Within the span of one week, The New York Times published two articles about weight loss. No matter how you feel politically about the paper, the NY Times isn’t going to publish rubbish. So when a news article comes out about new scientific evidence regarding weight loss, I sit up and take notice.
According to article number 1: Which Diet Works by Mark Bitton, evidence shows that a calorie isn’t JUST a calorie; and that calories from highly processed carbohydrates are WORSE than others because they lead us to retain fat. Got it. Stop eating lots of bread, taters and sugary cereals.
But don’t start spring cleaning your cupboards for starchy foods just yet.
A few days later, the same publication published an article refuting this! According to Dr. Jules Hirsch of the Rockefeller University, a calorie is just that: a calorie (In Dieting, Magic Isn’t A Substitute for Science). Hirsch says: “To lower fat content — reduce obesity — one must reduce calories taken in, or increase the output by increasing activity, or both. This is true whether calories come from pumpkins or peanuts or pâté de foie gras.” Oh well. No magic bullet.
It’s frustrating. It feels like we’re all being sold snake oil.
Good thing my father, Dr. Gerald Kolodny, and his colleagues are going in a whole new direction. Rather than focusing on eating and food, he is discovering ways to change our physiology by triggering brown fat (for a more comprehensive explanation, see our post from a year ago, You May Never Be Fat Again Thanks to My Dad!).
While my dad’s research is being ironed out, I still think we can benefit from all the different diet debates. How? First, if you believe the human body can be affected by what we DO and what THINK (mindfulness ring a bell?) than the the diet we BELIEVE makes a difference may actually be somewhat more beneficial to us. Second, if certain diets “work” for us and others don’t — either because we don’t care for bread or just don’t like meat — than go for it, regardless of the scientific/medical jostling that goes on.
Or maybe we should just stop worrying and take a nice long jog!