17

votes

Is there a single hypothesis to explain the obesity epidemic?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created November 12, 2011 at 7:45 PM

In his latest salvo in the carb/insulin vs food reward battle, Gary Taubes writes (emphasis mine):

Well, for starters, the food reward/palatability hypothesis can???t explain the kinds of observations about obesity and weight regulation that I???ve been arguing in my books must be explained by any viable hypothesis of why we get fat. This is the primary issue, obviously, as a hypothesis that can???t explain the necessary observations is a failed hypothesis

Interestingly enough, Evelyn/CarbSane agrees that there must be a single hypothesis:

Taubes is right about one thing: a hypothesis must explain the epidemic

Hmmmm. Well, allow me to channel Wanda Sykes ... I think that must be one big a** hypothesis!

Seriously, it seems to me there are a number of things that may be contributing to the obesity epidemic, including industrial food, environmental toxins/chemicals, epigenetics (pre-natal/post-natal diet), other cultural factors (external stresses, types/amounts of physical activity), and probably many others I'm not listing here.

I like what Harry Rutter, director of the National Obesity Observatory in the UK said in his editorial Where next for obesity? -- obesity is a complex problem, not a complicated one:

The distinction is important. A complicated system might contain many different elements, with various interactions, but it is knowable and ultimately predictable: a Saturn rocket is not simple, but plans for it exist, and to calculate its trajectory and send astronauts to the moon and back is possible. A complex system does us no such favours. It is non-linear, subject to unexpected and unintended consequences, contains feedback loops, and displays emergent properties???it is more than the sum of its parts. This kind of wicked problem needs a different set of approaches to understand it and deal with it from those needed for issues that are merely complicated.

What do you think? Is there a single hypothesis that is likely to explain the obesity epidemic?

F040035b2008ec80b205481afbd39ad4

(1837)

on November 16, 2011
at 07:52 PM

Con'd. I definitely agree with the idea of our bodies detecting the calorie content (and nutritional content), of food. But putting habit aside, I still see no explanation that ties in the evolved nature of hunger and appetite. Even if I 'overeat', I simply eat less later on, or push my meals back. This often happens after a traditional Fried English Breakfast. It does appear that some of us are triggered by an 'evolutionary something' to adjust calories in and stay lean. Anyway, keep up the blogging. You're a valuable asset in the paleosphere!

F040035b2008ec80b205481afbd39ad4

(1837)

on November 16, 2011
at 07:47 PM

Hi Evelyn - regarding 'set point', I find it curious that the obese I know seem to have a stable weight without dieting, but, the minute you diet them down to leanness, their weight is much harder to stabilise. This hints at some kind of 'defended BF' rather than passive overeating. Whether that signal is hormonal or electrical/neurological I don't know. I guess we'd need to find a controlled study to settle it. It seems that just as I can broadly eat what I want without weight change, they can eat what they want without weight changes as long as they're at their 'natural' obese weight.

24df4e0d0e7ce98963d4641fae1a60e5

on November 16, 2011
at 02:29 AM

contd. Add in preportioned fast foods -- e.g. if you're only hungry enough for 4" of a 6" Subway what are you likely to do? Throw away 2", wrap it for later, or eat it? All together it makes overconsuming w/o being a glutton to the casual observer.

24df4e0d0e7ce98963d4641fae1a60e5

on November 16, 2011
at 02:27 AM

Hi Asclepius, I tend to think that our bodies can sense fat calories and can sense carb calories, but they don't sense the caloric level in the mix. In nature virtually no foods exist where carbs and fats are both plentiful (milk being a notable exception). We also eat out of habit, etc. So while ideally if I eat too much at breakfast, I eat a later lunch or skip it entirely ... in practice that doesn't (or rather didn't) always happen.

F040035b2008ec80b205481afbd39ad4

(1837)

on November 15, 2011
at 09:37 PM

Hi Evelyn - just a quick question; when you talk about "passive overeating" it begs the question what is the evolved purpose of hunger and appetite? I mean if you eat 'more' in one meal (passively or otherwise), surely we should go longer between meals before hunger strikes again, or if we eat at the next meal, our appetite be blunted such that we eat smaller portions? Then (AFAIK) there is also a potential increase in metabolic rate, fidgeting, futile cycling etc... to rid any 'excess' calories. It looks to me that in some ways the dice are loaded against excessive weightgain! Thoughts?

F040035b2008ec80b205481afbd39ad4

(1837)

on November 15, 2011
at 09:29 PM

Hi Evelyn - just a quick question; when you talk about "passive overeating" it begs the question what is the evolved purpose of hunger and appetite? I mean if you eat 'more' in one meal (passively or otherwise), surely we should go longer between meals before hunger strikes again, or if we eat at the next meal, our appetite be blunted such that we eat smaller portions? Then (AFAIK) there is also a potential increase in metabolic rate, fidgeting, futile cycling etc. to ri any 'excess' calories. It looks to me that in some ways the dice are loaded against excessive weightgain! Thoughts?

3864f9a2af09b1b447c7963058650a34

(3703)

on November 15, 2011
at 06:15 AM

excellent travis

3864f9a2af09b1b447c7963058650a34

(3703)

on November 15, 2011
at 06:09 AM

ASCLEPIUS. u rock!!!!!

Medium avatar

(10611)

on November 14, 2011
at 08:38 PM

I was fat eating 60's home cooking. No sense of portion control, just eat until full. It was mostly fat/sugar/starch because meat was expensive. We drove 40 miles to get a mcdo burger back in the day, an exotic treat for fifteen cents.

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on November 14, 2011
at 08:17 PM

@jac: Thanks, Jac. And thanks for taking the time to read it. Given your clinical background and specialty, I'm especially interested in your "take."

792634a784ec6a636c3137d0903e11b4

(1196)

on November 14, 2011
at 07:37 PM

My n=1 has nothing to do with fast food. I think I had my first Macca burger when I was in my 20s, and I was obese by then.

792634a784ec6a636c3137d0903e11b4

(1196)

on November 14, 2011
at 07:33 PM

My mind just exploded. That's a hell of a post, mem - give me a week to digest it all.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on November 14, 2011
at 04:24 PM

OK dextery I finally got off the hand held to a computer and read your zoe link. More conspiracy stuff to show that conventional wisdom is wrong. My obesity is gone, and it has very little to do with crisco or butter. I hope zoe is helping you, but it's rude to post up a link and an insult instead of just explaining yourself.

F040035b2008ec80b205481afbd39ad4

(1837)

on November 14, 2011
at 03:18 PM

I should probably take this opportunity to publicise J Stanton's Why Are We Hungry series which gives a scientific backbone to this idea: http://www.gnolls.org/2304/why-are-we-hungry-part-1-what-is-hunger-liking-vs-wanting-satiation-vs-satiety/

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 14, 2011
at 01:33 PM

or my presence is disappointing for you ? --majkinetor

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 14, 2011
at 01:32 PM

Is my presence disappointing ?

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 14, 2011
at 01:32 PM

Is that disappointing ? --majkinetor

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 14, 2011
at 01:29 PM

I practice that approach for now too. --majkinetor

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 14, 2011
at 01:27 PM

Is that relevant to discussion ? -- majkinetor

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 14, 2011
at 01:26 PM

Is that relevant to discussion ? --majkinetor

24df4e0d0e7ce98963d4641fae1a60e5

on November 14, 2011
at 01:25 PM

Weren't you banned?

F040035b2008ec80b205481afbd39ad4

(1837)

on November 14, 2011
at 01:11 PM

And this is why I have some days of very high protein, some days low protein, some days high calories and some days of low calories (IF), some days high carn and some days VLC! And this is also why there is seasonal bias in my diet (and in my sleeping patterns and in terms of exposing myself to cold). I have freed my 'inner actuary' to manage the BF for me and let him choose the appropriate metabolic pathway!

7dc950fc76a046048e683d2a27dced37

on November 14, 2011
at 12:10 PM

I think the cultural aspect is critically important too.

24df4e0d0e7ce98963d4641fae1a60e5

on November 14, 2011
at 11:21 AM

Poor people have known what foods to scrimp and claw for forever ... why not now?

24df4e0d0e7ce98963d4641fae1a60e5

on November 14, 2011
at 11:20 AM

@David: I guess I keyed in on your prior "greater social security" comment. My husband manages a store in a very poor neighborhood. At least half if not more of purchases there are made with the EBT (welfare debit-style) card. He sells a ton of candy and stuff like Arizona teas, while each week he has to trash out of date milk & eggs corporate policy requires he carry. The gallons of milk are cheaper than the drinks. There's a full grocery store within sight of his. Is it an education problem? Dunno. It's hard for me to fathom anyone thinking candy is nutritious.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 14, 2011
at 10:22 AM

@Thhq - Fast food = malnutrition + food reward + toxins. -- majkientor

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 14, 2011
at 10:21 AM

@conciliator - I would opt for cold water before poison. The end effect on thermogenesis would be similar. Forbid hot water. I am only 1/4 kidding -- majkinetor

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 14, 2011
at 10:19 AM

@conciliator - Talking about water, perhaps better idea then DNP is to forbid hot water. -- majkinetor

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 14, 2011
at 10:18 AM

@conciliator - Talking about water, perhaps its better idea then DNP is to forbid hot water. -- majkinetor

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 14, 2011
at 09:56 AM

There is no single hypothesis, but there is a **dominant** one for sure. I still can't decide is it food reward or too much carbs or malnutrition, or all 3 (probably all 3 are present in most people in parallel). --majkinetor

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 14, 2011
at 09:56 AM

There is no single hypothesis, but there is a dominant one for sure. I still can't decide is it food reward or too much carbs or malnutrition, or all 3 (probably all 3 are present in most people in parallel). --majkinetor

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 14, 2011
at 09:49 AM

*For those who are prone to deeming the "psychological" to being "all in the head," be very, very clear that I disagree with you. And so does science.* - Great mem, thx for the nice observations --majkinetor

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 14, 2011
at 09:47 AM

*One "hypothesis" explains all obesity: Energy Balance.* - Wow, thats like saying "One hypothesis explains hypertension: Too much tension" --majkinetor

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 14, 2011
at 09:45 AM

There is no single hypothesis, but there is a **dominant** one for sure. I still can't decide is it food reward or too much carbs, **or both**. --majkinetor

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 14, 2011
at 09:42 AM

*If you love him so much, why don't you marry him* - and this is not sexist or rude ? Some animals are more equal then others. Keep them coming Melissa. I always enjoy your daily portion of rudeness... -- majkinetor

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 14, 2011
at 09:36 AM

I mean, its not like you can get obese by binging on coconut oil. Farmers tried it already, according to Ray Peat, on pigs, and they achieved the opposite. It looks like its very easy to get obese by binging on fructose however. --majkinetor

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 14, 2011
at 09:34 AM

Evelyin, your claim why Taubes failes is wrong - while there is no single way to cause obesity, there are better and worst ways. One is dominant for sure. -- majkinetor

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 14, 2011
at 09:32 AM

I do think that food reward theory is sound however, marijuana proves that without doubt - you can design food, like lolio noted, to trigger certain addictive pathways and to make other foods unpalatable. I don't think food palatability is fixed - it changes with receptor training. -- majkinetor

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 14, 2011
at 09:29 AM

*Most obese people do not exercise, they do not eat healthy foods* - maybe a consequence of obesity ? Most non-obese people eat junk food too. --majkientor

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 14, 2011
at 09:28 AM

*If a rat gets fat, he cannot escape predators. If a human gets fat, he can survive a famine* - You can imagine anything like this really. I don't say it might not be correct, I just don't see how anybody can come to that conclusion. For all we know, it might be externally controlled (i.e. via seasonal fructose) -- majkinetor

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 14, 2011
at 09:27 AM

*If a rat gets fat, he cannot escape predators. If a human gets fat, he can survive a famine* - You can imagine anything like this really. I don't say it might not be correct, I just don't see how anybody can come to that conclusion. For all we know, it might be externally controlled (i.e. via seasonal fructose)

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 14, 2011
at 09:21 AM

Nice answer. That is the point of lowcarb (50g < CHO < 100g) diet for me - it fixes things for most people, no matter what component failed. --majkinetor

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 14, 2011
at 09:21 AM

It looks like reward theory is becoming popular.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 14, 2011
at 09:20 AM

Nice answer. That is the point of lowcarb (50g < CHO < 100g) diet for me - it fixes things for most people, no matter what component failed.

