Carbohydrates and Obesity
Obesity and diabetes are diseases that are not restricted to national boundaries or culture today. These health threats are universal. In the United Kingdom recent reports put the percentage of men that are either overweight or obese at 67%, and the percentage of overweight or obese women is an estimated 57% (Boseley, 2014). Recent data shows that about one-fourth of the entire population in the United Kingdom is obese (Boseley, 2014). The Global Burden of Disease study reflects that around the globe an estimated 26% of boys and 20% of girls are either overweight or obese, Boseley writes in The Guardian.
The number of overweight and obese people in the world has "surged in the past three decades," Boseley explains; to put this surge into perspective, about 2.1 billion people on the planet are either overweight or obese -- and that is almost a third of the human population. Because of this continuing growth of health-related weight problems, the risks for humans who are overweight or obese are significant: rates of diabetes, heart disease, and cancer are increasing at dangerous levels (Boseley, p. 1). Over one-half of the world's 671 million obese people live in these ten populous countries (ranked from the largest number to the lease number): U.S., China, India, Russia, Brazil, Mexico, Egypt, Germany, Pakistan, and Indonesia (Boseley, p. 2).
Doctor Christopher Murray, who directs the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation in Seattle and who was co-founder of the Global Burden of Disease study claims that over the past three decades "…not one country has achieved success in reducing obesity rates," and it is expected that the rates will "rise steadily as incomes rise in low-and-middle income countries" (Boseley, p. 1). The UK only "lags behind Iceland" (74% of men and 61% of women are overweight or obese) and Malta (74% and 58% respectively) when it comes to weight problems (Boseley, p. 2).
Purpose of this Research
There is a strong link between the world's obesity pandemic -- and the scourge of Type II diabetes -- and the intake of carbohydrates and of high fructose corn syrup. This paper uses scholarly resources to critique and review the treatment and management needed vis-a-vis the problems associated with carbohydrates and with fructose. The research will also put forward what the peer-reviewed research is reporting vis-a-vis carbohydrates and the treatment of diabetes and obesity.
Early Life Impacts -- Obesity
In a peer-reviewed editorial in the journal Frontiers in Physiology the authors point out that the "…rapidly changing incidence of obesity cannot be explained in terms of genetic changes" and hence, other answers must be approached (Pico, 2013). In fact what previous studies have shown is that nutritional dynamics "during critical stages of development" do impact a person's health later in life. And poor nutritional intake on the mother's part -- while the unborn child has no alternative but to use the nutrition from its mother -- can and does lead to the possibility of the unborn child suffering from "chronic diseases in adulthood."
Those diseases include obesity, type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and osteoporosis, Pico explains (1). The authors point out that during the critical stages of development undernutrition and over-nutrition can both lead to serious problems later in life; moreover, ironically, malnutrition during prenatal periods can result in obesity for the growing child due to the "catch-up growth" an infant goes through in its early life.
A study referencing how effective a low-carbohydrate diet (low & high-fat) -- versus a high-carbohydrate low-fat diet -- reports that "…apparently" low-carbohydrate diets have "no advantage over high-carbohydrate low-fat diets" (Demol, et al., 2008). This study was in reference to the high number of children who are obese, because this problem during childhood can produce "metabolic syndrome" along with related conditions (Demol, 346). The problem of obesity in childhood, as has been mentioned earlier in this paper,...
They all had a body mass index (BMI) of greater than "…the 95th percentile for age and gender" (the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sets the BMI charts) (Demol, 347). The participants in this study were allocated to one of three diet groups:
Group one (low-carbohydrate, low-fat, protein-rich diet containing 1,200 to 1,500 calories daily; 60 g carbohydrates (up to 20%), 30% fats and 50% proteins). Group Two (low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet containing 1,200 to 1,500 calories daily; 60g carbohydrates (up to 20%), 60% fats and 20% proteins). Group Three (High-carbohydrate, low-fat diet containing 1,200 to 1,500 calories a day; 50-60% carbohydrates, 30% fats and 20% proteins) (Demol, 347).
