What’s Eating America?

Two thirds of the American population is obese or overweight. And most developed countries face similar trends. This is a crisis of epidemic proportions just waiting to happen. Obesity can lead to so many health problems from diabetes to Alzheimer’s and even cancer. The terrible thing is that this could all have been prevented, and still can be.

For too long overweight people have been derided as being lazy and undisciplined. The argument is that if you would only eat less and exercise more, you would lose weight. And for some this works. But for many it’s a futile exercise of yo-yo dieting leading to ever larger girths. Most dieters have tried every diet under the sun, but the percentage of the population that has lost 20 pounds or more and kept it off for 5+ years is about 5%! So for most of us this plan of eating less and exercising more is not the solution. It’s got to be something other than calories in/calories out.

Recently I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts. It’s called “The People’s Pharmacy ” I totally love this program. I hope I can turn you on to it as they have such useful advice. It’s free so what do you have to lose?

Anyway on this show (#1018) they had on Gretchen Rubin and she was talking about how to create healthy habits. And that in itself is interesting, and I have read a lot of books on habit before. But she then talked about an “aha” moment she got after reading Gary Taube’s “Why we get fat, and what to do about it”

So I ordered the book. Mr Taube is not an MD. He is a journalist. He was interested in the research behind obesity. After reading his book a similar light bulb went off in my head too. I hope that you will also have a paradigm shift after reading this article.

Mr Taube talks about how fifty years ago only 10% of the population was considered obese. Today it’s over 30%, and 67% are either overweight or obese. That is a dramatic increase. Not only that, but our children seem to be most at risk of obesity. We are now seeing type II diabetes (which used to be known as adult-onset diabetes) among 9 and 10 year olds.

What kind of lifestyles are we setting up for these children? First of all their life-expectancy is going to be less than that of their parents and they will face countless health issues. We cannot in all good conscience do this to our children. If we continue along this trend, we will surely also bankrupt our country.

How did we get to this state?

Up until World War II, obesity was not considered a disease of over-eating. It was thought to be a disorder of excess fat accumulation. What causes fat accumulation? Two things cause fat accumulation. First is when insulin levels are elevated, we accumulate fat in our fat tissue. When these levels fall, we burn fat from fat cells. Second insulin levels are effectively determined by the carbohydrates we eat. The more carbs we eat, the more insulin we secrete (in other words there is more insulin running around in our blood stream which then gets stored as fat).

Does that mean all carbs become fat? No it’s not quite as simple as that. But if you take away just one idea from this article it should be – cut back or eliminate simple carbs and sugar from your diet. Easier said than done. We are surrounded by simple carbs and sugars (breads, pastries, sodas, pizza, beer etc). There are too many temptations.

The thing is if you have that mind shift it will be relatively easy. Once you stop eating the simple carbs and sugars for a couple of weeks you will stop having the cravings. I didn’t think it was possible either, but I just think of that insulin pushing fat into my cells and I’m ok with not eating that bread or pastry. And I have only been on the program for a week, but already I feel better.

And I do have some simple carbs occasionally, but I do it after I have eaten the proteins first so there isn’t an immediate insulin response. It really does work. In future blogs I will explore other insights on how to succeed with this new way of eating. And how it affects leptin, the microbiome, brain fog, the GI index and more.

In the meantime do yourself a favor and get “The People’s Pharmacy ” podcast (#1018) and borrow or buy Gary Taube’s book. If no other diet has worked for you, then give this a try. Think of all the health care dollars you will be saving yourself and the country.

If you feel you just cannot get a handle on this on your own, we offer two and five day retreats here at Haley Farm which include lessons on nutrition, exercise, cooking, supplements, stress-relief and more.

Invest in yourself and jump-start the healthy lifestyle you owe yourself.