Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Another Brick in the Wall

216.8lbs. So strange how the numbers repeat themselves, almost exactly, at this point in the week. I really only remember one number each day and that is the morning weigh in. I have to go back and actually check previous numbers. At some point, the numbers are just as much a surprise to me as they are to you.

Now I also find something else strange. A lot of the deep research I have read, either in the book or other resources, are starting to show up in major media outlets. I get Discover magazine at the house and there was an article on probiotics and the human biome (eat your Greek yogurt, kimchi or sauerkraut boys and girls). In another article I was reading how they are starting to directly link obesity the last 30 years to the lack of protein in our diet and the increase in sugar. I could go on and on but each day is another example that either confirms my suspicions or validates something I have read. The dietary science that gets thrown at our kids is faulty because it is outdated. This brings me to my next point.

Last night our son was talking about what he was learning in health class. They have just gotten into healthy diets. He informed us that his teacher stated the following: "Avoiding fats will keep you from being fat." Our jaws dropped to the floor. Of course, our boy, recounted this with a smile - he knows better. I repeat ad infinitum: FAT WILL NOT MAKE YOU FAT. His teacher, who I had a high degree of respect for before, suddenly made my shit list.

Let's have a little anatomy and physiology lesson, shall we? Okay. You have a finite number of fat cells, that number will never change unless there are abnormal circumstances involved. Now these fat cells grow and shrink like mini storage bladders. When you lose weight, you shrink these cells; they no longer have to store so much "fat" (I want to keep it simple and this is a gross over simplification). The stored fat is then excreted or used by your body for energy to feed your muscles and organs. Essentially, your muscles and organs are the engine and fat is the gas tank. There is only one food type you ingest that will actually be stored in your fat cells: sugars - simple or otherwise. Now either your body uses the energy in the main tank over a short period of time (stomach, liver, kidneys etc) or it stores it in the "gas" tank, your fat cells. These single cells expand when they are storing energy.

Now the proteins and fats you take in, can not be stored very easily. They need to be used for more immediate and pressing concerns like skin, hair, organ function, muscle repair etc. Overages of sugars, starches et. al. that can not be used get shuttled into your fat cells. Fat cannot do that and neither can proteins, they will be excreted.

Now what I hate about what my son's teacher said is that, not only is it untrue, it is plain dangerous. Kids will not automatically jump up and go, "Hey! The teachers says that fats are bad let's make ourselves a salad with baby greens, lean turkey and vinegar but not vinaigrette because it has FAT!" No. They hear, "Fats are bad, you know what doesn't have a lot of fat? Candy! Oh and look at the low fat percentages on these Doritos!" You know that is true because you were young once too. What makes it so inherently dangerous is that there is not one study that has been confirmed to show fat makes you fat. There have, however, been an avalanche of studies that sugar and processed foods (lots of starches) WILL make you fat. Oh and to add insult to injury the teacher likes to really push fruit - just like the government does (gotta justify those subsidies!). I wish she would have read this first: Fructose Sugar Makes Maturing Human Fat Cells Fatter. Well at least we'll know in 5 years who all the morbidly obese adults had as an educator.

My son made an astute observation, "Is fat and protein more expensive to produce than sugar?" Why, yes, yes they are. It is also easier for the government, who seem to wear spats and handlebar mustaches, with their outdated science to push upon the willing public. We've been hearing the same crapola for the last 30 years. Let's see, government goes to war on fats in our diet and obesity steadily increases. I would like to see the changes in the American diet and the changes in rates of heart disease over the past 50 years. I would also like to "milestone" that data to see where it leads me. Sugar was a fairly rare occurrence in the overall American diet pre 1900's. Around that time period we also saw increases in heart disease and cancer, it makes you stop and wonder. Maybe government should keep all that "good" advice to itself.

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