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 ...
Yep, but I like to stay ahead of the game. Can’t run. Artificial knee and hip. Long story... Riding is fantastic for me. 5’4”,120.
I’m starting to think I have gluten issues. I FReeped you a while ago about sourdough help and you suggested I seek local advice because there are so many environmental factors. Well, I couldn’t find local help so I’m giving it another try on my own. Wish me luck!
Unbleached white flour and filtered water. It has taken and every 12 hours after it bubbles up and falls I remove half and add back. I’m going to slowly convert it to whole wheat and oats when it’s really tangy. I just started the starter three days ago, so I have awhile before that stage. In a couple of days I will start making crackers with the starter I remove. I’m a great cook, but I must use recipes for baking. That’s science, which was my worst subject!
I'll have an alternative starter recipe for you, but it won't really work until early summer.
Another alternative for you might be a pre-ferment or hold-back method. It's what I use here since this area has black mold which kills any long-term starter. When I make a recipe of dough (I'll give you mine if you like), I hold back 180 grams of dough and save it in a cool spot and add it to the next batch.
WTH does that mean?
Are you talking about anabolism or catabolism?
My opinion is that there are a few too many variables for a simple "formula" or heuristic to be universally applicable.
Including, for example:
Age of person
Gender of person
Body fat percentage of person
Time-dependent mapping (to childhood) of body-fat percentage of person
Time-dependent mapping (to childhood) of exercise history of person
Past diet of person (chronic sweet tooth different from healthy eater)
Type, duration, and frequency of exercise protocol
Toxic load, including lyme disease, mold, solvents
Calories consumed currently
Composition of diet currently (carb%, protein%, fat%)
Types of carbs consumed
Timing and size of meals, absolute and in relation to exercise
I think it will be found that one's profile of exercise vs. food (timing, duration, frequency of both) will have a LOT to do with epigenetics which determine how one handles food; and that it will be found that *drastic* but consistent changes to one's exercise and diet can re-set the epigenetics from "fatty" to "lean mean fighting machine" over time: requiring only titanium willpower and consistency; but that, as with so much else, "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" and eating healthy with a history of exercise throughout childhood and adolescence will make it MUCH harder to gain weight later in life.
I hope not: if they do, some enterprising businessman will grind you up and sell you as weight-loss pills, and we'd lose a great FReeper. :-(
Seriously -- see my post #57, there's likely an interplay of diet (calories + type of food, exericse, and genes).
Just the kind of thing you can't hone in on with a mass statistical study of the kind funding moieties tend to love.
NO cheers, unfortunately.
If you have a certain amount of fat, then your body will respond differently physiologically to a certain food intake, or to a certain exercise, than someone else.
And one other thing about Atkins -- some people like to use Eskimos as an example of how people can eat high-fat, high-protein all the time without cardiovascular consequences (I think Taubes mentioned a study with a couple of people living on an Eskimo-type diet without getting scurvy, and which tracked their blood lipid profiles as well). One thing I have wondered is whether anyone as controlled for
a) ambient temperature (while at the MN State Fair I saw a presentation by some Arctic or Antarctic explorers who explained that they have to eat 5,000 calories A DAY to stay alive or they would freeze to death: the only way to get those calories in a form compact enough to bring along is to eat a pound or more of butter every day. They had a contest to see who could eat a stick of butter the fastest...)
b) race, somewhat correlated with the above, as Negros seem to be more associated with equatorial climes than polar; and also because their higher melanin content makes it harder for them to synthesize vitamin D with exposure to sunlight, whereas there is not enough direct sunlight for much of the year in higher latitudes. And vitamin D is being found to be important in a gazillion cellular processes, why not look to see if it is involved in metabolism as well?
I always thought a bomb calorimeter would be a great plot device for a mystery novel: either disposing of the body, or a jewel thief with a doomsday protocol for burning the stolen diamonds in 50 atmospheres of oxygen should he be caught...
You might enjoy these long-past vanities:
I think freedumb2003 is in error by conflating "sufficient" with "necessary"...
No, that is no longer true. Limit your carbs. Eat more healthy fats: coconut oil, meat and butter from healthy animals (no feedlot animals are healthy - go as organic and grassfed as you can), some olive oil if you don’t heat it. You will lose weight.
Try only 20 g of carbs a day. No fake sugars. Forget the exercise - it’s good, get out there and do whatever you like, use your body - but for weight loss, your diet is 80-90%.
This is the over simplified concept the author is saying needs to be challenged.
A couple of summers ago I started riding my my bike to work, 13.5 miles each way and 1000 of elevation gain.
That was 2.5 hours a day. At my peak, I did a 6 week stretch without missing a day. Do you know how much weight I lost in that period. 1 pound.
Then with your absolute 100% proven theory, you would say, well you must have eaten more food.
