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Why do we get fat?
Old 05-22-2016, 09:00 AM   #1
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Why do we get fat?

Article by Taubes discusses the two schools of thought on why we get fat. My bet is on Taubes carbohydrate, hormones, metabolism hypothesis vs the conventional calories consumed/burned idea.

Why do we get fat? - LA Times

Article also mentions his new book, any one read it? “Why We Get Fat and What to Do About It”
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Old 05-22-2016, 09:46 AM   #2
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My take (I know you are all on the edge of your seats waiting to hear this!)

For the vast expanse of time before modern times the ability to fatten up when there was plenty of food - especially during the summer/fall seasons of plenty eating (wild, then cultivated) grains, tubers, and fruits - was essential to survival. Way more people died of famine back then than died of type 2 diabetes or cardiac disease.

There are a few example Taubes trots out of peoples who are "recently" exposed to modern diets. Pacific islanders and Hopi for example have a real propensity to plump up and develop diabetes. Both these peoples are well adapted to feast and famine cycles.

I expect various peoples across the globe adapted and readapted to local conditions (if you were poorly adapted to local conditions, you more often died before having kids). Most modern people are a mix of these various peoples and so have more or less of the various adaptations.

Some of us are lucky enough to have adaptations that work pretty well with current conditions, others of us aren't as lucky.
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Old 05-22-2016, 10:17 AM   #3
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For those interested in nutrition science - there is a podcast called Guru Performance We do science where the host discusses and interviews scientists about nutrition, exercise, physiology. It is pretty interesting to hear from those doing the research about what is known and speculated upon.

The host is a bit annoying with his style and catch phrases but the guests are usually very interesting.


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Old 05-22-2016, 10:22 AM   #4
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Taubes has recycled a hypothesis that was discarded in the 1980s. Sadly, the whole weight problem is much more complex -- a mix of cultural changes, prosperity, hyperpalatable food, etc. Google Kevin Hall. He's had a couple of studies in the news recently that nicely refute the insulin hypothesis. His most recent study, which is not yet published, was funded primarily by Gary Taubes' NuSI foundation, too.

If you pick a random chapter of one of Taubes' books and look up his reference, you'll also find that he is quite dishonest or at least confused about his referencing. Nina Teicholz almost completely replicates his referencing in her book too. Plenty of people, like Seth Yoder as an example, have gone through chapter by chapter and dug out references to show that they have been misused. Misusing references is a fine old tradition, popular with alternative medicine enthusiasts like Adele Davis, etc. Some of the misuse is downright dishonesty and some of it is just picking and choosing the bits and pieces that fit the hypothesis to find the pattern that they want to believe is hidden in plain sight. Science doesn't work that way, though.

That doesn't mean that you can't lose weight with a low carb diet because you can! I've seen people lose weight with high carb, low carb, and all kinds of goofy diets in between (Eat Right 4 Your Type!). Most diets work as long as you work them and watch your portions -- and most people, especially women, who are successful with low carb weight loss have to watch their portions too. I tried high carb, but it left me so hungry that I gained weight and obsessed about forbidden foods. Portion control and tracking works much better for me because I'm too skeptical to convince myself that entire classes of food are "bad for me".

The National Weight Control Registry is a fascinating resource for real weight loss and long term maintenance data.
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Old 05-22-2016, 10:43 AM   #5
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It is funny.... I was over at a friends house yesterday and talking about losing weight...

We have been told that fat is bad for us... do not eat fat...

We have been told that carbs are bad for us... do not eat carbs...

And recently I read that Americans get too much protein... so protein is bad for us... do not eat too much protein....


Well, there is nothing left to eat!!! That is it... every food fits into one of those categories....
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Old 05-22-2016, 10:53 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Texas Proud View Post
It is funny.... I was over at a friends house yesterday and talking about losing weight...

We have been told that fat is bad for us... do not eat fat...

We have been told that carbs are bad for us... do not eat carbs...

