It is interesting that an essential nutrient, fat, has become the scourge of the western industrialize world. There are probably thousands of researchers with medical or science training but none have “discovered” how we westerners can prevent becoming fat.
Many in the western world assume there will eventually be a pill to solve our excessive body fat problem, just as there is a pill for almost everything else, weight loss being one of the few exceptions.
The accumulation of body fat is a complex problem and can affect your health to different degrees. Are we motivated to lose weight so we will look more attractive to potential partners or are we concerned about excess fat adversely affecting our health? We all know that heart disease, stroke, diabetes and some cancers are directly related to excess body fat.
Currently, there are numerous diets claiming to solve the “overweight problem” but each seems to only work for some people and not others. Many diets require willpower that most of us don’t have. Overall, however, no particular diet has worked for the majority of people as overweight and obese people in North America are so common it has just become acceptable as part of the human condition.
To paraphrase Albert Einstein… “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expect different results.” Perhaps instead of beating our heads against the competitive diet wall, we should look to a society that doesn’t have the problem and never has.
The Chinese municipality of Chongqing, population 34 million, is known by many titles… City of beautiful women… The mountain city… City of no bicycles… The fog city. The interesting thing is overweight people are very rare and you could go six months without seeing one obese person. Even more interesting is that research by Dr. Colin Campbell of Cornell University, in the famous “China Study”, revealed they eat more calories daily than Americans. That’s right… the slimmest people in the world eat more calories daily than the fattest people in the world.
The westernization of China is resulting in more and more overweight and obese people in Beijing and Shanghai, the two most westernized cities. Judging from the number of American fast food chains and bakeries that have appeared in Chongqing in recent years, they won’t be far behind those other cities. However, the traditional diet and lifestyle resulted in a slim, healthy population that wouldn’t understand our inability to prevent gaining weight.
I wouldn’t claim to understand why the traditional Chongqing diet results in slim bodies with no excess fat because their diet seems counter intuitive. Although they eat a great variety of vegetables and fruit in much larger quantities than we in the west, they also eat carbohydrates, primarily rice and noodles. Furthermore they do not avoid saturated fat and eat meat and/or fowl at almost every meal. Almost all western diets advise us to avoid carbohydrates or saturated fats, but looking at the people of Chongqing, this advice becomes suspect. It would seem that the “overweight problem” we have in the west must be re-examined as we seem to have been on the wrong track.