Battling the Bulge
Atkins, South Beach, high protein, low carbs, low calories, or low fat? Americans spend $42 billion a year on diet and health books. Some 45 percent of American women and 25 percent of men say they are on some kind of a diet (abc News, January 10). Yet, despite diets of every kind, America’s big problem has not shrunk. According to government studies, the average American weighs 25 pounds more than in the 1960s.
One national survey found that 80 percent of the women who had tried a diet considered it a failure; 71 percent of them gained back every single pound they had lost (Science Letter, Oct. 26, 2004). Even worse than gaining the weight back, many “quick fix” solutions jeopardize long-term health by depriving the body of certain foods with essential nutrients.
Some of the government’s newest suggested guidelines to healthier living include eating more fruits, whole grains, and vegetables, and reducing calories, fat and carbs.
As we have often noted in this column, there is no secret trick or miraculous fad behind healthful living. Healthy living comes primarily as a result of healthy eating. There are other health laws of course, like exercise, sleep, fresh air, etc. But more than any other law, how we feel and look physically is determined primarily by what and how much we eat.