More larding

I barely know what to say…CNN is reporting that children aged 2-5 can learn to watch less television through a set of structured activities and rewards. I really want to write something withering yet incisive about this, but I can’t top the article. How could this not be an article from The Onion? Of course children can watch less TV! In the endless, terrifying wasteland that was the world before television, it was apparently not uncommon for children to amuse themselves for literally minutes on end, and that’s before they needed to rely on their parents for entertainment. For one heartstopping month back in the nineties I actually existed (I can’t really say lived) without TV myself, and while I’ve repressed the details I think I had an OK time (I was in Germany, so it’s hard to be sure).

Next they’ll be telling us that the fat arse of the average American has got something to do with shoving twinkies down their fat heads with both hands. What nonsense.

Lard me up

The US has taken steps to stop government action to reduce obesity. They make an excellent point about individuals needing to take responsibility for their own actions (and lardiness), but their claim that there isn’t solid evidence that sugar and fat make you fat is ludicrous (I’m aware that’s an over-used word, but it’s justified here).

No substance that I’m aware of will uncontrollably make someone fat in the same way that, for example, one aspirin can make your headache go away, or arsenic can make you dead. But an overconsumption of calories can certainly do that. And there are three good ways of overconsuming calories:

1. Eat something that provides nothing but calories. Sugar has no nutritional content except for energy. While energy is important, it’s better to get it in forms that are also supplying other nutrition (e.g. complex carbohydrates which generally supply fiber and important trace elements).

2. Eat something that messes with your body. Pure sugar has an amazing effect on the body, causing gluts and shortages of insulin among other things. So even if ‘a calorie is just a calorie’, it can sometimes count for more (or less). This is one of the valid points in the Atkins diet.

3. Eat concentrated energy. If you want to really pack in the calories, you need to make sure they’re as concentrated as possible. One good choice is sugar, because it’s nothing but calories. The real winner is fat, though, as it contains over twice as many calories by weight as protein or sugar. In moderation this is fine, because fat also helps the body to understand when it’s full (and provides important nutrients in the process). But we’re not talking about moderation here, are we?

So the prescription for weight gain is lots of concentrated, calories, with as little between them and your gut as possible, and preferably in irregular patterns to confuse your body. I can’t claim it’s a watertight scientific case, it’s just the truth (which the tobacco industry has shown is something entirely different).

My tip for losing weight (and I know from personal experience that this is easy to understand, but hard to do):
1. Eat less
2. Eat better
3. Move about more.

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