The science of weight loss
I have a fairly lengthy article in today’s Globe and Mail on the science of weight loss. My assignment was basically to sum up what works, what doesn’t work, and what we still don’t know. Yeah, it was a big topic…
[...] “People want to hear that there are ‘good’ and ‘bad’ foods, and that you simply need to avoid the bad foods and only eat the good foods and you’ll be fine,” says Yoni Freedhoff, the founder of Ottawa’s Bariatric Medical Clinic and one of Canada’s foremost obesity clinicians [and author of the excellent Weighty Matters blog].
Over the past few decades, we’ve tried cutting carbs, eliminating fat – or meticulously optimizing the ratio between them; we’ve eliminated meat and subsisted on liquids; we’ve even eaten according to our blood type. The result? When Statistics Canada went out and actually measured thousands of Canadians (instead of trusting them to tell the truth about their weight) between 2007 and 2009, they found that 61 per cent of us were overweight.
As we begin a new decade, obesity researchers are turning away from this search for “good” foods – a quest that has led us down a nutritional rabbit hole, in which the rich complexities of the human diet are reduced to didactic edicts that change every few years.
Instead, they’re focusing more on the physiology and psychology of why people eat what they do, how societal forces influence their choices, and what they can do to change. The code hasn’t been cracked yet, but here’s what we do know about weight loss. [...]