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ANARIE Posts: 13,205
6/13/13 4:41 P

I think the several threads in this topic all come together in one idea:

Don't let the perfect become the enemy of the good.

There's a huge difference between obesity and overweight, and no one wants to acknowledge that. Fat acceptance? If by "fat" you mean morbid obesity, then it's just sick that we even have such a movement, or need one. Why not have a lung cancer acceptance movement? Why not have a rheumatoid arthritis acceptance movement? Obesity is a medical condition, not a hair color. Not only should we not "accept" it, we should be wearing colored ribbons to support the people who are fighting it! But it's equally sick that people with a BMI of 27 feel like they need "acceptance" We've got this attitude that slightly pudgy and morbidly obese are the same thing.

And it goes to all levels. I've seen politicians state that a nutrition education program for obese low-income seniors was a "failure" because the people in it "only" dropped their average BMI from 34 to 29. That difference is enough to cut their risk of diabetes by something like 75%, which would save more than 100 times what the program costs, but nobody wants to look beyond "fat" and see that overweight and obese are not the same.

Lustig does this himself-- he doesn't worry too much about the fact that he's a little overweight, and he can eat some processed food without going out of control-- but he thinks no one else can! He wants regulation to stop those evil food manufacturers from making products that taste so damn good, even though HE can be healthy with those foods around. (In all fairness, I've heard him in interviews and he's not nearly as radical in person. I don't know the dates on his books, so I don't know if he's mellowed or if he's a HUGE hypocrite making money off of beliefs he doesn't really hold that intensely.) If some people are obese because they can't resist foods that are deliberately made to taste really good, does that mean no one should have access to those foods?

And why do people act like this is something new and evil from the "food industry?" People have always wanted to have the tastiest recipe and make "irresistible" treats. County fair pie-baking contests, anyone? We have my great-grandmother's recipe box, and let me tell you, about half her life was dedicated to tweaking recipes until no one could eat just one. There's not a packaged cookie on earth as addictive as her raisin cream bars.The difference in the modern era is ease of access-- she didn't have the time OR money to make cookies or cakes every day. If we really wanted to end the "obesity epidemic," we would take the price controls off of agricultural products and let them rise and fall like gas prices. People wouldn't give their kids a Big Gulp if sugar prices went up so it cost $7. Food is a tiny, tiny fraction of Americans' spending. If groceries cost half your paycheck like they did in the early 20th century, we'd all be skinny.

I'm also bothered by the discussion of whose "fault" it is that people are obese. I can't think of anything less productive than an obese adult worrying about whose "fault" it is. "Fault" is in the past. You can't change it. Maybe it's your parents' fault, maybe it's society's fault, maybe it's Ronald McDonald's fault-- what good does it do to know? The only thing that matters in the case of an adult is whose responsibility it is to change it. Blaming ANYONE for it-- yourself including-- just gets in the way of fixing it.

And fixing it doesn't have to be perfect, either. I think one way people go wrong is by thinking they have to instantly overhaul everything and have a perfect diet or they're doing it wrong. But really, all you have to do to start is do better than you used to. Go for the no-brainers first. There are things nobody knows for sure about nutrition, but there are things that everybody knows. Reducing the amount of processed white sugar and flour you eat is a no-brainer. No one on earth would be healthier if they got a larger percentage of their calories from Twinkies. Eating more green veggies is another no-brainer. If you start with those two things, that's going to get you a long way down the path to being healthier. Once those habits are engrained, THEN you can start worrying about whether the 1/2 teaspoon of HFCS added to your loaf of whole wheat bread is a problem or not.

6/13/13 3:06 P

Yes that's right the story of the obese six month old is very compelling.

GIPPER1961 Posts: 769
6/13/13 1:14 P

I might also suggest as you get farther into the book and read the case studies of six month old obese children his argument is very compelling. He discusses how much sugar is included in formula and baby and toddler foods and it is both shocking and ultimately compelling toward his central thesis. To explain why some people are affected more by this than others comes under his discussions of genetics early in the book.

