We are now going to take a close look at two theories about the cause of obesity:
The first is the mainstream idea that our modern environment is "toxic." We eat too much fast food. We spend too much time indoors. We play too many video games and spend too many hours surfing the web. And so forth. The gist is that it is our fault that we are fat -- individually and collectively, we have become sloths and gluttons, and that's why we see this spike in obesity and diabetes.
The second theory about the cause of obesity in America is much more obscure and radical-sounding. Few public health authorities seem to have even considered it, presumably because they have all been focused on the idea that calories count more than anything else.
The Lipophilia Hypothesis argues that the obesity epidemic has been brought on by the low-fat diet we've been eating for the past 30 years. Here's the thinking:
Dietary fat does not make us fat or give us heart disease. Back in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, when the original research on the connection between dietary fat and heart disease was conducted, the key advocates of the low fat diet did not perform good science. But they did manage to convince a lot of their colleagues to be afraid of dietary fat -- particularly saturated fat -- through a combination of bullying tactics, politics and charisma. Hence, it became the conventional wisdom to assume that fat should be cut out of the diet. But when you cut fat from the diet, you must replace it with something. And our public health authorities decided to replace fat with carbohydrates.
So starting in the late 1970s, the U.S. government began recommending low-fat high carb diets for the general population. This was epitomized by the USDA food pyramid, which recommended breads and cereals as the foundation of a healthy diet and urged Americans to eat an average of 300 grams of carbs a day. (For some perspective, on the first stage of the Atkins diet -- the stage during which the most weight is generally lost -- you are limited to just 20 grams of carbs a day.)
Unfortunately for us, carbohydrates -- particularly the refined carbs found in flour, sugar, and high fructose corn syrup -- elevate both our blood sugar levels and our insulin levels. This in turn causes us to store calories as fat and puts us at risk for diseases. All the extra carbs in our diets have made us fat. (Conversely, you can lose weight without losing the nutrients your body requires if you simply cut out refined sugars and starches.)
To sum it up:
On the one hand, we have the "toxic environment" theory of the obesity epidemic. This is in line with the mainstream Caloric Balance Hypothesis.
On the other hand, we have a theory that the cause of obesity in America is actually the low-fat high carb diet that we've been told for decades is healthy.
So which theory about the cause of obesity better explains the evidence from the real world?
1. Obesity can be found in 'non-toxic environments.'
2. The poor are more obese than the rich, even though they exercise more.
3. Obesity is often found linked with malnutrition.
4. People who eat high fat low carb diets do not become obese.
5. Only some people get fat in our so-called 'toxic environment.'
6. The thrifty gene hypothesis has been thoroughly refuted.
7. Non-western cultures who adopt a western diet get fatter and sicker.
8. Epidemic of obesity, diabetes, and other 'diseases of civilization' in cats and dogs.
9. Obesity associates closely with other 'diseases of civilization.'
10. We eat less fat and more carbohydrates than we did before the obesity epidemic.
11. The most elegant and simple explanation for the cause of obesity in our population is that the epidemic was triggered by our collective switch to a low fat high carbohydrate diet.
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And while you're here... :]
Check this out: The Black Box: A NEW Way of Thinking about Fat Loss (Or: The Actual, Legit, For Real (Seriously!) Reason Why You Cannot Lose Fat, Even Though You Are, Indeed, “Eating Less And Moving More")
I know it sounds hyperbolic, but I believe that this Black Box concept is the key -- perhaps our ONLY hope -- for solving the obesity epidemic. In other words, without The Black Box, or something like it, our society is doomed to be destroyed by obesity, diabetes and other diet-related chronic diseases. No joke. I 100% believe this. So check it out!