The Men Who Made Us Fat

Who are the men who made us fat, and how did they do it? See this new and great BBC documentary to find out. It features many leading experts, including my favorites dr Robert Lustig and Gary Taubes.

Highly recommended.

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50 Comments

Top Comments

  1. @Dave Mayo, I agree that some fluency in basic human physiology & biochemistry would go a long way in clearing up all the various debates surrounding food and diet, especially since even many PhD's RD's and nutritionists are not in agreement with basic scientific facts. Here's one I've been posting around the web, feel free to use it if you wish.

    The only place a calorie is a calorie is in a bomb calorimeter which is a closed system which the human body is NOT. The body does not "burn" or combust foods for energy, and since it biochemically breaks down the food substrates, it's the ATP energy YIELD of food that matters, not calories per se, and calories are NOT all equal because the ATP yield of carbs, proteins and fats are all different.

    Compared to fats, the energy yield of carbohydrates is *naturally* LOW. ALL carbs are broken down to six carbon glucose molecules, but with metabolic inefficiencies & conversion losses 1 six carbon glucose molecule only yields around 30 or 32 molecules of ATP, whereas a single 18 carbon stearic acid molecule, although having only twice the calories of carbs and only three times more carbon atoms than the 6 carbon glucose, it yields 147 ATP’s, 5 times MORE energy than carbs!
    See bottom page 26 & cont. on page 27 here: http://goo.gl/VVsqJ
    and paragraph 9 'The advantage of fat as a fuel' here: http://goo.gl/VTxZ4

    This is a basic biochemical fact that EVERYONE should memorize because it explains why fats are so much more energizing than carbs, which is also why the body, brain, heart & most muscle cells prefer and run best on fats, and why carbs make you tired, sleepy & hungry again a half hour or an hour after you just ate. Carbs are the “grass” that humans have to graze on constantly like a cow, 6 or more times a day just to maintain adequate metabolic energy, and the body turns excess unused carb glucose into triglyverides, FAT! and that is just one problem with trying to run your body on a glucose metabolism.

    Industrially processed carb "foods" and snacks made from nutrient stripped & depleted bleached white flour with added trans fat soy, corn, canola & other ADULTERATED polyunsaturated oils are even worse & yield even less energy than the naturally energy weak whole grains, and they contain ANTI nutrients that actually deplete metabolic energy and wreak all kinds of other havoc and destruction in the body.

    In contrast, just 4 tablespoons of good butter or coconut oil only has 400 calories, but multiplied by 5 times the ATP energy yield over carbs, that saturated fat produces the ATP energy equivalent to 2000 calories of carbs! And it does so without damaging your arterial endothelial cells, without the sugar low & crash, without overstimulating insulin production that burns out your pancreas, causes clotting & thrombosis, and without glycating, gluing your blood & body proteins together which thickens your blood, lowers circulation velocity & oxygenation.

    The body prefers fats for fuel, and that's why the body converts unburned glucose from excess carbohydrate intake into tryclycerides, FATS, and stores them so that they can be pulled back out of storage and utilized for slower sustained energy output between meals and for when glucose from carbs runs out, because it ALWAYS does.

    The trick to losing weight & stored fat requires also knowing that the body ONLY burns stored fat in an almost total absence of sugars & insulin from carbs. When you know the basic facts you can lose large amounts of fat and weight WITHOUT exercise, and you'll know how and what to eat to stay energized and prevent obesity & metabolic syndrome related diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

    Read more →
  2. This show provoked a series of "high fives" at the television. I had to have this type of relationship with the TV because no one in my family or among my friends felt it was worth watching. it was as if a program which would tell them to stop eating their favourite addictive foods was best avoided.

    I have also been most disappointed by the lack of newspaper of TV coverage of the points raised. I was waiting for opinions in the paper, questions about why we have been duped, what the government is going to do about it. But there has been nothing.

    I question why I feel so strongly about this, yet other people see it as all being perfectly OK. It has to be the fear that their addictions are about to be taken away from them and that is worse than living a sick life beset by diabetes and obesity.

    The program was great and i am looking forward to the next episode. But only those of us who are already "converted" are being preached to. At least that is the impression that I get. Still, if it manages to reach one more person, I suppose something good is happening.

    I do wish he would make up his mind on calories and fat though. He still seems to be lumping fat in with stuff which makes us ill.

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All Comments

  1. Wow - a great series! Dr Jeff - Denver's Diet Doctor
  2. This show provoked a series of "high fives" at the television. I had to have this type of relationship with the TV because no one in my family or among my friends felt it was worth watching. it was as if a program which would tell them to stop eating their favourite addictive foods was best avoided.

