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8/26/13 12:58 P

there are many books out there by supposed "experts". Eat right for your blood type, sugar busters, the wheat belly book...on and on. My advise is to use your brain...if it sounds too good to be true it is. Anyone can take a hard look at how gaining weight happens and will see the answer. I believe the key is Moderation/moderation. It took most people years to become obese and it won't be easy or quick to reverse it. Just stay with a sensible eating plan and move.

8/26/13 12:51 P

I will go one further on the science, it has a lot to do with the media outlets that report on the nutritional science. Each nugget of good information is treated as a once size fits all edict from on high.

In the last three days I have read that one of the myths making us fat is cutting out all carbs. This is of course is a straw man as not one diet or nutritional method advocates this. I constantly see that diet pop makes us fat. While it may not be a panecea we have bigger culprits I believe. I believe the science does point to some problems with the artificial sweeteners but most studies I have looked into show correlation but given the many scenarios of users cannot show causation.

On the same subject a person twenty pounds overweight may and probably does have different diet needs than a long term terminally obese person. Most articles do not bring into play. A person who is a long term obese person or the highly diabetic person may not have the luxury of eating everything in moderation. Lifetime habits may (or may not for that matter) have left them with propensities to binge with slight triggers. Articles don't and frankly can't bring this up in every instance.

One size fits all advice is usually not worthwhile unless it is taken as interesting information that may or may not apply to my life.. As always consultation with medical staff and knowing your own body is most important

Science is never settled. Refusing to adjust to new findings is not science at all, but dogma.
SIMPLYME80 Posts: 406
8/26/13 12:35 P

I am losing weight Without giving up sugar! Yes I cut back and don't use as much and still losing...what I DID eleminate was Splenda, Equal, ad other manufactured sweetners to profit from those wanting/needing to lose weight such as the weight loss pill scams. I don't care for Stevia, makes me feel bloated. I DID though, eliminate as much as possible high frutose corn syrup items from my plan and feeling much better.

Highest weight-340+
Started Spark-255 lbs
Mini goal-200 lbs
Goal- around 160 lbs
ANARIE Posts: 12,574
8/26/13 8:32 A

The problem isn't with the science. It's with the way people (especially the press) read and report the science.

A previous poster wrote:

"This is keeping in pace with all the disagreement among the "experts" such as about fitness, strength-training, eat whole grains/eat no grains, drink all the coffee you want/drink a minimum of coffee, eat few egg yolks/eat all the egg yolks you want, etc, etc."

The thing is, experts don't say those things. Experts say, "Egg yolks provide important nutrients, such as choline, that are difficult to get from other foods, and they don't appear to raise serum cholesterol as much as previously thought. Further research is needed in order to determine whether the advice regarding avoidance of egg yolks is in fact warranted." The some reporter writes a headline that says, "SCIENTISTS SAY EGGS ARE GOOD FOR YOU!" People choose to listen to the all-caps, single-syllable words instead of understanding what the scientists actually said.

Even Lustig backs down on the "toxic sugar" claims when someone who knows something about science actually sits him down and makes him speak. When you hear him in a well-conducted interview, he's actually quite reasonable, and he himself admits that sugar doesn't really account for the "obesity epidemic." The reason people are getting fatter is that they eat more. The average American today eats 300 calories a day more than the average in the 1970s. Most of that increase comes from fats, not sugars, but it's actually pretty evenly spread-- we eat more of *everything,* even vegetables! And it's probably not a coincidence that the cost of food as a percentage of income has dropped like a rock in those same years. Most people spend about the same part of their paycheck on food as their parents did, but they're getting 30-50% more food for that part of their check.

