According to international specialists, physical activity has little role in tackling obesity and instead public health messages should squarely focus on unhealthy eating.
In an article in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, three experts said it was time to “bust the myth” about exercise.
They said while exercising was a key part of staving off diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and dementia, its impact on obesity was minimal.
Instead excess sugar and carbohydrates were key.
The experts blamed the food industry for encouraging the belief that exercise could counteract the impact of unhealthy eating.
They even likened their tactics as “chillingly similar” to those of Big Tobacco on smoking and said celebratory endorsements of sugary drinks and the association of junk food and sport must end.
The experts said there was evidence that up to 40% of those within a normal weight range will still harbor harmful metabolic abnormalities typically associated with obesity.
Despite this public health messaging had “unhelpfully” focused on maintaining a healthy weight through calorie counting when it was the source of calories that mattered most – research has shown that diabetes increases 11-fold for every 150 additional sugar calories consumed compared to fat calories.
The experts pointed to evidence from the Lancet global burden of disease program which shows that unhealthy eating was linked to more ill health than physical activity, alcohol and smoking combined.
Everything you think you know about healthy eating is wrong, according to a new research.
Here you find six myths about healthy eating:
1. Low-fat salad dressing is good for you
Drizzling a fat-free dressing over your salad isn’t as healthy as it seems, or so says a study.
Scientists found that eating your salad alongside a little fat helps your body absorb the nutrients from the vegetables more efficiently.
“Certain foods become healthier when eaten together,” says nutritionist Vicki Edgson.
“Many vegetables are fat-soluble, which means your body absorbs their nutrients better when you eat a little fat with them.”
In fact, James Duigan, author of Clean & Lean, and personal trainer to the stars, including Elle Macpherson, argues you should never have a fat-free salad.
“The more nutrients your body absorbs, the less hungry it feels, plus you’ll get fewer sugar cravings. Adding a little goat’s cheese, olive oil, avocado or nuts to your salad will make you healthier and slimmer.”
2. Skimmed milk is healthier
Studies show the health-boosting vitamins in full-fat milk – including vitamins A, D, E and K – are fat soluble, meaning your body absorbs them more efficiently when taken with fat.
“It’s also worth remembering that full-fat milk isn’t even that high in fat,” says James Duigan.
“It only contains around four per cent of fat compared with, say, cream, which is almost 50 per cent.”
So unless you’re drinking pints of milk every day, you’re better off sticking to full-fat milk. Vitamins A, D, E and K have been shown to keep teeth and bones healthy, and boost your immunity.
A study from Cardiff University found full-fat milk can help keep your metabolism fired up and your risk of heart disease down.
Everything you think you know about healthy eating is wrong, according to a new research
3. Margarine is better than butter
For years we’ve been buying margarine for its butter-like taste but with less fat and calories. Have we been wasting our time?
“Margarine is highly processed and contains hydrogenated fats which the body can’t break down through the digestive tract and liver,” says Vicki Edgson.
“These types of fats are stored in the fat cells of our body, interfering with the way in which we hold on to or lose fat. Butter, on the other hand, is a natural product with barely any additives.”
“Butter contains a natural fatty acid called CLA, which studies show helps reduce your risk of heart disease if you have a small amount each day,” adds James Duigan.
“CLA also enhances the flavor of your food and satisfies your appetite in a way that a bland processed spread never will.”
4. Only sweets contain sugar
“Many women know the fat content of everything, especially if they’ve struggled with their weight,” says James Duigan.
“What they don’t know is the sugar content of foods.”
And, according to James Duigan, this is where the problem lies.
“Traditionally, sugar is seen as a harmless treat, whereas fat is seen as the enemy,” he says.
“Our consumption of sugar has risen dramatically because as well as the obvious culprits, it’s also found in many everyday foods including yoghurts, pasta sauces and even bread.
“Sugar is more fattening. For a start, fat really fills you up. If you eat a bowl of creamy pasta or a fry-up, you’ll become very full. Whereas you can keep eating sugar – in the form of sweets, fizzy drinks and biscuits – and never feel properly full, so it’s easy to overeat.”
Sugar is bad news for our health, too. A study from Harvard University in the U.S. found that drinking a sugary drink every day increases your risk of heart disease. Another study found a high sugar diet is linked to heart disease.
“Sugar makes you fat because it’s the most refined form of carbohydrate,” says Vicki Edgson.
“It rapidly raises blood sugar levels, which affects insulin production and the rate at which the body lays down extra fat.”
5. Count calories to lose weight
“Technically calories do count when it comes to keeping slim,” says James Duigan.
