A reporter for the Guardian, talks with Dr Andrew Jenkinson, a bariatric surgeon in London and Dubai. Click on link above to listen. He has been working with obese and morbidly obese (20 stone +) people for 15 years. 

Following is what I took away from the Podcast

People may have an obese gene but it is the environment they live in that triggers weight-gain  

Processed Food

His facts on the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are staggering. Two generations ago, the population had a natural diet, pretty much like here at home –  Meat, Veg, homemade Bread with sweets shops few and far between.  The UAE now like us, has more supermarket aisles of processed food than natural, real food. As a result, 50% of UAE women are obese and 25% of the population have type 2 diabetes. 


He describes us all as having an Individual Weight Setting which our body pulls us back to, otherwise described as yo-yo dieting. I view this ‘pull-back’ as a return to bad habits. For example

  • Eating sugar, milk chocolate, biscuits, crisps, sweets in front of the tv, binge watching or sitting in a car on a short or long journey, mindlessly snacking rubbish bought at a petrol station
  • Eating sugary foods when stressed, worried, bored, tired, upset
  • Not cooking at home or planning meals, As adults, we do not have a mother, housekeeper or maid in my home so it is up to us to choose food and cook food!
  • Giving up walking or exercising or getting bored with a form of exercise such as kettlebells and not immediately finding a new form of exercise
  • Having an alcohol drink more often

Dietary Approaches & Lifestyle changes

I was interested to hear his views on various dietary approaches as he has researched the area. 

Vegetables oils are deadly for health – sunflower oil, safflower oil, fry-lite etc. However I need to mention here that olive oil, a monounsaturated fat is good for you. Most chippers and fast food outlets use cheap vegetable oils and most processed foods that you buy such as biscuits, pizza bases, baked good, also do.

His view of the 5: 2 diet: Eating 500 kcals on 2 days then returning to normal. It works. However is it sustainable? He suggests you might dread the 2 low-cal days.

Keto is enormously effective metabolically but hard to stick to. I use it for 1 to 2 weeks to reduce cravings and appetite. You have to be an obsessive person to stick to these types of diets forever.

Bottom line, he is a fan of Low Carb and supports eating saturated fat and fat in general but healthy fats including omega 3.

I have moved away from supermarkets and now shop at my fishmongers, vegetable shop and butchers. It is easier to avoid processed foods and to cook from real food. If the food is not in your house, you cannot eat it, so don’t buy it.

he confirms that stress is a major culprit for weight-gain. High cortisol (the stress hormone) increases weight. 

Lack of light and sleep cause weight gain. De-stressing helps weight-loss. 

Are we too busy to cook but not to busy to binge-watch box-sets! He said it, not me. 

Finally, I think the reporter loves bread.

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