In the final instalment of Why Are We Fat?, Simon Gault’s support team share with him their belief that quality of sleep is almost, if not as important for your health as your diet quality. To find out more about how and why sleep affects our health, Simon travels to California to meet sleep expert Dr Kirk Parsley, who has explored the relationship between how much body fat you have and how well you sleep. Sleep contributes to obesity and diabetes in many ways, mostly through hormones and its effect on your appetite. Not only is lack of sleep bad for your weight, it increases people’s risk for all disease including heart attacks, strokes, all auto-immune diseases and mental health.
Equally shocking for Simon to learn is how bacteria in your gut affects our overall health. A major question is whether or not gut bacteria can contribute to weight gain, which a lot of research is currently focussed on.
So, how do we fix it? People have been in pursuit of a quick fix for years, but we need to look at our lifestyles and make some hard choices. Going on a diet is not a sustainable option. To add to this, almost everyone will change the types of food they eat when they are stressed, turning to high calorie meals. To get long term results people must undergo a lifestyle change.
While some experts are campaigning for a tax on sugar, others are trying to bring down the price of foods that are healthier so it is accessible for all.
At Dilworth School’s rural campus, Head of School John Rice noticed that a lot of the boys were exercising regularly and were active, but weren’t dropping weight. He decided a complete overhaul of the boys’ diet was the only way to keep them healthy. The students and teachers eat from the same menu, and everyone is enjoying the benefits from this new food regime.
And finally, the moment of truth. Three months down the track it’s time for Simon to revisit all the experts who poked and prodded him, kicking off his health journey, to find out how the changes he has made have impacted his health.
Dr Rinki Murphy – Diabetes Physician, Auckland University Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, New Zealand
Dr William Ferguson – Kumeu Medical Centre, Auckland, New Zealand,
Nigel Harris – Senior Lecturer, Exercise Science, Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand
Dr Mikki Williden – Nutritionist, Auckland, New Zealand
Dr Kirk Parsley – Sleep Specialist, USA
Dr Erica Sonnenburg – Senior Research Scientist, Stanford University School of Medicine, USA
Associate Professor Justin Sonnenburg – Stanford University School of Medicine, USA
Professor Wayne Cutfield – Paediatric Endocrinologist, Auckland, New Zealand
Professor Neil Mann – Retired Professor of Nutritional Biochemistry, RMIT University Melbourne, Australia
Dr Stephan J. Guyenet – Obesity Researcher and Neurobiologist, Seattle, USA
Dr Lynda Frasetto – Clinical Professor of Medicine, UCSF Medical Center, USA
Dr Wilma Waterlander – Research Fellow, National Institute for Health Innovation, The University of Auckland, New Zealand
John Rice – Head of Dilworth School Rural Campus, Auckland, New Zealand
Craig Johnston – Rural Campus Catering Manager Dilworth School, Auckland, New Zealand