Thursday, October 25, 2012

Obesity As A Malnutrition Syndrome: Untwisting Obesity and Nutrition

The hole in my "discrete eating" theory is the missing importance of nutrition. There was a time when taking mega-doses of vitamins was all the rage. This was followed by a period where experts began to view vitamins as a waste of money and seldom necessary. I think we are now going to enter a period of time where vitamins will again play a role as a nutritional scoring mechanism for food. Now if you are not keeping score, you really can be considered irresponsible.

You cannot erase a nutrient deficiency by simply eating at discrete times. Therefore nutrition MUST play a role. What is interesting is that one's nutritional requirement changes depending on what is being eaten. People who eat only meat have a very low need for vitamin B1. But eating a lot of carbohydrates causes the need for vitamin B1 to go up. That is just one example that I am aware of.

Well what happens if the diet has a deficiency in a vitamin for a long time? There are known diseases that are caused by vitamin deficiencies. But if one goes for extended periods of time with a deficit in one vitamin it may create less obvious problems that are difficult to pinpoint. Let me give a similar example using a car:

If you drive a car low on oil for a period of time it may cause hidden wear in the engine. If you drive with the tire pressure too low for a long time, it can affect gas mileage and wear & tear on the tires (tyres--if you are in the U.K.). Both of these problems manifest very differently than having "no oil" at all or having "no air in your tires", but they are still problems.

However, we are not talking about a car. We are talking about the human body which is even more complex. An extended vitamin or mineral shortage might cause problems which are currently unknown. What is even more perplexing is that certain problems which seem to be opposites may be caused by the same deficiency (as happens with thyroid hormone deficiency; a low level of thyroid may lead to excess weight gain or a person being under weight). Another difficulty is that of acute need. Just as one temporarily needs to breathe more after holding one's breath, there may be an acute need for a vitamin caused by certain conditions or ailments. To EVEN FURTHER complicate the matter, that acute need may be localized (like when one cuts off the circulation to the legs from sitting too long).

Certain diseases, infections, and illnesses may cause an acute need for some vitamins and minerals. It is common knowledge that type 1 diabetes can happen after a viral infection. Is it possible that there was an acute, possibly even localized, need for a vitamin or mineral? Many experimental models may be insufficient to help us. Certain deficiencies, over a long period of time, may cause damage that would never appear in a mouse or a rat because they don't live long enough. There is also the possibility of intermittent deficiencies that may be difficult to pinpoint because one is currently eating just fine.

Now some bad news. If you drive your car and scrape it along a brick wall, driving the car more carefully doesn't repair the scrape. The human body may actually be able to "unscrape" itself from some of our reckless nutrition, but chances are that much of that damage may be permanent. So if you have difficulty losing weight, even after getting your nutrition right, it may be time for additional medical intervention.

So what about the ideal carbs, fats, and protein levels? The funny thing about that is it depends on what one is eating and what deficits need to be filled. Changing the carbs, fats, and protein would also change one's micro-nutrient needs. Preferred foods and digestive issues must also be taken into consideration.

This is an optimization problem. As such, it would best be solved by a computer.

Some further speculations:

My guess would be that if one wanted to feed their children a SAD (Standard American Diet) then it would be extremely important to ensure the child is meeting all of the nutritional requirements for their age (not the same as an adult). That is not something I did and my entire family is paying for it.

Supplements are only necessary if the diet is deficient or the person has a pathological need. It is best to try and get the nutrition from food if possible or acceptable.

Metabolizing carbohydrates requires more nutrition than eating meat and therefore one should try to consume more nutritious carbohydrates.

If carbohydrates are going to be eaten, then animal products (flesh, dairy, eggs) can be minimized to simply meet the B12 needs if ethically acceptable. Otherwise animal products can be eliminated if taking a B12 supplement.

Consuming fructose may require different nutrition than starches because fructose is metabolized differently than starch.

Improving the diet can do some dramatic repairs to the body, but it cannot fix everything. It won't make the blind see and the deaf hear. It may not even cause you to lose weight. There are too many expectations made about diets. Nutritious food must be considered before any scheme to supplement nutrients, and nutrition must be considered before any scheme to reduce calories.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Post Epiblogue (Is That Allowed?): The Preoccupation Principle

Obesity can result from an adaptation to one's preferred foods. It is not the foods themselves which "cause" or "cure" obesity. It is possible for a person to become overweight eating low carb or all fruit (and they have). Persons can also remain lean eating so-called "junk" or "processed" foods (there are numerous examples of that, as well). So how does one lose weight?