Believe me I did not eat an extra 2500 calories a day.
If it was as simple as you say, 94% of people who lose significant weight would not regain it. They obviously knew how to lose it.
I love the Biggest Loser. I love the trainers and the mental changes plus the cameraderie between the contestants.
But still they are wrong.
Can Jillian, dolvett, and bob get and keep people thin by exercise and low fat? Yes. They are experts. They can. Eight hours of exercise a day.
Will these contestants, from shedding fat so quickly, end their lives with Lou gehrig’s, Parkinson’s, or alzheimers? Sadly, the chances are high. As with the people getting weight loss surgery. They are stressing their livers and lymph and other systems by forcing too much fat into their bloodstreams daily. It is definitely not healthy, though the transformations look great.
They could lose the same fat healthier by citing carbs and eating healthfully. Jillian knows this and would not stump for the yogurts filled with fake sugar and subway and what not. But she has two kids now so she could use the paycheck, plus her tough psychological approach is hugely fun to,watch and deep — those who don’t go through the mental transformation tend to gain all their weight back.
I’m a huge fan but their strategy is for quick transformations, not for lasting health.
Gluten is evil. I think most of us have issues with it; we just don’t know it. I went paleo two years ago and in doing, gave up wheat and mostly all grains. For rare treats I bake with gluten free grains. On my last birthday I decided to treat myself to something I have missed: chiles rellenos at a Mexican restaurant. They are very lightly breaded - you can’t even see the breaking when they are fried - and I was up all night with the worst indigestion. I can no longer digest wheat.
So I used to avoid it for general health; now I avoid it so that I don’t feel sick. I will never eat gluten again willingly. The custom in my religion is very dependent on wheat but now even at Passover I break the dietary laws as do most gluten sensitive and eat gluten free matzah substitutes. It’s worth it. But it shows how many centuries we depended on wheat. Tough our modern wheat may be significantly different than wheat 400 years ago.
Giving up gluten is a way to ensure you don’t eat most packaged and junk food too. Do not just buy gluten free packaged junk though. Most of that stuff has awful “gums” that are just as hard to digest, and it’s still carby junk.
Replace junk with meat, fruit, and veggies.
Citing carbs - CUTTING CARBS
Precisely. A lot of money has been made by a lot of people selling weight-loss schemes and drugs.
Even more has been made by pharmaceutical companies and doctors who push drugs like metformin (the
muscle-wasting drug) for Type II diabetes when a proper diet and exercise are the cures.
Heart disease caused by the food pyramid has also been a gold mine for surgeons and pill pushers every-
where. Meantime, we sicken and die as the poster children for crony capitalism (cause a problem, sell the
"cure") reap the rewards.
I woke up to these disgusting scams 12 years ago when I read up on and then started low-carbing and
got a look at my blood work after three months.
Ever read Weston Price’s research on eating right for your genetic type?
That explains why the eskimos can eat one diet and not be unhealthy but it might not work for others.
Price found some people in Africa that existed on cow meat, cow milk, cow blood, and a few berries. They were extremely healthy, with good bone structure, good teeth, strong muscles, and very lean. They were eating the same diet that their ancestors had for centuries, which their genetics were primed for, so they had no problem thriving on it.
Price’s contention was that there was no one right diet for the human race. Not surprisingly, one size doesn’t fit all. But try and tell that to the dieticians. They won’t accept it at all.
Well, that’s just my opinion - and my experience as well. Diet + exercise, (+no alcohol for me). Seems to me he’s excluding pills, bariatric surgery, transcendental meditation, cocaine, bulimia, smoking, whatever - so not “conflating” in the usual sense of the word. Your mileage may vary.
You tell me. I'm not a biologist. I'm looking for information in my post, not trying to offend you.
A BMR quite a bit higher than average is what I thought I was referring to.
I used to think a calorie is a calorie too, but not now.
AbstractThere was at least one or two links on recent fructose threads about rats getting either fructose or glucose, but otherwise had the same number of calories. The rats that got fructose became obese. Rats getting glucose didn't. I couldn't find it, so I entered isocaloric diet and fructose into PubMed. I posted the abstract and linked the article. It's not that long. From the discussion:
The results of short-term studies in humans suggest that, compared with glucose, acute consumption of fructose leads to increased postprandial energy expenditure and carbohydrate oxidation and decreased postprandial fat oxidation. The objective of this study was to determine the potential effects of increased fructose consumption compared to isocaloric glucose consumption on substrate utilization and energy expenditure following sustained consumption and under energy-balanced conditions.
As part of a parallel arm study, overweight/obese male and female subjects, 4072 y, consumed glucose- or fructose-sweetened beverages providing 25% of energy requirements for 10 weeks. Energy expenditure and substrate utilization were assessed using indirect calorimetry at baseline and during the 10th week of intervention.
