As someone who was around in the ’50s and ’60s when there was less obesity, I have to tell you that diets were not that good. TV dinners, Wonder bread, instant mashed potatoes, fish-sticks and whole milk predominated and vegetables tended towards the overcooked. Food was cooked in Crisco, full of trans fats, and cotton seed oils. Fresh vegetables came in during the late 60s, but predominated on the coasts. There was less soda and no high fructose corn syrup, and portion sizes were somewhat smaller, but the caloric difference may not be enough to explain why we have an epidemic of infant obesity today that we didn’t then. And I doubt that the babies today are doing any less exercise, although their older siblings may be indoors on computers more instead of riding bikes. Continue reading Chemicals and Obesity: What if it isn’t all your fault?
In the 1920s, when electricity was not nearly as prevalent (but sources of artificial light were common), Americans were surveyed on sleep habits. The average American slept 9 hours a night, which meant that many slept more. Today the average American is believed to sleep 6 1/2 hours a night. We have not biologically evolved to need less sleep.
There are many types of insomnia: trouble falling asleep, trouble staying asleep, waking too early and sleeping at too superficial a level. People with sleep apnea may believe they sleep like a log, but they have hundreds of micro-awakenings from not being able to breathe, which send their adrenals into fight or flight mode and which leave them exhausted throughout the day. Sleep problems can be occasional, transitory (for short periods of time) or chronic. But the problem I see the most in practice is that people aren’t spending enough time in bed.
Why is this a problem? In a nutshell, it makes you fat, stupid and sick. Continue reading Sleep, Disease and Herbs for Insomnia
An article by John Cloud, Why Exercise Won’t Make You Thin on Time.com misses the point of why exercise is important. It is true that exercise only burns an infinitesimal number of calories. If you are into the calories in, calories out frame of mind, you will need to exercise for 10 hours to cover a Big Mac. 20 minutes of jogging barely covers a small chocolate chip cookie. It isn’t even a matter of converting fat to muscle: if you converted 10 pounds of fat to muscle, you would be able to burn an extra 40 calories a day, which isn’t that much. No, the reason to exercise is metabolic, and you need to match that with metabolic eating.
Say you eat an apple which is all sucrose and some fiber. Half of sucrose is glucose and 76% of that burns off at the first pass while 24 % of it goes into the liver where most of it is stored as glycogen and the rest powers mitochondria for energy. Maybe a half a calorie goes through the TCA cycle which will turn into VLDL cholesterol, used to store fat. The other half is fructose of which 72% goes into the liver. The breakdown products of this fructose in the liver is far more pernicious, including uric acid which causes gout and hypertension, but more importantly Continue reading Time Article Misses the Point of Exercise in Weight Loss
The video by Robert Lustig of UCSF is extremely interesting, but wonky. If you work in health care or are dealing with blood sugar issues, I highly recommend listening. I do anyway. But here are the highlights for the rest of you:
- We have a worldwide epidemic of obese six month olds. Yes, 6 months. So it isn’t all about more food in and less exercise out.
- Americans now eat 141 pounds of sugar per year, 63 pounds of which is high fructose corn syrup and over half of which is fructose in all forms.
- A calorie is not a calorie. Some calories are nutritious, some are merely empty, some are poisonous.
- If we are consuming 275 extra calories a day compared to 20 years ago, it is because our regulatory hormones like leptin are not stopping us. We had as much food available 50 years ago, but less obesity. Something in us changed.
- And it isn’t our fat consumption, which has dropped. Fat dropped significantly after 1992 when the food pyramid was established, suggesting we increase our carbohydrate consumption.
As someone who has dealt with obesity since kindergarten, when they pulled me indoors from climbing trees all day, I have dealt with fat, diets and fat fallout all of my life. I was on Metrecal shakes in the third grade, and at 16 my Italian doctor was shocked at the diet pills my US MD had prescribed since age 14. Every kind of diet- low fat, low carb, low calorie, Weight Watchers, fad diets, macrobiotics, non diets,- lots of exercise, hypnosis, EFT, and positive imagery was tried. I know all the supplements, the portion sizes, the caloric values, the allergens and the energetics of foods. And like most fat people I have had the will power to lose weight many times over. Continue reading Ten Things About Being Fat
Summer brings more light and usually increased levels of activity. You can indulge in more work or play. But don’t let that extra daylight rob you of sleep.
Sleep is essential for your well being. One study published in the journal Science found that the quality of our sleep has a greater influence on our ability to enjoy our day than our income or our marital status. Yet, we remain a sleep-deprived culture.