[FOUNTAIN]Fighting the Fat Fraud

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[FOUNTAIN]Fighting the Fat Fraud

Obesity is a large issue, so to speak, in our society - so large, indeed, that it is estimated that 20,000 different kinds of treatments have been proposed to tackle it. The most well known is cutting down calorific intake - going on a diet. But only one out of 20 people succeeds in losing weight for good by this method.

If someone who normally eats an average of 3,000 calories a day cuts down his caloric intake to 1,000 for three weeks, he will start losing weight. However, if after losing weight he goes back up to 2,500 calories a day his weight will go back up. Why? This is because the human body begins to absorb nutrients more efficiently and slows its metabolism as the supply of calories goes down. A person with a body that can adapt to changes in diet better and faster is more likely to survive a famine. We are the descendants of those who survived famines in the past, not the ones who starved to death.

Let's look at some animal experiments conducted by Kelly D. Brownell while a professor at the University of Pennsylvania. It took 21 days for overweight mice on reduced diets to lose weight. But when the research team returned to regular size feedings, the mice regained their lost weight in 46 days. The mice were again returned to a controlled diet, but this time it took 40 days to lose the same amount of weight, and only 14 days to regain that lost. Furthermore, the mice's body fat increased. Although both muscle and fat were lost when the mice were losing weight, a lot more fat was created when they regained weight.

According to statistical data, people living in Western Europe and North America today are consuming a lot fewer calories than they did 30 years ago. But data show that their average weight has increased, illustrating the reverse effect of dieting.

George Blackburn, an expert in the fields of obesity and clinical nutrition at Harvard Medical School, says that categorizing people by standard height/weight charts can make them suffer medically, physically and psychologically - and often unnecessarily. He explained that half of those categorized as overweight actually face no health risks from their weight. Those that are obese, he said, can reduce their risk of developing obesity-related conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure by losing only 10 percent of their body weight. He urges that losing that amount of weight requires just an hour of exercise a day, rather than eating less.

The more serious problem facing our society is dieting for the sake of beauty. The recent weight placed on thinness as a standard of beauty has driven women of a normal, optimal weight to the conviction that they are fat. Feminists must explode this dangerous illusion propagated by profit-oriented fashion and diet industries.

by Cho Hyun-wook

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