Weight loss, performance and Diet: some thoughts from Crossfit London

16 Feb

At Crossfit London UK, we will be looking at lots of diets, and ways of eating over the next few years. We have members who have lost kilos of weight in ways not approved of by official sources, equally we have members who struggle when they stick to official guidelines. Some claim to love dairy, some hate it, some blame all their ills on wheat.. some love it.

But, for example, if you are convinced that diary is the evilest thing ever, read “Dairy Consumption, Obesity, and the Insulin Resistance Syndrome in Young Adults”….opps

The important thing about Crossfit London is this you are the experiment: we need to get you to understand how you react to food. We also need you to understand how government backed associations use the science they claim to rely on. What follows is a press release from the British Dietetic Association

Sometimes a novel approach to weight loss can be fun and motivating but if it is ineffective in helping you shed the pounds and keeping them off then, it’s a missed opportunity.

So how can you tell the dieting fact from the fiction?

Here are the BDA’s top tips to help you to spot a weight loss con!

You can tell it’s a con when:

It promises a magic bullet to solve your weight problem without having to change your lifestyle in any way.
It promises rapid weight loss of more than 2lbs of body fat a week.
It recommends magical fat-burning effects of foods (such as the grapefruit diet) or hidden ingredients in foods (the coffee diet).
It promotes the avoidance or severe limitation of an entire food group, such as dairy products or a staple food such as wheat (and suggests substituting them for expensive doses of vitamin and mineral supplements).
It promotes eating mainly one type of food (e.g. cabbage soup, Mars bars or eggs) or avoiding all cooked foods ( the raw food diet).
It recommends eating foods only in particular combinations based on your genetic type or blood group.
It suggests being overweight is related to a food allergy or a yeast infection.
It recommends “detoxing” or avoiding foods in certain combinations such as fruit with meals
It offers no supporting evidence apart from a celebrity with a personal success story to tell.
It sounds too good to be true –if so it probably is!
Registered dietitian and spokperson for the British Dietetic Association, Sue Baic says: “No one single approach to weight loss suits everybody. A range of things can be helpful from groups to meal replacements to online resources but you do need to be careful about what you select. It can be useful to be aware of misleading weight loss claims that can lead you into to wasting your time and your money.

“And, don’t be fooled by the fact that many beautiful celebrities are following some of these weird and bizarre regimens. They are blessed with beauty genes, and usually have personal trainers, chefs and stylists rather than nutrition qualifications.”

Registered dietitians are experts in assessing the evidence for successful weight loss strategies and translating this into practical strategies and advice that gives lasting benefit. For advice on weight loss you can trust go to www.bdaweightwise.com”

This is not a bad starting point, although it is becoming interesting to listen to the growing amount of people who claim that getting ride of dairy or wheat makes them feel much better.

That said, the plural of anecdotes is not data

“Registered dietitians hold the only legally-recognisable graduate qualification in nutrition and dietetics. They are experts in interpreting and translating the science of nutrition into practical ways of promoting nutritional well-being, disease treatment and the prevention of nutrition-related problems. Their advice is sound and based on current scientific evidence”.

Phew, thats OK…. but

In fact dietitians readily ( Actually, I think hiding it in a massive text book isnt really “readily”, but,  lets be generous) admit the lack of science that support present recommendations: the 2007 edition of the BDA Manual of Dietetic Practice, page 134, states:
(Section 1.16.8 Evidence based practice) …..In order to be able to access and assess clinical evidence, dietitians must be able to search the literature and have skills in critical appraisal…. They also need to be aware of a major constraint in using an evidence-based approach in dietetics, i.e. the shortage of coherent, consistent scientific evidence for much of dietetic practice.”

