Monday, February 15, 2010

Two diet myths bite the dust

If you've read this blog for any amount of time you are aware of my firm belief that most of the crap preached by 'fitness experts', registered dieticians, and doctors regarding diet and fitness is horseshit.

I think that the FDA food pyramid is the illustration of death, disease, and misery.  I think that the food served in school lunch cafeterias and given out on WIC the opposite of intended: not healthy but poisonous to our children.  I find people who engage in chronic cardio for weight loss really kind of sad.*

So I was pretty chuffed to find a few articles on two of the more pervasive myths: exercise and 'grazing'.

Here is a really nice essay by Frank over at Exuberant Animal on why we shouldn't exercise.

He says that exercise, defined as: "doing abstracted movements in a stereotyped, repetitive pattern." is unnatural and boring (among other things) and I agree entirely. Walking miles on a treadmill or riding an exercise bike all the while zoned out listening to your iPod, or worse, staring at the idiot Box on the wall is NOT how we evolved to move.

"Exercise is commonly promoted as a cure for everything that ails our bodies and our spirits: obesity, diabetes, heart disease, depression and all the rest. “Just do more exercise” is the common prescription offered by both professionals and lay persons alike.

But if exercise was actually the solution to our public health crisis, wouldn’t we be seeing better results? After all, experts and celebrities have been promoting exercise for decades and the state of the human body continues to deteriorate. In fact, if we looked at the trajectories of lifestyle disease and exercise promotion, we would find that they track pretty closely with one another. If we looked strictly at correlation, we might even come to the conclusion that exercise promotion causes atrophy, obesity and poor health.


In short, exercise has been a spectacular public health failure and an immense waste of human potential. The biggest consequence of exercise promotion is that we have managed to make millions of people feel guilty about their failure to do something that is inherently unpleasant.

How true!  Every single person I know online who does cardio for weight loss / fitness has gotten on Facebook or Twitter and typed one of these lines:

"Man, I don't want to go to the gym, today"

"*sigh* I need to do my workout, but can't make myself"

"I guess I'll go do my cardio now. Ugh"

Or some version thereof. People who do cardio for weight loss / fitness frequently HATE doing it. So why are they?  I do no purposeful cardio: I don't 'exercise' at all. Furthermore, I've lost 155lbs NOT doing it.


I also found this wee snippet by Dr. Steve Parker over on the Advanced Mediterranean Diet Blog on the concept of eating several times a day. How many of us have heard the tonnes of folks insist that eating 6 times a day is a MUST?  More horseshit.

"One of the currently popular dieting gimmicks is to eat every 3-4 hours while awake. The rationale is, “you need the energy.” "

"As long as you’re eating a fair amount of carbohydrates, you can store plenty of energy as glucose in glycogen - in your liver and muscles - to easily live without eating for at least 8-12 hours. So, there’s no “need” to eat every 3-4 hours. If there were, we would have gone extinct years ago. At rest, you’re getting about 60% of your energy supplied by metabolism of fats, not carbohydrates. Most people can live without all food, but not water, for about two months."

(emphasis mine just because it's a cool fact.)

So those dieters who say they just can't last for more than a few hours without eating ("I get so hungry" oh boo-hoo, honey, suck it up. If you'd eat the right foods you wouldn't get hungry every two hours!) are full of it.

Incidentally, I personally eat under 30g carbs per day - most from vegetables - and often eat less than 10g / day for days on end. I can easily go 6-8 hours without being hungry at all AND I'm hypoglycemic!

*Note: I am amused by the folks who do chronic cardio for 'pleasure' but I'm willing to keep my opinions on it to myself (*ahem* for the most part). My father, and several of the readers of this blog either run or bicycle and that's cool so long as they never try to sell me on how 'healthy' it is. Repeatedly overtaxing ones body physically, in a way it was not evolved to be abused, whilst racking up injury after injury ... well, seems a bit disingenius.

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posted by MrsEvilGenius @ 9:18 am   0 comments


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