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soror

s/o Death by diet....How do we stop it?

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This is the second post where you've seemed to imply that your WOE is right and others are wrong. Which kind of goes to the point I was making in my first post.

 

You do realize that many, many people (including me) thrive by making whole grains--things like pasta, bread and rice--staples of their diet? That untold generations of people all across the world have not only survived but thrived on diets based on those foods?

 

I repeat (or re-state): Demonizing foods and food groups is nothing but a backhanded way of trying to laud or legitimize your (generic) own way of eating. And I think to a certain extent it's wishful thinking ("I've got it figured out, so if I eat this way that I have decided is the right way I won't get sick or die"). It's detrimental to the greater goal of getting people to take steps toward improving their overall diet.

The people who had/have grains as staples of their diet, also had adequate protein and fat to keep carb cravings at bay. People didn't snarf down whole bags of potato chips or have cravings for a box (!) of doughnuts in the sixties and seventies, when we'd had bacon with buttered toast for breakfast!

 

The food pyramid recommending eleven servings of grain but very, very little fat to slow down the blood sugar spike, is what katilac is decrying. It turned the nation into binge snackers because they tried to be "good" at their low fat, high starch meals...but then their blood sugar spiked and crashed, leaving them desperate for a carb fix. It was new, it was a bad idea, and we are still paying for it.

 

The three square meals concept still works for people who are active and who have never been significantly overweight.

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Did they actually? The stories I hear from people who had hpme ec are of learning to prepare processed foods from boxes, not learning to prepare fresh produce.

 

It must depend upon the school (as it usually does).  At our school they learn how to cook a variety of yummy things - from scratch.  I love when they bring samples.

 

FWIW, not all yummy things are healthy, but they learn a variety and none of it comes from a pre-prepared box.

 

Part of the reason we have things like HFCS used so much is because of the way we farm, and fund farming.

 

We need to get on sustainable farming anyway, because we are going to die of environmental degradation before bad diet wipes us out.  We don't need to ban many of these things, we need to farm appropriately and we will not be able to produce them economically in a way many people can afford.

 

Sustainable farming is certainly on the increase.  My youngest will be changing our farm around after graduation (from pony farm to permaculture) and is hoping to assist a community group to do the same with their property (which is currently in mass farming corn and/or soybeans).  His college might even hire him part time over the winter to help them adjust theirs - esp since his college is a well known "Green" college.  Time will tell if he fits into their budget or not, but I think they are committed to changing even if they can't afford to hire him.

 

He's been filling us in with multiple success stories from people doing similarly.  I don't know how long it will take to be a statistical difference, but growth is happening and often because folks see the success of the pioneers who have started it all.

 

Time will also tell if he's successful or not, but many folks in his and our circles are fully on board with trying.

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I personally think focus on overall health rather than weight in isolation would help a lot of people. In the lower ranges of overweight there's not a lot of proof that it drastically increases mortality anyway.

 

Focus on stuff that helps people have access to fresh food and adequate time to sleep and exercise. Stop trying to produce huge volumes of food for minimum cost and diminishing quality.

 

One tour we went to that dealt with farming the guide stated that the grain produced from an acre (I think) had increased from 12 bags to around 100 in the last 100 years. It's hard to see how that could be sustainable long term though of course we have a growing population to feed.

This is what I think too! my daughter has become a vegan in the last two months. We are all eating better now. My daughter  and I are a bit overweight with both of us weighing in the 130's and 5'2" and 5'1" respectively and our weight has only decreased slightly. Since she became a vegan, she has also began walking more regularly. Our goal is for better health, not weight loss. My mom makes comments on how pretty dd would be if she would lose some weight. Thankfully, she only says this to me and not to her. I'm proud of my daughter and know she is healthier now even if she doesn't lose another pound!

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I grew up in western Canada, and all my extended family lived on farms. They certainly weren't biking and walking to town very often. The distances were either too great or it was too cold. Plus they were transporting things to town or from town. People were active from working on the farm, participating in physical activities like hockey and curling in the winter, riding/rodeo and baseball/softball in the summer. And the number of restaurants and donut shops in town was much less. 

 

In the cities where I've lived in Canada, I've walked, biked, taken public transportation or driven. Again, weather is a huge factor. It's often too cold and dangerous to walk or bike in the winter. Even though there are a lot of bike paths and sidewalks, they don't always get cleared from ice and snow sufficiently to be safe and accessible. Public transportation has the same issues with snow and ice. There are long delays, long waits for busses, and the cost of public transport isn't easily affordable for everyone, either. 

 

It's not just being "forced" to put away the car that is going to save people from obesity. It's choices people are making about the food they eat, and the amount they move their bodies.

I think you are closer to my age though - I'm 41.  That would be with a well-established car culture. You'd need to go back a generation or two to see how people functioned when they weren't is ubiquitous.  I knew a lady who was about 90 in the village I used to go to for a hooking group.  She'd grown up on a farm outside the village, and later she taught at the school in the village. She walked an hour every day to get there, and that wasn't terribly unusual.  

 

Even my step-mom described a whole different world.  They would do things like skate, just with kids close enough to walk - no one who lived close to us did that.  There were kids, but they didn't want to go clear off a pond and skate or build a fort.  They wanted to watch tv or get driven to some event.  The community participation was much lower.

 

The west is certainly different, in part because it was settled later.  However, people did live rurally, including in Canada, before there were cars - it is possible to build communities to make that work.  There is a reason that in older rural communities you tend to see homes clustered together in villages.  And smaller farms.  You can see similar approaches in northern European countries which also have smaller populations.

 

Where there are not many cars, people really will walk.  And build so they can get where thy need to.

 

Cars are going to have to be rethought anyway, in all likelihood.

 

I don't think anyone has suggested that it's all about cars.  But it is one area where it is really clear that there are health differences relating to how much people walk.

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Did they actually? The stories I hear from people who had hpme ec are of learning to prepare processed foods from boxes, not learning to prepare fresh produce.

 

One of the lessons in my home ec class was to make pancake syrup from corn syrup and artificial maple flavoring :ack2: To go on top of refined flour pancakes that I suspect had added sugar in the batter (don't specifically remember)

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I'm not typically anti-government, but seriously, the government doesn't care if people on SNAP eat healthy or not. As you can see from the current admin's announcement about their proposed overhaul, they only care about distributing food they're already subsidizing. Which is why if it passes, low income families are going to be stuck with a ton of cereal and pasta and juice and canned corn. Letting the government dictate what people on food stamps eat is going to make people LESS healthy.

