Skip to comments.Treat obesity as physiology, not physics (Gary Taubes)
Posted on 12/14/2012 6:41:08 PM PST by neverdem
The energy inenergy out hypothesis is not set in stone, argues Gary Taubes. It is time to test hormonal theories about why we get fat.
It is better to know nothing, wrote French physiologist Claude Bernard in An Introduction to the Study of Experimental Medicine (1865), than to keep in mind fixed ideas based on theories whose confirmation we constantly seek.
Embracing a fixed idea is one of the main dangers in the evolution of any scientific discipline. Ideally, errors will be uncovered in the trial-by-fire of rigorous testing and the science will right itself. In rare cases, however, an entire discipline can be based on a fundamental flaw.
As a science journalist turned science historian, I have written at length about how and why this may have happened in obesity research. I have suggested that the discipline may be a house of cards as, by extension, may much research into the chronic diseases associated with obesity, such as diabetes.
Before the Second World War, European investigators believed that obesity was a hormonal or regulatory disorder. Gustav von Bergmann, a German authority on internal medicine, proposed this hypothesis in the early 1900s.
The theory evaporated with the war. After the lingua franca of science switched from German to English, the German-language literature on obesity was rarely cited...
NuSI aims to fund and facilitate the trials necessary to rigorously test the competing hypotheses, beginning with inpatient feeding studies that will rigidly control dietary interventions for participants so that we know unambiguously the effects of macronutrients protein, fat and carbohydrates on weight and body fat. These studies will be done by independent, sceptical researchers. This may be an idealistic dream, but we have committed ourselves to the effort.
(Excerpt) Read more at nature.com ...
People have different metabolisms. Go figure.
...and especially the field of climatology.
To me he proves without a shadow of a doubt that Atkins works. Of course, I have a wife who loves to bake, and who cooks using a lot of carbs. So I have an excuse.
The ONLY scientific weight formula proven countless times (and disproven only for a few extraordinary cases) is:
(lower Calories )+ (exercise) =weight loss
The more you increase the variables on the left the more you get results on the right.
Everything else is wishful thinking.
And I am working on the left but I don’t hold out any visions of anything affecting my weight except hard work and discipline.
I’m not overweight, I’m just too short so I’ve decided next year I shall grow another 5 or 6 inches taller.
Your equation doesn't include those of use that consume a lot of calories, and don't spend a lot of time exersizing, and stay rail thin.
As a food service professional, I care about this issue. I'm glad they are doing the test. I look forward to the results.
Medicine operates, according to an ID friend of mine, much like a religion. To attack principles that are believed holy will be met with much resistance. A good example of this is statins and cholesterol where the side effects are frequently ignored in groups such as geriatric patients. First do no harm often goes out the window in the zeal to prescribe the holy drug.
Simply not true. You can eat unlimited calories and do no excercise on the Atkins diet, and lose weight. It’s all about carbs, especially “bad carbs”.
Very few people can stay on the Atkins diet for long though.
>>What kind of calories? Carbohydrates? Fats? The body treats them differently.
Your equation doesn’t include those of use that consume a lot of calories, and don’t spend a lot of time exersizing, and stay rail thin.<<
Statistical Outlier. There are some forms of calories that affect the formula more than others but overall the formula holds.
Wishful thinking “science” in weight loss is just that. Wishful thinking. Good for Dr. Nick infomercials at 1:00 AM.
Look at the show “Biggest Loser.” They do formulate the diets to be the most efficient for weight loss (and tailor it to the the individual). But it is the sweat that does the most (and most important) work.
Thanks neverdem :Gary Taubes is very good indeed. He points out that fat does not make fat but carbs do. If you’re interested see this article...
Explains nothing. Describe a mechanism.
Why the Atkins diet doesn’t work (1 of millions): http://www.zonediet.com/blog/2011/01/why-the-atkins-diet-doesn%E2%80%99t-work-and-never-will/
I assume you were checking your blood sugar levels through out. You may have given yourself Type II diabetes.
Lol must be nice! I can’t lose weight unless I embrace a low GI diet. Too bad I love dark chocolate and bread! Seriously, I work out like crazy and I see no results. Cut carbs? Oh yeah, instant weight loss!
I eat steaks, hand-crafted pizza, for breakfast I have scrambled egg, sausage, and hashbrowns, except Sundays when I have herring, stewed tomatoes, and dark beer.
I don't gain weight. I'm within 10% of what I weighed when I enlisted the first time back in 1980.
Gotta be a mechanism. Science should figure it out.
Thanks for the link.
None the less, your original assertion, “The ONLY scientific weight formula proven countless times (and disproven only for a few extraordinary cases) is: (lower Calories )+ (exercise) =weight loss” is totally disproven. If you start with that, enything else you ahve to say about it is suspect.
True, you do lose appetite after a while. But in the early stages you can eat thosands of calories a day and still lose weight. In fact you will probably lose the fastest in the first few weeks.
I do acknowlege that Atkins is not a long term solution for most because most people just won’t stay on it. Carbs are just too tempting. But that doesn’t make Atkins wrong.
I’ve found the Paleo Diet works quite well. It’s also something you can stick with.
As a former physique nut, I have been on countless diets, my favorite being the low/no carb diet. I can tell you that I was able to maintain and even gain some weight on an atkins type diet, I had to cut back before I saw significant weight loss. That said, man can I pound down the food...
