As the summer Olympic Games for 2012, come to an end, The Department of Health and the Royal Medical Colleges is pushing forwards with the renewal of their campaign to tackle the obesity epidemic. Recent numbers are in, and a quarter of all adults are classified as obese. With the increase in obesity, comes an increase in related diseases like heart disease, and diabetes.
Professor Stephenson, a spokesman for the Royal Medical Colleges believes, “Obesity is a much bigger problem than HIV was, much bigger than swine flu”. The ‘big’ question to the solving the obesity epidemic is: Is it diet? Exercise? Taxation? Food labeling? Changing how we market food to children? Changing the way food is advertised? Increased education?
For more than 30 years, we’ve been told if we want to lose weight then we need to cut out starchy carbohydrates. However, the latest craze is no longer targeting carbohydrates, but rather focusing on gluten. The basis is you can eat gluten free bread, pasta, cakes cereal, pancakes, and cookies, and lose weight, while at the same time you are reducing diabetes, high blood pressure, reversing plaque, arthritis, etc.
Back in the 50’s and 60’s, you were lucky if there was one obese kid in the whole playground. Kids all ate whatever they wanted, and we never worried about becoming obese. Then in the 1970’s things started to change. So what has changed? Well the latest rave is that gluten is responsible for our increased weight and big bellies, but really?
The bottom line is that the way we buy food has changed dramatically. Our daily diet consists of plenty of foods that are processed, and therefore high in salt, sugar, and fat. In fact, the average cereal bar has a whopping eight teaspoons of sugar or 100 grams.
Farming involves more additives and chemicals, and antibiotics and hormones are rampant. Few of us shop at the local butcher anymore so your meat has to be processed to last on store shelves. Our food is filled with all kinds of additives for color, taste, etc. It quickly becomes very clear, that while gluten may be a factor in obesity it is but one of many. We’d have to say that our whole food system might be in need of an overall if we hope to curb obesity.