Sunday, 12 April 2009

A Tale of Two Films

Captain Kid and I were watching a program on Concorde this Sunday. In the break a new Change for Life advert was featured. Captain Kid is not yet five but was every bit as confused as I was by the message it conveyed. The full film can be viewed here.

Me Sized Portions
Having watched the film you will be struck by the irony that the portion featured is a mountain of mashed potato. That is SUGAR to you and me. Even the Change for Life people know that sugar is bad - and suggest 'sugar swaps'.

Sadly, even this advice shows someone swapping Sugar as in products made from refined/table sugar for a smoothie - which undoubtedly contains a lot of erm......fructose. If any of them are reading this I will let them Google 'lipogenic')

But back to the film. We see little 'Timmy' being given adult portions and the message is that this is making him fat. Timmy hands the excess to his dog - but hell, he still eats enough to turn himself in to a little fat bastard.

What this whole piece misses is the issue of HUNGER. Timmy gives half his meal to the dog, when clearly he has had enough. I'd bet on other occasions he would eat the whole meal if he had worked up an appetite.

Even if he force fed himself, I'd doubt he could manage to eat excessively at the next meal, and like most of us would either eat a smaller portion or go longer between meals to adjust for the excess imbibed.

The other side of the coin is that if a 'me' sized portion does not fill Timmy he is likely to pester for a snack. Snacks by definition are inclined towards quick food. For quick, read carbohydrate. REFINED carbohydrate. In my experience as a parent, clearing your plate of food (which is VERY much likely to happen if the portion is small/me sized), the child is indulged with a treat. For treat read carbohydrate. REFINED carbohydrate.

Anyone see where this is going yet?

Here is the money shot:
  • Why shouldn't we let our children respond to their hunger?
If Timmy was on a paleo diet he would be eating lots of quality protein and important fat. This would sate his appetite and allow him to eat as much of the paleo-food as he wants. With a side order of (preferably) seasonal vegetables, he will get all his necessary vitamins and minerals. He is welcome to an additional piece of fruit, and the occasional treat.

Paleo diets are nutritionally complete, very hard to gain weight on and conducive to fat loss, good health and facilitate a calibrated response to one's hunger rather than some vague notion of how much food a child should eat. These conditions allow parents to relax about their child's relationship with food and prevent food from becoming a battleground and all the anxieties and issues this can bring.

Making a child persist in a state of hunger, or arranging the environmental conditions for snacking is bizarre. The reheating of the 'eat less, do more' or 'calories in, calories out' corpse is pointless. These are failed models. They don't give us a usable framework in which to work.

What does work is letting people address their hunger. We just need to know how. We can't live our lives counting calories consumed and calories burned. Eating is not maths and shouldn't be a memory-trick. Evolution gave us hunger to do all that for us.

Paleo-Spielberg & And a Candidate for a 'Wild Oscar'
Here is a second film by Methuselah. In five minutes, most of your questions about 'Why Paleo', will be answered. You might scream 'consipracy theory' or 'simplistic', but it is simple and there are conspiracies out there. Dr Briffa and Dr Eades have both posted on several occasions about the business of sickness. This business needs sick people. Industries like the diet-industry is profitable because of failure. YOUR failure.

It is human nature that guys making money in pharmaceuticals and agriculture would want keep on making money. It is humand nature that guys making money in pharmaceuticals and agriculture would want to protect and grow their markets.

All I am saying is here is that we should respond to that little bit of human nature that governs our intake of food. Hunger.


Methuselah said...

Amen. You know what - this hunger thing is the biggest challenge we face. Getting it, I mean. The trouble is, people don't. It's only once someone has been on a low carb - preferrably Paleo - diet that the scales fall from their eyes and they recognise the difference.

Mrs M and I recently went on holiday, when at one point or another, we both fell off the wagon. We each noted how our whole mindset and physiologocal reaction to food was warped by even that brief exposure to refined carbohydrates. If we had never eaten Paleo, then we would have had no frame of reference on which to base our understanding of the effects we were experiencing.

I am considering topics for follow ups to the video (after I have done Part 2 on exercise.) Your post makes me think appetite is a strong candidate. I may be calling upon you for inspiration, since this is an area you have have given excellent treatment over the months.

Asclepius said...

Methuselah - i would be more than happy to contribute to any future film!

Your observation of how we lack a 'frame of reference' (or rather how paleo gives us a FOR), is bang on the money.

It is not just that counting calories (or reps), is 'unnatural', it also is a bit unfeasible in the long term and certainly not desireable.

The paleo journey should be one of 'self discovery' as much as it is a road to follow or a destination.

When you are 'inside the bubble' you cannot make an optimal decision and after a lifetime of routine eating of the wrong foods, drinking the wrong fluids and yes, doing the wrong exercises, how can you recognise what 'health' actually is and what it feels like.

We can look at a pride of lions in the wild and see vitality and health. Looking at a homo-sapien it becomes much harder to identify. Faced with a bodybuilder, marathon runner and model, all spend time in the gym, all will eat carefully, all will tick various 'health' boxes - but none of to me, offer a road to health I would chose to follow.