F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
9

So what exactly causes obesity?

by (15400)
Updated November 23, 2014 at 3:34 AM
Created May 08, 2012 at 5:03 AM

I came across this article:

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/health/2012/05/07/fat-forecast-42-of-americans-obese-by-2030/

So, what does cause obesity?

  1. Not grains - Okinawan eat grains and happily living till 100 years old. Many traditional cultures supplement grains. Asians (Koreans and Japanese) eat white rice and they have the lowest obesity rates among other countries.http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/hea_obe-health-obesity

  2. Gluten? Originally, Samoans had very little gluten, yet their obesity rates were high even before gluten consumption. Samoan starch: either breadfruit, taro root, or green bananas. Italians and French indulge in gluten, yet the weight problem has been creeping up on them very slowly, not like in the U.S.

  3. Processed foods? We all know at least one or more individuals who indulge in processed foods (at least till age of 20) and never get fat. So there is a protective mechanism. Also, white flower and white sugar can be considered processed food, but many cultures use it. Spaghetti in Italy is not whole grain. So are baguettes in France.

  4. SAD? Again, we know some examples when people are not overweight even on SAD - I know at least five people like that, even in their late 40s. Why is UK getting fat? SUKD? What about Mexico?

  5. Sugar? Nobody can live only on sugar - I do not know any diets where people would consume only sugar. Interestingly, fruitarians are not overweight by any standards.

  6. Calories? But what makes some people to crave for more junk food?

However, I know a bunch of kids who became obese at the age of 4 or 5 on a relatively healthy diet. Genes? I wonder if there are any twin studies where one twin would be obese, and another one is slim.


EDITED - I am very interested WHY U.S. and Mexico? Why not some other country? GMO sounds like a possible cause. Could it be about chemical additives? Why Mexico? Traditionally, Mexican food is healthy. Is it just a food culture? Very puzzling to me. Also, I have heard that they have reversed an obesity trend in Austria, but I forgot the details.

Thanks.

Ab0369a70755bd07f44292b4ca8b2260
1579 · May 20, 2012 at 12:43 AM

Here is a good article about GMO foods and why they cause obesity http://howtoeliminatepain.com/arthritis/why-feeding-factory-farmed-animals-genetically-modified-monsanto-corn-has-resulted-in-substandard-meats-sold-in-restaurants-and-grocery-stores-that-lead-to-inflammation-illness-disease-weight-gain/

276a5e631b62f8e0793987c0496364bb
1644 · May 14, 2012 at 3:54 PM

For clarification: My point is that while energy balance is a very important factor (but by no means the only one), calories are a very poor estimator of what our bodies do with food energy.

276a5e631b62f8e0793987c0496364bb
1644 · May 14, 2012 at 2:29 AM

Addictions, hyperpalatability, hormones, and every other single thing that we do in our lives alters how our bodies utilize food energy and what we decide to provide it with for food energy. So don't even try to pull out that tired old line about calories consumed being the ultimate deciding factor. It's flat out wrong.

276a5e631b62f8e0793987c0496364bb
1644 · May 14, 2012 at 2:26 AM

"Calories in < calories out", "Eat less, exercise more", and all the rest are completely worthless pieces of advice pushed by people who still think "a calories is a calorie". Our bodies do not treat all calories equally to start with, and it's further confounded by overall macronutrient percentages, percentages at a particular meal, micronutrients, stress, freaking cold adaptation, and a million other things. Even with the point made that there are a huge number of variables in HOW our bodies process "calories", there's also the point of _why_ we're eating in the first place.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1
18671 · May 13, 2012 at 10:44 PM

I love that hyperlipid post, and it's a fascinating paper, too.

C56baa1b4f39839c018180bf63226f7d
3499 · May 10, 2012 at 9:56 PM

I love all the attention (read: downvotes) I'm getting from the LA LA LA LA I CAN'T HEAR YOU CALORIES THERMODYNAMICS RABBLE RABBLE people. Keep it up, kids; I already have the accepted answer. :)

4ec0fe4b4aab327f7efa2dfb06b032ff
5135 · May 10, 2012 at 2:29 PM

I think it's someplace in between. The point I was trying to make about Taubes is that in his book he points out that the foods we eat have physiological effects that causes our brains to sabotage our attempts to lose weight. It's a nasty feedback loop. Maybe you've never experienced this, Ben, but sometimes the brain tells you to do something and it's almost impossible to resist. It's like a heroin addict who consciously doesn't want to take the drug anymore, but is compelled beyond reason to do so. It goes far beyond simple self control.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc
15976 · May 10, 2012 at 1:50 PM

I would disagree, VB. while hormones and other physiological factors most definitely effect one's weight and health the basic Fundamental truth is that the amount of food one consumes ultimately controls how much energy is available to be turned into fat, bone, muscle etc. choosing to eat is purely a choice people make.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc
15976 · May 10, 2012 at 1:47 PM

I disagree with this answer. The default position for humans is lean and healthy. The exception is overweight. Thus the OP is correct in asking why people who otherwise would be lean and fit are overweight.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc
15976 · May 10, 2012 at 12:23 PM

K, food quality is very important! That's what I love about paleo! I think it's very important for overall health, the earth's health, etc. I'm only saying that weight gain and weight loss is directly controlled by the amount of calories consumed. You can maintain leanness and fitness by eating unorganic, CAFO meat and veg just as easily as you can by spending money on the best grassfed, biodynamic stuff. I do both, when my wallet allows;)

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc
15976 · May 10, 2012 at 12:21 PM

Sara, if they gain the weight back that only speaks to the choice they've made to either exercise less and/or eat more. The fact that they initially, even temporarily, lost the weight when they decided to more more MEANS IT WORKS. If they choose not to maintain it that's on them. That's fine, they can and should do what they want! But don't let one's choice to maintain a new lifestyle make you think that that lifestyle is not effective. Choice to make a change is not related to that choice's effectiveness.

7841848bd0c27c64353c583fb7971242
7275 · May 10, 2012 at 11:16 AM

From what I've seen, people who lose weight with loads of exercise just end up gaining it back and more. (Usually it happens that they get injured or have a stressful life event and can't exercise as much anymore, then the weight piles on.) Weight cycling in that manner is more stressful on the body than being slightly overweight, and it tends to lead to a net fat gain, so I wouldn't recommend it. To the people advocating weight loss through exercise only (or mainly) have you seen people maintain that weight loss in the long term?

4b5be253ac1981c690689cab7e4bf06d
3043 · May 09, 2012 at 2:51 PM

The phrases "obesity" and "Weight loss/lose weight" should be removed from the vocabulary of every doctor, public health official, and the media. In addition, we should subsidize healthy foods (pasture based meats and produce, mostly) and get rid of all subsidies on most commodities (corn and soy). If people had to pay the true price for their junk food, they may buy less of it.

Medium avatar
10234 · May 09, 2012 at 12:37 PM

This was in the days before formula and the popularity of breast feeding was low. I'm sure I was bottle fed. You're also going back before my memory. Given that my mom was from a dairy town, I'm sure I was on cow's milk as soon as I could digest it.

C56baa1b4f39839c018180bf63226f7d
3499 · May 09, 2012 at 12:28 PM

I wish I could take more credit, but my position is mostly inspired by a post and some comments at Peter Dobromylskyj's Hyperlipid blog. http://high-fat-nutrition.blogspot.com/2011/09/did-you-over-eat-yourself-in-to-obesity.html

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · May 09, 2012 at 9:05 AM

Ok, now I don't know what to think.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · May 09, 2012 at 9:03 AM

How many Phds do you have? I am impressed.

