I wanted to turn a recent discussion that started on my post #1-Series: Obesity is not Genetic into it’s own post here, so other readers can contribute.
To read the beginning of the discussion with Dr. Dan, go here.
I’m going to try and simplify what Dr. Dan is saying so far, so everyone can understand. Please correct me if I’m wrong, Dan.
A person becomes fat through excess carb consumption.
Once fat, a persons biological process that metabolizes fat is altered due to excess insulin.
This in turn makes the person lethargic (getting less physical activity), and also makes them want to overeat to gain more energy.
- Because the person’s body has now changed, the same habits that allow “normal” people to lose a few pounds will not work.
You say that instead of a behavior involving no exercise and overeating causing the weight gain, that behavior is a result of weight gain.
First, a high carbohydrate diet does not necessarily cause weight gain. It depends on where one gets those carbs. Carbs have gotten a bad rap because the majority of carbs that people eat today are simple and highly refined. Refining the kinds of carbs that are found in white bread/rice, cookies, crackers strips them of their fiber and nutrients. These simple carbs are broken down in our bodies too easily, and raise the blood sugar levels, causing excess insulin. Complex carbs found in fruits and vegetables take much longer to break down, which is a good thing, and they contain lots of fiber, which is a GREAT thing.
Carbohydrates are the building blocks for our bodies. Restricting the good sources of them in any way is a sure path to failure in living a vibrant, healthy life. If your thesis is based on carbs causing weight gain, you should really be more specific.
I suggest you do some research on how some other cultures’ diets compare to the western diet. Particularly asian cultures. They consume MUCH MORE carbs than the typical American, and MUCH LESS fat and sugar, and their rates of obesity and disease are MUCH less than ours. They have only recently begun to increase their rates of obesity, but only because they are starting to eat more like us.
Carbs in general are not the enemy. Highly energy-dense foods that only provide minimal levels of fortified nutrients are. Just because those foods usually have high levels of carbs I don’t think means that carbs are to blame. Obviously if the only source of carbs are those foods, then those types of carbs can be blamed, but not all carbs. Remember, the nutrient fat is over twice as dense in calories as carbs.
Second, you use examples of mice gaining or maintaining excess fat regardless of calorie restriction. I agree that heavily restricting calories is not a good way to lose weight. A diet that merely restricts calories will not work. Not all diets are about calorie restriction. You say that diets don’t work because calorie reduction does not reduce fat. Just because all diets attempted by a person do not “work” does not mean that there is not any kind of life-long lifestyle change that would have lasting results. The word “diet” has a negative connotation because of poor attempts at losing weight, like merely reducing calories, causing lethargy and bouts of binge eating. This does not mean that there is no “diet” (defined as a person’s habitual food intake) that will not provide positive results.
Pointing out that a mouse or squirrel gaining weight when it’s evolution tells it it’s time for hibernation, regardless of it’s caloric intake, I believe is far too simplified, and a poor example. A humans diet is extremely varied comparatively. We are not fed food pellets that have more or less calories than our neighbors food pellets. We can choose the amount of fiber we get, protein, and more importantly the types of food that give us these macronutrients. Just as important, we can choose how much we can exercise, which has a huge impact on metabolism and how we store our fat. Did the studies on mice say anything about how much exercise they got? If your answer is that the mice consequently didn’t feel like exercising because they were now fat, well, obviously fat humans don’t feel like exercising. Even most thin people don’t. But humans can still choose to do it, even if they don’t want to, because they know of it’s many benefits.
A change in the sources of people’s carbs and more generally, calories, along with a steady exercise program, can change the way the body metabolizes fat! I think that your theory stops short of this fact.
I agree that becoming obese changes our bodies, and the same things that would have kept us thin before we got fat will not be enough after the fact, but that does not mean that it’s not possible through proper nutrition and exercise to get back to a healthy size.
Are you proposing anything specific for weight loss?
Anyone else, feel free to contribute to the discussion, and agree or disagree with anything I’ve said.