 

And I know you know this, but some people buy junk food because they have no way to prepare healthy food. When you're homeless, or live in a hotel room, or your slumlord won't repair your oven or fridge, your food options become extremely limited. Junk food is ready to eat, doesn't usually require refrigeration, it's calorie dense, and tired, stressed out kids will eat it without a battle.

 

The problem isn't that poor people are too stupid to feed themselves healthfully. It's that they can't afford to. Making junk food more expensive isn't going to fix that; we need to make healthy food- and actually healthy food, not the crap they give out on WIC but fresh produce and meat and fish- more affordable. Way more affordable. My family has a reasonably comfortable food budget each month, and even I struggle to make healthy choices because it's so expensive. When I went shopping the other day, a bag of frozen cod big enough to feed my family of four (only three of us who eat solid food) was seven dollars. A bag of apples is six. A small bag of avocados is also six. Blueberries are four dollars for a tiny container that my nine-year-old will eat in one sitting. There's no way I could afford to eat like that if I was on SNAP. And let's be honest, no one wants to have to eat rice and beans all the time. Yes, it might be healthier, but people who are already stressed from living in poverty don't want to have to tell their children that yes, they're having rice and beans for the seventeenth day in a row.

As someone who's subsisted entirely on WIC while pregnant, and then later on both WIC and SNAP while I breastfed a child who ended up with multiple significant food allergies, I agree with all of this.

 

Here is a good summary of the issue (Twitter thread): https://twitter.com/hugwins/status/963282840292032512 (sorry, can't link properly from my phone).

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But people aren't covering vast geographical distances in their day to day lives (for the most part).  They're generally just getting from their home to their job in the same city or community.  And the fact is that cities in the US have not prioritized public transportation, walkability, or bike-ability, and have emphasized cars.

 

Dan Buettner's research shows that the number one factor predicting happiness in a community (and happiness tracks well with healthiness) is how walkable and bike-able that community is.  Not only does the walking and biking itself directly contribute to health and happiness (and lower obesity rates), but the dangers and stresses associated with driving through traffic take a toll as well, whether we're conscious of it or not.

 

I think the other thing that is harder to pin down, largely because of our assumptions about property, is that people need to be able to find homes near to where they work.

 

If that was kept in mind, city planning would look rather different, but it wouldn't actually be that hard to do.

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But people aren't covering vast geographical distances in their day to day lives (for the most part).  They're generally just getting from their home to their job in the same city or community.  And the fact is that cities in the US have not prioritized public transportation, walkability, or bike-ability, and have emphasized cars.

 

Dan Buettner's research shows that the number one factor predicting happiness in a community (and happiness tracks well with healthiness) is how walkable and bike-able that community is.  Not only does the walking and biking itself directly contribute to health and happiness (and lower obesity rates), but the dangers and stresses associated with driving through traffic take a toll as well, whether we're conscious of it or not.

 

Just getting to work can be a vast distance for thousands of people. My dh has a 25km bus ride one-way, along with thousands in our part of town.

 

Being able to walk and bike in one's home neighbourhood is nice, but I don't even see people choosing to do this all that much in my neighbourhood even though many things are within walking/biking distance. The people who walk their dogs, sure, but others not so much. It's the choices people are making on how to spend their time. And in the winter, there is drastically less people outdoors walking to the corner store. 

 

And how about people in the deep south? How many are choosing to walk to the store to buy milk in the heat? None, I'd guess. 

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I'm so tired of hearing about how cars are causing all the world problems, frankly. Look at the geography of the USA and the climate over the entire country. It's huge and spread out, and much of it is covered by snow for a good chunk of the year. People need quick, effective and safe means of transportation all over the country and all year-round. North America is not Europe, with a small area, highly concentrated population and mild climate.  Rant over.

 

How about a restaurant/process foods culture contributing to obesity? Or a lack of movement culture contributing to obesity? Or a "fill up your schedule" culture so there's no time to cook or move?

Whether you like it or not, our car centered culture does contribute to the obesity problem in America. I've lived in Africa, Portugal, China and South Korea as well as America. In countries where I did not have a car and did lots of walking and used public transportation, I had a much easier time keeping my weight under control. Yes, the US is large, but most people live and work in places where public transportation, biking and walking would be possible if the infrastructure of towns and cities were organized better. 

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This is the second post where you've seemed to imply that your WOE is right and others are wrong. Which kind of goes to the point I was making in my first post.

 

You do realize that many, many people (including me) thrive by making whole grains--things like pasta, bread and rice--staples of their diet? That untold generations of people all across the world have not only survived but thrived on diets based on those foods?

 

I repeat (or re-state): Demonizing foods and food groups is nothing but a backhanded way of trying to laud or legitimize your (generic) own way of eating. And I think to a certain extent it's wishful thinking ("I've got it figured out, so if I eat this way that I have decided is the right way I won't get sick or die"). It's detrimental to the greater goal of getting people to take steps toward improving their overall diet.

 

I think though that there was a clear effect of the whole low-fat, no eggs, not too much beef or pork, skim milk, etc approach that really upped consumption of rather low quality carbs and sugar, while people were less likely to be satisfied by fats and protein.  Plus the cheap simple carbs are - well - cheap.

 

It seems like it was kind of a particularly bad combination, and lots of diet-gurus and doctors promoted the idea that as long as it was low-fat it was good.

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I'm not typically anti-government, but seriously, the government doesn't care if people on SNAP eat healthy or not. As you can see from the current admin's announcement about their proposed overhaul, they only care about distributing food they're already subsidizing. Which is why if it passes, low income families are going to be stuck with a ton of cereal and pasta and juice and canned corn. Letting the government dictate what people on food stamps eat is going to make people LESS healthy.

 

And I know you know this, but some people buy junk food because they have no way to prepare healthy food. When you're homeless, or live in a hotel room, or your slumlord won't repair your oven or fridge, your food options become extremely limited. Junk food is ready to eat, doesn't usually require refrigeration, it's calorie dense, and tired, stressed out kids will eat it without a battle.

