Archive for May 8th, 2009

FAT LOSS: EATING DISORDERS

Summary of main points.

• Obsession with dieting and weight control can lead to eating disorders.

• There is no evidence that educational efforts to reduce obesity increase eating disorders in a community.

• The main eating disorders are anorexia nervosa and bulimia.

• These exist in about 1-10 per cent of the female population. Anorexia and bulimia are currently not common in males though they certainly occur.

• Disordered eating patterns for bulking, as in body building, are more characteristic of males.

• Eating disorders as a side effect must be considered in any fat loss programming.

Any discussion of weight control or fat loss programs would not be complete without a consideration of eating disorders. These may be an inevitable consequence of the idea that we can sculpt our bodies and ‘will’ our minds to accomplish any ideal without any apparent downside. The move towards a ‘perfect’ body is exacerbated by images portrayed in the media and by careers or professions, such as gymnastics and dancing, where an extremely slim or lean physique is required. However, whilst an unrealistic body ideal is a trigger for eating disorders, there is no evidence that initiatives to reduce obesity in the community per se, have this effect. Eating disorders have been reported in the literature for hundreds of years, well before the time of the modern obsession with weight.

The two main disorders to be considered here are anorexia nervosa, and bulimia. Because these are specialty areas of study, the discussion here is necessarily brief and directed towards the practical implications for fat loss leaders working with clients who may manifest these problems.

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THE G.I. FACTOR: WITH A WAVE OF THE FAT WAND…

The other undesirable aspect of the modern diet is its high fat content Food manufacturers, bakers and chefs know we love to eat fat. We love its creaminess and mouth feel and find it easy to consume in excess. It makes our meat more tender, our vegetables and salads more palatable and our sweet foods even more desirable. We prefer potatoes as French fries or potato crisps, to have our fish battered and fried and our pastas in rich creamy sauces. With a wave of the fat wand, bland high carbohydrate foods like rice and oats are magically transformed into very palatable, kilojoule-laden foods such as fried rice and toasted muesli. In fact, when you analyse it, much of our diet today is an undesirable but delicious combination of both fat and quickly digested carbohydrate.

What’s wrong with our way of eating?

? The modern diet is too high in fat and therefore not high enough in carbohydrate.

? The carbohydrate we eat is digested and absorbed too quickly because most modern starchy foods have a high G.I. factor.

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