Thursday, January 20, 2011

Why we get fat

I am reading Gary Taubes' new book Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It. He is the author of the popular book Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs, and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health and this new book seems to be an extension of further research into what makes us fat. I kept looking for something new here as it seems lots of diet books tout the low carb, high protein one that Taubes does, and this book delivers by providing more understanding into the science behind why we gain weight and how to change it.

Many times, people think that being fat is just a lack of willpower. I never have as I have met too many people who do not seem to eat all that much and are still significantly overweight. I, like most people, have also met many people who eat all the time and never seem to gain weight. Those latter people often like to think of themselves as paragons of virtue when it comes to food, but as Taubes points out in the new book, these people simply process carbs differently. In a chapter entitled "Why I get fat and you don't (and Vice Versa)," Taubes explains why people get fat in middle age:

...the conventional wisdom that those of us who fatten as we move into middle age do so because our metabolism slows down, probably has this cause and effect backward. More likely is that our muscles become increasingly resistant to insulin, and this partitions more of the energy we consume into fat, leaving less available for the cells of muscles and organs to use for fuel. These cells now generate less energy, and this is what we mean when we say that our metabolism slows down. Our "metabolic rate" decreases. Once again, what appears to be a cause of fattening--the slowing of our metabolism--is really an effect. You don't get fat because your metabolism slows; your metabolism slows because you get fat.

Overall, the book seems like a good one to add to your library if you want to learn more about the science of eating and how to stay slim. It takes a fairly scientific topic that is rather dry and makes it digestible for the average dieter.

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5 Comments:

Blogger TMink said...

Digestible? Ouch! That pun was hard to swallow.

Trey

3:14 PM, January 20, 2011  
Blogger Professor Hale said...

It is hard to avoid the obvious conclusion that the amount of stuff I put into my mouth has something to do with it.

4:20 PM, January 20, 2011  
Blogger Xiaoding said...

Perhaps they don't eat so much, but I have never met a fat person who knew a damn thing about vitamins. Or food, as in good or bad. Most I've met, are positivly hostile to knowledge.

Dumpsters for mouths, usually.

6:23 PM, January 20, 2011  
Blogger dr.alistair said...

the good professor wins today`s prize for stating the obvious!

sadly prof, you and i know that as obvious as that fact is, it is ignored billions of times aday.

and frankly, books like the one above don`t help much because A) most people don`t read well, and B) their emotions run their mouth in yet another way, despite what they might have just read.

and B may come off as hostile, but i treat people for weight-loss and i know how they suffer with comforting themselves with 1000 calorie snacks before bedtime.

weight loss is a challenge but weight maintenance is an everyday conscious choice to plan meals and exercise and so on...but here`s the paradox, many thinner people are just as unbalanced as the overweight.

many runners are addicted to the endorphins that their bodies create while running and will run injured just to get that fix, while their body is robbed of the time to rest and heal.

(i`m telling myself this also as i play soccer twice and three times a week, winter and summer, and cans till feel the dull ache of a spiral fractured fibbula most mornings).

12:51 PM, January 21, 2011  
Blogger cygirlkat said...

@xiaoding:

Seriously? I know just as many thin people who are absolute crap about vitamins, healthy diets and self-care as any overweight people. Likewise, a lot of overweight people may not be Hollywood thin, but eat healthy food and care for themselves much better than the rail-thin who drink heavily, smoke and live on junk.

'Hostile to knowledge' seems to be a wickedly apropos term to use in such an unpleasantly prejudicial statement.

12:57 AM, January 30, 2011  

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