Moderate Obesity:
A Big Fat Headache

How does the BMI classify moderate obesity?

A person who scores between 35 and 40 on the Body Mass Index (BMI) scale is medically classified as moderately obese.

How prevalent is moderate obesity in the Western world?

Organizations like the National Women's Health Information Center (NWHIC), the National Health Care Survey (NHCS), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the American Diabetes Association (ADA) have meticulously documented epidemiological trends in obesity. The data almost universally establish that obesity is a major health crisis afflicting most portions of the globe... in the Western hemisphere and beyond.

Why is being obese considered dangerous?

Because (among other things) it’s associated with a host of diseases and health issues, including but not limited to:

  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Insulin resistance
  • Thrombosis
  • Varicose veins
  • Sleep apnea
  • High levels of LDL cholesterol
  • Macular degeneration
  • Kidney damage

So why don’t obese people just eat less or do more exercise to lose weight?

Most obesity researchers today dogmatically assert that the best way to lose weight involves boosting metabolism and/or taking in fewer calories. After all, these researchers argue, the first law of thermodynamics states that the energy put into a system must always be equal to the energy that comes out of that system. In dietary terms, this seems to translate to the idea that the amount of fat you store as excess energy must be equal to the amount of calories you consume minus the amount of calories you burn through biological processes and heat dissipation.

But there are at least two huge flaws with this hypothesis:

  1. It implies that the calories we eat have ZERO effect on metabolism; and we know that's not true.
  2. It imputes a passive role to our adipose tissue. But in fact fat tissue is dynamic and capable of influencing metabolism.

So is there another idea about how to treat moderate obesity that takes these factors into account? And, if so, what's its basis according to the First Law of Thermodynamics?

Yes. This alternative theory says the carbohydrates in our diets make us fat, not the calories. The idea is that eating carbs causes excessive production of insulin, which in turn causes excess triglycerides to get stuck in our fat tissue. The fatter we become, they more we are biochemically driven to take in more calories and to lower our energy expenditure.

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