As we’re already a few weeks into the New Year, some of you have probably made the resolution to lose weight, preferably by eating healthier and working out more. As clichéd as it is, this resolution remains one of the most popular resolutions to make, so it’s not surprising that many people try and follow it. And recent news within the food industry would suggest that the desire to get slimmer is not just an individual concern. According to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the results of a study taken from 2007 to 2012 recently were published, indicating during that period of time almost 6.4 trillion calories have been cut from multiple products. While this survey may indicate a trend in America towards collaboratively losing weight by cutting calories, we should read a bit further to see if this has actually done anything beneficial.
Simply by reading the amount of calories cut by the study might have already excited some of you eager to find alternatives in diet choices, but wait before you rush off to the stores confident in more calorie-free products. While the total number of calories cut out of products from companies like General Mills, Campbell Soup, Kraft Foods, Kellogg, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and Hershey is staggeringly high, almost four times the amount expected by the study, individually not a huge impact has been made. Only about an average of 78 calories have been cut from the individual diet of about 2000, which although a decent percentage, usually amounts to maybe a cookie or an apple. And although many of the new products feature smaller sizes or are made baked instead of fried, this won’t stop people from simply over-indulging on smaller products that have the same effect.
While this study and pledge are a step in the right direction, indicating an active part on both consumers and producers the ability to make healthier products and use such products with a more balanced diet, we should still take into consideration the overall effect this might have on the public. Increasingly, there seems to be a more social desire by people to go out, exercise, eat healthy, and lose weight. But the reasons behind this ambition are usually less positive. A lot of the time, people simply want to lose weight to look and feel sexier, or to be appreciated by the opposite sex. While these are not inherently negative goals, the fact that actually achieving sufficient weight loss is difficult often dissuades many people from following through. Many people are simply looking for the easy way out, how to lose the most weight in the shortest amount of time possible. And this cutting of corners inevitably backfires when the process of losing weight doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. In order to lose weight, it’s not about eating smaller portions of the same junk food or keeping your old diet while trying a rigorous exercise routine. Fundamental changes in how you eat and exercise must take place; you have to be willing to eat a more healthy diet of food, ignoring some delicious but unhealthy favorites, and working hard every day to maintain a healthy body. So while studies like this should give you hope if you are trying to shed a few pounds, don’t see it simply as a fast way to lose weight. Understand that it will take a lot more work than simply eating a less calorie-rich food to stay healthy.