And recently I read that Americans get too much protein... so protein is bad for us... do not eat too much protein....


Well, there is nothing left to eat!!! That is it... every food fits into one of those categories....
Focus on bird seed and lettuce.
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Old 05-22-2016, 10:54 AM   #7
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I'm not a believer in anything other than CICO. I fell for a lot of woo last year, actually lost weight by withholding refined carbs. Since needing to up my calories to stop losing, I added back candy, ice cream(300 calories daily) and pie. Huh, my weight doesn't change by adding evil processed carbs back.

I read the MFP boards, common to see newbies say they're not losing weight. Sometimes they admit they're not weighing their food, sometimes you have to force them to admit that they use volume. Volume for most foods is way off. Using flour, or Oatmeal my cups understate the contents by 20%! Think about a 20% understatement of calories on a 2200 calorie diet!

How many Americans weigh their food? Very few, definitely not the folks I see grazing at Wal-Mart. I belive most Americans are totally ignorant of nutrition or healthy eating habits. Underestimate the calories by 20% then add in the variable that the calories can be off by 20%,(according to the USDA) and it's no wonder that there are so many people who write books full of facts that mean nothing.

I think 100 extra calories per day is good for 10.429 pounds yearly. Science says so. You can prove that yourself in your own home in a few weeks. Of the 55 pounds I dropped last year my calorie consumption and the weight loss matched. Coincidence? Could be. Could it be a coincidence that an obese person could become obese after the TV appearance was over? Could be. Could be they went back to the WOE that made them obese.

I'm of the opinion that a person could lose weight and eat anything they want as long as they ate less calories than their body burns. Maybe not healthy or without feeling hungry, but I know it can be done.
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Old 05-22-2016, 10:55 AM   #8
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Not to hijack any thread, but it was quite amusing to see this thread "Why do we get fat?" immediately followed by the "Do you need a spare tire?" thread. Yes, I do have a spare tire (around the waist) and yes, I know how I got it.
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Old 05-22-2016, 11:07 AM   #9
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T

Portion control and tracking works much better for me because I'm too skeptical to convince myself that entire classes of food are "bad for me".
+

I noticed that I maintained my healthy weight when I knew exactly the calories of the food I was taking in and made sure I hovered around the recommended daily allowance. Also, I preferred complex carbs like fruits and vegs. Works for me...
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Old 05-22-2016, 11:26 AM   #10
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All the literature and studies that are flying around are making things too complicated. Searching for and debating the optimal diet, the optimal balance between eating and exercise, etc, makes things too complicated and probably causes a lot of people to just throw their hands up and give up. It's similar to investing. A really simple investment plan might not quite be optimal, but it's better than 95% of the options, and won't lead people toward the option of not doing anything.

A little common sense goes a long way. Does exercising help one lose weight? Probably, but maybe not, but exercising is certainly better than not exercising. It has other benefits beyond potential weight loss. Is sugar intake from eating a piece of fruit better than sugar intake from drinking a Coke? Probably, and it's certainly not any worse. Are carbs/fat/protein bad for me? In excess, certainly. With everything in moderation, perhaps my diet is not optimal, but making reasonable choices is certainly better than not trying at all. Maybe there is no silver bullet, but common sense will get us close.
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Old 05-22-2016, 11:27 AM   #11
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Yeap, portion control is important. One of my kids lots 25lbs by doing just that. She was never fat nor obese. Did get the freshmen 15 but that's it. She didn't increase her exercise either, I mean she walk to classes and stuff.
In fact I was totally surprised when she told me how much she lost.
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Old 05-22-2016, 11:28 AM   #12
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This is not directly related to the topic (although Taubes was briefly in it), there is a documentary called Fed Up (narrated by Katie Couric. There is another Fed Up documentary but that one I think is about genetic engineering of food) that we watched recently. It was a very interesting watch, although the focus was more on sugar consumption by Americans (how it increased over the years) and how more and more children were being afflicted with Diabetes Type 2 (I cannot remember the exact stats on this, but the numbers were staggering.) Something is definitely not right with the foods that are on supermarket shelves. I was also horrified to see what they serve for lunch at some schools.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fed_Up_(film)
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Old 05-22-2016, 11:29 AM   #13
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What? They have an article about my screen name? Interesting, I never read it.
No kidding about food serve in America. My kid did a summer program at MIT and they served a lot of pancakes. She did gain weight. We don't eat pancakes at home on a regular basis. Same with her college. Near finals they serve pancakes. I know flour is cheap, that's why it seems like free food but it's not. I stay away from simple carbs, only eat complex carbs, but then only a very small portion.
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Old 05-22-2016, 11:31 AM   #14
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What? They have an article about my screen name? Interesting, I never read it.
It's not an article, but it is a documentary film. Yep, it's got your name on it
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Old 05-22-2016, 11:44 AM   #15
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I always get a good laugh out of this article, but if you keep reading you will see some very serious 'common sense' thinking, combined with the experience of a bodybuilder...

