This really makes you think about what you’re putting in your mouth and the effects it will have on your body…
Originally posted on Metro News:
Your hankering for that yummy Big Mac could suddenly vaporize if you knew how far you’d have to walk to burn it off.
We now have more access to the calorie content of food, on packaging and even some restaurant menus.
But a new study published in the journal Appetite out of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill found a different tactic might help.
Taking back our health, food, and advertising!
Originally posted on sara sweetless:
Another good read! Millenials are taking back our health, our food, and our advertising. It’s starts small and grass-roots, but I think we will see lots of big changes in the coming years, mostly due to the demands of millenials.
Originally posted on Later On:
Jill Richardson has an interesting article on AlterNet:
Did you hear the news? Now it’s healthy to be fat! It turns out that your smug skinny friend who eats broccoli and runs marathons should have been eating fast food and watching TV this whole time. Right?
Well, maybe not. A new study  published in the Journal of the American Medical Association has made headlines because it found that overweight people have lower mortality rates than people with “healthy” weights and that even moderate obesity does not increase mortality.
This means that an overweight 5’4” woman weighing between 145 and 169 pounds (Body Mass Index  of 25 to 29) has less chance of dying than a woman of the same height who weighs less. If she gains weight and falls within the lower obese range (174 to 204 pounds, BMI of 30 to 35), she is equally likely to die as a woman with a “healthy” BMI of 18.5 to 25. Only once her weight exceeds 205 pounds does her risk of mortality increase.
The study made waves when a recent New York Times  op-ed proclaimed that “baselessly categorizing at least 130 million Americans — and hundreds of millions in the rest of the world — as people in need of ‘treatment’ for their ‘condition’ serves the economic interests of, among others, the multibillion-dollar weight-loss industry and large pharmaceutical companies.”
So what’s the story? Is it healthy to be overweight?
As usual, it’s instructive to look back in history – in this case to the mid-1990s when the current standards we use to define “overweight” and “obese” were set. Initially, the U.S. government used a BMI of 27.3 for women and a BMI of 27.8 for men as the lowest BMIs that qualified as overweight.
Across the pond, British scientist Philip James  convened the International Obesity Task Force in 1995, and their work, in collaboration with the UN’s World Health Organization (WHO), led to an international standard that defined a BMI of 25 or above as overweight for both sexes, and a BMI of 30 or above as obese.
Back in the U.S., the National Institutes of Health put together an expert panel, chaired by Dr. F. Xavier Pi-Sunyer , a recognized expert on obesity, and at the time, the executive director of the Weight Watchers Foundation. In September 1998, they published a document called the “Clinical Guidelines on the Identification, Evaluation, and Treatment of Overweight and Obesity in Adults ,” which lowered the U.S. standard for overweight to match the international standard.
Suddenly, a 5’4” woman who weighed 145 or a 5’10” man who weighed 174 were considered overweight. Newspapers published articles on 29 million Americans who went to bed at a healthy weight one night and woke up the next morning to discover they were overweight – although they had not gained one single pound! At the time, these previously “healthy weight” individuals accounted for nearly 30 percent of the overweight and obese people in America.
In the mainstream media, one of the few opposing voices to this change was former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, who told the Washington Post  that, “weight does not increase the risk of death until the BMI reaches 27 or 28.” Other critics feared that the new standards would result in an increase in the use of diet drugs or discourage Americans, resulting in them giving up trying to lose weight altogether.
Others point to conflicts of interest among the expert panel that defined 55 percent of the nation (at the time) as overweight or obese, or even data showing that a few extra pounds did not result in increased mortality.
To truly get to the bottom of the issue, one must consider the conflicts of interest on all sides. For example, Pi-Sunyer was tied at the hip with Weight Watchers, he was director of a weight loss clinic, and he served as an advisory board member or paid consultant to several pharmaceutical companies that made diet drugs. Similar accusations have been lobbed at Philip James in the U.K. But on the other side of the coin, nearly every industry in the U.S. – with the exception, no doubt, of the airlines – makes handsome profits from an overweight and obese populace that is desperate to lose weight but continually fails to do so.
Consider a typical American who spends money on large amounts of processed foods at grocery stores and restaurants, and then needs to buy clothing in larger and larger sizes. She even requires more gas to transport her extra weight, and perhaps she and her partner decide they need a larger bed. Desperate to slim down, she enrolls at a gym, buys diet books, special diet foods, and perhaps even weight-loss drugs. Maybe she loses some weight. Maybe she doesn’t. But even if she succeeds temporarily, in all but a minority of cases, the weight is back again within a few years and she starts the cycle again. How much money does she spend to get fat and then get thin again?
The industries that sell junk food want Americans to continue buying their products, of course. Many corporations like Coca Cola, Wendy’s, Applebees, and Outback Steakhouse fund the so-called Center for Consumer Freedom, which runs the Web site ObesityMyths.com. Visit this site to learn why you should continue drinking Coca-Cola and eating at Applebees without worrying about what the food police tell you. The site devotes a special section to “Myth-Makers” like Philip James, accusing him of conflicts of interest. Often with flimsy evidence, these myth-makers are tarred as being financially tied to the diet drug and weight-loss industries, with the implication that their work lacks credibility because they are being paid off to talk about the global scourge of obesity.