    I have also been most disappointed by the lack of newspaper of TV coverage of the points raised. I was waiting for opinions in the paper, questions about why we have been duped, what the government is going to do about it. But there has been nothing.

    I question why I feel so strongly about this, yet other people see it as all being perfectly OK. It has to be the fear that their addictions are about to be taken away from them and that is worse than living a sick life beset by diabetes and obesity.

    The program was great and i am looking forward to the next episode. But only those of us who are already "converted" are being preached to. At least that is the impression that I get. Still, if it manages to reach one more person, I suppose something good is happening.

    I do wish he would make up his mind on calories and fat though. He still seems to be lumping fat in with stuff which makes us ill.

  3. Kris
    This scares the heck out of me, and I reside in Sweden and am aware about the debate surrounding the dangers of sugar.

    I had thought that it was however a personal choice, but this BBC series clearly details that it is systematic big industry powers that are mass-influencing our diets and choices.

  4. Daniel FE.
    will watch this, thanks doc!
  5. While I like most of these health documentaries, they tend to give a very myopic view of the problem. I watched this one twice and liked it, but your average person is going to look at it and say, "Oh yeah, the anti-sugar crusade at it again!" By only viewing the problem from the nutrition side, you don't really give any useful information other than, "Don't eat sugar." A more responsible, comprehensive way to tackle the problem while giving people something they can use is to discuss very basic cellular metabolism, the difference between glycolysis and beta oxidation, and how what you eat and do for activity both have implications towards that. . I think the "calorie is a calorie.." argument falls flat on it's face when you make the basic observation that glucose cannot enter the beta oxidation energy pathway and fatty acids cannot enter glycolysis. So while a calorie is a calorie, that point is moot because not all substrate is metabolized via the same energy pathway and, therefore, different substrates lend themselves better to certain types of activity and lifestyles. This was the only thing missing from Fathead and Gary Taubes tends to completely brush exercise to the side with regard to weight loss and maintenance in his books, but that seems to be because he is looking at it from an energy balance standpoint only. The closest documentary that tackles this issue is Killer at Large and it is very vague on exercise.

    The other problem that sometimes gets attention but is never discussed in detail is how the body adapts to an environment high in sugar and low in physical activity. Hyperinsulinemia seems to cause the same fiber type adaptations that being sedentary does, decreased capillarization, less mitochondria, and a conversion of IIa fibers in to IIx fibers. Interestingly enough, you'll never guess which fibers are the most resistant to insulin and, coincidentally, far less likely to get activated on a daily basis in a person who doesn't exercise. You basically have insulin sending the signal that blood glucose will be high so we better start making glycolytic muscle fibers.

    The best way to accomplish something like this is to have some sort of comprehensive health documentary from the BBC. Their Truth about series on Horizon is phenomenal and they seem to hit everything right on. The Truth About Exercise gives you quite a few tools but doesn't really do a good job of hooking people up with deliverables.

  6. Carol Bryant
    When I want to see the person that made me fat I look in the mirror because it's my elbow bending that puts the food there
  7. FrankG
    "...it's my elbow bending that puts the food there"

    We frequently hear about the First Law of Thermodynamics in relation to calories and "energy balance" but I'm surprised that no-one ever mentions that laws of motion as well... of course these would be just as redundant and equally useless restatements of the obvious ;-)

    Useless because these do nothing to help us solve the question as to WHY we are eating more than previous generations.

    If you are suggesting that it is down to a lack of will-power or some other concious failing then you have to explain how it has affected such a large proportion of recent generations all around the World and seems to be getting worse.

    On the contrary, and as stated by one of the experts in this documentary, the evidence shows that in large part, obesity is NOT down to the individual's choice.

    And NO, I am NOT looking for excuses nor am I denying the role of my personal responsibility as an adult BUT if you want me to make informed choices then I need to be aware of the honest, unbiased facts... rather than the biased and distorted nutritional dogma that has been promoted in recent decades.

  8. Mary
    @Megan - high fives at my house too!
  9. Michelle
    No one I know is watching this. It's a start, a small voice in an ocean of sugar. However, I have my partner convinced now, which is fantastic.
  10. Jo tB
    I watched the programme and I too was high fiving at the screen. It is HFCS that is causing the damage and it is in EVRYTHING. And it comes from genetically modified corn. In the UK growing GM corn was hotly protested and finally the government prevented it from being cultivated. So it's not coming in through the front door, but it is coming in through the back door as syrup and going into all our products, and we think we have averted the problem.

    I can remeber a time when my mother baught only fresh products: meat from the butcher, vegetables and potatos from the greengrocer. No additives in sight. Now our food is so adulterated that we can't really call it food anymore.

    I have even found HFCS in organic biscuts!! How idiotic is that.