GIPPER1961 Posts: 769
6/13/13 1:02 P

I just finished this book and find it very relevant to my history. I have done many different diets. I found atkins to be very sensible but it never explained why the Japanese and vegans aren't necessarily fat and I craved carbs very much. I tried the government sanctioned low fat dogma. None of these ultimately helped in the long term. Since reading Fat Chance I have been very mindful about decreasing sugar as much as possible. I have been astounded by how much cravings have disappeared. this coming from a person who has binged anywhere from once a week to every day for nearly twenty years.

I don't think it is possible to never eat sugar again, but reducing it to a rarity I truly believe is the best way at least for me to go. The thing I think is important to understand from this book is that a calorie is not a calorie and the more processed the food is the less fiber and therefore will be less good for you in the long term. I realize I and most people can't cook every meal from scratch. I try to do it more often than before and when eating out try to find the closest to real food and reduce sugar to the point that it is possible

Edited by: GIPPER1961 at: 6/13/2013 (13:02)
ANNEMARGO Posts: 450
6/13/13 12:47 P

FROGMAN2013--I am standing on my desk applauding wildly. (And my supervisor would like me to cut it out.) Yes, yes, a thousand times yes. Eat a healthy diet, keep active and fit, and let your body find its own natural weight. Love your body and take care of it, and don't buy the garbage that the fat loss industry is pushing. Take it from someone who once suffered from anorexic and bulimic behaviors, a number on a scale is not going to make you happy. Work on accepting yourself and loving yourself as you are right now first, and then work on making that self as healthy as you can--and don't fall into the trap of thinking that healthy means skinny.

Edited by: ANNEMARGO at: 6/13/2013 (12:54)
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6/13/13 9:00 A

I would love to touch on one point. Fat acceptance.

Some of us, (yes, me) can be as fit as is possible and still have a BMI above 25. At my healthiest, I was 210 lbs (BMI 25.5) and could exercise vigorously for six hours and still be energetic enough to play late into the night. Good blood numbers, good blood pressure, strong, and fit....and yet there was that flab around the center that would not go away. Measure your health by metrics other than the mirror or even the measuring tape. Can you go up flights of stairs without breathing hard? Can you do a triathlon (I've seen some amazing body types do the Danskin)? Can you deal with all the daily stuff you need to deal with and still have energy to function in the evening? Can you eat healthy every day without resentment? Can you deal with life? Those are the marks of a healthy person....not the comparison to some photoshopped image in a magazine.

ERICADURR Posts: 243
6/12/13 11:31 P

Here's my thoughts on the matter; I'm first going to address the questions you raised.

1. If sugar can take a big piece of the blame for obesity and chronic disease, how can I avoid it if it's in everything?

You cannot avoid sugar. It is in almost everything. However, by cooking almost all of your meals from simplified ingredients, you can greatly reduce the amounts of sugars and processed foods you consume. I recommend eating foods that are as close to nature as possible--eggs, brown rice, meats that aren't processed (as is the case with deli meats, hot dogs, and a lot of ground meats), etc. at LEAST 75% of the time. You'd be amazed at how much better you feel and the positive health effects you'd experience.

2. The pediatric endocrinologist (Dr. Lustig) admits to having processed food daily - what hope is there for me?

Just because someone researches and discovers something does not mean that he or she lives by it. I know plenty of nurses and doctors that smoke. I know many personal trainers who eat trash. You cannot based what YOU do on someone else's actions. The only person you can control is YOU.

3. What good is this information if such a diet (sugar free) will require and extreme overhaul of my entire lifestyle?

If you cannot maintain this overhaul, then it will do you no good. That's why I recommend you start small and see what you can sustain for the long-haul. I'm like one of the previous posters who is extremely sensitive to sugar. Once I've had a bit of the processed stuff (fruits don't do this to me), I CRAVE carbs and more sugar. Don't look at this as all-or-nothing--this is a LIFESTYLE change. You can't go your entire life without sugar, but you can limit your intake drastically while leading a normal life.