A more reasoned assessment of James’ and Pi-Sunyer’s conflicts of interest comes from University of Chicago professor J. Eric Oliver, who first points out in his book Fat Politics, “It is difficult to find any major figure in the field of obesity research or past president of the North American Association for the Study of Obesity who does not have some type of financial tie to a pharmaceutical or weight-loss company.” He goes on to acknowledge that, “While the pharmaceutical industry did not necessarily dictate the decisions of the obesity experts, the conflicts of interest among the leading researchers in the obesity field are both undeniable and problematic.”
Oliver calls out a “health-industrial complex” which is “built upon a symbiotic relationship between health researchers, government bureaucrats, and drug companies.” Each group relies on the others to get what they want, be that drug sales, congressional funding for their government agencies, or prestigious appointments, recognition and lucrative speaking gigs. For each group, adding tens of millions of Americans to the population at risk due to obesity helps them toward their goals. That isn’t to say that self-interest was the determining factor in their decision to lower the BMI considered overweight to 25. But it’s a possibility that self-interest played a role.
In any case, . . .
Essential information on our food industry!
Originally posted on COALITION OF POSITIVE ENERGY:
The Processed Food Industry has been commended for creating foods that have made it easy for us to consume in our busy and hectic lives – but are these foods good for us? Here is what the processed food industry doesn’t want the basic consumer to know:
- Processed foods are addictive and can cause you to overeat. Eating highly processed or highly concentrated foods can artificially stimulate dopamine (the pleasure neurotransmitter), which plays a role in addiction. In this way, you are eating foods that lack nutrients and fiber, but create a pleasurable feeling. A food addiction starts because you feel good when you are eating these foods and they make you think they taste better – also known as ‘comfort food’.
- Processed foods are linked to obesity. Additives in processed foods, like high fructose corn syrup, sugar and MSG have been linked to weight gain and obesity.
- Processed foods often contain ingredients that do not follow the principle of food combining, which can lead to low energy, poor digestion, illness, acidic blood and weight gain. An example would be a frozen meat and cheese pizza. Cheese (a dairy product), meat (an animal product) and pizza crust (a grain product) make a terrible food combination that can wreak havoc on your digestive health.
- Processed foods contribute to an imbalanced inner ecosystem, which can lead to digestive problems, cravings, illness and disease. Beneficial microflora cannot survive in your digestive tract when you are poisoning them. Like us, they thrive on foods that are made by nature not man.
- A diet high in processed foods can lead to depression, memory issues and mood swings. Ingredients in processed foods are often the lowest cost and sub-par, nutritionally. For example, the fats and oils used in processed foods are refined, which means they are stripped of the essential fatty acids necessary for healthy blood sugar levels, moods and memory. Your heart, hormones and brain suffer when you choose to eat these fats and oils. Instead, choose the organic, unrefined or “virgin” fats and oils that are recommended on The Body Ecology Diet.
- Processed foods often go hand n hand with “eating on the run” or multitasking. Most people will choose convenience if they are on the run. Unfortunately, multitasking while eating causes people to lose touch with their natural appetite often leading to weight gain. Additionally, multitasking sends the wrong signals to your digestive system, which needs to be in a restful mode to digest properly.
- Nutrition labels on processed foods are often misleading and have harmful health effects. Many labels say “sugar-free”, but contain other sweeteners like agave, which is like high fructose corn syrup. Additionally, product labeling may hide ingredients like GM (genetically modified) foods and harmful additives like MSG. (These are hidden behind words on the label like “natural flavorings” or “approved spices”).
- Diets high in processed meats (like hot dogs and deli meats) have been linked to various forms of cancer, such as pancreatic cancer, colorectal cancer and stomach cancer.
- Eating too much processed foods can lead to infertility and malnutrition.
- Processed foods are made for long shelf-life, not long human life. Chemicals, additives and preservatives are added to processed foods so that they will last for a long time without going rancid or affecting the taste of the food. (Imagine what they do to the human body). Food manufacturers spend time, money and research on beautiful packaging and strategies to lengthen shelf-life, with little attention on how the foods will lengthen your life.
***sources for the above information can be found at http://bodyecology.com ***
How can we make better food choices?
Sometimes, I read something that I wish I had written. Or that I wish I could have sat down with the writer and discovered from them on my own, through a meaningful discussion. Most of these writings involve good stories, experiences that I have been curious about or yearned to learn more about.
This piece “What Losing 180 Pounds Really Does To Your Body–And Your Mind” is one of those, as it finally deals with–in an extremely real and intimate way–the psychology behind weight loss and the myths that accompany it. The author opted to get weight-loss surgery and expected her life to magically turn into a fairy-tale overnight–as fat people are taught that life is only worthwhile and love is only possible when you become skinny–and guess what? It didn’t.