  11. Will
    BBC is generally all about calories in and calories out.. and fat phobia... so i am shocked that they allowed this documentary to run...
    unless you understand the biochemistry of the human body this documentary will fly over your head as an average person.... who has been drilled with the calories in calories out dogma...
    so maybe this is why the BBC let this one through...
    in the US you will not find something like this running on any major channel because their advertising relies heavily on high carb junk food advertising...
    that is why they keep harping on about the importance of carbs to give you "energy"...lol..
  12. Jeff
    Refined sugar consumption has been traditionally very hig in places such as Cuba, Costa Rica and Venezuela. Yet, death from CVD and obesity rates have been low compared to Western countries.

    My source is the textbook "Cholesterol and Beyond"

    http://ebookee.org/A-Stewart-Truswell-Cholesterol-and-Beyond-The-Rese...

    I think Robert Lustig is very good example, apparently it is easy to get obese also without sugar. I think we haven't fuly understood the calory theory let alone lived by to it.

  13. Laura
    I enjoyed the first instalment but I can see the bias is towards the fructose/sugar. Lots of high five moments in teh house as well. husband watched cautiously as he loves his sweets and grains. I cannot impose things and surely imposition never really works. He is 50% paleo/lchf and still manages to lose 17kg and everybody comments on how much better he looks!

    I can understand why a journalist must make a choice and focus on a specific item and perhaps make headlines with it and demonise it. But he is trying to make a more general point that economy and the decisions of a few men may have set up in motion the obesity epidemic whilst we the consumers jsut enjoyed more nad more the new generation of processed foods and have become increasingly hooked on them. You can take this message and extend it to grains as i do and see how in a way we are not much different from cattle really if you look at us as a population.
    We come to accepts perhaps too easily too conveniently the foods that are in easy reach and constant supply on hte supermarket shelves and we love the taste and convenience but we forget that these foods are bad for us..we only remember this (if we make the connection at all) when disease strikes or some kids make derogatory comments on the size of our backside or belly! These are those eye opening moments/emperor's-new-clothes moments...We do not question what the food industry comes up with we do not argue that most of it is rubbish all we seem to care is that it is packaged and presented well smells and tastes good gives us good value for money etc...

    I wait to see the next instalment...but all in all it is the first time a documentary goes on air that does not blame fat and processed meat for the current obesity problem. That in itself is very refreshing...let's see where it goes from here...

  14. Tia
    "I have even found HFCS in organic biscuts!! How idiotic is that." # 10
    Yes, it is creeping in! I found that last year in organic Christmas cookies partly replacing honey and last week in organic licorice. Studying labels is essential everywhere if you want to avoid HFCS!
  15. @Dave Mayo, I agree that some fluency in basic human physiology & biochemistry would go a long way in clearing up all the various debates surrounding food and diet, especially since even many PhD's RD's and nutritionists are not in agreement with basic scientific facts. Here's one I've been posting around the web, feel free to use it if you wish.

    The only place a calorie is a calorie is in a bomb calorimeter which is a closed system which the human body is NOT. The body does not "burn" or combust foods for energy, and since it biochemically breaks down the food substrates, it's the ATP energy YIELD of food that matters, not calories per se, and calories are NOT all equal because the ATP yield of carbs, proteins and fats are all different.

    Compared to fats, the energy yield of carbohydrates is *naturally* LOW. ALL carbs are broken down to six carbon glucose molecules, but with metabolic inefficiencies & conversion losses 1 six carbon glucose molecule only yields around 30 or 32 molecules of ATP, whereas a single 18 carbon stearic acid molecule, although having only twice the calories of carbs and only three times more carbon atoms than the 6 carbon glucose, it yields 147 ATP’s, 5 times MORE energy than carbs!
    See bottom page 26 & cont. on page 27 here: http://goo.gl/VVsqJ
    and paragraph 9 'The advantage of fat as a fuel' here: http://goo.gl/VTxZ4

    This is a basic biochemical fact that EVERYONE should memorize because it explains why fats are so much more energizing than carbs, which is also why the body, brain, heart & most muscle cells prefer and run best on fats, and why carbs make you tired, sleepy & hungry again a half hour or an hour after you just ate. Carbs are the “grass” that humans have to graze on constantly like a cow, 6 or more times a day just to maintain adequate metabolic energy, and the body turns excess unused carb glucose into triglyverides, FAT! and that is just one problem with trying to run your body on a glucose metabolism.

    Industrially processed carb "foods" and snacks made from nutrient stripped & depleted bleached white flour with added trans fat soy, corn, canola & other ADULTERATED polyunsaturated oils are even worse & yield even less energy than the naturally energy weak whole grains, and they contain ANTI nutrients that actually deplete metabolic energy and wreak all kinds of other havoc and destruction in the body.