Consumption of fructose, but not glucose, led to significant decreases of net postprandial fat oxidation and significant increases of net postprandial carbohydrate oxidation (P < 0.0001 for both). Resting energy expenditure decreased significantly from baseline values in subjects consuming fructose (P = 0.031) but not in those consuming glucose.
Increased consumption of fructose for 10 weeks leads to marked changes of postprandial substrate utilization including a significant reduction of net fat oxidation. In addition, we report that resting energy expenditure is reduced compared to baseline values in subjects consuming fructose-sweetened beverages for 10 weeks.
For example, if the mean measured decrease of REE(resting energy expenditure) associated with 10 weeks of fructose consumption, 0.09 kcal/min, was maintained for one year it could total ~15,000 kcals, assuming that REE reflects metabolism during rest/sleep periods adding to about 8 h/d; potentially, a gain of ~1.6 kg of body fat could result. Additional studies examining the effects of chronic sugar consumption on 24-hour energy expenditure conducted in a whole-room calorimeter are needed to confirm these findings and determine if the observed reductions in metabolic rate are directly related to fructose or to sweetener (i.e. sucrose, high fructose corn syrup, etc.) consumption in general. We are currently performing such measurements.That's 3.5 pounds a year. Add a few decades of excess fructose consumption, and that lean mean fightin' machine is hauling about 100 pounds of extra fat. Be sparing with table sugar and avoid soft drinks. The latter was supposed to be made 55 % fructose. Actual assays of some raw samples had 65 % fructose. Excess fructose can alter metabolism.
Interesting. Thanks for the ping.
Why did you ping me to this claptrap? You have become the ‘cogitator’ of fructose.
I thought you might have an open mind. I guess I was wrong. It's too bad. Isocaloric studies of fructose versus glucose was just what was needed. The article linked in comment# 74 shows how excess fructose affects metabolism and physiology with decreased resting energy expenditure and increased abdominal fat, the wrong kind of fat, among other findings.
Don't worry. I won't ping you about fructose again. I trust I can expect the same from you. Adios
Nice try, Alinsky Jr. My mind would have to be so open my brain fell out to fall for any of this nonsense. You crackpot pseudo-scientists will be the death of us all.
Low-carb diets (such as Atkins) emphasize that same point, that overall calories are not the important thing, and it makes perfect sense — fat calories are harder to absorb, and tend to, er, slip on through the alimentary canal; carbs (like sugars) are readily absorbed but are in quantities that the body can’t immediately use, so they’re stored as fat.
Thanks for another ad hominem. First, you called me the cogitator of fructose. Now, it's Alinsky Jr. Let's keep it civil.
You described your self on your about page as a "Conservative Republican/libertarian RKBA Scientist." What kind of scientist are you besides conservative Republican/libertarian RKBA? I hope you have no conflicts of interests.
I worked as a chemist for about 3.5 years before I got into medical school in 1987. In medical school there was no discussion of maturity onset diabetes of the young or non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
Epidemiology says something is happening. Scientists are supposed to be sceptical while still keeping an open mind.
Or show a countervailing study with reference?
You are so right. The “Obesity epidemic” is directly related to the changes in the “Food Pyramid” demanded by by the McGovern Committee in 1977. The move away from meat and protein to carbs fattened the public like nothing else.
At any rate, I give Taubes' book the highest recommendation. I've read thousands of books in my life and in terms of impact on my life, "Good Calories, Bad Calories" is one of the three or four most important books I've ever read.
Very interesting facts. Fortunately I don’t like sweets or sodas. Maybe a couple per year. If I want to lose weight I drop my calorie intake by just 500 per day. That’s 3500 calories a week = 1 pound. Add it back when you’re at desired weight. The key is burning more than I eat.
Not scientific but it works for me.
I love your posts neverdem. Do you have a ping list?
Ha ha—bicycling daily for your beer, herring and dark beer on Sundays!
PS I like stewed tomatoes too. Do you make your own?
But I have a big problem. My wife is an excellent baker. But the science is absolutely true. If we could ban Panera, America's obesity epidemic would go away. (Only half joking)
How I yearn for dieticians to identify the roles of ADP, ATP, AMP, and cAMP in their dietary recommendations, but alas, few even contemplate any significance of biochemistry in their recommendations.
That’s how I have them too!
I and a bunch of my colleges agree with you.
I have about a dozen of them. I added you to my first one, health & science. They also get pinged to what I think are noteworthy articles about politics, foreign or military affairs. Included in that latter category are articles about policies such as Obamacare, stem cells and regenerative medicine and anthropogenic global warming(AGW). I'm a sceptic about Obamacare, embryonic stem cells and AGW.
