The headline grabbed my attention; a “new study” featured in the New York Times shows living at higher altitudes helps you lose weight. Well, Sisyphus, don’t pack your bags for Colorado just yet. Soon enough another “study” will send that weight loss plan rolling back down the hill to failure.
There are so many “studies” out there when it comes to our health, it does feel like we’re eternally pushing a boulder uphill, never reaching the top. That’s because too many “weight loss” plans aren’t sustainable for the way we live today. Even worse, we tend to believe the most ridiculous health claims (hello, Jenny McCarthy?) simply because the messenger looks good, is influential, or is a celebrity. We listen when these “quasi-experts” claim that juice cleanses, avoiding meat, avoiding carbs, fat, dairy or diet soda, etc. is the answer.
The latest to enter the fray is a former Australian TV star, now an author and a self-appointed health advocate, Sarah Wilson. “I quit sugar for life and you can too!” says Wilson, who recently appeared on the Today Show to prove her point while making a sugar-free dessert.
Wilson says by ridding her diet of all sugar (high fructose corn syrup, cane sugar, beet sugar and processed foods that have sugar) she not only lost weight, but her wrinkles, insomnia, muscle and joint stiffness, acid reflux and acne disappeared. I’m certainly not advocating for sugar, but she lost me with this claim: “One hundred years ago we ate eggs for breakfast, meat at lunch, vegetables prepared simply, fruit as a treat and drank our milk whole. One hundred years ago type 2 diabetes, obesity, heart disease and cholesterol issues were a much less significant problem.”
Sarah, you just pulled a “Jenny” (McCarthy). Doctors, historians and anyone who had a loved one who lived “back in the day” knows that’s wrong. The average lifespan 100 years ago was just 52 years for men and 56 for women. Most died from influenza, gastrointestinal infects, and yes, heart disease and cerebrovascular diseases. Don’t forget polio! Today, the average lifespan is 79.