    In contrast, just 4 tablespoons of good butter or coconut oil only has 400 calories, but multiplied by 5 times the ATP energy yield over carbs, that saturated fat produces the ATP energy equivalent to 2000 calories of carbs! And it does so without damaging your arterial endothelial cells, without the sugar low & crash, without overstimulating insulin production that burns out your pancreas, causes clotting & thrombosis, and without glycating, gluing your blood & body proteins together which thickens your blood, lowers circulation velocity & oxygenation.

    The body prefers fats for fuel, and that's why the body converts unburned glucose from excess carbohydrate intake into tryclycerides, FATS, and stores them so that they can be pulled back out of storage and utilized for slower sustained energy output between meals and for when glucose from carbs runs out, because it ALWAYS does.

    The trick to losing weight & stored fat requires also knowing that the body ONLY burns stored fat in an almost total absence of sugars & insulin from carbs. When you know the basic facts you can lose large amounts of fat and weight WITHOUT exercise, and you'll know how and what to eat to stay energized and prevent obesity & metabolic syndrome related diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

  16. Laura
    Cancerclasses I could not agree with you more and nicely put! I wanted to add a quick evolutionary perspective....The fact that most cells in the body can oxydise (burn) glucose directly has often been wrongly interpreted as meaning that glucose must be the main /preferred fuel. But this is wrong! Fat is the main and best fuet the body can run on but glucose is given priority simply because it is TOXIC! Every cell in teh body is programmed to grab any glucose going around and use it/store it so as to minimise its coming into contact with the fucntional and structural proteins in the body and prevent dangerous glycation products. You could almsot say that we (our cells) have learnt to burn glucose (and we even excrete excess through our urine) to get rid of it! Sweet tasting substances taste good and feel rewarding. We seek them out. Many species of mammals from rodetns to primates seek avidly sweet ripe fruits and honey. (insects like bees have had a lot longer to co-evolve with plant and they thrive on sweet nectar) for this we have only us animals to blame. As a taste for sweet things seesm to be hard wired in many animal species, plants that were able to concentrate it in their flowers (for insencts mostly) and seed bearing organs (fruit)and advertise its presence (through the colour of fruits and flowers) have obviously been very successful thnaks to us (we eat the fruit and spread the seed and lately even cultivate them). So the food industry have been spared years and years of hit and miss research..nature itself has provided them with an addictive and very pleasing substance that we jsut cannot get enough of! And they are putting it everywhere!
    So beware sugar is sweet white nad deadly!

    But I msut add that if you really eliminate all processed foods and feed exclusively on meat bar the odd nut here nad there you taste buds will change nad your desire for sugar go down. You will detect sweetness in many food stuffs that did not taste sweet before whilst really sweet things will be almost sickly (and this comes from a an ex-chronic sweeth tooth!!)
    :-)

  17. gallier2
    @Laura and @canceclass

    there's a second reason why glucose is even kept in reserve (glycogen), it can be metabolized faster than fat. Fatty acids yields more ATP for sure but can not give it quickly enough for certain emergency situation. Running away from the sabre tooth tiger is a good reason to have rapid fuel around. That's what anaerobic metabolism and (muscle) glycogen is all about.
    The preferred fuel hypotheses is in any case completely bs or else we would have to recommend alcohol as the "best" fuel, as it is metabolised with a even higher priority.

  18. Ray
    This seemed like the beginning of an anti-government, anti-corporate rant. Assuming a completely-safe, zero-calorie sweetener existed and was substituted for *all* HFCS, we would have the same problem with obesity. Replacing all HFCS would merely expose the next layer of the problem: "healthy-whole grains". That demon that will not die without a fight.
  19. Laura
    Ray
    Indeed Prof Kessler..one of the contributors to the program in question is a fervent supporter of 'healthy' whole grains (yuk!)...imagine millions of acres that at present are occupied by an unhealthy crop that yet we tend and harvest like slaves (is wheat actually a highly intelligent plant that has subjugated us?). What would we do with all that land space one day...grass feed herds of animals perhaps??

    YES the glycogen in muscle does represent a fast fuel for when the odd hungry/angry mammoth/sabretooth tigre/fellow human decided to have a go at us (fight/flight response). The good news is that in a healthy fit/lean sugar/carb free person that muscle glycogen comes indirectly from de-novo synthesis from fat via the famous gluconeogenesis (if almsot completely un-used in modern us) pathway. I'd love to know when was the last time IF EVER my poor gluconeogenesis enzymes got some work to do!

