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Sunday, July 10, 2005

NIH Should Look At Low-Carb Obesity Strategy

The major players in the health debate are meeting again this month to discuss the topic of all health topics on the minds of those in academia, government, industry and health care. The subject matter they are concerned with most is obesity.

Millions upon millions of dollars have been spent by well-meaning researchers who have been trying to grasp this seemingly incurable problem for many years. They have examined what the problem is and have made recommendations to help solve it, yet the problem not only persists but has even gotten worse. Could it be those "science-based solutions to obesity" have been misguided? GASP!

Some people will thumb their nose up at this assertion and proudly say that these are medical "experts" and that I should respect what they have to say about the subject of obesity since I am but a mere untrained citizen. Okay, I respect them and I am admittedly untrained in the field of health, but that doesn't mean they are infallible in their opinions nor does it mean my opinions on the subject should be automatically rejected either. There appears to be a real disconnect between the theories of how to bring about lasting weight loss and the application of those theories into the lives of real people so they can bring about the change that will allow them to live long and prosper.

The abstract for the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 82, No. 1, 211S-214S, July 2005 gives us a brief look into what is being looked at this year about how to take on the beast of obesity. Let's see what they've come up with.

The official executive summary of the Strategic Plan For National Institutes of Health Obesity Research led by Allen M. Spiegel and Barbara M. Alving reveals what the game plan is for attempting to solve the obesity problem this time.

Why is this so important for you to pay attention to? Because this is the group responsible for steering the direction of obesity research by making recommendations in the medical community regarding effective strategies for helping people with weight problems. My biggest concern is and has always been since I've been writing about this subject in this forum that the low-carb answer is being entirely ignored as if it does not exist. Withholding information that could help some people find the cure to their obesity problem is unconscionable.

Don't misunderstand me, though. Is low-carb the end-call diet for anyone who is obese? Of course not! But it helped me when I was a 410-pound man to shed 180 pounds and I know it can help others if the blinders would begin to fall off of the eyes of these researchers. All the information they are distributing points back to the same old failed strategies they have always promoted for weight loss.

I will break down each of the four "major scientific themes" of their strategy for tackling obesity:

1. preventing and treating obesity through lifestyle modification

Actually, this is the best recommendation they make. I agree wholeheartedly that the first step in taking on and defeat the problem of obesity problem is to encourage people to make necessary lifestyle changes. The fact is that low-carb is the lifestyle change many have been looking for their entire lives. The reason other low-fat/low-calorie/portion-controlled diets have failed people in the past is because they do not provide a reasonable permanant plan for eating healthy for the rest of your life. But livin' la vida low-carb not only helps you lose weight, but gives you a delicious and healthy way to keep the weight off forever. That is why the low-carb option for tacking obesity needs not only to be simply suggested, but actively promoted by medical researchers and experts.

2. preventing and treating obesity through pharmacologic, surgical, or other medical approaches

I am not a big fan of the obesity surgeries such as gastric bypass and other strange ways to help people deal with their obesity problem. I know many people, my mother included, who have had this surgery and ran into many complications as a result. Undoubtedly the people who choose this way to lose weight are desperate and feel like there is no other way to lose weight. That is such a shame, too. It makes you wonder how many people would have to do this surgery if the low-carb way of eating were marketed as heavily as the low-fat/low-calorie/portion-control diets have been. I bet the numbers would plummet dramatically because this is the best weight loss method available for people today.

3. breaking the link between obesity and its associated health conditions

How are you supposed to do that? The inevitable "link" between obesity and conditions such as Type II diabetes, heart disease, back pain, chronic pain, stroke and more is impenetrable. Obesity itself must be dealt with before these other conditions will improve and/or go way forever. We do not need to simply mask the symptoms while the real problem is not addressed. Deal effectively with obesity and these other conditions will immediately improve with most people.

4. cross-cutting topics, including health disparities, technology, fostering of interdisciplinary research teams, investigator training, translational research, and education/outreach efforts

This final suggestion is all about the information that is distributed to the public. My motivation for speaking out so passionately about this subject is nothing more than helping to educate the general public about a way to lose weight that helped me. Since the media and medical establishment have failed to arm people with all the information they need to make an informed choice about which plan of action will work best to help them overcome their obesity problem, I believe web sites like this and many others which extol the virtues of livin' la vida low-carb are carrying on an "undergroud" debate that can and will have an impact on obesity if it can get past all the lies and distortions from the media on a daily basis.

The self-proclaimed goal of the Strategic Plan for NIH Obesity Research is to "strive to facilitate and accelerate progress in obesity research to improve public health."

If that's their genuine desire, then they need to take low-carb seriously as part of the equation for dealing with obesity and helping people improve their health. Obesity is not inevitable if we would just wake up to the low-carb solution that is staring us in the face. We need leaders on this issue, not just mamby-pamby robots telling us the same thing year after year.

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2 Comments:

Blogger David Skul said...

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1/03/2006 12:32 PM  
Blogger karishma said...

"3. breaking the link between obesity and its associated health conditions"

I agree, Jimmy. There's far too much emphasis on ways to treat all these various symptoms in isolation from the root cause - obesity.

That's just another way for drug and medical technology companies to make money off sick and injured people. (Nothing wrong with that, capitalism and all, but something to be aware of as a consumer of healthcare products.)

Michael Eades mentioned something similar in his blog today - his dentist is seeing an epidemic of cracked teeth, prolly caused by grinding teeth while sleeping, caused by sleep apnea, caused by obesity. Treatment - mouth guards that prevent grinding, but can lead to other problems such as TMJ, rather than focusing on weight loss.

I would go so far as to say that finding ways to treat these symptoms is counter-productive, in so much as it makes it easier for the obese person to further put off any weight loss attempts.

How many people already are shrugging off the need to eat right to manage their diabetes because they know they can control it with medication and insulin?

How much more would we see of this if we had effective treatments for all the other negative consequences of obesity? We'd be a nation (world even) of obese, diseased, but drugged-up enough to not notice, semi-invalids.

I'm not against medical research, and new drugs and treatments are unequivocally good things. It's just sad that so many of them would be unnecessary if only we would modify our lifestyle to incorporate healthier habits.

--karishma
www.yourhealthiestlife.com

1/15/2007 4:05 PM  

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