Most Weight Loss Plans are Based on the Wrong Idea
Weight loss plans based on calorie control are flawed: this website will explain why.
According to CDC, the obesity epidemic costs us $147 billion per year. When you factor in the costs of the other diseases that associate with obesity - such as heart disease, type II diabetes, stroke, cancer, and Alzheimer's - it might not be a stretch to suggest that the epidemic and its secondary consequences are ravaging the U.S. economy to the tune of trillions of dollars annually.
Few would disagree that obesity is a huge problem.
But what is causing it?
And what can be done to stop it?
Everywhere we look, fitness experts and corporations are peddling weight loss plans ... promises to restore us to vigor and good health.
But with few exceptions, practically every diet out there is premised on one basic idea: that "calories count." In other words, when you boil these weight loss plans down to their essence, they tell us that overeating and inactivity cause us to get fat and that the way to lose fat is to cut calories and exercise more.
Most of us - including most doctors and health authorities - go our entire lives without questioning this "calories count" theory. We treat it as a kind of law of nature, a fundamental truth no more worthy of being debated than the idea that the earth revolves around the sun. And up until two years ago, we - this site's authors - thought no differently.
But, incredibly, this calorie counting theory is almost certainly wrong. Overwhelming scientific evidence - as well as the stories of millions of lapsed dieters - powerfully refute the theory. Overeating and sedentary behavior do NOT cause us to get fat. And eating less and exercising more do NOT cause us to lose fat. That’s why most diets fail. Because they are premised on eat-less-exercise-more, but the key to weight loss turns out to be NEITHER appetite control NOR exercise.
So what does matter?
According to an award-winning science journalist named Gary Taubes - who spent over seven years closely analyzing the primary science conducted in the fields of health and nutrition - obesity is best described as a "disorder of excess fat tissue accumulation."
In other words, when you think about fat gain and loss, you have to think about what goes on in the fat tissue itself. After all, we store excess fat in our fat tissue. So whatever regulates the fat tissue must be crucial to the discussion.
And it turns out that one key hormone - the hormone insulin - serves as the gatekeeper to how much fat gets stored in our fat tissue. When our bodies make too much insulin, this causes us to store fat, which in turn causes us to overeat and become sedentary.
To reverse this process - i.e. to lose weight - we must lower insulin levels. This allows excess fat to escape the fat tissue, which in turn causes us to eat less and speeds up our metabolism. So whatever causes us to make too much insulin makes us fat. And carbohydrates - particularly refined carbs and sugar - do just that.
Thus, carbohydrates - not excess calories, not the fat in our diets - cause obesity. That's why low carb diets work. Because when we go on weight loss plans that cut carbs, we lower insulin levels and thus allow fat to escape from our fat tissue.
So we have two theories. The first idea - that calories count - is technically known as the Caloric Balance Hypothesis. The second idea - that hormones and enzymes regulate our fat tissue, which in turn regulates our caloric balance - is known as the Lipophilia Hypothesis.
This extended editorial will compare these two theories. Below you can find links to all components of this essay. Feel free to read straight through, or jump around to explore areas of interest in depth.
Need help living low carb better? Check out this eBook, written to help low carbers navigate life in our "high carb" world. It features tons of great content, including original and lengthy interviews with strength trainer Fred Hahn and science writer Gary Taubes!
Theory 1: Caloric Balance Hypothesis
Theory 2: Lipophilia Hypothesis
Comparing the Hypotheses
i. Weight gain
ii. Weight loss
iii. Weight maintenance
iv. Are all calories really equal?
v. The obesity epidemic
vi. Diseases of civilization
vii. Why low carb diets are the best weight loss plans
viii. Body versus brain
ix. Role of the fat tissue
x. Unexplained weight changes
xi. Health authorities oblivious?
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Did you enjoy this article? It's been over 4 years since I wrote it or edited any of the other content you'll find on this site. :]
During this hiatus, I've had the privilege of talking about these concepts with many renowned authorities in the fields of diet and health, including Gary Taubes... as well as many of his critics.
After researching and thinking for four years, I came to a startling revelation about how to simplify the fat loss question. I call this concept "The Black Box."
I explain it all in a free short report, which you can download via the form below. Check it out! It's a legitimately new idea, and a lot of people (including many respected obesity researchers) have found it compelling. Thank you! - Adam