What’s causing so many of us to gain weight? Here, we’re talking about gaining a couple pounds to gaining obesity, it’s all part of a worldwide problem that we have been dealing with for decades now. Are we eating too many calories? Are we eating too much fat? Are we eating too many carbs? Are we not moving enough? What is the cause of this problem that leads so many people to gain weight, get sick and eventually die because of it?
The answer that a lot of doctors and so called “health experts” like to tell you is: stay away from fats, eat less calories and move more. I am all for moving more, being active and working out on a regular basis. If you have read any of my nutrition blogs you will know that I don’t agree with the first part of that statement.
Before we get to the main cause of weight gain, let’s focus on debunking some of the old information that’s out there. The worst part about statements like this is that there have been countless experiments and researches that have proven that eating healthy fats are not the main the cause of weight gain. Quite on the contrary, it could actually be a cure to fight weight gain/obesity. Without any evidence whatsoever, fats have been made the evil villain of food sources, I guess back in the day it was easier to blame something than actually facing the truth. As weird as it sounds, fat doesn’t make you fat.
The question you might be asking yourself right now is, why are we all so quick to push for the ”less fat – more carbs” approach. Honestly I don’t have the answer for you, like I mentioned earlier, I guess it was easier to blame something innocent rather than looking at the truth and admitting that you were wrong. To understand the origin of this problem, we’ll have to go back about 50 years ago.
The ”eat less fat – more carbs” problem
Ever since the 1970’s there has been a huge spike in weight gain and obesity. It was also around that time that the ”eat less fat, eat more carbs” approach got very popular and was adopted by many doctors, coincidence? I don’t think so. From the 1970’s onward there have been many experiments conducted with the intention of proving that this approach was the cure and answer to all weight gain/obesity. The results never lived up to the expectation of the researchers. The results that you don’t hear about are the ones that don’t provide any evidence to support the hypotheses that started these experiments in the first place. Even worse, the results show that the ”eat less fat-more carbs” approach could be one of the root causes of weight gain. The results that we do hear and read about come from experiments that last couple weeks to a couple months at best. It has been proven many times over that basically any diet/lifestyle change can make for short term weight loss, it’s not until you start to hit that plateau where things start to get interesting. With the ”old school” approach of ”eat less – eat less fat – eat more carbs” it has been shown time and time again that hitting a plateau stops all progress and sends all of the weight loss right back onto our body. We don’t hear, read or in some cases, don’t want to hear about these results because it’s easier to ignore than facing the truth.
The ”eat less” Approach
To explain the problem that exists with the simple ”eat less” approach I need you to imagine a power plant that uses coal as fuel. This power plant delivers power to every building in a 20 mile radius. In order to provide all the houses with enough energy, the power plant must burn a 100 kilos worth of coal per hour. The power plant has plenty of coal stocked up to last a while. But, all of a sudden the coal mine produces 50 percent less coal than usual, which means the power plant will receive 50 percent less coal per day. Keep in mind that the power plant has coal stocked up for times like these. If it continues to burn through the same amount of coal per hour it will eventually run out of fuel and everyone within the 20 mile radius will be without power, all the employees will get fired and nobody is better of because of it. Now there are 2 choices, option 1 is to keep burning the same amount of coal and run the risk of running out of stock and being without power. Option 2 is to cut the amount coal that’s being burned by 50 percent, this way the output won’t be as powerful but there won’t be any homes without power. In this example, the coal is our food, the power plant is our body and the surrounding homes represent our muscles, brain etc.. It’s the same principle when it comes down to cutting calories, in the long run all we’re doing is making sure that our power output decreases. Like I said before, it will lead to short term weight loss, the long term effect is the same amount of weight gained back in full. The regaining of weight happens because our bodies have a set weight and linked to that weight is number of calories that are being burned daily. If we cut our energy intake we end up just like that powerplant, tired, sleepy, unmotivated, less power. This will eventually lead to unavoidable eating and the regaining of weight.
This also shows you why short term dieting doesn’t work. It takes time for your body to adjust to the point when it needs less calories to burn, rather than forcing ourselves to (which doesn’t work as shown above).
So what is the main cause of this obesity problem that we have been dealing with? All roads, experiments, data etc. leads and point to the direction of … Insulin.
Insulin will be the main topic of next weeks blog. Stay tuned for the follow up!
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