Why we don’t have an ‘Obesity Crisis’.

It doesn’t take the most observant person out there to realise I enjoy food. A lot.

And it hurts my soul every time I see a food group get demonised. Let’s take carbs for example. You don’t need to spend long on the internet before you find someone telling you how great it is to cut out carbs. Whilst I wouldn’t necessarily describe myself as ‘pro’ carbs, I’m definitely anti ‘anti’ carbs. The same thing seems to happen to fats. I have a very inclusive approach to nutrition and fitness, and know that all foods have a place in a healthy diet. I’m gonna say that one more time. All foods have a place in a healthy diet.

‘Oh but Iz, we can’t have those foods, there’s an Obesity Crisis’

The UK doesn’t have an obesity problem. It has an energy balance problem (well, actually it has an education problem but that’s another post).

In order to maintain a certain weight we need to consume and exude the same out of energy per day, on average.

As soon as we start to over consume energy over a period of time, our body stores the excess energy, meaning we start to gain weight. If we do that for a long enough period, it affects our health and eventually results in obesity.

Obesity is not the problem. Over consumption is the problem.

The impact of removing an entire food group from your diet, generally results in an overall reduced consumption of energy. It is that reduction which leads to weight loss. This can still be achieved by keeping everything you like in your diet. (including carbs)

We don’t need to consume less of a specific food group. We just need to consume less overall.

There is of course, another solution to this problem, from the other angle. If the energy we use is higher than the energy we consume, we need to access that stored energy for extra fuel. By being more active we increase the level of energy we require. I don’t mean spending hours at the gym. I mean taking the stairs instead of the lift. I mean walking to the shop instead of driving. I mean moving as much as possible, as often as possible, to increase the amount of energy you use.

It’s entirely up to you where you get your energy from (though I do recommend a combination of fats, carbs, protein and lots of vegetables), and entirely up to you how you use it up (again, my recommendation be active daily and include some form of weight bearing activity). It is your choices and your actions which dictate the consequence.

But at the end of the day, it is this simple.

A positive energy balance will lead to weight gain.

A negative energy balance will lead to weight loss.

An equal energy balance will lead to maintenance.

Got it? Great. You now understand calories.

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