24df4e0d0e7ce98963d4641fae1a60e5

on November 14, 2011
at 02:54 AM

Ahh Zoe... A woman who lost some weight and maintained it on a high fiber high veggie, no animal flesh ovo lacto vegetarian diet but tells others to eat otherwise as the key.

3a567c1637db69f1455ce35e78201a2c

(1054)

on November 13, 2011
at 09:42 PM

Dude, the title of the posting is "Because everything you think you know about obesity is wrong" Obviously you did not even bother to open up the link before you got your feathers ruffled.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on November 13, 2011
at 09:18 PM

That hostile rudeness earns you a downvote dextery.

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on November 13, 2011
at 08:34 PM

@Aravind, JayJay and PaleoGran: Thank you.:)

3a567c1637db69f1455ce35e78201a2c

(1054)

on November 13, 2011
at 08:01 PM

http://www.zoeharcombe.com/2010/11/cholesterol-heart-disease-%E2%80%93-there-is-a-relationship-but-it%E2%80%99s-not-what-you-think/ I would add this link to the obesity epidemic. Because everything you think you know about obesity is wrong.

Medium avatar

(39831)

on November 13, 2011
at 07:33 PM

Let's stick with leptin for the moment though. http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v392/n6674/abs/392398a0.html If we do not receive the signal for whatever reason, the hypothalamus thinks our fat stores have been depleted and we are starving, right?

Medium avatar

(39831)

on November 13, 2011
at 07:32 PM

One asterisk on either side for italics, 2 for bold btw. I totally agree that we have an inherent fat-gain bias without which we would likely have died out. I think blaming excitotoxins could help someone like a pregnant woman who doesn't want to doom her kid to obesity (or perhaps autism as well...). This is assuming that I'm right.

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on November 13, 2011
at 07:31 PM

@Mallory: Indeed, the point you make IS THE POINT. The brain, its complexity and the numerous pathways that exist, via the brain, that lead to dysregulation ---> very real disease, disorder.

742ff8ba4ff55e84593ede14ac1c3cab

(3536)

on November 13, 2011
at 07:12 PM

"we eat too much...but why?" is the question.

Cf32992bfa1907147c7cdc451bba9c63

(2890)

on November 13, 2011
at 06:56 PM

I guess all I'm trying to say is that it's complicated and blaming something like excitotoxins doesn't help anybody. Most obese people do not exercise, they do not eat healthy foods... so you have to ask yourself if you think it's hyperphagia caused by a physiological breakdown, or if it's more a question of really bad unhealthy habits that they cannot break. Likewise, long term weight loss has the same order of success rate as drug addiction. Similar, in my mind.

Cf32992bfa1907147c7cdc451bba9c63

(2890)

on November 13, 2011
at 06:53 PM

And things like insulin and leptin resistance can be explained as occurring secondarily to obesity. Like I said, obese people can be dieted down without getting very hungry. You just switch out nonsatiating foods for satiating ones and they don't show symptoms you'd expect from some sort of physiological pathology. So I believe that in many people, leptin and insulin do not function well as adiposity signals and therefore they gain weight. I also believe that in cases of obesity, insulin resistance and leptin resistance potentiate or cause this problem.

Cf32992bfa1907147c7cdc451bba9c63

(2890)

on November 13, 2011
at 06:51 PM

Sorry, I caps lock because I can't italicize or bold. I do it to mimic the emphasis in my speech. Anyway, my contention is that leptin as a means of controlling bodyweight has lost its efficacy to keep bodyweight down. It still works marvelously to keep you from starving to death. I don't think it's as simple as saying leptin resistance causes obesity, or obesity causes leptin resistance. Like I said in response to Kamal's comment, there are many important factors that cause obesity. One important one is that our bodies are biased to prefer weight gain.

D31a2a2d43191b15ca4a1c7ec7d03038

(4134)

on November 13, 2011
at 06:45 PM

Mem, thank you for taking the time to post such a thought-inspiring answer.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on November 13, 2011
at 06:22 PM

Take humble dough as an example. Whether you use butter or crisco, it's 2/3 fat 1/3 carb. And this ubiquitous wrap can be at least half the calories in a potsticker, a pierogie or a fruit pie.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on November 13, 2011
at 06:13 PM

Lipid hypothesis does not explain reduced use of tobacco which is a good legal appetite suppressant. And the worst of the fattening Neolithic foods contain more lipid calories than carbs. Like pierogies many of these foods have been around for centuries, but have only recently caused obesity. The modern fat pierogies eaters I know consume them like trenchermen. Maybe you can put some blame on veg vs animal fat content, but I'll counter that these fat guys aren't out digging trenches. They're sitting in front of PC's all day and they'd be just as fat eating bacon, butter and eggs.

Medium avatar

(39831)

on November 13, 2011
at 05:29 PM

Before you mainline a huge bolus of MSG and enter full CAPSLOCK mode, let's step back a bit and hash out each of your objections to this hypothesis one at a time. It seems to me that leptin might be a good place to start, but we can start wherever you like. Now then, is it your contention that leptin is vestigial in the modern world and that leptin resistance as it's described is a red herring in the investigation of the obesity epidemic?

1f8384be58052b6b96f476e475abdc74

(2231)

on November 13, 2011
at 05:14 PM

this..... i agree 100%

1f8384be58052b6b96f476e475abdc74

(2231)

on November 13, 2011
at 05:11 PM

it is interesting... i could throw up the same studies to prove almost any point though, you can link ANYThing back to the brain

3a567c1637db69f1455ce35e78201a2c

(1054)

on November 13, 2011
at 05:08 PM

We have far too many new "foods" hitting our digestive tracts that our systems do not know how to handle since Ancel arrived on the scene. This is why eating primal reduces obesity.

3a567c1637db69f1455ce35e78201a2c

(1054)

on November 13, 2011
at 05:04 PM

@thhg Tell me why the lipid hypothesis did not result in the advent of obesity. People avoided real food and were sold margarine and Crisco as a superior replacement for lard. Boxed wheat products were not GMO. Frankenoils replaced butter and lard. Very few people prior to Ancel were fat.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on November 13, 2011
at 04:40 PM

Here's an idea beth. 100 years ago we were all more tribal. We ate our national diets, whatever they were, and conformed to certain cultural norms. All of this is fading, for better or worse. I can eat any diet, anywhere, anytime, but I'm missing the cultural norming to know how much sauerbraten, or pho, or chili verde is enough. Perhaps the 30% is a relict population which maintains its cultural memory.

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25477)

on November 13, 2011
at 04:10 PM

plus one........

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25477)

on November 13, 2011
at 04:09 PM

Dude this is a great comment and you and I see this issue. Plus one.

7dc950fc76a046048e683d2a27dced37

on November 13, 2011
at 03:45 PM

I don't disagree with this, but the interesting question (to me anyways) is what protects the 30% or so who don't become overweight or obese in this environment. Is it all genetics?

Medium avatar

(10611)

on November 13, 2011
at 02:55 PM

And when we walk into the store, we don't buy that standby appetite suppressant tobacco as much as we used to. So defy conventional wisdom and your surgeon general! Smoke em if you've got em!

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on November 13, 2011
at 02:53 PM

good stuff here...

Medium avatar

(10611)

on November 13, 2011
at 01:20 PM

@dextery going back to 1920-1960 doesn't get to the paleo concept. That was also the heyday of cornflakes and Wheaties, high dietary salt, and acceptance of smoking any time, anywhere. Food wasn't generally as convenient as it is now, whether from the drive-through, or ready-to-eat from grocery stores. When I was a kid pizza was rare and exotic.

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on November 13, 2011
at 10:49 AM

@Evelyn. I agree, it's almost exclusively relative poverty (and the psychosocial and purely social) consequences in both cases, rather than abolute poverty (cost of healthier foods being a possible example of absolute poverty). I don't know why you think I disagree. Abject poverty would, of course, be more likely to lead to a simple shortage of calories. I hope that I know a little about poverty, having been to a school in a rough council estate, worked in a school with pupils 50%+ of whose parents had never been employed, being a political philosopher and engaged to a sociologist.

Cf32992bfa1907147c7cdc451bba9c63

(2890)

on November 13, 2011
at 06:07 AM

One could not argue that they are being injected unless they are actually being INJECTED. There is a nontrivial difference between injection and ingestion. And if you want to use epidemiological studies I can go find a whole host of evidence for whole grains being healthy. I can also point to obese people who don't consume MSG or aspartame. Not to mention that obese people who lose weight don't display signs you would expect of those with some leptin deficiency such as hyperphagia. Obese people who diet down gain the weight back due to psychological reverting to old habits.

3a567c1637db69f1455ce35e78201a2c

(1054)

on November 13, 2011
at 04:46 AM

Fruit in a can did not contain HFCS back then. And my parents were both office workers during the early 50s and both were slim and athletic. Then started the decline into fatdom in the 60s as newly minted neolithic convenience foods were introduced. Both died of complications of fatdom far too early. Butter was good sat fat. And bacon grease was the favorite fat of my gmother and mother used Crisco for making pies. The flour was not highly hybridized in the 40s-50s by Monsanto.

