At the TIME/ABC News obesity summit, sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a huge panel of nutritionists and diet book authors gathered on one stage to discuss the ideas in their books. We had everyone from Ornish to Atkins’ physicians, Agatson and Sears debating with public health school researchers.
They have a hard time agreeing on much, but it was Dr. David Katz, founder and director of the Yale Prevention Research Center, columnist, teacher, and author of “The Way to Eat,” who guided and produced grudging consensus. He put up a slide containing these recommendations and asked the entire panel if they disagreed with any of them. The question of the relative safety of saturated fats in the diet sparked the only squabble, of course, but for the most part all of these contentious folks were able to agree on these dietary guidelines. For good health and sustained weight loss, we need to:
-Reduce saturated fats
-Increase consumption of fruits and vegetables
-Increase consumption of whole grains
-Reduce refined starches and simple sugars
-Replace bad fats with good fats
-Increase micronutrients (take your vitamins, choose nutrient-dense foods and cooking and storage methods that preserve nutrients)
-Control portion size and total calories
-Increase physical activity
We heard over and over again that the decline of our overall activity levels are the single greatest contributors to our weight problems. We constantly confuse being busy with being active. Activity requires that we move our bodies, our arms and legs. Driving the kids here and there, and staying up all night to finish that PowerPoint do not make you active. Doing what I’m doing now, sitting here, writing to you, is not activity. Doing what you’re doing, sitting here, reading this, is also not activity, unless you’re on a treadmill or walking while you’re reading. If not, why don’t you put this down and go take a walk?
I will if you will.