“The calories you put in (what you eat) versus calories out (how much you move around) determine weight loss or gain. However, in reality, it’s a bit more complicated than that. Take, for example, salmon and avocado.”
Both foods are high in fat (the good, heart-healthy kind) and calories. An avocado contains 275 calories and a salmon steak contains around 170 calories (compared with around 90 in a cod fillet).
“But you’ll never get fat eating avocado and salmon,” says James Duigan.
“For a start, they contain omega 3 fatty acids, which as well as being heart-friendly, also help your body to burn fat more efficiently.
“And a low-calorie diet doesn’t necessarily mean a healthy diet. Plenty of low-calorie diets are made up of nutritionally-deficient foods such as bland cereal and processed, tinned food.
“This type of diet will leave you sluggish, unable to concentrate and craving sugar. In time, this can set up a binge/diet cycle that ruins your metabolism.”
James Duigan says: “Just eat nutritious, wholesome foods that are as unprocessed as possible and forget about how many calories they contain.”
6. You can’t eat too much fruit
“Lastly, most people assume the five-a-day message just applies to fruit, but try to eat more vegetables than fruit,” says James Duigan.
“Fruit is high in natural sugars, especially tropical varieties like bananas and mango and over-ripened fruit. Go for thin-skinned fruit – such as berries, pears and apples – because they contain more antioxidants.
“And always eat it with a little fat (such as nuts) because this will slow down the speed at which the sugar hits your bloodstream. This will keep blood sugar levels steady – sugary foods raise them rapidly causing them to crash, which leads to tiredness and cravings for more sweet food.”
Vicki Edgson adds: “Many people are sensitive to fruits and fruit sugars and experience bloating, wind and abdominal pain after eating too much of them. I recommend people eat more vegetables than fruit, yet most of us do it the other way around.”
Jessica Simpson was officially announced as the new face of Weight Watchers as she is on a mission to get back in shape after giving birth a month ago.
Jessica Simpson, 31, is the new North America ambassador for the points-based weight loss programme and joins the likes of Jennifer Hudson, who also fronts campaigns for the brand.
The former singer will trade “yo-yo dieting for a healthier lifestyle”, according to a Weight Watchers spokesman.
Jessica Simpson has already started on a healthy eating regime – although she is not yet able to exercise on doctor’s orders until she fully recovers from her C-section.
She spoke to the new edition of People magazine, in which she appears in a photoshoot with daughter Maxwell Drew and fiancé Eric Johnson.
Jessica Simpson revealed she is eating simple meals, including shrimp with sautéed spring vegetables and quinoa.
She is also drinking home-mixed juices, her favorite being kale, spinach, apple, ginger, romaine, celery and carrot combo.
Jessica Simpson was officially announced as the new face of Weight Watchers as she is on a mission to get back in shape after giving birth a month ago
Talking about how she is anxious to shed her baby weight, Jessica Simpson told People magazine: “After you have your baby it’s like, <<Oh my God, what happened to my body… this is not me>>.”
Jessica Simpson revealed she planned to join Weight Watchers before she learned she was pregnant.
Her weight has yo-yoed over the years and she is keen to feel comfortable in her skin again.
She went on: “It would be nice to feel comfortable in a bikini, but that’s not my goal. I just want to fit into jeans.”
While Jessica Simpson is not allowed to exercise yet, she admits she has failed in keeping her hands off her future husband, former NFL star Eric Johnson, 32.
“I’ve kind of broken one rule,” Jessica Simpson confessed about not being able to abstain from sex.
“I think I have the sexiest man in the world. So that’s the rule I break.”
Elsewhere in the interview – which featured the first photos of baby Maxwell Drew who was born on May 1 weighing 9lb 13oz – Jessica Simpson said she gets withdrawal symptoms when she’s not breastfeeding her daughter.
She said: “It’s become a full-on job. It’s the worst if I have to pump and give Eric a bottle to give her. I miss holding her and having that closeness.”
Since becoming parents, Jessica Simpson admits her and Eric Johnson’s lives have changed completely.
“Life has completely changed. From how I sleep to what I think about, Maxwell has definitely taken over everything!
“We stare at her all the time. We can’t get enough.”
The couple also has wedding plans to think about, and may wed by the end of the year, although Jessica Simpson says they have still not set a date.
She added: “I want to feel really great in a wedding dress,” which will no doubt giving her inspiration in her new Weight Watchers mission.
John Nicholson’s book “The Meat Fix. How a lifetime of healthy eating nearly killed me!”presents author’ story of how eating meat again, after twenty-six vegetarian years, changed his life powerfully for the better, and of his quest to understand why the supposedly healthy diet he had existed on was actually damaging him.