Weight loss can only happen between meals. The longer one goes between meals, the more weight they will lose. But an obstacle arises when one becomes preoccupied with eating. The solution is to become preoccupied with losing weight or finding something else to occupy your time more effectively away from food or eating.

Too much preoccupation with losing weight can result in anorexia. Preoccupation due to depression or other extreme emotions can also lead to losing weight. What confuses people is that extreme emotional periods can also lead to obesity when one is trying to constantly take a break from a burdensome emotional state. Finding a preoccupation that enables weight loss is not as hard as it sounds. It's just a matter of keeping yourself busy in a way that effectively avoids focusing on hunger or eating.

Harnessing preoccupation is the cure for obesity.

Friday, September 21, 2012


There comes a point where one must decide if their analysis is producing results or if they are simply experiencing apophenia.  When it comes to obesity, it is obvious that food is involved.  But the trade-off of using strategies which reduce caloric quantity seem to produce an increase in hunger, food obsession, and other interferences in creativity.  "Curing" obesity by reducing the quality of life is no cure.

My strategies and experiments have produced no long term efficacy that I can tell.  What seems to be "logical" turns out to be a trick of the mind.  I first experienced this phenomenon while trying to imagine a perpetual motion machine.  I also experienced it while looking for fossils, trying to come up with systems for gambling and forex, and back-testing stock market data.  The difference between myself and someone who cannot stop seeing the connections is that I seem to eventually realize it is happening.

Optimizing human nutrition with quality living is beyond the scope of my capabilities.  There are complexities in human nutrition so entangled that even science is unable to resolve them without controversy.  There are components of psychology, physiology, and economic limitations which all play a factor.  Within those factors there are sub-factors which further obscure the goal.  There is also the possibility of pathologies involved which have yet to be discovered.

I want to eat foods that I enjoy.
I want to eat foods that promote health. 
I want to eat enough food to feel satisfied.   
And I do not want to crave any foods or become preoccupied with foods.
If that causes obesity, then there is something wrong.

There is something wrong.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Skipping Meals Puzzle

The idea that all one has to do to lose weight is to eat regular meals and then skip meals occasionally seemed completely rational.  But there was a problem when I tried it:  I wasn't losing more weight.  This was perplexing.  How could that possibly be?

One thing I noticed from a fasting experiment is that it took me 7.5 days to lose 20 pounds.  But I regained all that weight in 6 days eating two meals per day.  It is tempting to think that I was eating enough calories to gain 20 pounds in six days, but that was not the case.  I would have needed to eat 70,000 calories in addition to my base metabolic requirement to gain 20 pounds in 6 days.  That would be about (roughly) 14,000 calories per day!  Since I was only eating twice a day that would mean I was eating 7000 calories per meal.  That is the equivalent of about two POUNDS of butter per meal.


My guess is that I was eating around 2000 calories per meal or 4000 calories per day.  So how could I have gained 20 pounds in 6 days?  That's a great question!  I have no idea.

But one thing is certain:  I didn't gain 20 pounds of fat in 6 days.  It had to be mostly water.  Imagine how difficult it is to go through 7.5 days without eating anything.  The whole time thinking about how much fat was being burned.  Then in only 6 days ALL of that work is gone.  Something tricky is going on here.

We know that eating regular meals keeps the metabolism high enough to keep body fat stable.  It looks like a body (well, my body anyway) has an aversion to losing weight quickly and will go to extreme measures to prevent that by retaining water.  So the trick is to keep the metabolism high enough to burn off fat and prevent that full body edema.  Here is my solution:

1.  Eat regular discrete meals daily (preferably at least three meals per day).

2.  At MOST only skip one meal every other day.  This should (fingers crossed) keep the metabolism high enough to burn a little extra fat without shocking the body.

Does it work?  I'm about to find out.  Follow along with my latest experiment on Jimmy Moore's Livin La Vida Low Carb Forum.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Fructose In A High Fat Diet.

After reading this interesting blog about some studies with fructose, it seems very likely to me that fructose DOES contribute to obesity if one consumes enough of it along with a high fat diet.  However, if one consumes calories from fructose while eating a low fat diet then it does not seem to promote obesity.  So the rules seem to be:

If you are eating a high fat diet--avoid fructose.

If you are eating a low fat diet--allow fructose.

