Children's HealthObesity

School’s out and we’re off to FAT CAMP

I wanted to cry at the end of this article. It is all about obese teenagers who are spending this summer at fat camps in the UK (such camps have been around in the US for years). The reason I wanted to cry is because the advice that they are being given in the camp is the advice that I believe is the CAUSE of the obesity epidemic!

The camp puts these growing teenagers on 1,200 calories a day (almost certainly at least 800 calories below their need) AND they have to do at least 10,000 steps a day and all the pictures in the article were of the teenagers looking exhausted and fed up in the gym. This typical low calorie/low fat diet is by definition high carb (food is either carb/protein or fat/protein – so a low fat diet always has a higher proportion of carbs) and it is carbs that are responsible for overweight and obesity and not calories. Calories are just fuel for the body! When are we going to have the 180′ transformation in thinking that we need to even halt the rise in obesity – let alone to reverse it?!

Kate and Grace, two of the guinea pigs, admit “we love carbs” – so – what does fat camp do? cut fat out of the diet and let them eat carbs to the limit of their calorie allowance! This will only serve to feed their cravings for carbs and ensure that they want carbs all day long. This is virtually guaranteed to turn them into food addicts before they cease to be teenagers.

Parents are paying £3,500 for a 4 week stay for each child (Kate and Grace are twins, so pity their parents!). They would be better off paying for the children to train in nutrition over the summer and to understand the impact of carbs on insulin and body weight. Grace and Kate lost 2lb and 3lb respectively at their first weigh in. They could have lost 3-4 times that on a real food/managed carb intake programme, without reducing their calorie intake and thereby possibly stunting their teenage growth forever. Tragic.

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