The reformed vegan John Nicholson has gorged on all the foods his granny enjoyed… and has never felt better.
“As the kitchen filled with the smell of caramelized meat, my mouth watered in anticipation of the coming feast: a thick cut of tender steak, fried in butter and olive oil.
This was not a regular treat. In fact, for the previous 26 years I’d been a vegan, eschewing not just meat but all animal products.
My diet was an extreme version of the NHS Eat Well regime, which recommends lots of starchy foods and smaller quantities of saturated fats, cholesterol, sugar and red meat.
According to government advice, I was doing everything right – and yet my health had never been worse. My weight had crept up over the years, until in 2008 I was 14½ stone – which is a lot of blubber for someone who is 5ft 10in – and was classified as clinically obese.
I waddled around, sweating and short of breath, battling extremely high cholesterol and suffering from chronic indigestion. I was always tired and needed to take naps every afternoon. I had constant headaches and swallowed paracetamol and sucked Rennies like they were sweets.
Worst of all, I had irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which left me feeling as if I had lead weights in my gut. My belly was bloated and distended after every meal. I was, to use a technical term, knackered.”
John Nicholson’s book presents the story of how eating meat again, after twenty-six vegetarian years, changed his life powerfully for the better
“But that was about to change. In 2010, I decided to give up my supposedly healthy lifestyle and embrace good old-fashioned meat.
From that day on, I ate red meat four or five days a week. I gobbled the fat on chops, chicken skin and pork crackling. I feasted on everything we’re told to avoid. The effects were instant.
Twenty-four hours after eating meat again, all my IBS symptoms had gone. As the weeks and months passed, every aspect of my health improved dramatically. I became leaner, shedding body fat and becoming stronger and fitter. My headaches went away, never to return. Even my libido increased.
It felt like being young again, like coming back to life. But though I felt energized, I was also furious.
Furious with myself for sticking to the “healthy” eating advice, which was actually far from a sensible diet. But also furious with the so-called experts who have been peddling this low-fat, high-carbohydrate claptrap for so long that no one thinks to question it.
My maternal grandmother would certainly have challenged it. Like my grandfather, she was born into a poor family in East Yorkshire at the turn of the century and their eating regime was simple: meat and at least two vegetables at every meal, lots of butter and full-cream milk (they would have scorned yogurt as little more than “off” milk), bread, potatoes, cake and puddings.
Nothing would have swayed them from that lifestyle. Had a low-fat diet been suggested by a doctor, Gran would have told him to his face that it was all rubbish and that you needed fat to “keep the cold out”.
If she could have seen people buying skimmed milk today, she would have thought they had lost their minds. Getting rid of the best bit of milk? Lunacy.
Late in her life, I recall her scorning the advice on limiting the consumption of eggs because of concerns about cholesterol. On one occasion, she watched in astonishment as a celebrity TV chef made an egg-white omelette. “He’s a bloody fool, that man,” she said.
She was right to be skeptical, it turns out. For years the authorities told us cholesterol-rich foods would kill us – but we’ve since learned that is utter drivel.”
John Nicholson was fat and ill as a vegan
“While Ancel Keys, the scientist whose research in the Fifties first raised concerns about cholesterol levels, suggested that heart disease was linked to large amounts of cholesterol in the blood, he never claimed those levels were linked to the amount of cholesterol we eat.
“There’s no connection whatsoever between cholesterol in food and cholesterol in blood,” he said in a magazine article in 1997. “And we’ve known that all along.”
Since then, the NHS’s paranoia about cholesterol in food has been replaced by concerns about saturated fat – found in everything from butter, cheese and cream to pies, cakes and biscuits.
They suggest saturated fat increases the risk of heart disease. But this is open to debate.
France has the lowest rate of death from coronary heart disease in Europe, yet the country has the highest consumption of saturated fats.
Gran survived into her 80’s and Grandad into his 70’s, despite laboring down the pit his whole working life. Did they achieve this by gobbling low-fat spreads, soya oil or skimmed milk? No, they lived on old-fashioned foods such as butter, lard and beef fat. Indeed, a growing body of opinion suggests that the factory-made products that have replaced these staples – vegetable oils, polyunsaturated margarine and spreads – are the real cause of the degenerative diseases that are so common today.”
John Nicholson is leaner and healthier after he changed his diet as a meat eater
“Findings by the Weston A. Price Foundation, a non-profit-making research organization in America, show most cases of heart attack in the 20th century were of a hitherto little-known form known as myocardial infarction (MI) – a huge blood clot leading to the obstruction of a coronary artery.
