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Posts tagged ‘Obesity epidemic’

Why we have an obesity problem Part #2

A while back I posted Why we have an obesity problem.

If that was Part #1, this is Part #2.

I was visiting my local Post Office the other day. It’s a busy little sub-Post Office counter built at the back of a neighbourhood convenience store, as many Post Office counters are these days. It’s almost always busy, and customers form a queue along one of the aisles of the shop. Here is the view as I stood in the aisle awaiting my turn to be served.

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Great, ‘the £1 zone’ is right there, where folks who just want to post a parcel or buy some stamps or apply for a drivers licence, have to stand and wait to be served.

I grabbed a packet of cookies and turned them over to see the nutrition label.

Check this out:

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This twin-pack of ‘vanilla flavoured cookies with chocolate chips’ weighs 400 grams net weight. As you can see, the cookies deliver 495 calories per 100g. In round numbers, this is 2000 calories – for £1. (For my readers outside the UK, at current rates, £1 sterling is €1.14 Euros, or $1.29 USD at current, Feb 2019, exchange rates.)

2000 calories is the recommended daily intake for an adult female in the UK, wishing to maintain body weight (not gain or lose).

2000 calories, your entire daily intake, for £1.

Let’s just check the ingredients label to see what these cookies are made of.

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Now, remember the way an ingredients list works – the items are listed in descending order, from the item that makes up the greatest percentage of the contents, down to the minor items listed last.

These cookies are made of – refined wheat flour, palm oil, sugar, chocolate chips (which are made of sugar and more palm oil) and then some coca butter and then lesser items.

Broken out by macronutrient, the 2000 calories in this £1 pack consist of:

  • Just over 50% sugar – 262 calories of carbs out of 495 calories per 100g. (Carbohydrates contain around 4.1 calories per gram.) They list “of which sugars” as a sub-set of the carbohydrate, but given that the ‘non-sugar’ is just refined wheat flour, once inside your intestines it is broken down and absorbed as glucose just the same as the refined sugar, so to your blood, to your metabolism, it’s all sugar. Out of 2000 calories – approx 1060 calories of sugar
  • After the flour and refined sugar, the only other substantial ingredient is the palm oil (not the best thing to be eating) which contribute the overwhelming majority of the calories from fats in this product. (Fats contain around 9 calories per gram.) SO we get around 212 calories of fat (palm oil) per 100g. Approximately 43% of this product is fat
  • Out of the total 2000 calories in the pack…it’s 53% sugar, and 43% fat – and that fat is not a healthy fat like you get in fresh fish, olive oil or avocado, that’s fat from palm oil
  • As for this ‘food product’ providing any possible health benefits…like vitamins, minerals, essential amino acids…forget it

We have an obesity problem in this country, and that problem is a burden that is unfairly heaped onto low income families, and this is a big part of what is causing that problem. Crap food, refined sugar, refined plant oils, and cheap processed grains, are everywhere – cheap food, easy to buy, in our faces, tempting, tasty, packed and displayed to make our kids nag and pester for it.

While 90% of people I meet say they “can’t afford to buy organic” fruits and vegetables, but convenience stores are punting 2000 calories of sugar and fat for just £1, we are never going to solve the problem.

Public Health England needs to sort this out. Food manufacturers and mass market retailers are one of the most potent forces driving the obesity problem in the UK, and there can be no doubt that the abundant availability of cheap sugar is also exacerbating the type-2 diabetes problem too. This puts an increasing burden of poor health on to poorer families – the government should be subsidising bloody fish and vegetables, and taxing the hell out of sugar and palm oil. Clearly, with 2000 calories on sale for £1 (how do they even do that? The cost of overheads, the packaging, the shelf space, the store staff???) this is not happening, and we have a food system that enabled unscrupulous manufacturers and retailers to dump a mass of cheap, health-damaging ‘food products’ on to the market without any sugar taxes or other barriers to stop them.

Shame on you Public Health England.
Shame on you UK govt.
Shame on you food manufacturers.
Shame on you major food retailers.
Shame on all of you. Our NHS cannot afford to treat this burden forever. We have to rebuild a country that understands ‘prevention is better than cure’.

 

Diets; massive weight loss; and the greatest health threats of our time…

I want to share a couple of things with you that I have read recently.

This is a fairly long read, but I encourage you to find a few minutes to read it if you can, it’s harrowing and insightful.

One quote that rings so true…something I have said many times myself, is this…

Tommy writes:

“Here are the two things I have come to believe about diets:

1. Almost any diet works in the short term.
2. Almost no diets work in the long term.

The most depressing five-word Google search I can think of—and I can think of a lot of depressing five-word Google searches—is gained all the weight back. Losing weight is not the hard part. The hard part is living with your diet for years, maybe the rest of your life.”