My problem with Lustig is that he is so determined to blame the manufacturers for our lack of "no" power. He accuses them of being like the tobacco makers and putting in ingredients just to "addict us." Well, you know what? My great-grandmother did that, too. She wanted to make the best cakes and cookies in the neighborhood, the ones that no one could stop eating because they tasted so good. She took traditional recipes and put in ingredients that previous cooks hadn't, either because no one had thought of it or because those ingredients hadn't been readily available. She added a teaspoon of vanilla, a drop of almond extract, and a dash of cinnamon to a 200-year-old German cherry cake recipe, and everyone wanted to buy hers at the church bake sale instead of Mrs. Hoffstetter's. So was my great-grandmother an evil toxic food pusher? Or was she just a good cook who liked pleasing people, selling more cakes, and p**sing off Mrs. Hoffstetter?

Is Nabisco an evil toxic food pusher? Or is it just a company that likes pleasing people, selling more cookies, and p**sing off Keebler?

IMHO, people who sell food are always going to want to tempt us to buy more food. It's up to us to say "No, not today."

RUSSELL_40 Posts: 16,826
8/26/13 5:59 A

There is a very simple way to find out who is right. Try it.

(1) My doctor said that fruit juice is worse than pop, because we think it is healthy. It will get you your fruit servings, AND will cause diabetes, It spikes blood sugar the same as pop. Diabetics know this, and eat real fruit sparingly, but no fruit juice. Higher fiber, low glycemic fruits are better to not spike them. Plus fruit just tastes much better. Been off diabetes meds for 38 months now.

(2) Eating the yolk in eggs! I eat 4 XL eggs daily with 2 Tbsp. salted butter, along with 1/2 an apple for breakfast. Have done so for 4 years, and my cholesterol is 104 overall. Was 190+. I have lost 150 lbs, and eaten low carb ( most of the time ), so there may be other factors involved, but I eat 28 XL whole eggs a week, plus 1.5 lbs. of chicken, or beef daily. I have had CHF for 12 years, and my cholesterol was an issue, but now am off the meds for it. My cholesterol is WAY over the suggested levels, but it gets better every 6 months.

(3) Since I have CHF, weight training heavy is not a real option for me. I use resistance bands, and walk daily, or ride a bike. Sometimes I swim laps leisurely. About 45-60 minutes 365 days a year, unless I am sick. I have lost plenty of weight without powerlifting. Actually when I did powerlift back in my 20's, I gained weight. I think overall, if more people " played " as exercise, they would stick to it, and THAT is what works.. repeated exercise over time. I love playing basketball with my friends. Not so much using an elliptical.

(4) As a low carber, I read that saturated fats can raise HDL. Mine was 24, so I figured I would try it, even though, as a heart patient, I was worried. I gave myself 6 months to see results. I had already lost 100 lbs, and just started this about a year ago. Only after seeing proof in myself, that the myths surrounding low carb weren't true, did I give in to try this one. To my mind, saturated fats, clogging arteries, made sense. After 6 months, my HDL was up to 29, then my last check was 37. I recently had a heart cath, and as usual, no plaque, or blockages at all.

The truth is, all of these issues can be one way or the other. Some people thrive on carbs. Runners with a high metabolism for example. Meanwhile the Western States Ultramarathon champion ( 100 mile race ), eats low carb.. more likely to eat egg yolks, than fruit juice.

Saturated fat in a Hot Pocket, may be different than saturated fat in a b/s chicken thigh. I think most of these are dependent on the individual, and include many other factors, like what the rest of your diet looks like, and are you at a good weight.

My belief is that the garbage we eat, sugar, and processed carbs, are the issue, not egg yolks, or saturated fats, although, I don't aim to eat saturated fats. I just don't run scared from them. Fruit juice is just one of the issues driving the obesity epidemic. We get our blood sugars out of whack, and start overeating because we are hungry, end up diabetic, and obese because of the types of foods we eat. We overeat on carbs, not fat or protein dishes, and those from high glycemic chioices. I got my blood sugars under control, and everything else fell into place. All of a sudden my cholesterol improved, and I lost weight quickly. I could eat more ( minus binges ), without feeling any cravings, and as I lost weight, I started exercising more. However, I couldn't do any of these things without getting my blood sugars under control first. I tried, and failed for years. My belief is that obesity, diabetes, cancer, heart disease etc. are symptoms of the diet we eat. Focusing on one aspect won't fix it, but if I had to focus on one, it would be not overconsuming carbs, especially sugar, or processed junk food.

