“Saying that obesity is caused by eating too much is like saying that allergies are caused by breathing too much.” – Jonathan Bailor
Commenting on his recent study at University of Colorado School of Medicine Dr. Guido Frank stated: “It is clear that in humans the brain’s reward system helps to regulate food intake…The specific role of these networks in eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa and, conversely, obesity, remains unclear.” Dr. Frank’s commentary reminded me of an analogy between anorexia and obesity that I find useful in illustrating how calorie quantity is not the cause of obesity and should not be our focus when trying to cure it.
A couple of posts back we covered the hormonally horrible condition known as internal starvation.
Internal Starvation: When the metabolism is so clogged that it encourages us to overeat to compensate for all the calories it is leaking into our fat cells.
We then looked at an example that showed how inSANE food causes the hormonal clog that leads to overeating and then obesity. More simply, that inSANE food is the cause of obesity. Not overeating. Chronically eating an excessive quantity of calories is a symptom of the metabolic disaster caused by inSANE low-quality calories.
While it took me a while to wrap my head around thinking of overeating as a symptom rather than a cause, I found that the thought process became easier when I flipped the problem on its head. By thinking about under-eating. By examining anorexia.
Let’s look at an example. Say we have an anorexic individual named Ann who heads to the doctor to get help. The doctor sits Ann down, looks at her chart, and tells Ann, “The cause of your problem is that you are eating too few calories. The solution to your problem is eating more calories.” We would all agree that doctor was not helpful. Ann knows she is eating too few calories. What she does not know is why she keeps eating too few calories. What she needs help with is the cause of her chronic low calorie consumption. Taking in too few calories is a symptom, not a cause. Making Ann aware of the cause is the key to helping her long term.
Like eating too few calories is not the cause of anorexia and focusing on calorie quantity does not lead to the solution, eating too many calories is not the cause of obesity and focusing on calorie quantity does not lead to the solution. Telling overweight individuals that they are eating too many calories is useless. Telling overweight individuals about the cause of their chronic high-calorie consumption (a hormonal clog cured via high-quality food and exercise) is useful. But as long as we are told calorie quantity is all that matters, we will never get that far. Why? Because the government, food, fitness, and pharmaceutical industries already believe they “know” the answer and therefore ignore the last forty years of scientific research proving the importance of food and exercise quality.
Consider this incorrect and condescending three-step weight loss plan from the American Council on Science and Health:
“1. Don’t expect a government bureaucracy to solve your problems.
2. Don’t single out one substance and complain that addiction to it has caused your lack of overall self-control.
3. When you’re ready to start dealing rationally with your weight problem, if you have one: eat less and/or exercise more.”
It is a scientific fact that cure for obesity is not 100 calorie snack packs. It’s also not low-fat food products. And it’s definitely not about starving yourself until the suffering becomes unbearable. It’s not about calorie quantity at all. Until we free ourselves from this scientifically disproven theory, we will continue to experience the 95.4% failure rate of eating less and exercising more. So why do we keep hearing about counting calories and exercising excessively? In short, our government started and keeps fueling this fat-loss fiction to fund the food, fitness, and pharmaceutical industries.
We’ll start digging into that data in the next couple of posts.
“What could be better than an industry whose products do not work, or work only as long as you use them, for as long as you live, but whose customers believe that they have no other choice?” – Geoffrey Cannon