This is a documentary that everyone should see. It answered a question that has always bothered me. Why on earth am I not fatter and why are people who seem to eat far less than I do not thinner? In fairness, I do eat plenty of veggies and fruit and very healthy food. But I also eat a fair amount of food that is supposed to be terribly fattening. I have been known to eat an entire avocado as a snack. I have eaten a pound of spinach artichoke dip in a single sitting. I sometimes eat hummus with a spoon. I don’t have a “fast metabolism”. Like half of celiacs I have the metabolism of a reptile. I am always cold. My thyroid is on low alert. The weather is never too hot for me.
On top of all of that I write a baking blog. Every recipe that makes it onto this site is one that I have eaten at least three times. Right now in my house is the remains of a chocolate tiramisu (still too runny), a banana bread pudding, and a swiss roll cake (frosting needs work).
So what is the difference? Why doesn’t my butt need to apply for statehood?
The BBC 2 documentary The Men Who Made Us Fat has a lot of the answers. It is rare that I start anything that is three hours long and finish it in a single night, but this was so interesting that I could not stop watching.
It turns out that most people are tricked into eating fat and sugar without their knowledge. There is an amazing amount of occult sugar in processed foods. Most people are also tricked into eating additives like MSG (under assumed names like hydrolyzed soy protein or kombu seaweed) which cause them to retain more of the calories that they do eat or that can turn off leptin signaling and cause increased hunger later on.
So what specifically am I doing correctly…by accident?
I rarely drink calories – This is a biggie. We drink iced tea, seltzer water, stevia sweetened lemonade, wine in moderation and coffee. I do sometimes make my own lattes with unsweetened soy milk to which I add two teaspoons of sugar, but that is about it. No milk, no chocolate milk, no juice, no fruit punch, no smoothies, and no soda. The lack of juice is key. It turns out that fructose (in juice and agave syrup) is not used for energy but is immediately stored for leaner times. Also if you know that there are ABOUT 4g of sugar in a teaspoon and about 5 calories per gram of sugar (yes I know one metric is volume and one is weight, but they are close) you can now see just how much sugar is in juice or chocolate milk.
I eat almost no “healthy” processed food – I don’t eat yogurt. I don’t eat cream cheese. I don’t eat many crackers or chips. I don’t eat “healthy snack bars” even if they are gluten-free and all natural. I don’t eat “healthy” or “diet” or “lean” frozen dinners. I don’t eat much trail mix. I don’t eat breakfast cereal. I don’t eat granola unless I make it, and I can’t tolerate any precooked or instant side dishes. When I do eat processed food I eat straight pure “junk food” like Ktoos, lentil chips, or chocolate chip cookies, and at what they cost per bag, I eat very few. You will be shocked and horrified when you see part 3 of 3 and realize that what you have been eating is only fake healthy. Do you have any idea how much more sugar there is in a small orange juice compared to a bowl of Cap’n Crunch? You will.
I never order take out or pizza – I can’t eat the stuff. So that means that they can’t sneak in all the extra sugar, appetite suppressors, and fat. Nor can I get skunked on portion sizes.
When I do eat out I typically eat like its 1957 – Aside from forays to Senza and for Ethiopian food, me eating out is not exciting. My meal is a steak or prime rib, no sauce, no marinade or fish, same deal, with a salad (no dressing or carefully selected dairy free dressing) and maybe plain rice or a baked potato. It is not a monument to flavor. It is a nutritionally balanced meal that allows me to be with friends and family and I am grateful for the option. That said, it is tough to sneak in sugar or calories. It is also not new or exciting, so the tendency to overeat is minimized.
I eat at home – This means that I eat much smaller portions because I always use the same plates. Also, I don’t make food with MSG or other endocrine disruptors, so I know when I am full.
I also do a few things that are not mentioned in the documentary that I think are helpful
I eat my veggies raw – To my family’s dismay I make a salad every night for dinner. I also sometimes serve defrosted broccoli. This means that I get all the enzymes and varied fibers needed by my large intestine’s colony of bacteria. These bacteria that need raw veggies digest calories inefficiently. The cracker loving bacteria seem far more efficient at storing fat.
I do not eat canned food – Canned food often contains MSG and almost always contains BPA. I have covered the effects of these on other posts. The effects are not to make you thinner.
I do not eat meat with antibiotics in it – Animals get antibiotics because it fattens them up faster. I haven’t wanted to add weight fast since 9th grade.
So anyway if you have ever been down on yourself for not being able to lose weight, see this documentary. You will realize that you have been tricked, and it is not your lack of willpower or commitment. I am as thin as I am because, in a crazy twist of fate, I have been spared by a genetic enzyme deficiency.
I have a lucky handicap.
If you eat what I eat you too can have your cake and eat it too. I don’t drink pop or juice or smoothies from a bottle or eat a lot of granola bars, but I can assure you that I eat a LOT of cake.