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The Obesity Epidemic — Is Medicine Scientific?

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the paradigm-takeover dept.

Biotech 909

An anonymous reader writes "An award-winning science author, Gary Taubes, has written a book that pans the medical community's treatment of the obesity epidemic. What is interesting is that it looks like the medical community is behaving in a very unscientific manner. Taubes points out that the current medical orthodoxy — that consuming fat makes you fat and exercise makes you thin — has no basis in research. In fact, all the available research points in quite another, and more traditional, direction. Here's the (excellent) podcast of an interview with Taubes on CBC's 'Quirks and Quarks.' So, has medicine become a non-science? Is it mostly a non-science? Somewhat?"

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Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21424355)

Git on your bikes and ride!

Thanks for the best advise (-1, Troll)

hackingbear (988354) | more than 6 years ago | (#21424375)

Now let's start eating!!!!

Ugh... (2, Insightful)

SeekerDarksteel (896422) | more than 6 years ago | (#21424377)

Not more of this low-carb propaganda bullshit. Calories make you fat, regardless of whether they come from fat, sugars, or starches.

Re:Ugh... (3, Informative)

mocm (141920) | more than 6 years ago | (#21424449)

But insulin makes you hungry and eating carbs especially sugar makes you release insulin.

Re:Ugh... (2)

laughing rabbit (216615) | more than 6 years ago | (#21424475)

Only the unused calories make you fat.

Re:Ugh... (0)

MBraynard (653724) | more than 6 years ago | (#21424575)

Ah, no. That's like saying consuming mass makes you fat, as if there is no difference in the result of drinking a kilo of of water versus drinking a kilo of Thai ice tea.

What makes you fat are high glycemic carbohydrates, like potatoe products and sugars.

Re:Ugh... (-1, Troll)

garbletext (669861) | more than 6 years ago | (#21424667)

You had me convinced until you proved that you're dumber than Dan Quayle.

Re:Ugh... (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21424669)

"What makes you fat are high glycemic carbohydrates, like potatoe products and sugars."


And please shut the fuck up.

What makes you fat is consistently eating more calories than you use.

Re:Ugh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21424791)

Ah, no. That's like saying consuming Calories makes you fat. Mass has nothing to do with it, energy (Caloric) content does.

as if there is no difference in the result of drinking a kilo of of water versus drinking a kilo of Thai ice tea

There is no difference, since neither water nor tea have any measurable Caloric content. Try drinking a kilo of olive oil (or any other high fat food) on a regular basis and see what it does for your waistline.

Re:Ugh... (1)

anagama (611277) | more than 6 years ago | (#21424949)

Note that GP referenced "Thai iced tea". Thai iced tea is closer to the caloric value of a snickers bar than it is to that of water. Here's a recipe [] . Note the 6 cups of tea, 3/4 cup of sugar, plus cream and condensed milk.

Re:Ugh... (1)

pyite (140350) | more than 6 years ago | (#21424915)

Ah, no. That's like saying consuming mass makes you fat, as if there is no difference in the result of drinking a kilo of of water versus drinking a kilo of Thai ice tea.

Ah, no. What you're saying is a really bad analogy. What the grandparent is saying is an instantiation of the first law of thermodynamics [] . There's a difference. One is handwaving (and I've seen better). One is science.

Re:Ugh... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21424591)

Calories make you fat

I propose that the increase of mass of a person is equal to the mass they take in minus the mass they shit and piss out, give or take a few O2 and CO2 gasses inhaled and exhaled, regardless of the number of Calories present in the food. While it's clear that the composition of mass taken in would affect how that mass is used in the body, it's not so clear that having a greasy burger makes you fatter even by the amount of grease and fat in the burger (as suggested by the greasy shit you have afterwards).

It's not medicine that's being unscientific, it's all the people who are so damn certain that if bad things happen to someone they must have done something bad, because otherwise their whole faith collapses in on themselves. Obviously God would only have made you an ugly fat loser if you sat around on your ass all day while shoving cake and greasy burgers down your gaping maw, therefore all ugly fat losers must have sat around on their ass all day eating crap.

Re:Ugh... (1)

ShiningSomething (1097589) | more than 6 years ago | (#21424831)

No-one claims that the amount of fat in what you eat gets translated to fat in your body. At least, no one that understands that the body needs to metabolize fats. Which includes most doctors. Of course the change in mass (almost obviously) equals mass in - mass out. The question is how to get rid of the extra mass, or how to build it up. ie, how the body regulates what it keeps and what it gets rid of. The rest is accounting.

Re:Ugh... (2, Insightful)

BECoole (558920) | more than 6 years ago | (#21424627)

The plain fact is that you can eat more calories without getting fat when those calories come from fat and protein. This has been known for hundreds of years and was even documented in the 1800s.

Re:Ugh... (4, Informative)

tgd (2822) | more than 6 years ago | (#21424629)

This thread is ripe for turning into a flame-fest, but you may want to do at least some casual reading on what insulin is and the processes the body goes through to process fats, proteins and sugars. There's a thousand variables involved in how the body processes raw materials it takes in and what it does with the materials it creates from them. No combination of those will result in your blanket statement.

Perhaps it's worth investigating... (5, Insightful)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 6 years ago | (#21424763)

Not more of this low-carb propaganda bullshit.

I understand your anger, but the issue here is whether the low-carb propaganda is really bullshit or not. It is a matter that should be investigated, otherwise those dismissing it as bullshit would effectively act as anti-low-carb zealots, instead of following the scientific method.

Also, we have to wonder why the US (the country where the Food Pyramid originated) is also where the "fatness" phenomenon originated, and why the countries that start to follow the "american way of life" (fast food, sedentary life, high-calory carb snacks) tend to follow american's fatness. This phenomenon, at least country-wise, behaves like an epidemic.

Re:Ugh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21424767)

you are retarded


Re:Ugh... (3, Interesting)

TheMadcapZ (868196) | more than 6 years ago | (#21424777)

It is amazing that the food industry as a whole does not take responsibility for this. They fill everything with MSG which is basically a neuro-toxin. It not only overexcites neurons to death but it leads to hyper-tension and heart arrhythmias. It can cause an increase in total blood cholesterol levels by reducing the ability of the pancreas to metabolize cholesterol and expel it from the body.

High Fructose corn syrup is a substance which the body does not recognize as a sugar so no insulin is released to handle it. Wonder where that goes in the body? How about the lumps of fat everywhere.

Hydrogenated Fats (a.k.a Trans Fats) are the worst offender of them all and are the reason Saturated fats got a bad name. This is the substance that hardens the arteries and raises your LDL while lowering your HDL, combine with MSG it is time bomb for heart disease.