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f
8933 · May 09, 2012 at 7:34 AM

Taubes keeps it simple too... he just says its the insulin. I can't believe you keep sticking to the "too many calories"-thing? IMO, it's not so much about the quantity, it's much more about the quality.

C56baa1b4f39839c018180bf63226f7d
3499 · May 09, 2012 at 5:19 AM

Both mitochondrial dysfunction and KP seem to have at least one root each in Vitamin A regulating sulfur usage, KP via production of cysteine which comprises much of keratin, and mitochondria via the enzymes involved in the Krebs cycle (Succinate dehydrogenase is a possible candidate due to its sulfur and iron requirements, but more focus has been placed on NADH dehydrogenase and citrate synthesis). Without available citrate, fatty acids enter tissues and don't break down efficiently via beta oxidation; the buildup of this detritus may lead to muscular and hepatic insulin resistance.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · May 09, 2012 at 3:58 AM

No, obesity is NOT a self control issue. I know for sure. That is exactly MY POINT. It is not about being weak, it is totally physiological, not psychological.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · May 09, 2012 at 3:57 AM

Do you know how to change that?

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · May 09, 2012 at 3:54 AM

Interesting topic! Something bad means "imbalance" which means inflammation, etc. I think acne is NOT NATURAL, it was not known in hunters and gatherers and I think it can be treated. Food is a preventative measure, but it won't cure it if it already started.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · May 09, 2012 at 3:51 AM

I disagree. Central heating is all over the planet - In cold climates that's what they have. But it is only U.S. and Mexico that stand out in obesity epidemics. Norway is slim.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · May 09, 2012 at 3:50 AM

Good for you! Thanks for sharing! Getting fat at 6 months - were you breastfed or a formula baby? Sorry for asking for such details, but I just wanted to know.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · May 09, 2012 at 3:48 AM

One more question - and thank you for your answer because it does make a lot of sense - why U.S. and Mexico? Why not some other country?

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · May 09, 2012 at 3:47 AM

OMG - thank you for this. Very thoughtful and well-composed. Gave me a lot of food for thought.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · May 09, 2012 at 3:46 AM

Again, why U.S. and Mexico? Thanks for your answer!

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · May 09, 2012 at 3:46 AM

Thank you for your answer. Very true. But I think there is more. Why U.S. and Mexico?

1133603ea602c6824da56e8b596c9754
604 · May 09, 2012 at 2:57 AM

can you expand on the keratosis pilaris part? Or provide links to read more? My oldest daughter's arms and legs are covered in it and she is also on the chunky side regardless of me providing her with real food her whole life. When she was a toddler it was like she wasn't born with a satiety switch, but now she has thinned out some.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc
15976 · May 08, 2012 at 9:46 PM

Like what, K? What don't we know much about? What in between? You're just saying the same thing taubes does. He always makes says but why?? Like we are some automatons, merely at the beck and call of our hormones. Sure they play a roll, sure your mental health etc plays a roll - it all plays a roll! That was my whole point in my answer. All these things effect us but the reason people get obese is because they continually eat too much damn food. That is blatantly simple and obvious. Taubes dresses it up but it's still simple in the end.

5680f5060a62bb3790478473a5643afe
290 · May 08, 2012 at 9:40 PM

Early conditioning absolutely primes the brain in remembering and developing these socially-learned cues to 'know' when we are 'supposed' to eat versus just being and letting our own internal clocks dictate to us when it is time to sit down and mangia!

Medium avatar
10234 · May 08, 2012 at 7:22 PM

I used to travel a lot in Japan. Junk food was everywhere. The suite of soy products everyone eats today were developed there over centuries, along with the sticky nutrient-free rice used in sushi. I have a hunch that it's the addition of a lot of fat to this diet that would cause obesity if it's overeaten.

C56baa1b4f39839c018180bf63226f7d
3499 · May 08, 2012 at 7:19 PM

That would just be wild guessing on my part. Preventability vs. reversibility is also a concern.

Medium avatar
10234 · May 08, 2012 at 7:13 PM

I started getting fat at 6 months or earlier. Chubbiness was the gold standard for babies, and I never went off that program. And yes I followed a program of carb exchange counting. A diabetes diagnosis motivated me.

A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3
12702 · May 08, 2012 at 7:09 PM

Given what I know about what and how the Japanese eat, especially compared to many Americans, it doesn't surprise me their obesity rates are lower, even while ignoring other factors that likely help them as well.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · May 08, 2012 at 7:05 PM

How old were you when you started to gain weight? What were the reasons? I do not blame you - kids do not have control of what they eat, their parents do.

Medium avatar
10234 · May 08, 2012 at 7:04 PM

Not to mention who invented HFCS in the first place.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · May 08, 2012 at 7:04 PM

How did you do that? Did you follow some program?

Medium avatar
10234 · May 08, 2012 at 6:42 PM

Japan has had highly processed foods as long as there were highly processed foods. Wheat noodles galore, awful sugary drinks and candies abound. Why is there suddenly a problem is the question.

Medium avatar
10234 · May 08, 2012 at 6:37 PM

I think any high gycemic carb is a trigger for fat deposition, not just fructose. Salty starchy/fatty snacks for one example.

Medium avatar
10234 · May 08, 2012 at 6:34 PM

There are people that benefit from treating it but I don't think they intentionally planned the steady rise starting in the early 80's. Why did marketeers - always interested in selling us as much as we could possibly eat - find such success starting at that time? I'll argue social causes which broke down inhibitions to overeating.

11b7b7ba720a5cd43c74a0ef99a16adb
3450 · May 08, 2012 at 6:24 PM

What do you think enables them to maintain a healthy weight level despite eating junk? If you could learn that secret, then yea I guess you could eat like them. The solution is to focus on what they are doing right; not on what they are doing wrong (btw, thanks for reinforcing my point, although I suspect that isn't what you were trying to do).

A7768b6c6be7f5d6acc76e5efa66464c
6117 · May 08, 2012 at 6:01 PM

It's not only about quantity or self-control for everyone, that's certain. There are those with deranged metabolisms whose bodies try to store everything they eat as fat, instead of burning it off as energy. Because they're constantly low on energy, they are hungry, causing them to eat more food which gets stored as more fat instead of burned for energy, and so on. It's a vicious cycle. How did their metabolism become deranged? That's up for debate, but there is little doubt there are people who can eat modest amounts of food and grow very fat anyway--and the opposite.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4
20411 · May 08, 2012 at 5:51 PM

I know a family of very thin people eating typical SAD. They eat wheat, sugar, cook with canola, eat in restaurants, etc. They are pretty sedentary, except the mom, who runs. Should I eat like them?

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · May 08, 2012 at 5:27 PM

Diabetes is on the rise in Japan because the culture of processed food has reached that country as well.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · May 08, 2012 at 5:25 PM

Not sure why, but it sounds very plausible. I think in the future this hypotheses will be proven. Now, next question: why does the mitochondria dies and gets sick only in some people?