As for the rest of the things you've written: this fat acceptance literature seems to not be doing you any good. It's making you question yourself and your journey to health, and for that reason, I recommend you stop reading it. There is a huge difference between accepting and loving yourself but striving for improvement, and accepting yourself as having no chance for a healthy life. The latter is a defeatist attitude and seems to have wreaked havoc on your mentality. There are obvious health benefits to having a healthy body fat percentage (notice I didn't say weight or BMI--I hate BMI and think it's a very crude measurement of health), though that doesn't mean you shouldn't love yourself if you haven't achieved it (yet).

Basically, what I'm trying to say is these books are based upon theories. Nothing more and nothing less. Our obesity epidemic is based in large part on too many calories in and not enough exercise, and while sugar may play a role, the big picture is that you should pick a healthy lifestyle goal you can work towards and foreseeably achieve.

Finally, you said "I was thinking "yes! I'm not a 'bad' person because I'm fat! Yes, it's WAY HARDER than a thin person could ever imagine and it's more difficult than just 'eat less and move more.'" It definitely gave me some validation" -- thin people are also eating tons of sugar. The average American diet, quite frankly, sucks. Thin is not the equivalent of health, and bigger is not the picture of lack of health. Thin and "fat" people don't have different mindsets when it comes to sugar addictions or breaking these extremely bad habits. I think if you'd stop seeing people as fat and thin, and start seeing people as either healthy or not, you'd be off to a good start. :)

LOVE4KITTIES Posts: 4,690
6/12/13 2:32 P

I do try to limit processed foods because they typically have lots of sodium in them. When I eat them, I retain a lot of water (I can easily gain 3 lbs of water weight overnight by eating too much sodium). High blood pressure also runs in my family. I've been advised by both my doctor and my registered dietitian to stay below 2000 mg/day. I have also moved to eating more unprocessed foods (and cooking more at home) because I enjoy controlling what's in my food, knowing how it's made and what's in it. I've also found out that I enjoy cooking. But, I still do use some processed foods (like canned spaghetti sauce, dried whole wheat pastas, Brummel and Brown spread, canned chilies, store-bought bread/tortillas, plain nonfat yogurt, lowfat cheese, etc.) due to the convenience.

I think that most people can do some simple things to improve their diet and that these things need not be complicated. I think that the authors of a lot of diet/nutrition books these days do a lot of people a great disservice by convincing people that they have to do things like completely avoid certain foods or food groups, not eat foods that they enjoy, completely avoid processed foods, completely avoid sugar, etc. Not only are these things often based upon pseudoscience, but they are also impossible for most people due to a variety of reasons. So, people often give up after only a short time and just go on or back to eating what they've been eating. They feel like there's no hope for them. It's too hard, too complex, too expensive, etc.

So, what I'm saying is that it's okay to be human. You don't need to completely avoid processed food, sugar or anything else in order to have a healthy diet. Sure, there are some people who have certain sensitivities/intolerance issues or allergies to some foods. But, the vast majority of us do not (despite what some people/books may say). There are some simple and widely-agreed upon things that you can do so that you can improve your health and nutrition. It is widely accepted that, in general, we need to eat less refined carbohydrates (including sugar, white flour, white rice, etc.). Focus on getting your carbohydrates from vegetables (including the starchy vegetables like potatoes/sweet potatoes, corn, carrots, etc.), fruits and whole grains (whole wheat bread, oatmeal, brown rice, whole wheat pasta, etc.). Eat lean meats and heart-healthy fats (from things like avocados, olive oil, nuts, etc.). Make sure you get enough fiber.

A great place to start is by entering your information into Spark People (your weight, nutrition goals, weight loss goals, etc.) and then using the Spark People tracker to track what you are currently eating. That way, you'll find out where you are. Then, you can slowly change your diet so that you fall within the recommended ranges for protein, carbs, fat and fiber. Then, you can start looking at a few specific nutrients (e.g. are you getting enough iron, calcium, etc.). It's a process that takes time, but you shouldn't let that worry you. Slow is good because slow changes are more sustainable than rapid changes. I really recommend a food scale to accurately measure your food.

You are NOT a bad person because you are overweight. I do agree that we live in a food environment which definitely encourages consumption/over-consumption of some pretty unhealthy foods. But, don't believe you have to be perfect or have a restrictive diet to be healthy.