It makes it very easy to follow the rules if you get absolute about the consumption of fructose.  Fructose seems to be beneficial in some contexts.  I would not jump to the conclusion that it is generally bad or toxic.  So this is where the whole fructose debate comes to a head.  How much fructose is too much for the amount of fat in our diet?

Here is what I propose.  If one is wanting to lose weight, then the first thing to do is to practice TRE (time restricted eating).  It is not necessary to determine the amount of fat in your diet.  Simply restrict your eating to two or three one hour windows per day.  At the beginning avoid fruit, fruit juice, sweetened sodas, and dessert type foods.  The object is to reduce the MAJOR sources of fructose.  Continue eating foods that may have incidental amounts of fructose such as canned vegetables, condiments, or breads.  Monitor your weight.

If you feel confident that you are losing weight, then add a piece of fruit or a small cup of juice or soda to your meal and continue monitoring your weight.  If you feel you are still losing weight, you can increase the amount of fructose foods gradually.  If you stop losing weight, then you should stop adding fructose foods as it does not seem to be compatible with your diet.

My guess is that ice cream and chocolate candy and other foods high in fat and sugar are probably least obesogenic if eaten seldom unless one is eating a low fat diet.  If eating a low fat diet then some ice cream or chocolate candy will probably not cause any appreciable weight gain.

Here are some questions which seem more difficult to answer:

Is it still obesogenic to eat a low fat high fructose meal on the same days you eat high fat low fructose meals?

Is it still obesogenic to eat a low fat high fructose food/dessert after finishing a high fat low fructose meal?

Is it still obesogenic to eat low fat high fructose meals on alternating days with high fat low fructose meals?

You can follow my TRE experiment (reduced fructose) at Jimmy Moore's Livin' La Vida Low Carb forum.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Time Restricted Eating

Scientists and doctors all over the world were exonerated today when it was discovered that Japan's low obesity rate was due to the entire nation of Japan secretly jogging to Weight Watchers meetings once a week.  Doctors have been trying to tell us for years that obesity is being caused by eating too much and not exercising enough.  But since the Japanese were discovered to all be staying thin due to frequent exercise and carefully controlled near-starvation dieting, doctors now feel like a great weight of doubt has been lifted and people will trust medical experts once again.

In related news, the entire nation of France was discovered to be substituting low calorie ingredients for butter, eggs, and cheese.  The white flour in French bread was found to be made of a non-caloric substance which has yet to be identified.  The French have admitted to only serving delicious French food to tourists and other people they wanted to confuse.  The low obesity rate in France was once thought to be an enigma, but the finding that the world has been punk'd by the French has left many scientists unamused.

"Hey, wait a minute!  The Japanese are genetically thin.  Besides, all it takes is exercise to lose weight." said the brain-damaged janitor as he cleaned up the sweat off the floor after the sumo wrestlers finished their strenuous training.

Okay, I'll get serious.  Time Restricted Feeding (tRF) is a term the Salk Institute used to describe how they fed the mice in their obesity experiment.  I think time restricted eating is the best way to describe what I am doing.  It's not a diet per se, but rather a way of approaching eating that is little understood at this time.

My current experience has been that I have lost some weight and I do not seem to be gaining it back (I started this 2 months ago).  I am eating whatever I want (which horrifies some readers).  It is not my intention at this time to try and figure out what foods are the "healthiest".  Right now I want to know if what I'm eating causes obesity.  So far it does not appear to be the foods themselves, but rather the frequency with which they are consumed.

When I say "frequency", I am referring to one's insulin levels as a function of time.  Eating once a day could be considered too frequent if insulin levels are still elevated.  Eating five times a day may not be frequent enough if insulin levels are not raised and calorie consumption is too low.  Insulin in vivo is not a simple thing to measure right now.  So I'm stuck with guessing.

What I am really curious about is will time restricted eating ALONE lead to weight loss?  Is there more to it than that? I found that fasting does not produce the weight loss one would expect, but it does seem to produce some loss.  Much more needs to be discovered about time restricted eating.  This is practically virginal territory for discovery.  I'd love to just pick up a book and have it all explained to me.

The good news is that there is more left to discover.  The bad news is the first three paragraphs I made up at the beginning of this article :)

Thursday, June 7, 2012

My Apologies To 180 Degree Health

After several attempts to leave comments that disappeared, I will no longer be commenting on that blog.  It is a great blog and even though I feel Matt is wrong about obesity, his ideas on metabolism and health in general are still live and worthwhile topics.  I wish I could be more active in their comments, but it is simply too frustrating.