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f
8933 · May 08, 2012 at 4:04 PM

Completely agreed, Matt, but that doesn't really say anything. The big difference is that you use your anecdote to generalize something, I'm just using my anecdote to prove something wrong. Some people cure all their problems by cutting out gluten, but for me it was not that simple. In the end, it's just energy balance, but between energy in and energy out there is a lot of stuff we don't know that much about.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46
41544 · May 08, 2012 at 3:18 PM

Korion, weight gain/loss is just an energy balance game. Of course, it's not as simple as how much you eat and how much you burn, but in the end it's just energy balance. From first hand experience, frequent exercise does the trick for weight loss even without dietary modifications. I lost some 15% of my bodyweight a few years back just by exercising, on a diet of beer and fry shop food. And I more recently did it via solely diet. Both strategies can work.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4
20411 · May 08, 2012 at 2:51 PM

It's food reward, cuz Stevie G. sayz so! Duh!

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4
20411 · May 08, 2012 at 2:49 PM

Diabetes IS on the rise in Japan. Plus they eat more fish and less crap. In my mind eating at a Japanese or Korean restaurant is WAY healthier than Mexican or American (diner/fast food).

7cf9f5b08a41ecf2a2d2bc0b31ea6fa0
4181 · May 08, 2012 at 2:42 PM

Yes but saying acne is cause by something bad happening only alludes to its complexity, what exactly is this bad thing that is happening? If its simply inflammation then it still has various causes. Some people get acne in spite of diet whereas others cure there's that way, some people don't get acne regardless of what they eat. The same is true of obesity, trying to nail it down to one root cause is futile and possibly unhelpful

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · May 08, 2012 at 2:23 PM

I can tell you what causes acne - acne shows that there is something bad inside going on. I have figured this: acne on your forehead - liver, nose, cheeks - intestines, chin - hormonal imbalance.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · May 08, 2012 at 2:19 PM

Korion - you cannot not eat sugar, Belgian chocolate is ... to die for!

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · May 08, 2012 at 2:17 PM

Then why USA and Mexico, not Japan and South Korea?

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1
18671 · May 08, 2012 at 2:04 PM

Exactly. There are many factors that need to be in place before obesity happens.

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f
8933 · May 08, 2012 at 1:36 PM

*"In doing that you're dismissing all the formerly fat people who realized the error of their ways and went ahead and instituted changes, became MORE ATHLETIC"* that has nothing to do with that quote, Gary Taubes just tried to show that exercise is not the solution for obesity, and that cardio likely just makes it worse. The *formerly fat people* you're talking about probably didn't get more athletic by exercising more, but by eating better.

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f
8933 · May 08, 2012 at 1:36 PM

If they believe exercise is the only route, they will go that way, whether it's hard or not, because it's the *only* route. Lots of girls stop eating, but most boys exercise because they want to remain muscular. There are so many people in my street running daily, I think your view on people is slightly negative. When trying to lose weight I spent days running a couple of miles every hour in the snow, also at night. A lot of people do their best, they just don't have enough knowledge to really achieve something. *"less calories and more exercise"* is too simple.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc
15976 · May 08, 2012 at 12:55 PM

If you believe that Taubes quote regarding Armstrong you're not seeing the whole picture. In doing that you're dismissing all the formerly fat people who realized the error of their ways and went ahead and instituted changes, became MORE ATHLETIC (not athletes per se, who cares!) , and lost weight and live healthier. The choices are simple, making them is difficult.

E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c
12847 · May 08, 2012 at 12:54 PM

http://co2factor.blogspot.com/2012/04/benefits-of-fructose.html

E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c
12847 · May 08, 2012 at 12:54 PM

Also fructose is an antioxidant http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0008621509002456

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc
15976 · May 08, 2012 at 12:53 PM

Korion, no they wouldn't. No way. People will and DO always take the easiest route; the path of least resistance. So do animals. They DO NOT walk to mcDs. They take the car. They don't move, they eat bad food. It is simple. Why make the more difficult choice? Of course people will do the easiest, seemingly tastiest choice. Done.

E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c
12847 · May 08, 2012 at 12:52 PM

According to at least one study commercial drinks that contain HFCS have 4-5X the calories of listed values. This is because HFCS contains long chain starches they don't count in the calories.

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f
8933 · May 08, 2012 at 12:51 PM

*"Don't overthink this shit."* Dude, have you ever been fat? You sould like those thin nutrition coaches that tell everyone to eat like they do, yet they've never been fat themselves. Like Gary Taubes says, "Lance Armstrong isn't thin because he's an athlete, he's an athlete because he's thin".

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f
8933 · May 08, 2012 at 12:50 PM

Matt - I'm not claiming I'm a unique snowflake - not at all. I just have NO idea why you guys just keep saying *"oh it's just too little exercise and too many calories!"*, because if it were that simple people would just eat less crap and not take the taxi to the McDonalds, and everything would be goddamn easy. It's not 3000kcal of pure fat anymore btw, now its 5000kcal with probably 20% from fat.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc
15976 · May 08, 2012 at 12:49 PM

people need to stop trying to reinvent the wheel: dietarily the JimmyMoores are looking under rocks for the "secrets" of weight gain; training-wise people are doing crossfit trying to figure out a "new" way of getting strong; the list goes on. Back to basic, people! Read Colpo for nutrition basics, Wendler for strength basics, etc. Don't overthink this shit.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc
15976 · May 08, 2012 at 12:45 PM

absolutely, Matt. Things have dropped to such a dire, low point that these basic facts, such simple truths, are questioned as people don't want to just own up and say "yeah we're making dumb choices which have consequences..." It's hard for me not to be ashamed when I look at the zombies all around us. Give up on preaching, just live the example. Be strong, quick, loving, smiling and just handle your business.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46
41544 · May 08, 2012 at 12:22 PM

+1 for the simple correct answer. Of course, people will claim they're unique snowflakes that get fat on 1500 calories of bread and lose weight on 3000+ calories of pure fat...

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46
41544 · May 08, 2012 at 12:20 PM

Nonsense. Correlation does not equal causation. Show me a valid biochemical theory as to why any single GMO food might cause weight gain.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc
15976 · May 08, 2012 at 12:17 PM

I agree with the sedentary lifestyle bit all the way. not moving and eating shit will make you fat and slow.

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f
8933 · May 08, 2012 at 11:02 AM

People tend to point fingers at certain types of food we DO eat, but forget about the things we should, but DON'T eat.

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f
8933 · May 08, 2012 at 10:49 AM

*Obesity is caused by a sedentary lifestyle, combined with high-GL foods and a genetic predisposition towards gaining weight easily.* So how come I'm still not fat :D? I eat tons of pure sugar, home-made candy, milk and sit in a chair 90% of the day due to finals. On a sidenote : genes is not the answer, I got fat on a bread diet with 1500kcal daily.

5b5abb28f3cacf4f5a01497f2895d072
238 · May 08, 2012 at 7:53 AM

Being sedentary is a big cause. It's also the breaking down of the idea that being obese is socially unacceptable.

06cf0b860450445b9d399fcc1b2a053a
531 · May 08, 2012 at 7:52 AM

The fact that there are examples of people who don't get fat eating a kind of food doesn't mean that isn't the cause of obesity in those who do get fat. There is a genetic component.

06cf0b860450445b9d399fcc1b2a053a
531 · May 08, 2012 at 7:33 AM

Gary Taubes would say it's a combination of 1) a diet including sugar and other carbs and 2) a genetic vulnerability to getting fat. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/17/magazine/mag-17Sugar-t.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all

76026e8ef496039d5075440ff731aa0d
5356 · May 08, 2012 at 7:04 AM

You're looking for those foods that stop or greatly hinder the message from the stomach to the brain that says "I'm full"? You might want to look at/ into foods and the blood brain barrier and which of those foods stop the brain from telling the stomach that it's time to stop. Truth.

