What if you're not to blame for your stubborn weight problem? Conventional wisdom says all you have to do to lose weight is eat less and exercise more, right?
But many people have already proven to themselves that diet and exercise plans fail to help you lose weight and keep it off. You’ve probably also heard others say that it’s because you’re getting older, or you’re stressed, or you don’t sleep enough, but you know there has to be something deeper.
Stop torturing yourself. Here are 5 reasons you’re not able to lose weight. No, we’re not denying individual responsibility; we are bemoaning what’s happened to Western ‘civilization’.
Reason 1: Denatured Food in Supermarkets
Most of the food on our supermarket shelves have little to no nutritional value because food producers are more interested in profit than in our health. Apart from the obvious refined products like bread, pasta and all processed foods which simply clog our system, fruit and vegetables are picked long before they’ve ripened to enhance their shelf-life and protect them during transporting. They never enjoy the chance to fill their flesh with the goodness of sun, soil and water, as nature intended. As a result they taste insipid and our body responds by craving more.
In Billibid Prison, Philippine Islands, 1912, twenty-nine criminals under sentence of death were fed exclusively on refined and denatured foods similar to that common in Western nations. Scientists wanted to determine the effect of such a diet.
Their food consisted mainly of polished rice. In six weeks the condemned men became anaemic. Their first symptom was slight oedema (water-logging or swelling) of the feet and ankles, which disappeared after lying down. Puffiness beneath the eyes, with general weakness and pains in the legs, soon followed.
Later the oedema became massive, involving even the thighs. Then came marked apathy with muscular wasting and extreme pallor. Finally, an enlargement of the heart with feeble heart action.
When this denatured food was removed from their diet and whole natural brown rice restored to them, they recovered promptly.
Reason 2: Consumption vs. Elimination
Let’s face it: our consumer society focuses more on what we put into your mouth (because there’s profit made on everything we eat) than what we eliminate from our body. The most popular diet programs all require us to purchase their ‘approved’ foods or supplements. But with research suggesting 95% of slimmers regain the weight, does the diet industry rely on our failure to make its profits?
There are no official statistics for spending on diet products, but estimates vary from $40bn to $100bn in the US alone – more than the combined value of the government’s budget for health, education and welfare.
But concerns are growing that this very industry is fuelling our rising obesity levels – after all, it would be a very short-lived business if we all succeeded first time.
What’s missing is a focus on elimination, rather than consumption.
In 1904 a Russian naturopathic physician by the name of Eli Metchnikof discovered that the body would recycle any toxin that it was not capable of purging. In the recycling process the body would utilize all 7 channels of elimination to try and get the toxic substance removed from the body. This is important to understand because if our health has been compromised, or we’re struggling to lose weight, it would stand to reason that one or more of the body’s channels of elimination are not working effectively.
Most people cannot even name the body’s seven methods of elimination. If we value our health, we should do everything we can to understand these seven vital cleansing systems. They are liver, lungs, lymphatic system, blood, skin, colon and kidneys. But the one we’re interested in most for weight loss is the colon.
In today’s fast paced, fast food society the importance of bowel health is the furthest thing from most people’s minds. Most of us have never been shown or taught the importance of bowel health nor did we learn anything about the bowels from our years of schooling. Some of us may have taken a physiology class and learned of the digestive system but not how to keep them functioning to their best ability.
In Western societies today, colon cancer kills 400% more people than AIDS – can you believe this?! In fact almost all degenerative diseases have their root in a toxic and sluggish bowel. Some of the more notable diseases attributed to toxic bowels are cancer, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, and all rheumatoid disorders. The point that should be taken from these facts is that the bowels play a major role in our day-to-day health, including effective and lasting weight loss.
When faecal matter remains in the bowels for more than 18 hours the body starts to reabsorb the toxins. When this happens we may notice headaches, muscle aches and even lowered resistance to foreign invaders. The solution is colon cleansing and colon flushing using bentonite clay and psyllium husk.
Reason 3: The Adoration of Cooked Meals
Celebrity chefs, lifestyle magazines, TV cookery programs and the majority of restaurants bombard us with the sight, smell and taste of lovingly cooked meals.
Humans have been on earth for millions of years. Prior to mastering fire perhaps less than 10,000 years ago (wikipedia says 250,000 years: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cooking), humans thrived on a diet of nothing but fresh, live, unfired foods as provided by nature in their whole unadulterated state.
Today, we apply heat to most of our food prior to consumption. Like eating ash from the fireplace, microscopic burnt nutrients are toxic. Slowly and silently as the decades pass, the harmful effects of consuming these toxins accumulate. Humans are biologically adapted to raw fresh produce. Eating raw fresh produce as a staple rather than cooked food keeps your body vibrantly healthy at nearly any age and does wonders for weight loss.
Even domesticated pets are fed cooked, processed, packaged food that likewise is denatured by heat. As a consequence, they suffer human-like chronic ailments including cancer, arthritis and other degenerative diseases, which are unheard of in the wild.
Reason 4: Mass Media and the Microwave Mindset
The sad thing is that we live in a microwave society where everybody wants instant gratification. We live in a “I want it now ” system where slick marketing, glossy magazines and gorgeous models on TV have conditioned us to believe lies of instant success, instant wealth, instant weight loss and overnight health instead of the truth that changing routine behavior is painstaking and slow. We’ve been conned into falling for quick-fix diets instead of a way of eating. And in many cases the (edible) products being advertised don’t do what is claimed, or worse, they produce undesired side-effects, like weight gain.
A recent study by psychologists at Purdue University reveals that artificial sweeteners are not only ineffective as a weight loss technique, but sugar-free foods actually cause weight gain. Rats that ate yogurt sweetened with zero calorie sugar substitutes consumed more calories, gained more weight, and increased their body fat. Rats that ate yogurt sweetened with glucose (table sugar) did not gain weight or increase their body fat.