That’s the truth, and that’s why I teach Mother Nature’s Diet as a permanent healthy lifestyle, not a fad diet, not a temporary eating plan. You need permanent change, to achieve permanent results.

Reading that whole article, as many others I have read, and through my own personal weight loss transformation and the private one-to-one health coaching clients I have worked with over the years, I am struck again and again with one overpowering observation:

So much of the obesity crisis, it’s not that folks fail to understand that “eating veggies is good, eating cakes will make you fat”, or it’s not that folks don’t understand they need to exercise.

People know that stuff.

It’s sadness, it’s desperation, it’s social anxiety, it’s loneliness.
People eat for comfort, for pleasure, to escape.

In all walks of life, people get addicted to all kinds of things – alcohol is the obvious biggest one, but also hard drugs, shopping, online gaming, smoking, sex, pornography, gambling, and food.

So often, we see addictive behaviour to alcohol, or drugs, or food, is really just a lost, confused, hurt, lonely, unhappy person hiding from reality, seeking some comfort, and taking solace, habitually, in their go-to-pleasure of choice.

It starts as just one drink, or just one cake, or just one hit…and we never think it’ll lead to the addiction that it does.

Food, unlike hard drugs, is legal, and easy to buy, anywhere and everywhere.
And food, unlike cigarettes, alcohol, and gambling, isn’t locked behind any kind of licensing laws, age restriction or advertising ban.

While I am still a big believer in personal responsibility, to the food-addicted, morbidly-obese, lonely depressed comfort-eater, food companies and their marketing agencies are like legal drug-pushers, and our society is doing very little to help these people handle their unhealthy habit.

Lots to think about there.

Greatest dangers

Also in the news this week and of great interest, the World Health Organisation (WHO) put out a list of the greatest health hazards we face worldwide. This is worth a quick read, it’s only short.

The take away points to note:

  • Air pollution is becoming a more serious problem every year – my advice? Move to the country, sell that old diesel car, and get your home boiler serviced
  • Anti-vaccine madness…oh for goodness sake, study the science, not the hype, and don’t base important decisions about your child’s health on a Meme you saw shared on Facebook
  • Antimicrobial resistance – could become a very serious issue in the future. When the human race can no longer rely on antibiotics, you could actually die form a papercut. Ditch the hand sanitizer, don’t be afraid of mud, stop obsessing over germs and hyper-cleansing every inch of your home with a dozen chemical cleaning products, and buy top-quality meat, organic, or free ranged, or grass fed, to help reduce antibiotic use in farm animals

Until next week, keeping it real out there!

To your good health!

Karl

Free help for those who want it…

One of my goals since I started Mother Nature’s Diet has always been to help as many people as possible for free.

I honestly believe that good health is our birthright, and it should not be something we have to pay for.

I think ‘they‘ have made the world of diet, weight loss, healthy living, ageing, fitness, disease prevention and other related areas, all so super-complicated in recent decades.

They spent years telling us that fat is bad, then fat is good and sugar is bad. They told everyone to go running, then they say everyone has knee and back problems from running, and we should all be lifting weights. Cholesterol is bad, no no cholesterol is fine. Too much sugar causes diabetes…no no there is no evidence that sugar causes diabetes. They contradict, and they argue, the so-called experts, over everything.

And if you read The Daily Fail or certain other newspapers, then over the years they have run headlines telling you just about everything causes cancer or heart disease or makes you fat!

It’s all so bloody confusing. And all so bloody frustrating!

  • I personally spent 20 years lost in that confusion
  • I yo-yo dieted as I tried every fad, followed every trend, read all the diet books
  • I ended up overweight, confused, and with knackered knees (yes, it was the running!!)

So, out of this confusion, the ‘health guru industry’ has emerged (ummm, maybe I am a part of that…whaddya reckon?) and suddenly we are told the answers we are searching for are in this £99 pound diet plan called “The 7 Magic Secrets to weight loss”, or the answers are in the £39 per month gym plan “Total New Body” or such like, or you just have to sign up a mere £397 for this 6-month group coaching course and all will become clear to you as they reveal “the secrets the doctors don’t want you to know” or whatever. You know, there’s lots of this stuff out there, I’ll bet you’ve seen the adverts.

And that’s OK, I guess, these folks are all just trying to earn a living, just like me, and so good luck to ’em. Providing they are selling something genuine, and providing it works, at least for some people, then I guess that’s OK. But here at Mother Nature’s Diet, I see things a little differently.

I don’t think you should have to pay to learn the basics, to have the basic knowledge of how to be healthy. I don’t think there are any ‘secrets’ or ‘magic formula’ – I think that most people need a little guidance, to cut through the dietary and nutritional confusion, and then there is just common sense, personal responsibility, and good old fashioned hard work.