 

The problem isn't that poor people are too stupid to feed themselves healthfully. It's that they can't afford to. Making junk food more expensive isn't going to fix that; we need to make healthy food- and actually healthy food, not the crap they give out on WIC but fresh produce and meat and fish- more affordable. Way more affordable. My family has a reasonably comfortable food budget each month, and even I struggle to make healthy choices because it's so expensive. When I went shopping the other day, a bag of frozen cod big enough to feed my family of four (only three of us who eat solid food) was seven dollars. A bag of apples is six. A small bag of avocados is also six. Blueberries are four dollars for a tiny container that my nine-year-old will eat in one sitting. There's no way I could afford to eat like that if I was on SNAP. And let's be honest, no one wants to have to eat rice and beans all the time. Yes, it might be healthier, but people who are already stressed from living in poverty don't want to have to tell their children that yes, they're having rice and beans for the seventeenth day in a row.

 

Boo-frickin'-hoo. People who are stressed from long-term unemployment don't want to have to tell their children that yes, we're having rice and beans or veggie omelettes or soup that's a teeny bit of canned chicken and a whole lot of filler or [insert cheap but unprocessed meal here] for the umpteenth day in a row. BTDT.

 

It's called being responsible.

 

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And when we finally were able to go back to normal grocery shopping, guess who got stuck eating all the frozen soups & stews for MONTHS afterward? Yeah, that would be me.

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So, what should *we* do?

In my view...

--We should regularly grow some fresh food and share it.  With our neighbors, and with someone who really needs it but can't get it, via a food bank or direct gifts or a charity.

--We might be able to sponsor a poor family to have a community garden. There is a fantastic after school program here that is funded by some nutritional grant or something that gives kids AND THEIR FAMILIES community garden plots in a big, expansive park with some underused land.  These are kids who are living in very crowded little apartments whose families, thanks to this program, suddenly have vegetable gardens.  This stuff WORKS.  And if there is underused available public land, it is not very expensive.

--We should make sure our kids know how to do simple nutritional balancing and cooking.  I used "Food Rules" with DD in late middle school, but we also pretty much insisted throughout her life on protein, fruit/veggies, and (mostly whole grain) carbs at every meal, and no less than two of those food groups for every snack, and no dessert without a meal or healthy snack first.  She was a sensory integration issues kid who did not eat as wide a variety of food as we hoped, but she did have a decently healthy and balanced diet.  And she knows how to fix easy versions of all her favorite foods.

--We should watch out for available big fridges and give them to local food outlets.  Freezers, too.  One of the reasons that little food banks don't give away better food is that it's so hard to store.  They get it when it's on its last legs, and then they have to get it out to people immediately if they don't have refrigeration.  I could just cry when I think of all available produce that we could have taken at our local charity but didn't before we had a walk in fridge.  Now thanks to a church that was closing we have a fridge AND a big chest freezer, and the quality of the food we can give away has skyrocketed.  It was always available to us, but we couldn't take it.  Salad stuff, portobello mushrooms, fennel, cabbage, avocados, tomatoes, and of course the normal apples, oranges, onions, and potatoes.  Meat, too.  And P F Changs' frozen dinners for 4-6 people, which are really good and which  you basically dump into a pan and warm up to serve.

--We should give herbs and spices, even just salt and pepper, to local food banks.  Or give spice kits as gifts instead of tins of cookies.  Have you ever thought about how deadly dull food would be without these flavorings?  This way if people get those deliveries of white flour they can at least hope to make it taste decent.  

--Personally I don't favor the change to the food stamp program.  I think choice empowers people, and that food deliveries of preselected stuff is going to lead to a lot more waste than we have now.  But if that is the world we are going to live in, then I'm going to try to shift what we provide at our local charity to complement those deliveries.  I'm going to look for ways to make that work, because I need people to be fed more than I need to fight about whether they are being fed exactly right.

--But again, right now, we should regularly grow some fresh food and share it.  With our neighbors, and with someone who really needs it but can't get it, via a food bank or direct gifts or a charity.  And we should buy fresh food and give it to people who can't afford it.

Edited by Carol in Cal.
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Being able to walk and bike in one's home neighbourhood is nice, but I don't even see people choosing to do this all that much in my neighbourhood even though many things are within walking/biking distance. The people who walk their dogs, sure, but others not so much. It's the choices people are making on how to spend their time. And in the winter, there is drastically less people outdoors walking to the corner store. 

 

And how about people in the deep south? How many are choosing to walk to the store to buy milk in the heat? None, I'd guess. 

 

'Tis a choice system for many (not all).  My mom lives in a totally walkable small city and in my youth we walked - even when it was -30 outside we still walked to school (up to 2 miles, 3.2km, before busing was provided), shopping, friend's houses and all over - year round.

 

Now when I visit her I have to argue to be able to walk to the corner drug store - less than 6 blocks away.  She thinks we should drive!  I can understand her needing to drive (health issues), but hubby and I regularly walk roughly 5 miles, 8km, per day.  I'm pretty sure WE can handle those 6 blocks even if it's close to or below freezing outside - or into the upper 80s.

 

Hubby and I are the weirdos choosing the far away parking places in a mall, Wally World, or even church lot.  Our vehicle is lonely (or an introvert, we haven't figured out which ;)  )  Way too many keep circling until they find something close or grumble if they don't.  A few have legitimate reasons to need something close.  For most, it's a mindset.  We don't care.  We make our choices and they make theirs.

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Boo-frickin'-hoo. People who are stressed from long-term unemployment don't want to have to tell their children that yes, we're having rice and beans or veggie omelettes or soup that's a teeny bit of canned chicken and a whole lot of filler or [insert cheap but unprocessed meal here] for the umpteenth day in a row. BTDT.

 

It's called being responsible.

 

You can make your choices and don't want criticism.  Others are allowed the same right.  Their choices are not affecting you.

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But schools used to do that. Grades 7-9 we had cooking, sewing and shop.

Our middle schools teach these things. A friend of mine teaches one of these classes: cooking/sewing/personal finance. She says she was shocked to find how many of her middle-schoolers had never cooked anything themselves, and even worse, how many rarely sat down to any meal with a parent.

 

:-(

 

Anne

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It doesn't for everyone, but there are many people who find smaller portions and controlling the amount they eat is all they need to do. It isn't difficult to find you're eating too much, whether it is because portion sizes are so huge and you are eating out more, or you have changed you activity level, or whatever.

 

When people are used to over-sized portions, even just from a visual perspective, it's pretty inevitable that some will just eat more than they need.

 

For those it doesn't work for - well, it doesn't work. So they will have to try something else. She may just be people who will always be large. Even in those cases though, portion awareness is probably not a bad thing.