There is research by a Doctor Mary Enig that explains the truth about what fats are good and which are bad. Basically the human body needs a 1 to 1 balance of Omega3 and Omega 6 fatty acids. All the vegetable oil that is being pushed on us is Omega6 with very little Omega3 readily available. And if you deep fry with unsaturated oil the fat molucules are unstable, the heating process causes the molecules to bend and connect in ways which are currently defined as trans-fats (i.e. fat molecules not found in nature)

These are the some of the the things the medical establishment chooses to overlook as it is more profitable to leaves the causes of the problems in place and treat the symptoms until we all die.

In January I had an irregular heartbeat and high blood pressure, I was sent to a cardiologist to get tested, they said everything with the heart looked fine and they had no idea what was causing it. They put me on blood pressure medication and sent me on my way. Well I hate medication so I did some research and found the link to MSG and how it causes irregular heartbeats by inducing a Taurine deficiency. I changed my diet to avoid MSG as much as possible and also started a Taurine supplement. Now my heart beat is regular and my blood pressure is way down.

I relate this story because your life is really in your hands. The minute you surrender it to doctors you risk the chance of never being normal again. Always question the cause of things, don't just accept band-aids on symptoms. Also read ingredients and find out what effects they may have on the body.

Sorry for the rant, but this is a hot button topic for me. Good luck all!

Re:Ugh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21424843)

High Fructose corn syrup is a substance which the body does not recognize as a sugar so no insulin is released to handle it. Wonder where that goes in the body? How about the lumps of fat everywhere.

Your grasp of science astonishes me, really it does.

Re:Ugh... (3, Insightful)

rucs_hack (784150) | more than 6 years ago | (#21424925)

Not more of this low-carb propaganda bullshit

What annoys me is low carb stuff tastes bad, so they up the salt content, or put more of other things that improve the taste but make it bad for you in other ways.

Eating healthy means cooking a lot of your own food from ingredients, not pre-packaged food, and getting exercise every day. Exercise is an important part of a healthy diet, you digest food better if your body isn't always being carried around everywhere by cars or sat in chairs.

Eating healthy doesn't even mean low fat, it can involve fat, suger, salt, anything, provided you eat reasonably, are aware of what your eating (meaning you cook a lot of it yourself) and get that exercise.

Yes and no. (5, Insightful)

Valdrax (32670) | more than 6 years ago | (#21424983)

Calories make you fat, regardless of whether they come from fat, sugars, or starches.

This is absolutely true. You can't dispute the fact of this statement taken in isolation. In isolation.

However, it's a fine example of blinding yourself to the causes. The questions at the heart of the debate between low-carb and low-fat diet proponents are the following:
  1. Does eating certain types of food allow for the intake of more calories before being satisfied? (e.g. Pork vs. chicken; fruit vs. Twinkies)
  2. Do certain foods increase hunger? (i.e. Effects on insulin and other hormones)
  3. Do certain foods have other health issues than weight? (e.g. Saturated vs. unsaturated fat; sugar-intake & diabetes.)

So just saying calories are calories is like saying BTUs are BTUs and putting heating oil in your gas tank in the hopes of getting better MPG.

yes. Eat less, walk further (1)

midgley (629008) | more than 6 years ago | (#21424985)

Eat anything you like, provided you do it while walking to the south pole, towing all your food for the journey behind you on a sledge.

Expect to lose weight.

Taubes is a quack. (5, Informative)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#21424397)

From personal, scientifically-measurable experience, I can tell you that gaining and losing weight isn't a matter of 'good calories' or 'bad calories'. It's a matter of calories. Burn more calories than you consume over a period of time, and you will lose weight. Burn fewer calories than you consume over a period of time, and you will gain weight. Yes, it's that simple. I suggest you all put down this claptrap, and read The Hacker's Diet [] by former AutoCAD developer and AutoDesk VP John Walker. It's done wonders for me.

He May Be But You're Not Helping (5, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 6 years ago | (#21424523)

It's done wonders for me.
I think that's the number one problem with diet plans these days. People assume that since it worked for them it will work for everyone else. I don't think that's the case.

To answer the questions of the summary, I don't think it will ever be an untainted science so long as the government, businesses & religion stick their noses in it. Couple that with the difficulty of applying the scientific method to humans (average life span of 75 years and ethical problems) and I think you'll see why medicine is a 'non-science.'

Patents, legislation & belief in what is good for you are what ruin medicine. Look at all the Hindu medicine that was ignored by the West for the longest time because it was ... well, Hindu.

Medicine will continue to be a non-science no matter how hard the community tries. The public's assumptions and beliefs that "Since I can eat McDonald's every day and be thin, everyone should be able to" merely exacerbates the situation.

I eat whatever I feel like and I'm in great shape. This is not the case with the majority of Americans.

Re:He May Be But You're Not Helping (3, Insightful)

bigdavex (155746) | more than 6 years ago | (#21424623)

I eat whatever I feel like and I'm in great shape. This is not the case with the majority of Americans.

What do you like to eat?

Re:He May Be But You're Not Helping (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21424851)

What do you like to eat?
That's the question I try to avoid answering. I grew up on a farm, I'm sure my body has adjusted to what I eat. I used to drink milk straight. I mean, we're talking over 50% of the calories from fat. The stuff still had flecks of straw in it.

Pretty gross, huh? Not for me. I still go through 1/2 to 1 gallon of milk a week. I've tried to cut back to skim but I buy the organic stuff from Trader Joes and it is great. Once I had a physical and my doctor told me I had twice the amount of calcium I should in my blood. I really didn't care or listen to him. When I come home, sometimes I feel like drinking a lot of milk. Two or three glasses of milk is not uncommon for me.

Aside from that, I'm all over the road. If I feel like red meat, I'll go to Fuddruckers and eat a 1 lb burger. Or maybe I feel like a Chipotle burrito. Like I said, I just eat whenever I want to and I eat what my stomach tells me to eat. I pack the carbs on and eat a ton of this greek yogurt called "Fage." I am by no means a health nut, I just know what I love to eat and I eat a lot of it. Canned tuna, red meats, bread, salads, burritos, rice, kalamata olives for snacks, the list goes on. I have a very diverse diet.

But it's also true that I get out and burn energy when my body tells me to. I'll set at a desk coding for 8 hours a day, get home and I won't be able to sit. That means either go to the gym or go running. And if I miss that because I have something else going on, I make it up later. I can always go running outside if I want to.

Is this some revolutionary new diet? Is this something that I need to get out and tell everyone else to do? Heavens no! I shouldn't even be posting about it! I just keep it to myself and recommend people that because of genetics, how they developed & food processing these days that everyone has their own needs. Find out what yours are. Visit your doctor. Make a plan for yourself and get on it if you need one. Those are my recommendations.

Don't go down to the store and pick up the latest "South Bronx Diet Virus" book that some dude wrote when he noticed two of his patients respond well to it.

Re:Taubes is a quack. (1)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 6 years ago | (#21424555)

"Burn more calories than you consume over a period of time, and you will lose weight."

