#Fatshaming: Pointing the Finger
Is being overweight really your fault - or are you being fed faulty advice?
Former reality TV participant Katie Hopkins has loaded on almost four stone in a bid to show 'lazy' obese people (her words, not mine) how easy it is to lose weight. This type of #fatshaming not only smacks of discrimination, but recent research shows that it doesn't work. When we are discriminated against for our weight, we often comfort eat and become heavier. You can read more about this research here.
My biggest concern about Katie and the #fatshaming brigade is that they may be pointing the finger in the wrong direction. How many of us have spent years pouring money and time into counting calories and buying reduced fat foods, only to find however many times we reach our goal weight, we are back where we started a few months later?
Fat shamers would say that's our own fault – no self control. However, I argue that the foods we are told are supposedly good for weight loss, and weight management, come from unsatisfying foods e.g. dairy with 'reduced fat' or starchy carbs which make you hungry and crave more of them. Did you know, more than a third of the food we eat, according to the government's 'Eatwell Plate' should come from carbohydrates. And that's before you add in all the sugars elsewhere on the plate. Astonishing!
What we now know in the 21st century, is that calories from sugar and white, refined carbohydrates like white rice, bread, and pasta, (and even whole grains) are more obesogenic (i.e. fat promoting), than calories from more balanced meals with a higher satiating protein content. For instance, 500 calories of cola has a completely different impact on your weight deposition and satiety to 500 calories of say, chicken and a large pile of kale with a drizzle of olive oil.
This is because sugar, and carbs which turn to sugar quickly in the body, lead to a spike in the fat-storage hormone insulin. I repeat: fat storage. So what your calories come from is very important. I'm delighted that in the past two years the media have put the spotlight on the plethora of research showing how weight driving sugar and white carbs are. It's time for government guidelines, despite all the committees and the embarrassment of medics to admit they have been wrong, to get behind the ahead-of-the-curve data. And that includes Katie.