Individual hormones, the microbiome and circadian rhythm all figure into weight, probably more so than calories.

 

I don’t think portion control is as important as what a person eats (and when and how often) and how it affects their body.

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Re. walkability--that's one of the key criterion that I used to pick my current neighborhood.  We have a grocery store, drug store, little shops, some low key nonfastfood restaurants, and a library within walking distance of our house.  Two Little Free Libraries.  Starbucks, Peets, Jamba Juice.  And now I even found a dentist I can walk to!  On the downside, there used to be a farmers' market in walking distance, but it moved to just too far away to be able to walk to and from and expect your fragile veggies and fruits to hold up in the summer, bummer.  But, our neighborhood comes and goes with regards to safety.  Last month there were 2-3 armed robberies here, very unusual but quite alarming--4 guys with guns holding up people within a short distance of their homes.  And so right now I'm not walking up to 'the neighborhood' for the time being.

 

One thing I remember as a kid was all these little old ladies hauling purchases around in tallish basket pull carts that held maybe 2-4 grocery bags worth of stuff.  They would struggle to pull them up the hills and tall stairs to their homes, but they were independentish.  I don't even know where to get something like that now.  So that does kind of cramp my walk to shop style--I'm limited to what I can carry.  Luckily those Ikea totes came out and they are very sturdy and hold a lot of stuff.

 

I have never been able to walk to work or church.  

Edited by Carol in Cal.
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Individual hormones, the microbiome and circadian rhythm all figure into weight, probably more so than calories.

 

I don’t think portion control is as important as what a person eats (and when and how often) and how it affects their body.

 

It looks like it's not either/or, but a combo of all.  The problem in the past has been expecting one magical component (or maybe two).  ALL components seem to have an effect with different priorities for different folks (their bodies anyway).

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You can make your choices and don't want criticism.  Others are allowed the same right.  Their choices are not affecting you.

 

When my family's hard earned money is going to subsidize bad lifestyle choices it ABSOLUTELY affects me. I don't mind paying taxes to subsidize the purchase of healthy foods for low-income families. I'd be totally supportive of increasing the monthly SNAP benefits if people had to spend it on healthy foods and couldn't use it for junk.

 

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'Tis a choice system for many (not all).  My mom lives in a totally walkable small city and in my youth we walked - even when it was -30 outside we still walked to school (up to 2 miles, 3.2km, before busing was provided), shopping, friend's houses and all over - year round.

 

Now when I visit her I have to argue to be able to walk to the corner drug store - less than 6 blocks away.  She thinks we should drive!  I can understand her needing to drive (health issues), but hubby and I regularly walk roughly 5 miles, 8km, per day.  I'm pretty sure WE can handle those 6 blocks even if it's close to or below freezing outside - or into the upper 80s.

 

Hubby and I are the weirdos choosing the far away parking places in a mall, Wally World, or even church lot.  Our vehicle is lonely (or an introvert, we haven't figured out which ;)  )  Way too many keep circling until they find something close or grumble if they don't.  A few have legitimate reasons to need something close.  For most, it's a mindset.  We don't care.  We make our choices and they make theirs.

 

From what I've understand studies on public transport how that even if it is very good, you don't get huge boosts in ridership unit it becomes more convenient than cars.  That might be due to gas prices, but mostly it is hassle like traffic or parking.

 

I suspect it's somewhat similar with walking.  People change when the other way becomes a hassle.

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I personally think focus on overall health rather than weight in isolation would help a lot of people. In the lower ranges of overweight there's not a lot of proof that it drastically increases mortality anyway.

 

Focus on stuff that helps people have access to fresh food and adequate time to sleep and exercise. Stop trying to produce huge volumes of food for minimum cost and diminishing quality.

 

One tour we went to that dealt with farming the guide stated that the grain produced from an acre (I think) had increased from 12 bags to around 100 in the last 100 years. It's hard to see how that could be sustainable long term though of course we have a growing population to feed.

Most grain goes to feed farmed animals. Cutting down on the huge amount of meat and dairy that Americans consume would help the country's health tremendously.

 

One way to do this is to stop the ridiculous tax subsidies to these meat and dairy farm corporations. The slaughter of half a million perfectly healthy US dairy cows a few years back so that prices could be "stabilised" is a prime example. And the milk in schools. Let the prices reflect the true cost of production. More subsidies to growers of healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, pulses ,grains.

Edited by Sandwalker
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Individual hormones, the microbiome and circadian rhythm all figure into weight, probably more so than calories.

 

I don’t think portion control is as important as what a person eats (and when and how often) and how it affects their body.

 

I don't think there is a more or less important.

 

It depends on the person.

 

There is no perfect diet - we're an adaptable species.

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Home Ec, shop, and other such classes fell into disrepute because they were gender segregated.

It's hard to imagine how to start them up again.  They require expertise and equipment and those are hard to come by.

 

There is a lady at my church who was a professor of sewing at a local community college for many years.  She is probably 85 or so now.  But wow, she was an EXPERT.  Her degree was in home ec with a sewing emphasis.  I'm not sure that's even a degree anymore.

 

I am 60 and have never attended or even visited an elementary or middle school that had a kitchen classroom, a sewing classroom, or a shop classroom available.  Not one.  There are some high schools that have a shop of some sort but that is it.  I took the one textile oriented class in my (large) high school curriculum that was available, and the most sophisticated equipment we got to use was a frame loom for making Ojibway bags, a frame for stretcher embroidery, and a crochet hook.  IIRC there were a couple of table looms that you could try if you already knew how to use them and supplied your own yarns, but that was not part of the curriculum.  It takes up a lot of room and effort to install and maintain shop or sewing or cooking equipment, and I think the schools were glad to be out from under that need.  

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It looks like it's not either/or, but a combo of all. The problem in the past has been expecting one magical component (or maybe two). ALL components seem to have an effect with different priorities for different folks (their bodies anyway).

I agree. I’m not saying it’s either/or. But it certainly isn’t as simple as CICO which has been touted as the answer for decades despite not working for many, many people.

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When my family's hard earned money is going to subsidize bad lifestyle choices it ABSOLUTELY affects me. I don't mind paying taxes to subsidize the purchase of healthy foods for low-income families. I'd be totally supportive of increasing the monthly SNAP benefits if people had to spend it on healthy foods and couldn't use it for junk.

