We are big on exercise around here. The benefits of a regular exercise program are innumerable and include everything from combatting depression and improved energy levels to better body composition and overall health. We think our style of exercise is even better than the garden variety exercise program because we provide solid coaching, an incredible community, and a format that keeps folks coming back instead of riding the exercise roller coaster. Exercise is a major factor in improving health and quality of life, but a recent study points out that there is a bigger elephant in the room.
A group of cardiologists and sports scientists have just released a study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine concluding that the quality and quantity of food we consume is responsible for more disease than tobacco, alcohol, and lack of exercise COMBINED. They go on to criticize the notion that all calories are equal citing extensive research showing that high carbohydrate diets (particularly sugar-laden diets) are consistently linked to increased risk of diabetes and obesity. High carbohydrate diets also lead to overconsumption because they are hyper-palatable (they taste good) and people are hungry again after a very short time. According to the study, even athletes are at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes due to their preference for high carbohydrate diets and would be better served by a higher fat, lower carbohydrate diet. [Read more about this study here: Sugar is to Blame for Obesity Epidemic].
So none of this is really new news to most of you. We talk about the diabolical nature of sugar all the time. You all know that processed carbs are bad for you and that protein and fat are the building blocks for a healthy body composition. You are miles ahead of most of America in this department. Not even a week into the Whole Life Challenge however, and I've made a glaring observation about my own diet. If you had asked me about my diet a week ago, I would have said that I eat a relatively high protein/low carb diet with very little sugar. But relative to what? The Standard American Diet, perhaps, but not at all along the lines of the proportions that I believed I was consuming. My point is that there is an abundance of hidden sources of refined carbohydrates and sugar in most of our diets. They only come to light when you begin to be very conscious of everything you are putting in your mouth. If you aren't doing the WLC, I would still challenge you to spend a few days scrutinizing everything you eat (yes, even that handful of pretzels out of your kids lunch). Your observations might surprise you.
What's the point? You can't fix it if you don't know it is broken. We can all agree that poor diet causes disease, but that won't stop any of us from getting Type 2 diabetes. Dig into some honest self-evaluation and make an honest assessment of whether your nutrition habits are making you healthier or sicker.