It's Not Your Fault!
Do you often wonder why you can’t lose weight? Obesity is the modern epidemic of this generation. Oh yes, we have always had people who were overweight and some seriously obese. However, this epidemic of obesity has been seen as the result of too much fat in our diet.
Here’s the #1 Reason Why You Can’t Lose Weight
It just makes logical sense that eating too much fat causes you to become fat. In fact, all the researchers agreed that eating too much fat was the cause of obesity in America. Back in the mid 70’s, the cholesterol theory was emerging and was being promoted as the sole cause of the cardiovascular disease.
Studies, like the Framingham Studies out of Framingham, Massachusetts, were beginning to show that patients with the highest levels of cholesterol in their blood stream had the highest levels of heart attacks.
This has lead to a nation and Western society in general to become obsessed by the amount of fat that we are consuming in our diet. In the US it was determined that at that time we were getting nearly 42% of our calories from fat. This led to an intense campaign by the American Heart Association, U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the American Diabetes Association to begin recommending a low-fat diet for everyone.
Fat is a calorie dense food providing 9 Kcal per gram while protein and carbohydrates provide only 4 Kcal per gram. It just makes logical sense to everyone that if you simply decrease the amount of fat that people were eating, you would not only lower their risk of developing heart disease, but you would also decrease the amount of calories they were consuming.
This certainly would lead to weight loss and a decrease in the overall problem of obesity. Therefore, the US health care community strongly pushed this concept of a low-fat diet. The amount of protein that was consumed following these recommendations has remained relatively the same. This means that the decrease in fat intake was replaced by an increase in the amount of carbohydrates being consumed. This is how we have all come to believe that a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet is the healthiest diet in the world and at the same time the foundation for almost all weight loss programs. The campaign has been very successful with the mean fat intake which was 42% of the calories in the 1960’s dropping to the present level today of 34% of our dietary energy.
However, during this same time, the prevalence of people becoming overweight has made a dramatic increase to the point that today— over 30% of our children are overweight and over 2 out of every 3 of the adult population is now considered to be overweight.
In 1960, only 1 out of every 4 adults was considered to be overweight or obese and in 1976, only 39% of the adult males were overweight with 24.3% of the women being overweight.
Something is just not right here! All we have heard about is the fact that the amount of fat that we are consuming in our diet is what was making us fat. However, as a society, we have significantly lowered the amount of fat we are consuming, and we are witnessing a steady and dramatic increase in obesity in the US and the world today. Could it be that we made the wrong assumption?
As I stated above, since the amount of protein that has been recommended by these agencies has pretty much stayed the same, when the amount of fat in our diet was decreased it was offset or balanced by an increase in the recommended amount of carbohydrates we should consume.
In fact, most of the modern diets have been fashioned and influenced by these recommendations. After all, fat is a very highly dense (9 Kcal per gram) food and if this was replaced by less dense carbohydrates (4 Kcal per gram), you would not only be eating less calories but also decreasing your risk of heart disease. Initially, there was a decrease in the number of heart attacks suffered in the U. S. and Canada; however, now we have hit a plateau and heart disease may actually be increasing. This is a major concern since heart disease still remains the number one killer in the US today (over 750,000 deaths each year).
However, when you look at the number of people who are struggling with their weight, this recommendation has been an absolute failure. As you may know a high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet is absolutely the worse diet for anyone who is trying to decrease their risk of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, or weight. Society and many individuals are now suffering the consequences of these dietary recommendations, which have been thrust onto the populace by the health care community.
It has now been nearly 30 years since everyone involved with the health care community jumped on the band wagon of recommending a high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet. The food industry has been more than willing to oblige us by producing an incredible amount of processed foods from which we may choose to eat.
Go into any large grocery store or convenience store today and simply feast your eyes on the processed foods calling us from the center aisles. Potato chips, corn chips, bagels, refined breads, tortillas, white flour, and array of canned foods, and even highly processed rice and pastas. All of these foods are being promoted as low-fat, high-carbohydrate foods. What a healthy choice—or maybe not?