  20. Ondrej
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7cD4CLSmIRQ&feature=related
    Entire video in better quality, complete.
  21. Ondrej,
    Excellent, thanks. I updated the post.
  22. FrankG
    Nicely done cancerclassses although I also agree with gallier2 that we are ill-advised to call one fuel as "preferred" over the the other -- glucose seems to be most commonly cast in that role but I agree that if not exactly "toxic" then running a body on carbs full-time is akin to running your family car on rocket fuel... it may run well for a while... until the engine explodes!

    I also like to use an hybrid car analogy for the "glucose vs fats, which is best?" question: while the electric motor (glucose) may be most efficient for limited range, stop and start trips; once up to speed, the combustion engine (fats) comes into its own, both in much greater range and efficiency. So which is the preferred fuel?

    On the point of gluconeogenesis: I'm not aware that there is a metabolic pathway for converting fatty acids to glucose? Amino Acids (Protein building blocks) to glucose yes, and when a Triglyceride is broken down, its glycerol backbone can be reconstituted into glucose but this is not creation of new glucose. Either way, it is not required to eat any carbs in order to keep our glycogen reserves topped up.

  23. bill
    The hybrid car analogy is useless. All their energy comes from one fuel source - gas. The battery is only a storage device. Energy from the gas is changed and stored in the battery.

    But no analogies are needed. Carbs burn up quickly and pack only 1/5th the energy of fats which burn more steadily.

  24. FrankG
    Thanks for the vote of confidence Bill.. it was just an analogy :-0 equally I could say that the majority of our energy is ultimately derived from the Sun... how does any of that help with the discussion at hand?

    The point -- if it has to be spelled out -- is that neither source is "preferred" but that each of them has a role to play.

    Perhaps there would be no need to belabour the point if we were not so often told that Glucose is the primary fuel.

  25. WRT to fuel selection...

    There is no preferred fuel per se, just more appropriate fuel based on what you do. Obviously fat is not the preferred fuel for powering glycolytic activity, the speed at which fatty acids oxidize prevents it from being an effective fuel for that type of activity. There are certain tissues that can only use glucose, but certainly not to the level that people consume carbohydrates.

    As for glucose being the preferred fuel, that's simply based on which fuel is metabolized first when you provide them all. If you throw glucose, fatty acids and aminos in to the bloodstream, of course the glucose will be metabolized first as it needs no conversion and doesn't need to enter the mitochondria. The problem is, glucose, fatty acids, and aminos aren't the only fuel choices, alcohol is as well and if you throw that in to the mix it's metabolized first, and I don't know of any Doctor that's going to tell you alcohol is the body's preferred fuel source.

  26. JAUS
    #2 Some people don't care about the truth, they just want to live in their delusions an pretend that everything is as like they want them to be. If you as a person only believe in things that you like, then you are most likely delusional and a victim of wishful thinking. A rational human must face reality with honesty and accept also the inconvinient truths and not only the convinient ones.

    I feel sorry for irrational people, they are hurting themselves and others around them. Wishful thinking is very dangerous.

  27. bill
    Nobody needs to consume carbs. Ever.

    What's *your* point?

  28. FrankG
    @bill: I think you are confusing what we put in our mouths with what our bodies use internally.

    As I already stated above "Either way, it is not required to eat any carbs in order to keep our glycogen reserves topped up"

    BUT that is not to say that our bodies do not need or use Glucose.

  29. Asukal
    I started with lchf 4 mos. ago and I'm convinced that this is the right path. Have been following this blog and constantly educating myself in the process. More power to this site!
  30. Ondrej
    What is your opinion on "the Phinney/Volek" way - 50 g carbs, moderate protein, vs "the primal blueprint way" - 100-150g carbs, eat anything healthy, but don't count...I believe if I want single digits body fat, I need the Phinney way. I don't need to lose weight, but to improve body composition.
  31. gallier2
    @FrankG

    you might be interested in Chris Masterjohn's discovery
    http://blog.cholesterol-and-health.com/2012/01/we-really-can-make-glu...
    that there is afterall a pathway to make glucose from fat.
    It's an indirect pathway via ketones and absolutely unknown but which yield is far from negligible in the right conditions (which almost never happens in a glucose rich diet).

    This article is imho the scoop of 2012.

  32. Laura
    Frank G Yes but as pointed out by someone else above the de novo synthesis of glucose from fat in animals/humans remains an open question and some evidence is emerging now. It i true however that txt book biochem (Not always giving the right info) says that the preferred subs for gng are aminoacids and by the time you start using them in starvation situation you are surely wasting away....
  33. FrankG
    Thanks gallier2 and Laura... I hope that I am never to old to learn something new ;-)

    Perhaps I need to adjust that statement to "no *direct* path for converting fatty acids to glucose". There does still seem to be a fairly common misunderstanding... as in (to paraphrase) "we store excess (only) energy as fat but in times of starvation (only) it is converted to glucose so it can be burned in the cells"

    And can't we use Amino Acids for Gluconeogenesis at any time so long as they are surplus to our immediate Amino Acid needs?

