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The Weight Loss Diet

June 4, 2017

Recently, I read three articles on diet.  All of them were different.  In fact, they didn’t have much in common except that they dealt with diet, both in the sense of what people normally eat, and in the sense of something that people choose to go on.  Maybe that’s enough in common.

The underlying principle is really quite simple.  Eating more than your body requires is the cause of obesity.  The excess calories are converted into fat.  You can consume a few calories through exercise, but it’s generally impossible for you to use up all the excess that way.  It gets much more complicated when you begin to investigate the reasons why people eat too much.  There are many possible causes, some of them psychological rather than physical.

Of course, eating is a pleasure.  It can be a great pleasure.  It might even be your only pleasure.  A remarkable study confirms what we’ve known for some time:  eating less extends your life.  Most people know that they will be healthier if they lose their excess weight.  In fact, the reason that most people go on a diet is because they want to lose weight.  The problem is that they want both the pleasure and good health.  They want something that doesn’t exist: a magical fat-burning pill or fat-burning food.  Unfortunately, there’s no solution that easy.

It gets worse.  Some reporting about diets is clearly biased.  Even if the article is not just advertizing for a specific diet, you can spot the biases if you look carefully.  Does it say that certain foods are poison, full of chemicals, garbage, or empty calories?  Those words reveal the bias.  A nice example is an article I recently read on the paleo diet.  Grocery stores don’t sell poison; they sell foods that people want to eat.  People are not stupid, either.  Most of them know what they like, and know what’s good for them.  Biased articles usually give you bad advice.  Look for balanced and unbiased articles if you want good advice.

Also watch out for marketing terms that have no specific meaning, but that appear in large print on product labels.  Natural is the favorite just now.  There’s also green and no preservatives.  To some extent, organic is a marketing term too.  Have you heard of label washing?  Food companies are removing names that frighten consumers from ingredient lists and replacing them with names that sound more natural, even though they mean exactly the same thing.

What about processed foods?  Are they always bad?  I just read an article about the processed food revolution that described the benefits of food preparation in factories.  Of course, there is indeed a hidden cost too.  It’s mainly a result of people eating too much because eating has become so easy.  Once again, it’s our fault.  We need to restrain ourselves.  We are in control of ourselves, aren’t we?


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