 

TBH, so little of your hard earned money goes toward it, it's a non-issue. It's less than 9 cents of every dollar because that 9 cents includes ALL safety net programs, not just SNAP.  When choosing battles, this one is pretty darn minor.  You'd have a better effect if you bought a few extra healthy things each time you shop and donate it to your local food bank.  It'd cost more in hard earned dollars to even get a definition of junk and then enforcing it or modifying as necessary.  At school, when kids were forced to take a fruit (whether they wanted it or not), way too much went straight into the garbage.  So many of us fail to see the cost reasoning in that (though fully support offering fruit - just not mandating it be taken at each meal).

 

https://www.cbpp.org/research/federal-budget/policy-basics-where-do-our-federal-tax-dollars-go

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Re. walkability--that's one of the key criterion that I used to pick my current neighborhood.  We have a grocery store, drug store, little shops, some low key nonfastfood restaurants, and a library within walking distance of our house.  Two Little Free Libraries.  Starbucks, Peets, Jamba Juice.  And now I even found a dentist I can walk to!  On the downside, there used to be a farmers' market in walking distance, but it moved to just too far away to be able to walk to and from and expect your fragile veggies and fruits to hold up in the summer, bummer.  But, our neighborhood comes and goes with regards to safety.  Last month there were 2-3 armed robberies here, very unusual but quite alarming--4 guys with guns holding up people within a short distance of their homes.  And so right now I'm not walking up to 'the neighborhood' for the time being.

 

One thing I remember as a kid was all these little old ladies hauling purchases around in tallish basket pull carts that held maybe 2-4 grocery bags worth of stuff.  They would struggle to pull them up the hills and tall stairs to their homes, but they were independentish.  I don't even know where to get something like that now.  So that does kind of cramp my walk to shop style--I'm limited to what I can carry.  Luckily those Ikea totes came out and they are very sturdy and hold a lot of stuff.

 

I have never been able to walk to work or church.  

 

You want one of these - there are a lot of different kinds available.

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How about screens vs cars. Which do you think are "causing" people to eat more and move less?  At least the small electronic devices allow people to move while they watch/text. ;)

Edited by wintermom
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Most grain goes to feed farmed animals. Cutting down on the huge amount of meat and dairy that Americans consume would help the country's health tremendously.

 

One way to do this is to stop the ridiculous tax subsidies to these meet and dairy farm corporations. The slaughter of half a million perfectly healthy US dairy cows a few years back so that prices could be "stabilised" is a prime example. And the milk in schools. Let the prices reflect the true cost of production. More subsidies to growers of healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, pulses ,grains.

 

Here we go again--the One Best Way to eat.

 

For me, dairy is extremely healthy.  For my husband with two diabetic parents, meat is hugely healthy compared to hits of grains.  Meat is a nutrient dense food, and I would like it to be more available to the poor.  If subsidies do that, they are doing some good.

 

The reason the dairy cows were slaughtered was because there had been a horrendous drought that caused a massive grain shortage and accompanying increase in feed grain prices, to the extent that the cows were costing more to feed than they could produce in dairy products.  

 

There is no ambiguity about the fact that eating a lot more fresh veggies would do most Americans a lot of good.  Beyond that, I don't think it's SO clear that your definition of 'healthy foods' is accurate.

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We have home ec and shop here.  My dd13 just finished sewing which she loved, it was her favourite class.  She'll do shop the rest of the year - they are going to build catapults.

 

 

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I believe CICO does not fully explain whether a person is prone to obesity. Example: my husband, even when sedentary, can eat a lot of calories and not gain weight. He can consume 4,000 calories per day for months and stay very slim. Conversely some people eat 1500 calories per day, exercise and have difficulty losing. There is more to this than meets the eye and that is the individual biochemistry of our bodies.

 

 

There have been some interesting studies done on twins who were not raised together. Genetics appear to play a larger role than the eating and exercise habits of the family they are raised in. 

 

This is the second post where you've seemed to imply that your WOE is right and others are wrong. Which kind of goes to the point I was making in my first post.

 

You do realize that many, many people (including me) thrive by making whole grains--things like pasta, bread and rice--staples of their diet? That untold generations of people all across the world have not only survived but thrived on diets based on those foods?

 

 

I have not demonized any food groups, and I didn't mention my way of eating in this thread at all. In the threads in which I did mention that I am currently eating low carb, I repeatedly said that this is what works for me, and that people need to do what works for them. If the current recommendation is nor working for you, try something else. Please do not make assumptions or put words in my mouth.

 

In this thread, I was referring specifically to the 1995 food guidelines. I stated that the push for low fat resulted in higher sugar, which it did. It's a fact that many food products that were low in fat but high in sugar earned the AHA heart-healthy label. I did negatively mention the guidelines telling people to make sure that  pasta, rice, and whole grains are the base of their diet, but I hardly think that rose to the level of demonizing whole grains. 

 

 

The food pyramid recommending eleven servings of grain but very, very little fat to slow down the blood sugar spike, is what katilac is decrying. It turned the nation into binge snackers because they tried to be "good" at their low fat, high starch meals...but then their blood sugar spiked and crashed, leaving them desperate for a carb fix. It was new, it was a bad idea, and we are still paying for it.

 

The three square meals concept still works for people who are active and who have never been significantly overweight.

 

Yes. I perhaps should have been more detailed, as not everyone has read my prior posts on this, but I have not demonized foods nor have I said that my way of doing things is the only way. I mean, that would be pretty silly, as I am very open about the fact that I have only been eating this way for a few months! 

 

 

Edited by katilac
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And when we finally were able to go back to normal grocery shopping, guess who got stuck eating all the frozen soups & stews for MONTHS afterward? Yeah, that would be me.

See, the difference is you got to go back to “regular grocery shoppingâ€. For most people in poverty that is never going to happen. And exactly where are they supposed to purchase these healthy options when most of them live in urban or rural food deserts?

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Just getting to work can be a vast distance for thousands of people. My dh has a 25km bus ride one-way, along with thousands in our part of town.

 

Being able to walk and bike in one's home neighbourhood is nice, but I don't even see people choosing to do this all that much in my neighbourhood even though many things are within walking/biking distance. The people who walk their dogs, sure, but others not so much. It's the choices people are making on how to spend their time. And in the winter, there is drastically less people outdoors walking to the corner store. 

 

And how about people in the deep south? How many are choosing to walk to the store to buy milk in the heat? None, I'd guess. 