  34. Laura
    FrankG
    Yes I think your are right again there...your biochem is good man (better than mine for sure..won't go into that)! This is why protein can contribute to carb load if eaten in excess. This is also why I specified 'under starvation' conditions after all fat reserves have been used up.
    I think there is still soo much we don't know about biochemical pathway under 'live' conditions in teh body and even some of those pathways described by Chris are 'theoretical' inferred for their chemical (& energetic) feasibility rather than being confirmed by detection of intermediates.

    This is also what lchf is about. It is a quest for truth. Questioning things all the time. We msut become professional skeptics but in a constructive way (there are destructive skeptics out there too)

  35. FrankG
    Thank you Laura but I wouldn't say my biochem is better than anyone else's ;-) I just like to keep asking questions

    One of my all-time favourite quotes... "It is important that students bring a certain ragamuffin, barefoot irreverence to their studies; they are not here to worship what is known, but to question it." -- Jacob Bronowski

    I agree that there are some who seem to think that they can somehow make their own point more valid by destroying another person's point or by personal attacks on that person... this doesn't work for me. Either your evidence stands on its own, or it doesn't.

    Equally -- and because I think science is driven by as yet unanswered questions -- I balk at anyone who speaks in absolute terms.. "such and such a theory is dead and buried", for example.

  36. Garth
    I thought this was a 3 part series, Have I missed the 2nd part this week?
  37. Laura
    Garth
    Yes it is!Second part TONIGHT!!
    I might have to watch tomorrow though on iplayer....most working evenings are too busy! Tonight cooking hunch of venison in lard...does watching the right TV probram act as flavour enhancer? who knows? enjoy! :-)

    FrankG absolutely there is that fine line between reverence and irreverence/convention breaking/thinking outside the box, insight/foresight you name it that make things go forward. Have you read Gary taubes book..no doubt?
    May I advise also Barry Groves book Trick and Treat? It is good and thought provoking and even when you don't completely agree about his conclusions it makes you want to find out more!

  38. Wade Henderson
    Well, certainly excess sugar, in all its forms isn't needed and is indeed a large part of the problem.
    The documentary spells out how we got there.

    However I continue to be struck by the human mind's need to go entirely in one direction or the other.

    I frequent the low-carb forums and the low fat forums. They are mirror images of each other.
    Totally accept each premis and then backing it up with a boat load of studies and books.
    Its almost as though many people, with considerable excess weight, need absolutes and that they fear any moderation.

    Fortunately both extremes seem to say that loads of veggies are great.
    They also seem to agree that excess sugar is very bad.

    I wonder, could one not have a fairly low fat, and fairly low carb diet?
    Add in some complexed carbs, and some smaller portions of animal products and oils.
    Of course many would then run the risk of not living in absolutes.

    But you don't sell books and you don't capture large audiences with a moderate balanced message.
    It might be that low carb is better for some and that low fat is better for others, when each is done and a healthy manner. Clearly unhealthy low-fat has been a disaster, but that doesn't mean we have throw every ounce of water from that tub.

    Traditional cultures from the past 100 years can show us options. We don't have to reach back to paleo times to search for long ago possibilities.
    When America and other western countries were in more normal balance in terms of weight, there weren't many folks doing either low fat or low carb.

    What were those British eating before the put on the 3 stone ( 42 pounds)?
    Not low carb and not low fat.

    Meanwhile, my neighbor died yesterday of a heart attack. I'm sure he was on the typical American diet.
    Age 69. My mother died last year at 97. She wasn't low carb or low fat. Just a fair bit less of both.
    One truth in the film, there is a HUGE amount more food around us than in the past.
    On every corner, at every check out, even when you are just buying gas.
    And the portions are HUGE compared to the past. I'm not sure normal sized fries are even on the menu.
    Or normal sized soda.
    Imagine a kid getting a small fries and small coke, with a regular size simple burger.
    That Happy Meal is about the size that adults used to get.

    My local Safeway, I stepped it off. over 900 feet of soda and sugar drinks.
    Length of aisles times number of shelves high. 900 feet. Amazing.

  39. NOD
    The Men Who Made Us Fat (part 2)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rRTB54wFD5s

  40. Laura
    Wade...I agree with you that there is FAR too much food around...no more seasonality or natural scarcity. It comes out of ears and we still want more. One could say that the whole impetus of human civilisation has been to get to the point where we are now in most western countries where food availability is no longer a worry..or rather it is but more in the reverse...how to get through the day without eating too much...
    But I disagree with you about moderation and about 'why the human mind needs to go in one extreme or the other'...it is not the human mind but the human body actually.

