Food and diets. Where to start? Every month there is a new message, a new fad, a new diet, a new superfood. Just what is the truth about food and fat content?

For the average consumer who wants to eat an all-round healthy diet it is difficult; for the person wanting to modify their diet to lose weight, or to gain weight in the right places, it is a minefield.

I overheard two women in a shop having a lively conversation about diet and exercise the other day. One was talking about how her new exercise regime was going to turn her fat to muscle. I wanted to scream and pull my hair out. Fat DOES NOT turn to muscle, or vice versa. That is like putting a packet of butter on the table and expecting to turn it into steak – it ain’t going to happen.

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Buttersteak

What does happen is the composition of the human body changes. The percentage of muscle mass, i.e. the part of the human body that is made of muscle, changes depending upon diet and exercise, and the same thing happens to the fat content of the body.

That is why a complex measuring system that gives a reading to show the proportions of fat, muscle, bone and water is far more useful than one that purely gives a weight.

The same two women were also talking about their diets. One of the women spoke about how she trimmed all the fat off her meat, but it still wasn’t helping her to lose weight. During the course of this conversation it turned out that the meat she religiously trimmed the fat off each day, was her daily bacon sandwich, which she had as an eleven o’clock snack between breakfast and lunch.

Now I am as much a bacon sandwich fan as anyone, but I also know that if a daily bacon sandwich, with or without fat, is my snack – hence IN ADDITION to my meals – then I am unlikely to lose weight. A regular bacon sandwich weighs in at approximately 300-350 calories, depending upon the type of bread, presence of butter, thickness of bacon etc. This is before a nutritionist even gets started on the fat, sugar and salt content of processed meat.

What both these snippets of conversation revealed is that despite all the information that abounds regarding food, fat and exercise, there are still huge gaps and misunderstandings in people’s knowledge. What is needed is a concerted effort by governments, food producers, food standards agencies and the health and fitness industry to get the correct messages across so that people everywhere can make well-informed decisions.

This should be a focus point for the health industry when it comes to something as important as an individual’s health.

 

(pictures: savagemill, firsttimerscookbook)

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