If anyone wants to comment on my blog (good, bad, or otherwise), they are welcome.  I don't edit or delete comments unless I delete a whole article or the whole blog.  Your credibility is yours to establish or destroy.  I don't block or police commentors so if you are having issues leaving a comment I assure you it is not due to being "blocked".

650-Pound Virgin Regains Weight

I think it is completely obvious that Chris Powell had absolutely no understanding of what is causing obesity and what to do about it.  Obesity is not caused by a lack of exercise and exercising is not required to reverse obesity.  The all too common result is that David Smith regained his weight because he did not take the very simple steps of eating only during meal times and not eating when he is still full from the last meal.

So now the IDIOT Chris Powell has left David feeling guilt and shame and even suicidal because he misled David.  Should David be ashamed for following Chris's ineffective advice?  Absolutely not.  It is Chris Powell who should feel guilt and shame and even suicidal.  But Chris Powell is just as ignorant as most others and really cannot be blamed for the misunderstanding of obesity that is pervasive throughout our society.

David needs to understand that it is okay to eat as much as he wants.  He needs to understand that eating should be restricted to meal times only.  Eating is a basic human need and should not be a guilt issue.  It becomes a problem when one eats at indiscriminate times.  It can also be a problem when one eats when they still feel full from their last meal.  If Chris Powell had emphasized those two points as being the most important factors, David would probably not have regained his weight.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Banned By 3 Fat Chicks On A Diet!

The following was my introduction post for 3 Fat Chicks On A Diet.  They removed my comment and banned me from further posting (within minutes) after I wrote the following:

I will try to explain this real quick.

After I discovered what is causing the obesity epidemic, I wrote the explanation to it in my blog. If you want to read the original article you can Google it. My blog is called "PUFAs and Fructose" and the article is called "Obesity: My Unexpected Final Conclusion".

Obesity is not caused by "over" eating. It is caused by eating too often. The problem arises from insulin levels being elevated too high for too long. Elevated insulin levels prevent fat burning. The solution is to allow insulin levels to lower so that the body can use fat.

Dieting, surprisingly, is unnecessary. The important thing is to allow insulin levels to lower after eating. That takes time. If you eat a snack, you have just inhibited the process.

There are no magical calories that reduce body fat faster than eating nothing (the most common diet fallacy). You can verify that yourself by comparing how quickly you lose weight going on a fast versus eating some sort of "diet" foods. Body fat is ONLY reduced when insulin levels are low enough regardless of what foods you eat. Consuming calories ALWAYS slows down fat loss.

Although there are a variety of food preferences that people have, there is only one way to burn body fat. There may be certain foods that are more optimal nutritionally, but there is only one way to burn body fat. There may be certain foods that curb your appetite better than others, but there is only one way to burn body fat.

Body fat is only burned between meals after insulin levels are low enough. Read the article I wrote on my blog back on April 28, 2012. I'll be happy to discuss any questions you have.

Thank you,

Charles L. Peden

Most likely they had someone moderating who was not very competent.  I did not violate any of their rules that I know of.  They are free to censor comments and try to control information on their website to suit their purposes.  I guess I didn't correctly understand what their purpose is really supposed to be.

Here is the message I get now when I try to look at the site:

You have been banned for the following reason:
No reason was specified.
Date the ban will be lifted: Never

Friday, May 25, 2012

"Oh, by the way..."

I was talking to a friend just now on the phone.  As the conversation was winding down I casually mentioned that I solved the cause of the obesity epidemic.  The conversation went something like this:

"Oh, by the way I figured out what was causing the obesity epidemic."

(Trying to sound interested) "Did you?"

"Yeah, I wrote about it on my blog.  I've lost over 20 lbs. now.  I'm not even on a diet or anything."

(Trying to sound encouraging) "Well that's great. Charlie, I may lose you because I'm on an elevator right now. So I'll talk to you later."

"Okay, I'll talk to you later."

According to the CDC, the medical costs of obesity is estimated to be around $150 billion this year.  A tiny fraction of that would allow me to retire for life.  But the reality is that I am not a scientist or a doctor.  As of right now there have been almost 1400 page views of my article titled "Obesity: My Unexpected Final Conclusion".  It is by far the most viewed article on my blog and the most important thing I have ever written or possibly ever will write.

