“The Obesity Epidemic: What caused it? How can we stop it?” does what it says in the title – it answers those two critical questions. It takes you on the journey that the author, Zoë Harcombe went on to answer those questions and hopefully it will shock you as much as it shocked her.
The starting point must be – when did The Obesity Epidemic start? The graphs and tables show a stunning increase in obesity levels at the turn of the 1980’s and obesity literally takes off, like an aeroplane trajectory, from that point onwards. Obesity in the UK, as an example, increases almost 10 fold between the 1970’s and 1999 from 2.7% to 25%. So what happened?
The short answer is – we changed our diet advice. More accurately we did a U-turn in our diet advice. We used to believe (and our grandmothers still do) that bread and potatoes were fattening and we should put butter on our vegetables. We changed this completely to tell citizens of the ‘developed’ world to base our meals on starchy foods and to replace nature’s butter with man-made hydrogenated spreads. Coincidence or cause?
The Obesity Epidemic takes you through the actual documents that changed our diet advice, most importantly why the advice changed and what is stopping us from changing the advice back. This is a journey through the landmark turning points in the history of public health diet advice and the impact that this has had on obesity – and all the accompanying modern illnesses: heart disease; cancer; diabetes and the lack of well being that the average human suffers today.
If you currently believe that “energy in equals energy out” – be prepared to change your view, if you read this book with an open mind. If you think one pound equals 3,500 calories, you may be in for a surprise. If you assume that you will lose one pound for every deficit of 3,500 calories you create, you will see irrefutable evidence to the contrary. You will understand where five-a-day comes from and will hopefully revise your adherence to this marketing slogan afterwards. You will hopefully be shocked and appalled at the conflict of interest in the food and obesity industries. You may never drink fruit juice again.
With 400 references and every fact backed up with sourced and presented evidence – this is the most informative book on the subject of obesity ever written. You cannot fail to learn a great deal and to have your thinking continually challenged in a highly engaging way. The research for this book changed everything the author held to be true – read with an open mind – it could do the same for you. Love it or hate it, you have to read it.
If you'd like some diet support, pop over to www.theharcombedietclub.com
Columbus Publishing is thrilled to be launching “The Obesity Epidemic”. Columbus was founded because the world is not flat and we want to publish books that challenge the status quo and make people think. The Obesity Epidemic does just that.
The book will likely be the ‘Marmite’ of the obesity world – people will love it or hate it. It will be virtually impossible to be indifferent to it.
We suggest that those who love it will be the open minded and those with the integrity and compassion to want to make a genuine difference to the obesity epidemic. These people will likely already be disposed to the idea that we need to return to eating as nature intended and they have the common sense to realise that modern illness has its routes in modern substances – not in the real and natural foods that man and his ancestors have been eating for hundreds of thousands of years before we even realised the earth was round.
Those who hate it need to ask themselves why. The food and drink industry will hate it and we anticipate that they will try to attack it and the author. The drug industry will hate it, as the book offers a natural alternative as a solution to the obesity epidemic. Reprehensibly, many dieticians and diet advisors will also hate it – as they want to carry on pushing the current dietary advice, despite having no clue from whence it came or that there is no evidence for anything from five-a-day to the calorie theory.
The Obesity Epidemic is one of those rare books that can genuinely change the world. It just needs to be read with an open mind and a desire to help our fellow human beings.
The reviews thus far have been phenomenal. Barry Groves, Author of “Trick and Treat: How ‘healthy eating’ is making us ill” said “The Obesity Epidemic is the most comprehensive demolition job on the arrogance and ignorance of the health profession I have ever read.” Dr Malcolm Kendrick, Author of “The Great Cholesterol Con” said “, if by the end of it (this book), you have not changed the way you think about food and obesity - forever - you have clearly not understood what you have just read.”
See what you think!
My goal in life is to reverse the obesity epidemic. I joke that I’ll try world peace afterwards, but I’m deadly serious about the first goal.
In the UK, obesity has increased ten fold since the 1970′s. Clearly it cannot increase ten fold again or 250% of us will be overweight. However, the prediction of the Foresight report is that 90% of today’s children will be overweight or obese by 2050. We cannot allow this to happen.
I work exclusively in the field of obesity. I read, write and talk about obesity, weight, weight loss and anything related to this topic every hour that I can, seven days a week. It is my passion and I have discovered some astonishing things that are now being shared with the world in “The Obesity Epidemic”.
This book will take you on the journey that I have been through, as an obesity researcher, from thermodynamics and peanuts under Bunsen burners to obesity organisations sponsored by food manufacturers and carbohydrates being confused with fats. Out of an illogical assumption that people have made themselves obese (when this is the last thing that they want to be), through being greedy and lazy, may come a different logical conclusion that our current diet advice a) doesn’t work and b) worse – that it is actually the cause of the obesity epidemic that it is supposed to cure.
The final part of this book looks at what needs to happen to reverse the obesity epidemic. This can be achieved, but crises require major interventions, not the same things done in different ways. One definition of madness is doing the same thing again and again and expecting a different result. Revolutionary change will not be achieved with the UK Change4Life campaign, for example, advising people to have a banana instead of a bag of crisps. Swapping one starch for another is going to make no difference to the obesity epidemic. Some of the proposals may appear extreme, but, if they do, how does “90% of today’s children being overweight or obese by 2050” sound? (One of the forecasts of the UK Foresight Report: “Tackling Obesities: Future Choices”, (October 2007).
There is so much conflicting information about diet and nutrition, and the public is rightly confused and mistrustful of current advice. The same conflict can arise for a researcher, so I have established two fundamental principles, to which I return for grounding every time I find myself questioning issues.
1) I believe that nature knows how to feed humans better than food manufacturers. Nature has no vested interest, no profit to be made from us and no reason to provide us with anything other than nutritious food. I therefore believe that the human race must return to eating food in the form closest to that provided by nature: meat, eggs and dairy from naturally reared animals; fish; vegetables and salads; nuts and seeds; fruits and whole grains. I call this real food.
2) I believe that the job description of the human body is to keep itself alive. I therefore believe that, in normal circumstances, the human body will not do anything that is intended to kill us.
I have a one in four chance that you, the reader, are obese. I have a two in three chance that you are overweight. Given your interest in the subject matter, I have a virtual certainty that you know and/or work with overweight people. If I can prove to you that eat less/do more has never worked and will never work – are you prepared to consider an alternative that will? For yourself or for your patients or for our children facing a fat future?
All I ask is that you read this book with the most open mind possible. My experience of calories started at the age of 15 and I believe nothing now that I believed then. When I started studying nutrition professionally, I was a vegetarian. Within weeks of learning about food and nutrients, I started eating fish. When I started the manuscript for this book I was still a non-meat eater, believing that I could be optimally healthy without meat and that animals could concomitantly be better for this. After 20 years of abstinence, I now eat red meat until, or should I say when, the cows come home. That is how much my own thinking has changed as a result of the research I have undertaken. Please be open minded to your own views changing even a fraction of this, rather than have the following apply to you:
“My mind is made up; don’t confuse me with the facts.” (Anon)
p.s. “If we have been eating food in the form that nature intended for 24 hours, agriculture (large scale access to carbohydrates) developed four minutes ago and sugar consumption has increased twenty fold in the last five seconds. I wonder which food is more likely to be responsible for obesity, diabetes, or indeed any modern disease…”
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