The only one I totally disagree with is heavy lifting to lose weight. If you lift heavy, and eat enough protein, you will gain muscle. This will up your metabolism slightly, but that is often exaggerated. I am not saying lifting heavy isn't great. I think high intensity exercise is best, since it builds muscle quickly, without burning calories so much that you get hungry, like with running. However if done correctly it will cause muscle ( and therefore weight ) gain. Hopefully at the same time you will do cardio, and burn fat from increased metabolism, a good diet, and burning calories from cardio, like walking, swimming, biking. Heavy lifting is not the cause of your weight loss though.

In the end, you need to do whatever you and your doctor decide, and stop worrying about how it affects someone else. I struggle to find the benefit of drinking sugar ( fruit juice ) unless you are a hummingbird. Cholesterol depends on genetics more than egg yolks. Exercise of any form is good. I still am not entirely comfortable eating saturated A hundred years from now, these will still be being debated. The only thing that matters is how they affect you. That varies by the individual, and many other factors that can't be determined by a sentence or two. Each of these could be beneficial, or harmful to some people, and not to others. What these " riles " are based on is current thinking, and the best guess based on studies that have been done. The reason people are still studying diet, is that it is still up in the air. We try to put it all into a set of rules, and always find outliers, which confuses us. The ideas pushed forward are the ones that they think will help the most people.

Maybe saturated fats are okay without processed carbs and sugar? Till someone runs a study, we'll never know. It would be irresponsible for someone to say eat saturated fats, or eat egg yolks by the dozen, as advice for others. It works for me, but that is a personal choice. What we can say, is that there is still debate going on, and some people have results to argue with ideas most accept. That is wonderful for me, but not something that should make other people switch what they are doing.

Find a plan that works, and just stick to it. Ignore all the garbage about eggs or bananas being bad, or Dr Oz.'s newest scam. A good diet, exercise, and time is all you need. What we are debating is how we diet, and exercise. The debate will never end.

"We can't solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them "

- Albert Einstein

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can't--you're right.”

- Henry Ford
AGOALOF150 Posts: 217
8/25/13 5:43 P

great discussion...i often feel confused and frustrated with all of the "do this and don't do this" advice that contradicts each other.

ALBERTJON SparkPoints: (3,133)
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8/22/13 7:31 P


I agree with your overall reasoning and appreciate particularly your point about how difficult it is for a layperson (or even a "professional") to fully digest any particular "food" study or philosophy. Good information.

Since eating healthy, exercising, and net-surfing about those things are one of my two hobbies (the other being photo manipulations/simple animation), I have spent quite a bit of time the last 4+ years reading things about those topics. One cardinal thing I have noticed when I discuss/argue points with other people interested in eating healthy and exercising intelligently: the majority of people tend to find the research and studies that support their original point of view, and they tend to discard research and studies that disagree with it.

Example: I use to drink a glass of apple juice almost daily and "argued" with someone about if doing that, in the long run, was healthy. I changed my mind after doing my own net-research; and now eat apples at least a few times a week and quit drinking fruit juices. So I decided to change my mind, even though initially I tried to defend my position, by ignoring the opposing research.

"If any thing is sacred the human body is sacred...Have you seen the fool that corrupted his own live body? or the fool that corrupted her own live body? " -- Whitman

“Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string.” -- Emerson

"It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see." -- Thoreau
RENATARUNS SparkPoints: (4,337)
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8/22/13 6:21 P

Oh, and I'll add --

When I cut drastically back on processed sugar and obviously-bad-for-you snacks (though I never tried to eliminate them entirely), I did experience a rapid and near-complete lack of interest in eating any more of it. I gradually (after a few months) experienced a shift in taste such that many of the sweetest things are hard for me even to choke down anymore; and I gradually developed a taste for fruits such as berries, pears, and plums as well, which I had previously been indifferent to.

This is all anecdote and worth exactly as much as anecdote is worth, but in my opinion that's about what these books are worth as well.