However, we live in a world of converging ideas where even unbelievably complex things like calculus and the telephone were simultaneously invented at virtually the same time.  It is HIGHLY doubtful that I am the first person to discover that the obesity epidemic was caused by ad libitum eating and can be corrected by discrete meals.  My problem is that if someone else discovered it before me they weren't making it easy to find that information.  I'm not exactly sure how to get this message out more effectively, either.

You would think that people would be clamoring to get a hold of the information which could fix their weight issue and help them have a real shot at improving their health for the long term.  The reality is that people are shockingly indifferent.  The subject of obesity is like the little boy who cried wolf so much that now nobody is paying attention when the real wolf shows up.

I'll keep trying to get the message out, but this is going to take much more time than I thought it would.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Calorie Misinformation

Think about this.  Theoretically, is it possible to have lots of money in your bank account but die broke because you had no access to it?  Is it possible to die of thirst surrounded by an ocean of water?  Is it possible to suffocate on a planet surrounded by breathable air?  Could it be possible to die of starvation in a grocery store full of food?

The idea that fat loss is ONLY about calories is not correct.  Insulin levels must be lowered.  If your body has no access to fat stores, then you can starve AND be fat.  You must allow your insulin levels to lower.

Insulin has an antilipolytic effect.  It prevents fat from being accessed as fuel and forces the body to use carbohydrates and proteins.  If someone's body tends to release too much insulin when stimulated by food, then they will have more difficulty burning fat than another person whose body releases less insulin from the same meal.

It stands to reason that the insulin response to food is adapted over time.  Just like a bodybuilder increases the size and strength of a muscle through training, it seems reasonable that the insulin response to food may be adapted over time to excessive work.  In order to reduce that insulin response it may take time and plenty of skipped meals.

The big question is "Will the insulin response attenuate over time with occasional large meals or are frequent small meals necessary?"  From my own personal experience I found that weight loss is frustrating and unpleasant with frequent small meals.  Also, there are many examples of people who eat infrequent large meals and do not suffer from obesity.  Check out JiGsAwMoFo's videos on Youtube.

Reversing obesity is about burning fat and that requires access to the stored fat.  Insulin prevents that access through its antilipolytic effect (regardless of calories consumed).  Reducing insulin levels is REQUIRED to burn body fat.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Calorie Control Without Counting Calories

How many calories is too many?

If I eat a meal of 5000 calories, will I get fat?

If I eat a meal of 500 calories, will I lose weight?

My doctor told me that we gain weight if we consume more calories than we burn.  At first it sounds kind of reasonable.  But here is why that is confusing:

First a 400 pound man eats a meal that has 1000 calories and it took 15 minutes to eat it.  Did he just gain weight?  Of course!

But then 6 hours later did he still gain weight from that meal?  Possibly, but not as much as he did in the first 15 minutes.

Now 24 hours later after eating the original meal, did he still gain weight?  No, he has probably lost weight by now.

But what if he ate 2000 calories in a meal?  Or 3000?  Or 4000?  He can still lose weight after a HUGE meal as long as he gives it enough time before he eats again.  Weight loss depends on time for calories consumed.  The more calories you consume, the more time is required to lose weight.

My doctor was quick to point to calories, but completely ignored the time aspect of weight loss.  Why are so many people hung up on portion sizes or calorie counts?  It doesn't matter how big the portion or the amount of calories if you are not taking the TIME to burn them off.  So portions and calories only become too big or too small depending on the time taken AFTER EATING THEM.

If one feels like eating a big meal, no problem.  Afterward just give yourself plenty of time to digest it.  It is probably more helpful (and easier) to keep track of the time since your last meal rather than the meal's calories.  Your scale can be helpful for measuring your results and then you could adjust your after-meal time accordingly.

I found it is MUCH easier to hold off on eating and then eat foods I enjoy and can eat until I am satisfied.  The alternative is small, unsatisfying portions of foods I can marginally tolerate.  Where has this option been all of my life and why hasn't this been better explained to people?

What Did I Eat Last Night?

It had been approximately 51 hours since my last meal.  I felt I could hold out longer, but after a trip to the store for groceries I began to succumb.  Surrounded by food and having to think about meals triggered some strong hunger in me.  But I had earned that hunger.