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab
5043 · May 08, 2012 at 6:47 AM

oops, that should be bounty

E2b72f1912f777917d8ee6b7fba43c26
2379 · May 08, 2012 at 6:46 AM

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2917125/

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab
5043 · May 08, 2012 at 6:46 AM

Well, now, there's the million dollar question. You should put a bount on it!

06cf0b860450445b9d399fcc1b2a053a
531 · May 08, 2012 at 6:46 AM

http://amzn.to/IzMM2Z

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · May 08, 2012 at 6:27 AM

But WHAT causes us to eat too much? I know it is physiological, I have developed binge eating and it was very very hard to beat. My friend is still suffering with binge eating now.

Medium avatar
10653 · May 08, 2012 at 6:15 AM

Regarding the Samoans, their large build is due to environmental as well as genetic factors. They had to eat a lot in case of a famine (living on an island) so natural selection acted on the bigger individuals that could survive. You also mentioned taro, which has a lot of calcium that could explain why they're big-boned. And it doesn't help that they're becoming much more Westernized and being introduced to SAD foods.

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194
11557 · May 08, 2012 at 6:01 AM

Taking a mulch-faceted issue and trying to boil it down to a single cause is an exercise in futility.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · May 08, 2012 at 5:41 AM

Many Korean girls do not exercise and they are... thin as sticks.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · May 08, 2012 at 5:38 AM

Dates have a Gl of 103 and all those beduin tribes live on dates. It is a staple food in many Arab countries. Georgians (south of Russia) live on flat bread made out of wheat. They are as thin as sticks even when they are 110.

80890193d74240cab6dda920665bfb6c
1528 · May 08, 2012 at 5:20 AM

An inflammatory brain disorder for most & mitochondrial malfunction for some are beginning to work for me as explanations. . .

  • Total Views
    2.1K
  • Recent Activity
    7d64d3988de1b0e493aacf37843c5596
  • Last Activity
    73D AGO
  • Followers
    0

Get Free Paleo Recipes Instantly

17 Answers

best answer

C56baa1b4f39839c018180bf63226f7d
4
3499 · May 08, 2012 at 4:30 PM

I would posit that, for most obese people, the underlying problem is diseased and dead mitochondria due to a combination of poor nutrition and a diet that raises inflammatory markers. If the TCA cycle is damaged or cannot run optimally, the fatty acids that make up the energy currency of the body cannot be metabolized, thus promoting storage in adipose tissue. This then explains (at least at bird's eye view) why people who are obese tend to stay the same weight over long periods, since that amount of fatty tissue is what is necessary to get the leptin/adinopectin/resistin/whatever hormone levels up to the point where the remaining mitos are producing just enough energy to run the body.

The only evidence I have for this, really, is the high incidence of keratosis pilaris in obese people, and the findings of dead blobs of tissue that used to be mitochondria in the cells of T2DM patients. But it's so far a better fit for the data than anything else I have seen.

C56baa1b4f39839c018180bf63226f7d
3499 · May 08, 2012 at 7:19 PM

That would just be wild guessing on my part. Preventability vs. reversibility is also a concern.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · May 08, 2012 at 5:25 PM

Not sure why, but it sounds very plausible. I think in the future this hypotheses will be proven. Now, next question: why does the mitochondria dies and gets sick only in some people?

C56baa1b4f39839c018180bf63226f7d
3499 · May 09, 2012 at 5:19 AM

Both mitochondrial dysfunction and KP seem to have at least one root each in Vitamin A regulating sulfur usage, KP via production of cysteine which comprises much of keratin, and mitochondria via the enzymes involved in the Krebs cycle (Succinate dehydrogenase is a possible candidate due to its sulfur and iron requirements, but more focus has been placed on NADH dehydrogenase and citrate synthesis). Without available citrate, fatty acids enter tissues and don't break down efficiently via beta oxidation; the buildup of this detritus may lead to muscular and hepatic insulin resistance.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · May 09, 2012 at 9:03 AM

How many Phds do you have? I am impressed.

C56baa1b4f39839c018180bf63226f7d
3499 · May 09, 2012 at 12:28 PM

I wish I could take more credit, but my position is mostly inspired by a post and some comments at Peter Dobromylskyj's Hyperlipid blog. http://high-fat-nutrition.blogspot.com/2011/09/did-you-over-eat-yourself-in-to-obesity.html

1133603ea602c6824da56e8b596c9754
604 · May 09, 2012 at 2:57 AM

can you expand on the keratosis pilaris part? Or provide links to read more? My oldest daughter's arms and legs are covered in it and she is also on the chunky side regardless of me providing her with real food her whole life. When she was a toddler it was like she wasn't born with a satiety switch, but now she has thinned out some.

C56baa1b4f39839c018180bf63226f7d
3499 · May 10, 2012 at 9:56 PM

I love all the attention (read: downvotes) I'm getting from the LA LA LA LA I CAN'T HEAR YOU CALORIES THERMODYNAMICS RABBLE RABBLE people. Keep it up, kids; I already have the accepted answer. :)

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1
18671 · May 13, 2012 at 10:44 PM

I love that hyperlipid post, and it's a fascinating paper, too.

A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3
16
12702 · May 08, 2012 at 6:03 AM

Singling out individual foods or components of food like grains and sugar as the sole cause of obesity only proves these foods are not the sole cause of obesity. The root cause of obesity is multifactorial and those foods may contribute to the pathology of excess weight gain, especially when combined, refined, fried in seed oil and given artificial flavor and MSG for taste.

The cause of obesity is surely a complicated question for which there are lot of contributing answers.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4
20411 · May 08, 2012 at 2:49 PM

Diabetes IS on the rise in Japan. Plus they eat more fish and less crap. In my mind eating at a Japanese or Korean restaurant is WAY healthier than Mexican or American (diner/fast food).

Medium avatar
10234 · May 08, 2012 at 6:42 PM

Japan has had highly processed foods as long as there were highly processed foods. Wheat noodles galore, awful sugary drinks and candies abound. Why is there suddenly a problem is the question.

Medium avatar
10234 · May 08, 2012 at 7:22 PM

I used to travel a lot in Japan. Junk food was everywhere. The suite of soy products everyone eats today were developed there over centuries, along with the sticky nutrient-free rice used in sushi. I have a hunch that it's the addition of a lot of fat to this diet that would cause obesity if it's overeaten.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1
18671 · May 08, 2012 at 2:04 PM

Exactly. There are many factors that need to be in place before obesity happens.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · May 08, 2012 at 5:27 PM

Diabetes is on the rise in Japan because the culture of processed food has reached that country as well.

Medium avatar
10234 · May 08, 2012 at 7:04 PM

Not to mention who invented HFCS in the first place.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · May 08, 2012 at 2:17 PM

Then why USA and Mexico, not Japan and South Korea?

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · May 09, 2012 at 9:05 AM

Ok, now I don't know what to think.

A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3
12702 · May 08, 2012 at 7:09 PM

Given what I know about what and how the Japanese eat, especially compared to many Americans, it doesn't surprise me their obesity rates are lower, even while ignoring other factors that likely help them as well.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc
11
15976 · May 08, 2012 at 12:15 PM

What causes obesity? The answer is very straight forward, despite what overthinkers and Taubes-ites might say - eating too much of anything causes weight gain. Continuing to do that much of the time causes obesity.