If you’ve been wondering why your sugar-free food and low-calorie snacks don’t seem to help with weight loss, this experiment explains why. Here’s what the study authors Susan Swithers and Terry Davidson had to say:
“The data clearly indicate that consuming a food sweetened with no-calorie saccharin can lead to greater body-weight gain and adiposity (obesity) than would consuming the same food sweetened with a higher-calorie sugar.”
Another independent study by researchers with the Framingham Heart Study in Massachusetts, has turned up results which indicate that the consumption of diet soda correlates with increased metabolic syndrome. Of the 9,000 males and females studied, findings stated that 48% of the subjects were at higher risk for weight gain and elevated blood sugar. The researchers also acknowledged that diet soda drinkers were less likely to consume healthy foods, and that drinking diet soda flavoured with artificial sweeteners more than likely increases cravings for sugar flavoured sweets.
Processed food is a huge business, and by using slick advertising and packaging methods that make us believe they are healthy, we are replacing the real foods that provide us with quality nutrition with “food products” that not only have less nutrition, but also all kinds of other stuff like transfats, preservatives, flavourings colourings, etc., which greatly adds to our body burden if consumed regularly.
Reason 5: Misleading Food Labelling
Do food labels tell the whole story?
If we eat processed or packaged food, ideally we should be able to tell what is in the food being eaten by looking at the ingredient list and the nutrition facts label. However, this is not always the case and what we see on the label may not always be what we get.
ConsumerLab.com recently tested 30 nutrition bars — marketed as either protein bars, meal replacement bars, diet bars or energy bars — and analysed each of the products for levels of calories, fats, carbohydrates, sugars, proteins, cholesterol and sodium.
In their analysis the company tested one sample of each product. Nutrition bars that failed any of the first round of tests were tested a second time before receiving an official fail rating.
Fifteen of the bars had more carbohydrates than stated on the label, with some of the bars having as much as 20 grams more carbohydrate than the label indicated, and several of these products were labelled “low carb.”
One explanation for the excess carbohydrates is that some manufacturers exclude the ingredient glycerine from the final carbohydrate tally. Glycerine is a sweetener and moisture additive, and the Food and Drug Administration requires that glycerine be counted as a carbohydrate on labels, he noted.
In addition to the carbohydrate findings, some of the nutrition bars’ sodium and saturated fat levels were as much as 2- to 3-times stated levels on the labels, and many bars contained an average of 8 grams more sugar than stated on product labels.
In general, the amounts of protein, cholesterol and calories were labelled accurately on the nutrition bars that were analysed.
A further problem with existing food labels is that allergenic ingredients may not be listed. Cross contamination, which can occur when the same equipment is used to manufacture multiple products, can potentially cause allergic products to be introduced to non-allergic products if equipment is not cleaned adequately.
There is also the potentially daunting task of trying to decipher what exactly certain ingredients are. For instance, if you were trying to avoid corn you would have to avoid not only anything listed as corn, but also:
Corn in its various guises can be found in almost any processed food
* Malt extract and syrup
* Food starch
* Fructose and fructose syrup
* Baking powder
* Monosodium glutamate
* Confectioner’s sugar
However, the bigger issue is whether we’ve been inadvertently concerned about the wrong ingredients. Take fat for example. Most people have been brainwashed into believing that low-fat foods are good for us.
Well, just for a minute, lets forget everything we know about fat for a moment. Fats get a bad rep. For years the health industry and food manufacturers have bundled all fats, good or bad, together and have told us to keep them out of our diets. However, there are two sides to the story of fats. It is absolutely true that we should aim to completely eliminate the ‘bad’ fats, such as trans-fatty acids and saturated fats. However, there are also the ‘good’ fats, also known as Essential Fatty Acids that are so beneficial and vital to our well-being, yet sadly we are chronically deficient in them.
As mentioned these Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) are called essential because the body absolutely requires them to function, yet it cannot manufacture them itself. It relies upon us to consume these fats, namely omega 3 and omega 6. These fats are so important that even if we eliminated the bad fats from our diets completely, we would still, eventually, die if we did not ingest any of these EFAs. We simply cannot live without these fats.
And the right fats assist in weight loss. Fats help to increase our metabolic rate, which means that we burn more calories. It also helps kidneys dump excess water held in tissues and helps decrease cravings by lowering the glycaemic index of foods, which in turn suppresses appetite.
Udo Erasmus, the world’s leading authority on fats and oils states:
“In our culture, most overweight results from excessive consumption of sweet and starchy foods. If we limit our intake of carbohydrates to our body’s energy requirement, normal body weight is one of the benefits. Fats suppress appetite and therefore help to stabilize body weight. The good fats (omega-3 especially and omega-6) increase body fat burning, decrease body fat production, and increase body heat production (i.e. fat burn off without exercise).
For best results, lower carbohydrate intake and increase consumption of good (omega-3 and omega-6) fats made with health in mind.”
What You Can Do
We started this article wondering who’s to blame for not being able to lose weight. If you’ve read this far you’ve realized that there is much you can do to improve your weight loss, but it may seem a little overwhelming considering how much is not known about the food we consume. However, here are three tips to ensure that you know exactly what you are eating:
- Don’t eat packaged or processed foods;
- Eat whole foods;
- Make your food at home.
If you are used to relying on processed foods then this may sound difficult, but it is actually just a difference in mindset. Choosing whole foods like fresh produce, raw milk, organic meat and eggs and other ‘real’ food is the natural way to eat, and once you start eating this way it will seem only natural to you.