I started reading the book by Gary Taubes called Why We Get Fat.
“[We] live in a toxic environment that ‘encourages overeating and physical inactivity. Obesity is the natural consequence. [pg 17]”
A lot of the diets, dieting books and programs out there talk about obesity in terms of laziness. As if the only problem simply lies in being too lazy to lose weight. I disagree with that. Yes, I was a pretty lazy person. I watched a lot of TV, would spend all weekend on my couch eating and escaping in movies. I didn’t exercise. I didn’t make healthy food choices. I was TOTALLY lazy. But that wasn’t the only reason I was fat. There were a lot of factors.
“Cheeseburgers and French Fries, drive-in windows and supersizes, soft drinks and candy, potato chips and cheese curls, once unusual, are as much our background as trees, grass, and clouds. Few children walk or bike to school; there is little physical education; computers, video games, and televisions keep children inside and inactive; and parents are reluctant to let children roam free to play. [pg 17]”
That statement was so sad to me. I see this happening in the younger generations. I think my generation, or maybe my younger brother’s was the last that was required to take PE in school. While gym class gave me distress and anxiety, if it’s the only time I got any physical exercise I’m reluctant to support canceling the requirements. Even if the kids are just running around playing on their own (no structured sports) that’s better than nothing.
Growing up I lived in the city with no neighborhood and no kids nearby. I read a lot. I played by myself. Solitary, sedentary activities. Where Michael and I live now is the perfect place to raise kids. It’s the end of a friendly cul-de-sac near a park and a school. It’s safe and there’s lots of space for kids to play. My hope is that my future kids will appreciate that. Put down the Wii Remote, the cellphone, the TV remote, and run around!
“Obesity is described as the main nutritional problem [pg 26].”
It definitely was for me. Food was my issue. Food addiction. Sugar addiction. No structure. Not paying attention to portion sizes. I was malnourished–just in the opposite way that word implies.
“Referring to obesity as a ‘form of malnutrition’ comes with no moral judgments attached, no belief system, no veiled insinuations of gluttony and sloth. It merely says that something is wrong with the food supply and it might behoove us to find out what. [pg 30]”
The author goes on to claim that weight loss is not as simple as “calories in vs. calories out”. That was the common theme of the book. I disagreed with his statement for obvious reasons: I DID lose the weight by restricting my caloric intake and exercising.
But he makes a good point about genetics and genetic “disorders.” Our genes control our insulin secretion. Some of us are “born predisposed to get fat [pg 134].”
“The most fattening foods are the ones that have the greatest effect on our blood sugar and insulin levels. These are the concentrated sources of carbohydrates, and particularly those that we can digest quickly: anything made of refined flour (bread, cereals, pasta), liquid carbohydrates (beers, fruit juices, and sodas), and starches (potatoes, rice, and corn). These foods flood the bloodstream quickly with glucose. Blood sugar shoots up; insulin shoots up. We get fatter. [pg 134]
“The carbohydrates in leafy green vegetables like spinach and kale are bound up with indigestible fiber and take much longer to be digested and enter our bloodstream. As a result, blood sugar levels remain relatively low when we eat these vegetables and are far less fattening. [pg 136]”
While I agree with a lot of the science behind these two food choices (bad carbs vs. good carbs) it felt like the book was promoting the Atkin’s Diet. I’ve never tried the Atkin’s Diet; from what I’ve read I think parts of it are probably a good idea. I think eating too much bread is the downfall of a lot of weight loss attempts (myself included) but I also don’t agree with completely denying myself a certain kind of food. Vowing to “never” eat bread or “bad carbs” seems foolish. Eating them in small portions once in awhile seems reasonable to me.
“The fewer carbohydrates we consume, the leaner we will be. This is clear. But there’s no guarantee that the leanest we can be will ever be as lean as we’d like. There are genetic variations in fatness and leanness that are independent of diet. [pg 204]”
He goes on to say that there is no “one-size-fits-all” prescription for losing weight. The Appendix does list out different diet options. The Carb Restriction diet says:
“No sugars (simple carbohydrates) and no starches (complex carbohydrates) are eaten. [pg 221]”
Avoid these (simple sugars) foods: white sugar, brown sugar, honey, maple syrup, molasses, corn syrup, beer, milk, flavored yogurts, fruit juice, fruit.
Avoid these starches: grains, rice, cereals, flour, cornstarch, breads, pastas, muffins, bagels, crackers, starchy beans like pinto, lima, black beans, carrots, parsnips, corn, peas, potatoes, French Fries, potato chips.
The bottom line of “Why We Get Fat” = it’s a book reiterating information I already knew and it’s message is “STOP EATING CARBS.” Hmmm. Somehow I don’t feel satisfied after finishing this read.
QUESTION: Have you read this book? What was your opinion?