BBC Horizon

Here’s another BBC Horizon programme, investigating fat and obesity.  Interesting stuff but a lot of it gets me mad!  The only obese person they spoke to was just about to go for gastric bypass surgery … and that’s an option you may not want to take:

People undergoing weight loss surgery typically do so because they believe it will save their life … but according to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons, you have a one in 50 chance of dying within 30 days of gastric bypass surgery.  And if your surgeon isn’t experienced, your risk is even higher. Within the surgeon’s first 19 procedures, the odds of death within 30 days were 4.7 times higher!

Mercola Fitness Website

But it’s their investigation of the effects of the hunger and satiety hormones, ghrelin and leptin that is most interesting, and which gets me most mad.  Their conclusions (that obese people don’t respond to leptin and ghrelin like non-obese people, and that’s why “they are hungry all the time”) are so grossly unscientific.  If these “scientists” would go and talk to obese people,  they’d discover that most of us are never hungry.  We quite often miss being hungry!

[simpleazon-image align="right" asin="0380718723" locale="us" height="160" src="" width="128"]So why do we eat if we’re not hungry?  Well, Dr Roger Callaghan  has an interesting book with exactly that title: Why Do I Eat When I’m Not Hungry?  He puts it down to anxiety, and I think I go along with him.  The latest neuro-science research would probably support it, too.  Basically, it’s because we’re addicted, and that’s a long subject.

Anyway, “flame off” for now and there is interesting stuff in the programme, so watch “The Truth About Fat” here on BBC iPlayer. (no longer available, but here’s an interesting insight:


I did find their research with identical twins interesting, where they had a genetic pre-disposition to obesity, but only one twin of the pair had expressed that gene.  There’s an interesting piece of research that I saw reported on the Ordnance Survey maps website (“Regular walks can cut obesity gene in half”) that reports some research showing that walking can reduce your probability of the “obese gene” expressing itself by 50%, by regular walking.

There was a recent BBC Horizon programme that reported on High Intensity Training … where 3 minutes high intensity exercise will make you fit and healthy!

Sceptical?  So was I!!

You can no longer see the programme on BBC iPlayer, but there’s a BBC News article about it, and here’s a 30-minute version that aired in the USA on PBS:


The programme seems to have been inspired by the work of Izumi Tabata which has inspired a lot of interest in Tabata training or Low Frequency High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).

This video should give you an idea:


There are also some echos of HIIT in the Paleo exercise regimes … the notion being that we think about the likely pattern of exercise for hunter gatherers: short bursts of intense effort while hunting, followed by long periods of rest while eating the kill.

A lot of paleo people are into Crossfit:


The description on that You Tube video says:

What is CrossFit? CrossFit is an effective way to get fit. Anyone can do it.

My reaction right now is, “yeah, right!”

We just signed up for six sessions of Crossfit with CrossFit Lake Mary, mainly because of the “Power of Community” book, below.  They say that what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger; we will see.

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I shall have more to say about super humans later, but my mind has been completely blown away by realising that there are people doing things I never imagined possible: like running 135 miles across Death Valley in 120 degree heat in 24 hours, non stop.  It makes you think, doesn’t it?  Well, it makes me think!

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