“Sorry, but We Really Are, Just Too Fat”

Today’s article in the New York Times, speaks of the dangers we are facing in terms of a national health crisis for our children, if we do not reverse, forget stabilize, the numbers of obese children.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/02/opinion/02mon3.html?_r=1&th&emc=th&oref=slogin

Now you know, I am all for eating. You know, I am all for eating chocolate, cake, cookies, candy. We have always, and always will love these foods. But when are we going to finally figure out, that we simply need to eat less of it all.

When are we going to figure out, that the portions of a chocolate bar, are double what they were 20 years ago. That the portions in restaurants are double. That the big Gulp drinks, fill out the calorie equivalent of a day’s worth of eating for a kid. I am not sure what the mystery is. We really are a Fat Nation. I just got back from Berlin, and I have to tell you, I did not see one fat person. Of any age. They too, have McDonald’s, Dunkin Donuts, and other fast food franchises. I am a little sick of hearing the blame shifted to all these businesses.

I am not saying that I endorse eating McDonald’s every day, that is simply bad news. Who can’t figure that out? Do we really need a degree in nutrition to figure out that eating McDonald’s every day will make you put on weight? Or a movie? Give me a break. We really have lost our marbles when it comes to weight and food. We just eat too much.

So, along with decreasing our amounts of junk food intake, let’s teach our kids to in fact, not eat everything on their plate. Sure there are starving kids in other countries, but that ain’t happenning here. We are training too many kids to be Members of the Clean Plate Club. As picky, small eaters, they need to remain connected to their small appetites, not taught to eat more, because Mommy says so.

As teenagers, they may need to be taught to eat less. To cut back. To snack less. To perhaps even, feel hunger. So many kids eat out of boredom and habit, that they get habituated to larger amounts of food, signaling their brain that they are ‘done’.

So many parents are terrified that they will induce too much shame, if they use the word ‘fat’. It has become what I call, the new “F-word”. I think more parents are comfortable saying the swear word in front of their kids, than the word: ‘fat’. But I don’t care what you call it, overweight, ‘You are taking in more food than your body needs which is not healthy’. We need to be able to have a dialogue with our kids before they spend too many years eating too much and putting on too much weight, where they can learn to eat less.

There is too much at stake. Let’s take the fear out of the F-Word, and begin a dialogue.

One Response to ““Sorry, but We Really Are, Just Too Fat””

  1. Harl Delos on 03 Aug 2008 at 1:44 pm

    You’re drinking the grape Kool-Aid, Donna.

    You’ve been hearing since you were 10 that “What you eat, minus what you burn off, is what you gain.” That’s not true. Most of the food you consume is neither burnt, nor is it weight gain. It’s *flushed*.

    Take 20 minutes and talk to a chemical engineer. He’ll tell you that in a continuous process flow, “dwell time” is an important factor. If you run food through your system slowly, you’re going to absorb more of it.

    How do you speed up your system? You eat more. It helps if the food has a lot of fiber in it; that way, it does a better job of pushing the food through your system.

    Of course, if you run food through the system faster, it’s going to affect some nutrients more than others. High fructose corn syrup is digested in the stomach and doesn’t see the intestines. On the other hand, you probably have noticed that when you eat sweet corn, it often passes through your system with little or no digestion occurring.

    So instead of focusing on how much you eat, it’s better to focus on what you eat. If you aren’t getting the nutrients you need, you will have cravings for foods containing those nutrients you lack, just as you crave water (which we call “thirst”) when you are dehydrated.

    Instead of drinking juice, eat whole fruits, so that you get all that fiber. Otherwise, you’re just drinking sugar-water. Foods low in CLA results in diabetes in livestock; they haven’t done human studies yet, but it’d be a good idea to get some CLA in your diet. What’s rich in CLA? Fatty cuts of beef and pork, especially from grass-fed animals.

    The experts doing dietary research tell us that the body’s fat is actually an organ. It helps us deal with stress. If there’s too much stress, we get an enlarged fat organ, just as overworking the heart or the liver will lead to enlargement of those organs.

    There was a tremendous increase in obesity in the 20th century. Is it because humankind suddenly got bored and started eating habitually? No.

    What HAS happened is that we started getting a lot of exposure to stresses we didn’t have before, such as electronic noise, pollution, etc., and we started eating a lot of things that, in earlier times, weren’t foods – things like soy protein, high-fructose corn syrup, and hydrogenated oils.

    Blaming people for being fat doesn’t work. Claiming it is the result of boredom and habit is a lie. We don’t need to eat less.

    But we need to eat better. A wide variety of foods, complete foods instead of things like fruit juice and white flour, avoiding pseudo-foods like high-fructose corn syrup, textured vegetable proteins and hydrogenated vegetable oils, will go a long way to making us healthier.

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