As a dietitian, I have a hard time dealing with all the nutrition clutter out there being delivered to people. It’s rather frustrating because it’s not always explained properly and of course, the media over hypes everything. I’ve had close family and friends come to me and ask me several questions on why a specific food product is bad for you, or a particular ingredient, or the consumption of the food at a specific time of day, etc. Here’s the main problem in today’s era of nutrition and overall physical health: portion control AND inactivity. It’s not always the food item but rather the way its consumed and the portion which is consumed PLUS the fact that we’re just not moving enough. As of last week, a new study from JAMA as quoted from a Time.com article revealed, “that for the years 2013-2014, the obesity prevalence was 35% for men and 40% for women. When looking at trends over time, the researchers found that from the year 2005 to 2014 there were significant and steady increases in the number of American women who were very obese.”
I’ve decided to create a 3 -part series on my blog to help educate on making smarter food decisions because whether you’re a dietitian or not, it’s just not that complicated.
According to Dr. Lisa Young, dietitian and author of the Portion Teller, states “Typical food portions that are too big are fast food ( soda, fries, burgers)–they are 2-5 times bigger than they were in the past, restaurant portions (steaks, pasta) and bagels/muffins.”
Not to mention, “sitting is the new smoking” is a saying that been heavily repeated over the last couple years. An Active times article mentioned seven different ways sitting (rather inactivity) is shortening our lives. Several studies demonstrated a correlation between prolonged periods of sitting and a variety of issues including heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. In addition, “Muscles are healthiest when they are being used and challenged on a regular basis, so it’s not surprising that staying seated for eight or nine hours a day might bring some negative repercussions. Muscles are pliable but when locked in sitting position for the majority of the day, everyday, they do get stiff.”
There could be many reasons why steady increases amongst women (and men) were seen:
- The “diet” – From Paleo, Low-Carb, Low-Fat, Atkins (he died BTW), Gluten-Free, and Weight Watchers — Seems like many of these diets or dieting programs are a great way to get started, get the mojo going, but not necessarily sustainable for long-term, which means a constant cycle / battle with weight loss
- Pregnancy – According to statistics from Obstetrics & Gynecology as mentioned in this article, “pregnancy itself is leading to obesity or [being] overweight for a substantial number of women.”
- Lifestyle – Most women (especially if mothers AND work professionally) are just too busy to make time for themselves and the delay of it could cause weight to creep back up slowly, which overtime could lead to being overweight.
- Sleep – Without adequate sleep, which is different for each person, your body craves additional calories to help it sustain the energy it needs to function. This means you may end up eating more and not always using the calories as fuel for exercise. It’s important to try and achieve a good sleep balance.
- Portion Control – Whether it’s eating a lot of something that is not good (i.e. a pint of ice cream) or eating a lot of something that’s low-fat, low-sugar, you’re still … eating a lot. It’s important to portion out an appropriate serving so that you’re not mindlessly noshing.
But here’s what I felt I needed to further explain — in an era of so many food choices + business + increased inactivity + the dieting pressures — it is important for people to make smart decisions. Not every fat is bad. Not every carb is bad. So I will break down the good fats and bad fats in Part 2 of this series. Stay tuned…