    In evelutionary terms it was only yesterday that we had to fight hard to find food and sink our teeth into it. Our bodies are adapted to scarcity of food not abundance. The latter was a RARE thing and we like most animals are hard wired to respond to it by gorging (At a time before any form of food storafe was invented) and storing excess fat for leaner times. Now that scarcity is UNKNOWN we are in a state of perpetual OVER-abunndance hyerpinsulinic, OVErfed and constantly craving more food. it is a physiological state many of us cannot escape. If anything the question should be how some of our fellow humans manage not to feel the cravings stay lean eat in moderation say no to more food. It is teh effortlessly lean people in our world of super abundance that should be the subjects of intensive studies and investigations.

    Carbohydrates do this to us. We have never adapted to eat them everyday in such large amounts. Our ancestors were lucky if they stumbled on some acryd berries once every few months and depending on season (or gnawed on some tubers in the absence of anything else)! Most people will struggle to go moderate on carb containing foods hence the obesity epidemic. Most of us will overeat if you give us carbs so they must go out of our diet completely. LCHF is not an extreme is the norm for us humans. Carbs are the novelty food we don't seem to get enough of...our bodies respond to it in a way that is counterproductive that leads to overeating. The fine control over blood sugar is whar scews us. Beacuse in the majority of us descendants of survivors of the ice ages the excess is inevitably shunted to body fat day in and day out.....(not jsut once a year as it was the norm).

    So here we are stoneagers faced with a constant feast having lost all control we eat ourselves to death...the other animals shake their heads and move on!

  41. Wade Henderson
    Laura, you say,

    "If anything the question should be how some of our fellow humans manage not to feel the cravings stay lean eat in moderation say no to more food. It is teh effortlessly lean people in our world of super abundance that should be the subjects of intensive studies and investigations."

    That is me. I don't eat between meals, because I so enjoy eating my actual meals. I don't want to ruin my experience. When meal times comes, I eat as much as I feel like eating. I have minimal sugar in my diet. A tea spoon with each cup of tea, twice a day.
    I simply don't buy the stuff that isn't good. Hence it isn't there. You get used to it.
    I don't have deserts and seldom buy sweets.
    Interestingly, the desire for such simply goes way way down. I can fully understand the urges, as on occasion I would buy a entire bag of Reeses Peanut Butter cups. Then I would eat one after a meal, but even at that I could feel the addictive nature, so at the end of a large bag, I bought no more. The urge remained for a week or so, then you forget it.

    I probably get 60% of my calories from carbs of one form or another. Perhaps 70%.
    I have to or face weight loss.
    I eat a huge mound of veggies, squash, sweet potatoes, and though mostly plain, the flavors of them only grow as they become a primary part of the diet.
    Yet I have no problem including small amounts of fish or lean meats.
    Not much oil.

    The bottom line is, all the foods that scare you, I don't buy. The refined carbs, the packaged goods, the sugared goods. I no longer miss them. The attraction has gone to a minimal level.
    Neither do large hunks of meat offer any allure. I just don't care for them. Started when I was living in Asia where they consume much smaller portions of meats and little dairy.

    I think one of my main advantages is that I actually listen closely to what my body wants.
    I allow a little normal hunger. In fact, it isn't unpleasant. Rather than the negative concept of "hunger" I allow "anticipation" to exist. Imagine eating was like sex. The desire leading up to the actual act, is not unpleasant. The same with the normal anticipation of eating. Nothing would be worse than not being ready to eat.
    Pre-meal, in-between meal, snacks are something I avoid because they ruin the actual joy of eating a good meal. Imagine that concept becoming normal for most folks.

    Too many people have become so out of touch with their bodies, they instead resort to absolutes and theories about ancient humans. I can tell you, I have lived around entire populations where they eat simply and in a normal manner, without absolutes to "control" their desires.

    Self control is not the correct way to describe what I do. I simply don't have the items around.
    Oh yes, and in my diet and that of many I see in my travels, their intakes are extremely repetitive.
    Same simple foods over and over and over and over, in the same amounts over and over and over.
    Quite unpopular with those who go to the store and see 50,000 items.
    I don't buy those items. Things don't jump off the shelf into your cart.

    All that fast-food. I eat fast food perhaps once a month and only when on the run.

    Not sure that what I consume would take the weight off so many of those with a problem, but I see so few of those on the extremes willing to consider the concepts of simple repetitive, less than wonderful food. Meaning, they are so jacked up on getting their buzz, that simple good foods don't taste good enough.
    They seem to have lost their sensitivity to natural foods, natural tastes and natural desires.