I decided to go to McDonalds and here is what I ate:

1 Bacon Angus Cheeseburger
1 Medium French Fries
1 Medium Chocolate Shake
1 Chipotle BBQ Sauce Packet
3 Ketchup Pakets

And when I got home a few minutes later I ate:

2 Store Bought Cookies
12 or 16 oz of Dr. Pepper

My estimate of calories from that meal is 2500.  That is a day's worth of calories for a lot of people.  I ate that in a single meal!  Normally I do not get a chocolate shake with my burger and fries.  That was an indulgence.  I usually just get a soft drink...usually Coke.  Eating cookies as a dessert is something I might have done an hour or two after eating the burger and fries, but not usually within the same meal time frame.

As I write this, that meal was about 9 hours ago.  I haven't eaten since then.  I'm not sure how long I will go before eating again.  That meal still feels like it is being digested, so I'll be satisfied for a while.  All of that sugar, fat, and protein is very satiating.  But there was a problem.  It sapped my energy.

After I ate that meal I felt drained.  I just wanted to relax and rest.  It could have been the type of food that I ate, but I have to experiment a bit to find out.  Other types of food may affect me in a different way.  I'll play around with it a bit and see if I notice anything.  For me, that "drained" feeling is usually gone after about 12 hours.

51 hours is an unusually long time to go between meals for me, but I have fasted for as long as 7 days in the past.  The difference now is that I know better what to do after a fast to prevent gaining all that weight back.  I do not think going 51 hours or more is necessary or should even be a goal.  It depends on how you feel after you eat.  Although 51 hours is the longest I've gone so far, I have also gone as short as 9 hours between meals since I started this a couple weeks ago.

My meal sizes and compositions also vary.  They all include protein, fats, and carbohydrates but the ratios are not consistent.  I like Jon Gabriel's advice on adding "live" food and protein to a meal.  By "live" food I think he is saying raw fruits and raw vegetables.  He also recommends adding something with omega 3, but I think that is not good advice (since I am a PUFAphobe).

Since I started eating less often, I feel like I am starting to become much more discerning about food.  It doesn't seem to be enough to just eat.  It seems I am better able to determine which foods are affecting me in what way.  I don't want to blow my treasured appetite on impoverished meals.  I think I understand why the French are enjoying their paradox.

Friday, May 4, 2012

What Diets Do Doctors Advise To Lose Weight?

Here are some real examples of advice from doctors for how to lose weight.

1.  Count calories.  Old advice that has PROVEN itself to be ineffective at stopping the obesity epidemic.

2.  Count carbohydrates. Correct about the problem of insulin.  Incorrect about the solution (unless you think eating cheeseburgers without fries, the bun, or a shake/soft drink is going to be popular).

3.  Eat frequent small meals every day.  So scientists figured we evolved this ability to store fat to be able to go for periods of time without food...then we have doctors telling us to eat more often?  The power of placebo can be astonishing...for some.  No surprise this is not catching on.

4.  Low fat diet.  A very unsatisfying diet.  It was from eating a low fat diet that I discovered the appetite is not satisfied by simply filling up your stomach.  It also did not explain why there was suddenly an obesity epidemic.  It also did not help me lose weight.

5.  Vegetarian/vegan diet.  This is a diet for people who have an ethical problem with eating meat/animal products.  I don't feel there is anything wrong with eating this diet for that reason.  But vegetarians and vegans can certainly be overweight, so this is not the cure for obesity.  A person can still lose weight on a vegetarian/vegan diet if they allow themselves to eat until satisfied (oil, nuts, avocados and all) then give themselves many hours before eating again.

6.  Raw vegan/fruitarian diet.  This is a more extreme vegan diet for someone who wants to be hardcore.  It is clearly a fringe diet and is not going to appeal to most people.

The bottom line is that food prevents us from burning body fat.  Body fat is only burned between meals REGARDLESS of what foods you eat and only when insulin levels drop low enough.  Reducing insulin levels takes time after any meal.  PERIOD!

Where are the doctors explaining that?  Why aren't the doctors explaining that?  Until that is explained to people, we will continue to have an obesity epidemic and there will continue to be confusion about how to lose weight.

Insulin Prevents Fat Burning

Although insulin is known as the fat storage hormone, the most important aspect to understand about insulin for the purposes of obesity is that it prevents fat burning.  It does not matter that you spike your insulin after eating a meal.  What matters is that you allow the insulin level to drop enough to be burning fat again.  This is how body fat is regulated.