3a567c1637db69f1455ce35e78201a2c

(1054)

on November 13, 2011
at 04:34 AM

Fruit in a can did not contain HFCS back then. And my parents were both office workers during the early 50s and both were slim and athletic. Then started the decline into fatdom in the 60s as newly minted neolithic convenience foods were introduced. Both died of complications of fatdom far too early. Butter was good sat fat. And bacon grease was the favorite Crisco of my gmother and mother used Crisco for making pies. The flour was not highly hybridized in the 40s-50s by Monsanto.

3a567c1637db69f1455ce35e78201a2c

(1054)

on November 13, 2011
at 04:32 AM

Fruit in a can did not contain HFCS back then. And my parents were both office workers during the early 50s and both were slim and athletic. Then started the decline into fatdom in the 60s as newly minted neolithic convenience foods were introduced. Both died of complications of fatdom far too early. Butter was good sat fat. And bacon grease was the favorite Crisco of my gmother and mother for making their pies. The flour was not highly hybridized in the 40s-50s by Monsanto.

3a567c1637db69f1455ce35e78201a2c

(1054)

on November 13, 2011
at 04:24 AM

Fruit in a can did not contain HFCS back then. And my parents were both office workers during the early 50s and both were slim and athletic. Then started the decline into fatdom in the 60s as newly minted neolithic convenience foods were introduced. Both died of complications of fatdom far too early. Butter was good sat fat. And bacon grease with the favorite Crisco of my gmother and mother for making their pies. The flour was not highly hybridized in the 40s by Monsanto.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on November 13, 2011
at 03:58 AM

From 1920-1960 fruit usually came from a can. Strawberries were in season for about 3 weeks. The only lettuce was iceberg.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on November 13, 2011
at 03:51 AM

LOL. The good old meat and potatoes. Butter paleo though? I have another thought about those workers. It comes from reading a Jean Sheperd story about his first encounter with pierogies. He could not stop stuffing himself. Properly doused with bacon grease pierogies are literally slid from bowl to mouth without a spoon. Now if you just came back from a day of hard labor at a 50's steel mill you could eat like that and not get fat. No one works like that anymore. But the pierogies are still around, still just as easy to eat.

D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7

on November 13, 2011
at 03:06 AM

Nice answer mem!

Medium avatar

(39831)

on November 13, 2011
at 02:19 AM

One could argue that they are being injected with large amounts of MSG in utero. To be clear, when I talk about obesity, I don't mean crossing the BMI threshold definition, I mean the very fattest among us probably consume the most excitatory amino acids.

Medium avatar

(39831)

on November 13, 2011
at 02:18 AM

Well, we could look at the highest per capita intake of MSG in Asia (Taiwan) and see if they are encountering any sort of obesity problems. http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2009/12/14/2003460910

Cf32992bfa1907147c7cdc451bba9c63

(2890)

on November 13, 2011
at 01:51 AM

I will be sure to not INJECT my pet RATS with LARGE quantities of MSG. On a more serious note, it is a very interesting paper, but we have to keep in mind there is human research that should take precedence. The amount of things that work on rats and do not work on humans is truly mind boggling, and also sad, because I think we could solve the rat obesity crisis. Human research finds drops in leptin levels correlate to increased hunger when on a diet, which seems to imply leptin is working well and not saturating receptors.

Medium avatar

(39831)

on November 13, 2011
at 01:21 AM

http://ajpendo.physiology.org/content/273/1/E202.short The question for me is if we're talking about permanent damage that occurred during development or ongoing damage that can be repaired through the avoidance of supraphysiological doses of excitatory amino acids.

Cf32992bfa1907147c7cdc451bba9c63

(2890)

on November 13, 2011
at 01:03 AM

And besides, acute overfeeding of fat doesn't trigger increased satiety through leptin increases, it does it by suppressing ghrelin. In the long term yes adipose tissue creates leptin. And NEAT, which is also hugely important, is not under the direct power of leptin. Orexins are important here too. So are catecholamines. We have many mechanisms of maintaining bodyweight, and yet they all suck, in general. Except in cases of losing weight, they all seem to work. To me, that implies the methods aren't broken, they are just meant to work better for keeping us plump than keeping us lean.

Cf32992bfa1907147c7cdc451bba9c63

(2890)

on November 13, 2011
at 12:57 AM

I'm only half kidding.

Cf32992bfa1907147c7cdc451bba9c63

(2890)

on November 13, 2011
at 12:56 AM

Thanks. Since we're on the subject of obesity, I think adding DNP to the water supply would be a good possible solution.

Cf32992bfa1907147c7cdc451bba9c63

(2890)

on November 13, 2011
at 12:55 AM

No, my argument is that the reason our mechanisms of weight control suck, in general, is because, in general, there has been more selective pressure to gain weight than to lose weight. I do not deal in absolutes. If you have any sort of studies showing a causal relationship between leptin sensitivity and MSG/aspartame I would love to see them.

Medium avatar

(39831)

on November 13, 2011
at 12:49 AM

So your argument is that there was never in our evolution a downside to human fattening on any scale and that we have no mechanisms to upregulate satiety in the presence of excess fat?

93ae9f2d376e5426e891a9b58d8302fa

(2936)

on November 13, 2011
at 12:45 AM

I'm sorry, thhg, my auto spell has a low opinion of you.

7dc950fc76a046048e683d2a27dced37

on November 13, 2011
at 12:31 AM

Evelyn, thanks for the comment. I find your comments/blog posts re the affects of perpetual overnutrition compelling as well.

93ae9f2d376e5426e891a9b58d8302fa

(2936)

on November 13, 2011
at 12:30 AM

thug - there's a third way to take it. You're being too literal, ignoring the context. Yes, I mangled my meaning, but read the original post and put it in context.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on November 13, 2011
at 12:25 AM

good perspective conciliator, you'd make your namesake proud.

7dc950fc76a046048e683d2a27dced37

on November 13, 2011
at 12:17 AM

Sure, that's my point re the one big *ss hypothesis. But it seems like many folks are focusing on one thing ... a la the 6 blind men and the elephant.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on November 13, 2011
at 12:15 AM

What struck me this morning was how I've been conditioned to bolt down my food. If I do that leptin and satiation don't have a chance. I used to eat rapidly until I was volumetrically full which is way beyond being satisfied. Now I savor my food and take my time eating.

93ae9f2d376e5426e891a9b58d8302fa

(2936)

on November 13, 2011
at 12:14 AM

Okay, okay. Just get me a date with Taubes!

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on November 13, 2011
at 12:10 AM

huey, also please refrain from posting sexual stuff about me (or others).

Medium avatar

(10611)

on November 13, 2011
at 12:07 AM

I'm still not getting it huey. Your response can be taken a couple of ways. First one is that Taubes is the cause of the obesity crisis. I don't think so. Second one is that it's football Saturday and you're shouting out a cheer for Taube's hypothesis

Cf32992bfa1907147c7cdc451bba9c63

(2890)

on November 13, 2011
at 12:05 AM

A single hypothesis can be multifactorial...

Cf32992bfa1907147c7cdc451bba9c63

(2890)

on November 12, 2011
at 11:48 PM

People get fat because we eat more than we need to maintain bodyweight. Why do we eat more than we need? Food is extremely available, and we have made it more palatable than it was ever meant to be. Socially, we are pressured to eat. Physiologically, our bodyweight regulatory mechanisms are biased towards fat gain because our bodies love us so much they don't want us to starve to death. And finally, we are more sedentary than we have ever been throughout our evolution. I think that covers the main bases. Insulin is honestly not that important. You can get and stay fat on a ketogenic diet.

Cf32992bfa1907147c7cdc451bba9c63

(2890)

on November 12, 2011
at 11:45 PM

You don't need to blame excitotoxins. You could simply say that humans bodyweight regulatory mechanisms are biased towards weight gain as a result of our evolution. If a rat gets fat, he cannot escape predators. If a human gets fat, he can survive a famine. It could be as simple as saying humans are predisposed to fat gain. No need to invoke leptin, which works marvelously at its main function: to stop people from starving.

93ae9f2d376e5426e891a9b58d8302fa

(2936)

on November 12, 2011
at 11:34 PM

Oh Melissa, I dreamt of you last night. You in nothing but those boots! Ooo!

Medium avatar

(39831)

on November 12, 2011
at 11:33 PM

Yeah, I don't really know, but there needs to be a breakdown of the regulatory system explained by whichever theory is most probable. I can add a lot of fat to my dog's food and he'll get progressively less hungry as he gains fat. I believe this phenomenon has been studied in humans.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on November 12, 2011
at 11:25 PM

If you love him so much, why don't you marry him.

Medium avatar

(39831)

on November 12, 2011
at 11:25 PM

Let's hear more about these lemon squares plz.

7d64d3988de1b0e493aacf37843c5596

(2861)

on November 12, 2011
at 11:14 PM

Meh. Taubes is crayon science. And it is more of the weight-loss kool-aid - "just do this one thing to lose weight" – cut calories, cut fat, cut carbs, eat grapefruit, eat paleo lemon squares, etc…

24df4e0d0e7ce98963d4641fae1a60e5

on November 12, 2011
at 10:13 PM

@David: I don't know about UK, but here in the US, poverty in general does not equate with the sort of abject poverty like we see in third world countries. My husband sees it every day up close and personal in the neighborhood in which he works.

6426d61a13689f8f651164b10f121d64

(11488)

on November 12, 2011
at 10:07 PM

Does fast food contribute to obesity in many cases? Yes. Is it THE cause of obesity? No. I'm sure there are millions of obese people who don't eat fast food. Also, much of "Super Size Me" has been debunked by Tom Naughton in "Fat Head" ( http://www.fathead-movie.com/ )

24df4e0d0e7ce98963d4641fae1a60e5

on November 12, 2011
at 10:05 PM

This is actually simplistic but if one had to put it in 6 words, there could be none more accurate. Fast food = cheap. Fast food = engineered and tested by food scientists to maximize "eat more". Fast food = high calorie/low nutrient/low protein v. carb&fat. Fast food = no effort to attain, heck drive thru! Fast food = ready in 0 min (or under 10 for frozen/packaged crap). Fast food = higher in sugar/salt/fat than palatable w/o emulsifiers/stabilizers/magic. Fast food = not knowing what's in there (or wanting to). Fast Food = Fattening Food. FF = FF. Can we put that eq on the Quilt??

24df4e0d0e7ce98963d4641fae1a60e5

on November 12, 2011
at 09:56 PM

I think too many equate the automatic regulation of the brain with conscious thought is all, and this results in hurt feelings and such. And some things certainly snowball as obesity sets in. I was always active but when I got heavy to a point, activity became more and more difficult and downright painful.

24df4e0d0e7ce98963d4641fae1a60e5

on November 12, 2011
at 09:54 PM

One "hypothesis" explains all obesity: Energy Balance. It's how it gets unbalanced. Sometimes there's an underlying genetic/hormonal issue (e.g. leptin deficiency) that drives overeating, then there's Lustig's hypothalamic obese kids (hyperinsulinemic with all else normal, overeat/underactive). There's the starving children/fat adults (starvation during development leads to greater fat/lean mass ratio and lower BMR), etc.etc. Gut flora? Rodents are hindgut fermenters. The list can go on.

