You know the score by now right? There are over ½ billion obese people in the world, and a mind-boggling 2 billion overweight people waddling around, and yet the answer to being your normal, healthy weight is within everyone’s grasp. So, who’s going to change this insane situation? Which 10 people have got the power to change the way the world treats obesity and what needs to be done about it?
Whether or not you believe that insulin sensitivity is the key, or if like me you believe it’s a fundamental lack of nutrients, you still arrive at roughly the same answer. To lose excess weight you need the nutrients found in meats, healthful fats and vegetables, and should cut down on carbohydrates, especially grain-based, processed carbs like white flour.
Simple. But it’s not simple because authorities worldwide are still promoting a diet that’s the complete opposite of this, thus condemning those that listen to a permanent state of over-fed misery (have a look at the USDA guidance below). It shouldn’t be like this. Humans are not meant to be fat. And incredibly, we can send someone to the moon, but we can’t keep a lid of the waistlines of over 1/3 of the entire world population? Madness.
So, we need 10 advocates. 10 people who can out there and change the world. To be in top 10, the criteria are simple - they must either be right or influential. Or both. So, with that in mind, here's my stab at the top 10 in no particular order.
1) Name and famous for: Jamie Oliver, TV Chef and passionate foodie
Website: Jamie Oliver
Dietary advice: Eat hearty, nutritious food and you won’t be so fat
Secret weapon: Huge popularity - already has millions of followers and has led the UK’s campaign against obesity by actively improving school dinners. This rabble-rousing speech was filmed at this year’s TED prize talk, and follows a similar exercise in Huntingdon US. You don’t often see a standing ovation at TED…
Achilles heel: Now he’s spearheading a drive against obesity, he can’t afford to get a single pound overweight otherwise everyone will tell him he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Oliver, bread is now your nemesis…
2) Name and famous for: Richard Nikoley, internet advocate of real food for primal-style living
Website: Free the animal
Dietary advice: Modern advice is wrong. Eat real food like meat, fowl, fish, natural fats and vegetables. Don’t eat grains sugar and vegetable oils.
Secret weapon: He’s like the uncle that comes around at Christmas, gets totally smashed on your tequila stash then can’t help but tell everyone exactly what he thinks, usually greeted by awkward silence and a recognition that he was speaking the truth all along.
Achilles heel: See above
3) Name and famous for: Zoe Harcombe, Obesity researcher
Website: Zoe Harcombe
Dietary advice: Eat real food like meat, fish, eggs and vegetables. Avoid all processed foods.
Secret weapon: She’s a qualified nutritionist (a rare breed), and regularly tours UK obesity conferences, and so has a direct line into the establishment that gives out the shonky advice that’s ruining everyone’s health
Achilles heel: She’s taken a gamble on the Trojan horse technique. Will it work? Or will they bury their collective heads in the sand?
4) Name and famous for: Gary Taubes
Website: Gary Taubes
Dietary advice: Eat less carbs, especially the processed ones and you won’t be so fat. Simple.
Secret weapon: An encyclopaedic knowledge of all the obesity studies done in the past 100 years combined with astute vision and thought about why people get fat.
Achilles heel: Perfectionism. His incredible attention to detail means the simple message is sometimes lost by those looking for the quick and easy soundbite. However, he’s got a new book coming out to address that on the 28th December. PS Gary, lower the text size please, it’s burning my eyeballs.
5) Name and famous for: Tim Ferriss
Website: 4 hour work week
Dietary advice: Low carb for weight loss but has different strategies according to your aims
Secret weapon: 4-Hour Body, out in about a week from now here. I’ve every expectation it’ll change people’s idea about nutrition in a very, very big way. Early chapters over here.The reason I’m so confident, is that if you’ve followed his 4 hour work week or blog for a while you’ll note he really doesn’t do things by halves. Want to read 300% faster in 20 minutes? Of course you do… here you go.
Achilles heel: He’s not (currently) attempting to solve the world’s obesity crisis. Maybe it’s about time he did?
6) Name and famous for: Mark Sisson, former triathlete now leading an online revolution to eat like we used to back in the caveman days
Website: Marks Daily Apple
Dietary advice: If you eat real food, get enough sunlight and don’t act like an eejit, you’ll look and feel brilliant.
Secret weapon: The Benjamin Button of the paleo world, he’s nearly 60 and looks about 21 and so comes as a glowing endorsement of practising what he preaches. Also has a huge online following.
Achilles heel: Because he makes a living out of selling a healthy lifestyle, he’s occasionally has to fend off criticism of self-interest. Which is ironic - most of his material is free and publically available.
7) Name and famous for: A husband and wife team: Paul Jaminet and Shou-Ching Shih
Website: Perfect Health Diet
Dietary advice: Base your diet around getting the right nutrients – you should eat plenty of natural fats, a modest amount of protein, vegetables, go easy on the carbs and stay away from toxic foods (grains, sugar, vegetable oils)
Secret weapon: A dark horse entry, from a website I only found earlier this week, but they echo my beliefs that obesity is all about nutrients. Their secret weapon is their scientific background (both with PHDs as an astrophysicist and molecular biologist), which should ensure they can wipe the scientific floor with their detractors.
Achilles heel: Too early to say if they can garner the publicity they deserve to become globally influential. Spread the word about these two.
8) Name and famous for: Jimmy Moore, evangelist for low carb living (for some reason the number 8 comes out as a smiley face, I have no idea...
Website: Livin La Vida Low Carb
Dietary advice: Doesn’t the name of the website give it away?
Secret weapon: Everyone warms to him instantly, he interviews both his fans and his detractors and his personal weight loss story is a marvel to behold.
Achilles heel: “Isn’t low carb Atkins? Isn’t that just meat and fat? Didn’t Atkins die of a heart attack? This is just another diet fad”. Answers are: can be, no, no he died of a head injury, and no it’s not a fad, but the anti-Atkins crowd worked hard to discredit him and all who follow his dietary advice, and the mis-information lives on.
9) Name and famous for: Kevin Smith, Actor/producer/writer
Website: View Askew
Dietary advice: None.
Secret weapon: He’s overweight and has absolutely no public interest in diet whatsoever, making him the perfect candidate to stumble across any of the people above and realise like half the world, he’s been had over by standard advice to go low fat/high carb. He’s popular. And he’s also a legendary story teller – for a bit of light relief, while away a half hour on when Kevin Smith met Prince. Combine these three and you have one of the best advocates for how to solve the world’s obesity crisis.
Achilles heel: He has to do it first.
10) Name and famous for: Tom Vilsack, heads up the United States Department for Agriculture which gives out dietary advice to Americans. But their influence is global – the UK follows their lead closely.
Dietary advice: Dietary guidance available here includes to eat plenty of grain and fat-free milk, and if you’re overweight to restrict calories. Three pieces of advice absolutely guaranteed to fail. Plenty more to rail about in here on another day.
Secret weapon: A lot of people assume the government has their best interests at heart, so their influence is huge. They have the power to make a serious change.
Achilles heel: They represent the interests of a lot of the grain farmers who stand to lose if grains fall out of favour. They’ll also be afraid of looking weak if they turn around and tell everyone – about that thing we said about saturated fat – ever so sorry but we got it wrong.
So, what do you reckon? Is this list bang on the money or way off the mark? Who else has got the power to make a serious change? Let me know in the comments below...