No doubt this is true, but how much does the nutrition content matter? for instance do we get most of what we need from bread and other staples? Could you live on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches?

Re:Taubes is a quack. (2, Funny)

kilo_foxtrot84 (1016017) | more than 6 years ago | (#21424635)

Could you live on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches?
As an undergraduate student I did. Now that I have a job, though, I've moved up to bologna and cheese.

Jelly sandwiches (1)

Incadenza (560402) | more than 6 years ago | (#21424833)

Could you live on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches?

Yes you can, for at least 11 years [] .

And probably even longer: the guy in question still has an active homepage [] and a suitable mailadres: jamboy713@hotmail. com!

This cannot be over-emphasized (1)

benhocking (724439) | more than 6 years ago | (#21424867)

What you've stated cannot be over-emphasized. Health is not all about body weight.

Perhaps protein doesn't contribute as much to you gaining weight as carbohydrates. I'll stay agnostic on that question. However, protein contains amino acid groups which break down into ammonia and have to be removed by your kidneys. Eating too much protein leads to kidney damage. Let's assume the good doctor is right that eating fewer carbohydrates is primary. Well, if you eat fewer calories overall, you'll probably consume fewer carbohydrates, too—especially if you maintain a healthy diet while doing so.

Re:Taubes is a quack. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21424871)

You may just be malnourished. Malnourishment doesn't lead to instant death. You could probably survive for a year or more on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (that'd be a pretty complete food! Peanuts are exceptionally nutritious). But you'll be stupefied and sickly, and probably bleeding a lot if injured (doubtful there'd be adequate ascorbic acid). Note also that peanut butter is quite incredibly high in calories: you'd want to be eating a couple of sandwiches a day at most or you'd almost certainly put on weight.

Also, it would have to be european-market (or american organic/gourment) peanut butter, not typical american "peanut" butter, which is mainly hydrogenated vegetable fat with some peanut flavouring. Ingredients other than "peanuts, salt." means it's Not Peanut Butter.

Scientific method (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21424423)

Medicine as it is is normally taught and used as treatment has never been science. Doctors are not taught real rigorous scientific method, and many don't really understand what science is really about. Just because one may think they know about how something works doesn't mean that it is scientifically proven. It just makes me angry that some doctors spout that they are people of science when they are never really trained in the scientific method or really understand what that means.

I've been saying this for years. (1)

WK2 (1072560) | more than 6 years ago | (#21424425)

I've been saying this for years. Eating does not make you fat. When people disagree, I say, "Sure, what could the skinny guy know about staying thin?" In a single meal, I'll eat a large Domino's Pizza, or about 4 McDonald's hamburgers.

I would stop if I were you... (1)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 6 years ago | (#21424817)

a) How old are you? I used to be able to eat 12" pizzas in single sittings and Mcdonald's 4 times a week and not gain a pound as well when I was in Univeristy 4 years ago. Trust me - it will catch up with you.

b) This is the big one and the one these books NEVER talk about. It isn't all about looks. Those foods you are eating, regardless of fat or caloric content, are loaded with LDL cholesterol which is clogging up your arteries, even if you can't notice any outward weight gain. If you don't start eating better someday, you will probably die of a heart attack before you hit 50.

It is not an exact science... (1)

laughing rabbit (216615) | more than 6 years ago | (#21424433)

...At least that is what one pre-surgery disclaimer that I was required to sign said. I asked if I could weasel around with the same language if I was repairing the roof on the surgeon's house. That was not met with humor.

Still, the body is not very exact. Everybody is wired a little different, the chemical mix is a little different, and how we respond to our environment is different.

Sometimes it seems that medicine is more an industry that uses science as needed, but doesn't want to get bogged down with the details.

Re:It is not an exact science... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21424653)

You could not possibly be more correct. In this day and age Medicine has everything to do with the bottom line and increasingly less to do with any real scientific investigation. As long as doctors are virtually forced to do things the corporate way, there will never be a focus on health, just healing patches slapped on people over and over again until there are no more conditions that we can be treated (milked) for.

What's the mystery? (1)

JoshOOOWAH (849135) | more than 6 years ago | (#21424435)

Isn't this just a math problem? {Calories In} - {Calories Burned} = {Weight Gained/Lost}? Does anyone really still have a problem with this?

What you eat can lead to other health problems, metabolism factors in, but in the end, how much you eat, in calories, determines how much you weigh. Yes?

Re:What's the mystery? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21424643)

Tell that to Joey Chestnut.

Re:What's the mystery? (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#21424659)

Yes, some people do. I eat a lot, don't exercise that much, and I have never had a problem with my weight. Of course, there's other ways the body burns calories rather than just exercise. The brain consumes a lot of energy, so if you think more, then you will use more energy. On the other side of that, if you are really stressed out, and your mind is going 1000 miles a second, you will also lose a lot of energy. I also tend to be a very twitchy person. Always moving my hands or doing something. I'm rarely ever just sitting still. It drives my wife crazy, but I'm sure it burns quite a few calories. So, while you're right that calories in - calories burned = weight change, it goes a little deeper than that. Two people could eat the same thing, and do the same amount of exercise, and one would gain weight, and the other would lose.

Re:What's the mystery? (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 6 years ago | (#21424895)

I agree completely. Its also true that the whole idea of a calorie is crazy to me. They measure the heat given off of the food as its burned. My body is not a furnace. I think I owe my sleek physique to my body's inefficient usage of the energy stored in food. In prehistoric times that would have been a disadvantage and I most likely would have been killed by a raccoon, or an aggressive badger. But, yeah eat less, exercise more = weight loss. I experiences that unwittingly in my time as an overseas volunteer. At the end, I looked like Cristian Bale in the Machinist. It was scary.

Re:What's the mystery? (4, Interesting)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 6 years ago | (#21424661)

Some people can get all they need to run their bodies on a lot less calories than others.

I can raise my burn rate for several days by playing hard sports for three hours. People comment that I feel like I have a fever.

My friend who has developed problems after a life time of being thin has low thyroid and other hormone feedback systems. And she is always hungry- constantly. Even when she eats, she will be hungry again a while later. And not eating does not cause the hunger to fade like it does for me- it just gets stronger.

I have another friend who has the *reverse* problem. He is slowly losing weight (like a pound a year) despite eating heavily and it is getting kinda critical. He has a messed up endocrine system too.

Some people are messed up so that any exercise just destroys muscle (they do not get stronger).

I wish people would not be so judgmental about these things.

Some people eat because they are sad- some were raised and trained on bad food- some were never trained to enjoy physical activity. Some people have hyper metabolisms that allow them to eat heavily and still remain thin.

And there is some evidence recently that fat people die less of many diseases. The anti-fat attitudes stink of group-think gone bad.