Why do people eat too much food generally, and why so much food of poor quality specifically? The list of reasons is huge!

  • There's too many low-quality, cheap calories available
  • So many people around the globe have been cut off from more traditional ways of eating/living and so are at a loss for guidance as to how to live
  • Cheap, shitty food tastes good (mcD's etc tastes decent if you don't know any better)
  • food is politicized so people think eating well, caring about food, talking about food quality, etc are lefty, liberal things.
  • Good quality food costs too much money so people buy cheap shit
  • People don't have time so eat fast food crap.
  • people don't have time so they eat too quickly, not focusing on food and the sharing quality of the meal. this leads to just stuffing your face and you consume more cals than you think
  • caloric liquid is too widely available: juice, alcohol, energy drinks, frappucino shit
  • many people don't do anything physical, ever. people don't even walk. It's a shame.
  • blah blah.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc
15976 · May 08, 2012 at 12:55 PM

If you believe that Taubes quote regarding Armstrong you're not seeing the whole picture. In doing that you're dismissing all the formerly fat people who realized the error of their ways and went ahead and instituted changes, became MORE ATHLETIC (not athletes per se, who cares!) , and lost weight and live healthier. The choices are simple, making them is difficult.

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f
8933 · May 08, 2012 at 12:51 PM

*"Don't overthink this shit."* Dude, have you ever been fat? You sould like those thin nutrition coaches that tell everyone to eat like they do, yet they've never been fat themselves. Like Gary Taubes says, "Lance Armstrong isn't thin because he's an athlete, he's an athlete because he's thin".

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc
15976 · May 08, 2012 at 12:49 PM

people need to stop trying to reinvent the wheel: dietarily the JimmyMoores are looking under rocks for the "secrets" of weight gain; training-wise people are doing crossfit trying to figure out a "new" way of getting strong; the list goes on. Back to basic, people! Read Colpo for nutrition basics, Wendler for strength basics, etc. Don't overthink this shit.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46
41544 · May 08, 2012 at 3:18 PM

Korion, weight gain/loss is just an energy balance game. Of course, it's not as simple as how much you eat and how much you burn, but in the end it's just energy balance. From first hand experience, frequent exercise does the trick for weight loss even without dietary modifications. I lost some 15% of my bodyweight a few years back just by exercising, on a diet of beer and fry shop food. And I more recently did it via solely diet. Both strategies can work.

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f
8933 · May 08, 2012 at 1:36 PM

*"In doing that you're dismissing all the formerly fat people who realized the error of their ways and went ahead and instituted changes, became MORE ATHLETIC"* that has nothing to do with that quote, Gary Taubes just tried to show that exercise is not the solution for obesity, and that cardio likely just makes it worse. The *formerly fat people* you're talking about probably didn't get more athletic by exercising more, but by eating better.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc
15976 · May 08, 2012 at 12:45 PM

absolutely, Matt. Things have dropped to such a dire, low point that these basic facts, such simple truths, are questioned as people don't want to just own up and say "yeah we're making dumb choices which have consequences..." It's hard for me not to be ashamed when I look at the zombies all around us. Give up on preaching, just live the example. Be strong, quick, loving, smiling and just handle your business.

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f
8933 · May 08, 2012 at 4:04 PM

Completely agreed, Matt, but that doesn't really say anything. The big difference is that you use your anecdote to generalize something, I'm just using my anecdote to prove something wrong. Some people cure all their problems by cutting out gluten, but for me it was not that simple. In the end, it's just energy balance, but between energy in and energy out there is a lot of stuff we don't know that much about.

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f
8933 · May 08, 2012 at 12:50 PM

Matt - I'm not claiming I'm a unique snowflake - not at all. I just have NO idea why you guys just keep saying *"oh it's just too little exercise and too many calories!"*, because if it were that simple people would just eat less crap and not take the taxi to the McDonalds, and everything would be goddamn easy. It's not 3000kcal of pure fat anymore btw, now its 5000kcal with probably 20% from fat.

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f
8933 · May 08, 2012 at 1:36 PM

If they believe exercise is the only route, they will go that way, whether it's hard or not, because it's the *only* route. Lots of girls stop eating, but most boys exercise because they want to remain muscular. There are so many people in my street running daily, I think your view on people is slightly negative. When trying to lose weight I spent days running a couple of miles every hour in the snow, also at night. A lot of people do their best, they just don't have enough knowledge to really achieve something. *"less calories and more exercise"* is too simple.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46
41544 · May 08, 2012 at 12:22 PM

+1 for the simple correct answer. Of course, people will claim they're unique snowflakes that get fat on 1500 calories of bread and lose weight on 3000+ calories of pure fat...

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc
15976 · May 08, 2012 at 12:53 PM

Korion, no they wouldn't. No way. People will and DO always take the easiest route; the path of least resistance. So do animals. They DO NOT walk to mcDs. They take the car. They don't move, they eat bad food. It is simple. Why make the more difficult choice? Of course people will do the easiest, seemingly tastiest choice. Done.

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f
8933 · May 09, 2012 at 7:34 AM

Taubes keeps it simple too... he just says its the insulin. I can't believe you keep sticking to the "too many calories"-thing? IMO, it's not so much about the quantity, it's much more about the quality.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc
15976 · May 10, 2012 at 12:21 PM

Sara, if they gain the weight back that only speaks to the choice they've made to either exercise less and/or eat more. The fact that they initially, even temporarily, lost the weight when they decided to more more MEANS IT WORKS. If they choose not to maintain it that's on them. That's fine, they can and should do what they want! But don't let one's choice to maintain a new lifestyle make you think that that lifestyle is not effective. Choice to make a change is not related to that choice's effectiveness.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc
15976 · May 08, 2012 at 9:46 PM

Like what, K? What don't we know much about? What in between? You're just saying the same thing taubes does. He always makes says but why?? Like we are some automatons, merely at the beck and call of our hormones. Sure they play a roll, sure your mental health etc plays a roll - it all plays a roll! That was my whole point in my answer. All these things effect us but the reason people get obese is because they continually eat too much damn food. That is blatantly simple and obvious. Taubes dresses it up but it's still simple in the end.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc
15976 · May 10, 2012 at 12:23 PM

K, food quality is very important! That's what I love about paleo! I think it's very important for overall health, the earth's health, etc. I'm only saying that weight gain and weight loss is directly controlled by the amount of calories consumed. You can maintain leanness and fitness by eating unorganic, CAFO meat and veg just as easily as you can by spending money on the best grassfed, biodynamic stuff. I do both, when my wallet allows;)

7841848bd0c27c64353c583fb7971242
7275 · May 10, 2012 at 11:16 AM

From what I've seen, people who lose weight with loads of exercise just end up gaining it back and more. (Usually it happens that they get injured or have a stressful life event and can't exercise as much anymore, then the weight piles on.) Weight cycling in that manner is more stressful on the body than being slightly overweight, and it tends to lead to a net fat gain, so I wouldn't recommend it. To the people advocating weight loss through exercise only (or mainly) have you seen people maintain that weight loss in the long term?

276a5e631b62f8e0793987c0496364bb
1644 · May 14, 2012 at 2:29 AM

Addictions, hyperpalatability, hormones, and every other single thing that we do in our lives alters how our bodies utilize food energy and what we decide to provide it with for food energy. So don't even try to pull out that tired old line about calories consumed being the ultimate deciding factor. It's flat out wrong.