24df4e0d0e7ce98963d4641fae1a60e5

on November 12, 2011
at 09:48 PM

@Asclepius: I think Stephan would answer this with a reset of the setpoint which I tend to disagree with. I think it speaks to "passive overeating" of calorie dense foods. In this way, folks need not be gluttons in the classic sense -- after all, I know obese people who eat two sometimes just one meal per day. But have you checked the calorie counts for a "normal" meal at any of those family style restaurants? Easily enough calories for Mark Sisson for a day. So you hit on it -- they return to old habits, then gain back until they are in caloric balance.

F040035b2008ec80b205481afbd39ad4

(1837)

on November 12, 2011
at 09:43 PM

Wrt 'food reward' - I have known obese friends whose weight was stable at 30%BF. They'd diet down to 15%BF, then (eventually), give in to their old ways and rebound back up to 30%BF where once again (and despite their bad diet), their weight would eventually stabilise. I'm sure we all know folk like this. So how can food be hyperpalatable for them until they are back upto to a particular level of obesity, from where suddenly, according to the idea of hyperpalatability, they suddenly find previously hyperpalatable foods no longer hyperpalatable?

B4e1fa6a8cf43d2b69d97a99dfca262c

(10255)

on November 12, 2011
at 09:34 PM

i was born in the 60s and Mom knew nothing about nutrition having been raised in a broken family; no one passed on any food wisdom to her. i was fat before i hit my first birthday and both my sisters became over weight in their early 20s. i still struggle with weight inspite of decades of effort. conversely my children have no issues with weight.

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on November 12, 2011
at 09:31 PM

Poverty is definitely associated with (and probably a contributer to) obesity, but I see no reason (and I live in the UK) to think that (supposedly) increased social security causes it. I suspect (given that a stronger welfare state would reduce poverty) that increased social security would decrease obesity.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on November 12, 2011
at 09:08 PM

And parents made brownies, cookies and cakes on weekends and pancakes with maple syrup ... and fruit was locally grown and very ripe vs the cardboard sold as fruit today (much less sweet.) Also, kids drank whole milk and ate lot of bacon and sausage and sandwiches with mayo for lunch--and were skinny.

6dd4c92d9c24c53c5c2fdbb12f79d08d

(128)

on November 12, 2011
at 08:59 PM

Come to the UK buddy and I think you'll see what I mean.

D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7

on November 12, 2011
at 08:57 PM

I am reluctant to engage in this discussion given the sensitivity of the topic. I will part with obesity is arguably more of an issue with affluence and being in a food abundant environment than social policies of alleged "handouts"

6dd4c92d9c24c53c5c2fdbb12f79d08d

(128)

on November 12, 2011
at 08:53 PM

A cause, not a universal cause.

D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7

on November 12, 2011
at 08:48 PM

Simon - are you fucking kidding me? Yes, that what explains in the affluent area I live that there are so many obese people.

6dd4c92d9c24c53c5c2fdbb12f79d08d

(128)

on November 12, 2011
at 08:39 PM

I would also add the rise of social security and welfare payments as a cause.

D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7

on November 12, 2011
at 08:33 PM

No dummy, the right response was *white*. Go to sleep and call me when you have no class

D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7

on November 12, 2011
at 08:33 PM

Thanks Kumar, fixed it. Such the spelling snob you are. Kepp relax, enjoy you sucess, and the lovelee time

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on November 12, 2011
at 08:32 PM

Back in Black? Black Like Me? Jack Black? Okay, nap time.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on November 12, 2011
at 08:31 PM

You spelled Cordain wrong! Now it looks like an instrument that people play in the French subway. (a Cordian).

D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7

on November 12, 2011
at 08:30 PM

Word association Kumar - Black

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on November 12, 2011
at 08:28 PM

I mind the pimping! Purge the egos baby. We're in it to win it. Hold, on what the heck am I talking about? Need sleep...

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on November 12, 2011
at 08:27 PM

That's a slippery slope right there-- if you change your opinion, I'll have to change mine, and on and on.

7dc950fc76a046048e683d2a27dced37

on November 12, 2011
at 08:27 PM

I wouldn't mind the pimping so much if it didn't seem like it was getting in the way of discovering what's really going on.

D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7

on November 12, 2011
at 08:24 PM

Pimps and hos, bro. BTW - Now that you are saying it is multivariate like I did, I will have to change my opinion.

7dc950fc76a046048e683d2a27dced37

on November 12, 2011
at 08:16 PM

Interesting! Me, I find both brain and body arguments compelling (before [email protected] went all in with Taubes, he had a great post re NADS-related hepatic failure). I just wonder whether these are chicken or egg issues.

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13 Answers

12
21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on November 12, 2011
at 08:20 PM

I like your post very much.

Maybe my little brain has a hard time grasping all of this, but...WHY DO SOME GURUS FEEL THE NEED TO PIMP THEIR HYPOTHESES AS "THE ONE TO RULE THEM ALL"?

You don't have to take very advanced biostats or mathematics to understand this simple concept: the reason multivariate regressions are done is because there are multiple variables. When it comes to human physiology, there are a bajillion variables, and when you add in environmental/emotional/etc factors and mix-and-match them, each person is going to be quite unique in the etiology of their weight gain.

I've gained weight eating fat, and lost weight eating fat. I've gained weight eating carbs, and lost weight eating carbs. I've tried lower food/tech reward and found it to be a nice way for me, personally, to reset some things that had spiraled out of control. Ketogenic diets also work great for me for certain purposes. But why try to push your individual experience or individual research on others?

If I remember correct, science increases in complexity as you go from the foundation on up: math to physics to chemistry to biology to physiology. Weight gain involves a bunch of those plus social factors. Why pretend to know all the answers? Everything is probably a little bit right. Except for healthywholegrains and arterycloggingsaturatedfat, that is.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on November 12, 2011
at 08:32 PM

Back in Black? Black Like Me? Jack Black? Okay, nap time.

7dc950fc76a046048e683d2a27dced37

on November 12, 2011
at 08:27 PM

I wouldn't mind the pimping so much if it didn't seem like it was getting in the way of discovering what's really going on.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on November 12, 2011
at 08:27 PM

That's a slippery slope right there-- if you change your opinion, I'll have to change mine, and on and on.

D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7

on November 12, 2011
at 08:24 PM

Pimps and hos, bro. BTW - Now that you are saying it is multivariate like I did, I will have to change my opinion.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on November 13, 2011
at 12:25 AM

good perspective conciliator, you'd make your namesake proud.

D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7

on November 12, 2011
at 08:30 PM

Word association Kumar - Black

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on November 12, 2011
at 08:28 PM

I mind the pimping! Purge the egos baby. We're in it to win it. Hold, on what the heck am I talking about? Need sleep...

Cf32992bfa1907147c7cdc451bba9c63

(2890)

on November 13, 2011
at 12:57 AM

I'm only half kidding.

D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7

on November 12, 2011
at 08:33 PM

No dummy, the right response was *white*. Go to sleep and call me when you have no class

Cf32992bfa1907147c7cdc451bba9c63

(2890)

on November 12, 2011
at 11:48 PM

People get fat because we eat more than we need to maintain bodyweight. Why do we eat more than we need? Food is extremely available, and we have made it more palatable than it was ever meant to be. Socially, we are pressured to eat. Physiologically, our bodyweight regulatory mechanisms are biased towards fat gain because our bodies love us so much they don't want us to starve to death. And finally, we are more sedentary than we have ever been throughout our evolution. I think that covers the main bases. Insulin is honestly not that important. You can get and stay fat on a ketogenic diet.

Cf32992bfa1907147c7cdc451bba9c63

(2890)

on November 13, 2011
at 12:56 AM

Thanks. Since we're on the subject of obesity, I think adding DNP to the water supply would be a good possible solution.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 14, 2011
at 10:19 AM

@conciliator - Talking about water, perhaps better idea then DNP is to forbid hot water. -- majkinetor

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 14, 2011
at 10:21 AM

@conciliator - I would opt for cold water before poison. The end effect on thermogenesis would be similar. Forbid hot water. I am only 1/4 kidding -- majkinetor

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 14, 2011
at 10:18 AM

@conciliator - Talking about water, perhaps its better idea then DNP is to forbid hot water. -- majkinetor

12
D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7

on November 12, 2011
at 07:57 PM

Faith - yes there will someday be a single hypothesis that will explain the obesity epidemic...someday, maybe not in our lifetime, but....IT WILL BE MULTIFACTORIAL!

Possible factors

  • Hormonal (ala Taubes, et al)
  • Reward (ala Guyenet, et al)
  • Epigenetics (ala Cate Shanahan, et al)
  • Neolithic Toxin consumption (ala KGH, Cordain, et al)
  • Micronutrient deficiency (ala Paul Jaminet, et al)
  • Energy balance (ala conventional wisdom)
  • Mitochrondial dysfunction (ala J. Stanton, Peter at Hyperlipid)
  • Psychological factors (ala Emily Deans)
  • TBDs....if only we knew what those are

EDIT: Preemptive strike - the names I listed are just a few of players. Yes, there are others. The point of inclusion is that there are many people on the hunt. Maybe if we collaborate rather than compete, we can move this ball forward quicker.

Also, I do not currently agree with the carb--> insulin --> obesity paradigm. However, that low carb is effective as a therapeutic measure is not in question to me based on so many success stories. Do hormones matter...of course they do. So the point being that causation vs remediation are two related but different matters.

D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7

on November 12, 2011
at 08:57 PM

I am reluctant to engage in this discussion given the sensitivity of the topic. I will part with obesity is arguably more of an issue with affluence and being in a food abundant environment than social policies of alleged "handouts"

6dd4c92d9c24c53c5c2fdbb12f79d08d

(128)

on November 12, 2011
at 08:39 PM

I would also add the rise of social security and welfare payments as a cause.

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on November 12, 2011
at 09:31 PM

Poverty is definitely associated with (and probably a contributer to) obesity, but I see no reason (and I live in the UK) to think that (supposedly) increased social security causes it. I suspect (given that a stronger welfare state would reduce poverty) that increased social security would decrease obesity.

6dd4c92d9c24c53c5c2fdbb12f79d08d

(128)

on November 12, 2011
at 08:59 PM

Come to the UK buddy and I think you'll see what I mean.

24df4e0d0e7ce98963d4641fae1a60e5

on November 12, 2011
at 10:13 PM

@David: I don't know about UK, but here in the US, poverty in general does not equate with the sort of abject poverty like we see in third world countries. My husband sees it every day up close and personal in the neighborhood in which he works.

