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There’s a lot of talk about the ‘obesity’ crisis and no shortage of ideas as to it’s cause and it’s cure.  Luckily, I don’t have a weight problem, actually, it’s got nothing to do with luck, just good eating habits.  When it comes to food, I have a fairly straight forward philosophy – if it isn’t real, don’t eat it – at least not in large quantities, and if you can afford to, go for the organic.  I’m not saying I never eat a biscuit or some chocolate but my diet is about 97% good, and 3% less good.  That figure is reducing daily because the dreaded hot flushes have started and I’ve found that certain things exacerbate them, sugar in all it’s forms is one of the worst, along with tea and coffee too, to a lesser extent, so I’m in the process of removing them from my diet, although I had cut the tea down to about two cups a week.


 I am not a fan of fast food and because I’ve never had a lot of money, I make most of my own meals from scratch.  I have tried McDonalds and quite frankly, you won’t find me in there unless I’m absolutely starving and there is nowhere else open, and when it comes to fast food, nothing is faster than a banana, just peel and eat or even quicker, an apple, you don’t even have to peel it.


The thinking behind my eating habits is this, I am a human being, I evolved over thousands of years like the rest of the animal life on this planet.  I am part of the eco-system.  My body was designed to eat the food that occurs naturally on this earth, which is meat and fish, fruit and vegetables and some crops.  


If you look at the list of ingredients in something like those fake butter type spreads, there are ingredients in them, I can’t even pronounce.  They’re full of chemicals and colourings and flavourings.  Now I am a human being, NOT a chemical processing plant.  The human body was not made to process this kind of stuff.  A case in point, Diet Coke. Everyone I know who drinks this stuff has two things in common, they have a weight problem and they are addicted to it, and it’s disgusting, it’s just a tin of coloured water with chemicals in it.  Now, ask yourself a question, would you give Diet Coke to a dog to drink?  The answer of course, is no, (at least I hope it is) so if you wouldn’t give it to a dog, why would you give it to a child?


Taste like everything else, develops over time and the more real food you eat, the more your taste for it will develop. 


Now not everyone can cook, and I remember watching one of those reality cooking shows about diet a few years back, and it showed a family in which there were four children, and neither of the parents could cook.  I was stunned, I couldn’t understand how you could have four children and not cook, not to mention the huge expense buying processed food or having takeaways all the time.  Eating is a basic human necessity, we all have to eat so we should all learn how to cook.


Now, I’m not slagging off people who can’t cook.  I understand there were changes to our eating habits with the advent of frozen and processed food in the sixties, coupled with the invention of the microwave oven and the removal of cookery classes from schools under the Thatcher government. (although I think they are now back on the curriculum, and if they’re not they should be)  This created a hole in our diets which has been filled up with overly sweetened, salted and processed food, full of the aforementioned colourings, flavourings and whatever else they put in there.


Realistically, this stuff just can’t be doing us any good.  Now, most of us know who Gillian McKeith is, and I know she came in for a lot of stick about her fake science and fake degree, and she was a bit extreme, but one thing you can’t argue against and that is, she got results.  She took stones off people and added years to their lives.


I watched another programme recently on GM crops, and to be honest I didn’t really know much about them and had always thought how harmful could a crop be?  Well, extremely harmful is the answer.  This programme was about crops in India and how companies have genetically modified the wheat and cotton crops so they don’t generate seed, so the farmers have to keep going back and buying new seed every year from these companies.  But the scary thing about these crops is that they suspect they killed cattle.  What happened was, the cattle started dying and when they opened them up they found that one of the stomachs in the cows,  (they have four) had dried up.  They put it down to lack of natural enzymes in the food they had eaten.  Scary stuff.  I also read recently that some researchers believe that ‘man boobs’ are caused by wheat in the diet.  How do we even know if the wheat used in baking is GM free?  Mostly we don’t.


There’s an arrogance in science that thinks it can do better than nature, that thousands of years of evolution can be disregarded and that we have the right to screw around with nature as much as we like, with no consideration for the consequences.  I watched another programme a couple of years ago about plagues, and every plague they discussed was caused by man screwing around with nature, from rabbits and mice in Australia, to killer bees in South America, every one was down to man’s interference.   We get so carried away by what we can do, we never stop to question if we should do it.


So people, think on, you owe it to yourself and your health.  Eat well and organic as much as possible, and go for the real food.  Start today, try and cut out the sugar or at least to cut it down; throw out those manky fake butters and treat yourself to the real thing, there’s nothing to beat it for taste. 


