On-line advert depicts the fattening effects of carbohydrate

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I came across a video today (posted below). It’s an Associated Press news report regarding an anti-soft-drink/soda video made by the New York City Department of Health. It portrays a man drinking the contents of a soda-can. Except that the contents aren’t the fizzy, sugary liquid one is anticipating, but what looks likes globs of fat.

I like this video a lot, because what it does is help cement in people’s minds the fact that sugar can be fattening. This is an important message because it’s true, and also because there’s still a tendency for individuals to associate body fatness with fatty foods. However, as you can see here, the evidence suggests that fat is not inherently fattening. And perhaps most importantly of all, eating a low-fat diet is likely to do very little to quell the burgeoning obesity epidemic.

As you can read here, there are good, sound biochemical reasons to believe that a key player in the development of excess fat in the body is the hormone insulin ” which is secreted most plentifully in response to the ingestion of carbohydrate. Sugar (particularly the refined variety) has the potential to cause problems here, particularly if the sugar is drunk (rather than eaten). One reason for this is the fact that a lot of sugar can be downed very quickly in when it’s in liquid form. Plus, those who drink sugar may not compensate by consuming less of other foods.

So, to my mind, anything that can help individuals to associate refined sugar with fatness is going to be a good thing. However, as many of you will know, it’s not necessarily just sugar that can cause us to pile on the pounds. Sugar is the building block of starch, and the truth is that many starchy staples such as bread, pasta, rice, potato and breakfast cereals can disrupt blood sugar and insulin levels in a way reminiscent of sugar, particularly when such foods are eaten in quantity. In other words, starchy carbs can most certainly be fattening, even though they may contain little or no fat.

And it’s not just the fact that these foods tend to induce fat-making processes in the body, but also the fact that they can induce low blood sugar (hypoglycaemia) that can trigger hunger. And even if they don’t to this, they tend not to be particularly satisfying foods anyway. Now, I know conventional recommendations are for us to base our diet on starchy staples, but such a diet tends to encourage overeating. Simple as that.

I think it’s unlikely that we’re going to see adverts of people shaking globules of fat out of their ‘healthy’ breakfast cereal box or opening a bag of bread to find it contains a fatty mess any time soon. However, I’m hoping it isn’t going to be too long now before there is widespread acknowledgment of the fattening potential starchy carbs have.

Those of you keen not to see your weight soar over the festive season would do well, in my opinion, to keep your diet as ‘primal’ as possible. Perhaps have your fill of meat, fish, eggs, vegetables (other than the potato) and nuts, and eat regularly enough so that you’re unlikely to be tempted much by starches and sweets. Last year I was away for almost a month, and spent most of the month surrounded by lots of quite unhealthy food. I applied the ‘primal’ strategy, but most certainly was no angel. I returned home precisely the same weight I was when I left. I think that was the first time Christmas and New Year was not accompanied by a spike in my weight.

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