JRENAE4 SparkPoints: (2,002)
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6/12/13 12:19 P

Leksipatsy- I think you're totally right. I'm in the unhealthy BMI range, so so,etching needs to change. I just don't want to use hate in order to change. Reminds me of something I saw on Pinterist that said "love your body; you can't look after so,etching you hate."

Also, for many of the other posters, I think that this book isn't a "diet book." It's pretty. Scientific and the "diet advice" he gives is really common sense- avoid the bad stuff and move more. My questions were intended to be more related to the concept of "real food." :)

HAWTLIKEME SparkPoints: (21,813)
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6/12/13 12:13 P

I do believe that there is scientific merit to all of the research that has been done regarding the short and long term effects of sugar. I am one of those people who it affects very strongly. Do I have a particularly addictive personality or do I have some sort of genetic or chemical make up that makes me pre-disposed to sugar sensitiviity and addiction? Who knows. I don't know why it can have such a profound effect on some and not others.

I do know that I have had the most success in my weight loss journey when I am limiting and monitoring my sugar and processed food intake. This includes all forms of bread (as the ezeikial bread and other non-processed, non wheat breads are not available in my area). But I do eat greek yogurt, eggs and a tiny bit of old cheddar, parmasean, feta cheeses. Other than that, I try to use the 80/20 rule for avoiding the foods that I know will cause cravings for me. We are human and there will be occasions when nothing but a chocolate covered almond will do, so I will enjoy certain sweet or processed foods with gusto and pleasure, but do my best to limit their damage. I think I am successful as long as I eat very well, with whole foods (and some dairy) only for 80% of the time and allow myself to deviate from this about 20% of the time. I have to be happy with that or I think I would drive myself insame trying to be perfect then binging, then being perfect, then binging.....well, you know the drill.

6/12/13 11:06 A

I haven't read the book but I was interested about the body image acceptance part of OP's thoughts...

I think that positive body image is very important and that you should love yourself no matter what. I have an extremely negative body image and I'm trying to change that. One of the things I grapple with, because I am competitive and always want to be the smartest, best, most beautiful, etc. person in the room (annoying and senseless-I know) is comparing myself to magazines, etc. Where body image is concerned we have to get away from that and appreciate our own beauty.

Where I think it gets dangerous when you are in an unhealthy BMI/weight range and you rationalize that since you are beautiful you don't need to change. This change is about being healthy, not about being beautiful. It's also about being your best self. Not some unattainable poster, but where you feel the most confident, the healthiest, and have the energy to get what you need done.

I feel better without processed foods/sugars and didn't have much success with the prepackaged food bit. But everyone is different and has to do what they need to be healthy.

SUNSHINE6442 Posts: 2,320
6/12/13 9:50 A

I could never understand why I couldn't lose weight and then I was diagnosed as insulin resistant (Pre-diabetic)...I did not want to become diabetic and started eating a low carb, high protein, high fiber, low sugar and low sodium diet. It worked and I lost 98lbs to date.

Fruit juices have too much sugar so I eat low glycemic foods such as pears, peaches, plums, cherries, apples, kiwi, oranges and all kinds of berries. Especially berries as they have the least impact on blood sugar. Getting rid of the extra sugar and starches and sugar free foods worked well....I feel so much better and have no aches and pains either. I gave up wheat pasta and wheat bread...Now eat brown rice pasta and rye or pumpernickel as they digest slowly and don't create a sugar surge.

Romaine is high in nutritional value and so is spinach. So skip the iceberg lettuce. Kale is also good and loaded with fiber. The darker green, the better.
Add 2 ounces of Roast chicken, turkey, tuna, sardines, shrimp, crab, cheese, hard-boiled egg, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, walnuts, chickpeas, to your salads for variation and some raw carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, Cucumber, tomato, radish, peppers, cabbage, onion, olives, celery and avocado.

Vinegar helps control blood sugar so always have a vinegar & oil salad/ I try to get at least a small one in daily.

I Eliminated refined sugars, sodas, fruit juices, and eliminated artificial sweeteners from my diet. So no sugar free foods as they spiked my blood sugar.No Dried fruit either! I read somewhere that these are all drugs that will fuel cravings."

