Battling the bulge is more complicated than simply eating less and doing more

Statistics Canada reports that 23.1% of Canadians are obese and 36.1% are overweight based on Body Mass Index (BMI). BMI can be easily calculated by taking your weight in kilograms and dividing it by your height in metres squared. BMI can inaccurately label athletes with lots of muscle as overweight but for most of us, it is useful measurement. BMI of 30+ means you are obese and 25-29.9 puts you in the overweight category.
There are hundreds of diet books, plans, programs and strategies. I had a look at a controversial new book ‘Obesity Epidemic’ out by British nutritionist Zoe Harcombe which challenges some of the UK governments nutritional policies that she believes are working against a nation that is trying to fight the flab. I am not sure if all of her facts are right, but I think it is great to debate established nutritional policy in a world that is becoming increasingly fatter.

Here are four common dieting myths discussed in the book:
1. Counting calories will keep us slim: There are a myriad of calorie counting programs and systems in the dieting world. Creating a calorie deficit where the body is using more calories than it is taking in will work in the short term but is not a viable long term plan. If the body is not receiving enough fuel to carry out normal functions it will use stored fat as well as lean tissue and slow down the metabolism. A more effective strategy than simple calorie counting is to continue to track how many calories you are consuming but eat more protein and fewer refined carb calories.
2. Eating fat makes us fat: More and more people in Canada are starting to realize that good fats found in foods like avocados, oily fish and nuts are critical for growth and development, energy and great skin. The Obesity Epidemic revels that olive oil has nine times the saturated fat of a pork chop yet it is an important part of a healthy diet. It is trans fats found in processed foods rather than all saturated fats that we need to stop eating.
3. We must get our five a day: I was really surprised to see this myth as part of the book. Zoe notes that the promotion of  eating five fruits and vegetables a day stemmed from a UK government campaign to encourage consumption of more fruits and vegetables. Her claim is that eating too much fruit can be detrimental to health as it contains fructose which goes straight to the liver and is stored as fat. I would love to hear another nutritionists point of view on this one but I will continue to eat my 7-10 fruits and veg a day for now!
4. Cholesterol causes heart disease: Cholesterol plays and important role in our body maintaining the maintenance of our cells and hormone production as well as brain and nervous system health. Obesity Epidemic believes that cholesterol is not a serious risk factor for heart disease but it is triglycerides caused by refined carbs in the diet we need to worry about.


If you have a different view than Obesity Epidemic or want to add your view to the debate comment on the blog

Erin Billowits
Vintage Fitness


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