 

 

I think maybe I misunderstood what you were getting at when you were talking about the greater distances in the US versus Europe.  I thought you were referring to distances between cities (cities are much more spread out from one another in the US than in Europe).  

 

What I'm trying to say is that even within cities in the US, people are forced into driving because the cities were not planned with pedestrians, cyclists, or public transportation in mind.  They were planned with the car in mind, and the result is that people are practically forced into using cars.  25km is a typical commute in the US - 15 miles and 26 minutes each way is the average.  That isn't a commute being made by thousands of people, that's a commute being made by millions of people.  And that's because cities are so spread out.  I too live in a place where I see people walking their dogs, but not walking to work or walking to the grocery store.  That's because I live in suburban sprawl.  The community was built around the car, and so the car becomes necessary for functioning in the community.

 

It didn't have to be this way.  We chose this.  Personally, I think it was a lousy choice.

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I don't believe that there are very many people choosing to be obese, whether they are paying the bill or not. Do some people claim to not care? I'm sure there are some, but even then it's most likely a false bravado. When we blame people for making unhealthy choices, we have to remember that these choices were often once touted by the government and health agencies, and that it's hard to change a lifetime of habit. And sometimes made very difficult by circumstance.

 

Doctors and pamphlets encouraged people to make carbs like whole grains, pasta, bread, and rice the base of their eating pyramid for many years. Cold cereal and skim milk got hearty approval. Low fat anything pretty much got approval, even with a hearty amount of sugar. School breakfast and lunch often reflected the lower fat, higher sugar mantra (and still does). It was actually a very successful program as far as changing behavior went, it just had the wrong results.  Moving away from this and toward a more balanced model has been very slow, and plenty of professionals are still making outdated recommendations. 

 

Then you have issues like food deserts, difficulties in preparing fresh food, and so on. It's complicated, and not nearly so simple as stubborn people merrily refusing to watch their weight or health. It may help to think of children who perform poorly in school, and sometimes resort to saying that they didn't study: they'd rather be thought lazy than stupid, but the truth is, they want to perform well and often do so when given help. Likewise, it's easier to say that you don't care about your weight, than to say that you've tried so hard, over and over again, and just keep failing . . . 

 

I believe you are in Canada, but a quick search shows much the same situations in general. There's a saying, when people know better, they do better. I think the general idea is true, but it's more like, people do better when they believe better is possible. 

 

All the blame and shame in the world won't make a student with learning disabilities perform better in the classroom, but the right kind of support will. The same holds true for people struggling with weight and health. They need support, not shame. 

 

Sorry, I'm in NY, and I'm not advocating blame and shame.  I am advocating natural consequences.

 

The doctors here, for the past several years, at state behest, are trying to help the obese.  You can research this easily, NY is trying to help people be more healthy.   A few years ago, the endocrinologist would give the Type 2 diabetic a referral to a nutritionist, and they wouldn't go.  Now, its part of the same appointment, and they are promoting the diabetes reversal eating plan...you can research that too -- not consuming fast food, mindfulness, eat whole foods, getting off the blood sugar roller coaster, not overeating even at the buffet, moderating alcohol consumption, etc.  Some are even telling people what the complications will be, in case they missed the advertising.

 

AMPUTEE2-popup.jpg

 

 

As far as examples of people who know better...every 80 and 90 year old who grew up before easy access to fast food is a role model -- many of these people never switched to the high carb/low fat food pyramid. They still garden, they still eat whole foods,  they don't load up at the bufffet etc....and that's interesting because these were the people still alive who know the stories of the Great Depression and the food shortages .

 

Now, as far as what to do with the people who can't get the message....those are people in group homes or in a PINS program -- everyone else  is capable.  I am happy to fund group homes so that they can have whole foods...it's a win as the amount of insulin use goes down.  The PINS program...perhaps they could have delivery to their homes?  

Edited by Heigh Ho
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When my family's hard earned money is going to subsidize bad lifestyle choices it ABSOLUTELY affects me. I don't mind paying taxes to subsidize the purchase of healthy foods for low-income families. I'd be totally supportive of increasing the monthly SNAP benefits if people had to spend it on healthy foods and couldn't use it for junk.

 

 

Our hard earned money is going for many things I don't necessarily support, but in no way do I feel it directly impacts me. I don't have a right to tell others how to live their lives despite the fact that I pay taxes. This mentality amazes me. I've been a teacher for years, and I've actually had disgruntled parents tell me that they "pay my salary" so they have a  right to demand things from me! Really? 

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This is the second post where you've seemed to imply that your WOE is right and others are wrong. Which kind of goes to the point I was making in my first post.

 

You do realize that many, many people (including me) thrive by making whole grains--things like pasta, bread and rice--staples of their diet? That untold generations of people all across the world have not only survived but thrived on diets based on those foods?

 

I repeat (or re-state): Demonizing foods and food groups is nothing but a backhanded way of trying to laud or legitimize your (generic) own way of eating. And I think to a certain extent it's wishful thinking ("I've got it figured out, so if I eat this way that I have decided is the right way I won't get sick or die"). It's detrimental to the greater goal of getting people to take steps toward improving their overall diet.

 

Then again, what about the fact so many people have diabetes?  It's not that for just a small number of people they don't do well on high carb.  But because they can't let go of this "advice" they even work this into diabetic diets.  Many can control diabetes with diet to the point they can live without medication, but not with the advice given to them by dieticians. 

 

Maybe we should stop giving one size fits all advice?  I don't know the answer, but I can tell you that I cannot follow the traditional advice and feel well.  I feel starved.  In order for me not to, I'd have to eat like 10 times a day.  That's not gonna work. 

 

But I believe you that it works for you (so I'm not arguing that it doesn't work for some people).

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To give a little more context to my diatribe against the 1995 food guidelines, the food pyramid simply states: 

 

Bread, Cereal, Rice, and Pasta Group 6-11 SERVINGS

 

with no mention of whole grains. 

 

This food pyramid was everywhere. Yes, if one read the 25-page pamphlet, it did suggest that emphasizing whole grains would be good. Bt the food pyramid, which did not mention whole grains at all, was what people saw again and again. And even the pamphlet was ambiguous. On various pages, it suggests: enriched white bread, pasta, rice, and cereals as a good source of iron; enjoying meals that have rice, pasta, potatoes, or bread as the center; and so on. 

