I always felt it was strange that I lost so much weight when I went on the Paleo Diet. I was consuming more saturated fat and total fat than ever before in my life yet I lost 15 lbs. It seemed counterintuitive because we've all be taught that fat makes you fat, right?
I've been Paleo for two years now and only recently did I start to realize that fat does not make me fat, rather what my body does with the fat determines my body fat composition. Fat molecules are used for energy or stored for energy use at a later date. Fat yields the highest kcalories per gram compared to protein and carbohydrates. We have evolved this far so we must have (at least inadvertently) figured out this phenomena somewhere along the evolutionary chain. In response we sought out adequate amounts of fat calories. We hunted.
My caloric intake exceeds the USDA recommendation by 1000 calories per day. Their theory is I should be gaining weight long term, especially as I age (I'm 36 now). However, I am consuming excess energy and my body is not storing it for later use. I can eat saturated fat all day and still maintain or even shed body fat.
So is fat making us fat or is it something else?
From the U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health:
"Micronutrient deficiencies have been found in obese individuals across age groups worldwide. While the effects of micronutrient deficiencies on human functions have been studied widely in different populations, there is limited information on how these micronutrient deficiencies affect obese populations. An examination of the available literature suggests associations exist between micronutrient deficiencies and obesity in different populations. These associations and possible mechanisms of the deficiencies' metabolic effects, such as their influence on leptin and insulin metabolism, are discussed here. Further studies are needed to clarify the roles of the different micronutrient deficiencies with respect to obesity and its comorbid conditions..."
Further studies? Of course!!!
I personally would love to see more scientists pursue research into vitamin deficiencies and their role in obesity. I have read theories that suggest obesity is so stubborn because it is the result of the body shifting into an entirely different state of being.
Obesity is thought of as a kind of full-scale emergency mode. The body monitors itself, detects dangerously low micronutrient levels and perceives its depleted vitamin reserves as starvation. This turns on genes that cause the body to store fat in case the food supply disappears throughout a long winter or a harsh storm.
There seems to be no mechanism in place to help the body make a clear enough distinction between lack of nutrient dense foods and lack of food period. Perhaps this is because our genes evolved in an environment where the soil was rich with minerals and all edible food in the food chain contained high levels of micronutrients despite yielding different energy values for lipids, carbohydrates and proteins.
Diets hyper-focused on macronutrient (caloric) intake provide only quick-fix solutions because modern-day energy-dense foods tend to yield inadequate amounts of vital vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. The sharp hunger pangs of an obese individual surely return with reckless abandon around intermittent consumption of large quantities of energy-dense foods. The macronutrient intake represented in one meal or a series of meals within a day or throughout a diet plan may temporarily trick him/her into feeling properly nourished yet the body remains in a long-term starvation mode where there are chronic micronutrient deficiencies.
Portion-control diets fail to satisfy the body's goal of restoring adequate levels of essential vitamins because they often overlook the importance of vitamins in weight loss calculations. Despite the level of willpower in an obese individual, his/her body forges ahead on its relentless quest to replenish vitamins through eating and overeating. The only way to escape the cycle is to eat more of the right things.
So in a sense, some scientists view obese individuals as starving to death. At least that's what their bodies think is happening.
Do you suspect vitamin deficiencies play a large role in obesity?
asked byBAMBAM (3313)
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on June 24, 2011
at 07:34 PM
Stephan Guyenet at Whole Health Source has a post addressing low micronurient levels in the obese, which includes a fascinating study that shows spontaneous abdominal fat loss amongst obese people with no further intervention than a comprehensive vitamin supplement.
Hyperphagia can also be attributed to micro and macronutrient deficiencies, as your body will continue sending you the signal to keep on eating until it gets what it needs.
I believe that obesity is the perfect storm of hyperphagia and metabolic dysfunction induced by hormonal disruption (due to a toxic environment as much as toxic foods, as well as lack of sleep) in conjunction with a non-nutritious diet.
In fact, there's an entire Paleo blog dedicated to the idea that obesity is a disease of malnutrition:
on June 24, 2011
at 07:13 PM
I am obese. I have been overweight, well, since maybe 2nd grade? By 4th grade I was uncomfortable with other kids seeing my midriff, though in retrospect, compared to the fat children of today, I was just a bit husky. I look to my diet as a child: My favorite meal, the one I asked my grandma to make me on my birthday, was fried chicken with mashed potatoes and hominy. I remember sneaking into the cookies that my grandparents ALWAYS had stocked in the cabinet SEVERAL times a day. Sometimes my grandmother yelled at my to stop, but never got her fat butt out of her chair to put her cigarette down to do something about it. I remember Alphabets cereal. I remember when my mom made me eat the non-sugary cereals, I would scoop and minimum of a tablespoon (of sugar) on top. I remember snacking on raw potatoes. I remember sneaking into my little sister's box of valentine candies (because I already inhaled my own), eating half of each one, and making my brother and myself get punished for never owning up to it.
I used to walk home from school, and since I was home alone (5th, 6th grade) I would eat a few soup spoons of sugar since there was no one to stop me. I learned one day that brown sugar tasted better, and ate more of it.
As middle school progressed, I gained more weight, despite transporting myself to school (2 1/2 miles) and joining the wrestling team. Wrestling kept me from gaining during the season, but I rarely lost much. By the end of 8th grade, I was 160lbs. By the end of 9th grade, 180. I graduated highschool at 200lbs. I am now 25, and 5'5". My highest weight was 269 the day I went to deliver my first child at almost 22 years old. Even eating semi-primal/paleo for the last year and a half, and despite another pregnancy (this one with gestational diabetes) 1 week ago I weighed 224lbs.
I HONESTLY BELIEVE that 80% of obesity is sugar addiction. Even being in ketosis for the past week, I was drinking all my husband's diet soda and when we ran out was pouring xylitol in my iced tea that I normally prefer unsweetened (which was a mistake, don't ever do that)
12% is laziness/lack of exercise and 8% is the mental abuse we bring down upon ourselves as the side effects of the sugar addiction come through. Maybe this should be higher? My husband didn't abuse himself, but still gained a lot of weight by overeating and lack of exercise, this is why I keep this low.
I think that it is a valuable theory, and might explain why some people are moderately overweight. Obesity, though, I relate to alcoholism. Your first scare of diabetes is like your first DUI. Sugar is extremely addicting and harmful to your physical and mental health. I think someone suffering from low blood sugar is just as scary as an angry drunk. I've lived with both. Alcohol, people understand is addicting. You tell them, "I'm AA" and they back the eff off. You tell someone that you don't eat sweets/grains/sugar/name it and people insist that one little piece isn't going to hurt you any. The dangers of sugar addiction need to be labeled, people need to be informed. People need to know the importance of keeping treats as treats, and not constant daily indulgences.