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Weighing in on obesity


Having put a few “holiday pounds” recently, I was drawn to watching the last installment of the 2019 Netflix hit “The Patriot Act” with Hasan Minhaj.

The host, Hasan Minhaj, uses research, humor, pop culture, and split-second timing to deliver a compelling and very entertaining facts and stories about relative current topics. One of the issues he discussed was the global epidemic of obesity.

In his report. he reveals how American companies and lobbyists misrepresent or use false research to hoodwink consumers into believing that our lack of exercise is the main reason for the USA’s spiraling obesity pandemic. The false research purports that diet has less to do with obesity. This is a serious problem. Not only is this disease crippling U.S. families, our productivity our health care and our economy, but we are also exporting it around the world.

We are blindly watching its menace in those countries least equipped to handle it. For example, in many countries, Coca Cola is easier to find and afford than water, and can be found as an alternative to milk or water in infant bottles (which also explains why I have observed there is severe and rampant tooth decay, as early as 3 years old, in many underserved countries).

One of the main culprits in obesity is corn syrup – an inexpensive but dangerous sweetener added to almost every prepared or packaged food products and medicine here in the U.S. and exported across the globe. Companies have created false research to foreign governments to force trade laws and practices that exploit serving up vast amounts of corn syrup in products. Here is the point: In simple terms, our brains become addicted to sugar, and it is hard work to change addictive behaviors.

My position as a health care provider is to promote understanding that research-based education and experience is critically important to human life. Sugar is not only the main culprit in forming dental decay and gum disease but a major component of other systemic diseases, including diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and depression.

Empirically-based research shows that fighting obesity involves controlling our choices for both the type of fuel (food) we eat and the exercise we do. Foods rich with essential macro and micronutrients with low sugar/glycemic index, high fiber, and vitamins, are what contributes to healthy bodies and mouths. The type of exercise in which we partake is also preventive against obesity. This includes at least cardio or aerobic activities with some weight lifting activities of at least 150 minutes weekly or 25 minutes daily.

Protecting ourselves and others against obesity begins with deconstructing myths, so we make good decisions based on evidence-based research, not based on corporate greed. Read your food labels carefully and limit the intake of corn syrup and added sugars. Take a walk. Make nurturing connections with people and nature.

Your health will benefit from making many small and good decisions this year.

Dr. Trey Wilson, a comprehensive restorative dentist in Logan Square, New Hope, specializes in dental phobia and health and wellness coaching.

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