Height 5'8 1/2"
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CW: 141.0 Woohoo!

5K 4/21/11: 31:55
RENATARUNS SparkPoints: (4,337)
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8/22/13 6:15 P

The thing about the science in all those books is that almost none of us actually are scientists by training ourselves, and of those, even fewer have any background in nutrition or any food-related aspects of biology. (Full disclosure, I am a scientist, but with none of that relevant background; I'm an analytical chemist.) What this means in practice is that very few of us (and I include myself) have the sort of background that would allow us to evaluate the information that we are given with any level of accuracy. Most of us have no chance at all of detecting the flaws in an author's claims, even if those flaws are completely destructive of the hypothesis. Studies may be taken out of context. Contradictory results may be ignored (except when the author might think he can use them to make a point). The flaws of poor studies may be glossed over. And so on. Unless the author flat-out lies on a point that has direct documentation within the text, very few readers are going to notice -- and many would even miss the lie, having long since gone brain-fuzzy with scientific-ese, perhaps.

The books are not peer-reviewed, which mean that there is essentially no one of any authority fact-checking to make sure the book's conclusions and assertions are even slightly supported by the evidence. If anyone with the appropriate background does comment and argue that they're not, their comments will be missed by most of the readers and disregarded as the desperate rantings of a shill by the rest.

There may be actual good information in some of these books. The point is -- you (whoever you are) are probably not qualified to be able to tell if there is.

Height 5'8 1/2"
SW: 190+
CW: 141.0 Woohoo!

5K 4/21/11: 31:55
ALBERTJON SparkPoints: (3,133)
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8/22/13 3:02 P

Thanks. I will check the sites out.

Update: I read the two articles. They pretty much echo what I have been trying to do in my dieting. I will admit the "fat" part is the area I get a bit careless about from time to time, but I definitely try to not eat any trans-fat.

Edited by: ALBERTJON at: 8/22/2013 (17:11)
"If any thing is sacred the human body is sacred...Have you seen the fool that corrupted his own live body? or the fool that corrupted her own live body? " -- Whitman

“Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string.” -- Emerson

"It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see." -- Thoreau
LOVE4KITTIES Posts: 2,040
8/22/13 2:31 P

When you say "some argue" you are including in that the authors of popular books, TV personalities, etc. If you look at the actual scientific research that has been published in reputable, peer-reviewed, journals, you will not find that much disagreement. Yes, there are occasional studies which have differing results, but you need to look at what the majority of studies tell us (e.g. look at the whole picture) and not focus too much on those outlying studies. I'm not saying they should be discounted, but, when something is published that disagrees with most everything else, we often find problems with these studies so far as research design, conclusions being drawn that are not really supported by the data gathered, etc. Even the most reputable journals will have flawed studies that get published. Why? The scientists who do these studies are human as are their peers who review the studies before they are published.

The consensus amongst experts about fruit juice is that, yes, it can help fulfill the daily fruit and vegetable requirement. BUT, juices should be consumed in limited quantities as they are concentrated sources of sugar and calories and lack the fiber found in the whole fruits. So, if you choose to consume juices (or feed them to your kids), they should be limited to 1 serving daily (max). As juices are concentrated sources of sugar/calories, they can lead to weight gain, which is a risk factor for the development of Type II diabetes.

So far as eggs:

The consensus about fats can be found in this article:

Edited by: LOVE4KITTIES at: 8/22/2013 (14:40)
ALBERTJON SparkPoints: (3,133)
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8/22/13 2:02 P

Here are a few examples of things that I have read quite a bit about and have read quite a bit of conflicting opinions, even from professionals.

(1) drinking 100% natural fruit juice can increase diabetes risks; others say that drinking fruit juice can help fulfill the daily fruit and vegetable requirement

I have come to the conclusion that one should limit the amount of fruit juice drunk and would be better off just eating the whole fruit.

(2) eating the yolk in eggs (I read a study recently that suggested eating egg yolks could be as unhealthy as smoking.) I have read many times where doctors have suggested that people eat eggs sparingly. On the other hand, I have read numerous times that eating eggs with the yolk is not only OK, but is healthy.