Re:What's the mystery? (1)

djmurdoch (306849) | more than 6 years ago | (#21424733)

I think his main point was that it's not easy to control {Calories In} and {Calories Burned} simply by controlling exercise and fat intake. Exercising is likely to increase both, because it makes you hungry. Reducing fat intake may increase calories, because you'll substitute carbohydrates, and eat more calories that way. It's very easy to eat a huge number of calories in sugar or starch, but less easy to do so in fat or protein.

Re:What's the mystery? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21424819)

That is the main formula. However, does the calorie burn rate vary depending on the type of food consumed? Also, do all calories get metabolized regardless of calorie source?

Re:What's the mystery? (1)

wcrowe (94389) | more than 6 years ago | (#21424947)

I wish that were universally true. I don't believe it is. In 2004 I spent about two months on an 800 calorie a day diet, and still did not lose any weight. It's not just a matter of calories. Not for everyone.

Re:What's the mystery? (1)

drmerope (771119) | more than 6 years ago | (#21424965)

Right, the caloric balance determines the ultimate weight gain/loss. The question then is what determines 'calories burned'. I don't know much about this subject, but I know enough to know that calories burned is a function of both the form of the calories consumed and your activity level.

A further complication is the idea that eating 1000 calories of fat is more harmful than 1000 calories of starch. This hypothesis is rampant but unsubstantiated.

Nutrition, yes. Exercise, no. (5, Interesting)

curunir (98273) | more than 6 years ago | (#21424447)

When it comes to the current thinking on nutrition, there is a definite point to what he's saying.

But to say that Exercise has no effect on weight loss is just plain wrong. Exercise changes the way your body processes the food you put into it (or, more accurately, your body adapts to the amount of exercise that you get). Building muscle causes you to require more calories in your diet to support that muscle. And building stamina causes you to burn a lot of calories in the process. And if you want to venture into the unscientific realm, consistent exercise helps to stabilize your mood and makes you less prone to food cravings (the cravings for sugary foods and for fatty foods are based in imbalances in Serotonin and Dopamine levels).

There is a dire need to re-examine everything we know about a healthy diet. People get so worked up about things like trans fats while completely ignoring the elephant in the room (high-fructose corn syrup). Everyone I know who's given up corn syrup, to the extent that it's possible in the US, has lost a minimum of 10 lbs.

But to suggest that exercise isn't a vital part of a healthy lifestyle is wrong, and potentially very dangerous.

Re:Nutrition, yes. Exercise, no. (1, Informative)

ChronosWS (706209) | more than 6 years ago | (#21424633)

I agree. From TFA:

According to his research, eating fatty foods doesn't lead to heart disease, cholesterol levels aren't something to worry about, and exercise doesn't help you lose weight.

This is stupid. If for no other reason, I think it would violate some thermodynamic laws to say exercise does not contribute to lowering your weight. For the same quantity of input energy (vis-a-vis food being digested) and a varying amount of output energy (exercise above and beyond the resting energy use of the body), you will have a net gain or loss of energy. We retain energy via various biochemical means, all of which involve putting it into cells and storing them somewhere. This results in more weight. If we utilize more energy than we take in, that energy has to come from somewhere, and that somewhere is those same cells, which are consumed. Thus we lose weight.

The exact process may be more complicated, but I don't think the energy equations are.

Mod parent up! (1)

tecmec (870283) | more than 6 years ago | (#21424937)

Where are my mod points when I need them?

Re:Nutrition, yes. Exercise, no. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21424719)

In a similar way, spending money on a credit card (eating) adds to the balance (total weight & fat), if you don't pay your monthly credit card bill (living healthy) the balance will just keep growing (or just maintaining if you are a bit lazy) ;-). If you have more money (exercise) then you can pay it down faster.

Re:Nutrition, yes. Exercise, no. (1)

rhombic (140326) | more than 6 years ago | (#21424737)

Everyone I know who's given up corn syrup, to the extent that it's possible in the US, has lost a minimum of 10 lbs.

I definitely agree. HFCS is pure unadulterated evil. I essentially gave up soda (I have one or two a month) & tried to avoid HFCS in other foods, essentially no other diet changes, no significant change in exercise regime (just golf & walk). Still drink Gatorade (i.e. glucose water) when I golf. Went from 185 lbs (BMI 26.5, overweight) to 158 lbs (BMI 22.7, normal). In eight months. For me, at least, HFCS is fatness in a bottle.

Yeah, and here's why (1)

nunyadambinness (1181813) | more than 6 years ago | (#21424955)

Everyone I know who's given up corn syrup, to the extent that it's possible in the US, has lost a minimum of 10 lbs.

Because they were consuming fewer calories. That' all there is to it, no magic or voodoo or pixie dust, just fewer calories.

Thermodynamics is the answer (0, Redundant)

onkelonkel (560274) | more than 6 years ago | (#21424463)

Expend more calories than you ingest. How can you NOT lose weight if you do this?

Re:Thermodynamics is the answer (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21424809)


The body has a target rate of calories that it needs daily. If you cut around to about 300 calories below that, you will lose weight at a healthy rate. If you cut too far below 300, your body goes into survival mode, taking anything it can and turning it into fat. This might result in weight loss, but it is considered unhealthy.

Its not rocket science, its basic math. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21424473)

X - Y = Z.

If X > Y, Z is positive.
If X Y, Z is positive.
If X Y, Z is negative.
If X = Y, Z is 0.

Science? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21424481)

There's money to be made. Stop interfering.

More olive oil, more cream-- less weight (5, Interesting)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 6 years ago | (#21424483)

I lost 25 pounds after I simply cut out bread, potatoes, and sugar from my diet.

In the mean time, I added a gallon of olive oil every 60 days and a pint of cream a week.

Tho fit already (sports twice a week, regular walking and exercise) I started developing diabetes (of course my mom and grandparents had it so I'm kinda doomed there). Despite cutting out enormous amounts of carbs and sugars (I was previously drinking 1,000 calories of soda a day), I continue to slide in the bad direction on my blood sugar. It's not diabetic yet but it is just a matter of time.

My diet consists of large amounts of vegetables, meat courses, almost no grains (2-3 ounces a day tops).

I think people have different needs based on their genetic history.

I agree that a lot of "science" these days is opinion, hysteria, or someone's hidden agenda.

Re:More olive oil, more cream-- less weight (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21424841)

There's help! Get a blood sugar measuring device and check your blood sugar after every meal every 30 minutes for 4 hours. Then stop eating stuff that raises your blood sugar level.

