All about calories

The Herald reports:

Low-fat diets and exercise are pointless for those wanting to lose weight and obese people should simply eat less, a leading surgeon has said.

Portion size is key. It is as simple as just eating less. Not easy, but simple.

Lord McColl, emeritus professor of surgery at Guys Hospital in London and former shadow health secretary, warned that current health advice to avoid fat was “false and misleading” and was fuelling the epidemic.

Speaking at a House of Lords debate, the former surgeon warned that exercising was useless against the huge levels of calories from carbohydrates and sugars that people are now consuming.

His argument for fat:

Lord McColl said eating fat was important as it kept people feeling fuller for longer. He advised overweight people to start adding fat into their diet.

“Fat enters the small intestine and greatly delays the emptying of the stomach,” he told peers. “As the stomach emptying is delayed it gives the feeling that one has had enough to eat. Later when the fat has been absorbed the stomach then starts to empty again, It’s a beautifully balanced mechanism which tends to prevent us from eating too much and prevents us from getting obese.”

The key sentence:

“The whole subject has been bedevilled by all sorts of theories about the cause of the obesity; genetics, epigenetics, psychological disturbances.None of them is the cause of the obesity epidemic. One fact remains. It is impossible to be obese unless one is eating too many calories.”

And calories come from many sources – carbs, fats, sugars etc. A tax on one small source of calories is pissing in the wind.

“In the UK the Department of Health and Nice (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) maintained for many years that the obesity epidemic was due to lack of exercise,” he told peers. “It’s a pity that the 500 people employed by Nice didn’t think to go into the gymnasium get on a machine and exercise to see how few calories you actually burn off.

“One can peddle away on one of those machines for half an hour and only two or three hundred calories are burned up. One has to run miles to take a pound of fat off.

Exercise helps you be fitter and does contribute to weight loss, but it requires a lot of exercise to make a difference.

A pound of fat 0.45 of a kg. You need to burn off 4,050 calories to lose a pound. You burn off around 105 calories per hour so it would take 38 miles to burn off a pound of fat. A marathon is 26 miles. So no quick fix.

But if you run five miles a day for a week, then you do it.

Comments (43)

Login to comment or vote