Causes: Why do diets fail?

Obesity is still on the rise, particularly in our children.  Unfortunately, most diets don’t work.  In fact, of the obese people who successfully lose weight, over 95% of them put the weight back on.  Why?  Don’t Just Diet will cut through the ridiculous mess of [mis]information out there and discuss why diets fail and what can be done to lose weight and keep it off.

Why do diets fail? Two main reasons:

1. Biologically speaking, we are designed to get fat in today’s food environment.

the_evolution_of_manEvolutionarily, humans had the best chance for survival if they ate and stored as many calories as possible when calorically dense foods were available in order to survive periods of famine.  This is a large part of the reason that, for most of us, pizza is more hedonically pleasing (delicious) than brussels sprouts- it is a survival advantage to prefer pizza.

Problem is, in most industrialized nations, calorically dense food is always available and famine is rare.


2. Biology changes when a person is severely obese for a long period of time.

The body and brain both act as if the person needs to be at that weight to survive.  For example, the number and size of fat cells both increase with obesity.  With weight loss diet, fat cell size decreases but fat cell numbers never decrease.

Conventional dieting almost immediately sets of survival (anti-starvation) mechanisms that undermine weight loss efforts and can actually make us want to eat “forbidden” foods even more.  When we deprive ourselves of something pleasurable, the perceived reward value of that thing actually increases.  In other words, that unhealthy food sounds even more delicious when it’s “off limits.”

Human biology is a powerful thing and difficult to overcome. Conventional dieting pits efforts to resist temptation directly against human biology- a losing proposition 9 out of 10 times.  Don’t Just Diet will get to what can and should be done to change this.  Stay tuned, I look forward to speaking with you again.

Informative: Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Looking for a minimal effort way to live longer and better?  New study shows that fish high in Omega-3 fatty acids really are THAT good for you.

Click the image to watch the ABC video:fish pic

What exactly are Omega-3s?  Omega-3’s are an unsaturated fatty acid.  Unsaturated fats are the good fats (as opposed to trans fats and most saturated fats, which are bad).  Unsaturated fats raise your HDL (good) cholesterol, which helps your clear the bad fats and LDL (bad) cholesterol from your body.  This helps prevent those precious arteries from getting clogged up- that’s why our cholesterol ratio (HDL:LDL) is actually more important than total cholesterol.

Older individuals with higher levels of Omega-3 fatty acids had over a 25% reduced risk of death and lived an average of 2.2 years longer than individuals with low levels of Omega-3s!

Click the image to read the full story by ABC: body pic

The largest benefit was at low levels, so that means that if you’re eating NO fish, start eating a LITTLE fish for a BIG benefit!!  If you don’t like fish, find a good supplement high in the Omega-3s DHA & EPA.

Fish highest in the most beneficial Omega-3s (DHA & EPA): herring, mackerel, lake trout, wild salmon and albacore tuna.

Informative: Arsenic in Apple Juice?

The truth about arsenic in apple juice…

Quick background on organic vs. inorganic arsenic: Organic arsenic is naturally occurring, almost unavoidable and relatively safe.  Inorganic arsenic, however, is quite dangerous- it’s the same chemical contained in pesticides and is associated with skin lesions, developmental problems, CVD, diabetes and even cancer.  So the new regulations are for inorganic arsenic.

New level is 10 parts per billion, which is the same standard for drinking water.

Consumer groups doing a good thing by pressuring the FDA to pay close attention to inorganic arsenic levels in food.  However, concern about arsenic in apple juice is actually a little bit of a red herring. Regulating dangerous chemicals is always a good thing but the vast majority of apple juices on the market contain levels well below even the new standard, which means below that in drinking water and even in most cases, what’s found in bottled water.

Check out this clip from ABC:arsenic


So for me, I don’t limit intake of apple juice.  What I am concerned about and where I do limit intake, however, is in rice and rice products, particularly brown rice from the southern central US.  Just for frame of reference, last year Consumer Reports tested 88 samples of apple juice and the average total arsenic was right around 5 ppb (standard for bottled water).  Later that year, they tested rice and rice products and found total arsenic in the hundreds (up to > 900 ppb) in only ¼ cup of rice and the average was more than half of total arsenic was inorganic.  If you do the math, it shouldn’t take long to realize that this is a MAJOR problem!  Thus, worrying about the arsenic in apple juice is like worrying about the fat content of skinless chicken breast and ignoring the 3 lbs of bacon you had a breakfast.

Informative: McDonald’s French Fries

McDonald’s French Fries not only unhealthy but not vegetarian!

FriesNUTRITION (large): 500 calories, 25 grams fat, 63 grams carbs, 350 milligrams sodium, 6 grams fiber, 6 grams protein

INGREDIENTS: Potatoes, vegetable oil (canola oil, hydrogenated soybean oil, natural beef flavor [wheat and milk derivatives]*, citric acid [preservative]), dextrose, sodium acid pyrophosphate (to maintain color), salt and dimethylpolysiloxane. The oil used for frying also mentions tertiary butylhydroquinone (TBHQ).

*Natural beef flavor contains hydrolyzed wheat and hydrolyzed milk as starting ingredients.

Some people claim that the beef flavor comes from the milk mentioned above.  When was the last time you had a glass of milk that tasted like beef?  There is beef extract (contains beef!) and wheat and milk in the beef flavoring added to the fries.  They specifically mention the wheat and milk for liability purposes, as these are common allergens.

For decades, McDonald’s fries were cooked in beef tallow (beef fat), which gave a slight beef flavor. When they were mandated by the government to switch to vegetable oil, they didn’t want to change flavor so they started adding beef flavor (beet extract). They are NOT vegetarian.  They had “natural flavor” in ingredient list before being sued in 2001, at which point they added “beef” to the ingredient list.  Yes, it’s a tiny amount but it is in there.

Otherwise, they contain a smorgasbord of chemicals and preservatives, but who doesn’t love a little tertiary butylhydroquinone every now and then?  As freaky as it is to know you’re consuming silicone and antifoaming agents when you eat fries, the reality is the nutritional value is so dung poor that you’re likely to die from diabetes long before the chemicals harm you.

Overall: starch, oil, sugar, preservatives, salt & silicone.  Fried.  What’s not to love?

Read the full story at