Monday, May 16, 2011

Eades On Taubes

Eades About Taubes' Why We Get Fat

This post by Mike Eades is long and is a good example of Dr. Eades at his best.  I recommend that you read it in full if you groove on understanding how human metabolism works, and why we get fat. 

Here's what he covers:
1.  We get fat from eating more calories in food than we dispose of as calories and waste, but that doesn't tell us anymore than it does to know that a restaurant if full sometimes, and not others, because people come in faster than they can be served, eat, and leave.  IOW - if you want to adequately staff a restaurant, you need to know more than "we have more people we can serve right now."  You need to know why a bunch of people decided to walk in so that you can better plan for the next time.  If you want to eat less than you need to know why you get hungry in order to eat for reduced hunger and therefore less caloric intake and greater energy expended.  In other words, you need to know what foods cause energy imbalance and why.
2.  For many people, the unproved but oft repeated assumption that we just 'eat less and exercise more' becomes worse than not true, because it reinforces choices that will doom almost all the overweight to future failure in weight loss.  A life of trying to restrict ourselves from hunger satisfaction, whilst burning up prodigeous amounts of time working at minimally effective fitness regimes, is at LEAST not optimal.  At worst is a farce, and a special kind of torture for the obese, leaving them feeling as though they are morally inferior and the cause of their own suffering.  Mike Eades reminds us of the old saw "it's what we know that just ain't so" that hurts us the most.  The "calories in calories out" model is a perfect example of that instance.
3.  "Science must be a simple as possible, but no simpler" is a rough quote of a noted philosopher of science which Taubes notes in his incredible survey of the science of diet, "Good Calories Bad Calories."  The calories in calories out model is an example of simplicity gone too far.

An excerpt from Eades' post:
Why can some people eat like crazy and not get fat?  Perhaps because they develop insulin resistance in their fat cells just as they do in their liver cells.  They don’t get fat, but they typically have all the other insulin-driven problems of the obese: high blood pressure, elevated triglycerides, increased risk for heart disease, etc.  And all while staying skinny.
How about morbid obesity?  Easy.  Those people don’t develop insulin resistance in their fat cells until late in the game, if ever.  They continue to push fat into the fat cells and become more and more obese until they weight 400-500 pounds or even more.  The average person will finally develop fat cell insulin resistance before the morbid obesity stage.  When this happens, weight and level of obesity stabilize and stay the same, almost irrespective of how much is eaten.
We now know why we get fat.  Excess insulin drives fat into the fat cells increasing the fat cell mass, ultimately leading to the state we call obesity. If we keep walking this progression back, the next question has to be, Why do we make too much insulin?
We make too much insulin because we eat too many carbohydrates, especially sugar and other refined carbohydrates.  With that statement, we’re starting to edge into controversial territory, but it’s only territory populated by the ignorant.  The hard science is emphatic that carbs are a pure insulin play.  Eat them and your insulin goes up.
Some people with a little learning may be quick to point out that protein drives insulin up as well.  This is true, but with a catch.  Protein drives both insulin and glucagon up, so you don’t have the pure insulin effect.  Only carbs will give you that.  With carbs, insulin goes up while glucagon goes down.  With meat and other proteins, the effects of the elevated insulin are muted by the concomitant rise in glucagon. (Glucagon isn’t called insulin’s counter-regulatory hormone for nothing.)

Boiling this down:  You can't eat enough fat and protein to get morbidly obese, but you can easily eat enough carbohydrate, especially carbohydrate and fat, and triple especially carbohydrate and polyunsaturated (aka man-made vegetable fat) oils to get as fat as you want to.  That is, by the way, how they do things in the world of sumo wrestling, in which they average 4000 to 5000 calories per day on a low fat diet (~16% fat). 

As I've heard and blogged many a time, you cannot out train a bad diet. 

If you don't want to be obese and sick (or lean and sick for that matter), eat meat, vegetables, some nuts and seeds, little fruit and starch, and no wheat or sugar.  Work out to cultivate desirable physical capacities like strength, speed, power, coordination, balance, accuracy, agility, flexibility, endurance and stamina.  Keep your workouts short and intense.  Walk for pleasure and relaxation and the inordinate wellness walking seems to deliver.  Learn and play sports.  Don't let your pursuit of the above prevent your full embrace of the zest of life, whatever that may be for you.

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