Portion size, blood sugars and weight - why it all matters

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Video Transcript

So this is another one of my series around obesity and what’s causing obesity and how really government inaction, how company inaction, commercial inaction is leading to a significant obesity crisis, that is costing individuals enormously, at an individual level but also from a society level, it is just profound.
The question in my head constantly comes up and the frustration is, why? Why can’t we make decisions, why can’t we understand it, and I’ve come to realise that fundamentally when it comes to weight it is a multi-factorial illness and disease and so it is very difficult to find simple things to do to make a very big difference. And it also leads to people becoming very angry and irate about certain kinds of diet, whether that’s a high carb diet or low carb diet or a high fat diet, you know the latest trends around ketogenic diet, all of these diets kind of ignore the fact that ultimately what we are dealing with is you know calories.
If a person consumes more calories than they need, simply put, we put on weight and so if we are going to really look towards a society wide change in helping a lot of people lose weight, we need to reduce the thing that is causing weight gain, which is calories.
I’ve come to realise the single most important thing actually is not based on nutrition or what kind of diet you are eating or whether you are exercising or not, it is actually something much more fundamental and it is based not so much in nutrition and medicine but in physics and mathematics and geometry.

And so I want to give you this as an example.
So this is a cube and for a second there I want you to just pretend that it is just 1 x 1 x 1. Now if that’s the case, the volume is one and if we follow the laws of physics, the mass, the mass is also one. But what happens if I am going to double the cube? Well, then I need to double it in each direction. And so it becomes not so much 1 x 1 x 1 but 2 x 2 x 2. So that means that the volume then is 2 x 2 x 2 which is 8 and the mass is 8, so going from a single cube of one, to one that is twice the size, increases the mass by eight times, and if that is a food product it increases the number of calories by eight times.
So let’s say as an individual we all live in this world and we go and buy an apple. Now from our perspective we are just buying an apple, but if a decision was made because of economic reasons that the farmer is going to produce an apple that is 30% bigger, well 30% bigger means that that is 30 % x 8, so the apple isn’t an apple, it is 2.4 times the apple, or 2 and a half apples.

Now unless we understand this and start to put in place strategies around helping people reduce the amount they are eating and fundamentally that is around portion size control, mandated portion size control. It is going to be the only way that we can help people lose weight in this society. I was in Japan recently and it was no surprise that in a country with 3% obesity rate, 3%, as compared to most of the rest of the world at 30%, the Japanese Kentucky fried chicken, was a third of the Kentucky fried chicken that you would see in America or Australia. One third the size. So we are going to have to make some changes and we are going to have to do it in a very simple way.

And in the next video I am going to show how something as straight forward as a pizza by just making small changes to something as straightforward as pizza, can lead to a drastic reduction in calories without actually asking people not to eat pizza anymore.

So look out for that video and watch this space, because unless this concept is broadly accepted across society this is only going to get worse and cost us a lot more money. And governments need to listen and the people that make decisions need to hear this, so if you can please share this video.