Sunday, April 13, 2008

About overweight: Who's right, who's not?

For readers of the "Are Your Vitamins Safe?" report.

Which one of these statements do you agree with more?

Read slowly. They say opposite things...

1. "Overweight and obesity result from excess calorie consumption and/or inadequate physical activity." U.S. Surgeon General


2. "Most studies comparing normal and overweight people suggest that those who are overweight eat fewer calories than those of normal weight." - National Academy of Sciences, Diet and Health.

Would you like the next info-report to be: Overweight: Who's right and who's wrong?

See results so far here.


Suzanne said...

Hi Kim,

Personally, I think they are BOTH right. For that reason I couldn't vote either way :-(

Many people are overweight because they eat too many calories and are not physically active enough.

On the other hand, there are also many overweight people who are eating less calories than persons of normal weight.

In my work as a health and weight loss coach, I have seen people who eat way too many calories; I have also seen those who consume too few calories. The body needs a certain amount of fuel (read calories) to function. That certain amount differs from one person to the next. Below that amount, the body has a hard time doing what it needs to do (all the functions), and the metabolism suffers.

Above that amount of calories, depending on the kinds of foods that are being eaten (and the physical activity being done), weight gain can, and often does, result.

I think one thing that needs to be considered is the QUALITY of foods that is eaten. Whether the person eats too many or too few calories, oftentimes the foods that are being eaten are highly processed, with lots of chemicals that our bodies have a hard time processing. Instead of a cut and dry answer, it really is more complex, and the more wholesome and natural the foods are that we eat, the better we are, weight-wise and overall healthwise.

BryantW said...

Some of the best work in this area is being done by Barry Sears, PhD. He's the developer of the Zone dietary program, and the author of a number of books on the subject of weight control through hormonal balance. What we eat effects our hormone balance, particularly insulin and other hormones that promote silent inflammation.
Sears' research, in conjunction with Harvard Medical School especially, suggests the need not only to consume the proper number of calories, but the proper balance of the types of foods.

The appropriate ratio of complex carbohydrates, protein, and fat helps our bodies to control insulin and thus control weight.

Whole foods are an important part of achieving this ratio. (Research shows that the most healthful ratio is 40% "good" carbohydrates (basically complex vs. simple), 30% protein, and 30% fat (ideally the unsaturated kind, such as what you get from olive oil).

With all of this, calories do count. Even with perfect balance, eating more calories than you burn causes your body to store the excess as fat.

For the science behind all this, read Dr. Sears' most recent book, "The Anti-inflammation Zone." It's good stuff.


P.S. Sadly, Sears tried an affiliate program, but it wasn't well organized, and he seems to have dropped it.