What you eat and when you eat are probably the two most important decisions that you make every day both for yourself and possibly for your family, yet as important as these decisions are and they are literally life and death, how much thought do you put into them and how much information is available to you to inform these decisions?
I wonder if you’ve heard or been told the following:
‘It’s just calories in calories out’.
‘All calories are the same’.
‘It’s a matter of will power’.
‘Eat less move more’.
All of the above phrases are true to a point and like all propaganda a bit of truth can be stretched a long way.
Let’s look at the first two ‘calorie based statements’.
What exactly is a calorie? This is a really important question because the word is used a lot without much understanding of exactly what it is.
A calorie (cal) is the amount of heat (energy) needed to raise the temperature of 1 g (gram) of water 1 degree Celsius (°C). Basically a calorie is a measure of somethings ability to burn and generate heat.
Can you see a problem with this? Take a look at the picture of the Bomb Calorimeter on this page, it’s the piece of lab kit that is used to burn something, such as food, to calculate its calorific value. I challenge you to find in any book on human anatomy where one of these can be found in the human body. Of course there isn’t one, so while the phrases above regarding calories are true in themselves they are utterly meaningless as far as you and the human anatomy is concerned. The human body doesn’t burn its food and drink! It’s far more complex than that.
Now let’s look at the will power issue. The fact is most diet schemes including those supported by mainstream health professionals, national health services and most multi million pound diet companies work on restricted calorie consumption schemes and analysis shows that between 85% and 95% of them fail in the long term. Which is of course great for business, they take your money and tell you your previous failure was your fault and it’ll be OK this time! They will then guide you onto another calorie restriction diet based on the food pyramid that you can see on this page. A concept built on a totally bogus and long since rejected study of healthy eating called the Seven Countries Study. The study was in part funded by the American grain growing industry, guess what? They found that grain should be the basis of a healthy diet! Who’d have guessed!
The truth is, the world’s obesity epidemic is a direct result of that dietary advice and frustratingly the truth about the effects of high carbohydrate diets has been known to science since 1915. In fact anthropologists have found that the ancient Egyptians, over 3000 years ago, suffered from the same dietary related diseases as we do today, because they also had a wheat based diet. Simple carbs based upon grains cause weight gain and over a longer term create a condition called ‘insulin resistance’. This condition sits at the root of type 2 diabetes, fatty liver, obesity and many others. The chart shows how comparatively recently humans moved from hunter gatherer to an agriculturalist way of life (less than ⅔ of 1% of human evolution has been agricultural).
The solution to this is not complex and does not require expensive foods, supplements or equipment. Quite simply the body’s natural state, as experienced by our hunter gatherer ancestors, is one that can be described as having Metabolic Agility, that is to say your body should be sustained on a high meat + fat low carb diet and be able to shift from a food surplus - fat making state to a food deficit - fat using mode with ease and without discomfort. This is the way we evolved with unreliable food supplies, our modern safe civilisation is killing us with kindness! Our stable food on demand society is thousands of years ahead of our evolution, add to that the abundance of processed high sugar / fructose foods, it’s not surprising we’re struggling to fit into our pants never mind live into old age without chronic illness and disability.
If you want to find out why you’ve failed to manage your weight and why to isn’t your fault get in touch.
The Food Pyramid
Human Evolution Chart