The Dieter’s Paradox.
July 21, 2012 Admin 0
Weight loss, dieting and the industry which has evolved from them has spawned many different and varied dieting methods, a host of weight loss plans and products, and a slew of bogus methodologies. This can lead to confusion and the inability to attain the goal of weight loss. Sometimes this concept is known as the Dieter’s paradox. In this article we look at the many ways dieters and diets are failing hard due to general ignorance and the misinformation peddled by the industry.
The Calorie Myth.
Calorie intake or rather total energy intake has long been the reference point for may diets including some of the most popular such as the ‘Weight Watchers’ programme. Diets which focus solely on calorie intake without taking into account, macronutrient ratios, individual metabolic effects of foods often lead to weight loss in the short term but are unreliable and usually unsuccessful for long term weight loss goals. Such diets are ignorant of the effects of things like fructose have on the body and therefore recommend things like fruit juices as long as they meet the calorie limits for the daily intake.
Negative Calorie nonsense.
There are two sides to the Negative Calorie sideshow. The first is the promotion of certain foods as being negative or low calorie so that they can be consumed freely without effecting overall calorie intake. Such things are adding sugar to tea or coffee with the premise that such a small amount of calories won’t make any difference. The other aspect is recommending the consumption of things like grapes which are low in calories but high in fruit sugars.
The second aspect of the negative calorie is the promotion of foods such as celery which is widely regarded as requiring more calories to digest than it contains. This is in fact not true, and celery along with many other low calorie vegetables and fruits may serve as trigger foods which stimulate appetite.
Low Calorie Foods.
Low Calorie foods have been promoted in recent years by food manufacturers as either alternatives to their higher calorie products or as specialist products in ranges like the Weight Watchers ready meals. The easiest way to reduce the calories of a set meal is to reduce the amount of fat as fat yields 9 calories to the gram compared to just 4 calories for carbohydrates or proteins. Fat serves many roles in ready meals and other convenience and junk foods. It adds body, texture, ‘mouth feel’, bulk, taste…the list is endless. Often low calorie alternatives can taste quite grim in comparison.
Alternatives to fats include increasing sugar content for bulk, using things like soya flour or texturised soya protein or using fat alternatives such as Olestra. None of the aforementioned alternatives offer any health benefits. Quite often the whole concept of the low calorie meal or food fails because the consumer simply still feels hungry after consumption. The very basic concept of losing weight by consuming less calories looks great on paper but in the real world, it often fails hard in proof of concept.
Low Calorie doesn’t mean healthy either. In fact being thin doesn’t mean being healthy, but that is not the subject here. Things like Ham and Turkey Lunch meats are promoted by food firms as healthy because they are ‘low in fat’ but contain things like Sodium Nitrite which is detrimental to health. Sodium Nitrite is used as a preservative to prevent spoilage in handling and storage and also to give the ‘meat’ a tangy taste in the mouth.
Often things like Ham sold in shaped forms that seem to represent joints of meat. Usually the butcher or deli counter will carve off for you. This is possibly one of the most dishonest practices in the food industry. Most of the ham which is cut from joints has been simply compressed into that shape by a process known as ‘tumbling’ by industrial processing machines to make it seem like it is cuts of meat rather than highly processed carcinogenic junk food.
Now this has nothing to do with sourcing two vegetable proteins to make a complete one. This is the practice of ordering a 1000 calorie bacon cheeseburger with a salad instead of fries, not in the belief the salad will negate the burgers calories, but a belief that the meal is now of a reasonable sittings worth of calories because the high calorie fries were avoided. Somewhat ironic, but a widespread practice among uniformed dieters.
The other somewhat cliched food combiner, which is more of comedy value than its worth to believe anyone actually things it works, is the guy who orders a large meal in his favourite fast foods joint with a dessert…but he also orders a diet Coke..which cancels out most of the high calorie foods in the meal !
A More Sane Approach.
Balancing macronutrient intake, increasing protein intake (the only macronutrient that has thermogenic effects), timing meals more carefully and avoiding processed foods and all ‘low calorie’ junk meals is the general gist of being able to control and understand how calories effect the body and how one can remove excess fat and keep it off.