Todd Becker, who writes the blog Getting Stronger, has been critical of both Taubes' carbohydrate insulin hypothesis of obesity as well as Guyenet's food reward hypothesis. He has now come out with his own: the hypothalmic hypothesis:
Where does obesity begin? What drives you to eat too much or expend too little energy, and why has there been such a dramatic increase in obesity since 1980? Some recently popular explanations are the carbohydrate / insulin hypothesis (CIH), singling out the prevalence of carbohydrates in the diet, and the food reward hypothesis (FRH), putting the primary blame on the availability of “hyper-palatable” food.
In this post I will present evidence for new paradigm, which I call the Hypothalamic Hypothesis (HH). I think it provides a better explanation for the facts of obesity than the CIH and FRH theories, and leads to some different advice about how best to lose weight.
Some recent research suggests that obesity starts with specific physical changes to the brain. Appetite is regulated by the hypothalamus, particularly the arcuate nucleus (ARC). It turns out that two very specific changes to the brain cause us to get get hungry, overeat, burn less fat, and gain weight. And these changes to particular brain structures come about as a result of what you eat, eating frequency, and some extent your activity level. The problem of obesity or overweight is often portrayed as a single problem, but it is really two problems, and each type of obesity corresponds to one type of brain alteration. Failure to distinguish these two types of obesity has resulted in much confusion. In part, the confusion comes about because these two types of obesity frequently occur together in the same individual, although one type is usually dominant. If you understand this, and you understand the role your brain plays, you can become more successful at losing excess weight.
I have to really read and process the whole article, but I like it for several reasons. The first and foremost is that, like Todd, I fundamentally agree that the brain is the primary player here, not the body as Taubes argues. Second, his weight loss suggestions are more finessed than those for either CIH or FRH and make more sense to me.
What do you think? Is it a useful addition to the cause of obesity discussion?
Edit: Be sure to check out Stephan Guyenet's response in the comments.