In my recent obesity debates, I noticed a disturbing trend among many proponents of fantastical new theories on obesity, which included some doctors: They were adopting a “obesity is far too complex to blame a singular (or few) product/action” position. As I remarked in an earlier post, I think this poorly thought out opinion only perpetuates the problem.  No less erroneous than the genetic theory of obesity, denying the obvious simply gives the obese person a reason to pull themselves, and their lifestyle habits, out of the equation. As a result, it ensures that obesity will remain a lucrative disease entity in need of a cure (à la cancer).

Case in point: In response to a recent report coming out of the Yale University Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity, that has showed soft drink manufacturers to be stepping-up advertising to children and teens, particularly blacks and Hispanics. The American Beverage Association, whose members include soft drink companies, disputed the study’s findings. Said the group’s Chief Executive Officer Susan Neely in a statement,

“This report is another attack by known critics in an ongoing attempt to single out one product as the cause of obesity when both common sense and widely accepted science have shown that the reality is far more complicated.”

Uh huh…listen up obesity enablers: Aspects of obesity may have some complexity to them, but how it originates physiologically in the individual isn’t complex. Any right-minded person not driven by profits or ego (doctors…) simply cannot deny that imbibing ten teaspoons of sugar (contents of one can of soda) will lead to metabolic and hormonal changes that ultimately cause obesity.  If you’re this person, forgive me but…you’re an idiot.

2 Responses to Hate to be the One that Tells You, but…

  1. There is not doubt in my mind that yes obesity is correlated with processed food, that is obvious. However when it comes to the biochemistry and the exact chemicals reactions that take place in individuals there can not be an absolute certainty that one factor alone will causes someone to be obese. (fructose, Refined grains, vegetable oil). For some reason we have made what barry sear’s calls the perfect nutritional storm. The Debate comes from, “how do we reverse this process?” This is something that is extremely complex and if you ignore that obesity is a disease similar to cancer then you have missed the point entirely.

    “In a normal physiological scenario the body is adapted to handle increased amounts of glucose or FFA in plasma. Is abnormal to have both substrates high at the same time. If this happens it means that you have a dysregulated metabolism. And here is where the main problems of interpretation arise when evaluating pathological IR. Some say the culprit is high glucose. Others say its lipotoxicity. This last mechanism has gotten much attention lately because of the rise of carb conscious bloggers who dismiss the insulin/carbohydrate hypothesis. Lipotoxicity is the mechanism by which high plasma FFA concentrations produce deleterious metabolic effects. Lets think for a second. We store energy as fat. We use energy as fat. We store fat mainly as palmitate (the principal muscle IR agent and responsible for modern diseases). When we need energy, we hydrolize TG and free palmitate into plasma. High palmitate and high FFA produces lipotoxicity and IR, so then, are we designed to kill ourselves? The answer is obviously no. Lipotoxicity only occurs if there is a mismatch between lipolysis and beta-oxidation. For instance, there is evidence that saturated FA trigger a specific inflammatory response in coronary artery endothelial cells (1), lipoapoptosis (2) and endothelial dysfunction (3). When skeletal muscle cells are exposed to increased levels of palmitate, we see that the deleterious effects build-up dose dependently (4). This means that while myocites can handle a physiological increase in palmitate, they start to develop defense mechanisms when levels rise to pathological. This only occurs in abnormal or broken** metabolisms, like in T2DM. Having endothelial cells chronically exposed to very high FFA is bad, so muscle cells try to reduce this exposure by storing lipids as IMTG” – Lucas Talfur

    The whole world is trying to figure out how to reverse this process but it seems that the answers are riddled into fad diets and bad logic. If you want to call someone an idiot for believing that obesity is something that is easy to fix, then I would have to disagree. We know more about curing cancer then obesity, that’s how tricky it is for some of us to get over excess weight and as TL cleave calls it “saccrides disease”. There are many factors and biological process that we still need to discover.

    I’m not saying it is right to eat junk and drink empty calories, i’m simply a proponent of looking at this disease a different way. Obesity is starvation and with starvation comes many mental and physical defects that can be very difficult to overcome. If you don;t understand the simple biochemistry of the disease and how it comes to be then you will not be able to reverse it by eating small portions and exercising more.

    -This is what we call a brain

  2. Thank you, Scott, for your comment. However, I think you and every other mechanistic thinker on this topic are over-reaching. Just because society is having a massive challenge (forgive the pun) with obesity, does not a complex issue make. It would be simpler if people would just accept that the real complexity to human beings has to do with their minds and their behaviors. If you think the answer is to break-down every biochemical process to find an answer to obesity, then you are ignoring simple evolution. Are these biochemical processes new? What caused them? Why would they persist? Why in this time period? And then why seek such fascinatingly complex answers when they might just be as simple as I suggest? Is that really what’s warranted with obesity, the same reductionism that we’ve approached every other human physiological process? You’ve mentioned cancer–what strides have we made there? What has understanding all the molecular processes involved in cancer done for the overall cancer numbers? For everything we understand there is just as much that we don’t. And how about the human mind? Why is it more attractive to understand the balance/imbalance between lipolysis and beta-oxidation than it is to understand the psychology of the obese? Couldn’t THAT be the reason why some people are obese despite their claims to not eating much, or to not eating junk food? You’ve heard of Occam’s razor? Why pick the most complex explanation, make the most assumptions? No matter what your views on the biochemistry of obesity, we KNOW that when energy intake is larger than energy expenditure, you get fat deposition and weight gain. NO ONE GETS FAT FROM EATING A HANDFUL OF CARROTS. Why mentally masturbate over it?

    Listen, bottom line, too many people lose weight effectively to add any credence to the mumbo-jumbo currently out to coddle the obese. “It’s not your fault; it’s your biochemistry.” BULL SHIT! I have seen first-hand too many people lose weight effectively to buy into that nonsense. Weight gain and weight loss ain’t rocket science; the one factor that complicates the issue is the human mind and behavior. Looking for a biochemical cause, and then the obligatory pharmacological solution, ain’t gonna do diddly.

    And for the record, I have no idea what you are talking about when you say, “If you want to call someone an idiot for believing that obesity is something that is easy to fix.” Where have I said that? Reread the post. I said to the idiots who say drinking soda doesn’t cause weight gain, wake up! I know that it does. Are you in that camp, young man? If not, don’t distort my words. I also think obesity easy to fix. More importantly, I don’t think it’s a problem at all. I have a simple philosophy: You want to be fat? Be fat! You want to eat shit, drink shit, sit on your ass and not work out as a lifestyle habit? Go ahead—it’s your life. But for you and anyone else perpetuating this ccccccccrap about biochemistry and obesity, man I laugh—what a freakin’ waste of time.

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