s that we’ve become a nation of obese, sick people. Something happened over 40 years ago that set us up for the obesity/diabetes epidemics we are facing today. It’s time to admit it, change it, and fix the problem now and forever.
Anyone old enough to remember the 1960’s remembers a time when the world was a thinner, more active, healthier place. Do you remember your parents, at the age of 45, taking 4 or more medications? (I see multiple medications listed on the majority of medical forms of overweight person over the age 40). Do you remember more than 5 overweight kids in your graduating class? (I can still remember the handful of kids who were “chubby” throughout my school career). Do you remember your school friends having adult onset diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol? (I knew one child with Type 1 diabetes…a condition not related to weight)
In order to fully understand today’s problem, one needs to look back to the early 1970’s. At this time, America learned a new catch phrase… “Hardening of the arteries.” (Isn’t it interesting that you rarely hear this phrase in 2010?) These days, everyone is familiar with fancier terms: total cholesterol, high density and low density cholesterol, good cholesterol and bad cholesterol, triglycerides, ratios, particle size. We’ve come a long way, baby.
When the country began to focus on our “hardening arteries”, the medical community began to spin the idea that we must decrease our dietary fat intake to decrease the fat in our blood vessels. You can see the outcome on your supermarket shelves that are stocked with low fat, fat free, reduced fat, low calorie, light, lite foods. Even foods like butter, milk, cheese, salad dressings, gravies, sour cream, creamers, cream cheese, peanut butter….foods that contain fat because, they are normally made of fat….. engineered to be low fat. We were advised to avoid butter and switch to engineered margarine because margarine was not made of “animal fat.” We were assured that animal fats were bad and the reason for the fat deposits in our arteries. Now, the food cart is filled with lite margarine, skim milk, fat free cheese, fat free salad dressing, fat free gravy, fat free sour cream, fat free creamer, fat free ice cream, fat free chips, fat free peanut butter…..we should be much thinner and have very much decreased our cholesterol and triglycerides, right? Wrong.
Ever since the medical community focused on low fat/reduced fat, low calories, the US has blown- up in size, become addicted to medications, signed up at health clubs, and instead of improving our condition…we are getting worse! It is obvious that something is very wrong with this theory, right? Right.
It should be mentioned that when a food company engineers a fat- containing food to contain little to no fat, the food is rendered flavorless. As a result, in an effort to reduce or eliminate the fat, but still sell “healthy foods”…companies decided to increase the fat- free ingredient: carbohydrate.
Check for yourself….look at the carbohydrate grams in Italian dressing and look at the carbohydrate grams in fat free Italian dressing. Night and Day difference. But that shouldn’t matter because carbohydrate contains no fat and contains less than ½ the calories of fat. This is good, right? Wrong.
I contend that in the early 1970’s, the idea of hardening of the arteries, cholesterol, saturated fat, ‘calories in – calories out’ became the focus of media and medical rhetoric. I also contend that since the advent of low fat, fat free, reduced fat, low calorie diets, we have become heavier and sicker.
To see the whole picture, we need to turn the clock back even further, to the late 1950’s and 1960’s. At that time, medical researchers began to agree that a compilation of medical conditions eventually manifested as a quartet of chronic illnesses. The term given to this syndrome: Metabolic Syndrome or Syndrome X. The compilation of problems : midline fat deposits (belly fat), elevated LDL cholesterol/ triglycerides, elevated blood pressure, elevated blood sugar are somehow related. These illnesses don’t happen in isolation; they ARE linked to each other by a common denominator. Long before the low- fat diet craze, medical researchers already knew about metabolic syndrome.
More than a decade later, in the 1970’s we began to hear of low fat, fat free, low calorie…..because “it seemed natural and obvious that the fat on our bodies and in our blood, the fat that contributes to our high blood pressure and pushes the button for diabetes must be due to Americans overeating calories and fat.”
What we weren’t told was that at least 50% of overweight people will gain weight on a low fat, low cholesterol, and low calorie diet. Millions of people get fatter, need medications for cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure, and eventually become diabetic on low fat, low calorie, low cholesterol diets. The diet restrictions they are being encouraged to follow is the very diet that will cause them to be heavier and sicker. Scary? Yes. Does it surprise people who live in 2010? No.
More to come………………….Diane