Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Does bad diet or lack of exercise cause obesity?....

Today's Post:  Tuesday, 4-28-2013

Depending on how much you know or how you want to use the information, this is either a silly question or a very serious one.

The true answer is that they BOTH do!

But it depends on what you decide as public policy or plan to do personally with the information that determines which part of the overall research and knowledge is relevant to you.

1.  People who mostly eat foods and drink drinks made out of fatteners and heart attack starters will get fat -- and if they keep doing it, they will stay fat. 

And, much if not most of the obesity epidemic HAS been caused by exactly this situation in the United States over the last 50 years and even more so over the last 35 years.

a) On Thursday, 4-9-2015, I heard Dr Robert Lustig speak at Stanford who made a very convincing case that people who drink soft drinks and eat foods made out of high fructose corn syrup and sugar and hydrogenated oils and refined grain and artificial sweeteers not only become fat; but they get serious chronic diseases they could have avoided. 

This drives health care costs higher and higher and is a serious drain on the economy.  Dr Lustig even found an article by an investment bank arguing that high taxes on these food components is needed to enable reasonable economic growth.

b) His books with similar themes have critics saying that the situation is more complicated than that and that he doesn’t address the other parts of the causes of the obesity epidemic.
This is both an accurate critique and irrelevant if not paid for by the companies that sell these fattening foods and drinks!

Some people are fat or much fatter due to their lack of exercise or how totally sedentary they are.
And some people are fat or much fatter because of medical conditions or the drugs they take for medical conditions. (Dr Lustig himself treats young people with some of these medical conditions.  So he is well aware they exist!)

Research even found recently that some kinds of gut bacteria are direct causes of obesity!

c) But these accurate facts are beside the point!

*If we want to keep the costs of avoidable obesity and chronic diseases enough lower to stop this harm to people and to the economy, these food ingredients need to be banned or taxed heavily or both.
Worse, the commodities these foods and drinks are made out of are now subsidized; and that must stop totally!

*If you are fat and would rather not be, you will be much more successful and do it much faster and more easily if you stop eating and drinking ALL of these foods and drinks and ingredients!

2.  In addition, the people who do eat and drink none of these ingredients and processed foods  -- and  every day they eat 6 to 10 servings of organic vegetables and one or two pieces of organic fruit and eat some nuts and beans and wild caught fish and organic organ meats and eggs from pastured chickens and very little else will over time come to have a BMI of well under 24.5 and sharply improve their health too.

This has been shown to be true even of people who get little or no exercise.

3.  It’s also been shown the people who do eat the harmful foods and eat them in excess will be fat even if they get awesome amounts of exercise each week.

One case in point is the fat the Japanese Sumo wrestlers have who purposely overeat including eating huge amounts of rice each day.

4. But it’s also true that lack of exercise and physical activity cause obesity!

Research was done at Stanford that found that AFTER the big jump in fattening food and drinks occurred people still were getting more obese! 

And, they were able to show that this effect was almost entirely caused by the sharp increase in sitting time and people becoming totally sedentary.

5.  It’s also true that some kinds of exercise DO remove excess fat and that some kinds of exercise do not.

Effective strength training and progressive HIIT or higher intensity interval or variable paced cardio – even done for 10 to 20 minutes a day enable you to be less fat several ways:

Your muscles and bones get heavier and burn more calories even when you are at rest.  And, IN ADDITION TO THAT you burn calories for up to several hours after you exercise!

And, this enables you to eat at a calorie level consistent with getting and remaining lean but eat enough more food to avoid becoming too hungry to continue. 

In fact, people who lose fat they keep off virtually all do this kind of exercise because of this fact.

Note that this is for moderate amounts of the foods that help you get and stay lean only! 

People who eat more calories than even this kind of exercise burns and which includes sugary treats and grains actually can do this effective kind of exercise and still GAIN fat or stay fat!  And, in fact, this is common among people who still allow themselves these foods.

(Moderate exercise and physical activity burn calories and also enable you to eat a bit more and are very good for your health compared to sitting still; but they are less effective at removing excess fat to not effective.

Surprisingly, large doses of high effort but continuous exercise like fast running of long distances by contrast is now known to be potentially to actually damaging and NOT very effective at causing fat loss.  The cortisol this releases is fattening enough to overcome or even more than overcome the calories burned!)

6.  And, it’s also true that becoming more active doing moderate physical activity instead of being totally sedentary helps you be less fat.

This is what the Stanford study found in reverse.

More people today watch TV or do games or other activities on their computers for so many hours, they literally burn that many fewer calories.

The solution is some way to exercise while at work or doing these things away from work.

But the technology for those solutions is not very good yet.

The three current workarounds that seem to help are:

a)  Limit TV watching to 10 or 15 hours a week.  (Watching TV burns fewer calories than sleeping!  And the ads are for the foods and drinks that make you fat!) 

Best of all, the several hours you no longer watch TV can enable you to do the short sessions of strength training or interval style cardio that remove fat!

b) If you can get an exercise bike to ride while you watch TV that helps.

c) Some people find counting their steps and achieving a bit higher level over time reduces sitting time and can help avoid excessive sitting time even though it removes very little fat, it is health protective.  And some people enjoy doing it.

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Blogger David said...

Found I forgot another way that exercise has proven to help people lose fat. And, while it works for both men and women it may work best for women.

Only retired people or people who work half time can use it now; but perhaps one day a good at your desk exercise system could make it more widely doable.

People who walk or hike for four miles or more five or more days a week and at a variable but mostly brisk pace also lose fat.

One woman lost 20 pounds by changing over to a health supporting diet. Then she had to use transit to get to her job which required her to walk or hike briskly for an hour each way five days a week. (That's 30 to 35 miles a week of walking!)

She lost an added 30 pounds within two months.

I also had to walk briskly for about 5 or 6 miles one time when our car was out with mechanical problems and found I'd lost an extra 2 pounds that week.

Note that this was not race walking with or running with a high intensity pace with no variation in either case. It was between moderate and brisk with breaks for stop lights etc.

11:33 AM  

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