6dd4c92d9c24c53c5c2fdbb12f79d08d

(128)

on November 12, 2011
at 08:53 PM

A cause, not a universal cause.

D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7

on November 12, 2011
at 08:33 PM

Thanks Kumar, fixed it. Such the spelling snob you are. Kepp relax, enjoy you sucess, and the lovelee time

24df4e0d0e7ce98963d4641fae1a60e5

on November 12, 2011
at 09:54 PM

One "hypothesis" explains all obesity: Energy Balance. It's how it gets unbalanced. Sometimes there's an underlying genetic/hormonal issue (e.g. leptin deficiency) that drives overeating, then there's Lustig's hypothalamic obese kids (hyperinsulinemic with all else normal, overeat/underactive). There's the starving children/fat adults (starvation during development leads to greater fat/lean mass ratio and lower BMR), etc.etc. Gut flora? Rodents are hindgut fermenters. The list can go on.

24df4e0d0e7ce98963d4641fae1a60e5

on November 12, 2011
at 09:56 PM

I think too many equate the automatic regulation of the brain with conscious thought is all, and this results in hurt feelings and such. And some things certainly snowball as obesity sets in. I was always active but when I got heavy to a point, activity became more and more difficult and downright painful.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on November 12, 2011
at 08:31 PM

You spelled Cordain wrong! Now it looks like an instrument that people play in the French subway. (a Cordian).

D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7

on November 12, 2011
at 08:48 PM

Simon - are you fucking kidding me? Yes, that what explains in the affluent area I live that there are so many obese people.

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on November 13, 2011
at 10:49 AM

@Evelyn. I agree, it's almost exclusively relative poverty (and the psychosocial and purely social) consequences in both cases, rather than abolute poverty (cost of healthier foods being a possible example of absolute poverty). I don't know why you think I disagree. Abject poverty would, of course, be more likely to lead to a simple shortage of calories. I hope that I know a little about poverty, having been to a school in a rough council estate, worked in a school with pupils 50%+ of whose parents had never been employed, being a political philosopher and engaged to a sociologist.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 14, 2011
at 09:47 AM

*One "hypothesis" explains all obesity: Energy Balance.* - Wow, thats like saying "One hypothesis explains hypertension: Too much tension" --majkinetor

24df4e0d0e7ce98963d4641fae1a60e5

on November 14, 2011
at 11:20 AM

@David: I guess I keyed in on your prior "greater social security" comment. My husband manages a store in a very poor neighborhood. At least half if not more of purchases there are made with the EBT (welfare debit-style) card. He sells a ton of candy and stuff like Arizona teas, while each week he has to trash out of date milk & eggs corporate policy requires he carry. The gallons of milk are cheaper than the drinks. There's a full grocery store within sight of his. Is it an education problem? Dunno. It's hard for me to fathom anyone thinking candy is nutritious.

24df4e0d0e7ce98963d4641fae1a60e5

on November 14, 2011
at 11:21 AM

Poor people have known what foods to scrimp and claw for forever ... why not now?

11
Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on November 13, 2011
at 03:02 AM

No, there isn't a single hypothesis that covers ALL obesity.

But much of obesity has to do with the HPA axis dysregulation.

And there are lots of super-dysregulating paths that have not been a part of our thinking and discussion here..

There are many ways for the HPA axis to get dysregulated/inflammed, as well as for brain development to get very, very skewed (brain development is use dependent.) At certain times of your life prominently, for just one, in the early teens, your brain is busy pruning what I think of as neuronal "arbors" that are not used, and developing neuronal "arbors" like wildfire that ARE used. Depending upon what your brain is exposed to, this can be a big, big deal and spawn big, big problems. Just take one simple thought...we needn't get all fancy about this. What if your brain as a 14 year old is constantly experiencing insults due to the environment that make you spew cortisol(and other juicy chemicals!) like crazy. Do you think this might affect your brain? Do you think it is possible that these brain effects could be very wipespread, ie., affect more than one "function?"

So, let's look at some that we haven't looked at -

http://www.weightlosssurgerychannel.com/breaking-wls-news/childhood-obesity-often-linked-to-trauma.html/

Let me say that with this link, I do not agree with the conclusion, but I understand that the conclusion had to be "sold" to the general public on a TV station, so it had to be greatly simplified. Perhaps you can apply your super hacker brains to what might be the effects in the brains of these people whose brains were bathed in at least cortisol, people who could be described as never feeling safe. Might they have developed some cortisol related conditions? Might an outcome of their brains being bathed in cortisol ad infinitum have led to the inflammation of the HPA that we know occurs through a variety of mechanisims, leading to probable depression, anxiety and other states originating at young ages, AND a high probability, in my opinion, of lots of endocrine system disruption/dyregulation that can greatly affect energy use and appetite/feelings of hunger?

http://www.nospank.net/stevens.htm

In this link, I think that their projection that trauma (think: brain changes) becomes a path to obesity for about 8% of the obese is probably conservative. But still, combine that with Lustig's identification/defining of a syndrome of vagally mediated beta cell hyperactivity that leads to insulin hypersecretion and obesity and which is treated by insulin suppression, a phenomenon which may occur in about 20% of the obese population, and we are now batting about 28% of the obese population.That's a big chunk of the total.

http://www.chc.ucsf.edu/coast/faculty_lustig.htm

Now, take a think on the following...The purpose of this "answer" (the entire post, including all of the above) is not to be an "answer." It is to broaden the thought pool for thinking about the question.

"This study not only confirms that ADHD is a highly prevalent condition in severely obese patients, but that the treatment of ADHD is associated with significant long-term weight loss in individuals with a lengthy history of weight loss failure.

Levy suggests, as I did in earlier postings on this topic, that ADHD should be considered as a primary cause of weight loss failure in obese patients."

http://www.drsharma.ca/still-more-on-adhd-and-obesity.html

"Attention deficit disorder with or without hyperactivity (ADD or ADHD) and impulsiveness has been associated with increased risk for weight gain in both children and adults. In one study, ADHD was present in over 25% of all obese patients and 40% of patients with class III obesity. Reasons for this prevalent co-morbidity are unknown, but brain dopamine or insulin receptor activity may be involved.

Patients with ADD or ADHD usually manifest a long history (since childhood) of impulsivity, lack of concentration, decreased attention, inability to complete tasks, impairment in school or work performance and social dysfunction. Being ???hyperactive??? in the sense of the DSM-IV diagnosis of ADHD does not prevent the development or persistence of overweight and obesity in children."

http://www.drsharma.ca/obesity-attention-deficit-disorder.html

"Regular readers will recall that almost 30% of adults with severe obesity may have signs of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and, when present, this can be a major barrier to weight management."

http://www.drsharma.ca/obesity-cognitive-behavioural-therapy-for-attention-deficit-disorder.html

"Childhood maltreatment or adverse experiences in five domains (emotional abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional neglect and physical neglect) have been reported as highly prevalent in patients with binge-eating syndrome. In one study, 83% of patients with binge eating reported some form of childhood maltreatment: 59% reported emotional abuse, 36% reported physical abuse, 30% reported sexual abuse, 69% reported emotional neglect, and 49% reported physical neglect."

http://www.drsharma.ca/obesity-abuse-neglect-and-post-traumatic-stress.html

Now, some more nice science background from one of the best of the best:

"Childhood is a dangerous time." "The home is the most violent place in America."

http://www.lfcc.on.ca/Perry_Core_Concepts_Violence_and_Childhood.pdf

"We are not designed for this modern world. The human brain is designed for the natural world. Small, multi-generational family groups living together."

http://www.mentalhealthconnection.org/pdfs/perry-2009-presentation.pdf

http://www.healing-arts.org/tir/perry_childhood_trauma_the_neurobilogy_of_adaptation_states.pdf

And a piece of PubMed research, because PubMed excites us so:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18193182

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15761171

http://www.uppitysciencechick.com/rohde_abuse_dep_obesity.pdf

For those who are prone to deeming the "psychological" to being "all in the head," be very, very clear that I disagree with you. And so does science.

With imaging, changes in the brain can be seen. Changes in the brain resulting from psychotherapy, which for too long was seen as another "all in the head" therapy, can also be seen/measured.

http://www.psychiatrictimes.com/display/article/10168/1926705

And to be really, really clear, nowhere in this post am I saying that if you are or have been a significantly overweight or obese person, that YOU suffered childhood trauma, have ADHD, or have suffered other linked adverse experiences.

This is a response to the question. And as I made clear from the outset, I do not buy into any single hypothesis for obesity, though I see some as far more compelling than others.

The purpose of this answer is to broaden the thinking field.

It is not to "prove" the information that I have presented, which is simply to get the "wheels turning."

I will leave you with a favorite quote:

"If 20 million people were infected by a virus that caused anxiety, impulsivity, aggression, sleep problems, depression, respiratory and heart problems, vulnerability to substance abuse, antisocial and criminal behavior, retardation and school failure, we would consider it an urgent public health crisis.(This was written in the mid 90's. Were Perry writing it now, he'd add obesity, I am sure.)

Yet, in the United States alone, there are more than 20 million abused, neglected and traumatized children vulnerable to these problems. Our society has yet to recognize this epidemic, let alone develop an immunization strategy." - Bruce D. Perry MD., PhD, The Child Trauma Academy

.

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on November 13, 2011
at 08:34 PM

@Aravind, JayJay and PaleoGran: Thank you.:)

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on November 13, 2011
at 02:53 PM

good stuff here...

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on November 13, 2011
at 07:31 PM

@Mallory: Indeed, the point you make IS THE POINT. The brain, its complexity and the numerous pathways that exist, via the brain, that lead to dysregulation ---> very real disease, disorder.

D31a2a2d43191b15ca4a1c7ec7d03038

(4134)

on November 13, 2011
at 06:45 PM

Mem, thank you for taking the time to post such a thought-inspiring answer.

D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7

on November 13, 2011
at 03:06 AM

Nice answer mem!

1f8384be58052b6b96f476e475abdc74

(2231)

on November 13, 2011
at 05:11 PM

it is interesting... i could throw up the same studies to prove almost any point though, you can link ANYThing back to the brain

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 14, 2011
at 09:49 AM

*For those who are prone to deeming the "psychological" to being "all in the head," be very, very clear that I disagree with you. And so does science.* - Great mem, thx for the nice observations --majkinetor

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on November 14, 2011
at 08:17 PM

@jac: Thanks, Jac. And thanks for taking the time to read it. Given your clinical background and specialty, I'm especially interested in your "take."

792634a784ec6a636c3137d0903e11b4

(1196)

on November 14, 2011
at 07:33 PM

My mind just exploded. That's a hell of a post, mem - give me a week to digest it all.

7
F040035b2008ec80b205481afbd39ad4

on November 12, 2011
at 09:36 PM

Our bodies and minds have evolved to respond to the properties of certain foods (and activities) that trigger hormonal, physiological and neurological responses within.