It really is an energy in/energy out equation, what the diets do is modify either or both sides of the equation. For me, low carb diets curb my appetite, thus I eat less and lose weight.
FReepmail me if you want on or off the diabetes ping list.
Well sure, they 'eat' but the wrong things, and are unhealthy as well. Sugars and bad carbs, aren't hallmarks of being healthy, just a symptom of our farm subsidies and food production.
Ah, I have read both books and both are excellent.
I suspected that his work was the basis of your chapter about Ike. Now I know :^)
Calorimeteter. My first experience was with a bomb calorimeter.
For some people, that might be a good analogy, including the gasses generated.
Personally, as a guy that spent years cooking for lots of different kinds of folks, from warfighters in the field to fine dining patrons... I'm betting physiology plays a large role.
Yep. The Paleo diet works for me, too.
This is such a great subject, and I have become a huge fan of Gary Taubes. He challenges us on this issue, because there are no absolutes when it comes to weight gain/loss.
Everyone is an “expert” in nutrition...as a dietitian I’ve learned and then unlearned that it is all about calories in - calories out. I no longer buy into that. Maybe for some, but not for all...if not most. Gary Taubes’ book Why Do We Get Fat is well done (no pun intended). However, it isn’t the answer for everyone trying to gain weight, so how can it be a perfect answer for those trying to lose weight....Hmmm.
My son can eat the grocery store whole and not gain a pound (5’9...103 lbs)...others see a Burger King commercial and gain weight. Perhaps we should study those who remain thin and don’t gain weight along with those who are obese.
The answer at the end of the day will be genetic, cellular and endocrine in nature, which means...no one is an expert in nutrition...yet.
AMEN BROTHER! Preach it!
I've got anecdotal events on both sides, but it's going to be in the mitochondria where the real answers are found.
That's what I find odd, that there isn't that much blowback against particular subjects like that, perhaps there is too much money involved.
It gets down to how certain chained proteins break down input.
And we didn't cover that very well in culinary school.
God made a complex and wonderful universe.
Far be it from me to have a frigging clue besides what I see as 'accepted dicta' is about the same as a truckload of used chicken scratch.
We need to learn about this so uneducated folks like me can make rational decisions.
Here’s a good site:
I think he's suggesting that obesity is a function, at least for the vast majority of people, of the total number of calories consumed vs. the total number of calories burned. If so, he's correct. If you burn more energy than you consume, you will lose weight. If you exercise regularly, you will burn even more calories than by only employing calorie restriction. Pretty simple, really. Although the people out there touting the latest diet fad, while selling their latest diet book, will vehemently disagree, the macronutrient ratio is not all that important. What really matters is total energy consumed vs. total energy burned.
Also, a calorie is a measure of the amount of energy. This is how a calorie is defined. As such, a calorie will always be the same. When your body metabolizes fat, amino acids or carbohydrates, different pathways are used for each and the efficiencies will not be the same for each process. Even so, a calorie is always a calorie.
Taubes has made a good living demonizing one macronutrient over another. That may be an effective way to sell books, and earn lecture fees, but it doesn't offer much for those looking for something other than assumptions being presented as facts. Taubes touts the Atkins diet, but Atkins is really nothing more than a low calorie diet in disguise. Taubes also seems intent on denying the basic thermodynamic perspective. Taubes isn't a scientist. If he were, he'd know that calories are the bottom line.
Everyone should start with William Banting’s Letter on Corpulence, and then take it from there...if you’re trying to lose meaningful weight. This has been out there for years, but sometimes we just have to look in our own backyard for the answer.
I think your diet sounds healthy - because it is all home-cooked foods. With some regular exercise - not a huge amount - but daily.
Take away and store bought snacks are very fattening, and without as much nourishment as needed. They are the opposite of your good hand-made breads and hearty pans of meat and vegetable dishes. I also think you eat meals, rather than filling up by grazing all day.
-——The carbohydrate content of the diet must be rectified to restore health.———
My own experimentation with myself tends to verify this statement. Carbohydrate consumption levels influence my numbers. The numbers are in fact indicative of feeling well.
Eat carbs in excess, get indigestion, awake at 3:00 am and sleep poorly. (all carbs are equal except potatoes, and they are more equal)
Eat more fats than none, moderate carbs, no indigestion, sleep all night.
The latter course along with exercise controls or reduces weight and the general feeling of well being
“(lower Calories )+ (exercise) =weight loss”
Works every time its tried!
Today I’m having bacon, eggs and cheese biscuits. I’ll ride 25 miles to burn it off!
If you ride at 15 mi/h you will burn about 750 cal. At 20 it will be about 1000. Running seems to be about 100 cal/mile at any speed.
I’m assuming that some people burn a larger percent of the calories they consume.
I wonder if a study has been done that carefully measured calories in and calories pooped out to try to figure out what is happening. By comparing this to their diets, we may see some patterns.
If it is true that some people can eat all day and not gain weight and others gain weight if they eat the same and gain a lot, then we should be able to find the calories somewhere.
If the thin people are burning it off with an elevated metabolism, we should see a higher average body temperature and more CO2 in their breath.
No matter what people say, those calories have to go somewhere. They don’t just disappear.
Conversely, those calories do not just appear by osmosis or photosynthesis in morbidly obese individuals. The caloric intake exists to maintain the obesity.