September 3, 2011

Does Eating Healthy Equal Weight Loss?

Last night I flipped on the weight loss show “Ruby” about a morbidly obese woman in Georgia on a journey to getting healthy through diet and exercise. It’s an old show, but I’ve never seen it before and I was interested in the approach they would take with her. I’m not going to analyze the show here but will mention an incongruity that bothered me.

In the first episode, Ruby’s blonde “Health Freak” (you know I was unhappy about that term) friend from the West Coast came to motivate her. They went shopping at a “Health Food Store” where the West Coast Blonde encouraged Ruby to buy food that is healthy and would therefore help her lose weight. She wanted Ruby to buy gluten free rice pasta instead of regular. She wanted Ruby to buy what I believe was Agave nectar as a “healthy alternative to sugar” and she wanted Ruby to go vegetarian and eat Millet Burgers. Of course, all of these things scared Ruby. She claimed, “I’d never eat a veggie burger!" and tried to sneak chocolate bars into the cart the entire time. I have a lot of comments about this shopping trip but just a couple that I will mention:

1. Claiming Agave is a healthy alternative to sugar is bold. Fructose levels can be higher in this product than levels found in high fructose corn syrup. It is also processed as it is extracted from the Agave plant. For a diabetic like Ruby, Agave may be very detrimental to her health and weight loss.

2. Why would it make Ruby lose weight if she eats Gluten Free products? There has been nothing mentioned about her being gluten intolerant or Celiac. Gluten Free products are great and they have made a huge difference for some people who cannot eat wheat products, but weight loss is not what I associate with Gluten Free. It doesn’t make any sense.

3. Ruby doesn’t need to be consuming more packaged products, bars, and gimmicks. She needs a good produce section and some cooking lessons.

This morning at the new Marino’s Market in Chicago, the checker commented on our brown organic eggs.

Checker: “Do you like these eggs?”
Us: “Yes – they are delicious and good for you”
Checker: “I’m going to be better now that I work here. I’m going to try those organic eggs. I feel bad because I don’t even know what some of the vegetables are in the produce section!”
Us: “That is understandable; this store has a lot of great produce! The good news is you can have fun learning. Each week, maybe you could buy a new one and experiment cooking with it?”
Checker: “Yea – that’s a good idea! I’m going to try that – I’m going to get skinny working here. I’m finally going to get skinny.”
Us: “Well, as long as you’re healthy – vegetables are very healthy for you”
Checker: “Have a nice day”

Checker, I applaud you. Buy organic eggs! Stand up for animal rights, sustainable farming practices, and delicious food. Try new veggies, even if they are unfamiliar. You CAN be healthier. But does eating organic eggs or more veggies make you skinnier? Perhaps; perhaps not. One thing’s for sure, eating organic eggs and more veggies will give your body access to more natural vitamins and minerals, you will consume a great source of fiber and antioxidants, and you will be supporting farming practices that are better for animals and the environment alike. To me, that is far more important than getting “skinny”.

My lesson today is, don’t get confused between eating healthy and being thin. There are a lot of aspects to maintain a healthy body weight – physical activity, portion choices, meal pattern, genetics, social eating, and choice of drinks to name a small few. Just because you choose gluten free, organic, or natural products does not necessarily mean you will become thin. Choosing these products is important for many reasons and I strongly encourage you to do so, but please don’t do it because you think you will lose weight easily.

Focus on fresh, quality food. Focus on health.

No comments:

Post a Comment