Good Stuff: Why We Get Fat

What if everything you know about fat, cholesterol, and diet is pretty much wrong?

What if you found out that the science behind the good old food pyramid is, well, not really there?

We’ve been told that a healthy diet consists of lots of grains, bagels, bread, pasta, cereals, rice, etc. and very little fat. What if it’s actually the reverse?

If it is, then it might explain why the rates of diabetes and obesity began to skyrocket as the nation started to implement a low fat high carb diet.

I remember having gained about fifteen pounds when I was first married. I decided I would go on a diet. I read up on the low fat high carb diet and followed it strictly. Two weeks later, I had gained ten more pounds. Did I, at the time, look at the diet and think that maybe there was something wrong with it?

No. That would have been too intelligent.

Instead, I figured something must be wrong with me and continued to try to “eat healthy.” What’s that definition of insanity—doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results? Call me insane. Or slow. Or too trusting of authority.

It appears that the science of nutrition got hijacked. Government policy then ran away with it. It’s a fascinating and cautionary tale. Let me recommend three books that explain what really causes us to deposit fat and how we got off track.

The first is Why We Get Fat by science writer Gary Taubes. In it he reveals the bad nutritional science of the last century, why the good science was ignored, what really causes us to store fat, and what to do about it.

The next is The Obesity Code by Dr. Jason Fung. Fung is a kidney specialist. Obesity and diabetes are the root of many kidney problems. And so he decided to help his patients by strop treating symptoms and get at the root cause. Fung’s gift is clarity. He explains how obesity and diabetes became an epidemic, the errors in how we think about calories and diet, and then he explains in great clarity the new model of what really causes obesity and how to reverse it.

The last is The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat & Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet by investigative journalist Nina Teicholz. She spent nine years investigating this, and the book reveals how the misinformation about saturated fats took hold in the scientific community, government, and the public and how recent findings overturn these beliefs. It’s a startling history, a cautionary tale showing how ego, bias, and premature institutional consensus allowed dangerous misrepresentations to become dietary dogma.

If you’re dealing with obesity, heart disease, or diabetes, I think you’ll find these books very interesting.

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6 Responses to Good Stuff: Why We Get Fat

  1. Steve says:

    Thanks for the latest update as you explore this concept re health and diet; I’ve been waiting patiently 🙂

    2018 is the year i specifically try different things. I’ve lost 85 lbs over the last 5 years primarily via nutritional choices -but mainly according to typical food pyramid guidelines. I am interested in both increasing my activity along with alternative thoughts on food choices.

    So this will be something i am very interesting in following. Keep the updates coming!

  2. John Brown says:

    85 is a lot, my friend. I’m betting you cut sugar, refined carbs, and processed foods. Correct?

    • Steve says:

      You got it – that was the main thrust.

      Best efforts were to contain suger <= 38 gm/day and total carbs at 180 gm/day, concentrate on whole grains and whole foods, avoid sweeteners from artificial sources, watch sodium and limit fats (hence interest in your study).

      When most successful, I was tracking intake with My Fitness Pal (or similar): Which is a lot of work! I recently retired -so now i have the time to test plans and use the tracking tools correctly. I have proven that "every now and then" will just not create the linear results that i want (and need).

      Anyway, I should have just said "yes" 🙂

      • John Brown says:

        Were you taking any meds that you were able to drop?

        The thrust of all this new thinking on diet revolves around insulin which above a certain level basically tells fat cells to hold onto the fat. When it drops, it opens the doors and allows the fat to be used. Insulin resistance is a condition that has you producing chronically high levels of insulin.

        There are a number of things that increase insulin, so the idea is to change those to work for you, decreasing insulin, as opposed to increasing it.

        – Sugars
        – Processed carbs (flour-based products, corn-based products, etc.)
        – Artificial sweetners
        – Frequent eating
        – Not enough sleep
        – Too much stress
        – Some drugs

        You can augment with exercise, but activity alone won’t budge it because the key drivers are what you eat, sleep, etc.

      • Steve says:

        Ok, you are either prophetic, a doctor, very very well studied (my guess!),,,, or you recently stayed at a Holiday Inn 🙂

        The variety of topics you write about is truly a blessing, John. Keep it up.

        [1] In last 2 years i have dropped need for Insulin injections to control blood sugar + also dropped blood pressure medication; all due to better nutrition choices and weight loss.

        [2] The information you share above is spot-on. You should write a book 🙂

        LONGER VERSION (feel free to stop here if intrest has waned 🙂

        I have always been a workaholic -ignoring most other aspects of life; including my own well-being. I just never thought about diabetes or poor health.

        i was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes about 11 years ago – I have had it well in control since then; initially involving insulin injections.

        About 6 years ago, i decided to take my life back and take charge of my health. I have a wonderful team of professionals that help me discern truth from fiction, get-rich-quick-schemers, etc. Albeit they are mostly etched in traditional medical/nutritional thinking.

        Hence, with better nutritional choices, experimentation with healthier cooking techniques (e.g. pressure cooker), executing a sleep study [=> CPAP use], identifying stress catalysts and then finding ways to mitigate such – I’ve lost the 85 lbs, feel much better, BS and BP very stable, and dropped the two meds i mentioned above.

        For anyone that has read all this, bless you -your patience is appreciated. I have no more secrets.

      • John Brown says:

        I’m happy for you. What a great turnaround!

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