Telling the truth about nutrition in mixed company

I was at a gathering last Friday night at a local wine bar with a few people, sipping some vino and chatting about whatever. As the subject turned to calories, I had to jump in.

“Calories don’t matter,” I said, somewhat trying to put the person concerned at ease, and someone trying to drop a shock bomb, “when it comes to weight loss.”

Well the bomb was definitely dropped and reactions were stronger and more hostile than I had anticipated.

“No that’s impossible!” claimed one long distance runner sitting next to me.

“No way. That’s entirely wrong.” said the triathlete sitting across from me.

Nobody at the table had a weight problem by any degree, but at the table were some highly educated individuals, one with a PhD, another going for her PhD. I stated my case, simply and clearly: “The caloric theory of weight loss, calories consumed-calories burned is dead. It’s not the quantity of calories that one eats that are important, it’s the quality. Insulin is the main culprit in gaining weight. Cutting down on carbohydrates….” before I could finish my sentence I saw two people shaking their heads and getting visibly upset!

Since I did not intend to spend my Friday night in a debate in which we would never agree anyway, I stopped there, and just added that I’m basing what I say on scientifically proven evidence, particularly what Gary Taubes has come out with in the last few years, and that I understand that it is certainly possible to lose weight by working out.

Once again, I have proven that the topic of nutrition is just as inflammatory in mixed company as religion or politics. Most people think they know what is what when it comes to healthy food and staying thin, especially when they are top notch competitive athletes who spend a lot of time training their bodies. And since most of us learned what we “know” about this topic in some sort of government-sponsored school, what we got was mostly propaganda, based on the highly flawed and bought-and-paid-for USRDA food pyramid.

To steal a phrase from the ex-U.S. president George W Bush, when it comes to the truth about nutrition, you’ve got to continue to “catapult the propaganda.”

Only in this case, the propaganda is coming from the government/media establishment, and it is up to us as individuals to do the catapulting!

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