I Watched portion control, and moved every 20 minutes and did something. (still do today)

Cereals are high in sugar and sodium, puffed rice which has no sodium or salt or sugar,
multi grain cheerios (medium sugar intake of 6 grams) or Kashi 7 whole grain puffs, 0 sugar, 0 sodium (organic section $2.89 per box and eat with skim milk and berries to sweeten. Cinnamon in plain oatmeal or nutmeg is a good alternative to raisins or get coconut flakes and add to sweeten just control portion size....

Almonds contain minimal sugar...maybe try almond milk
0% Fage plain Yogurt add berries to sweeten ..skip the sugar packed fruit versions at the store or add a chopped apple to the yogurt with a couple of crushed walnuts

Add cinnamon to your coffee instead of sugar
Have a sweet potato with cinnamon

I also only eat red potatoes since they have less starch in them than white potatoes and only have potatoes once a week with a tad of real sour cream. Or try vanilla bean powder in yogurt...tastes like a sundae to me.

I just make sure I eat foods with low or natural sugar....High GIycemic foods convert to sugar more quickly than low GIycemic foods

Figure out a way to keep a log so you can see which foods help you lose weight and which foods deter your weight loss I have a composition book where I log my foods daily.

Good Luck!

Edited by: SUNSHINE6442 at: 6/12/2013 (09:54)
FROGMAN2013 SparkPoints: (1,747)
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6/12/13 9:45 A

Also, keep in mind that there are lots of starchy foods out there that literally start breaking down into sugar before you have even swallowed. These include potatoes and processed grains.

The best way to avoid sugar (and 'white' starches) is to eat simply with basic ingredients. Meat, veggies, nuts, eggs, fruits are simple foods. Fruits are sugary, so I will leave it up to you to decide whether the good nutrients in fruits outweigh the nasty sugars. Bread is not a simple food. Cheese is debatable since it goes through some processing from milk to become cheese. It was a big change in attitude to look at a Big Mac and realize that the unhealthy part of it was the bun, not the meat and cheese.

Also, there is added sugar in things that you would never jerky!

6/12/13 7:47 A

Love4Kitties - I think that to say ignore them all is really a closed minded thing to say. All of those Dr's that have written books have had some important points to make. Not everything that they say or write will be correct all the time though. The trick is to read a lot and discern what's bunk and what's good information that will help you on your quest for better health.

6/12/13 7:34 A

I want to echo GolfDave43's comments. I SO appreciate it when people are courteous to one another on the message boards.

GOLFDAVE43 SparkPoints: (11,093)
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6/12/13 7:28 A

I love this site. Everyone has a chance to express their opinions in a respectful way. SO refreshing after a day of teaching high school students. LOL

LOVE4KITTIES Posts: 4,690
6/12/13 3:08 A

Just another diet/nutrition book written by a doctor... These doctors writing books (and appearing on TV) would have us think that they've had significant training in nutrition, but they have not. They use their medical degrees to give themselves credibility that, in many cases, they don't deserve. They want us to believe that they know the secrets to weight loss, but they don't.

Dr. Oz
Dr. Polan
Dr. Davis
Dr. Lustig
Dr. Cordain
Dr. Atkins
Dr. Fuhrman
Dr. Ornish
Dr. Morino

I ignore them all. A lot of their books are filled with unfounded nonsense, a lot of them are filled with diet dos and don'ts that are going to be impossible for the average person to follow for a significant amount of time. A balanced diet, based in moderation, is what Spark People advocates and IMO and in the opinion of my registered dietitian, it's a healthy plan. A registered dietitian is your best bet for getting help with formulating a balanced, nutritious, diet that you can follow for a lifetime so that you can lose weight and keep the weight off, not some doctor who writes a book.

Edited by: LOVE4KITTIES at: 6/12/2013 (03:09)
JRENAE4 SparkPoints: (2,002)
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Posts: 34
6/12/13 12:07 A

I guess that's where I have some difficulty. I feel like I definitely get adequate "real food" but I'm discouraged at the scale (even when counting calories). I think my best bet is to always have planned, portioned food available, even if it's a huge hassle.