It is extremely clear that spiking insulin does not cause obesity.  There are billions of high carbohydrate eaters in  the world who maintain lean body mass eating lots of rice.  But to hammer home the point that big meals do NOT cause obesity, look up Takeru Kobayashi.  Kobayashi is a competitive eater and holds records in consuming hot dogs, hamburgers, tacos, and other foods.  He also sports a lean body with six-pack abs.

Kobayashi even has a record of eating 97 Krystal burgers.  That is 13.871 lbs of burgers and 12,610 calories.  Try eating 12,610 calories in a day.  It is a difficult thing to do for most of us.  He did this in one MEAL.  This makes it Krystal clear that eating large meals does not cause obesity.

When your insulin level is high, you do not burn fat.  You burn fat after your insulin level is lowered.  That takes time after a meal.  The longer the time, the more fat will be burned.  Eating low calories may keep the spike down, but can be unsatisfying and cause cravings and binges because it is an unnatural way to eat.  Normally a person sits down to eat a meal and eats until they are satisfied.  No calorie counting.

It would be nice to find some magical foods that are satisfying and bypass this insulin spike phenomena, but they don't exist.  Pure fat does not cause insulin spikes, but I found it causes low blood sugar for me.  It is also not a satisfying food on its own.  The search for such magical foods that do not inhibit fat burning continues to be a fascination for people.  But they don't exist.

If people eat until they are satisfied, then why fight that?  That is how people eat.  The problem only arises when people eat their next meal due to the wrong signal.  They mistake hunger for an empty stomach and eat again too soon.  Takeru Kobayashi would not make that mistake.  He trains by drinking large quantities of water (to keep the stomach stretched) and not eating for days at a time.

If a person wants to eat unsatisfying foods and/or unsatisfying quantities, then such ascetics will hopefully find those who appreciate their pursuit of martyrdom.  But most obese people do not have such aspirations.  A simple understanding of the need to give a good break between meals is all I needed to understand.  This allows insulin and other hormones to return to normal.  It can even be a quick solution if one wants it to be.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

OBESITY: My Unexpected Final Conclusion On The Cause And Cure

I would like to thank Brad Pilon for his wonderful book EatStop Eat.  It is full of very good information.  I do not believe that his method is complete or useful for someone who is obese, but I do recommend reading it for some excellent background on this topic.  It is not necessary to buy it, but it helps dispel some myths of what causes us to get fat.

Two more books that I think have very important information (but I believe ultimately veer off course) are Good Calories Bad Calories by Gary Taubes and The Gabriel Method by Jon Gabriel.

I have never seen or read of someone explaining the cause and cure for obesity in a USEFUL way.  But the cause and cure for obesity is actually pretty simple.  Here is why it was such a puzzle to me.

We have two cats.  The older one is named Alex.  He also has two nicknames.  We refer to him as Baby and (ironically) The Old Man.  He is a purebred Tonkinese and is lean.  I would say he is even a bit small for an adult cat.

The second cat is Katie.  She was born on a farm.  She is a combination of Calico and Tabby.  She is overweight.

We have raised both of these cats since they were kittens.  Now how is it that one cat is obese and the other one is not?  Is it due to breeding?  Is it due to the TYPE of food we feed them?  Does one cat just have no sense of self-control?  Is the obese cat just lazy?  Keep in mind that I have NEVER heard a satisfactory explanation for this.

What about children?  How is it that CHILDREN become obese?  Is it from FRUCTOSE?  Is it from eating too many carbohydrates?  Is it from a lack of nutrient dense foods?  Are obese children just lazy?

Here was another puzzle.  Why is it that someone who eats their native diet comes to a Western country and suddenly becomes obese and begins to suffer western diseases associated with obesity?  Were their native foods healthier?  Are Western foods making us obese?  Did they just become lazy in our society?

How about this puzzle.  How is it that a person can weigh 325 lbs and MAINTAIN that weight?  What causes that phenomena (set-point)?  Is there some magic elixir to fix it?  Is it a brain defect?  Did that fat person who is so out of control as to have become obese suddenly become able to count calories like a savant?  Why is it that people GAIN weight after losing it?

And why is it that there was a sudden alarming rise in obesity rates in the United States?  Was it due to the new low-fat diet recommendations?   Was it the rise in usage of high fructose corn syrup or high polyunsaturated fatty acids?  Was it an increase of fast food restaurants?  Did we suddenly become lazy?

What the hell is causing all of this obesity?  Is it caused by eating too many carbohydrates?  Eating too much fat?  Eating too much protein?  Too much laziness?

