Thursday, 7 January 2010

Diet: A Horizon Guide

There was lots to take in with this program:
  • "Dr Susan Jebb takes a look through nearly fifty years of amazing BBC archive of mankind's relationship with what we eat, charting the shift from the malnutrition of the past to today's obesity epidemic.

    This is the story of our attempt to control nature through the wholesale industrialisation of food production in our search for enough to eat, and the consequences of that massive shift in our diet on the shape of our bodies, and the diseases that kill us.From the BBC's original eccentric scientist Magnus Pyke comparing the virtues of artificial additives to a Beethoven sonata, to the tragic side effects of diet pills, Horizon and the BBC have covered it all.

    On her journey through the decades, Dr Jebb explores how scientists have played a crucial role both in transforming the way our food is produced, but also in attempting to understand the biological mechanisms that determine why it is that some of us have become so large.

The twist at the end was that it was 'Leptin wot dun it'. At least there was some notion that it is hormones rather than sloth, gluttony and mental weakness that cause obeisty.

Highlights included:

  • The doctor who note 'if we change the pattern of food that we eat, we would expect the pattern of diseases to change also'.
  • The 1970s Weight Watchers class. Barely one of the members would even qualify as obese by today's standards.
  • The overfeeding experiment conducted in a prison where early release was promised to those prisoners who could put on 25% extra bodyweight. One inmate, despite the promise of early release and unlimited food could only put on 18% extra despite eating 10,000 calories a day!
  • Psychologists determining that some women became obese to avoid the attentions of young men.

Available for download for another week.


Methuselah said...

We watched this. Is it me, or do all these programs, even the well-researched, reputable ones, have an elephantine presence? Mrs M was practically hurling her slippers at the screen, yelling "it's not how much you are eating, it's what!" Have we become entrenched, indoctrinated and dogmatic or are we surrounded by idiots in white coats?

Asclepius said...

Yeah - big, grey, a leg in each corner - but no one mentions it.

It is so hard for 'them' to see that you can be fat or thin, but your body IS IN BALANCE. By controlling energy expenditure and appetite IT IS IN BALANCE. If it can't access its stored energy, it will just crank up the appetite to bridge the deficit.

I was a wee bit scared about the use of paclobutrazol inerrupt Mango tree growth cycles at the hormonal level. I am glad I stick (mostly) with organic, seasonal and local fruit.

Well done on making it on to MDA's essential viewing list!