We are now eating foods that have been engineered to stimulate a subset of particular responses, but do not carry the nutritional payload expected by the body for that particular 'food signature'.

EDIT: Food engineers target those responses that translate to economic gain for the food-manufacturer.

You can imagine how in our evolutionary past Hebbian learning would tightly bind the nutritional quality of food and palate/taste...and perhaps even activity (predators hunt when hungry, whereas we jog having carbed-up).

Activity and lifestyle are also important factors - not to burn off energy, rather as a mechanism with which our body can understand the world - through energy expenditure and so forth.

How can I best summarise this....if someone opened up a computer and chucked a load of seawater in to it how would you work out which bit got destroyed first? The motherboard? CPU? RAM? Some other bit? By this I mean that there are several important functions within the body - not simply organs, but also messaging systems in the form of hormonal cascades and so forth. You can screw up any one of them, or several at the same time - and cause deleterous effects 'downstream'....be wise with your choice of 'inputs'.

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25477)

on November 13, 2011
at 04:09 PM

Dude this is a great comment and you and I see this issue. Plus one.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 14, 2011
at 09:20 AM

Nice answer. That is the point of lowcarb (50g < CHO < 100g) diet for me - it fixes things for most people, no matter what component failed.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 14, 2011
at 09:21 AM

It looks like reward theory is becoming popular.

F040035b2008ec80b205481afbd39ad4

(1837)

on November 14, 2011
at 01:11 PM

And this is why I have some days of very high protein, some days low protein, some days high calories and some days of low calories (IF), some days high carn and some days VLC! And this is also why there is seasonal bias in my diet (and in my sleeping patterns and in terms of exposing myself to cold). I have freed my 'inner actuary' to manage the BF for me and let him choose the appropriate metabolic pathway!

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 14, 2011
at 09:21 AM

Nice answer. That is the point of lowcarb (50g < CHO < 100g) diet for me - it fixes things for most people, no matter what component failed. --majkinetor

3864f9a2af09b1b447c7963058650a34

(3703)

on November 15, 2011
at 06:09 AM

ASCLEPIUS. u rock!!!!!

F040035b2008ec80b205481afbd39ad4

(1837)

on November 14, 2011
at 03:18 PM

I should probably take this opportunity to publicise J Stanton's Why Are We Hungry series which gives a scientific backbone to this idea: http://www.gnolls.org/2304/why-are-we-hungry-part-1-what-is-hunger-liking-vs-wanting-satiation-vs-satiety/

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 14, 2011
at 01:29 PM

I practice that approach for now too. --majkinetor

5
E167c0387a5f0b87bb1f2c3e6aec73a8

(1240)

on November 12, 2011
at 11:13 PM

Consumerism. That leads to inflation. Of the waist. No really i think it has to do with the cult of consumption and distraction.

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25477)

on November 13, 2011
at 04:10 PM

plus one........

1f8384be58052b6b96f476e475abdc74

(2231)

on November 13, 2011
at 05:14 PM

this..... i agree 100%

4
3a567c1637db69f1455ce35e78201a2c

(1054)

on November 13, 2011
at 03:02 AM

When I look at factory company photos from the 1920s through the 60s with all the employees lined up on risers, there is never a fat, obese, slightly overweight employee...ever.

They ate real food like lard, butter, beef, chicken, unadulterated veggies and no fruit from places other than the local environs. No hybridized dwarf wheat, no hydrogenated anything, no margarine, none of the unpronounceable ingredients on packaged "foods", no soybean,canola,veg,saffower or other frankenstein oils.

The one hypothesis that makes sense to me is the introduction of "foods" that our bodies only know how to store. And that has only happened since the mid sixties.

We are living the legacy of Ancel Keys and the lipid hypothesis that eating fat will kill you.

That is the only hypothesis that works for the advent of obesity. Take away neolithic foods and the obesity epidemic would abate.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on November 13, 2011
at 03:58 AM

From 1920-1960 fruit usually came from a can. Strawberries were in season for about 3 weeks. The only lettuce was iceberg.

3a567c1637db69f1455ce35e78201a2c

(1054)

on November 13, 2011
at 04:32 AM

Fruit in a can did not contain HFCS back then. And my parents were both office workers during the early 50s and both were slim and athletic. Then started the decline into fatdom in the 60s as newly minted neolithic convenience foods were introduced. Both died of complications of fatdom far too early. Butter was good sat fat. And bacon grease was the favorite Crisco of my gmother and mother for making their pies. The flour was not highly hybridized in the 40s-50s by Monsanto.

3a567c1637db69f1455ce35e78201a2c

(1054)

on November 13, 2011
at 04:46 AM

Fruit in a can did not contain HFCS back then. And my parents were both office workers during the early 50s and both were slim and athletic. Then started the decline into fatdom in the 60s as newly minted neolithic convenience foods were introduced. Both died of complications of fatdom far too early. Butter was good sat fat. And bacon grease was the favorite fat of my gmother and mother used Crisco for making pies. The flour was not highly hybridized in the 40s-50s by Monsanto.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on November 13, 2011
at 06:13 PM

Lipid hypothesis does not explain reduced use of tobacco which is a good legal appetite suppressant. And the worst of the fattening Neolithic foods contain more lipid calories than carbs. Like pierogies many of these foods have been around for centuries, but have only recently caused obesity. The modern fat pierogies eaters I know consume them like trenchermen. Maybe you can put some blame on veg vs animal fat content, but I'll counter that these fat guys aren't out digging trenches. They're sitting in front of PC's all day and they'd be just as fat eating bacon, butter and eggs.

3a567c1637db69f1455ce35e78201a2c

(1054)

on November 13, 2011
at 09:42 PM

Dude, the title of the posting is "Because everything you think you know about obesity is wrong" Obviously you did not even bother to open up the link before you got your feathers ruffled.

3a567c1637db69f1455ce35e78201a2c

(1054)

on November 13, 2011
at 04:34 AM

Fruit in a can did not contain HFCS back then. And my parents were both office workers during the early 50s and both were slim and athletic. Then started the decline into fatdom in the 60s as newly minted neolithic convenience foods were introduced. Both died of complications of fatdom far too early. Butter was good sat fat. And bacon grease was the favorite Crisco of my gmother and mother used Crisco for making pies. The flour was not highly hybridized in the 40s-50s by Monsanto.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on November 13, 2011
at 09:18 PM

That hostile rudeness earns you a downvote dextery.

3a567c1637db69f1455ce35e78201a2c

(1054)

on November 13, 2011
at 04:24 AM

Fruit in a can did not contain HFCS back then. And my parents were both office workers during the early 50s and both were slim and athletic. Then started the decline into fatdom in the 60s as newly minted neolithic convenience foods were introduced. Both died of complications of fatdom far too early. Butter was good sat fat. And bacon grease with the favorite Crisco of my gmother and mother for making their pies. The flour was not highly hybridized in the 40s by Monsanto.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on November 13, 2011
at 01:20 PM

@dextery going back to 1920-1960 doesn't get to the paleo concept. That was also the heyday of cornflakes and Wheaties, high dietary salt, and acceptance of smoking any time, anywhere. Food wasn't generally as convenient as it is now, whether from the drive-through, or ready-to-eat from grocery stores. When I was a kid pizza was rare and exotic.

3a567c1637db69f1455ce35e78201a2c

(1054)

on November 13, 2011
at 05:04 PM

@thhg Tell me why the lipid hypothesis did not result in the advent of obesity. People avoided real food and were sold margarine and Crisco as a superior replacement for lard. Boxed wheat products were not GMO. Frankenoils replaced butter and lard. Very few people prior to Ancel were fat.

3a567c1637db69f1455ce35e78201a2c

(1054)

on November 13, 2011
at 08:01 PM

http://www.zoeharcombe.com/2010/11/cholesterol-heart-disease-%E2%80%93-there-is-a-relationship-but-it%E2%80%99s-not-what-you-think/ I would add this link to the obesity epidemic. Because everything you think you know about obesity is wrong.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on November 13, 2011
at 03:51 AM

LOL. The good old meat and potatoes. Butter paleo though? I have another thought about those workers. It comes from reading a Jean Sheperd story about his first encounter with pierogies. He could not stop stuffing himself. Properly doused with bacon grease pierogies are literally slid from bowl to mouth without a spoon. Now if you just came back from a day of hard labor at a 50's steel mill you could eat like that and not get fat. No one works like that anymore. But the pierogies are still around, still just as easy to eat.

3a567c1637db69f1455ce35e78201a2c

(1054)

on November 13, 2011
at 05:08 PM

We have far too many new "foods" hitting our digestive tracts that our systems do not know how to handle since Ancel arrived on the scene. This is why eating primal reduces obesity.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on November 13, 2011
at 06:22 PM

Take humble dough as an example. Whether you use butter or crisco, it's 2/3 fat 1/3 carb. And this ubiquitous wrap can be at least half the calories in a potsticker, a pierogie or a fruit pie.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on November 14, 2011
at 04:24 PM

OK dextery I finally got off the hand held to a computer and read your zoe link. More conspiracy stuff to show that conventional wisdom is wrong. My obesity is gone, and it has very little to do with crisco or butter. I hope zoe is helping you, but it's rude to post up a link and an insult instead of just explaining yourself.

24df4e0d0e7ce98963d4641fae1a60e5

on November 14, 2011
at 02:54 AM

Ahh Zoe... A woman who lost some weight and maintained it on a high fiber high veggie, no animal flesh ovo lacto vegetarian diet but tells others to eat otherwise as the key.

3
Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25477)

on November 13, 2011
at 04:00 PM

Beth this is a great question and plus one for asking it. My answer is short. No I don't see it that way at all. It is many domino's hitting our biochemistry often and sequentially that erodes efficiency.

3
Ed3b9a64b153b47e64892f7cf9129cb2

(30)

on November 13, 2011
at 01:52 PM

It is really basic. We have, in our society a combination of unlimited food availability, in most cases, and no requirement to expend energy in order to get the food. We don't pick it, catch it, chase it..........we just buy it. Your body uses energy. When you move more, it uses more energy. If you can walk into a store, reach into your pocket and pay someone for it, you haven't expended much energy in relation to the caloric intake. It's really that simple. Lots of information about this subject at www.PrimitiveHealth.blogspot.com

7dc950fc76a046048e683d2a27dced37

on November 13, 2011
at 03:45 PM

I don't disagree with this, but the interesting question (to me anyways) is what protects the 30% or so who don't become overweight or obese in this environment. Is it all genetics?

Medium avatar

(10611)

on November 13, 2011
at 04:40 PM

Here's an idea beth. 100 years ago we were all more tribal. We ate our national diets, whatever they were, and conformed to certain cultural norms. All of this is fading, for better or worse. I can eat any diet, anywhere, anytime, but I'm missing the cultural norming to know how much sauerbraten, or pho, or chili verde is enough. Perhaps the 30% is a relict population which maintains its cultural memory.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on November 13, 2011
at 02:55 PM

And when we walk into the store, we don't buy that standby appetite suppressant tobacco as much as we used to. So defy conventional wisdom and your surgeon general! Smoke em if you've got em!

