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 polyunsaturated fats. 

For a detailed explanation of how metabolism is affected by too much sugar, in particular the fructose part of it, see:

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 overtime.

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 cages. 

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 animals.

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 inactivity.

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 body fat.

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.