276a5e631b62f8e0793987c0496364bb
1644 · May 14, 2012 at 3:54 PM

For clarification: My point is that while energy balance is a very important factor (but by no means the only one), calories are a very poor estimator of what our bodies do with food energy.

276a5e631b62f8e0793987c0496364bb
1644 · May 14, 2012 at 2:26 AM

"Calories in < calories out", "Eat less, exercise more", and all the rest are completely worthless pieces of advice pushed by people who still think "a calories is a calorie". Our bodies do not treat all calories equally to start with, and it's further confounded by overall macronutrient percentages, percentages at a particular meal, micronutrients, stress, freaking cold adaptation, and a million other things. Even with the point made that there are a huge number of variables in HOW our bodies process "calories", there's also the point of _why_ we're eating in the first place.

7d64d3988de1b0e493aacf37843c5596
6
2861 · May 08, 2012 at 1:27 PM

I think Food Reward and convenience play an important role - all the cheap, convenient foods that one will eat even when they are not really that hungry or continue to eat past what is needed to satisfy hunger.

I think the modern snacking mentality also makes this worse. Daycares, schools, and after-school programs insist that kids need several snacks a day. It is always cheap convenient crap they know the kids will eat even if they aren???t really hungry.

5680f5060a62bb3790478473a5643afe
290 · May 08, 2012 at 9:40 PM

Early conditioning absolutely primes the brain in remembering and developing these socially-learned cues to 'know' when we are 'supposed' to eat versus just being and letting our own internal clocks dictate to us when it is time to sit down and mangia!

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1
4
18671 · May 08, 2012 at 2:14 PM

The rejection of the proposed answers is misleading, not only because obesity is multifactorial, as Mscott answered, but because it usually takes a long time for obesity to develop. Populations that move to a Western society often do not start to show signs of the diseases of civilization for a decade.

So just because so-and-so has eaten such-and-such all his life, and is still slim at 25, doesn't mean s/he's not going start "unexpectedly" gaining weight at 30. This happens all the time.

And don't forget genetics and epigenetics as extremely important factors.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · May 09, 2012 at 3:46 AM

Again, why U.S. and Mexico? Thanks for your answer!

07c86972a3bea0b0dc17752e9d2f5642
4
3162 · May 08, 2012 at 12:38 PM

I think malnutrition is the biggest reason caused by:

poor food quality (cheap calories devoid of nutrition: cereal, bread, etc.). People starving for nutrition stuff their faces with this stuff and just store up the empty calories while they remain hungry.

digestive problems, allergies, celiac disease etc.

the rise of and media bias of vegetarianism and likewise, the idea that animal products are unhealthy, the increase consumption of lean meats, low fat dairy, etc.

The fact the fast food is the most wholesome food many American's eat on a regular basis (animal products) and as such is very satisfying and rewarding, is also hyper caloric and inflammatory.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · May 09, 2012 at 3:46 AM

Thank you for your answer. Very true. But I think there is more. Why U.S. and Mexico?

A7768b6c6be7f5d6acc76e5efa66464c
4
6117 · May 08, 2012 at 11:46 AM

I guess I would rephrase the question this way: who causes obesity--and why? Who would most benefit from a population that is fat, sickly, out of condition and/or with heart disease, diabetes, and utterly dependent on drugs for its survival?

Could there be some people who stand to benefit from such a state of affairs? We could follow the money, and make a list--I bet it wouldn't take long to see some significant associations. As in any observational study, association may not equal causation. But it sure might imply it--and suggest the need for further research.

EDIT: The comment from "thhq" caused me to reflect further, and I decided instead of being coy I'd edit my response to explicitly reflect what I was implying.

It's way too long--DO NOT READ!!!!


Exactly What Causes Obesity: A half-baked, sophomoric manifesto I probably should have written when...well, when I was a sophomore. In high school.

The shift of over-eating and overweight from deviant to normal is a sociological problem. A nation full of skinny people did not one day decide, "It's now okay to eat too much and get fat, after all we won the war!"

The normalizing of over-eating and overweight occurred as more people became over-eaters and overweight--just the same way every other human behavior is normalized. The problems leading to our obesity situation were well underway by the time it stopped being okay to make fun of fat people.

And still these things aren't fully normalized. No one wants to be on camera, shoveling in two Big Macs, large fries, and a super-sized coke. Like our recreational drug use, we do a lot of our gluttonous food consumption behind closed doors. No one ever sees how much we eat--or what we eat. They just see more and more of us getting bigger and bigger, and that makes it more normal.

No one thing causes obesity. And no one thing turns individual obesity into a system-wide situation affecting half the population. The obesity problem is the natural result of a vicious cycle that, while perhaps not implemented purposely in the beginning, is now fueled--perhaps purposefully--by money.

For example:

  • The USDA ignores science (going all the way back to the 60's) and continues to recommend an unhealthful diet composed of foods directly refined from the products of federal farm subsidies (our taxes). And we all know what kind of "food" is made from these products. One can hardly use these products as recommended and not become obese. These foods are like automobiles and guns: they are among the few products that, when used for their intended purposes, kill people (in predictable numbers, year by year).

  • The government adopts new actuarial tables that suddenly categorize many more Americans as "obese," people who were once just "overweight." With their new diagnosis, these people are eligible for new, and more, medical interventions, especially drugs. Statins are prescribed for people who have no signs of CVD. Statins are prescribed for women over the age of 60--a group for which there is no evidence they help, and good evidence they harm. All of this gets the medical/pharmaceutical industry a sweet piece of the action, and you better believe they use it to lobby congress for more. I don't know if the pharmaceutical industry lobbied congress on those actuarial tables or not, but would it surprise you if it did?

  • Just an annoyingly lefty, half-baked theory here from me: I speculate that a population that is fat and sick with diabetes, heart disease, and cancer will tend to discharge its civic duties at diminishing rates. As we become obsessed with our illnesses (while continuing our consumption), bed ridden and bedraggled by an interminable medley of maladies, we will withdraw from public participation and become more and more attached to our technology, which will mollify our suffering. We, the electorate, whipped for so long by artificially low food and energy costs, will allow politicians the luxury of ignoring us, so long as things stay the same. Corporations (and unions, if any are left, but who am I kidding?) will be in charge. Making people stupid and sick, and persuading them to participate in their own subjugation, is a good first step for implementing control. This technique (hegemony) has been pondered endlessly in fiction, and demonstrated in real life countless times in the world's history of colonialism--long before technology, mega-corporations, and huge world markets were part of the picture.

  • Now add to all that crap all the many, myriad factors I can't even remember to include in my argument, and then start thinking about feedback loops and vicious cycles. Probability and inevitability.

It seems to me obesity (and all its associated problems) is about the only possible outcome to this system.

To stop obesity, this system must be interrupted somewhere. I am very cynical, so I predict the interruption will come only in the form of the dynamic duo of 1) skyrocketing energy costs, and 2) global climate change. I'm not sure which will happen fastest, or if they will dance slowly together for awhile, acting as force multipliers upon each other, but they are on the way sooner or later. The later they arrive, the fatter and sicker we'll all be. So that's the downside to putting it off. But a faster arrival means horror for all of us. So basically we're screwed either way.

However, we're not necessarily screwed forever. Barring catastrophic depopulation, we'll adapt, perhaps:

  • Once it's cheaper to grow food locally than to pump it full of fertilizer, pesticide, and ship it across the oceans, that's what we'll start doing. We'll be ripping out Big Box Store parking lots and turning them into fields of sweet potatoes.