For that basic knowledge, I don’t think people should have to pay. They should teach this stuff at schools, leisure centres, health centres and pharmacies around the country, for free. Because there are a lot of folks out there who can’t afford to pay.

Bottom of the income ladder

Sadly, the reality of our society is, that Read more

The many reasons why we seem to be losing the fight against rising obesity

As I have written before, the classic weight loss advice to ‘eat less, move more’ has fallen from popularity in recent years. Frankly, those of us in this industry still promoting ‘eat less, move more’ as relevant advice in the face of the rising obesity epidemic are seen as rather outdated, rather old-school. As I have also written before, I do believe that the advice should be updated to ‘eat less, eat better, and move more’ which rather improves on, and corrects, the original expression.

But still, it’s far more current to besmirch all that old school talk as being fattist, as lacking understanding, as being outdated, outmoded and out-of-touch. It’s considered politically incorrect these days to suggest that obesity is on the rise because people eat too much and don’t exercise enough, and indeed it’s now becoming popular to say that any so-called health professional preaching such ancient wisdom is poorly educated and lacking in sympathy and understanding for the victims of the root causes of rising obesity.

To suggest that obese people ‘just eat less and move more’ is now seen as being about as constructive and helpful as telling a depressed person to ‘just get over it and cheer up a bit’. It’s now fashionable and politically correct to see obesity as an eating disorder, and to say that anyone preaching ‘eat less, move more’ is guilty of the most heinous of 21st century crimes – fat shaming.

In our complex modern world, with obesity growing at an alarming rate (or is that just changes to the system of classification?) there are many factors we can blame for rising obesity.

I could go on, but I think that’s enough for now.

All of these factors are relevant, they all play a role, they are all true, all valid, ALL OF THEM account for why some people are overweight, and all of them matter. I am not disagreeing with any one of the thigns on that list, or a dozen more, such as the role of environmental pollution, the rise in the number of TV channels, the role of anti-obesity attitudes in our society, the availability and nutritional content of school lunches, the increase in sugar content in foods, and so on and so on.

But here’s the thing. Read more

Eat less, move more…the diet deniers strike back…

Following the last post, this blog has registered it’s first official reader complaint!
A milestone to be sure!

In the last post I wrote about the ‘eat less, move more’ phrase, and how many health and fitness professionals, people I referred to as ‘the diet deniers’ for a bit of a tease, discard this phrase as being unscientific nonsense that has no place in helping solve our global obesity crisis. If you have not yet read that post, you may like to go and read it now.

In that post, I argue that in fact, eat a little less and move a whole lot more is great advice that probably is highly applicable to at least half or maybe as many as three quarters of all the overweight and obese people in our society that need and want to lose some weight. I went on to say that the saying should be revised to ‘eat less, eat better, and move more’ to meet the needs of as many people as possible.

Steve, a really good friend of mine, read that post, and challenged me on my thoughts. You know who your true friends are; it’s the people who don’t mind openly challenging you in the hopes that one, or both of you, might learn something. True friends can challenge each other without fear of upset or conflict, when you share the common aim of learning, when you both just seek the truth.

My friend Steve is a Personal Trainer, and a damn good one at that. He’s young, just turned 30, and he’s in great shape, he looks the part, lean, muscular, fit and strong and healthy. He’s always been in good shape, since playing sport at school, and he’s a highly qualified PT, constantly taking courses, expanding his knowledge base, always learning. Steve is roughly six foot tall, and he weighs a little over 13 stones (he’s around 186 pounds, or 85 kilos), so he’s pretty muscular, athletic looking I would say, and low enough body fat to have visible abs.

He challenged my thoughts last week and said that he thought I was being overly simplistic, he laughed and said “I’m one of your diet deniers! I think a few people should ‘eat less and move more’, but for most overweight people out there that’s not enough, they need personalised help, help with nutrition, perhaps a low carb diet, a ketogenic diet maybe, or they need help with a personalised training plan, they definitely need more than just ‘eat less, move more’.”

Here’s how the conversation followed –

Karl: Sure, all those things will be a big help to a lot of people, and for sure once someone is ‘on their way’ and the weight is starting to come off, they may need those things to keep making forward progress and to get into really great shape. But for a lot of folks, they just need to get started, they need to stop over eating and get out of their sedentary rut, start moving more.

Steve: Nope, that’s not enough man!

Karl: OK, try this for me buddy. I want you to experience something for me. You’re still a young buck, only 30, and you’re very healthy and in great shape. At your age, I know you can do this, I know you can do this experiment for me and come back from it, no long term damage, you’re the expert.

