What do you do, for yourself and for your family, if you have discovered evidence that you have been wrong about something your whole life? The idea that in order to maintain your health and weight that it is advisable that you and they work and exercise harder and eat less. Your adult kids are in the habit of spending time and treasure fighting their ballooning waists and weights on gyms, diets, and pills, and you have found out that the fact that it isn’t working is not their fault, but the fault lies in the advice that you and your nation have given them.
It is surprisingly easy to find evidence that refutes the conviction that we get fat because we take in more calories than we expend— that is, because we overeat. In most of science, skeptical appraisals of the evidence are considered a fundamental requirement to make progress. In nutrition and public health, however, they are seen by many as counterproductive, because they undermine efforts to promote behaviors that the authorities believe, rightly or wrongly, are good for us.
Taubes, Gary (2010-12-28). Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It (Kindle Locations 303-306). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
See, here is my dilemma: should I advise my loved ones that their increased exercise is unlikely to reduce their weight? This has been studied for one hundred years and the evidence that extra exercise or periods of intentional starvation will lead to a life of normal weight for a person that is overweight is nonexistent. I would not be saying reduce your daily activity, I would just be saying don’t exercise to lose weight…it does not work. There may well be lots of great reasons to do it, but that’s not one of them.
This is the attitude that diet and health care professionals have taken, as well. Advise exercise because it might have some benefit–all the while knowing that in most cases increased exercise leads invariably to increased eating. We all know it as ‘working up and appetite’. Continuing to give everyone, no matter what their circumstance the impression that if you are heavy it is your fault, either you eat too much or you are ‘fat and lazy’ is what we are getting from our doctors, family, society. Even if it is not true. Even though neither of those reasons for obesity can be proven in a lab. They say it because to say something different gets them funny looks from their peers. Tell someone that needs your help losing weight “eat less” as though that idea had never occurred to them.
I don’t know yet where this book is leading me. Thus far I have learned that reducing calories will not lead to a lifetime of normal weight, because nobody diets forever. I have learned that nobody can lose weight by exercising, because increased energy expenditure leads to increased appetite, and it is way easier to eat more calories than a person can possibly burn through work. I plan on purchasing copies of this book and giving it to people in my family that I love and care for. For the rest of you, I will be curbing my advice on this blog to conform to what is known in food science, and there will be less reliance on the conventional wisdom that I have read and reported in error.
For inconsistencies between what I am about to write in the future with what I have written in the past I apologize. My main theme of shopping the outside of the grocery and eating no processed foods I expect to stand. I expect to continue to advise eating little to no Carbohydrates, but I have a sneaking suspicion that I won’t be giving the same advice where fruits and vegetables are concerned. However, unlike your food press, I will be giving the advice that I feel to be true. I won’t be embarrassed in the least to say something different based on different evidence. I, like a true scientist, will be going where the science leads me, unbiased by what I thought to be true last year or even last month.
Follow me, we will get there together.