 

That is why my original post quoted their recommendation of pasta, rice, AND whole grains - for the most part, they treated whole grains as a separate category, they were not making the assumption or recommendation that the pasta, rice, bread, and cereal were whole grain. 

 

It would take all day to list all the objections I have to the 1995 food guide (which, remember, had tremendous impact) but ou can read it in all of its glory here: 

 

https://www.cnpp.usda.gov/sites/default/files/dietary_guidelines_for_americans/1995DGConsumerBrochure.pdf

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Some interesting watching:

 

Baltimore Food Ecology Documentary  CLF teamed up with the Video and Film Arts Department at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) to produce BFED: Baltimore Food Ecology Documentary film in 2010, which explore important issues in our food system. It provides an in-depth look at the Baltimore food system. It tells this story through the eyes of numerous players, including a food warehouse worker, a grocery store owner, a local food historian, and activists trying to improve access to food in their schools and communities. Nine MICA students spent a school year working with their professor, Hugh Pocock, on BFED. CLF's staff provided technical support to the students, helping them refine their research goals and identify key informants to interview. The students' journey through their local food system -- where supermarkets are scarce and diet-related diseases common -- was an investigation of why the food system comes up short for many city residents. In the end, they find hope for a brighter food future in some unexpected places.

 

Food Frontiers The film showcases six projects from around the United States that are increasing access to healthy food and goes beyond the problem statement of food insecurity, i.e., poor access to healthy, affordable food. Instead, the film examines projects that are having success. Traveling across the country, the filmmakers documented diverse efforts to improve access—from a pioneering program in California that connects local produce to schoolchildren to a social enterprise grocery store run by students in Nebraska to a Virginia pediatrician who supplements her practice with cooking classes.

 

 

 

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To give a little more context to my diatribe against the 1995 food guidelines, the food pyramid simply states: 

 

Bread, Cereal, Rice, and Pasta Group 6-11 SERVINGS

 

with no mention of whole grains. 

 

This food pyramid was everywhere. Yes, if one read the 25-page pamphlet, it did suggest that emphasizing whole grains would be good. Bt the food pyramid, which did not mention whole grains at all, was what people saw again and again. And even the pamphlet was ambiguous. On various pages, it suggests: enriched white bread, pasta, rice, and cereals as a good source of iron; enjoying meals that have rice, pasta, potatoes, or bread as the center; and so on. 

 

That is why my original post quoted their recommendation of pasta, rice, AND whole grains - for the most part, they treated whole grains as a separate category, they were not making the assumption or recommendation that the pasta, rice, bread, and cereal were whole grain. 

 

It would take all day to list all the objections I have to the 1995 food guide (which, remember, had tremendous impact) but ou can read it in all of its glory here: 

 

https://www.cnpp.usda.gov/sites/default/files/dietary_guidelines_for_americans/1995DGConsumerBrochure.pdf

 

And let's not get into what goes into making these guidelines.  It's not 100% about the best nutritional advice backed by science.  It's also about economics, lobbies, etc.  

 

 

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Re. walkability--that's one of the key criterion that I used to pick my current neighborhood.  We have a grocery store, drug store, little shops, some low key nonfastfood restaurants, and a library within walking distance of our house.  

 

 

I've told my husband that my dream house is within easy walking distance of three things:  a park, a library, and a grocery store with good produce.  (Throw in a tea house and a vegetarian restaurant, and I'd be in absolute heaven!  :D )  We did not use those criteria to choose our current location.  We chose safety (high-crime city, so that was important) and good school district, which we ended up not using!  If I had it to do over again, I would make a very different choice.    

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Except, the cooking classes didn't really teach much about cooking. In middle school, everyone had to take them, in high school they were electives. I don't remember much of anything from my HS foods and nutrition class because we spent so much time sitting at our desks...I slept a lot.

 

And it middle school, all I remember making was grilled peanut butter and jelly. I don't remember every learning how to steam vegetables, for example. My mom taught me some basics, like the difference between mincing, dicing, and chopping, and how to follow a recipe. But, actual knife skills? Food Network.

 

And now, it's true, many schools aren't offering any of these classes at all. The high school for our current local district offers a "Nutrition and Wellness" class and it doesn't look like that includes any ACTUAL cooking. It DOES say "direct concrete mathematics and language arts proficiencies will be applied." Which I hope means teaching the kids to learn to read a recipe and figure out the measurements? But I don't know.

That’s a real shame b/c in our class we really cooked. Basic quick breads, entrees and desserts. We also sewed aprons and small duffle bags, and made wooden race cars. It’s hard to recreate shop class complete with belt sanders and drill presses at home. Edited by Sneezyone
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As far as examples of people who know better...every 80 and 90 year old who grew up before easy access to fast food is a role model -- many of these people never switched to the high carb/low fat food pyramid. They still garden, they still eat whole foods,  they don't load up at the bufffet etc....and that's interesting because these were the people still alive who know the stories of the Great Depression and the food shortages .  

 

Including my FIL who always treats us to McD's, Wendy's, Hardees, or Cracker Barrel when we visit?  And with the first three, knows all the regulars who work and eat there?  He's 89, soon to be 90 and grew up with none of it.  There's rarely a day he misses and he can compare his favorites to Burger King, Chick Fil A, Popeyes, and more - even knowing who's 10 cents cheaper than than a similar place.

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There are lots of thoughts swirling through my head on this.  The SNAP changes I heard about this morning on the news are discouraging.  I cannot even begin to explain all of the reasons this will be a huge step backwards.  It is just part of a bigger narrative to demonize those who use/need "entitlements."  

 

I would also like to see infrastructure changes to help us have more walkable/bike-friendly cities and better public transit.  I don't buy the "It's too cold, too far, too many things to carry" arguments.  I currently live in a house and city that was planned and built well before cars were a thing.  It also happens to be in an extremely cold and punishing environment.  The people who lived and worked here got around before cars despite having much harder lives.  And we could now, theoretically.  I rarely drive more than 2 miles at a time.  Dh and my places of employment are within one mile from my house.  I could walk to 95% of the places I need to go assuming I was not picky about which grocery store or which hairdresser I went to.  I often spend significantly MORE calories and time trying to get my car out of the snow than I would walking to wherever I am going!  I won't even discuss how much time (and gas) I waste searching for a parking spot at my place of employment.  Last week, I spent more time looking for a parking spot than it would have taken me to walk to work had there been a safe way to do so.  But.  We no longer have sidewalks.  We don't have streetlights.  We have way too many vehicles driving WAY too fast to make walking on the roads pleasant or safe.  That is "car culture."  It is not the weather, it is the lack of infrastructure.  We made this and we could easily fix it.  

