Thursday, August 18, 2011

Why We Got Fat and How Not to Be

"Take risks. If you win you will be happy. If you lose you will be wise."

Don't forget to enter my Plant-strong Pride giveaway if you haven't already. Contest closes Monday morning.
Thank you to the wise blogger over at Food = Health who pointed out the work of Dr. Douglas Lisle to me. One of his articles, entitled Do You Really Want to be Fat for Life? was particularly interesting given my interest in Volumetrics.

I highly recommend reading Dr. Lisle's article in it's entirety here: http://www.healthpromoting.com/Articles/articles/fat.htm

Dr. Lisle does an amazing job of explaining why a Volumetric, Nutritarian eating plan works so well for weight loss and healthy weight maintenance, from an anthropological perspective:

"Processed foods

Modern, processed foods tend to be more calorically dense than natural foods. They can fool our satiety mechanism! When people eat substantial quantities of processed foods, it is quite natural for them to overeat, because the stretch receptors in their stomachs are not getting much chance to signal "enough" - until too much has been eaten.
Dr. Fuhrman's Citrus Beet dressing. On top of my Hugh Jass Salad.
Nuf said.

Let's look at the caloric density of some popular foods. Raw vegetables, such as salads, contain about 100 calories per pound. Cooked vegetables, such as carrots, contain about 200 calories per pound. Fresh fruits contain about 300 calories per pound, and starchy vegetables and grains contain about 500 calories per pound. But breads, pizza, ice cream, and other processed products are usually between 1000 and 1500 calories per pound!

Easy to overeat

A pound of bread, for example, has about 1200 calories! Because of processing, bread is a more concentrated product than grains or starchy vegetables. Therefore, when eating bread, there will be less stretch receptor activity in the stomach signaling for satiety than when eating grains, given the same caloric intake! Some examples might make this easier to understand. Which is easier to eat: a pint of ice cream, or five pounds of cooked carrots? Which is more likely to make you feel full: a pound of pizza, or eight pounds of cooked broccoli? Four ounces of chocolate, or three large baked potatoes? You can see that overeating is easy to do if concentrated, processed foods are prominent in the diet. Meats are also very concentrated - one of the few naturally concentrated sources of calories. Meat consumption was probably relatively unusual in the natural environment, and it packed a big punch at about 1200 calories per pound.

In today's world, the Fat for Life crowd is eating a diet that predominately consists of processed foods and meat, fish, fowl, eggs, and dairy products. This guarantees that the caloric density of the average American's diet is much, much greater than their appetite machinery is built to handle! Any creature given a diet that is more concentrated than is appropriate for its design will tend to overeat - and get fat. Birds eating processed foods, for example, may fatten to the point that they can no longer fly. Given this perspective, it is hardly a surprise that over 50% of U.S. adults are obese; and another significant percentage are well above their optimum weight."

But the point that really stood out for me as totally new information was this:

"Remarkable new approach to weight loss

A key strategy in any successful weight loss program is to treat your body in the way it was meant to be utilized. A top priority of this strategy is to eat a diet consisting of whole natural foods - fresh fruits and vegetables, and the variable addition of whole grains, raw nuts and seeds, and legumes. In addition to the many other health benefits, this dietary strategy will provide sufficient stretch receptor activity, resulting in satiety. With this dietary strategy, significant overeating is much less likely to occur. At the Center, for lunch and dinner, we recommend that meals be eaten in a particular order.

First, eat a large, raw vegetable salad. Steamed vegetables should be eaten next. Finally, eat starchy vegetables and whole grains. There is a reason for this recommendation. We have observed that once a person gets a taste of higher-calorie foods (such as cooked grains), lower-calorie foods (such as raw salad) are suddenly less appealing. This can result in less salad and vegetable consumption, which, in turn, can cause an overall increase of the meal's caloric density. By starting with the least caloric foods - when we are the most hungry - more low-density food is consumed. This results in more stretching of the stomach, which helps us to feel full and thus less likely to overeat.
Another recipe from Manjula's Kitchen that got
the Healthy Girl's Kitchen treatment: Cabbage with Peas.
Using this strategy, there is little need to be concerned about portion size. There is truly no need to "go hungry." By consuming the majority of calories from moderately concentrated, unprocessed, whole, natural foods, most of the "fat battle" is easily won. Combined with a moderate exercise program, this strategy really works - just as nature intended. We have found that our overweight patients tend to lose about two pounds per week using this strategy. Most medical researchers would consider our patients' successes to be "miraculous." We don't, but we are very pleased to see our patients consistently rewarded for following this "uncommon sense" approach to weight loss."

The text in red . . . emphasis mine. Holy cow! That's brilliant.

Now why didn't I think of that?

Thoughts?

18 comments:

TejasJJain said...

Thank you for sharing. Each time I read your blog and article mentioned, it helps me to stay on track and stay motivated. This is not just weight loss, it is also life style. Your blog helped me and my family to stay motivated on stay on track.

JL goes Vegan said...

Can't lie. The word "fat" is a real trigger for me. Morbidly obese (dangerously overweight) is one thing. Any thoughts about "fat talk" and the message it sends? ( http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kenneth-l-weiner-md-faed-ceds/fat-talk-eating-disorders_b_928727.html )

Healthy Girl said...