6/11/13 9:35 P

I have read that book and agree with a lot of what Dr. Lustig has to say about sugar. Added sugars in foods are definitely something that people should be very aware of. I think the fact that the Dr. eats some sweets from time to time just proves he's human. He does get a little crazy at the end of the book talking about how government should regulate sugar, which is just silly. If a grown person wants to eat sugar or smoke and drink alcohol what business is that of government?

Yes there is much more to it than eat less and move more. But I think blaming the whole obesity epidemic on sugar is a bit of a stretch though. There is so much crap in our food supply these days that a lot of people don't even know what real food is. If people would learn to read labels and cook for themselves with real food than we could reduce the amount of people that are suffering.

You don't have to do an extreme overhaul of your diet, you just have to try and not eat a lot of sugar.

Edited by: JUSTEATREALFOOD at: 6/11/2013 (21:36)
JCWIAKALA Posts: 347
6/11/13 9:02 P

Remember there's no one size fits all approach to weight loss. Is it possible to cut out processed foods and still be fat? Of course. If we eat more than we burn, we'll gain weight. Is it likely? Probably not if you can stick to "real" foods long term. Here's the catch: Can you stick to it long term? Only you can answer that.

I have not read the book so I have no comment on it. However, I can comment on giving up processed foods and refined sugar. I've done that before. For 3-4 months. I lost weight. But I didn't stick to it. I believe in limiting sugar and processed foods, but eliminating them will not work for me because I on't think I can do tht for he ret of my life.

JRENAE4 SparkPoints: (2,002)
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6/11/13 8:07 P

I'm reading "Fat Chance" by Dr. Robert Lustig. It's definitely interesting and very scientific. The basic premise is that sugar is the root of all evil.

Okay. Not evil. But definitely chronic disease and obesity.

I'm only a chapter and a half in, but I have to say, I've already had quite a few emotional responses to what I've read.

There's a poignent section in which Dr. Lustig states (rather emphathetically) that it is not necessarily the fault of the obese person that they're obese. He says that we have a choice what to an extent. He goes on to say that access has a lot to do with our food choices. The fact that our food is so laden with sugar (that it's pretty much unavoidable) is literally poisioning us. The sugar is easy to come by, and the sugar itself creates a maladaptive cycle in our brains and behavior.

While I was reading this section, I was thinking "yes! I'm not a 'bad' person because I'm fat! Yes, it's WAY HARDER than a thin person could ever imagine and it's more difficult than just 'eat less and move more.'" It definitely gave me some validation.

Then, I read a transcript from an interview Dr. Lustig gave Alec Baldwin (who apparently lost about 40# after cutting out sugar). Dr. Lustig reports that he has "half a bagel and cream cheese" in the morning and a "processed lunch," even though he only has dessert twice a year. And he acknowledges that he carries a "few extra pounds."

Enter the conflicted thoughts.

1. If sugar can take a big piece of the blame for obesity and chronic disease, how can I avoid it if it's in everything?
2. The pediatric endocrinologist (Dr. Lustig) admits to having processed food daily - what hope is there for me?
3. What good is this information if such a diet (sugar free) will require and extreme overhaul of my entire lifestyle?

Now, I know what you're thinking. Isn't an extreme overhaul better than being fat?


But still. If the doctor can't do it, how can I? I'm hoping that there will be some practical points further in the book. (EDIT: there are practical points in the book. Basically, he echos what Michael Pollen wrote about a few years ago in "In Defense of Food.")

I'm also conflicted bacause I've been reading some fat acceptance literature, too. Everything I've read says that your body is just your body and there is no moral judgment on it; it's perfectly okay to be fat and happy. But there's the rub. I don't live my life as a "fat and happy"
person. I feel like I don't have to be THIS fat, and I'm not perfectly happy OR healthy. So where does that leave me? I don't want to hate my body or myself. I don't want to be conflicted and tormened by food (or the lack thereof) and I don't want to feel body judgment from myself or others.

But I also want to be (and need to be) thinner.

So: has "real food" (unprocessed) worked for you (without focusing so much on calories, at least at the beginning)? Have you read Dr. Lustig's book, and if you have, what do you think?

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