I eat around 3-5 eggs, yolk and all, during the week.

(3) Strength-training vs. cardio. I have often read that some people believe lifting heavy (whatever "heavy" is) is the only way to lose weight. Some even claim that most cardio can be a waste of time. However, I have read articles by runners and walkers, for example, who do no strength-training and who purport that is how they lost their weight.

Loosely, my workout is 75% cardio and 25% strength-training.

(4) Some argue saturated fats are good for us; some that they are bad.

Well, I think we all have to do our research and then make educated guesses. I agree that most of us can come up with a good diet and exercise program by studying the experts on this site and following generally recommended healthy eating and exercising regimens.

I eat saturated fats sparingly, but I do eat them.

"If any thing is sacred the human body is sacred...Have you seen the fool that corrupted his own live body? or the fool that corrupted her own live body? " -- Whitman

“Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string.” -- Emerson

"It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see." -- Thoreau
8/22/13 1:19 P

This a topic that really gets me irritated. For decades I have read and read to try to determine the best way of eating. Every book that comes out about nutrition does provide science. I read fat chance by Robert Lustig. His research shows very strongly and with science that sugar and foods processed to death are the main culprit of the 'obesity epidemic'. I was impressed and his book provided science for every assertion he made but he has been roundly criticized by people saying he over weighted the evidence.

I think the best thing to do is get the best science we can and find what works best in our lives. For me cutting out sugar and processed grains to the extent that is possible has been very successful for me. Within a couple of weeks nearly all cravings for junk food were gone. This has worked for me and it came from this particular book. I can't say it will work for everyone but after all the research I have read I think it comes the closest to truth that I have found.

Science is never settled. Refusing to adjust to new findings is not science at all, but dogma.
LOVE4KITTIES Posts: 2,040
8/22/13 1:10 P

While it is true that there are occasionally things that the experts reverse their opinion on, there's actually not that much disagreement amongst the experts about what constitutes a healthy diet and exercise regimen. The "disagreement amongst experts" is not real. It is fabricated by people who are trying to make money off of us (people in the "diet industry" such as people who write popular books on diet and weight loss) and they do this by using pseudoscience and other manipulative techniques to convince people that they, themselves, are experts and that the "other experts" are giving us wrong information either on purpose or because they are misguided. Some of these TV personalities and authors of popular books, sadly, are medical doctors who use their medical degrees to give themselves credibility that they do not deserve. If it's on TV or it's on the NYT bestseller list, chances are that it's not written by someone who is an actual expert on nutrition/weight loss but rather by someone who is simply trying to make money off of you.

The Spark People recommendations are based upon real science, so I think following the recommendations on this site is an excellent place for most people to start in their journey towards getting healthier and losing weight.

Edited by: LOVE4KITTIES at: 8/22/2013 (13:14)
CMCOLE Posts: 2,667
8/22/13 11:53 A

Most definitely.

That's the way things seem to go - in cycles.

Take for instance eggs - if you follow the progression of eat/don't eat you'll go bonkers trying to sort it out.

The fact that there is very little 'new' discoveries when it comes to food means that they have to just keep rehashing the old stuff every few years, I guess.

ALBERTJON SparkPoints: (3,133)
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8/22/13 10:53 A

One can read "I Quit Sugar" and, apparently, find out the many reasons to eliminate sugar from the diet. However, a new book coming out is "Don't Quit Sugar," apparently about how dangerous it can be to eliminate sugar from our diets.

This is keeping in pace with all the disagreement among the "experts" such as about fitness, strength-training, eat whole grains/eat no grains, drink all the coffee you want/drink a minimum of coffee, eat few egg yolks/eat all the egg yolks you want, etc, etc.

We lay people can sure be puzzled by the disagreements from professionals about almost all aspects of diet and exercise.

"If any thing is sacred the human body is sacred...Have you seen the fool that corrupted his own live body? or the fool that corrupted her own live body? " -- Whitman

“Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string.” -- Emerson

"It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see." -- Thoreau
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