A theory

I’ve been thinking about fat and why it has a tendency not to go away for good once someone has packed it on. (You know, other than the obvious we’re all just greedy lazy gluttons who sit around all day eating sweet, fatty, salty Doritos.)

When I read Elizabeth Kolberts article, Why Are We So Fat in the New Yorker, I was reminded once again that fat is not longer considered a symptom of disease (or even a side effect) as it once was.  Every single book, author and study she mentions says it’s all about the calories we consume, not the kind and/or quality of the food we eat, or non-food factors that my have affected the American populace as a whole.  Disease is a byproduct of being fat, which is caused solely by our overeating/underexercising (it might as well be a word).

But let’s say fat is a symptom or side effect, which never goes away, even when the body has healed itself of the disease that caused it.  Emphasis mine, of course.  The assumption is always that we now eat more calories, so that’s why we’re fat.  What if we assumed that we eat more calories now because we got fat as a side effect, and we need those extra calories to maintain our higher weight.

Think about it this way:  If you have breast cancer and you have mastectomy, after your treatment, the cancer, the disease is gone. But you’re not going to grow your breast back. It’s kind of that way with fat. There’s some hormonal imbalance for whatever reason (puberty, pregnancy, high sugar diet), you gain the weight.  You change your diet or go on or off birth control pills or stop using hairspray, so your hormones are balanced again. But you don’t lose the weight, because it’s not important or your overall health.

Emphasis mine, again.

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July 15, 2009. Tags: , , , , . Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

New Theory

I know I’m a bit late on this but this Nick Kristof column is scary on many levels.  Lady pee (as Stephen Colbert called it) is going to turn everyone female!!! Forget about marriage only being between a man and a woman. There won’t be any men! No more babies!  It’s going to be all Children of Men!  But that’s just the half of it. It turns out I could be fat ’cause I drink tap:

This month, the Endocrine Society, an organization of scientists specializing in this field, issued a landmark 50-page statement. It should be a wake-up call.

“We present the evidence that endocrine disruptors have effects on male and female reproduction, breast development and cancer, prostate cancer, neuroendocrinology, thyroid, metabolism and obesity, and cardiovascular endocrinology,” the society declared.

“The rise in the incidence in obesity,” it added, “matches the rise in the use and distribution of industrial chemicals that may be playing a role in generation of obesity.”

Emphisis mine. There are only two theories really about the so-called obesity epidemic: calories or hormones.  But both of these theories are firmly rooted in food. In both camps there’s at base the idea that you can control your weight: it’s either how much or what you eat that’s causing you to be fat.  It’s your choice.

Kristof’s column goes way beyond food.  If you’ve read other posts you probably know I’m with the endocrinology people, I’m in the hormones crowd.  It’s all about how foods affect hormones that regulate fat accumulation and burning. But it’s still about food. It’s always about food.

This isn’t about food. Could obesity really be caused by water and hairspray?  Holy shit. Really? It’s not the processed foods? Or butter and eggs? It’s not the commuting to work by car and sitting at your desk all day? Really? Can I quit the gym if I just stop drinking tap water?  (You know how many diets insist that you drink 8 glasses of water a day. Oops! Psych!) And hairspray? Where did that come from? Who still uses hairspray?

It’s fascinating and it may be a conversation changer, if it turns out the science is strong behind this (although it looked like the science was strong behind low fat diets so really what does that prove?).

Let’s be honest: what to eat may be an ever popular topic in America, but nothing gets the attention faster than phrases like “undescended testicles” and “genital deformities.”

July 8, 2009. Tags: , , , , . Uncategorized. 1 comment.