Friday, July 11, 2014

Research Confirms Good Reporting on Obesity Research Almost Impossible

Another reporter that should be arrested for the murder of science reporting.

The head line is in - it is not possible to lose weight and keep it off.  What do you think of that?  Are you relieved because you have tried and failed so many times?  Are you in denial - "I am not willing to believe that, I'm going to be one of their 5%."  Or, like me, are you just plain flabbergasted at the poor quality of the dialogue? 

For me, this article is just another piece of pathetic writing from a profession that seems to set low standards which it then fails to meet.

Here's the opening:  "There's a disturbing truth that is emerging from the science of obesity. After years of study, it's becoming apparent that it's nearly impossible to permanently lose weight."

This is good writing but poor analysis.  For one thing, it's not emerging, it's been a discussion point for many years.  "Scientists" posit that we are in a "toxic food environment" and editorialize about the necessity of further research to develop appetite suppressing drugs and gene therapies and so on, since they have concluded that long term dietary success is impossible.  One of the better summaries is here:

The author goes on to summarize the work of a few scientists and a sample of research about fat loss results.  What is revealed is that this article is not about the topic "obesity research confirms that long term weight loss is almost impossible". This article is about a survey of a small sample of researchers who have apparently discovered what you and I already know - it is very hard to lose weight long term using the fad diet of the science world - calorie restriction with a focus on fat restriction.  And the reason that sort of diet does not work is simple - it leaves most of us feeling very hungry, lethargic, irritable or all three.

Of course, fat loss is not easy.  We are built to be hunter-gatherers but we eat all manner of foods that we are not adapted to.  If you eat like a hunter-gatherer, the prospect of weight loss is much different.  My story is just one, but dropping from 225 in 2007 to my current 190 has been instructive.  

As long as science research focuses on the singular variable of caloric intake, without consideration for the many other variables such as sleep, coffee and alcohol intake, social influence, hormonal variations (of which there are MANY especially for ladies) and genetic/ethnic variations - it will deliver results that are not particularly useful.

1 comment:

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