The Good News Food and Health Research Team
a few brothers and sisters discussing how to feel better . . .
This material is linked from The Sherman Weather Report,
as further support for the claim that our nutritional establishment has
it backwards about carbs and fats, and about saturated and
For a detailed explanation of how metabolism is affected by too much
sugar, in particular the fructose part of it, see: http://www.indiana.edu/~oso/Fructose/Fructose.html
I had an epiphany about food and weight a few months ago, not my own
idea, but glimpsed as I came out of the fog of previous
assumptions. It is now well confirmed by further reading.
In 25 words or less, WE GET FAT BECAUSE WE TAKE IN CALORIES OF THE
WRONG KIND, AND THEY CAUSE OUR METABOLISM TO STORE FAT RATHER THAN BURN
IT. Genetics determines that some of us fall to this and others
do not, but in our food culture almost everyone disposed this way will
be overweight with blood sugar problems.
Our guilty food culture is full of sugar and starch, the “white stuff,”
the simple or “refined” carbohydrates. In a nutshell—no, in a
candy wrapper: these flood the blood with glucose; insulin comes to the
rescue, pulling glucose into fat cells and inhibiting the burning of
these fats as fuel; the eaters are not satiated and lack energy; they
eat more and exercise less, to the same unfortunate effect. Add
to this that all the fructose (half of table sugar and high fructose
corn syrup) overwhelms the liver, leading to fatty liver disease and
more undesirables in the blood. Over time, the recurring high
level of insulin produces insulin resistance, and eventually the
pancreas cannot produce enough, so you have type 2 diabetes.
The best source I know on this is Why We Get Fat, by Gary Taubes, who
also wrote the larger book, Good Calories, Bad Calories. David
Perlmutter’s The Grain Brain adds to these problems that wheat is now
so laden with gluten that it is bad for us, including long-term
neurological effects. These two authors alone make it plain that
we could cut our medical costs in half if we ate more wisely.
Taubes explains that the Calories-In/Calories-Out theory is a
true but tells us nothing about what to do. It is a biological
truism: Yes, if you gain weight you are taking in more than you are
expending, but Why? He says we eat too much because we are
getting fat, rather than getting fat because we eat too much. You
can force yourself to not eat and/or exercise, causing some weight
loss, but you probably cannot keep it up, because you are both hungry
and weak. You could even be sacrificing muscle (thus losing
weight), while retaining fat. The real question is, what are the
hormones causing your body to do with its nutrients? If you are
young and growing, you will take in more than you put out, because the
growth hormone determines that the calories go to new body mass (and
you may be both tired and hungry). But in overweight people the
hormone that regulates blood sugar is doing this in a perverse way,
storing fat, leaving us hungry and weak, effectively forcing us to take
in more than we put out. This is because simple carbohydrates are
flooding our bloodstreams with glucose and making the insulin work
Taubes gives many convincing examples. A Native American tribe in
Arizona was trim and active until economic changes got them eating U.S.
government rations, with lots of sugar and flour. In about a
generation they became fat and sedentary. Taubes says we
like to blame obesity on sloth and gluttony, but saying they SHOULD eat
less or exercise more is fruitless. The weight and activity level
are EFFECTS of the KIND of food, rather than the AMOUNT of food and
inactivity being the CAUSE of the weight.
Female rats have had their ovaries removed, and they became
fat. Without estrogen they could not regulate the insulin.
We might think that without estrogen they had increased appetite, but
when they were kept from overeating they still got fat but became
inactive. Picture fat female rats, lying around their
Calories-in/Calories-out is a biological truism: if hormones cause the
calories to be stored as fat, energy is missing, and the animal will
eat more or do less. If he can’t do less, he will harvest his own
muscle tissue. Animals can be starved and still remain fat.
Possibly we could learn to not do that to ourselves.
Here is more detail from page 295, Good Calories, Bad Calories, by Gary Taubes
An obvious example of this reverse causation would be
pregnant women, who are driven to fatten by hormonal changes. This
hormonal drive induces hunger and lethargy as a result. In the context
of evolution, these expanded fat stores would assure the availability
of the necessary calories to nurse the infants after birth and assure
the viability of the offspring. The mother's weight loss after birth
may also be regulated by hormonal changes, just as it appears to be in
What may be the single most incomprehensible aspect of the last
half-century of obesity research is the failure of those -involved to
grasp the fact that both hunger and sedentary behavior can be driven by
a metabolic-hormonal disposition to grow fat, just as a lack of hunger
and-the impulse to engage in physical activity can be driven by a
metabolic-hormonal disposition to burn calories rather than store them.
Obesity researchers will immediately acknowledge that height, and thus
the growth of skeletal bones and muscle tissue, is determined by
genetic inheritance and driven by hormonal regulation, and that this
growth will induce the necessary positive caloric balance to fuel it.
But they see no reason to believe that a similar process drives the
growth of fat tissue. What they believe is what they were taught in
medical school, which was and is the conventional wisdom: the growth of
skeletal muscle and bones, and thus our height, is driven by the
secretion of growth hormone from the pituitary gland; the growth of fat
tissue, and thus our girth, is driven by eating too much or physical
This notion that fattening is the cause and overeating the effect, and
not vice versa, also explains why a century of researchers have made so
little progress, and why they keep repeating the same experiments over
and over again. By this logic, those who become obese have a
constitutional tendency to fatten, whereas those who remain lean have a
constitutional tendency to resist the accumulation of fat. This
tendency is the manifestation of very subtle deviations in metabolism
and hormonal state. The obese have a constitutional predisposition to
accumulate slight excesses of fat in their adipose tissue, which in
turn induces compensatory tendencies to consume slightly more calories
than the lean or expend slightly less. Obese individuals will put on
fat until they have counterbalanced the influence of this underlying
disorder. Eventually, these individuals achieve energy balance—everyone
does—but only at an excessive weight and with an excessive amount of
The essential question, then, is: what are the metabolic and hormonal
deviation that drives this fattening process? When we have that answer,
we will know what causes obesity.