Still Wondering Why You Can’t Lose Weight?
Most dieticians in the US today strongly feel that a carbohydrate is a carbohydrate is a carbohydrate. Carbohydrates are simply long chains of sugar that are absorbed into the body at various rates. Carbohydrates are found in our fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, and grains. In other words, they come primarily from the ground and are not a major component of animal products (except for milk and milk products).
The dieticians in the US today are more focused on the number of grams of carbohydrate a particular food may contain and base absorption of these carbohydrates on a 1901 theory of simple sugars versus complex carbohydrates. However, they have, for the most part, completely ignored the concept of the glycemic index, which was introduced in 1981.
The glycemic index is simply defined as the rate a particular carbohydrate is absorbed by the body when compared to a control food such as glucose or white bread. Again, these recommendations have led to the epidemic of obesity and diabetes that we face in North America today and are cutting off any gains we may have made with cardiovascular disease. I personally feel that the diet recommendations promoted in North America (high-carbohydrate, low-fat) is one of the main contributors to the health care crisis we are all facing today.
Nearly 90% of the carbohydrates we now consume in North America are what are called highly-processed carbohydrates and starches.
Everyone at least knows that they should be eating a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet; however, in reality it tends to be a high-fat, high-carbohydrate diet. Simply have a look around you and you will quickly see that Americans are hooked on the All-American hamburger and fries as well as all the trimmings that go along with our fast-paced world.
I would encourage you to read Eric Schlosser’s book, “The Fast Food Nation” (published by Perennial 2002) to get a real good insight into this industry. Eric Schlosser relates in his book that in 1970, Americans spent about $6 billion dollars on fast food; in 2001, they spent more than $110 billion.
North Americans are now spending more money on fast food than on higher education, personal computers, or new cars. They spend more on fast food than on movies, books, magazines, newspapers, videos, and recorded music combined.
The fast food industry is simply capturing increasingly more of our dollars spent on food in the USA and Canada. Since it has replaced home cooked meals as the primary source of nutrition in this country, what kind of food are we getting in a fast food restaurant? White bread, white flour, potatoes, rice, soda drinks, and a touch of lettuce and maybe a thin slice of tomato covering a highly fat-saturated piece of meat.
I f this is not bad enough, our potatoes are usually cooked in 320 degree lard (or vegetable fat, which at these high temperatures creates even more rancid fat) and then we boldly state “Oh, by the way, Super-Size it”.
In our fast-paced world, I would venture to guess if you do frequent a fast food restaurant, you get upset if you either you must wait in line or need to wait 2 to 3 minutes for the food to be prepared. What you may not realize is the thought and effort that has gone into the development, marketing, and preparation of these fast foods.
It is estimated that the average North American eats three hamburgers and four orders of French fries each and every week. I think that their marketing has been very effective. Except for the lettuce and tomatoes most of what you order and eat at a fast food restaurant is canned, frozen, dehydrated, or freeze-dried. It is the epitome of highly processed carbohydrates and also loaded with high saturated fats.
There really is not much choice in the way of fruits and vegetables; the last vegetable you want to be eating are white potatoes—especially those that have been sliced and permeated with hot grease during the cooking process.
What is not as well appreciated is the fact that the processing, canning, freezing, and dehydrating of these highly processed carbohydrates simply destroys their taste. This means that these highly processed carbohydrates need to be doctored to give the taste, mouth feel, and smell of the original food.
Usher in the “food doctors”, which is better known as the flavor industry. Eric Schlosser points out very dramatically in his book that without the flavor industry, today’s fast food industry could not exist.
It is critical to keep the customers coming back and coming back. The fast food industry is well-aware of the fact that other than an appealing price, the food must taste good. Their customers are not as concerned with how healthy fast food really is, but it is critical how good the food tastes.