Re:More olive oil, more cream-- less weight (1)

TheNarrator (200498) | more than 6 years ago | (#21424917)

I was listening to a radio program a while ago when the Atkins diet was hip. It was a debate between nutritionists pro and con about Atkins. Both of them had a lot of awards, titles ,etc. The anti-Atkins guy eventually rant out of arguments and started talking about how we have to stop eating so much meat and destroying the earth. Which led me to believe that the whole obesity/health/eating situation is suffering from severe politicization.

moderation (4, Insightful)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 6 years ago | (#21424503)

what about eating in moderation with exercise? Why does it have to be so extreme, i.e. no sugar, no fat, "no" something?
The recommended amount of exercise is 30 minutes per day -- it's actually a fair amount, if you're biking or jogging 30 minutes per day, and eating in moderation, i.e. let's say within the FDA guidelines for diet, and you're still overweight, then you might have a medical need for weight treatment. Otherwise, try all of those things first.

Re:moderation (2, Insightful)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 6 years ago | (#21424903)

Well, making a broad generalization, is because people

A) want miracle solutions, and

B) preferrably ones that require less effort on their side, and

C) want more to look like they're doing something, than to actually do something. (The incompetent manager syndrome.)

So between something like (I) just eat less calories than you use, and something like (II) just stop eating bread, the latter will win on all accounts.

The latter requires less discipline and willpower, less counting, less putting up with meals that taste insipid for lack of fat, no getting off the sofa and exercising, etc. It's simply less effort. And it's sold with enough hocus pocus and scientific-sounding words to sound like magic to the uninitiate. (Somethimes it does have some science behind it, sometimes it doesn't, but that's all irrelevant anyway to Joe Sixpack who wouldn't know what a complex carbohydrate is if it bit him in the arse.) And it's something as conspicuous as it gets. You don't have to wonder whether you're doing it right. See, it's without bread! I'm doing something!

Now again, I'm not saying that Atkins is necessarily bad. But there was plenty of other stuff which didn't have any scientific basis and got swallowed by the masses anyway, on account of the three points above.

Between (1) all the effort of exercising and dieting, and (B) conspicuously waving some magic wand, the average Joe Sixpack will choose the latter every single time. That's all I'm saying.

strawman logic (4, Insightful)

mugnyte (203225) | more than 6 years ago | (#21424535)

"For 50 years, the advice on dieting has been very clear..."

  Um, hardly. This kind of sentence attempt to draw the reader into a sense of agreement from their most-remembered anecdotes so that the rest of the premise is seen as new. But in reality, fad dieting advice is all over the map and has been since it was part of pop culture, which goes back a *long* way. Spoonful of mercury, anyone?

  The only good dieting advice has been through a good understand of one's own body. Allergies, lifestyle, location, education, economics, etc all play roles in what chemicals you put in your and how you burn energy.

  This book's position is just another in the lineup of positions taken about the human GI system and energy usage. There are many strategies, both workable and not. Unless you know yourself well, no change is a worthwhile change - its all so much guessing.

  Additionally, one has to ask the philosophical the goal to eat yummy/available food or live [potentially] longer lives? There's no one answer, really.

Re:strawman logic (1)

gardyloo (512791) | more than 6 years ago | (#21424697)

But in reality, fad dieting advice is all over the map and has been since it was part of pop culture, which goes back a *long* way. Spoonful of mercury, anyone?
Well, that's complete and utter -- Ooh! Shiny!

Misrepresentation of conventional wisdom (2, Insightful)

bigdavex (155746) | more than 6 years ago | (#21424541)

In fact, according to Mr. Taubes, everything the medical profession advocates, in terms of eating and exercise, is at best a waste of time, and at worst, may actually be killing us. He says it isn't fat we should be worrying about, but instead carbohydrates, especially white flour and white sugar.

OK, who doesn't recommend whole grains and avoiding sweets for overweight people? The quacks are all over the place, but I think we know (and have known) that vegetables & whole grains are the way to go.

Re:Misrepresentation of conventional wisdom (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 6 years ago | (#21424723)

but I think we know (and have known) that vegetables & whole grains are the way to go.

The impression I got from the article was that even whole grains aren't really good for you.

Re:Misrepresentation of conventional wisdom (3, Informative)

Budenny (888916) | more than 6 years ago | (#21424977)

Probably not whole grains. That whole grains are better for you is a myth. No cultures with a tradition of long lived good health eat wheat or rice bran - or any non soluble bran. They feed it to animals and eat the animals. Also, such cultures treat soy with great wariness and respect. This too they feed to animals, unless fermented and aged, and even then they eat it in very small quantities.

The reason is partly phytates, and partly irritation of the bowels, and partly plant estrogens. Wheat bran is non soluble and so is an irritant to the bowel. But because of phytates, it prevents the absorption of minerals. The plant hormones in soy are just plain bad for you. Brown rice is lower in delivered nutrition than polished. It is not how much nutrients a product contains. Its how much it delivers to you when you eat it.

We are embarked on a huge uncontrolled experiment in nutrition, and one undertaken without the slightest evidence in its favor. We started out with a diet which obtained about one third of its calories from saturated fats, about one third from protein, and one third from partly refined carbs, generally all eaten together with a variety of vegetables. Curiously enough, heart disease was rather low. I say partially refined - the bread before the invention of modern industrial baking was sourdough long fermented and slow risen, and was made from high extraction but not whole wheat flour. It was chewy, low GI and very digestible. These foods were eaten slowly in sociable meals. They were not wolfed down on the way from one place to another, or held in one hand while typing with the other.

We moved from this to a diet which substituted refined and often hydrogenated vegetable oil, high in polyunsaturates, for the animal fat. We then added to this recently the most industrialized kind of processed food there is: soy 'milk' and meal of various kinds. This too raised the proportion of vegetable oil in the diet. We then had a campaign to lower total fat consumption, which led us to a high carbohydrate diet, but high in those same vegetable oils.

Our last state was worse than our first. Nothing in our evolutionary history has prepared us for such a diet. Its consequences are continual hunger, over eating, endless snacks, obesity, and degenerative diseases.

What do we need to do? Go back to the traditional comfortably off working family diets of about 1900. Meat and two vegetables, high extraction sourdough bread in liberal quantities, oatmeal, full fat milk, butter, cheese, fish in moderation. Minimal amounts of vegetable oil, minimal amounts of sweets. Pastry made, if one has to eat pastry, with suet. No snacks.

Women are the especial victims of our current dietary mania and the diet industry. If we could do one thing to improve the health of society, it would be to abolish dieting, dieting books, and conversations about dieting and one's weight. Couple that with only eating at mealtimes, cooking only real food from scratch, using ingredients available in 1910, and we would all be infinitely better off.

Read "Nourishing Traditions." It will change your life.

I beleive (1)

d3l33t (1106803) | more than 6 years ago | (#21424543)

The medical community has used a scientific methodology to diagnose patients in the past thousand years. You can find old journals of doctors using a basic scientific approach to diagnose. I believe technology, and money, have spoiled this for the medical community. A doctor no longer has the attitude to properly document specific problems with patients. ON A DAILY BASIS, thousands of people are under diagnosed because of waiting times and per capita salaries. The find something with similar characteristics, and prescribe antibiotics. In an HMO structure, it costs nothing to a doctor to prescribes drugs, but will cost you an arm to forward that patient to the appropriate specialist who may properly diagnose. It's sad, the amount of unidentified diseases ( i understand there are a lot ) brought infront of a doctors and then are pushed through the revolving door.