What dietitians do regard as ‘evidence-based’ are the national dietary guidelines based on 1991 Department of Health recommendations. However in November 2009 the UK Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition published new proposed calorie guidelines after admitting that the 1991 calculations were flawed and inaccurate.( that means they were “Bollocks” by the way)

As early as 2002 Artemis Simopoulos of the Centre for Genetics, Nutrition and Health said, “there may be no such thing as a ‘normal’ population with respect to nutrient requirements, as was assumed when dietary reference values were established”, and “…populations should not copy each other’s dietary recommendations for the prevention of coronary artery disease, and cancer, or any other disease for that matter”.

In 2006 the US Institute of Medicine President Finebergsaid : “It is not just possible but likely that there are nutrients that affect some population groups differently than others, and public health guidelines will have to take such differences into account…A public health paradigm of universal education is going to have to be adapted to the scientific reality and scientific knowledge as it develops and unfolds”.

in 2007 experts from the European Food Safety Authority advised that food-based dietary guidelines could not be set at the European level, at most at the national level but even then special groups would have to be considered.

This means crossfit London UK is in for a big head scratch! What means what to whom. So……. if you have interesting diet ideas, do get in touch and lets see what you have to share. If you don’t hold “proper” qualifications, it does not take away from the truth. You merely need to state those are your personal views!

By the way, the above is sort of my personal view. Ive got My Reps level 3 weight management qualification, I went to the USA to study the LEARN programme, I spent the worst 4 months of my life delivering the “your shape” experimental diet programme for GLL, I think sometime in the next few years Ill do a nutrition module among my sport science studies…. But, you know what, its just made me confused.

Ames, B.N. 2003. The metabolic tune-up: metabolic harmony and disease prevention. Journal of Nutrition 133: 1544S-1548S. (very interesting!!!)
British Dietetic Association, 2007. Manual of Dietetic Practice
Dept. Health. Dietary reference Values for Food Energy and Nutrients for the United Kingdom (DH, 1991)
European Food Safety Authority. 2007. Food based dietary guidelines. Report of the 5th Scientific Colloquium. Available at: www.efsa.europa.eu/EFSA/ScientificOpinionPublicationReport /EFSAScientificColloquiumReports/efsa_locale-1178620753812_FBDG.htm

SACN, 2009. Draft Energy Requirements Report

http://www.sacn.gov.uk/reports_position_statements/reports/draft_energy_requirements _report_scientific_consultation_-_november_2009.html
Simopoulos, A.P. 2002. Genetic variation and dietary response: nutrigenetics/nutrigenomics. Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition 11: 117-128.

5 thoughts on “Weight loss, performance and Diet: some thoughts from Crossfit London

  1. Great article, good read. I personally follow Paul McKenna’s four rules from “I can make you thin”, but only most of the time 🙂

  2. That’s what I try to tell some of my friends. A lot of them are in awe of how good they can look, but I’m always saying they have a lifestyle that allows them to have a dermatologist, nutritionist, personal trainer and home cooked chef. You just have to do the best you can and don’t throw out the basics of health and nutrition.

    Rahim Samuel
    Publisher, Wellnessbymanymeans.com

  3. Yes, interesting article. I too get very confused with all the information out there about diet.

    There is not only weight management/energy levels for exercising to think about but overall health issues. Blood pressure and cholesterol levels of course but I have also read articles saying that diet can help with some of the diseases like arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and various other inflammatory diseases people can get when they get older. Thankfully I don’t have these things currently but have relatives that do.

    As well as having issues with a very odd ailment called ‘exercise induced urticaria’ I have also suffered from chronic insomnia for a long time. But the good news is that since I have radically changed my diet since 4 January I am now sleeping very well again and have loads my energy!

    I am not following zone or paleo but have cut out all diary, meat except maybe once a quarter for a treat (festive), alcohol, sugar, wheat. I still eat plenty though but it is mostly short grain brown rice, oats,pulses, tofu, seeds, lots of vegetables, fruit. And tea – I won’t give up my tea!

    Have lost about 12 lbs since 4 January as well. But I am doing it more for the insomnia and health benefits.

    HELEN – where is that recipe for the sugar free chocolate mousse!

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