  • We'll sell all our food at local farmer's markets that will dot the landscape the way liquor stores and pharmacies do today, because it's cheaper and easier to sell your food to the people who live within a few blocks of the farm.

  • When we can't afford gas for our cars (or coal for our electric cars), we'll live closer to where we work (perhaps on that farm), and bike and walk more.

  • When we can't afford heating fuel, we'll shiver more, and start living in smaller, denser communities with more people.

And we'll finally get skinny again because there just won't be enough of anything to get fat.

I can't decide whether this is dystopia or eutopia. Probably dystopia, on account of the roving bands of cannibals and people stealing your shoes in the winter and guns and zombies. But who knows.


So, that's what I think is the cause of obesity.

Medium avatar
10234 · May 08, 2012 at 6:34 PM

There are people that benefit from treating it but I don't think they intentionally planned the steady rise starting in the early 80's. Why did marketeers - always interested in selling us as much as we could possibly eat - find such success starting at that time? I'll argue social causes which broke down inhibitions to overeating.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · May 09, 2012 at 3:47 AM

OMG - thank you for this. Very thoughtful and well-composed. Gave me a lot of food for thought.

11b7b7ba720a5cd43c74a0ef99a16adb
3
3450 · May 08, 2012 at 4:34 PM

This question is backwards. Instead of asking what causes obesity, maybe we should ask:

What causes a person to maintain a healthy weight level?

Focusing on what causes obesity only results in a list of things you should not do. It tells you nothing about what you should do.

Isn't that the bottom line with paleo--figuring out what you should do?

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4
20411 · May 08, 2012 at 5:51 PM

I know a family of very thin people eating typical SAD. They eat wheat, sugar, cook with canola, eat in restaurants, etc. They are pretty sedentary, except the mom, who runs. Should I eat like them?

11b7b7ba720a5cd43c74a0ef99a16adb
3450 · May 08, 2012 at 6:24 PM

What do you think enables them to maintain a healthy weight level despite eating junk? If you could learn that secret, then yea I guess you could eat like them. The solution is to focus on what they are doing right; not on what they are doing wrong (btw, thanks for reinforcing my point, although I suspect that isn't what you were trying to do).

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc
15976 · May 10, 2012 at 1:47 PM

I disagree with this answer. The default position for humans is lean and healthy. The exception is overweight. Thus the OP is correct in asking why people who otherwise would be lean and fit are overweight.

4ec0fe4b4aab327f7efa2dfb06b032ff
3
5135 · May 08, 2012 at 3:17 PM

In my opinion, if you want to boil it down to one simplistic answer, it is the dominance of processed, industrially produced foods in most people's diets. They embody and contain most of the bad qualities that everyone else has mentioned. Not to mention that they are developed by researchers whose goal is to make people eat more than they should. What chance does a person who is genetically predisposed to overeating have against that? To paraphrase Marla Daniels (The Wire), the only way to not lose is to not play the game.

I don't particularly think Taubes has the whole story (or even a significant part of it) with his insulin hypothesis, but his books are extremely important in getting people to think about why something happens, not just how it happens. You can say all you want that obesity is a self control issue, but that's just moralizing about something that's actually biological. Why are so many people unable to control themselves? That's a much more interesting question with an answer that has nothing to do with "They're lazy" or "They're just weak people".

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · May 09, 2012 at 3:58 AM

No, obesity is NOT a self control issue. I know for sure. That is exactly MY POINT. It is not about being weak, it is totally physiological, not psychological.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc
15976 · May 10, 2012 at 1:50 PM

I would disagree, VB. while hormones and other physiological factors most definitely effect one's weight and health the basic Fundamental truth is that the amount of food one consumes ultimately controls how much energy is available to be turned into fat, bone, muscle etc. choosing to eat is purely a choice people make.

4ec0fe4b4aab327f7efa2dfb06b032ff
5135 · May 10, 2012 at 2:29 PM

I think it's someplace in between. The point I was trying to make about Taubes is that in his book he points out that the foods we eat have physiological effects that causes our brains to sabotage our attempts to lose weight. It's a nasty feedback loop. Maybe you've never experienced this, Ben, but sometimes the brain tells you to do something and it's almost impossible to resist. It's like a heroin addict who consciously doesn't want to take the drug anymore, but is compelled beyond reason to do so. It goes far beyond simple self control.

4b5be253ac1981c690689cab7e4bf06d
3
3043 · May 08, 2012 at 2:22 PM

Its a combination of how processed food affects the body, and how we have demonized and shamed fat in this society. The earlier one goes "on a diet" to lose weight, the larger they will be when they grow up. Women who restricted calories during pregnancy have larger children.

There are almost ZERO fat people who have never been on a diet. It is one of those chicken and egg things, once you think you are even the slightest bit fat, you begin to restrict calories (and usually fat), and you may "lose weight," but you damage your metabolism in the process, and typically gain back more than you lost.

The entire argument over "obesity" is what is causing the issue. We have completely disregarded "health" as the end point goal. Developing better habits that lead to a modest (6 pound) weight loss creates an entirely more healthy person than a person who restricts calories, does chronic cardio, and loses a lot of weight without changing a lot of their health habits.

As seen in almost all "health based diets," removal of processed foods, excess carbohydrates and grains, sugars, and increasing the quality of ones food leads to healthier habits, regardless of weight loss. Which is why people feel better doing Paleo/Primal/Vegan etc.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · May 09, 2012 at 3:57 AM

Do you know how to change that?

4b5be253ac1981c690689cab7e4bf06d
3043 · May 09, 2012 at 2:51 PM

The phrases "obesity" and "Weight loss/lose weight" should be removed from the vocabulary of every doctor, public health official, and the media. In addition, we should subsidize healthy foods (pasture based meats and produce, mostly) and get rid of all subsidies on most commodities (corn and soy). If people had to pay the true price for their junk food, they may buy less of it.

E2b72f1912f777917d8ee6b7fba43c26
2
2379 · May 08, 2012 at 6:52 AM

Something points to an evolutionary pathway, which promotes fat storage after fructose intake AND oxidative stress.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2917125/

This is why HFCS is such a potent thickener, it launches no antioxidant response at all. Honey on the other hand has fructose in it, but fails to show significant weight gain in several studies.

Since the western diet is both, high in fructose and low in triggers for an antioxidant response, this might be a good reason for obesity.

Very intriguing in this context: http://gettingstronger.org/2011/03/the-case-against-antioxidants/

Medium avatar
10234 · May 08, 2012 at 6:37 PM

I think any high gycemic carb is a trigger for fat deposition, not just fructose. Salty starchy/fatty snacks for one example.

E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c
12847 · May 08, 2012 at 12:54 PM

http://co2factor.blogspot.com/2012/04/benefits-of-fructose.html

E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c
12847 · May 08, 2012 at 12:54 PM

Also fructose is an antioxidant http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0008621509002456

E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c
12847 · May 08, 2012 at 12:52 PM

According to at least one study commercial drinks that contain HFCS have 4-5X the calories of listed values. This is because HFCS contains long chain starches they don't count in the calories.

3327924660b1e2f8f8fc4ca27fedf2b2
2
2904 · May 08, 2012 at 5:09 AM

Rice and wheat are two different grains. Not to mention, the Asian diet is generally a zillion times healthier than a SAD diet, so they can afford to have one or two vice foods like rice.