When she goes to have a consultation for weight-loss surgery, the doctor makes a comment about how freeing it will be to be in public without people staring or without causing a scene.
He said that like it was a fact about all fat people. All fat people hate themselves. All fat people know that what’s good in life is really only accessible to thin people. Thin is the most important variable in of life’s equations. Thin equals happy, thin equals beautiful, thin equals a life worth living.
The most embarrassing fact of my life – and oh, how many embarrassing facts there are in my life – is that it was true. I was angry at him for saying it, for buying into the cliché of the fat person. For assuming that my life would transform immediately. Because he was saying all the things I had secretly thought. He was reinforcing all the secret fantasies I had about the way everything about me would be more amenable and lovable and acceptable to the whole rest of the world. To everyone on airplanes and everyone in my life. To myself. When I lost all the weight. When I got weight loss surgery.
I wish I could just copy and paste the entire article, because there are so many important realizations and confessions and knowledge that this woman gained (while losing the weight) about sense of self and body image.
The problem was that I lost all those pounds, but I didn’t have to change a thing about my self. I didn’t have to address any of the emotional or psychological issues. I didn’t have to figure out why I had been depressed – why I was still so, so depressed, despite the fact that the one thing I thought had been ruining my life was suddenly gone.
It doesn’t go away, you see. I thought that my body was wrong when I was obese; I thought my body was wrong when I was thin past the point of health. I thought there was something wrong with my body whatever I looked like, because there’s always just one more thing to fix before I look perfect, feel good in bed with hands on my body, feel sexy in a dress or a bathing suit, feel comfortable in my skin.
There have been endless articles recently on body image (when aren’t there?) in the media and on the internet recently that I’ve been meaning to post about, but I feel like this is a good one to start with. It’s amazing to me that these impossible standards of beauty are still upheld (and I subscribe to them too, I am not immune at all) and that people equate outer beauty with inner happiness. If there were as many articles directed towards women on “how to create a beautiful soul” instead of “how to get perfect calves,” I think our world would be a much different place.
(Image courtesy of WiseGeek)
Last week (February 24th-March 2nd) was National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. Unfortunately, I was ill all week so I didn’t get a chance to post then, but I still wanted to highlight this important cause as it’s never too late to be aware.
This year’s NEDAwareness Week theme is “Everybody Knows Somebody” because awareness of eating disorders is certainly spreading. Last year, NEDAwareness Week registrants spanned all 50 states and 30 other countries. The aim of NEDAwareness Week is to ultimately prevent eating disorders and body image issues while reducing the stigma surrounding eating disorders and improving access to treatment. Eating disorders are serious, life-threatening illnesses – not choices – and it’s important to recognize the pressures, attitudes and behaviors that shape the disorder.
NEDA asks everyone to do just one thing to help raise awareness and provide accurate information about eating disorders.
This is a really important mission and there are so many different ways to get involved or get help. Please do check out the website and be compassionate and supportive of those around you (or yourself!) if anyone you know is struggling with an eating disorder. There is hope and people who care and want to help.
The brilliant Postsecret project featured many secrets these past weeks relating to themes of eating disorders and recovery. Here are some of my favorites:
Fabulous post on the mechanisms of hunger!
Originally posted on LoveLissy16:
The average American eats 3,800 calories a day. This is twice the average daily requirement.
Obesity has reached the epidemic status, with about 65% of U.S. adults overweight.
$100 billion a year is spent on treating obesity-related disorders.
300,000 U.S. citizens die from disorders caused by excessive eating.
… So who’s hungry?
Hunger is defined in my Biopsychology book as “the motivation to eat.” According to this textbook (which is cited below, and used for all of the facts presented throughout this post because it’s the most amazing textbook I’ve read) the goal of hunger is to increase the probability that we will eat. Eating is conducted in order to supply our bodies with the energy, vitamins, and minerals it needs to survive and thrive! Thrive as in, compose our healthy hair, skin and nails, rid our bodies of toxins, support our immune function, etc. So my question is—why the hell has our hunger seemed to have turned on us?
Three Phases of Energy Metabolism- Our bodies are constantly using up energy, aka burning calories, just to keep us alive. Even as you sit on your ass right now to read this your metabolism is getting put to work, which is understood in three phases.
1) The first is the phase when you become consumed by the sight, delicious smell, and taunting thought of your favorite food, known as the cephalic phase. The sensory info (sight, smell, thought) of food is sent to your brain to signal you are about to eat. Your brain then sends signals to your body to prepare you for the future meal. It tells your pancreas to release insulin.
-Insulin encourages your body to use glucose (blood sugar) for the energy it needs, rather than utilizing amino acids or fatty acids.
-Since your body is using sugar for fuel, it can then convert its other sources of energy, such as your amino acids and fatty acids, into their storage forms known as protein and fat. Excess glucose during this time is converted to its storage form of glycogen or fat.