Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Sleep it off

According to a new study, levels of obesity are going up not just because of our sedentary lifestyles and unhealthier processed foods, but also because we aren't sleeping enough, and because of airconditioners (never did like those things), certain medication, chemical contamination (read: pollution) and not smoking as much as we used to (which reminds me, the great-aunts and grandmas who were once in purdah used to smoke bidis on the sly, and they were all thin as reeds).


Which doesn't mean that you can go berserk with refined grain and sugar, while trying to sleep off the adipose tissue. It just means that when on diet, sleep a lot. Preferably in the open air. This is just the right weather.


kuffir said...

on the sly? my nani used to smoke desi cheroots (?)..until she was seventy. only once in a while but never on the sly..and she worked in the fields till she died. women observing purdah smoke too? to their health!

gaddeswarup said...

There are so many reports (even research reports) coming in that I am not sure what to believe. Just yesterday, I read the following in a review of 3 books on food in New Scientist:

"In this kind of investment economy, weight gain is just collateral damage," she says.

In The Omnivore's Dilemma, the ecology of the food system comes into focus. Michael Pollan highlights the "fundamental tension between the logic of nature and the logic of industry", using the overproduction of corn as an illustration. The US pumps out 10 billion bushels of industrial corn each year, with each bushel requiring about a litre of oil to grow it. "Ecologically this is a fabulously expensive way to produce food," writes Pollan, adding that ecological considerations don't enter into the equation. This corn has to go somewhere. "Sooner or later clever marketers will figure out a way to induce the human omnivore to consume the surfeit of cheap calories," he writes. In fact they already have, and we are eating it directly or indirectly, to the tune of about a tonne a year each, though most of it is hidden from view. Fast food, for example, is basically corn in disguise. Soda is little else but high-fructose corn syrup and water. Most meat is really just the corn consumed by feedlot livestock. US citizens are not only eating this overproduction and paying for it at the till, but are also subsidising it through taxes. "Very simply, we subsidise high-fructose corn syrup in this country, but not carrots," writes Pollan."
Today, there is a post in Marginal Revolution which says that rural Mexicans often throw away corn; they cannt compete with Us in their own country in cities. Anyway, the New Scientist review (needs subscription) seems to say that food habits have changed very fast because of big business and it may be difficult to go back.
There have been several articles (e.g. Discovery Magazine) about the usefulness of the appropriate amount of sleep.

smriti said...

the sleep thingy is a rage here...and the non-dieters have also managed to procure the lable of "healthy" for themselves. As another new research goes, dieting can get you fat because when you diet your body thinks its going into the starving mode and starts storing every li'l bit of fat that comes its way...all for future use. so essentially you grow real fat before slimming down.

Annie Zaidi said...

kuffir: well, they didn't smoke in company, I think. but smoking being 'bad' in a moral sense was a relatively recent phenomenon, from the last century. and soon, it shall cease to matter, except for health reasons, I think.
gaddeswarup: that is indeed worrying. i am hoping that there is a way out though. lots of people in the western world are switching to organic food, and insisting on salad-type dishes. the problem is going to get worse for less developed countries where all that corn/sugar/wheat etc is being dumped. this business of food is very complicated.
smriti: i'm happy to sleep a lot more, whatever the excuse. nine hours is bliss. :)

wise donkey said...

if we dont sleep enough its perhaps its because we arent tired enough... :D
or it could be our idea that the best way to relax is to be in front of tv with some snack..

the best way to lose weight is buy burning calories..

anyway rather than losing weight whats imp is being healthy..
weight is just a part of good health, so better throw off the bidi or cig:d

Annie Zaidi said...

wisedonkey: wise as ever. you're right. when you're tired, sleep comes without helpful thumb-nudging of the remote. in fact, tv interferes with sleep. however, you know as well as me that weight is not just a good health issue. An olympic swimmer is very healthy. A weight-lifter is strong. Miss World is neither. But guess who's considered more desirable?

Hiren said...

The conventional wisdom is 70% diet and 30% exercise. Nice to know there are several others.

Y? said...

I love your blog. I've linked to you...

Annie Zaidi said...

hiren: all one big chain, this business of health. everything's got to do with everything else.
y?: thanks :)

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