I don't really know... (3, Interesting)

Eberlin (570874) | more than 6 years ago | (#21424545)

...and I have a feeling neither do they.

Look, we've all been told quite a few different contradictory things when it comes to health and diet. Milk was bad, milk was good, milk has lots of carbs, etc. Eggs are bad, eggs are good, egg yolks are bad but egg whites are good. Cholesterol issues -- have less meat, focus on vegetables and carbs. Diabetes and obesity -- must cut down on carbs. Going strictly vegetarian may make you deficient in certain things only found in meat. Coffee is bad for you, coffee is good for you. Chocolate bad, chocolate good. Wine bad, wine good.

I think the only constant I have heard is that exercise is good for you and that eating things in moderation is probably a good thing.

Re:I don't really know... (1)

P3NIS_CLEAVER (860022) | more than 6 years ago | (#21424847)

The funniest thing at all is that scientists ignore the fact that much of the food you digest is broken down by bacteria in your gut, in turn providing proteins and nutrients. That is why you can survive on a diet of rice and a few other nutrients such as minerals and vitamin C.

For heaven's sake... (1)

Otter (3800) | more than 6 years ago | (#21424547)

So, has medicine become a non-science? Is it mostly a non-science? Somewhat?

You know, there's a bit more to "medicine" than just magazine articles on dieting...

My observation... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21424559)

It's been my observation that your "size" has a lot to do with your eating habits, and only a little to do with exercise.

Exercise gets you fit. (Healthy & Sensible) Diet makes you skinny.

I have always despised doctors (-1)

mlwmohawk (801821) | more than 6 years ago | (#21424563)

Don't get me wrong, the research and scientific persuit of medicine is an important on for the human race, but the general practitioner's of "medicine" are little more than slightly better informed than the quackary of previous ages.

The medical community does a lot of good where it "fixes" obvious ailments, bullet wounds, broken bones, cuts and scrapes. It also does well when accompanied by valid scientific research, vaccinations and so forth. When it comes to "wisdom," it is nothing more than an authority fallacy, these people, are just as clueless as everyone else as to the hows and whys of things.

High glycemic carbs (4, Interesting)

wcrowe (94389) | more than 6 years ago | (#21424571)

I don't have time to LTTFP, but I know what worked for me. I was morbidly overweight, and I tried a number of things to get rid of it, including the traditional low-fat + exercise regimen. What finally worked was to eliminate or drastically cut high-glycemic carbs from my diet (rice, pasta, potatoes, bread, sugar, and the like). That, coupled with moderate exercise (walking 1 or 2 miles) helped me to drop 90 pounds in about a year.

I believe there is a relationship between high glycemic carbs, blood glucose spikes, and insulin, which will cause certain body chemistries to convert and store much of that intake as fat.

Wish I had discovered this 15 years ago.

Bullshit (1)

nagora (177841) | more than 6 years ago | (#21424595)

Coal miners rarely gave a damn about their diet, exercised a lot and tended not to be paid enough to over-eat. They were thin, on the whole. There's millions of people who's jobs force them to exercise and eat normally and the vast majority of them are not fat. There's also millions who eat normally, sit in their offices all day, drive home and sit at home all night. A surprisingly large number of them are overweight.


Re:Bullshit (1)

east coast (590680) | more than 6 years ago | (#21424749)

Coal miners rarely gave a damn about their diet, exercised a lot and tended not to be paid enough to over-eat.

My father was a coal miner and while you're correct in you assumption about his physical condition don't be too sure about what they get paid. Sure, early on last century it was scrub work but in the last few decades it's turned into a good paying job with benefits that most others only dream of. Hell, his retiree benefits are better than my paid-for benefits through work. I work in the health care industry.

The mining industry is becoming more and more of a specialized industry and isn't a place for strongbacks with the intelligence of a mule anymore. It actually hasn't been for a while. At times I wished I had gone into mining when it comes down to the pay and future of the industry.

Progress report on Operation Flab (3, Informative)

spaceyhackerlady (462530) | more than 6 years ago | (#21424617)

Calories in greater than calories out => gain weight.
Calories in less than calories out => lose weight.

At least, that's how I thought it worked. I decided late last year, as a new years resolution, to start Operation Flab. My weight had crept up, ours is not a physically active field to begin with, and middle age (I'm 46) didn't help.

I've made some healthier choices in my diet, cut back on portions, exercise vigorously 3 times a week, and have lost significant weight. I feel 100% better. There is no magic: I didn't gain it overnight, and I'm not going to lose it overnight either. Heroics never work, because too great a lifestyle/diet change will never last.

I didn't bother with a health club membership or anything like that. My sole expense was an MP3 player.


Re:Progress report on Operation Flab (1)

Polysick (926605) | more than 6 years ago | (#21424771)

Yes, it's pretty simple, eat less then you burn off, and you will lose weight. Of course, this is for your average person, and you may be able to eat a lot more or a lot less depending on how much muscle you have. And actually, if you eat tons of calories more than you burn off, it won't necessarily make you fat. If you weight train, it will mainly build muscle instead of fat. I lost 50 pounds over a year, and the only thing I did was watch the amount of calories I took in, nothing more, didn't matter where they came from. A lifestyle change is really the only solution to obesity. The problem is no one is patient enough to feel good about losing 1 pound or less a week.

medicine is RELIGION. (1)

quonsar (61695) | more than 6 years ago | (#21424641)

doctors are the high priests. they even have the white robes.

geeze (2, Insightful)

nomadic (141991) | more than 6 years ago | (#21424649)

So, has medicine become a non-science? Is it mostly a non-science? Somewhat?

You think this article is about "medicine" in general? This is about a tiny branch of medicine dealing with nutrition and public health.

medical practice != science (2, Interesting)

rodentia (102779) | more than 6 years ago | (#21424657)

The practice of medicine long predates the development of what we currently understand as *science*: the methods of empirical analysis of theses. In particular, there is no time or means for treating each syndrome disclosed to a GP as an object of empirical study. The GP does not form more than a general hypothesis regarding etiology and treatment. Typically the treatment determines the diagnosis.

For example, it is the season of upper-respiratory infection, caused by a host of bacteria and viruses with very similar effects. The means are available to test phlegm samples and determine an exact diagnosis, but the costs are prohibitive. The GP compares symptoms to the run of illnesses she is seeing recently, prescribes in light of that insight and hopes for the best. If the AB is effective, it was a bacterial infection.

The practice of medicine, as opposed to medical research, has never been particularly *scientific* in the common sense of the word.

