In the New York Times yesterday there is news that the FDA has approved a new medical device for treating obesity. Treat obesity. Huh? Not cure obesity, let’s treat it. Obesity is a symptom, so treating obesity is like treating fever. You take aspirin, the fever is gone for a few hours, then it comes back. Treating obesity would make it go away for a while, and then what?
This device must be surgically implanted into the patient.
Called the Maestro system, the implant is the first to generate an intermittent electrical pulse that blocks nerve signals from the brain to the stomach, reducing hunger pangs.
In a yearlong trial, 157 obese adults who received the device lost 8.5 percent more of their excess weight than 76 patients in the control group who received a sham implant. The result fell short of the goal of 10 percent, but an F.D.A. advisory committee concluded that the benefits of the implant outweighed the risks.
A little help with the math there, patients lost 8.5 % more of their weight than people who did nothing. That is a very different number than if the patient had lost 8.5% of his weight. Losing even seven percent of your own weight is a very significant achievement. That is not what happened here, which is that patients lost 8.5% more weight than someone who lost no weight (in all likelihood).
Earlier I said that treating obesity is just treating a symptom, not a cause, and you may have wondered what I meant by that statement. Obesity is known to be caused by insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is when your insulin levels are high in your bloodstream for most of the day. Insulin controls when your body stores serum blood sugars as fat and when it releases stored fats back into the bloodstream for energy.
Insulin resistance and gaining weight are both symptoms, not causes. They are symptoms of eating too much carbohydrate. When we eat the insulin level in your blood goes up even before you take your first bite. Insulin immediately works to take sugars and starches from your meal and begin getting those energy sources into your muscles and fat cells. If there is a very large amount of carbohydrate in your meal it will cause a very large insulin reaction. If you keep flooding your system with carbs then your muscles begin to resist the insulin signal to accept more energy. If your pancreas can’t excrete enough insulin to lower your blood sugar because your organs and muscles are resisting the insulin you end up with high blood sugar, taking supplemental insulin, getting surgically implanted devices to to help control your ‘hunger’.
I feel sorry for the obese, because their disease is treated like a psychosis by the medical and diet communities. They don’t need help controlling their hunger. Their hunger is another symptom of their problem. They eat carbs when they should be eating fats. When you eat fats you don’t get an insulin spike. Fats, like carbs, can be used for energy in your muscles and organs, but they don’t ever lead to insulin resistance. They have a low ‘glycemic index’. Fats don’t make you fat. Fat people are not crazy.
The sad thing is that what I am saying is not new science or new news. These things have been known about for over fifty years. The fight in the dietary advice community has been over serum cholesterol, which they suspected in the 1950s of causing heart attacks in middle aged white men, specifically Presidents and members of Congress. Something had to be done, and there was a rush to judgement that the culprit was saturated fats. That would be lard, butter and tallow. The judgement was premature, based on studies that showed a potential correlation between saturated fat and cholesterol, but no causation. Causation has never been proved, and the link has now been positively disproved. Saturated fats are practically health food compared to the partially hydrogenated oils that replaced them. Margarine and shortening, and even the liquid oils we use have been clinically proven to cause the problems that they were marketed to combat.
All of this information that I am spouting is in a great book that I am reading, and if you are overweight and wondering how it happened and what to do about it, by all means get a copy TODAY. It took me one day to read it cover to cover, it’s not all that big.
Gary Taubes wrote this book as a followup to his first book, “Good Calories, Bad Calories” which has a much better title, but doesn’t describe in enough eye-catching terms what you will learn reading it. I bought the first book second, and it is about five times longer than “Why We Get Fat.” Between the two volumes and the excellent new book of the year “The Big Fat Surprise” by Nina Teicholz, I have learned all that I need to know and enough that I can tell you, quit eating carbs right now.
I wish the book was titled “Why Aren’t We All Fat”, because we almost all are. Over 60% of all Americans now are overweight. Half of all elementary school kids are overweight. Is it just in their little heads? No, because our kids eat what we give them, when we give it to them, and we are giving them carbs. EIGHT OUT OF TEN PROCESSED FOODS CONTAIN ADDED SUGARS. Fruit juices are nothing but sugar, and while ‘healthier’ than having a Coke at breakfast, they are not healthier than whole milk or water. They cause an insulin spike when you drink them.
I advise three things this morning.
1. Stop eating carbs. Stop completely for 21 days, then you can reintroduce carbs you like up until you start feeling a carb reaction or begin regaining weight.
2. Stop buying foods in boxes and bags and in this way you will stop eating hidden sugars, you will stop eating artificial ingredients.
3. Buy one or all of the books I have linked to, because what they wrote was not opinion. Gary Taubes and Nina Teicholz are both reporters. Gary is a science writer and reporter and Nina is a diet and health writher. I think they both deserve Pulitzer Prizes for the multi year research that went into their books. They describe and report on the existing science that has been done on our behalf…none of their words are their own opinion. They are not trying to come up with a radical new diet. Neither of them calls what we should do a diet, even, they describe the way we should have been living from the beginning.
Believe me when I say that if the government had never ever given any dietary advice we would be trillions of dollars better off, because since we started replacing fats in our diet with carbs we have gotten fat, obese even. All of the expense that we have incurred, all of the health costs have been as a direct result of that.
I wish I could just go on and on about this, because I could, but I would bore you and I would get in trouble for spending my whole day typing when I have a long list of honey-dos to get after. I will just leave you with my wish that today you would eat healthy–eat fats.