Recent nutrition news

May 27, 2019: Although I don't often publish at this point, I continue to collect links to interesting nutritional findings or writings. Not all of these are recent, as I beginning typing I don't have a theme in mind.

People continue to argue as to whether calories matter, and Studies continue to show that they do. What a shock, you lose weight faster if you restrict calories more. However, if you have tens or hundreds of pounds to lose, this might be a viable strategy. But you will slow your metabolism. That was the hyped result of The Biggest Loser study.

In a 2015 article, Harriet Brown does not think obesity is a disease— neither do I, but her arguments leave me cold. There is some history reported here I’ve never seen before. As she quotes letters and such, I presume it’s true. She provides no links to sources though, and the piece is from her book.

A comment quotes Katz and his drowning analogy. Drowning isn’t a disease, but it’s something that you can be taught to prevent. I didn’t like the analogy when I first read it (no one has to swim), but it’s better than seeing obesity as a disease.

And of course, most of the comments under the article are mostly useless as the HAES (health at every size) folk descend. At least the fact that the term obese is used very loosely. There IS a difference between being 20-50 pounds over weight and 150+ pounds overweight. Fatties don’t like to admit that.

Others don’t like the drowning analogy as I don’t. Still better than disease. The point of the analogy is prevention. Oh good, someone brings up why the Monroe analogy is flawed. Size 12 then is size 4 now thanks to vanity sizing.

Ah and someone says that always being hungry means that “something” IS wrong. I think hunger is subjective— and I think eating foods that are not calorie dense would address this. No one gets fat eating red peppers and broccoli. It's possible I've noted this article before.

Flexibility > Rigidity

In this entry (excerpted from one of his books), Lyle MacDonald (now worth reading again) introduces the concept of rigid/flexible dieting, though he (and I) prefer the more general rigid/flexible eating. Dieting doesn’t work, but altering your eating habits for the long term does. Doing so flexibly makes maintaining the new habit easier, and helps avoid the bingeing (the technical term is disinhibition) in response to rigid, severe restriction. That’s actually a point in favor of the always quacktastic Emily Deans, MD. Despite blurbing the horrific Whole30 diet book— aka the Users Guide to Developing an Eating Disorder— on her “paleo” diet site her attitude was to “have a cookie” if you want a cookie— even if said cookie wasn’t “paleo,” which of course it was not.

The rigid/flexible divide might help explain why some people can and do maintain significant weight loss for long periods of time. Losing weight in almost all cases requires some amount of dietary restraint. Making that restraint as painless as possible is key to long term success. (my words, not his). Rigid restraint or dieting represent "the single most damaging approaches to fat loss that can occur."

I think everyone knows what a rigid diet is. Keto, Low carb, Paleo, Whole30, clean eating, veganism, low fat, or any diet that has severe restriction or elimination of a macronutrient or food type. Either you on or off the diet, it’s a binary situation. This is the type of dieting that HAES people rail about, without ever acknowledging that it is not the only why to adjust your eating habits.

He suggests a weekly calorie goal rather than a daily goal, and notes that if you overeat one day, you can compensate by eating a bit less the next. With practice, this becomes natural if it isn’t at first. Flexible eating eliminates the nasty circle that can happen when a person finds herself breaking some arbitrary rule, and then feeling like a failure. Flexible means there aren’t any rules to be broken— at least in terms of what can be eaten, how much is still going to be the issue.

It’s important that a person feel in control of the diet, rather than the diet controlling the person. I like that construct a lot. Adherence is the key both to loss and maintenance, and the only kind of eating that will adhered to long term is the kind that fits into a person’s life. Short term accommodations are one thing, few people (or their families) want to do it long term. Life is too short.

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