I'm sick as hell with this shit (1)

schnikies79 (788746) | more than 6 years ago | (#21424663)

It's extremely simple. Burn more calories than you intake, period. There is NO reason to make it more complicated than this. Don't give me bull about how obesity is a conspiracy by X, nearly everyone knows exactly what you have to do and they don't do it. There was an article in the Courier Journal (newspaper in Louisville, KY) not long ago and obesity, there was quotes by students from the University of Louisville that basically stated "I know exactly how bad for me it is, but I don't care. It tastes good and I like to eat it."

I lift 3x/week and run 5x/week and watch what I eat and drink. I drink no soda and I don't eat fast food. Guess what, I'm not overweight.

Imagine that.

Amazon affiliate code embedded in the book link. (1)

Dzimas (547818) | more than 6 years ago | (#21424673)

Aww, c'mon. Do we have to post stories to slashdot with an affiliate program codes in the links? This stuff should be removed by editors before posting, because it encourages people to submit links for profit. As far as obesity goes, it's caused by sitting in front of a computer 12 hours a day, seven days a week while subsisting on Twinkies and Coca Cola.

The "medical community?" (4, Insightful)

physicsboy500 (645835) | more than 6 years ago | (#21424685)

I have a big gripe with saying the "medical community" or stereotyping the entire medical field as saying diet and exercise is the only component to obesity.

For the last thirty years, medical advice on obesity has been very clear. Eat less and exercise. But what if that was all wrong, a big fat lie, as Gary Taubes would put it?

In fact, according to Mr. Taubes, everything the medical profession advocates, in terms of eating and exercise, is at best a waste of time, and at worst, may actually be killing us.
Of course medical advice is clear. Exercise does make you healthier and stronger. It helps your immune system and metabolism. It is true that you should only exercise the amount you are able, and that over-exercising can put added and unnecessary strain on important organs which can be dangerous. One thing that the medical field is learning though is that a good portion of your body shape is due simply to genetics. The "medical community" has not been caught up and derailed by the "diet and exercise" bandwagon. They are currently doing more and more research into the amount we are affected by our own genes.

There are some doctors who do not have the absolute latest information and they will sometimes claim that diet and exercise are the only thing that is making someone larger and there are (of course) a few scam artists trying to make a buck off the "simple little pill" or "this is the only piece of equipment you need to be thin" commercials and insatiably people will fall for it.

The point is, the medical field is right in giving this person that advice. He should eat less, he should exercise. It WILL make him healthier. It may not make him look like Brad Pitt, and he (probably) always be larger than normal, but just because a component of obesity is genetics does not mean everything to do with obesity is genetics. It also does not mean the "medical community" is stuck in the stone age with "non science."

Bullshit (1)

Rumagent (86695) | more than 6 years ago | (#21424703)

It is simple.


Either stop filling your face and/or start exercising!


The problem with dieting (1)

Steveftoth (78419) | more than 6 years ago | (#21424711)

I think that 60 minutes just had a good program on recently that I was watching via yahoo news about how a subway sandwich meal had 1,300 calories. The shocking thing is that the people that they talked to had no idea that they were consuming that much food. This is the central problem with most diets and why most people fail. They have no idea how much they are consuming. They don't measure it and there is no good way to measure how much energy you expend on a day to day basis.
The basic formula as many have pointed out is energy consumed - energy spent = energy stored/consumed from body. But one thing that is not true is that all energy that your body gets from your body comes from fat cells. Depending on your diet and eating habits, your body will not use fat for energy, but rather muscle or other tissues first. Maintaining the proper balance of hormones, fats and carbs in your system to ensure that you lose the proper amount is also hard.

Science is simply not being used to measure this I think. Most diet programs just seem to be of the type where they tell you to eat stuff and hope that you don't eat more. Then the people that actually follow their plan (or so they say) are held up as examples of the diet working.

Berstein Diet, Say No More (1)

e-scetic (1003976) | more than 6 years ago | (#21424735)

Take a look at the Bernstein diet [] , where the doctor takes your money, about $1000, gives you weekly injections of vitamin B6 and B12 in liquid form, and YET openly acknowledges that there is no medical or scientific evidence proving this helps you burn fat. He does put you on a diet of less than 1000 calories per day, though, which is a no-brainer.

Technically, he's not being unscientific, since he acknowledges the lack of evidence, but you have to admit he's exploiting the public's inability to figure out the subtleties - they think the magic is in the injections. So I'm sure part of the problem is the general public and media.

By the way, there's no denying the obesity epidemic, it's so bloody obvious. Just scan the crowds at a Canadian or US football stadium and you'll notice vast differences in the average spectator size between the countries. Not very scientific, but still valid as an observation.

in other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21424739)

Heh, I just read this [] article before - apparently, if you're fat.. I'm sorry.. obese, you are not only unhealthy and the focus of some estranged witch doctors, but you're also not allowed to immigrate into New Zealand! - So those of you fed up with your corrupt [] governments - better check your weight before moving to the Kiwis ;)

If it quacks like a duck (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21424741)

Nowhere is the idea of a perpetual motion machine more accepted than in the "science" of weight loss.

What is he talking about? (1)

frankie (91710) | more than 6 years ago | (#21424755)

Huh? The "medical establishment" says a very simple thing: IT'S THE CALORIES, STUPID! Eating more calories than you burn makes you fat. Burning more calories than you eat makes you thin. Every diet study ever conducted boils down to this one simple principle (which could also be derived from thermodynamics, et al).

Doesn't matter if it's calories from fat, or calories from carbs, or calories from protein. Doesn't matter if it's direct exercise, or breastfeeding, or lugging equipment around an office for 8 hours. The only differences are which types of food enable you to feel full at a lower calorie level, and which types of activity get you to expend the proper amount of energy.

I mod this article Score:0, Flamebait.

I've heard it said, that (1)

Digitus1337 (671442) | more than 6 years ago | (#21424765)

"A waist is a terrible thing to mind."

One of the /. quotes at the bottom of the page, IIRC.

My story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21424773)

I was 145 lbs my whole life (6'0") and after a "break" the doctors decided I needed several medications which I did not want to take, however my wife insisted. I gained 90 lbs in 6 months, and I now weigh 270 (2 years later). The entire time I was gaining weight DANGEROUSLY rapidly the doctors said NOTHING, just keep taking the medication. So let me just say that I have sympathy for people who have been victims of the medical system and I am now extremely sceptical of "professional medical advice."

Big pharm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21424813)

The drug companies and Monsanto are doing this to increase profits.

They are issuing us drugs which are not regulated by the FDA and which are now being exported.

As soon as we hold companies accountable for their externalities obesity will go away.

I follow the pysics diet (4, Interesting)

Burning1 (204959) | more than 6 years ago | (#21424865)

I use the Physics Diet [] .

It has to work, because it's physics.

