Which Diets Actually Work?
When any area of life hots the money jackpot you can be certain from that point forward, isolating fact from marketing will become more and more difficult.
Just take the subject of diets and dieting (especially with the goal to lose weight) as an example.
If you enter the word “diets” in the search function of Amazon you get just short of 500,000 results returned to you from all departments.
That means there are around 500,000 items within that site tha can be purchased on that subject.
Now when you balance that against the article I posted last week you begin to see the problem.
In that article the fact stated was that apart from very minor differences in emphasis, what has been considered a healthy diet for the last 50 years is still the agreed upon healthy diet today!
So the question has to be what are those 500,000 products on Amazon about?
Of course the real money is in the dieting for weight loss area because this one hits all the right noted when it comes to separating people from their money.
The simplicity of dieting is simply that you eat a healthy and balanced diet and engage in regular moderate exercise such as going for a walk regularly.
How much you eat is determined by how much energy you burn.
Eat more than you burn and you gain weight, eat less than you burn and you lose weight.
Sounds simple right?
Well even on Amazon if you drill down into the search results by making the search term more specific like using “weight loss diets.”
You still end up with over 100,000 results!
Of course the real secret here isn’t the idea of eating appropriately to mirror your energy output.
The real problem here is that the vast majority of people battling with weight problems are battling their inner demons, not the food.
My Brain Made Me Eat It!
Carrying on from the video on this week’s post about effective diets I just wanted to include this short reference on the consumption of sugar.
One of the major hurdles most people have when it comes to dieting and weight loss is giving up or even cutting down on those foods that are causing the problem.
Of course here we are referring to sugars and carbs which in all reality are the same thing.
You see it is no secret to anyone trying to diet that the first casualties just about any effective diet will cause are the sugar and carb intake.
In fact with the average person the simple act of reducing sugar down to almost nothing and carbs down to very little, weight loss occurs.
This doesn’t work for everyone but for many it does.
So given that the causes of obesity or just being overweight are so obvious, why is there such a problem.
Well it comes down to two main battles really.
First up the average obese or very overweight person is not really all that happy.
Very often they will present a happy exterior but on the inside they are fighting their own demons.
Now the obvious thing to assume here is that they are not happy because of their weight and I think in most cases that would be wrong.
Obviously for some the state of their weight may be an added point of unhappiness but I don’t really think that’s the main one.
For every person out there, there is probably a source of personal unhappiness that is unique to each and that’s why dieting seems to be such a hit and miss affair.
Until you address that basic unhappiness dieting will never work because they will always fall off the wagon.
Well that brings us to the second reason dieting for weight loss is so damn hard!
You see most people are not just fighting their own inner feelings whatever they may be.
They are also fighting their own bodies and especially their brains who are saying that they MUST go for the carbs and the sugar in order to survive.
And in fact if they do get those carbs and get that sugar the brain will reward them with a big (temporary) hit of happiness sensation into the bargain!
Now this function within the brain of creating desire for carbs and sugar is ancient and was designed to help us identify and remember sources that were packed with calories.
You have to bear in mind that at the time getting a hold of some calorie packed sugar or carb was not quite as simple as walking down to the local convenience store!
Unfortunately these days it is as simple as that and there lies the problem.
Our brains are wired to reward us with pleasant sensation if we give it something that used to be rare and difficult to get and which is now abundant. And that’s why weight loss is so hard.
Preventing Peanut Allergies
One of the most surprising things about the western world through the eyes of most Asians in the concept of peanut allergies.
To say they are perplexed by this would be an understatement!
You see throughout Asia you just never hear of it so all the hooha in the west about the dangers of peanus kind of amuses them until they hear about people dying… then it turns to shock.
You see in Asia kids are introduced to peanuts at a very early age.
In fact they are used right at the point where the child is being introduced to solid food.
But before you get all worried about that here’s the big, big difference.
The peanuts we as westerners are used to are roasted peanuts and even then in the form of ground roasted peanuts as peanut butter.
Asian don’t use those ones… well not to begin with anyway.
What they use are steamed peanuts because they are very soft and easy to handle for the infant being introduced to solids.
You rarely even see steamed peanuts in the west.
So these peanuts are mashed up with vegetables etc to make baby food. The result?
Millions of people looking at westerners perplexed that there is even such a thing as peanut allergy!
In fact a German doctor last year reported having actually “cured” hundreds of teenagers of peanut allergy the same way, almost.
He just gave them a half a steamed peanut on the first day and then slowly increased the dosage over time until they were no longer allergic.
In the linked article below there is an explanation of current practices regarding peanuts and infants which recommends introducing them at an early stage to ensure no allergy develops.
There is only one thing I would add to the article which is this.
The recommendation is to feed the child the peanut preparation and wait to see what happens.
If nothing after ten minutes continue.
I would ad this: and DO NOT stand in front of the child looking like something bad has or is about to happen.
Do NOT telegraph some kind of deathly fear or impending doom from your side of the deal on to the child.
The Sugar Tax Game
Don’t really want to bang the drum too much on the whole sugar tax thing but I felt like a little update was in order.
This week Cook County in Illinois and Boulder, Colorado passed local laws imposing a sugar tax on sugary drinks.
This takes the pro-tax lobby to seven wins out of seven campaigns started with Big Soda having forked out millions to (unsuccessfully) stop it.