Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Fat vs. Lean

Jack Sprat could eat no fat
His wife could eat no lean
And so betwixt the two of them
They licked the platter clean

Jack ate all the lean,
Joan ate all the fat.
The bone they picked it clean,
Then gave it to the cat

Jack Sprat was wheeling,
His wife by the ditch.
The barrow turned over,
And in she did pitch.

Says Jack, "She'll be drowned!"
But Joan did reply,
"I don't think I shall,
For the ditch is quite dry.".

To figure out if we were fat or not, we used to stand on a scale and slide the bars over. Sometimes we even paid a nickel to have our fortune told with our weight. Then we would let someone guess at a county fair... Doctors made it more complicated and would measure rolls of fat with calipers and give you a stern lecture on eating salads.

Then the Atkins Diet, Grapefruit Diet, and any number of diet fads. After that along came the Body Mass Index and home scales that would tell you how much fat you have. It got complicated. We got confused. Eat vegetables, no fruit, no whole grains, skip red meat, no eat some red meat, follow the food pyramid, they changed the food pyramid, again. We have a country full of confused people and they wonder why we are obese.

But wait there's more. Now they say skip the BMI and pay attention to your percent of body fat. But the best thing is to figure out your waist to hip ratio:

'Or, since abdominal fat is more hazardous, simply take a tape measure around the widest part of the abdomen and another at the hips and calculate the waist-to-hip ratio. For men it should be no higher than 0.90, and for women no higher than 0.83.'

So do I skip weighing myself and find a tape measure or do I ignore them all and have ice cream for dessert as I contemplate just how confused I am?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm thinking the ice cream. And my waist to hip ratio has always been too high (or low - What the hell is a ratio anyway??). Even when I weighed under 140...I'm sticking with BMI until they get a body fat calculator that you don't need a caliper for. Although my scale gives me a reading (usually over 30%, sigh).