Discover what really makes us fat

The Good Life Letter
14th May 2010

  • 3 fat myths exploded
  •  Discover what REALLY makes us fat
  •  The 5-Step rehab to cure your food addictions

It's amazing that after so many years of scientific study...

So many expert investigations.... government funded enquiries...
debates, papers and exposes...

People are still confused about WHY we are getting so fat.

First it was because of eating too much protein... then it was because
of fatty food... then it was because of high carbohydrate food....

Then the attention switched from the food itself - and suddenly it
was the human body itself under the spotlight.

Were some people pre-destined to be fat? Was it there a 'fat gene'?
Was it a 'disease' that couldn't be helped and must be controlled
medically? Was it to do with different rates of metabolism in
different people? Did thin people burn more energy, more quickly
than fat people?

I've touched on all these topics in The Good Life Letter before. But
today I want to reveal the findings of David A Kessler, author of 'The
End of Overeating'. He explodes some of the fat myths and offers a

Whether you're overweight, underweight or PERFECTLY IN BALANCE
(Lucky you!) this is interesting. Because Kessler believes that the food
manufacturing industry is deliberately turning us into a bunch food

I'll explain...

Three fat myths exposed

* It's all about metabolism. Not according to Kessler. Most
studies reveal that obese people burn more energy than their
thin counterparts.

* Some unlucky people don't have to eat much to get fat. 
This myth comes from the many studies where people write
diaries to record their food intake. Almost always, people
underestimate the food they put in their mouths each day.
Kessler explains that "So much of our eating takes place
outside our awareness that it's easy to underestimate how
much food we actually put into our bodies.

* It's all genetic. Kessler quotes a study which studied a group
of children for several years. The weight of their parents was
less important than how much they ate.

His conclusion?

"People get fat because they eat more than people who are lean."

It's hardly groundbreaking, and hardly likely to shift a million fad diet
books, but perhaps this is the common sense wake-up call society

And here's the most shocking thing....

The obvious solution is that everybody should eat less, right? All diet
books should say is "Halve your portion" and be done with it, yes?  A
great big education programme will soon show society how to end
the obesity problem almost immediately, wouldn't it?

Well, it's a big fat "no" to all three.

Because Kessler the problem DOES lie in the food we eat. But it's not
to do with one particular type of food - natural protein, natural carbs
or natural fats - being better or worse than the other. It's not about
eating less ham, more carrots, more salad, less cereal, more eggs,
fewer steaks....

 It's all about processed far, sugar and salt.

According to Kessler - and I agree with him totally from my own
investigations and experiences into weight loss - "Sugar, fat and salt
make us eat more sugar fat and salt."

What has happened in the last 50 years is that collectively, we've
entered a cycle of addiction.

Why some food makes us crave more food

The ability of modern foods to hit our pleasure 'hot buttons' has
created the problem. And quite clearly this is a deliberate act on the
part of the food industry to sell more food.

What industry in the modern capitalist age WOULDN'T try to increase
its market demand and its profits?

Processed foods contain well-programmed combinations of sugar, fat
and salt. We live in a world of super-addictive food: the
manufactured cakes, burgers, fries, milkshakes, curries, pasta meals,
cereals and sandwiches offer people a shot of pleasure that leaves
them wanting MORE.

It's all about the sensations in the mouth, the signals shooting to the
brain, the aroma that fills your nose. When we eat sugary, fatty, salty
food, we experience a sensory 'high'.

This would be fine in moderation - like I always say in the Good Life
Letter, a little bit of what you fancy does you good. I'm no saint when
it comes to food, and I don't believe you should torture yourself
about having the occasional indulgence.

It's fun, it's pleasurable, and life needs a bit of short-term happiness,
I don't care what the do-gooders say.

(Can you hear me? I'm blowing a massive raspberry!)

But the big problem for our society is the availability of this addictive
food. Fast food joints, home delivery services and supermarkets are
everywhere, selling all the stuff we crave, almost 24 hours a day. It's
very hard to avoid.

A second problem is the accessible price. While many food costs are
rising  - namely fruit and vegetables, meats, and juices - the prices of
the most manufactured, artificial and mass-market foods are still very

Because of this wide availability,, the act of eating addictive food has
easily and quickly become a habit.

And if you've ever struggled to change a habit in your life, you'll know
how difficult this is to reverse.

Drugs, alcohol, smoking, gambling, food... they're all  very similar in
the way they work on the human brain. And in Kessler's view, the
solution is to treat them the same.

Kessler's 5 Step Rehab

In the final part of The End of Overeating, he suggests that a form of
Food Rehab is the answer. We need to understand WHY we overeat
and then tackle the problem at the source.

Here's how he believes you can create your own rehab in 5 steps:

* Planned eating - have set times and menus for what you eat
every day. By determining what and when you eat, you block
out the opportunities for unthinking, absent-minded snacking
and bingeing. It's what I call 'zombie' eating, when you find
yourself reaching into the fridge for a slab of cheese.

* Just right eating - this is something I've touched on before
when discussing food habits in old Japanese cultures, where
it's impolite to eat until you're full. The idea is that you put a
small portion on a plate and tell yourself "that's enough
food" and when you're finished, that's that. Even if you still
feel hungry, you have to get into the habit of thinking "I'm

* Choosing satisfying foods - Kessler means foods that make
your feel fuller, longer. These are diets based on lean protein,
whole grains and beans, fruits and non starchy vegetables.
Pretty much the low G.I, controlled carbs diet that worked
for me, as described on The Honey Garlic and Vinegar

* Eat foods you enjoy - it you try a strict diet of foods you
don't like, you will quickly fail. Food MUST still be

* Mental rehearsal - Kessler suggests that before you go to a
big meal, or before you're likely to enter a scenario where
temptation is likely, you rehearse what your behaviour will
be. You imagine not reaching for a second round of garlic
bread, you picture yourself eating just the right amount and
refusing the after dinner chocolates. It's how athletes ready
themselves for an event - they reinforce their future
behaviour by going through it in their heads first.

It's fascinating stuff and if you're interested I recommend you take a
look at the book. The End of Overeating by David A. Kessler is
published by Penguin and is available in books shops or on Amazon.
And if you want to know I kicked my own food addiction, then check
out The Honey, Garlic and Vinegar Miracle, which is available here:

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