Junkfood Science: From the recommended reading file: Forward Motion

June 19, 2007

From the recommended reading file: Forward Motion

This writer's well-written, thoughtful and compassionate article is one of the best among the growing numbers of those who are starting to question and think about the “obesity crisis.”

The obesity ‘crisis’, what’s really going on?

Health is not an area I have taken a particular interest in during my life....However recently there been an increased awareness and promotion of healthy eating and living, weight loss and dieting, something that until a few weeks ago I was certain was a good thing....But what if this wasn’t true? What if a combination of scaremongering, bad science and scare tactics have infiltrated society and left perfectly healthy people afraid, worried and obsessive. What if promoting healthy living wasn’t in the public's best interest but being proposed for much more sinister reasons?

....For all the fear we see in the media nowadays there is no evidence whatsoever that we are unhealthier as a nation than before. In fact studies of heart disease and cancer are at their lowest ever and average life expectancy continues to rise year on year. Not only that but we have the widest choice of the safest and healthiest foods ever available. We have more knowledge of food preparation and production than ever before and the choice you get a local supermarkets is far beyond what you even would have found 10 years ago. So why are we convinced that ‘bad’ foods will kill us and that we should watch what we eat with careful scrutiny?

The answer is found in that sentence, the notion of ’bad’ foods, a ridiculously simplified and dangerous term that has infiltrated society almost unknowingly.... Sugar has been studied for years and has never been found to cause disease or obesity, yet even I feel such guilt from eating sweet food. Somehow, through the twisted views of healthy food we see sweets or drinks high in sugar as bad.... Now through this I am not noting that there isn’t a problem. People drastically overweight have severe health risks [people at all weights and genetic backgrounds have health risks, too], and eating a diet of high fatty foods without a healthy mix of other nutrients is, of course, going to be bad for you [not to worry, when not trying to control their eating, people naturally eat a variety of foods - and most of us are eating less fat not more :)]. But the trouble is people who are in effect perfectly healthy start to think that they aren’t. The media’s constant vindication of petite models that adorn every newspaper, magazine and TV show have somehow convinced an entire generation of women that they are fat ugly and need to change. It breaks my heart to see this trend sweeping the nation. In surveys over the majority of women claim they are unhappy with their appearance... shows a nation of people who rather than feeling healthier than ever before, merely look at themselves as not good enough, as failures. In extreme cases this leads to eating disorders such as anorexia, but the fact is that this element exists in nearly everyone, even the men now.

This saddens me so much as we are all individual, all unique and we all have different shapes and sizes. The more people study the more they find that your genes influence your general appearance far more than the food you eat. The dangerous simplified diet + exercise = weight loss formula presented by many doesn’t help this. Our bodies are not simple calculators. You can’t count calories in and out and create a weight change, it doesn’t work like that. ...

The complete, lengthy article can be read here.

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