Paradigm Paralysis

July 20, 2009

Most of us have heard that the definition of insanity is doing something the same way over and over again all the while expecting a different result.

Adolescent obesity - once rare and uncommon is now not only common, but escalating. What we've been recommending for over a decade now to combat this epidemic is to eat a low fat/lower calorie diet and do more exercise. And that is precisely what many experts continue to recommend to this day.

It's not working.

Regardless, the same approach continues to be hammered home by health care professional and famous talk show hosts. The 'less calories in / more calories out' approach has become so ingrained into our societies thought process that alternative solutions are never considered. Far worse, alternative solutions are strongly shunned even when legitimate scientific research shows how effective they are.

The inability to think differently on a subject even in the face of scientific evidence (think Galileo) is commonly referred to as a 'paradigm paralysis.' The longer we remain paralyzed on the issue of adolescent obesity, the longer our children will suffer. Allowing children to needlessly suffer is criminal at best and at worst - I honestly have no word for it.

Obesity is an outcome of excess fat accumulation. What this means is, the obese person's body is storing more fat from the calories they are eating than a non obese person. But why? We know that the hormone needed to store body fat is insulin. In fact, it is one of insulins primary jobs. High carbohydrate diets cause large releases in insulin which sets up the scene for excess body fat storage. Fat does not. This is a fact of science - we don't get to vote.

Children today, thanks to the low fat approach to dieting supported by the ADA, AMA, RDA and other health organizations have shifted caloric intake towards more (a lot more) carbohydrate. Children are taught to fear bacon and eggs and opt instead for a bowl of breakfast cereal with skim milk, toast, a glass of OJ and a banana. This breakfast will spill over 70 times the amount of sugar a child needs to keeps her blood sugar normal. Bear in mind this is just breakfast. And we wonder why our children are becoming obese at an alarming rate?

If we really care about our children - if we really love them - we will snap out of our paralysis and instead embrace what research and basic biochemistry have been screaming at us for years - eat less carbohydrates and engage in exercises that build lean tissue, not burn calories.

Anything else is insanity.