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That’s a real shame b/c in our class we really cooked. Basic quick breads, entrees and desserts. We also sewed aprons and small duffle bags, and made wooden race cars. It’s hard to recreate shop class at home.

 

I am amazed any teacher pulled "real cooking" off though.  Class was an hour.  What "real" meal from start to finish including clean up can be pulled off with a group in under an hour?  Who procures the fresh veg and ingredients and where does the stuff get stored?  Who pays for that stuff?  We made a pie crust with shortening.  Shelf stable shortening and flour are cheap and easy to store. The filling was canned, which we were asked to bring in ourselves.  No wonder it was something we were taught to make.  But really, did we need more pie on our lives?  I found the cooking part of my home ec classes to be an absolute joke.

 

We'd talk about healthy eating and then bake a pie.  We'd talk about the food pyramid and then make something we were told wasn't so healthy.  It made no sense.

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Then again, what about the fact so many people have diabetes?  It's not that for just a small number of people they don't do well on high carb.  But because they can't let go of this "advice" they even work this into diabetic diets.  Many can control diabetes with diet to the point they can live without medication, but not with the advice given to them by dieticians. 

 

Maybe we should stop giving one size fits all advice?  I don't know the answer, but I can tell you that I cannot follow the traditional advice and feel well.  I feel starved.  In order for me not to, I'd have to eat like 10 times a day.  That's not gonna work. 

 

But I believe you that it works for you (so I'm not arguing that it doesn't work for some people).

 

I suspect most of it has to do with sugar consumption. Too many donuts, cookies and ice cream as well as too much HFCS or other added sugars in processed food that one wouldn't normally even think would have sugar (until you read the ingredients list!). And I suspect fruit plays a role, too. I think way too many people assume that fruit intake is always good and they go way overboard, especially since so many people seem to consume so many smoothies and things like that.

 

ETA: But yes, most of the point I'm trying to make is that there is no proven "one size fits all" advice. And that we'd do much better to encourage people to improve their diet in common sense ways rather than making them feel guilty if they don't adhere to whatever the diet of the day is (which IME is likely to be turned on it's head in the future) I personally don't believe low carb/high fat is particularly healthy, at least not for everyone. But I certainly think that getting someone to choose a couple of scrambled eggs for breakfast instead of a Pop Tart would be a huge improvement. Even better (IMO) would be to encourage the person to choose a piece of whole grain toast with some PB or other nut butter. But because I think any improvement is good I'd be more than happy to see someone choose eggs, just as I hope a low carb/high fat advocate would be able to admit that whole grain toast and PB is a better choice than a Pop Tart. That's what I"m talking about--encouraging people to do better incrementally. Not preaching at them because they're not choosing "my" way or making them feel like they have to go all in on the diet-of-the-day or be a failure. Better choices. One choice at a time.

Edited by Pawz4me
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Including my FIL who always treats us to McD's, Wendy's, Hardees, or Cracker Barrel when we visit?  And with the first three, knows all the regulars who work and eat there?  He's 89, soon to be 90 and grew up with none of it.  There's rarely a day he misses and he can compare his favorites to Burger King, Chick Fil A, Popeyes, and more - even knowing who's 10 cents cheaper than than a similar place.

 

Yeah it's always funny to me when people say eat like how my grandmother ate.  My grandmother ate fast food and had baked goods always available.  You'd have to go back FURTHER to have that comment make sense.

 

But she is 90 and still alive.  So I can't exactly argue with her results. 

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I suspect most of it has to do with sugar consumption. Too many donuts, cookies and ice cream as well as too much HFCS added other added sugars in processed food that one wouldn't normally even think would have sugar (until you read the ingredients list!). And I suspect fruit plays a role, too. I think way too many people assume that fruit intake is always good and they go way overboard, especially since so many people seem to consume so many smoothies and things like that.

 

The difference in terms of use in the body isn't huge though.  BELIEVE ME it would not matter if I ate sugarless oatmeal and pasta and rice.  BTDT.  My body just doesn't go for it.

 

Sugar is a huge problem though.  I am not arguing that. 

 

 

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Sorry, I'm in NY, and I'm not advocating blame and shame.  I am advocating natural consequences.

 

 

 

In my defense, NY is kind of like Texas - a whole other country, lol. 

 

I think Canada sprang to mind because of what you said about not footing the bill. In my neck of the woods, you are either footing the bill via insurance payments along with deductibles and copays, or you have Medicaid, which is not a mecca of awesomeness and preventative care. 

 

Hmm, I know plenty of older people who eat poorly, I don't think that's a complete answer. My dad is 80, and he definitely did not get there by clean living, lol. 

 

I agree with support like combining appointments and providing information that goes beyond a pamphlet (support groups, webinars). With our insurance, we can earn health care dollars by completing classes and fitness challenges, so it does cost us if we don't do them. What I think crosses over into shaming people is the idea that they are deliberately making themselves overweight and unhealthy, and then laughing about passing the cost on to others. I just don't think that people actually want to be obese and unhealthy for their own amusement. 

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It must depend upon the school (as it usually does).  At our school they learn how to cook a variety of yummy things - from scratch.  I love when they bring samples.

 

FWIW, not all yummy things are healthy, but they learn a variety and none of it comes from a pre-prepared box.

 

 

 

 

 

Creekland, as someone who works at a school and who is also interested in the Blue Zones, I think you might really like that podcast I mentioned upthread.  Dan Buettner mentioned in it that there are some things schools can do which don't cost them a dime, and yet which really do impact the obesity rate of their students.  Two examples that I remember were banning food and beverages from classrooms and hallways (so that the students are only eating at designated meal times rather than snacking and sipping sodas all day long) and putting the healthiest food choices like veggies first in the cafeteria line.  Little things that can actually make a real difference.  

 

Snacks and beverages were banned from the classrooms and hallways when I was a kid, so I didn't even realize how much of an issue this had become.  But I must admit the cafeteria veggies were not particularly appealing.  They were just reheated canned veggies.  Not the kind of thing that gets kids excited about eating healthier!  But probably the best they could do on their budget, so I'm not blaming them at all.  What are the food rules and cafeteria foods like at your school?

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