It is very hard to digest the following World Health Organization facts: As of 2014, more than 1,9 billion adults over the age of 18 are overweight, of which 600 million are obese. That is a doubling of the obesity rates compared to 1980. Almost 4 out of 10 adults are overweight and 13% is obese. Perhaps the most shocking is the fact that 41 million children under the age of 5 are either overweight or obese. Last on the list of key facts according to the WHO are three encouraging and powerful words: ”Obesity is preventable.”
The nutrition transition towards refined foods, foods of animal origin, and increased fats plays a major role in the current global epidemics of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
— World Health Organization
THE ROLE OF DIET IN OBESITY
In 2002, another World Health Organization report stated an estimated that by 2020, chronic disease will account for two-third of all diseases globally, and goes on to mention that most chronic diseases are related to diet. Unfortunately, we as a human species have not responded to the message. In fact, obesity rates have nearly doubled since 2002.
Many studies, including the China Study, provide profound insight into lifestyle choices and obesity, even taking in account non dietary factors such as exercise.
The dietary role in obesity was also recognized by Dr. McDougall during his medical internship in Honolulu, as described here. He found that among Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Filipino immigrants, the elderly were slim, healthy and active, while the younger generations had a lot of health problems. Observing lifestyle patterns, he noted that the elderly people were eating a diet based on rice and vegetables, whereas the younger generations were eating a diet based on meat, dairy and processed foods.
Following Dr. McDougall’s nutritional recommendations leads to an average weight loss of 3 pound (1,4 kg) after just 7 days. This is based on results gathered over a 12-year period and 1615 participants, as reported in the Nutrition Journal.
The fat you eat is the fat you wear.
— Dr. McDougall
This is probably Dr. McDougall’s most well-known statement and he repeatedly mentions it:
— Dr. Esselstyn
DIETARY FAT AND BODY FAT
The problem is that our body stores dietary fat effortlessly as body fat. Fat intake through high-fat animal foods and refined plant foods (especially all types of oils including olive oil) can lead to the buildup of body fat.
Dr. Esselstyn and Dr. McDougall, in their dietary recommendations, make specific note of eliminating oils.
In addition, Dr. McDougall recommends those who want to speed up their weight loss, to avoid avocados, nuts, and seeds. Even though they are whole-food, plant-based, they are high in fat.
LOSING WEIGHT BY EATING MORE FOOD
We often think that losing weight can only be achieved by going on a diet. One problem with going ‘on’ a diet is that at some point you’ll also go ‘off’ the diet.
Diets usually imply a restriction of food that you can only do for a short period of time. Most diets are therefore not durable, let alone the discussion of whether or not a specific diet is healthy.
There is one ‘diet’ that is durable (and healthy) because it allows you to eat as much as you want while losing weight and giving your body all the nutrients it needs. It is indeed the whole food plant-based diet.
There is plenty of modern and older research to back this up, including Dr. McDougall’s 10-day program and several population studies.
One study to briefly mention involved obese people being put on a traditional Hawaiian diet of whole plant foods and losing 8 kilos in just 21 days, as can be seen in the following video by Dr. Greger’s NutritionFacts.org.
So: Eat more and lose excessive weight.
When you transition to a Whole Food Plant Based lifestyle, all sorts of challenges appear on the path. If you are really serious about this, you may need to give up some of your favorite foods and flavors and try to replace them for new ones. You may feel limited at first, but you’ll be surprised by the variety of new foods and flavors. To help you get started, we’ve put together a list of 5 simple food tips.