In the Discussion and Conclusions portion of this peer-reviewed research article the authors report that in terms of weight loss there was "no advantage of low-carbohydrate diets over a high-carbohydrate / low-fat diet" (Demol, 349). At the end of the nine-month and at the end of the twelve-month period the findings were "similar"; given that the same caloric amount was included in each of the three groups this is significant for doctors and other healthcare professionals researching weight loss vis-a-vis high-carbohydrate / low fat diet compared with a low-carbohydrate / low-fat and low-carbohydrate high fat diets (Demol, 349).
As an option for obese young people that have not lost weight on high-carbohydrate hypocaloric diets would be to embrace the low-carbohydrate diet without strict caloric limitations, Demol explains on 350.
Maternal Obesity -- Impacts on the Child
Recent statistics show that an obese pregnancy has been known to "negatively impact" the future health outcomes of children (Stachowiak, et al., 2013). The research in this article reflected that an obese mother during pregnancy could have a negative impact on the "developmental program of specific fetal brain cell-networks"; the failure of fully healthy fetal brain cell networks suggests the possibility of "some neurological disorders in the offspring at a later age" (Stachowiak, 96). This is a highly technical article based on results in lab tests of high carbohydrate (HC) intake in rats.
The Discussion narrative covers the results of previous studies, which reported that when working with humans, "All HC fetuses (irrespective of gender differences) demonstrated incr4eased body weights gains in the post-weaning period," and obesity in the adult (later in life) was commonplace. But, the Stachowiak research also posits that an obese pregnancy could also lead to more than obesity; it could lead to "neurological disorders" as well (101). This research article does not suggest a way of treating the child once it is born in regards to slowing down the arrival of child obesity. However, the obvious remedy for this kind of unhealthy result from pregnancy is to perform an intervention on the overweight mother -- reducing her intake of carbohydrates -- before she is well into her first trimester.
The UK Government Response to Obesity Report
At the top of the list of recommendations (in response to the House of Commons Health Committee Report) by the UK government, is that a "Food Survey" be commissioned with "urgency" in order to accurately reflect the "total calorie intake" of the population. No specific mention of carbohydrates is present in the report, but a "consistent, effective and defined strategy" should be undertaken to find a solution to the obesity problem in the UK. Because there are no "simple, short-term solutions" for preventing or reducing obesity, the strategy should be developed around the following measures: a) launch a campaign on obesity; b) make access to healthy foods easier; c) urge physical exercise for all citizens and improve access to physical activity; d) "restrict the promotion of unhealthy foods to children"; e) boost nutritional information in schools; f) "procurement guidance on food for public bodies"; g) develop a "model for prevention and treatment" of obesity; and h) support training for National Health Service staff.
Reaching the population with useful information is part of the solution, the report emphasizes. Nongovernmental groups like the British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK and Age Concern must help promote the idea of healthier living for all citizens, the report continues. The response to the report also asks that industry help by labeling food packaging that helps consumers see the value in certain food products, and the response suggests soccer teams and other pro-sports could help promote positive attitudes about nutrition. Individual sports activities (walking, cycling, and fitness centers) are to be promoted as well.
The UK response to the health report also asks that there be data to identify the "key barriers to choosing a better diet, including environmental factors"; local authorities need to participate in the campaign for healthier available foods in the sense of reducing obesity and the diseases that are linked to obesity.
Chocolate: Behind Its Bad Rap In today's society, chocolate is everywhere. It seems that people have developed a love-hate relationship with chocolate. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, in 1997, the average American ate 11.7 pounds of chocolate. American adults ranked chocolate as the most-craved food and as their favorite flavor by a three-to-one margin. (Mustad, 2001) Throughout the world, exists a society of chocolate lovers. While Americans consume, on average,