Obesity is caused by a sedentary lifestyle, combined with high-GL foods and a genetic predisposition towards gaining weight easily.

5b5abb28f3cacf4f5a01497f2895d072
238 · May 08, 2012 at 7:53 AM

Being sedentary is a big cause. It's also the breaking down of the idea that being obese is socially unacceptable.

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f
8933 · May 08, 2012 at 10:49 AM

*Obesity is caused by a sedentary lifestyle, combined with high-GL foods and a genetic predisposition towards gaining weight easily.* So how come I'm still not fat :D? I eat tons of pure sugar, home-made candy, milk and sit in a chair 90% of the day due to finals. On a sidenote : genes is not the answer, I got fat on a bread diet with 1500kcal daily.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · May 08, 2012 at 5:38 AM

Dates have a Gl of 103 and all those beduin tribes live on dates. It is a staple food in many Arab countries. Georgians (south of Russia) live on flat bread made out of wheat. They are as thin as sticks even when they are 110.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc
15976 · May 08, 2012 at 12:17 PM

I agree with the sedentary lifestyle bit all the way. not moving and eating shit will make you fat and slow.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · May 08, 2012 at 5:41 AM

Many Korean girls do not exercise and they are... thin as sticks.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · May 08, 2012 at 2:19 PM

Korion - you cannot not eat sugar, Belgian chocolate is ... to die for!

Afc0b8e755ac7cdde6b517fdadb50026
1
778 · July 12, 2012 at 4:50 PM

american style eating is spreading the world over. look at kuwait or qatar. rich, fatness, and american style eating.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094
1
78422 · May 08, 2012 at 11:55 PM

The cause of the obesity epidemic is modern lighting and central heat.

Let me explain, humans once had ample brown fat (BAT). BAT, through melatonin stimulation, creates heat from free fatty acids. If we are exposed to unnatural light sources after sunset, melatonin secretion is delayed, and BAT is not activated to cause excess calories to be burned as waste heat while we sleep.

BAT is best stimulated through seasonal cold exposure and light cycle changes that occur with the seasons.

We are stuck in perpetual summer, animals are designed to put on fat in the summer.

It's true!

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · May 09, 2012 at 3:51 AM

I disagree. Central heating is all over the planet - In cold climates that's what they have. But it is only U.S. and Mexico that stand out in obesity epidemics. Norway is slim.

Medium avatar
1
10234 · May 08, 2012 at 6:21 PM

One you missed VB. Socialization. I learned to be a fat kid before I was an adult. I had no sense of portion control programmed into me. Restaurant food was always the ideal (nothing like a good buffet) and eating everything on the plate was the goal of a meal. Genetics might be a factor too (I'm clumsy and never was much of an athlete) but most of being obese was a learned skill. I've escaped it through learning. Reprogramming my brain to not be fat.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · May 08, 2012 at 7:04 PM

How did you do that? Did you follow some program?

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · May 08, 2012 at 7:05 PM

How old were you when you started to gain weight? What were the reasons? I do not blame you - kids do not have control of what they eat, their parents do.

Medium avatar
10234 · May 09, 2012 at 12:37 PM

This was in the days before formula and the popularity of breast feeding was low. I'm sure I was bottle fed. You're also going back before my memory. Given that my mom was from a dairy town, I'm sure I was on cow's milk as soon as I could digest it.

Medium avatar
10234 · May 08, 2012 at 7:13 PM

I started getting fat at 6 months or earlier. Chubbiness was the gold standard for babies, and I never went off that program. And yes I followed a program of carb exchange counting. A diabetes diagnosis motivated me.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · May 09, 2012 at 3:50 AM

Good for you! Thanks for sharing! Getting fat at 6 months - were you breastfed or a formula baby? Sorry for asking for such details, but I just wanted to know.

7cf9f5b08a41ecf2a2d2bc0b31ea6fa0
1
4181 · May 08, 2012 at 1:30 PM

Is it not quantity? I know it's not as simple as calories in and out and there are complex reasons such as thyroid and genetics etc but surely for most people it's a case of self control?

Regardless of whether I'm eating SAD, paleo or otherwise if my choices are poor and excessive I will certainly gain weight.

Asking what causes obesity is like asking what causes acne or depression, there is no one cause surely?

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · May 08, 2012 at 2:23 PM

I can tell you what causes acne - acne shows that there is something bad inside going on. I have figured this: acne on your forehead - liver, nose, cheeks - intestines, chin - hormonal imbalance.

7cf9f5b08a41ecf2a2d2bc0b31ea6fa0
4181 · May 08, 2012 at 2:42 PM

Yes but saying acne is cause by something bad happening only alludes to its complexity, what exactly is this bad thing that is happening? If its simply inflammation then it still has various causes. Some people get acne in spite of diet whereas others cure there's that way, some people don't get acne regardless of what they eat. The same is true of obesity, trying to nail it down to one root cause is futile and possibly unhelpful

A7768b6c6be7f5d6acc76e5efa66464c
6117 · May 08, 2012 at 6:01 PM

It's not only about quantity or self-control for everyone, that's certain. There are those with deranged metabolisms whose bodies try to store everything they eat as fat, instead of burning it off as energy. Because they're constantly low on energy, they are hungry, causing them to eat more food which gets stored as more fat instead of burned for energy, and so on. It's a vicious cycle. How did their metabolism become deranged? That's up for debate, but there is little doubt there are people who can eat modest amounts of food and grow very fat anyway--and the opposite.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · May 09, 2012 at 3:54 AM

Interesting topic! Something bad means "imbalance" which means inflammation, etc. I think acne is NOT NATURAL, it was not known in hunters and gatherers and I think it can be treated. Food is a preventative measure, but it won't cure it if it already started.

Ab0369a70755bd07f44292b4ca8b2260
1
1579 · May 08, 2012 at 6:20 AM

One issue is GMO foods. The body does not process them in the same way as non GMOs. They became prevalent in the late 80s early 90s about the same time as childhood obesity rates starting moving off the charts. I do believe that contributes to obesity as do lack of exercise and eating too much clearly.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · May 08, 2012 at 6:27 AM

But WHAT causes us to eat too much? I know it is physiological, I have developed binge eating and it was very very hard to beat. My friend is still suffering with binge eating now.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46
41544 · May 08, 2012 at 12:20 PM

Nonsense. Correlation does not equal causation. Show me a valid biochemical theory as to why any single GMO food might cause weight gain.

76026e8ef496039d5075440ff731aa0d
5356 · May 08, 2012 at 7:04 AM

You're looking for those foods that stop or greatly hinder the message from the stomach to the brain that says "I'm full"? You might want to look at/ into foods and the blood brain barrier and which of those foods stop the brain from telling the stomach that it's time to stop. Truth.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · May 09, 2012 at 3:48 AM

One more question - and thank you for your answer because it does make a lot of sense - why U.S. and Mexico? Why not some other country?

Ab0369a70755bd07f44292b4ca8b2260
1579 · May 20, 2012 at 12:43 AM

Here is a good article about GMO foods and why they cause obesity http://howtoeliminatepain.com/arthritis/why-feeding-factory-farmed-animals-genetically-modified-monsanto-corn-has-resulted-in-substandard-meats-sold-in-restaurants-and-grocery-stores-that-lead-to-inflammation-illness-disease-weight-gain/

Answer Question

Login to Your PaleoHacks Account

Get Free Paleo Recipes