Diets and weight loss

This one is in the category “studying what everyone already knows”: Low-fat diets do not lead to greater long-term weight loss than other dieting. Everyone who has followed weight loss diets knew that already, but general knowledge has never stopped scientists from doing the same things again.

“Pour the skim milk down the sink”. That’s a good idea, for factory milk is very unhealthy junk food. But I get side-tracked. The Lancet nowadays obviously published articles about weight loss diets, which is hardly what you would expect from a reputable medical magazine. But when you dig into publications of this magazine you will find a lot of weird things. But I get side-tracked again.

5243548-3x2-340x227“There is no good evidence for recommending low-fat diets,” And this is new somehow? The whole weight loss industry is not based on evidence, but on the despair of overweight people. You don’t need to do a study to find that. That’s why there are so many weird diets around, which all promise that this time it will really work.

“We’ve seen over the last several years and decades that low-fat diets were promoted as the way to lose weight but nonetheless if you look around we saw that rates of obesity skyrocketed during the same time.” And it didn’t ring a bell with the scientists any earlier? Decades ago it already showed that it didn’t work. It was also known that low-fat diets messed up people’s metabolism and caused nutrient deficiencies, especially of fat soluble vitamins. And it has already been known for thousands of years that eating a lot of fat doesn’t make your overweight. After all, people have always eaten a lot of fat and obesity was rare. So it’s obviously not the fat. It’s not so hard to see. And if the fat didn’t make you overweight, not eating fat won’t make you lose weight.

“According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, one in four children and two out of three Australian adults are overweight or obese.” I won’t say that there isn’t a problem with overweight people, but this number isn’t based on any kind of reality. It’s based on particularly weird measurements, which say that everyone, regardless of body type, should have a very small clothing size. Which 2000px-Obesity-waist_circumference.svgmeans that everyone who has a larger frame automatically gets the label “overweight”. I know, for I’m such a person. I have a BMI of around 38, which makes me morbidly obese. But whoever sees me will agree that reality is not anything like that. I just happen to have the shape of a bouncer. But I get side-tracked again. (Funny how stories about weight loss can do that.)

“We already knew what this study found and it’s just comparing two diets,” So a professor from the QUT basically says that this study is useless. I agree. But why then is it published in The Lancet? It surely says something about this magazine. “Professor Lee’s professional recommendation is to follow a diet consistent with the Australian Dietary Guidelines.” And now the same professor goes completely wrong. The Australian Dietary Guidelines are a good way to get very sick and gain a lot of weight. In many categories it advised to eat horribly processed, toxic junk food and it warns against healthy, natural foods. It has hardly any warning against sugar either.

“We should reduce intake of foods that are high in saturated fats, now these are energy-dense, nutrient-poor foods or junk foods” Why do these people need to display their ignorance? (And I don’t mean the journalist who produced this weird sentence). Yes, foods with a lot of fat are energy-dense, which means that they make you feel full for a long time, which stops you from snacking on sugary junk foods. But the professor clearly has no idea what’s the difference between a hot dog and a steak fried in butter. Why should anyone take the opinion of such a person seriously? She obviously doesn’t know either how products like canola oil and margarine are produced. (Look it up and you will never eat this stuff again.)

obesity“Professor Lee said people also needed to be wary that diets need to be followed for a long period of time to provide all the protective foods and nutrients for good health.” I wonder if the professor really said this, or that it’s another sign of sloppiness from the journalist. You don’t need to follow a healthy diet for a long time to get nutrients. Every healthy meal does that. And yes, you need to stick with a healthy diet for the rest of your life. But as long as you only “follow a diet” you can be sure it won’t work. Changing from the Standard Australian Diet to a healthy diet is a lot of work and requires a complete change of thinking. No short-term diet will ever do what people want it to do.

“It’s not just a matter of the type of fat in the diet, it’s the matter of the total quality of the dietary pattern.” And even in the last sentence she shows that she has no clue. When it’s about weight loss the type of fat doesn’t matter much. Olive oil roughly gives the same amount of calories as lard. And canola oil doesn’t contain fewer calories than butter. Healthy natural fats are essential for health, but they have nothing to do with obesity.

So I suggest that we forget about this article very quickly, though it might be good to remember in what magazine it was published. That might help not believing things only because it was published in The Lancet.

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