July 15, 2020

I came across a podcast by cardiologist Dariush Mozaffarian addressing population growth and the stress it places on our planet and us.  It is estimated that population on earth reached one billion in 1804.  It took another 123 years to rise to two billion in 1927, but only 33 years to reach three billion in 1960.  This rapid increase caused many to fear starvation would become widespread, not to mention other malnutrition diseases like scurvy, rickets, and plague. The world focused on the intentional goal of stocking cheap, high calorie, shelf stable food, fortified with vitamins to combat this threat.  The good news is it worked and as of March the total population stands at 7.8 billion.  The bad news is it caused other problems just as serious.

Mozaffarian says the problem we are currently having is the conjunction between two different pandemics.  The corona virus is a fast pandemic.  This burst on the planet last November (as far as we know) and rapidly spread world-wide in a few short months.  Those that seem hardest hit are people who already suffered from a slow pandemic that has been with us for the last 40-50 years, obesity.  Only 12% of people in America are metabolically healthy, defined as weight, blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose level, and hypertension.  This slow pandemic and its effect when combined with covid-19 have never been mentioned in any of the nightly updates.

I have tried several diets over the years and have found they all work to some degree.  The problem comes when you decide to stop following the diet.  This often comes with regaining whatever weight you lost along with additional pounds.  This yo-yo effect is well documented by nutrition scientists.  What is needed is not a diet but a shift in lifestyle.  I have lost weight recently by concentrating on caloric intake, but more importantly by recognizing the foods I eat. This means staying away from the “cheap, high calorie, shelf stable food fortified with vitamins” in favor of fresh lean meats and vegetables.  That is why I grow my garden.

THOUGHTS:  I have (only tongue-in-cheek) thought about pushing what I have found to be a highly effective weight loss tool that I call the Dehydration Diet (or maybe D2?).  All you need to do is weed your garden in the 100-degree temperatures and you are sure to lose 4-5 pounds.  I do not think this is a sustainable long-term solution, however.  I read that upwards to 30% of Federal and State budgets are spent on healthcare, and businesses spend another two trillion on health care annually.  We need to stop dieting and instead make a lifestyle shift that can be followed the rest of your life.  Hopefully, this is one of the lessons we keep moving forward.  Change is coming and it starts with you.

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