Sunday, August 22, 2010

Weight Loss Requires a Major Change in Lifestyle

I know it is not politically correct to look at what other people buy at the grocery store, but as a physician I just can't help noticing.  Some baskets contain huge containers of soda pop, Doritos, frozen pizza and other packaged goods.  I'm not surprised because at the end of every isle is a display case that offers the giant soda for 89 cents or the Doritos on special for $1.29.  With this type of marketing it takes a strong person to resist the "bargain".

Yesterday the woman in front of me (overweight, middle age) had a strange assortment of goods that she probably thought would help her lose weight.  She had several "weight watcher" type meals, diet drinks, power bars, and lots of "light" items..."light butter", "light crackers", "light yogurt", "light ice-cream". 

Folks, this will not work.  Eating this way will not help her lose weight.  She needs to make dramatic changes to drop the pounds. 

Recent research shows that sweet tasting, low calorie beverages may trigger cravings for more sweets.  A study of rats showed that the animals who were fed saccharin yogurt ate more calories and got fatter than those who ate yogurt flavored with glucose.   It doesn't take long for our taste buds to stop craving sweet drinks and enjoy water.  The first step is to cut out the diet drinks.

The "light" items are a joke.  Cutting a few fat calories a day will not lead to weight loss.  She needs to avoid those center isles that have cereal, crackers, frozen food, canned food, pasta and rice and shop the periphery.  Fruit is the best snack and if you want to have a bowl of ice-cream (once you are at ideal body weight) there is no problem.  But to get to ideal body weight she will need to cut out the processed carbs, sugar and packaged foods.

And lets talk about "power bars".   Is 230 calories really a bargain?  With 45g of carbohydrates and 20g of sugar this is only useful if it is eaten by itself as a meal or if you are an endurance athlete that needs a burst of carbs to finish riding in the tour de france.


Unfortunately people believe they are doing the right thing by shopping this way. Then they get frustrated with themselves when they don't lose weight.  Weight loss requires a major change in lifestyle and it starts by avoiding the middle isles, and ignoring the display cases at the grocery stores.  Madison Avenue advertising is not our friend.





27 comments:

gradydoctor said...

So true. . . .

Swn said...

I don't really get it, is eating dried pasta or rice (with fresh vegetables) for dinner really that bad? It's really common here, in the Netherlands. We eat pasta (from the dried pasta isle), rice and potatoes... all paired with (more) vegetables and meat/a meat replacer, all carbs I suppose?

Have Myelin? said...

I think if you had a contest in which you had to match up a full grocery cart to a family, it would be a hard game to lose! =p

Manjunath DS said...

Many of todays product promotions are misleading. It is clear from the article that 'light' products are acting in contrary to the popular beliefs. It is a wake up call for many obese people to lead a healthy and organic lifestyle.

Anonymous said...

Dr.Brayer which diet plan do you think is the healthiest and safest to try?

Linda Leighton said...

Great post, Dr. Toni!

stop smoking help said...

Another analogy would be the person who uses coupons hoping to get rich. That won't work either.

Too many people get stuck in their "lifestyle" like you say, and can't/don't want to get out. It becomes comfortable, like cows walking the rut to the feed trough. The path just gets deeper and more familiar.

A nutritionist will gladly work with you and any physical/dietary challenges you have. I've never met one who thought they were overworked.

BrainDame said...

Great post! Great taste is so important-over eating in most is related to satiety-a perception, not a physical state. Eating low fat this or low salt that only aggravates the sense of satisfaction.

Anonymous said...

I thought this was common sense. I have know this for many years and was raised to avoid soft drinks and eat fresh fruit and vegetables. Iced Green tea is also good that you can make with tea bags to avoid sugar, sodium, or caffeine. Fresh herbs in place of salt gives flavor and is healthier. Fresh fruit smoothies with ice and green tea.
Stevia (natural sugar) can be used in place of sugar. Limes, lemons, and oranges in water give it some flavor. There are many healthy, fresh, real food, substitutes to be used that work for losing weight.

tracy said...

i think one of the problems is the unhealthy food is often so much cheaper (think Mac and Cheese at the store and "Fast Food" Combo Meals as opposed to salads at the same place).

Often fresh fruits and vegetables cost more than prepackaged, more fattening items.

i don't know the answer, being pretty much eating disorderd myself.....

tracy said...

Ha! The dietician i was seeing "fired" me, totally unexpected, as i wasn't making the progress she wanted me to...thanks alot, lady! She, amomg others, is why i don't trust Female professionals...!!!
NO offense, Dr. Brayer...i trust you!

KM said...

Tracy; I have experienced having had a wonderful female surgeon I have known for 13 years, and a great female gynecologist I have also had for many years so don't give up on female physicians there are some excellent ones out there that make up for any that are not so good.

On the other hand there was a male physician on call when a family member had an emergency and the appropriate medical treatment was not done so it can happen with either gender. But even with the best doctor's recommendation it is good to also do your own research in case there was something new that he or she didn't know about with so much constantly changing new information out there to keep up with, and you can be your own advocate if a doctor isn't looking out for your best interest or doesn't have the right skills, training, or experience.

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justjuliebean said...

You sound like my mother, who thought that since I was fat, I had neither right nor reason to eat anything but fruits and veggies. She's wrong, and so are you. What should I eat if no rice/pasta, no sugar? At least you didn't say no fat. I've lost 50 pounds, I eat cereal for breakfast, rice, bread, butter, bacon, an occasional ice cream cone. And have the whole 50 pound drop. Some things I just have to practice extreme moderation, as opposed to my mother, who can live on ice cream and burgers. You wanna look at her cart, vs mine?

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