JL-I totally understand anyone discomfort with the word fat. I was there once myself. Now I look at things from a more medical perspective, not so personal. You also have to realize that I'm not a judgey kind of person. Just because I use the word "fat" doesn't mean anything other than that. Excess fat on the body. Not lazy. Not anything else. Just carries around extra weight. I have too much fat on my body right now. I don't need to hide from the word or the truth. It's just science to me now. I am free from the burden of being embarrassed by it!

Michelle said...

Thank you, Wendy. I was sort of generally aware of the the information you highlighted in red but it is good to see it in such clear terms. Actually, I have been following this advice, based on Dr. Fuhrman's motto, "The salad is the main meal.".

Lately, for lunch I've been taking to work 1-2 pounds of cut up raw veggies and 1-2 fruits and 10 grams of raw nuts/seeds or 1-2 ounces of avocado. By the time I eat that, I don't need any other food.

I start dinner with 5-10 ounces of assorted raw greens with a fruit/nut dressing and 1 cup beans or soup with beans. I'm often too full to eat my steamed green veggies. Of course, if I have soup with beans it also includes some cooked veggies. But, if I have just added some beans to my green salad, I will often skip my cooked veggies. However, somehow, I always find room for more fruit. Even when I'm not really hungry. I'm working on this...

But, based on the principles you outlined, if I feel compelled to eat more after my salad and beans, I should have my cooked veggies first and then consider eating more fruit, if I can manage it.

Thanks, again. I enjoy your blog.

Michelle

Amy said...

Wendy, I also recently read this same article and it impressed me too! It makes so much sense.

JL goes Vegan said...

Wendy, thanks for the explanation! Your perspective makes sense. I was just generally curious because I read your blog post about 30 minutes after reading the fat talk article so it was a fresh question in my head.

Lynne said...

A great way to explain what Dr. Furhman talks about it Eat to Live using different terms. It's great when many people explain the same concept over and over again using a variety of words, examples and perspectives...it makes the "rock" of my good eating habits more solid every time I come across a well written perspective such as this. Thanks for sharing!

Susan TBA said...

That was an amazing post, especially the part about comparing a quantity of nutritious food to the same quantity of processed food - that really resonated with me. I don't know if I want to eat my food in a particular order at this time - that's now where I am with this journey, but I can see myself using that when I am explaining to people who only eat a SAD diet. So interesting!

Do you feel comfortable having someone tell you the order in which you can eat food. Hmmm.... I think that would push me to do the opposite. Have to get there on my own. :)

v said...

Love your blog and the research and viewpoints you present. This is another fine example--thank you!

Jude said...

I love that order of eating. I want to allow myself to have complex carbs occassionally and know that if I eat them first, I want lots more. So eat the Greenstuff (& other colors) first. Then those last few bites can be a grain or my beloved P.O.T.A.T.O.

Lani said...

loved the article but curious how you veganized the recipe. Spices in oil are essential to bringing out the flavor in Indian cooking..What changes did you make?It would help me alot as I use no oil!

Healthy Girl said...

Lani-Instead of starting any Indian recipe with the 1 to 3 Tbsp of oil that they all start out with to fry the spices, I have been just spraying the bottom of my pan with cooking spray. Then I pour in the spices and go from there. It has worked beautifully while eliminating most of the oil from the recipes.

M said...

I also modify the vegetable dishes from Madhur Jaffrey's cookbooks, but just by sauteeing with some vegetable broth instead of oil to soften up the onions, and I add the spices to this. I love her beet and onion dish. Have you seen any of her books? There is also a cabbage and carrot dish that uses asafetida (hing)that you've mentioned--stinky powder, but good eats!

Meridith said...

I need to get into the habit of having a salad before I eat a meal. I think I'm dragging my feet because I'm on the hunt for a good salad dressing. I have a high list of demands, but mainly I want one that doesn't involve fat or tofu yet still tastes good and is easy to prepare. :) Is that even possible?

Lori said...

Great article, Wendy. I often wish I wasn't "volume" eater, but I am, and that is the truth. Seeing the numbers was very impactful. I definitely will keep those in mind when I choose to start eating. Also, @Meredith- this morning, I made a very tasty salad dressing with a jar of roasted peppers, 1/4 avocado, 2 tbs balsamic vinegar, 1 tbs of dijon, garlic, basil- delicious. The avocado is "fat", but very different than processed oils. This recipe makes about 12 oz. of dressing, so the amount of avocado in each serving is relatively small...

Healthy Girl said...

Meridith-I'm not sure if I know of any completely fat free healthy dressing, but I sure know of many that involve some nuts or avocado like Lori mentioned. I also remember hearing that you absolutely need fat in your diet. This is not a fat free diet. It's just that the sources of your fat should have nutritional value and also be kept to a small portion of your diet (not 30% of your diet!). More like 10-20% of your calories. You have given me a good idea for a blog posting now . . .

katshealthcorner said...

I love this post Wendy! I find that when I eat my vegetables last, they ARE less appealing. That's why I eat them first. :)

Runescape Gold said...

Your analysis is very good, I feel the same way,so i'm not fat.

 
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