Contact: 073 777 4434 Email: mzukona@nyakaza.org.za

Shooting Down the magic bullet theory!

By Mzukona Mantshontsho

South Africa is a society that has been led to believe that fat, any fat, is bad for you and should be avoided at all costs. But fats are vitally important for the day-to-day functioning of our bodies. The truth about fats is not a simple matter of good and bad, but that not all fats are equal. These were the words of Dr. Jane Badham, a member of the Ministry of Health’s Food Legislation Advisory Group, at a lecture entitled: “The magic bullet for weight loss”.

Badham further added salt to wound by saying that the World Health Organisation had declared obesity a disease. So why are we as society failing to overcome the problem? Obesity is a global epidemic on the increase, but we still find dieticians, psychologists, and physical therapists working in isolation, instead of pooling their resources and working on a holistic approach to healthy living.

In addition, Badham said that being overweight is regarded as an issue of lack of discipline by society in general, and this has led to discrimination against obese people. Then they give up the fight.

The lack of understanding of the health risks of swinging from normal weight to obesity has led to the notion of dieting as a quick solution, as opposed to eating in a balanced way, and people relinquish control to these diets without questioning them. She argued that the actual relationship between food and its effects has not been placed into perspective when individuals decide to go on a diet. There is no honesty about the life-long changes they have to make, and people often lack the motivation to stay with these changes.

There’s little acceptance of realistic goalsetting, so individuals believe in the ‘magic bullet’. Badham said there’s also a lack of product research available to individuals to enable them to make informed decisions about diets. No one knows if a particular diet can be used for life. So, the answer is NO!!! The magic bullet for weight loss does not exist.

The winning strategy for Badham is not dieting, but “E.A.T.W.E.L.L”.

E stands for eating anything you enjoy,

A stands for having the right attitude,

T stands for the diet being totally the individual’s choice,

W stands for weight loss, E stands for exercise,

L stands for lifestyle adaptation and

L stands for life-long commitment.

Stay Healthy and Happy everyday with top 12 Health Tips:

 Eat five fresh fruit and vegetables every day;

 Eat less sugar and salt;

 Practice safe sex and use a condom correctly and consistently;

 Get 30 minutes of exercise at least five days a week;

 Wash your hands with soap and water every time you use the toilet and before you eat;

 Drink at least eight glasses of clean, safe water a day;

 Remember to take your medicine as prescribed by your doctor;

 Cough near your elbow or cover your mouth with a tissue and throw it away;

 If you are sick, go to the nearest clinic to get treated before it gets worse;

 Stop smoking and substance abuse;

 Drink sensibly;

 Know your numbers: Blood pressure, sugar levels, cholesterol, weight and body mass index (MBI).