Eat for Health
Weight Loss, Fat Burning Snake Oils
by Tammera J. Karr, PhD, BCIH, BCHN, Certified Gluten Practitioner
We are now in Summer, or at least that is what the calendar is telling me. With warmer weather just like plants bursting forth – come the drug store displays of weight loss and diet aids. According to a 2012 report from the federal trade commission Americans spend more than $40 billion annually on weight-loss products and services, most of these programs and products disappoint, others are downright dangerous.
For millions of Americans we are looking for the magic pill that will melt away the pounds without us personally having to do anything. When we look at the ever growing diameter of American waist lines the question that needs to be asked is “What has Changed?”. For some the response would be, “it is all those video games and TV”, others might say “if people would just push away from the table they wouldn’t be so fat”.
The quality, and quantity of food in America changed dramatically over the last 50 years, also so has our perception of body weight. While this is not intended as an easy out, the fact remains we are not all cut with the same genetic cookie cutter. Some people have large bones, denser muscle mass, male, female, Scandinavian, Latin American, tall, short….The baby boomer generation and the subsequent ones following, revere images of Twiggy, Audrey Hepburn, Jane Fonda, Steve McQueen, and Cher. All thin folks, but not necessarily realistic representations of health and genetics. Some of these were normal body types, others were distortions and unhealthy. While money might buy you a personal chef and coach, time to spend three hours a day working out and a house keeper, it won’t change genetics or plain ol’ bad food. From Clintons French fry’s to Elizabeth Tyler’s battle with obesity, the answer isn’t in a pill.
The amount of money being spent on weight loss products is a clear indication we are scarred…I routinely see individuals purchase “Green Tea Fat Burner, or Green Coffee” products looking for a fix to their every expanding tummy’s and health concerns. This is not solely age related either – I have elderly individuals as obsessed with body fat as the younger ones.
The villain in all this isn’t that Johnny is pigging out on chips and soda forever on the couch with no self-control, it is the unknown ingredients laced like drugs throughout every day foods – if they can be truly called that; flavorings, sweeteners, colors and chemicals found in foods never present before the late 1980’s. The food industry employs top scientists to develop products that we can’t stop eating because of how they affect our brain chemistry.
Add to this Americas increase of chemical exposure through petroleum, medications, herbicides and plastics, masquerading as estrogens– stir in gently a national experiment in high carbohydrate, low fat, and low protein diets, increase in sedentary lifestyles and over three generations you have pandemic increases in cancer, obesity, diabetes and heart disease. Young and old alike are desperate to lose weight and regain their health and vitality. The frustration eventually leads to despair, and you see the evidence of this every day at the checkout lanes in the grocery store.
I currently have a 20’something client who, works a high stress job, consumes almost no fruits and vegetables, and daily is fighting a battle of wills with Dr. Pepper and fast food. Each day they drag themselves to the gym, work out, weigh themselves, and drop their head in despair when seeing their image in the mirror or the number on the scale. How can we spend so much energy on trying to look thin, and almost none on trying to be healthy? Americans relationship with food is a love – hate event, we have a history with fast and convenient, and we are surrounded by advertising that shows young thin-fresh faces smacking down burgers and fries, milkshakes and candy, soda and chips.
On top of advertising from the food industry, we have the Oz followers. Whatever Dr. Oz says, becomes a marketing boon. This last week it has been over the miracle of green coffee to fat burn. The little pills — which are produced by grinding up raw, unroasted coffee, and then soaking the result in alcohol to pull out the antioxidants are written up in Life Extension and countless health newsletters.
The main ingredient in green coffee extract — an antioxidant called chlorogenic acid — didn’t help obese mice shed the pounds over a 12-week period, scientists at the University of Western Australia reported in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. Instead, the compound gave the little rodents the early symptoms of diabetes: The animals were less sensitive to insulin and had higher blood-sugar levels between meals, compared with their overweight comrades who didn’t get the antioxidant, evidence the supplement melts off pounds in humans is, slim.
Keeping journals recording what you are eating, and how it makes you feel has the same effectiveness track record as Dr. Oz TV study(?) group on green coffee pills, without the potential harm and disappointment. There is strong evidence keeping track of your diet does improve weight loss, while empowering the individual.
A journal is cheaper than green coffee pills, liposuction, tummy tucks, and gastric bypasses. Not to mention the cost of diabetes, heart disease or knee replacement resulting from obesity. Even Oz admits – “I know $30 a day costs a lot,” he said on his show. “If that’s too much for you, the free option is a food journal.”
To Your Good Health & Fresh Real Food.