The Market Ticker
Commentary on The Capital Markets- Category [Personal Health]

If you "diet" you will fail.  You will fail because you never changed anything in the long term, and as soon as you go back to what you were doing the same result will come.  What else can you reasonably expect?

If you have been reading the newspaper recently, you will have come across some startling new nutrition advice. A much hyped new study, conducted with just 150 participants, calls for us to “embrace fat”—even the saturated kind. The alleged benefits? Weight loss and, most incredibly, healthier hearts.

No kidding?  Well, he thinks it is kidding.

In the two centuries during which these diets have been promoted, there have been hundreds of studies comparing low-carb to low-fat diets. One would think that by now it would be clear which was superior if there really was a difference. But if you take all of these diet studies, and analyze the enormous body of data they produced, there is no proven difference between them as far as weight loss is concerned. In fact, another such analysis was published the day after the over-hyped low-carb study with this same conclusion.

If you're looking for a diet, that is, something faddish you can do that will produce result "X", you can find it whether it's straight starvation or something else.  Then there's this:

More to the point, however, is that this most recent study really did not actually prove that low-carb diets are superior. The low-fat diet in the study was not that low in fat, and the low-carb group ate significantly fewer calories.

Well duh.

See, people keep missing this -- it's a lifestyle choice, not a diet.

Do you eat fewer calories?  Yes.  You want to know why?  Because you're not hungry, that's why.

There's no magic to it.  When you're hungry if there is food available you'll eat, all things being equal.  Oh sure, you can apply extreme willpower to counteract that, but will you succeed?  Probably not at all, and almost-certainly not for long.

So what's the secret?  It's easy -- don't be hungry.

That's what low-carb does, you see.

Sugars and things that quickly convert to sugar produce a "high."  Ask any parent about their kid being jacked up on sugary things.  Well if you've all seen this why do you think it doesn't happen to you?

And what comes after that when you "come down"?  The crash, of course, and what do you want?  More of what made you high.

Is it really any more difficult to understand than that?

Nope.

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I'm going to be really rude this morning because frankly I've seen too much BS in the comments section and elsewhere to keep my mouth shut or be nice in response any more.

Go read this Ticker again.

Notice that it says exactly nothing about the form or type of exercise you engage in (or don't), nor does it say anything about trying to set personal records in how much you (over)pay for various forms of food, most-particularly playing the so-called "organic", "free-range" or any other sort of horsecrap game in your infantile attempt to play "more expensive is better."

I refused to approve a few comments on that article, and ones before it, which boiled down to "watch me show you how rich I am because I paid $6/dz for eggs so they'd have a magic label on the package."

Might there be some further, small and incremental benefit from that?  Maybe.  But the point here is further, small and incremental.

I argue that this sort of crap is in fact destructive to the larger issue in that by strutting around showing off your wallet size you are providing a disincentive to millions of Americans by, in effect, claiming that unless you're rich you can't afford to quit stuffing your pie hole with crap.

That's a lie, by the way and to the extent you run it in public you ought to be called on it and shunned.

Oh I'm sure I'll get hate mail for this column, but I'm used to it.  If it gets one person who thinks they have to buy $6/dz eggs in order to change their life when the $1.99/dz ones will do just as well along with the mass-produced Kraft brick cheese and mass-produced salted butter in their omelette at less than half the cost, when the alternative was a breakfast full of cereal and other garbage, then it's been worth it.

My refrigerator has mass-market eggs, butter and cheese in it for said omelette.  I can afford the $6 eggs but I refuse to pay three times the price for something that might have tiny incremental benefits when I can get 80% or more of the benefit with the $2 eggs.

You folks arguing for the "organic" nonsense, in my experience, nearly all wind up destroying the benefit you would get from that 80% by eating other trash, but still think you're doing good.  Rather than nuke some mass-produced and frozen brussel sprouts with mass-produced salted butter for lunch you instead have a "whole wheat" sandwich and suck up enough refined carbs to spike your insulin levels, utterly destroying any benefit in terms of body weight control and health you could have gotten from the eggs!  

You pat yourself on the back but obtain nothing beyond a lighter wallet and another peacock feather that you then dutifully stick in your ******* and parade around showing off.

Sorry folks, no $ale.  The simple fact of the matter is that 80% of the solution to nearly any problem can be had at reasonable cost provided you don't go ape-**** trying to play this sort of game.  Arguing that people ought to blow money most of the population does not have on trying to achieve the last 20% before expending the effort and time, at much lower cost, to get the 80% solution taken care of is not only stupid it's actively destructive.

Feel free to do that on your own time and space, but around here if you get obnoxious enough about it I'll be happy to hammer you with this:

 by genesis

 Yes, that's a 30 second Photoshop hack job.  And?

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This sort of horsecrap feel-good garbage ought to******you off.

Especially in this case because if you believe it that act of stupidity may kill you.

There's a disturbing truth that is emerging from the science of obesity. After years of study, it's becoming apparent that it's nearly impossible to permanently lose weight.

....

We all think we know someone in that rare group. They become the legends — the friend of a friend, the brother-in-law, the neighbour — the ones who really did it.

But if we check back after five or 10 years, there's a good chance they will have put the weight back on.

Well yeah, if they don't change what they eat.

That's because obesity is mostly about what goes down your pie hole -- not how much goes down your pie hole.

