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The other way to lose weight comfortably is to increase the amount of exercise one takes. A brisk walk for twenty minutes a day will burn off excess calories and stimulate body biochemistry so that it works at a higher level of activity. For a normal healthy diet one should not need the advice of a dietician. Anorexic patients should certainly not turn to dieticians for advice. They need no specific dietary advice other than to eat normally. By becoming obsessed with dietetics, they take themselves further away from normality. The proper function of dieticians is to help people who have diabetes or kidney failure or other medical conditions that require special diets. Anorexia does not require special diets other than inital vitamin supplements and high calorie drinks. Otherwise it requires a normal diet.

The concept of "health foods" is bizarre. There is in fact nothing particularly unhealthy about "junk" food if it is eaten occasionally rather than exclusively. To reject it on the grounds that it does not taste very special is fair enough, but to attack it on the grounds of nutritional inadequacy shows very little understanding of the actual needs of the stomach and body in general. By and large, vitamins, minerals and trace elements have very little to do with health except in absolute deficiency states which are clinically rare. Premature babies, isolated old ladies, prisoners of war or vegan diet fanatics may have a problem but the rest of us do perfectly well even if our diets occasionally contain various forms of "junk" food. In any case, if people are so worried about their health, they should focus primarily upon stopping smoking cigarettes. "Junk" food would, by comparison, be a very long way down the list of appropriate concerns.

The issue of "junk" food tends to be a political one, just as concerns for the "environment" are often also politically motivated. In both cases the attack is primarily upon globalisation and there is little or no evidence to support the belief that damage is caused in the particular ways that are the subject of concern. It is true that poverty and malnutrition are serious and widespread problems, just as it is true that there is widespread environmental damage but, as Bjorn Lomborg demonstrates conclusively with a wide range of scientific evidence in his book The Skeptical Environmentalist (Cambridge, 2001), the true causes of nutritional and environmental damage are far from what they are commonly made out to be. Education has to be distinguished from propaganda.

The solution to problems of diet, nutrition and body weight in normal society is primarily to eat a normal, healthy, mixed diet, with three regular meals a day and no snacks in between. Spreading one's food intake to include fats, carbohydrates and proteins is essential. One should have whole grains, nuts, fish and white meat in preference to red, and one should have plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. That is really all one needs to know. There is no place for supplements and there is absolutely no place for pharmacological substances to stimulate or reduce the appetite. These substances will inevitably be addictive when they are used in an attempt to influence an emotional problem (an eating disorder as such or,

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