Why Am I Not Losing Weight: 11 Reasons You're Failing To Lose Fat
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Old 05-22-2016, 11:49 AM   #16
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It's not an article, but it is a documentary film. Yep, it's got your name on it
That's even better. I'm now a title in a movie, does that make me a movie star?
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Old 05-22-2016, 12:05 PM   #17
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I always get a good laugh out of this article, but if you keep reading you will see some very serious 'common sense' thinking, combined with the experience of a bodybuilder...

Why Am I Not Losing Weight: 11 Reasons You're Failing To Lose Fat

^ That...

Of course, it's a bit of a virtuous, albeit vicious, cycle. We have, and eat, more and more "food" with less and less nutritional value.
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Old 05-22-2016, 12:11 PM   #18
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Timely for me. I just faced the fact that I am 20 lbs overweight--more than ever before in my life--and joined Weight Watchers. I am tracking food daily and counting calories (actually points). I know exactly why I gained this weight--broken foot then toe surgery kept me from moving much, and indulgence in way too many pastries and sweets. Honestly after all the hype and confusion, I'm also sold on the simplicity of calorie counting and portion control. Of course when you have a target calories amount per day--mine is 1200--you quickly learn to eat low calorie food that provide satiation: lean proteins, veggies, fruit, a small amount of grains like rice or quinoa. Frankly I am feeling optimistic and "back on track." For one thing I refuse to buy any clothes in a larger size and I'm now squeezing/bulging into my regular size 6. That's a MAJOR incentive. Moreover I have a BIG birthday coming in a few months and that's another incentive.
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Old 05-22-2016, 12:35 PM   #19
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There is a positive correlation between obesity rates and antibiotic use rates. I've been thinking it goes beyond correlation and could be causation. Of course, there are many causes of being overweight, of which this may be just one.
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Old 05-22-2016, 12:42 PM   #20
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Timely for me. I just faced the fact that I am 20 lbs overweight--more than ever before in my life--and joined Weight Watchers. I am tracking food daily and counting calories (actually points). I know exactly why I gained this weight--broken foot then toe surgery kept me from moving much, and indulgence in way too many pastries and sweets. Honestly after all the hype and confusion, I'm also sold on the simplicity of calorie counting and portion control. Of course when you have a target calories amount per day--mine is 1200--you quickly learn to eat low calorie food that provide satiation: lean proteins, veggies, fruit, a small amount of grains like rice or quinoa. Frankly I am feeling optimistic and "back on track." For one thing I refuse to buy any clothes in a larger size and I'm now squeezing/bulging into my regular size 6. That's a MAJOR incentive. Moreover I have a BIG birthday coming in a few months and that's another incentive.
Me too. I did have a few injuries that caused me to live a more sedentary life than I like. But swimming is the best exercise. I'm staying with size 8. Hopefully, with my trip to Europe I will do more walking and slimming down.
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