Obesity Kills – 18% Of All Deaths in America Due To The Consequences Of Excess Weight Doctors sound the alarm; but they do not provide simple advice on basic dietary changes

By Paolo von Schirach

August 18, 2013

WASHINGTON – I just watched a TV a segment on the life threatening consequences of obesity in America. Yes, if you were not paying attention, there is an obesity epidemic in the US. About 1/3 of the population is affected. And today’s news is that now scientists have determined that about 18% of all deaths occurring in America are due to obesity. This is a stunning fact. Over eating is not just bad for you, it kills you. Prior to this study the official estimate was that only 5% of deaths in America were the consequences of obesity. The new, and much higher, estimate is due to the fact that now doctors count deaths due to diseases like high blood pressure and high cholesterol that people developed on account of obesity.

Obesity causes real damage

Why did it take this long to connect the dots is a mystery to me. Still, the whole point of the TV segment was to inform the general public about the life threatening impact of obesity. Being overweight is not just an esthetic concern for those who want to look good. It is about the creation of degenerative processes within your body that over time impair the functions of vital organs, including your heart, liver, kidneys and pancreas. 

Complicated explanations, little advice

Alright. While this is the bad news, it is important to sound the alarm. Therefore this TV segment should be considered a useful public service. Except that it was not. The two eminent physicians interviewed went on and on explaining how excess fat alters our bodies. Using complex language they managed to make the whole issue very confusing, and therefore almost incomprehensible to the non scientists. 

In the end, after the science lesson, when it came to providing practical advice on how to prevent or reverse obesity, the two experts wasted a precious opportunity to say something useful. “Cut down your sugar intake”. “Fructose is bad for you”. “Look at your refrigerator and cut down on fattening food”. That’s all they said. Look, this information is by no means wrong. It is however fragmentary and incomplete.    

Fruits and vegetables are good for you

Here is the story. Over time we Americans have developed a diet based on low nutrition value, mostly processed foods that tend to make you fat. We have progressively increased our intake of sugar, starch, fat and animal proteins, (beef, pork, chicken). At the same time we have become accustomed to high sugar, carbonated drinks. (Yes, this would be Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and all the others). We have also become addicted to snack foods high in salt, sugar and fat. If this is all or most of what you eat, you are on the path to becoming overweight and eventually obese.

So, what is the remedy? Someone who studied the subject not too long ago wrote some simple advice that I paraphrase in this simple sentence: “eat real food, mostly vegetables and not too much”. It sounds almost too simple. And yet it is true. It means: eliminate processed foods. Cut down your intake of animal proteins rich in fat and cholesterol. Eat fish instead of beef, and increase your daily  intake of fresh fruits, vegetables and salads. 

New eating habits, not another weight loss diet

If you stick to this new healthy diet, you’ll see results. Obesity will be reversed, diet induced type 2 diabetes in most cases will be reversed. Your cholesterol will go back to normal, your high blood pressure will disappear. This is what the two doctors should have said on TV.

Important addition. People should realize that this is not about “going on a diet” in order to lose weight. This is about the adoption, once and for all, of new healthy eating habits. In other words, you have to stick with it.

If you adopt this new diet for a while,  lose some weight, and then you go out for a steak and potatoes dinner to celebrate your success, chances are you’ll regain all they weight you just lost.

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