There are several reasons nutritionists call the standard American diet (SAD) just that — sad. For one, it leaves many of us starving for nutrients that keep us healthy and ward off chronic disease. But more obvious, at least on the outside, is that it’s at the core of why so many of us struggle with weight.
Indeed, people nationwide, and worldwide, seem to be struggling harder than ever to maintain a healthy weight. No longer does the standard American weight loss diet — which is generally about ignoring our body’s cues for hunger and satiety, a decidedly unpleasant thing to do — hold promise for many of us; we’ve been there, done that too many times. Nor can most of us exercise at an intensity and with a frequency only the super-committed (aka Biggest Loser stars) can adhere to (at least while they’re on tv). And very sadly, even undergoing weight loss surgery as a last desperate attempt often fails, too, as many do regain the weight lost.
It’s Not about Calories In vs. Calories Out
As science continues to reveal the intricacies of weight gain and loss, it’s adding support for what many who’ve worked in the trenches with people who struggle with weight have long known: the struggle goes beyond mere calories in vs. calories out. Instead, it’s pointing to what we eat as a key factor in why that equation, long held to be the last word in why someone is fat, doesn’t seem to work for all of us. An equation, by the way, that has caused distress for millions as they’ve wondered what’s wrong with them that they can’t follow this seemingly-simple “rule.”
The latest research on mice, as reported in Science Daily on Monday, tells us that diets high in fat and sugar actually switch on fat-storing genes, creating a “double-whammy” effect. Not only do they contribute more calories but high-fat, high-sugar foods switch on a receptor that causes our bodies to hold on to more fat than they normally would. Hence, with the prolonged exposure to these types of foods that the SAD represents, people are set up for weight gain (theoretically at least — researchers still need to examine if this works similarly in humans but there’s plenty to suggest it does as it is probably one more evolutionary adaptation that allowed the human race to survive during times of famine).
Does It Really Come Down to Popping Pills?
The distressing news? At least as reported in Science Daily, there was mention that high-fat, high-sugar diets should be “avoided.” Such a negative way to put it. I’m sure the talented writers at Science Daily could come up with a way to say the same thing in a more inspiring way — if they understood the psychology surrounding eating choices. With so much power in their hands, the media sadly (that word again) don’t get it.
But even more negative was the comment that the research “provides a new drug target for developing therapies for preventing obesity and helping obese people slim down.”
Drugs??? Why can’t we just eat better? I know — it takes a village. Or in this case a country.
Do you understand what “eating better” means? So many of us think it’s about the diet definition.