The solution to all of this obesity is very simple and unexpected.  But first let me explain how the body gains fat.

When you eat a meal, the food in your stomach raises your insulin level.  Insulin is a hormone that causes us to store fat and stop burning it.  While your insulin level is jacked up, you are using carbohydrates OR proteins for energy.  When your insulin level drops low enough, you begin burning fat.  Very simple.

I’m going to give you a rule of thumb that will help you understand obesity better:


It doesn’t matter what kind of a diet you follow; low-carb, low-fat, raw vegan, low-calorie, etc.  Food (carbohydrates OR proteins) make your insulin levels rise.  You will not burn fat until your insulin levels drop low enough to allow it.  The longer you wait to eat while your insulin levels are low, the more fat you will burn.


So why is one of our cats obese and the other isn’t?  Baby and Katie had a pecking order at dinner time.  Baby would not eat until Katie had eaten.  Why, I don’t know.  It’s a cat thing.  We would put out a can of cat food for the cats once a day.  We also had some dry cat food out at all times, but Baby doesn’t like dry food.  So here is why Katie got fat:

Katie can eat whenever she gets hungry.  Baby doesn’t eat dry food so he will only eat when we put canned food out ONCE a day.

From this I concluded that people and animals can feel hunger before their insulin levels drop low enough to burn fat. 

So what caused the sudden rise in obesity in the United States?  The solution is surprising.

In the 1960s there was a huge counter-culture revolution going on.  Traditions of all kinds were breaking down or changing.  By the 1970s divorce began to skyrocket.  Families used to sit down and eat meals together.  Suddenly mothers were working and kids were responsible for getting their own food.  So what does a person do when there is no structured meal time?  They get something to eat when they are HUNGRY!  But hunger can happen before insulin levels sufficiently drop.

There used to be a common admonition said by mothers all over the U.S.  “Don’t eat now, you’ll spoil your appetite!”  This makes no sense to someone who eats whenever they get hungry.  The practice of eating discrete meals is a lost tradition.  It is vital to make meals discrete to give time for insulin levels to drop and body fat to be maintained at a more optimal level.  Without discrete meals, eating is dictated by hunger and hunger can happen before insulin levels drop enough to burn fat.

When people come to a western country and abandon their discrete meals and eat ad libitum, they quickly get fat and all of the associated pathologies that go with it.  If children are fed whenever they want instead of at regular discrete meals, they too will pack on the weight.

There is no factor that causes obesity more than eating ad libitum.  To prevent obesity, meals must be made discrete.  Desserts can be eaten with meals, but not between meals.  Soda pop can be consumed with a meal, but not between meals.  Snack foods can be consumed with a meal, but not between meals.  It is important to build an appetite for your next meal.

An appetite has two parts:

ONE—You get hungry.

TWO—Your stomach is empty.


An empty stomach is a much better guide to tell you when to eat than merely being hungry.  You can easily get hungry after eating a meal by an array of triggers.  Images of food, thoughts of food, smells of food, etc. all can trigger hunger.  But hunger should ONLY be satisfied at meal time and only when the appetite is built and the stomach feels empty.


Obesity is not caused by eating sweet foods, fatty foods, high protein foods, or any number of other demonizations.  Obesity is caused by:


So eat your meals, enjoy your food, and allow your body time to resolve its obesity.

Answers to the questions:

What caused one cat to get fat and the other to not get fat?  One cat ate ad libitum, the other cat ate discrete meals.

What causes childhood obesity?  Eating ad libitum.  Children should be allowed to eat until their appetite is satisfied, but only at discrete meal times.

Why do people gain weight after moving to a Western culture from their native culture?  They begin eating ad libitum and abandon their discrete meals.

How is it that an obese person can maintain their weight?  When a person goes through a period of ad libitum eating they will gain weight.  When the ad libitum period turns into more discrete meals then weight becomes maintained.  To lose weight requires longer periods between meals.

What is causing all of the obesity in the United States?  It is simply ad libitum eating.  Returning to discrete meals will prevent obesity.  Allowing longer periods between meals will reverse obesity.

A final word on physical activity.  Physical activity has NOTHING to do with obesity, unless it gets you out of the kitchen and away from food long enough.  You cannot burn fat faster by physical activity.  Remember that the proteins in your body have calories, too.  There is NO SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE that physical activity helps reduce body fat.  Bodybuilders have the largest muscles of ALL people and they have to fight body fat just like the rest of us.