If that's too broad for you, I keep separate lists for stem cell/regenerative medicine, a combined list for either microbiology or immunology, and one for all kinds of diabetes. Finally, I keep some state specific lists: CA, CO, CT, Il, NJ, PA and NY, my home state.
FReepmail me if you want to change being on the health & science list to any of the others.
P.S. Thanks for the compliment.
That list is broad and perfect neverdem. Thank you! Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and all that ;D!
Oh, and you are welcome.
With respect to the article cited in #74, the authors acknowledge their findings conflict with others, some of which I'll reference later. One study does not truth make. The thing that jumped right out at me in slogging through the whole thing was that the subject BMI's ranged between 25-35, iow overweight to obese. BMI is certainly not a perfect indicator but these folks were clearly well outside of normal range for body weight. There also was no mention of exercise, one way or the other, which greatly influences many metabolic processes. They also acknowledge comparable overall weight gain, (just deposited in different places) which is after all, the crux of the overall matter.
A sampling of contrary studies would include:
As for Taubes, he's a guy who sells books to fat people who can't seem to grasp that a 2500 calorie a day diet with no exercise will lead to obesity. There are countless articles debunking his nonsense so for a couple:
What disturbs me is the endless demonization of the "killer of the week" ingredient or process with skimpy, if any, actual data to support it. I've lived through the attacks on saccharin, aspartame, msg and the more recent GMO nonsense. All of them have a common theme: smarter people telling all of us dopes how to live. The recent propaganda campaigns follow the global warming model; lots of "may", "might", "could", etc. inevitably leading to "more study is needed but can we really afford to wait to act?" Often as not there's a tax proposal in there as well.
The OP and I have had previous skirmishes on this subject and his behavior reminded me of the tactics of the foremost global warming poster on this forum which are right out of the Alinsky playbook. You'll notice that the MO continues in this thread.
I do not sputter, Sir; I call a spade a spade.
Incidentally, speaking of exercise and eating and bodyweight, try looking up this site. :-P
Or, you could try reading As far as calling a spade a spade, I think neverdem said he had three years as a chemist before getting an MD; what is your scientific pedigree?
For *EVERYONE* on the thread, I recommend you check out the work of Dr. Mauro diPasquale, B.A. (Biochem and Genetics), MD (both from University of Toronto), who was ALSO a World Champion powerlifter.
Yeah, he's selling stuff; but look at his career, I doubt he really needs the money...
And I've read one of his books, it is real, first-rate science (e.g. investigating glucogenesis from amino acids obtained from breaking down the intestinal lining to provide energy during intense weightlifting, biopsies of muscle tissue, that kind of thing.)
The comments on these threads supply ample evidence for that fact.
Thanks for the ping. Interesting links.
Huh? A calorie has always been a calorie and it will always remain such. A calorie is a measure of the amount of energy and this is exactly how it is defined. It is always the same no matter what. The metabolization of fat, carbs and amino acids will all require different pathways and the efficiencies will not be the same for all of those processes. You're confusing calorie with efficiency. Even so, a calorie is always a calorie.
I see you are still railing on fructose and continue to offer that same study on fructose and de novo lipogenesis as proof of the ill effects of fructose. I don't know why you persist, because it has been explained to you many times, and in great detail, that there is very little de novo lipogenesis going on in the human body. So much for that open mind you were critical of earlier.
Fat gain in humans is almost entirely due to dietary fats. De novo lipogenesis is rare and can only account for the most minute amount of fat gain. It could never be responsible for the incredible amount of maladies you appear eager to blame on it. You seem ready to believe that a diet high in fruit is dangerous. Call me crazy, but that's just crazy.
Of course, if you overwhelm the body with anything, including fructose, all sorts of bad things can occur. Feeding lab animals, or humans, quantities of ingredients that have no relationship to the real world is a very common practice by those looking to create alarm in the quest for grant money. And that's really what all this is. There is no way fructose consumption can be responsible for all the things charlatans like Taubes and Lustig claim. It's just plain old every day alarmism designed to separate people from their money. P.T Barnum understood human nature well.
You forgot trans-fat, artificial flavors, sucralose and many others I can't recall right now. I've lived through them all as well. It's pretty mind-boggling. In the 1990's CSPI declared that animal fats were the enemy and told us we all needed to convert to hydrogenated vegetable oil or we'd die. Twenty years later, they were suing McDonalds for using hydrogenated vegetable oil.
All of them have a common theme: smarter people telling all of us dopes how to live. The recent propaganda campaigns follow the global warming model; lots of "may", "might", "could", etc. inevitably leading to "more study is needed but can we really afford to wait to act?" Often as not there's a tax proposal in there as well.
Exactly so. Reminds me of a favorite quote by HL Mencken:
Too bad there are no "like" buttons on this forum. I'd give your post a hundred.