McDonald’s decided to switch to the pure vegetable oil in response to the criticism of the high amount of cholesterol in their fries. When McDonald’s made this bold attempt to stop using 7% cottonseed oil and about 93% beef tallow to cook their French fries and replaced it with pure vegetable oil, they had a significant problem with the taste.
It is well known in the food industry that the taste of French fries is primarily determined by the cooking oil.
Enter in the processed “food doctors” to save the day. In fact, the artificial flavors (sometimes referred to “natural flavors”) used in highly processed foods; really determines how foods taste.
It is estimated that 90% of the money that Americans spend on food today is used to purchase processed food. Artificial flavors give the foods their “mouth feel”, taste, texture, and even their smell. The flavor industry is responsible for giving the chips, breads, crackers, cookies, ice cream, breakfast cereals, and many other processed foods their flavor.
Nowhere are the “food doctors” more important than the fast food industry. You would like to believe that this great tasting food is the result of the pains taking preparation that is occurring in their kitchens. However, I am afraid that this is not the case.
Table 1 (below) lists the chemicals needed to produce the strawberry flavor in some of our highly processed foods.
Amyl acetate, amyl butyrate, amyl valerate, anethol, anisyl formate, benzyl acetate, benzyl isobutyrate, butyric acid, cinnamyl isobutyrate, cinnamyl valerate, cognac essential oil, diacetyl, diproply ketone, heptanoate, ethyl heptylate, ethyl lactate, ethyl methylphenylglydi-hydroxyphyenyl-2-butanone, alpha-ionone, isobutyl anthranilate, isobutyl butyrate, lemon essential oil, maltol, 4-methylacetophenone,methyl anthranilate, methyl benzoate, methyl cinnamate, methyl heptine, methyl naphthyl ketone, methyl salicylate, mint essential oil, neroli essential oil, nerolin, neryl isobutyrate, orris butter, phenethyl, alcohol, rose, rum ether, gamma-undecalactone, vanillin, and solvent.
And you thought the flavor came from strawberries! Natural flavors are not necessarily healthier than the artificial flavors and they too can contain as many chemicals as noted in table 1. Obviously, the precise mixture of chemicals which gives processed food their aroma and taste is a carefully guarded secret, not only from their competitors but also in a large part from the consumer.
The most important thing you must remember from this discussion is that what you see, smell, and taste when it comes to processed food is not what you are getting. This tremendous demand created by the health care community for high-carbohydrate, low-fat foods has been met by the food industry at an amazing cost, your health.
There have been many controlled studies regarding documenting the effectiveness of weight lose programs. As many as 40% of women and 24% of men are trying to lose weight at any given time; many have tried a variety of methods.
In controlled settings, participants who remain in weight loss programs usually will lose a maximum of 10% of their weight. However, two thirds of the weight is regained within 1 year, and almost all the weight is regained, if not more, within 5 years. Most programs are based on eating fewer and fewer calories, while at the same time trying to exercise more-and-more.
The logical approach to most of these diets is to significantly decrease the amount of fat in the diet and subsequently increase the amount of carbohydrates. Do you not find it amazing that over $30 billion dollars are spent annually on trying to lose weight, yet the percentage of adults getting fatter and fatter keeps increasing?
Have you been frustrated in your battle of the bulge and have you often wondered why you can’t lose weight? Well, you just may need to step back and forget everything that you have been told over the past 30 years when it comes to weight loss. Take a fresh new look at this problem, which has become North America’s number one health care crisis.
You will learn that the typical North American diet is the cause of obesity. You will also learn that a calorie is not just a calorie. When you become insulin resistant, you can simply smell the food and gain weight. This mysterious change that is occurring in over 50% of our population today is not that mysterious.
The results for people who make a simple, doable, lifestyle change is amazing. Learn that without this lifestyle change you are not only aging more rapidly than you should but also you cannot lose weight.
New healthy lifestyles just happen to have a side effect of fat loss! No one will be complaining about this side effect. However, if you keep doing what you always have done, you will continue to get what you always have gotten, weight gain.
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