I ran across this obesity map while searching for something else. I made a PowerPoint presentation of this same data that I use when giving talks, but I couldn’t figure out how to post it. Then I found this.
Despite the fact that the measurement is BMI, these slides really show dramatically the increase in obesity in this country over the last 20 years or so.
If course this slide show is accompanied by the dietary recommendations of the MSN moron in residence. One Martica Heaner, M.A., M.Ed., who fills this position for MSN, tells us that if we fall in line with the her recommendations, we will never have to worry about being fat:
1. Eat as many vegetables as you can.
2. Drink no cal or low-cal.
3. Eat more fruit.
4. Eat more good fats. [Of course her definition of good fats is much different than mine.]
5. Never skip breakfast.
There you have it, the secrets for weight-loss success. Follow those rules, so says Ms. Heaner, and your fat will melt away.
Based on the recommendation of one of the readers of this blog, I ordered the book Real Food by Nina Planck. Although not a low-carb book per se, Ms. Planck does know the value of restricting carbs for weight-loss.
At the very beginning of the book she recounts her early dietary history. As do many teenage girls, she became enamored with vegetarianism. Although raised on a farm, when Ms. Planck left home for college, she avoided the ham, bacon, sausage, pork chops, and the rest of the food she had grown up on. In their place she substituted what she calls her “virtuous foods.”
Fear of fat dominated our…kitchen. Even a hint of slippery, creamy food on the tongue sent me into panicky disapproval. Peering at labels, I stocked the pantry with low-fat foods. In those days, I believed the conventional nutritional wisdom: that unsaturated fats were good for cholesterol and saturated fats were not. Monounsaturated olive oil–the star of the vaunted Mediterranean diet–was the only fat I trusted…but not much of it. The taboo on cholesterol and saturated fats meant no beef, eggs, cream, chocolate, or coconut. Our only dairy was nonfat yogurt, and there was plenty of rice milk and soy ice cream
She lays out her “Virtuous Diet.”
Real Foods Off the Menu
Beef, lamb, game, poultry, fish, shellfish, milk, cream, butter, cheese, and eggs.
Chocolate and coconut.
Real (But Rich) Foods Strictly Limited.
Real Foods I Ate Plenty Of
Fruits and vegetables
Brown Rice and beans
Whole wheat bread
New Foods I Tried to Love
Various imitation foods made with soy and rice
Fat-Free, Sweet Things I Ate Quite a Lot Of
Nonfat frozen yogurt
So, based on her “virtuous diet,” which is right along the lines of the 5 steps to avoid being overweight as espoused by MSN’s Martica Heaner, you would figure Ms. Planck to be the slender picture of health. How did she fare?
As for my health, I felt terrible. My digestion was poor, and I was moody, tearful, and tender in all the wrong places before I got my period. In cold and flu season, I got both. I was depressed, too. Partly to stave off the gloom, I ran three to six miles a day, six days a week. On this virtuous regimen I also gained weight steadily–and before I knew it, I was plump. How plump? Well, women and weight is a treacherous topic; no one agrees on the definitions and people get touchy, so I’ll try to be objective. I”m almost five feet five inches tall and weight 119 to 125 pounds, much of it muscle. In my vegetarian days, I was 147 pounds and soft all over.
The moral of the story? Marvel at the obesity map, ignore the weight-loss advice that accompanies it, and read Nina Planck’s excellent book. If you want to avoid adding to the statistics on the map, eat real foods and watch your carbs