TV & Video Games & Computers (1)

Kazrath (822492) | more than 6 years ago | (#21424875)

Umm, TV & Video Games make you fat. America did not have a fat problem before we had 2+ TV's and Consoles in your home. Basically now that people are not obtaining the exercise level of the pre electronics age we have become fat. Food intake plays a part but regardless exercise plays a major role in maintaining a non-obese state.

I walked about an average of 6 hours a day for 30 days while in Italy September '06. I was eating 3 meals a day and the meals were larger than I eat at home (I was raised to empty the plate) and I ended up loosing 35lbs while there. In a normal day I only walk 15-20 minutes a day and have gained back about 25 of the 35 lbs lost last year. W/o changing my diet and can loose considerable weight at a fast rate just by increasing my exersize level.

This is Pretty Well Established (1)

BECoole (558920) | more than 6 years ago | (#21424891)

Cholesterol doesn't clog your arteries unless you are suffering from inflammation (most of us are) and low carb diets have been know to normalize weight since at least the mid-19th century. William Banting published a book about this way back then. William Banting []
Check out the Weston Price Foundation for tons of material on these subjects. Weston Price Foundation []

Re:This is Pretty Well Established (1)

BECoole (558920) | more than 6 years ago | (#21424943)

The type of exercise he is talking about is excessive exercise. Running marathons, etc do more harm than good. People who exercise heavily are statistically no healtheir than people who don't exercise at all. Moderate exercise seems to be best.

Just finished Taubes' book this morning (5, Interesting)

phunctor (964194) | more than 6 years ago | (#21424905)

He makes the extraordinary claim that Official Nutrition has been getting it wrong for the last 40 years. However, he provides and discusses a solid body of relevant and eminently respectable (Lancet, JAMA, NEJM, etc..) citations to support his claim. Color me 95% convinced.

He notes that the application of the first law of thermodynamics (the slogan is "A Calorie is A Calorie") to a homeostatic dissipative system like the human body is beyond simplistic. It is simply wrong.

The core of his thesis is that a cellular-level metabolic disorder caused over time by consumption of concentrated and rapidly available carbohydrates, and the insulin spikes they provoke, is the cause not only of obesity but also of type II diabetes. Briefly, fat cells become too good at extracting glucose from the blood and storing it. This results in cellular-level semi-starvation in other body tissues, expressed at the organismic level by eating more and exercising less.

He depicts the high level of investment in the competing "gluttony & sloth" model of obesity which exists in our medical establishment and in our culture. Indeed, from his portrayal this viewpoint is very close to being an ideology rather than a theory, in that dissenters are cast into outer darkness rather than refuted.

He discusses the personalities and politics involved in the alleged disastrous wrong turn, and points up some interesting coincidences involving what research gets funded, and what research doesn't get funded, by for example sugar producers.

I'm intentionally being very brief. If you have a personal stake, read this book and form your own conclusions.


Being skinny is all fine and dandy... (1)

Larmal (691516) | more than 6 years ago | (#21424923)

I listened to this guy on CBC this weekend being interviewed. It was interesting, and I'm intrigued to read his book just for the sake of hearing more about what he has to say. I'm not a doctor (although I come from a family of doctors), and I'm not a dietitian (again, some in the family however), but I think there's something to it.

But lets be honest - north america is so immersed in carbohydrates, wouldn't simply levelling out our calorie intake be enough? To my understanding, the standard "healthy" intake of calories across the spectrum is 50% from carbs, 30% from protein, and 20% from fat. My question is, given our culture, how many of us actually adhere to that? i started counting calories a few months back and realised that while my fat intake was super low, my carb intake was through the roof at around 70-80% (which is actually an argument that the author makes during the podcast - you supplement your low fat intake with a higher protein or, in most of our cases, higher carb intake). So instead of stripping carbs out and treating it like fat, shouldn't we simply strive for a better balance? Everything's fine in moderation, but when crap gets out of whack, bad things happen.

In any case - the real point to my post is this question here: Having low amounts of fat is all fine and dandy, but one thing I didn't hear the author address (and maybe I missed it) was the cholesterol factor. I've known a few people that are pretty skinny, but their cholesterol levels are out of this world - so much so that their doctors have told them that, at the age of 27 and 29, they have to scale back or put themselves at severe risk of a cardiac arrest by the time they're 30. So while this whole "drop the carbs lets get skinny!" thing is all fine and dandy, I'm more curious as to whether or not that actually makes you healthier.

Eat food. Mostly plants. Not too much. (1)

PIPBoy3000 (619296) | more than 6 years ago | (#21424961)

This essay [] is probably my favorite I've seen on the subject.

I'd couple any dietary changes with regular exercise, especially cardiovascular.

My rule of thumb is that if I model my diet and exercise to humans living a thousand years ago, I'll reap the benefits of millions of years of evolution. If I eat weird stuff and sit around all day, I'll have to wait for a few hundred generations of humans to adapt before my distant offspring can benefit.

NY Times Article by Taubes (3, Informative)

discontinuity (792010) | more than 6 years ago | (#21424969)

Here's a link to an article by Taubes that originally ran in 2002, and sounds like it was the seed for this book.

"What if It's All Been a Big Fat Lie?"

It's long for a NYTimes article, but it's an interesting read. I'm sure the book updates much of the data.

Holodeck weight loss. (1)

rice_burners_suck (243660) | more than 6 years ago | (#21424995)

How to fight obesity: Invent the holodeck. People won't sit in front of computer screens anymore, typing away their day at a keyboard, only to finish, drive home (another sitting activity), sit on the couch, and drink a beer. In the holodeck, computer work will become much more interactive and visual, utilizing objects like those with which we interact every day. For example, computer programmers debugging a program would don chemical safety suits and chase down monster-size holographic cockroaches with holographic bug spray. More difficult bugs would be searched for in a role-playing Sherlock Holmes mystery case. Microsoft Windows would be implemented as a holographic custom window store. UNIX would be implemented as a group of lurking demons in a fiery hell. Video games, especially first person shooters, would require running, jumping, ducking, etc., all of which would cause our kids to be thin and muscular, not to mention great fighters. eBooks would be physical holographic books that you could read all day long, but not remove from the holodeck. (Recall that matter in the holodeck ceases to exist outside the holodeck's borders.) Emails would appear as physical envelopes. Those with big attachments would arrive in large UPS packages. While doing office productivity work, jumping through bureaucratic hoops would mean just that: Jumping through fire rings at a circus. Security would consist of physical barriers. A firewall would be implemented as a large, thick stone dam, with allowed services leaking in through holes in the dam. Users would wear condoms to avoid getting viruses while in the holodeck (although holographic viruses will cease to exist once taken outside the holodeck). When logging in, you would knock on an old wooden door that has a small eye-door built in to it. A burly man inside would ask for your password, which you would whisper. Get it wrong and he'll kick your ass (this doubles as a video game). Hackers would show up with a gun. I think that computing in general would make a lot more sense, and it would certainly keep people thinner.
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