    Everyone is a bit crazy about food. Addicted as is seen in the latest videos.
    It seem un-American to say the food is just "too good". No wonder people eat so much of it.
    Most of it didn't exist 50 years ago and hence people didn't need to go to extremes or to resort to ancient ancestors eating methods.

    So many people, so very lost. Looking for the Messiah. Then they become true believers.

    .

  42. Yossi
    Doctor,
    I wonder why you describe this series as great when it lumps sugar and fatty food together and describes both as unhealthy?
  43. Yossi,
    What they call "fatty food" is french fries, donuts and ice cream. That's a joke of course.

    There is great stuff in the series but it's not all good, especially part 2 falls back into a lot of failed old ideas.

  44. Osa
    Part 2 is already available on Youtube. In fact all 4 parts are on Youtube. You should post them on your website. The link to Part 2 is below.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rRTB54wFD5s

  45. Phil
    Unfortunately, the videos have been removed. :(
  46. johnnyscientist
    Wow!
    I had my car stolen a while back. turns out it wasn't hoodies - it was the food industry. :-)
    This was lazy journalism at its worst.
    If Jeremy Kyle did a piece about food this is what it would have been like. "X industry is only interested in making money" is like me saying "didn't you journalists hack my phone".

    Nothing to do with individual choice at all is it?
    There are no bad foods. Only bad diets.Take responsibility and eat a balanced diet and get active. control your portions & miraculously you will feel & look better. Taaadaaaa.

  47. Maggan A
    johnnyscientist

    "eat a balanced diet"

    It is easy to SAY Halleluja.... but not so easy to acctually DO....

    For the last 20 years I had a BMI of 35. Now since 11/2 year I lost 20 kg and it has gone down to 28.

    How did I do it?

    Yes I made an "individual choise", tooke "responsability" and found a way. No portion controll, no counting calories and no moore activity than before. I did it the only way that ever worked for me - The LCHF way.

    I melted like an ice-cream in the sun & "miracolusly feel & look better".

    Taaadaaaa ;-)

  48. johnnyscientist
    Genuinely glad you found a way that works for you. I accept it can be difficult to balance life and diet. I speak from experience. No idea what my BMI is, I think that figure is probably meaningless in the grand scheme. Mine probably states that I'm bordering on ok/obese ut the bottom line is - I'm not fit. that is no ones fault but my own. I sit on my arse too much, thus I am not fit enough.

    I have to disagree with you on a basic premise and much of the stuff on here - that talk about faddy diets and trendy nutrition and generally discredit 'mainstream' thinking like calories in - calories out. (No one silver bullet, but cal in cal out is pretty IS petty key). Far too much attention is put on bad health is down to "I ate HFCS" or "not enough organic" which is just utter carp.

    I think it IS easy to do if you genuinely take basic action and keep an eye on the amount and frequency of what foods you eat. I disagree that there has to be a miracle revolution to effect change. When I paid a bit more attention to what I ate and how much, and went to the gym 3 times a week I was a lot more fit. I maintain my point - it. is. not. rocket. science.

    Programs like this one are like the Daily Mail. Sensationalist attention grabbing.This is the 'product' you need to be wary of. I'm just waiting for the "Immigrants made me fat" stories.........

  49. In many low fat and fat free foods the fat is replaced with sugar, flour, or other full food energy ingredients, and the reduction in food energy value is small, if any. Furthermore, an excess of digestible sugar is stored as fat. Thanks.
  50. Ary
    When will our governments stop getting influenced by the food industry is my big question? Like mentioned in one of the parts, loads of fast sugars in our food makes people overeat, which the industry wants because that makes them money. The fact that mice just would not get fat on fatty foods but instantly got fat from foods high in sugar and fat is no real proof but very graphic.
    I tried moderacy, balance and just about every other diet, it takes a while and one falls off the wagon. I got hooked on carbs, a bit more every year and weighed a bit more every year. Then 4 months ago I started eating low carb and now I control food not the other way around.
    I cook pretty much all of my food on my own the best way to know whats in it. I´m sure I will have a burger and fries occationally sometime in the future - occationally being the key word because just as I know that alcohol is bad for me I´ll occationally have a few drinks, not every day. As a treat not as a lifestyle. You can eat anything with moderation, but not every day.
    Funnily, the less sugars I eat the less I crave them. My body wanted the carbs to get its dopamine kicks and it got even worse when I quit smoking and it got even more desperate to get its kicks somehow. It became like a drug. The modern high carb/high fat highly processed diet is definately not meant to be eaten every day, meaning fast food, cakes, sweets and sweet drinks etc.
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