Steve: Go on…? Read more

The diet deniers

Eat less, move more – annoying cliché, or inconvenient truism?

I have been following the diet industry, in one way or another, for almost 30 years now, either as a customer trying to lose weight, or as a professional who ‘cracked the code’ and is now trying to help others.

I have seen trends sweep through this industry – fashions, buzzwords, fad diets of course, that come and go. A few years ago, the phrase ‘eat less, move more’ became ‘the latest thing’ in the media, perhaps rising partly off the back of the popularity of Paleo diets. The increasing use of this expression seemed to rise as a result of press articles summarising the words of doctors, scientists and personal trainers who were promoting studies showing that lack of exercise and the ease of access to hyperpalatable, high-sugar, obesogenic foods were the main societal drivers of the obesity and type-2 diabetes epidemics.

Now, the latest, latest new thing, in the last year or so, has been to decry this expression as the most naïve and pointless weight loss advice ever promoted! It has become très trendy among the educated classes to laugh at the idea that eating less and moving more could possibly be good advice in tackling the rising obesity problem.

Almost every day now I read posts by diet and nutrition bloggers, or I see books from doctor-this and PhD-that, brushing off ‘eat less, move more’ as laughably short-sighted, and “anyone who says that clearly doesn’t understand the complex factors driving the obesity epidemic” and “oh how silly, if only it was that simple” and “telling an obese person to eat less is as pointless as telling a depressed person to just cheer up.”

Well ex-cuse me, you highly-educated diet-snob, but I’ve been both an obese person, and a depressed person, and I can tell you ‘eat less, move more’ worked a hell of a lot more effectively for me than ‘just cheer up’ ever did, so you can stick your PhD where the sun don’t shine pal, because I’m pretty darned certain that about 50% or more of all the overweight and obese people I see and meet out there in the real world damn well need to just eat a little less, and move a whole lot more, and in a great many cases they are perfectly happy to admit it!

Obesity is a multifactorial condition

Now I know the obesity epidemic is being driven by a lot of complex factors. I know some people overeat as an emotional crutch to make up for traumatic or psychologically damaging events that happened in their past, sure that maybe accounts for about 5% of the overweight and obese people out – probably only really 1% or 2%, but I am being generous.

And I know that there are genetic factors, some people Read more

Why we have an obesity problem

Do you want to know why we have an obesity epidemic?

Because you can buy 5,496 calories for £14 – 24 cans of Strongbow cider, 440ml cans, 229 calories per can.

The calories in the Strongbow come from the sugars and of course the alcohol itself. Half comes from sugars, all of which you absorb and half comes from alcohol, all of which you don’t. (The metabolism of alcohol is a complex scientific process, but you could think of it as ‘half the alcohol is converted into a form of sugary energy your body uses, the other half just fucks up your liver.)

If you are a regular reader of my work, you will likely have read about how your body depletes small amounts of certain valuable micronutrients in order to process sugar. Quote “It requires some B vitamins (particularly vitamin B1 (thiamine), and B3 (niacin)), some vitamin C, and also calcium, and trace amounts of potassium, magnesium, zinc, chromium and sodium in order to absorb and use the energy provided by refined sugar” – read the full article here: https://mothernaturesdiet.me/2014/12/23/white-refined-sugar-is-an-anti-nutrient/

The Strongbow works out at a cost of £1.33 per litre. Without getting lost in the minutiae of scientific detail let’s say a litre weighs 1 kilo, which is close enough.
So this 24-pack of Strongbow costs £1.33 per kilo, and the whole pack weighs 10.5 kilos, and contains 5,496 calories, giving you 520 calories per kilo, calories which all come from sugar and alcohol. Read more

Physician, heal thyself

I am not in the business of attacking anyone else, putting anyone else down or judging anyone. I think that kind of thing is already all-too-common online, and it is negative, it really doesn’t help anyone. I have been blogging for over 4 years, and I have not attacked anyone else in that time.

However, some self-proclaimed healthcare professionals, some folks with lots of academic qualifications, have told me I am a quack, a danger to the public, preaching pseudo-science and quackery.

Those of you who have been to my live Seminar, you be the judge of that.

Meanwhile, under the watchful guidance of the medically qualified, our great nation seems to be suffering –

  • National obesity EPIDEMIC
  • Diabetes EPIDEMIC
  • Heart disease at EPIDEMIC proportions
  • Cancer rates SOARING
  • Depression rates SOARING
  • Childhood obesity SOARING
  • Statins, antacids, anti-depressants and PPIs widespread
  • Now see this –
    – HALF of all the women in the UK, and NEARLY HALF of all men are now taking PRESCRIPTION DRUGS.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-30411246

Quote “The more medicines you take, the more contact you have with contemporary medicine, the less well you feel.” Read more