7dc950fc76a046048e683d2a27dced37

on November 14, 2011
at 12:10 PM

I think the cultural aspect is critically important too.

3
24df4e0d0e7ce98963d4641fae1a60e5

on November 12, 2011
at 09:00 PM

Hi Beth ... Just to clarify my position, I do NOT believe there is a single hypothesis that can explain obesity. Indeed to say there is one single hypothesis is downright ridiculous in my opinion. Perhaps I need to be more careful in my wording there, because when we're talking about obesity hypotheses these days, the focus is basically on the epidemic. Specifically: Why did obesity rates snowball from sometime in the late 70's to mid 80's?

This is where Taubes' hypothesis fails before it even comes out of the gate. I grew up during that time so I know what we ate as kids that did not make us all rolly polly pudge balls. Back when "kid's cereals" went by names like Sugar Frosted Flakes ... and kids put more sugar on top of that.

So let me rephrase a bit and say that any theory of modern obesity must be consistent with the observation of the obesity epidemic we are seeing. It does not need to explain all of it, but it must be consistent with it at the very least.

In this regard, Stephan Guyenet's rendering of food reward comes closest but doesn't account for what I believe to be other factors. Perhaps this is why he called it A dominant factor. Activity does play a role, and I'm not talking exercise, I'm talking little stuff that adds up. Taubes doubled down in WWGF. It's the carbs, insulin, only the carbs, and calories have nothing to do with it. Dietary fat has no influence on body weight.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on November 12, 2011
at 09:08 PM

And parents made brownies, cookies and cakes on weekends and pancakes with maple syrup ... and fruit was locally grown and very ripe vs the cardboard sold as fruit today (much less sweet.) Also, kids drank whole milk and ate lot of bacon and sausage and sandwiches with mayo for lunch--and were skinny.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 14, 2011
at 01:26 PM

Is that relevant to discussion ? --majkinetor

24df4e0d0e7ce98963d4641fae1a60e5

on November 12, 2011
at 09:48 PM

@Asclepius: I think Stephan would answer this with a reset of the setpoint which I tend to disagree with. I think it speaks to "passive overeating" of calorie dense foods. In this way, folks need not be gluttons in the classic sense -- after all, I know obese people who eat two sometimes just one meal per day. But have you checked the calorie counts for a "normal" meal at any of those family style restaurants? Easily enough calories for Mark Sisson for a day. So you hit on it -- they return to old habits, then gain back until they are in caloric balance.

F040035b2008ec80b205481afbd39ad4

(1837)

on November 12, 2011
at 09:43 PM

Wrt 'food reward' - I have known obese friends whose weight was stable at 30%BF. They'd diet down to 15%BF, then (eventually), give in to their old ways and rebound back up to 30%BF where once again (and despite their bad diet), their weight would eventually stabilise. I'm sure we all know folk like this. So how can food be hyperpalatable for them until they are back upto to a particular level of obesity, from where suddenly, according to the idea of hyperpalatability, they suddenly find previously hyperpalatable foods no longer hyperpalatable?

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 14, 2011
at 01:32 PM

Is that disappointing ? --majkinetor

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 14, 2011
at 01:32 PM

Is my presence disappointing ?

B4e1fa6a8cf43d2b69d97a99dfca262c

(10255)

on November 12, 2011
at 09:34 PM

i was born in the 60s and Mom knew nothing about nutrition having been raised in a broken family; no one passed on any food wisdom to her. i was fat before i hit my first birthday and both my sisters became over weight in their early 20s. i still struggle with weight inspite of decades of effort. conversely my children have no issues with weight.

7dc950fc76a046048e683d2a27dced37

on November 13, 2011
at 12:31 AM

Evelyn, thanks for the comment. I find your comments/blog posts re the affects of perpetual overnutrition compelling as well.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 14, 2011
at 09:36 AM

I mean, its not like you can get obese by binging on coconut oil. Farmers tried it already, according to Ray Peat, on pigs, and they achieved the opposite. It looks like its very easy to get obese by binging on fructose however. --majkinetor

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 14, 2011
at 01:33 PM

or my presence is disappointing for you ? --majkinetor

24df4e0d0e7ce98963d4641fae1a60e5

on November 14, 2011
at 01:25 PM

Weren't you banned?

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 14, 2011
at 09:34 AM

Evelyin, your claim why Taubes failes is wrong - while there is no single way to cause obesity, there are better and worst ways. One is dominant for sure. -- majkinetor

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 14, 2011
at 01:27 PM

Is that relevant to discussion ? -- majkinetor

F040035b2008ec80b205481afbd39ad4

(1837)

on November 15, 2011
at 09:29 PM

Hi Evelyn - just a quick question; when you talk about "passive overeating" it begs the question what is the evolved purpose of hunger and appetite? I mean if you eat 'more' in one meal (passively or otherwise), surely we should go longer between meals before hunger strikes again, or if we eat at the next meal, our appetite be blunted such that we eat smaller portions? Then (AFAIK) there is also a potential increase in metabolic rate, fidgeting, futile cycling etc. to ri any 'excess' calories. It looks to me that in some ways the dice are loaded against excessive weightgain! Thoughts?

24df4e0d0e7ce98963d4641fae1a60e5

on November 16, 2011
at 02:29 AM

contd. Add in preportioned fast foods -- e.g. if you're only hungry enough for 4" of a 6" Subway what are you likely to do? Throw away 2", wrap it for later, or eat it? All together it makes overconsuming w/o being a glutton to the casual observer.

F040035b2008ec80b205481afbd39ad4

(1837)

on November 15, 2011
at 09:37 PM

Hi Evelyn - just a quick question; when you talk about "passive overeating" it begs the question what is the evolved purpose of hunger and appetite? I mean if you eat 'more' in one meal (passively or otherwise), surely we should go longer between meals before hunger strikes again, or if we eat at the next meal, our appetite be blunted such that we eat smaller portions? Then (AFAIK) there is also a potential increase in metabolic rate, fidgeting, futile cycling etc... to rid any 'excess' calories. It looks to me that in some ways the dice are loaded against excessive weightgain! Thoughts?

F040035b2008ec80b205481afbd39ad4

(1837)

on November 16, 2011
at 07:52 PM

Con'd. I definitely agree with the idea of our bodies detecting the calorie content (and nutritional content), of food. But putting habit aside, I still see no explanation that ties in the evolved nature of hunger and appetite. Even if I 'overeat', I simply eat less later on, or push my meals back. This often happens after a traditional Fried English Breakfast. It does appear that some of us are triggered by an 'evolutionary something' to adjust calories in and stay lean. Anyway, keep up the blogging. You're a valuable asset in the paleosphere!

24df4e0d0e7ce98963d4641fae1a60e5

on November 16, 2011
at 02:27 AM

Hi Asclepius, I tend to think that our bodies can sense fat calories and can sense carb calories, but they don't sense the caloric level in the mix. In nature virtually no foods exist where carbs and fats are both plentiful (milk being a notable exception). We also eat out of habit, etc. So while ideally if I eat too much at breakfast, I eat a later lunch or skip it entirely ... in practice that doesn't (or rather didn't) always happen.

F040035b2008ec80b205481afbd39ad4

(1837)

on November 16, 2011
at 07:47 PM

Hi Evelyn - regarding 'set point', I find it curious that the obese I know seem to have a stable weight without dieting, but, the minute you diet them down to leanness, their weight is much harder to stabilise. This hints at some kind of 'defended BF' rather than passive overeating. Whether that signal is hormonal or electrical/neurological I don't know. I guess we'd need to find a controlled study to settle it. It seems that just as I can broadly eat what I want without weight change, they can eat what they want without weight changes as long as they're at their 'natural' obese weight.

2
Medium avatar

(10611)

on November 12, 2011
at 08:52 PM

I had thought about posting this as a question, but any port in a storm. Here's my hypothesis.

Obesity is caused by fast food.

Feel free to gut it, but here's why I believe it, in short form. Easy food accessibility, fast eating, and good flavor result in overconsumption before satiation can happen physiologically. Super Size Me illustrates the hypothesis.

The techno body-as-chemistry-lab hypotheses are just not broad enough to describe obesity as a social phenomena. We're not gathered on the game trails anymore because it's so easy to use the drive throughs.

6426d61a13689f8f651164b10f121d64

(11488)

on November 12, 2011
at 10:07 PM

Does fast food contribute to obesity in many cases? Yes. Is it THE cause of obesity? No. I'm sure there are millions of obese people who don't eat fast food. Also, much of "Super Size Me" has been debunked by Tom Naughton in "Fat Head" ( http://www.fathead-movie.com/ )

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 14, 2011
at 10:22 AM

@Thhq - Fast food = malnutrition + food reward + toxins. -- majkientor

Medium avatar

(10611)

on November 13, 2011
at 12:15 AM

What struck me this morning was how I've been conditioned to bolt down my food. If I do that leptin and satiation don't have a chance. I used to eat rapidly until I was volumetrically full which is way beyond being satisfied. Now I savor my food and take my time eating.

24df4e0d0e7ce98963d4641fae1a60e5

on November 12, 2011
at 10:05 PM

This is actually simplistic but if one had to put it in 6 words, there could be none more accurate. Fast food = cheap. Fast food = engineered and tested by food scientists to maximize "eat more". Fast food = high calorie/low nutrient/low protein v. carb&fat. Fast food = no effort to attain, heck drive thru! Fast food = ready in 0 min (or under 10 for frozen/packaged crap). Fast food = higher in sugar/salt/fat than palatable w/o emulsifiers/stabilizers/magic. Fast food = not knowing what's in there (or wanting to). Fast Food = Fattening Food. FF = FF. Can we put that eq on the Quilt??

792634a784ec6a636c3137d0903e11b4

(1196)

on November 14, 2011
at 07:37 PM

My n=1 has nothing to do with fast food. I think I had my first Macca burger when I was in my 20s, and I was obese by then.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on November 14, 2011
at 08:38 PM

I was fat eating 60's home cooking. No sense of portion control, just eat until full. It was mostly fat/sugar/starch because meat was expensive. We drove 40 miles to get a mcdo burger back in the day, an exotic treat for fifteen cents.

2
96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on November 12, 2011
at 08:10 PM

I wonder if part of finding the one-hypothesis-fits-all will be a series of trials with human volunteers of at least 2 types: healthy folks with great metabolism and obese folks with clearly deranged metabolism. I'm thinking the easier challenge would be showing that the deranged metabolism can be shifted back to healthy using the hypothesis, but the tougher challenge would be shifting healthy subjects to a "sick" metabolism (and back) due to ethical issues.

