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New year resolutions that are bound to fail

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New year resolutions that are bound to fail

January 1, 2024, 2:52 PM IST 

Today is January 1, and many of you have likely made resolutions to join the gym and start working out this new year. Food, along with its timing (as in circadian rhythm) and its absence (as in fasting), is the 800-pound gorilla in the room, and we often fail to recognize it. Physical exercise accounts for only 10-15% of our health yet we are completely enamored by it. What is the reason for such a disconnect?

Myth: It’s all your fault(You are eating too much and not exercising enough)

These words have been repeated by doctors and our elders often referred to as “gluttony and sloth.” Have you ever wondered why all mammals in the wild world don’t have this problem and we humans didn’t have it until a century ago? Wild animals eat as much as they’d like  as often as they’d like. A deer doesn’t need a dietitian to dictate its diet. The reason we struggle might be simple: we are eating the wrong foods. The ultraprocessed foods we consume are designed for overconsumption by PhDs in psychology, circumventing our satiation mechanism.

Flawed nutrition science

Nutrition science, as it has evolved over the past century, has gone in the wrong direction of reductionism. Looking at nutrition as individual nutrients and ensuring we get enough by supplementing them worsen the situation. This approach has led to a population where the number of sick people outweighs that of healthy people. Nutrients in food work like a symphony, and focusing on individual nutrients turns a harmonious body into chaos.

Ultra processed food

The profit motive of the food industry has resulted in an increasing amount of ultra-processed food that is both addictive and non-satiating, circumventing human satiation mechanisms. Additionally, calorie-dense and nutrient-poor food is prevalent. Soil depletion due to organized farming and damming of rivers has not helped either giving rise to a profitable supplements industry.

Our body is impacted not only by known nutrients but also by nutrients we have not yet discovered. Consuming natural foods provides us with a package of known and not-yet-known nutrients. Supplements, on the other hand, only offer the nutrients we know about. We are not overeating by choice; the problem lies in the food we consume. Someone profits from it, and we find ourselves captive to it.

Another fact, studied by Dr. Robert Lustig of UCSF, is that when insulin levels are high (common when overeating refined foods), our body wants to conserve energy and avoids physical activity. It’s not our fault that we don’t want to exercise; it’s a result of ultra-processed foods. We are not the problem – the problem is ultra-processed food.

Beginning next Sunday, I will be debunking many such myths that lead us to failure and worsen our health in my blog. You will learn what I call the Five Pillars of Health, a blueprint for wellbeing that, when followed, can rejuvenate your health and make you feel years younger.

To read this article on Times Of India click here

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