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Fixin' Healthcare

Saturday, June 17, 2006

The Lifestyle Chronicles - Pot Bellies

How about that! The fat is coming home to roost and most of it is in the gut. Those pot bellies we love so much.

A research team from Wake Forest University has demonstrated (abstract #328-OR) in male monkeys that not all calories are equal. In their study diets rich in trans fat cause a redistribution of fat tissue into the abdomen and lead to higher body weight even when the total dietary calories are controlled.

The monkeys were given the same amount of daily calories with 35 percent coming from fat. The amount of calories was only enough to maintain weight. One group of monkeys received 8 percent of calories from trans fat while the other group received 8 percent of calories from monounsaturated fat. This amount of trans fat is comparable to people who eat a lot of fried food.

Trans fat is in vegetable shortening, some margarines, crackers, cookies, snack foods and other foods made with or fried in partially hydrogenated oils. Most trans fat is formed when food manufacturers convert liquid oils into solid fats such as shortening and hard margarine by adding hydrogen.

This is an example of highly processed food containing excessive amounts of toxic components causing harm to metabolism. People may be correct when thay say their "metabolism is shot". In the movie "Supersize Me", the star of the show ate fast food all day everyday for one month. In addition to gaining weight, by the third week he was complaining of depression, headaches and fatigue, and his liver enzymes which had been normal were rapidly increasing.

Obesity crept up around America during the last half of the 20th century. It is caused, in part, by Americans eating too much highly processed food associated with lack of physical activity. Highly processed food is calorie dense, nutrition poor and contains elevated sodium, fructose and chemically altered fats that are toxic to metabolism. This type of food is created and marketed to disguise the hazards. It is a man-made problem.

Is it possible America will ever learn? Or, is it just as likely not to be a matter of knowing but an inability to control appetite? There is no medication or surgery that can compensate for unhealthy lifestyle, nor is there likely to be one. Inspiration and motivation are necessary for healthy lifestyles and satisfied lives. Discipline is required and it can be taught and learned. To be safe, don't eat food with nutrition labels.

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