Comments as usual, are welcome.

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You make good points but I think the relatively recent problem of obesity (rather than just being somewhat overweight) stems from three things; a lack of education, the instant gratification mindset society has developed and the lack of flavour now in our foods.

I can remember when people took real pleasure from their foods and so didn't need as much. Chocolate was thicker with a more satisfying bite. It was richer as was caramel, which was thick and stretchy. Burgers were meatier and had more flavour. I'm not saying that these are things you should be eating every day but I believe a little of what you fancy does do you good.. as long as you really enjoy it. The tastes, the textures, every bit. Love every moment and you really don't need much.

Do those who are obese truly enjoy their food? I don't believe that they do. I think that they shovel it down their necks because fat is addictive; it's wired to survival. As you said, taste for real food develops over time... unfortunately, that is also true of bad food and in a time of economic downturn and inadequate education, the cheapest foods out there are bad for you. True, vegetables are also cheap and you can feed your whole family for less than £5 by making potato hash but if there's no will to do that...

I do find the amount of chemicals added and modifications to our food rather disturbing. It can't be a coincedence that instances of cancer and heart disease are on the increase in otherwise healthy people.

Rachel Austin

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Speaking as some one who's struggled with weight all my life.... I rarely eat takeaways, almost never eat fastfood and very rarely do I eat 'ding ding' dinners. I mostly eat from unprocessed foods and I do cook from scratch the majority of the time.

So basically I agree with your comments that we are better off without the chemicals and junk and natural food does taste better. Has this made me slimmer? No. Is it because I overeat? Well, all my work colleagues are amazed at both the healthy ingredients in my diet and my normal sized food portions, so it doesn't appear to be because I spend all day stuffing my face. (and I don't go home and pig out when no-one is watching either).

Diets that are high in both fats and sugar do contribute to health problems, but in my experience that can apply to slim people as well as fat, my friend is and has always been slim/underwieght and has a very high cholesterol reading, which despite going on a low fat diet she can't budge.

Is junk/ fast food the sole reason people are overweight? In my case it doesn't appear to be. I've just been reading some interesting facts about diet and obesity (I have every reason to want to be slimmer but like to base my decisions on evidence). There is a growing body of scientific evidence that suggest it's diets that cause the problems.

  • Fact 97% of diets fail - whether they be calorie controled, low-fat it doesn't matter (suggesting that diets are the problem not the people doing them, if you went to the Doctor and he gave you a pill that only worked 3% of the time would you take it?)
  • Fact 85% of people who lose weight on a diet not only regain the weight within 2 years but generally put more back on than they lost- ususally 50%. (This Doctor gives you this pill that only works on 3% of people using it and in the majority of cases people end up worse of than before they took it. Still think the pill is the answer?)
  • Fact - medical experts and dieticians have been pushing low-fat diets for decades now and during that time obesity levels have soared. (Sources for the above include The fast diet, The food doctor, all based on recent scientific research. There's a excerpt for The Fast diet in this weeks Radio Times, sorry I can't give you all the sources I've been investigating this for years, unfortunately I haven't kept all the references).

Seems to me it's dieting makes you fat, not necessarily your food choices. Now that does apply to me, I felt I was a little overweight as a teenager - just a few pounds. In all probability I probably wasn't. But, sadly I went on a diet and I have struggled with my weight ever since. Every time I went on a diet I would ultimately end up fatter until now when I do have a real weight problem. (Why do I diet - peer pressure, society's pressure, tv programmes about obesity and the likes of Gillian, because being overweight and the reactions of the non-fat populace makes me feel unlovable, undisciplined, greedy, a slob, lazy, etc.)

By all means eat unprocessed foods I agree it's better for you and they taste better (interestingly bodies last longer in morgues now because of all the preservatives in processed foods). Eat organically where you can afford to and definately cook. But don't assume that it's a simple answer to obseity, take it from someone who knows


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Some good points Rachel.  I knew someone who struggled for years with a weight problem only to be diagnosed as diabetic and once her medication was sorted the weight fell off her. 

I also know another girl with a weight problem and she is coeliac, but unlike the majority of coeliac's she has a tendancy to store weight. and she eats the healthiest diet of anyone I know.

There is seldom one reason alone for any problem, when it comes to weight, there are food intolerances, genetics and the possibility of underlying health issues to consider but it's an ongoing debate which won't be resolved over night.