MI was almost non-existent in the U.S. in 1910 and was causing no more than 3,000 deaths a year by 1930. However, by 1960, there were at least 500,000 MI deaths a year across the country.
It surely can’t be a coincidence that this happened as the U.S. embraced a new diet based on increasingly large portions of highly processed foods and vegetable oils?
Similar changes in the national diet took place in Britain during the early years of my life and I can’t help wondering whether my father might still be alive today if it had not been for this shift.
I grew up in the North-East during the Sixties and had no idea about “healthy eating”. Those few people who did fret about their diet were thought of as fussy.
No one thought food was a problem, unless the chip shop ran out of battered sausage on a Friday. We ate suet puddings every week, our bacon and eggs were fried in lard, milk was full-fat – I’m not sure skimmed milk even existed in the Sixties – and we ate eggs every day.
Then, in the Seventies, things changed. We got wealthier and food became cheaper. Mam began buying more cakes and confectionery instead of home-baking. We ate more shop-bought food in general.
She also stopped using lard in the chip pan, opting for Spry Crisp ’n Dry instead. Gran wasn’t pleased. She thought vegetable oil was a new-fangled fad – it was, and that was precisely why Mam liked it. She saw it as moving on, modern and fashionable.
Dad never did any exercise and drove everywhere in his newly acquired company car.
More processed food, margarine, sugar and vegetable oil, combined with days spent behind a desk and a wheel, saw him gain a sizeable belly and the apple shape so common today. In 1987, he died of a massive heart attack, aged just 65.
His diet in his later years was not one that would have appealed to Gran. She was vehemently against margarine.
“I’m not eating anything made in a factory,” she’d say. “You don’t know what they put in it.”
It was a fear shared by many of her era. Had I heeded such warnings, I would have avoided my battle with processed food, in the form of soya, the bean whose industrially produced extracts are marketed as a low-fat and exceptionally healthy source of protein.
Today, soya is everywhere. About two-thirds of all processed food in the U.S. contains some form of it. That percentage will not be much different here – you’d be amazed at how often you eat ‘hidden’ soya.
When my partner, Dawn, and I decided to become vegan during the Eighties, it was still rare in Britain. This lifestyle shift came about shortly after we’d left Newcastle Polytechnic and moved to live self-sufficiently in a rented cottage in northern Scotland.
When one of our chickens became ill, we found it terribly difficult to put it out of its misery and began to doubt whether killing – or eating – animals was for us.
We didn’t see why someone else should have to do our dirty work for us, so in January 1984 we ate our last bacon sandwiches and embarked on our dramatic lifestyle change.
At about this time, governments in the U.S. and Europe were recommending that people cut down on eating animal fats, cholesterol and red meat in favor of more starchy foods, fruit and vegetables and wholegrains.
This new healthy eating advice had much in common with the vegetarian diet. We felt we were following a golden path, especially when we discovered the apparent wonders of soya.
Only later did we discover that research by the Weston A. Price Foundation had suggested that processed soya foods are rich in chemicals called trypsin inhibitors, which disrupt protein digestion. I believe it was these that created all my problems with IBS.
Soya has also been associated with hypothyroidism, or an under-active thyroid, a condition whose symptoms include unexplained weight gain, lack of energy and depression – all problems that Dawn began to experience. These problems were exacerbated by other health problems caused by our diet.
As voracious consumers of nuts, pulses and wholegrains, our diet was very high in copper and, because of the lack of animal protein, low in zinc. Some researchers have linked this imbalance to constant feelings of fatigue, something with which Dawn and I were all too familiar.
For years, we gave the NHS every chance to find out what was wrong with us and get us well. But doctors didn’t and couldn’t – perhaps because they wouldn’t even consider that our apparently healthy diet might be the problem.
Finally, in desperation, Dawn suggested we should try eating meat again. At the same time, we cut out all vegetable oils, except olive oil, and ate lots of lard, beef dripping, butter, cream and full-fat milk.
We have also cut out starchy carbohydrates such as bread, which contains a component of starch that causes blood sugar levels to peak and trough, leading to a cycle of hunger and over-eating.
Admittedly, the absence of bread is one aspect of our new diet that might have caused Gran to ask if I had gone “soft in the head”. In her day, they needed lots of carbohydrates to fuel their physically demanding lives, but we are far more sedentary.
But I’m sure she would have approved of everything else about our new diet because her generation knew how to eat properly. That’s a skill we have forgotten, brain-washed as we are by government and medical propaganda.
It’s time we reminded ourselves of it, questioning the one-size-fits-all, “healthy” eating advice we’re spoon-fed and opting instead for wholesome, unprocessed, home-made food.”