In March of 2011 I got tired of being a fat bastard.  I massed 210 lbs at that time and was uncomfortable in a 34" pair of jeans; 36s were ok.  I wore an XL T-shirt or sweatshirt and filled them "amply."  I was headed for 38s and then 40s on the jeans -- I'm sure of it.  Oh sure, maybe not for another 5 or 10 years, but that's where I was headed and I knew it.  I couldn't see my dick in the shower in the morning unless I sucked in my gut.

About nine months later I massed 150lbs -- a net 60 pound loss.  I have been between 145 and 155 since with very few excursions to either extreme.  Before writing this I stepped on the scale and it read 151.  I do not count calories.  I do run and bicycle, and did so while losing the weight, but I'm not obsessive about it.  There are weeks I don't run at all, or run about a single 5k in distance.  Then there are weeks I run pretty close to a 5k a day, or bike through an equivalent amount of time (and caloric consumption.)

When I began fewer than 10 flights of stairs would kick my ass.  Today that would be no problem at all.  A 5k run was literally impossible; I could not run for more than about a quarter of a mile at a time without having to slow down and feeling like I'd been hit by the truck.  

My personal best today on a 5k is a 7:06 pace across the race and my "normal" pace while "having fun" is right around 8 minutes/mile.  And I'm not a kid any more either -- I've got half a century on my sack of meat thus far.

I've posted this picture before.  It's real.

If you think I'm funnin' you on my ability to maintain that over this period of time here's a "selfie" from a few minutes ago:

 by tickerguy

I have on a pair of 30" waist shorts and that's a size medium T-shirt -- the same size I've worn since late 2011.  It is now June of 2014.

Oh, by the way, this isn't the first time I tried to lose the weight.  I had previously failed several times, despite really working at it from a physical activity perspective.

What changed this time around?

I changed what -- not how much -- went in the pie hole.

Specifically, I got rid of most carbohydrates and grains, including all fast carbohydrates such as sugars and breads.

Today I keep it under 100g/day, am usually under 50g, and have frequent days during which I consume zero carbohydrate.

My body and metabolism reacted to that; after a relatively modest period of time I wasn't hungry very often, and thus I ate less, with the largest component of my caloric content shifting to saturated fat. I didn't have to try to eat less, I simply wanted less.  Today I wake up and am often not hungry at all and may not have anything to eat until the middle of the morning or even later.

Then I'll make up some eggs cooked in butter with bacon or eat a steak, pork chop, chicken, ham and the like with utterly no attempt to reduce saturated fat intake at all.  What I did eliminate in the "fats" department were vegetable and hydrogenated fats, with the exception of olive oil that I do use for cooking purposes and as a salad dressing.

Look folks, you can believe what you want.  But the fact of the matter is that in my experience fast carbs are an addictive drug.  

Like most addictive drugs they make you feel good but do bad things to your body.

Like most addictive drugs there are people who "push" them, but since these addictive drugs are legal there are a lot of people manufacturing and pushing them.

Let me give you an example. I used to like chocolate bars.  I'd eat half a Snickers bar and if there was another half in a short while I'd want to eat that too.  Then there better not be any more of them in the house or they'd be gone as well.  The same with a bag of Doritos.  Sure, a "serving" is a handful of chips.  How many of you will eat those, then a while later consume the rest of the bag?  

Doesn't that sound like addictive behavior?  It sure does -- and I assert that's because it is.

Once you become fat through this addictive process you have a further problem -- not only are you habituated to these substances but in addition your insulin response mechanism is likely damaged.  If that goes far enough we call it diabetes and if not controlled it will eventually cause you to get your extremities amputated, will make you go blind, and will eventually kill you.

Once you get diabetes you go to the doctor and they start prescribing medication.  But if you keep eating carbohydrates -- that is, you keep using the drug that caused the damage in the first place -- drugs will become less and less effective because you are still doing incremental damage.

In many cases if you stop that crap your body can repair some of the damage over time.  Not all of it, to be sure, and maybe not enough of it.  But this much is certain -- if you keep doing damage the cumulative effect will continue to add up.

Our biology taunts us, by making short-term weight loss fairly easy. But the weight creeps back, usually after about a year, and it keeps coming back until the original weight is regained or worse.

That's like saying that the meth-head who has his teeth start to rot out, and who stops using it, ought to be surprised if his teeth keep rotting out if he goes back to smoking his crank-pipe!

Well, duh.

You can keep reading articles like this and nodding as you maw down on the Doritos and donuts or you can cut that crap out and do what I did.

Ultimately the problem is that it's hard to break the addiction, just like it is with all addictions.  When you begin you crave these sorts of foods and if you succumb then you will fail.  You'll then argue that it doesn't work when in fact you didn't maintain the path for long enough for the cravings to abate -- you cheated, in short, and after a period of time you'll declare failure and back to being fat you will go.

That's ok -- it's a choice, and one you're entitled to make.  It's your ass -- literally, the size of your ass.

But do remember this -- today we have a medical system that is siphoning off 20% of our economy, roughly, and is running costs at 5x what they should be.  It's a scam end-to-end, and will continue to be a scam because we refuse to put a stop to it by enforcing anti-trust law in this area just like we do and should everywhere else.  There are a million excuses, just like there are a million excuses for the baked goods section in your grocery and the box of donuts on your kitchen table.

When -- not if -- that system comes unwound you will either have resolved this problem or you will have not.  If you have you'll be fine because you won't have a diabetes problem and you won't need constant medical attention.

If not you will die.

Your choice, your consequence.

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