Anyhow, if you can't affect metabolism in predictable ways how can you prove a hypothesis?

2
Medium avatar

on November 12, 2011
at 08:06 PM

I think Taubes does a better job of explaining how people don't get lean or get flabby vs. actually get obese. Presently, I'm convinced that it's the result of the massive recent increase in dietary excitotoxic amino acids (typically in the form of MSG and aspartame) that damage the leptin receptors of the hypothalamus' arcuate nucleus (which is unshielded by the blood-brain barrier).

Cf32992bfa1907147c7cdc451bba9c63

(2890)

on November 12, 2011
at 11:45 PM

You don't need to blame excitotoxins. You could simply say that humans bodyweight regulatory mechanisms are biased towards weight gain as a result of our evolution. If a rat gets fat, he cannot escape predators. If a human gets fat, he can survive a famine. It could be as simple as saying humans are predisposed to fat gain. No need to invoke leptin, which works marvelously at its main function: to stop people from starving.

Medium avatar

(39831)

on November 13, 2011
at 12:49 AM

So your argument is that there was never in our evolution a downside to human fattening on any scale and that we have no mechanisms to upregulate satiety in the presence of excess fat?

7dc950fc76a046048e683d2a27dced37

on November 12, 2011
at 08:16 PM

Interesting! Me, I find both brain and body arguments compelling (before [email protected] went all in with Taubes, he had a great post re NADS-related hepatic failure). I just wonder whether these are chicken or egg issues.

Medium avatar

(39831)

on November 13, 2011
at 01:21 AM

http://ajpendo.physiology.org/content/273/1/E202.short The question for me is if we're talking about permanent damage that occurred during development or ongoing damage that can be repaired through the avoidance of supraphysiological doses of excitatory amino acids.

Medium avatar

(39831)

on November 13, 2011
at 02:18 AM

Well, we could look at the highest per capita intake of MSG in Asia (Taiwan) and see if they are encountering any sort of obesity problems. http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2009/12/14/2003460910

Medium avatar

(39831)

on November 13, 2011
at 07:33 PM

Let's stick with leptin for the moment though. http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v392/n6674/abs/392398a0.html If we do not receive the signal for whatever reason, the hypothalamus thinks our fat stores have been depleted and we are starving, right?

Medium avatar

(39831)

on November 12, 2011
at 11:33 PM

Yeah, I don't really know, but there needs to be a breakdown of the regulatory system explained by whichever theory is most probable. I can add a lot of fat to my dog's food and he'll get progressively less hungry as he gains fat. I believe this phenomenon has been studied in humans.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 14, 2011
at 09:32 AM

I do think that food reward theory is sound however, marijuana proves that without doubt - you can design food, like lolio noted, to trigger certain addictive pathways and to make other foods unpalatable. I don't think food palatability is fixed - it changes with receptor training. -- majkinetor

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 14, 2011
at 09:27 AM

*If a rat gets fat, he cannot escape predators. If a human gets fat, he can survive a famine* - You can imagine anything like this really. I don't say it might not be correct, I just don't see how anybody can come to that conclusion. For all we know, it might be externally controlled (i.e. via seasonal fructose)

Cf32992bfa1907147c7cdc451bba9c63

(2890)

on November 13, 2011
at 06:07 AM

One could not argue that they are being injected unless they are actually being INJECTED. There is a nontrivial difference between injection and ingestion. And if you want to use epidemiological studies I can go find a whole host of evidence for whole grains being healthy. I can also point to obese people who don't consume MSG or aspartame. Not to mention that obese people who lose weight don't display signs you would expect of those with some leptin deficiency such as hyperphagia. Obese people who diet down gain the weight back due to psychological reverting to old habits.

Cf32992bfa1907147c7cdc451bba9c63

(2890)

on November 13, 2011
at 01:51 AM

I will be sure to not INJECT my pet RATS with LARGE quantities of MSG. On a more serious note, it is a very interesting paper, but we have to keep in mind there is human research that should take precedence. The amount of things that work on rats and do not work on humans is truly mind boggling, and also sad, because I think we could solve the rat obesity crisis. Human research finds drops in leptin levels correlate to increased hunger when on a diet, which seems to imply leptin is working well and not saturating receptors.

Medium avatar

(39831)

on November 13, 2011
at 02:19 AM

One could argue that they are being injected with large amounts of MSG in utero. To be clear, when I talk about obesity, I don't mean crossing the BMI threshold definition, I mean the very fattest among us probably consume the most excitatory amino acids.

Cf32992bfa1907147c7cdc451bba9c63

(2890)

on November 13, 2011
at 12:55 AM

No, my argument is that the reason our mechanisms of weight control suck, in general, is because, in general, there has been more selective pressure to gain weight than to lose weight. I do not deal in absolutes. If you have any sort of studies showing a causal relationship between leptin sensitivity and MSG/aspartame I would love to see them.

Medium avatar

(39831)

on November 13, 2011
at 05:29 PM

Before you mainline a huge bolus of MSG and enter full CAPSLOCK mode, let's step back a bit and hash out each of your objections to this hypothesis one at a time. It seems to me that leptin might be a good place to start, but we can start wherever you like. Now then, is it your contention that leptin is vestigial in the modern world and that leptin resistance as it's described is a red herring in the investigation of the obesity epidemic?

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 14, 2011
at 09:28 AM

*If a rat gets fat, he cannot escape predators. If a human gets fat, he can survive a famine* - You can imagine anything like this really. I don't say it might not be correct, I just don't see how anybody can come to that conclusion. For all we know, it might be externally controlled (i.e. via seasonal fructose) -- majkinetor

Cf32992bfa1907147c7cdc451bba9c63

(2890)

on November 13, 2011
at 01:03 AM

And besides, acute overfeeding of fat doesn't trigger increased satiety through leptin increases, it does it by suppressing ghrelin. In the long term yes adipose tissue creates leptin. And NEAT, which is also hugely important, is not under the direct power of leptin. Orexins are important here too. So are catecholamines. We have many mechanisms of maintaining bodyweight, and yet they all suck, in general. Except in cases of losing weight, they all seem to work. To me, that implies the methods aren't broken, they are just meant to work better for keeping us plump than keeping us lean.

Cf32992bfa1907147c7cdc451bba9c63

(2890)

on November 13, 2011
at 06:56 PM

I guess all I'm trying to say is that it's complicated and blaming something like excitotoxins doesn't help anybody. Most obese people do not exercise, they do not eat healthy foods... so you have to ask yourself if you think it's hyperphagia caused by a physiological breakdown, or if it's more a question of really bad unhealthy habits that they cannot break. Likewise, long term weight loss has the same order of success rate as drug addiction. Similar, in my mind.

Cf32992bfa1907147c7cdc451bba9c63

(2890)

on November 13, 2011
at 06:51 PM

Sorry, I caps lock because I can't italicize or bold. I do it to mimic the emphasis in my speech. Anyway, my contention is that leptin as a means of controlling bodyweight has lost its efficacy to keep bodyweight down. It still works marvelously to keep you from starving to death. I don't think it's as simple as saying leptin resistance causes obesity, or obesity causes leptin resistance. Like I said in response to Kamal's comment, there are many important factors that cause obesity. One important one is that our bodies are biased to prefer weight gain.

Cf32992bfa1907147c7cdc451bba9c63

(2890)

on November 13, 2011
at 06:53 PM

And things like insulin and leptin resistance can be explained as occurring secondarily to obesity. Like I said, obese people can be dieted down without getting very hungry. You just switch out nonsatiating foods for satiating ones and they don't show symptoms you'd expect from some sort of physiological pathology. So I believe that in many people, leptin and insulin do not function well as adiposity signals and therefore they gain weight. I also believe that in cases of obesity, insulin resistance and leptin resistance potentiate or cause this problem.

Medium avatar

(39831)

on November 13, 2011
at 07:32 PM

One asterisk on either side for italics, 2 for bold btw. I totally agree that we have an inherent fat-gain bias without which we would likely have died out. I think blaming excitotoxins could help someone like a pregnant woman who doesn't want to doom her kid to obesity (or perhaps autism as well...). This is assuming that I'm right.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 14, 2011
at 09:29 AM

*Most obese people do not exercise, they do not eat healthy foods* - maybe a consequence of obesity ? Most non-obese people eat junk food too. --majkientor

3864f9a2af09b1b447c7963058650a34

(3703)

on November 15, 2011
at 06:15 AM

excellent travis

-1
93ae9f2d376e5426e891a9b58d8302fa

(2936)

on November 12, 2011
at 09:04 PM

Three words: Taubes Taubes Taubes.

EDITED TO ADD:

The question is, what caused the epidemic, which means we can ignore the baseline rate of obesity that existed in statistical studies before the advent of the epidemic. Thyroid problems? Ignore 'em! Pituitary problem? Fuggetaboutit!

That stuff does NOT count!

What counts is, the low-fat high-carb heart-healthy propaganda that sent the whole nation into a death march. That's what counts!

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on November 12, 2011
at 11:25 PM

If you love him so much, why don't you marry him.

93ae9f2d376e5426e891a9b58d8302fa

(2936)

on November 13, 2011
at 12:30 AM

thug - there's a third way to take it. You're being too literal, ignoring the context. Yes, I mangled my meaning, but read the original post and put it in context.

7d64d3988de1b0e493aacf37843c5596

(2861)

on November 12, 2011
at 11:14 PM

Meh. Taubes is crayon science. And it is more of the weight-loss kool-aid - "just do this one thing to lose weight" – cut calories, cut fat, cut carbs, eat grapefruit, eat paleo lemon squares, etc…

93ae9f2d376e5426e891a9b58d8302fa

(2936)

on November 13, 2011
at 12:14 AM

Okay, okay. Just get me a date with Taubes!

93ae9f2d376e5426e891a9b58d8302fa

(2936)

on November 13, 2011
at 12:45 AM

I'm sorry, thhg, my auto spell has a low opinion of you.

Medium avatar

(39831)

on November 12, 2011
at 11:25 PM

Let's hear more about these lemon squares plz.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on November 13, 2011
at 12:10 AM

huey, also please refrain from posting sexual stuff about me (or others).

Medium avatar

(10611)

on November 13, 2011
at 12:07 AM

I'm still not getting it huey. Your response can be taken a couple of ways. First one is that Taubes is the cause of the obesity crisis. I don't think so. Second one is that it's football Saturday and you're shouting out a cheer for Taube's hypothesis

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 14, 2011
at 09:42 AM

*If you love him so much, why don't you marry him* - and this is not sexist or rude ? Some animals are more equal then others. Keep them coming Melissa. I always enjoy your daily portion of rudeness... -- majkinetor

93ae9f2d376e5426e891a9b58d8302fa

(2936)

on November 12, 2011
at 11:34 PM

Oh Melissa, I dreamt of you last night. You in nothing but those boots! Ooo!

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