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Burlington man busting myths about obesity and dieting

Burlington man busting myths about obesity and dieting

He could have been called Richard “Fat” at one point, and his name is kind of ironic given what he’s writing about this time.   His name, in fact, is Richard Fast, and he’s the Burlington-based author of the new book “Obesity…Cause and Cure”.   Fast lost 35 pounds without special diets, personal trainers calorie counting or powders and pills.   How did he do it? “I simply focussed on eating real food…things like vegetables, fruits, nuts, eggs, seafood, milk, chicken, red meat, cheese, bread and wine.”   

His book is an amazing summary of decades of scientific, medical and psychological research that points to how overly complicated the issues of diet and exercise have become over the last several decade’s thanks to industries that push quick fixes and unproven theories on weight loss and movement. Diet books, fad diets, exercise regimes and gadgets have been purchased to the tune of 126 billion dollars in 2021 alone, yet global obesity increased another 3%. We are fatter or, as Fast says, “more unhealthy” than ever.  

He believes we are way too focussed on vanity and body image instead of health. “A person can display a body that looks subjectively sexy or healthy, but that same body could have an unhealthy level of fat surrounding the vital organs inside it.   Yes, skinny people can be metabolically obese, and not all fat is visible externally,” says Fast.

He blames ultra-processed foods “those are the brightly coloured packaged foods that make overt health and nutrition claims that are anything but healthy,” says Fast.   

He points to their extreme lack of nutritional value and the fact that in North America, we base our daily diets on 60% ultra-processed foods, and it’s killing us.    “Look at the pressures on our health care systems in Canada.   They’re created by demand. Demand is way up because people have all kinds of health issues directly related to obesity and overweight ranging from Type 2 diabetes to heart, lung, liver, kidney and mobility issues. “It’s all tied to our diet and lifestyle,” says Fast, “which has become centred on our over-consumption – if not addiction – to salt, fat and sugar, and artificial flavours,” which says Fast, “is exactly what the big food companies want. Think about what big tobacco used to be…big food is the new big tobacco!” 

He uses 1975 as a marker because that’s when ultra-processed foods (fast food, packaged foods, ready-to-eat frozen foods) were unleashed by big food companies to satisfy the busy, time-starved families of the late ’70s and ’80s, with both partners working outside the home and over-scheduling of children’s activities taking precedent in daily life. Fast suggests we go back and look at old photo albums “take a look at those family gatherings and pictures of crowds in the 60s and 70s. It’s hard to find an overweight or obese body there, isn’t it?”

The cure, he says, is reducing consumption of ultra-processed foods to no more than 20 percent of our daily diet. “if you simply eat real food, your body will naturally shed pounds. It will become satiated naturally, so there is no need to measure and count calories. You’ll lose your addictive cravings and excess baggage and recover your health” .     Richard Fast believes in changing how we “think” about our eating and movement.    He has written other books about thinking and works with corporate leaders and individuals to help retrain their perspectives and apply critical thinking.  

He is also the inventor and author of the internationally successful game Mind Trap, which focuses on puzzles, conundrums, mysteries and illusions.   It has sold over 3 million copies worldwide in several languages and remains in circulation.    

For more information click here.

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