Editorial of the article “Is this any way to lose weight.”

Anyone who writes or advises you on how to lose weight without addressing activity, rest and genetics is either trying to sell you something or clueless.

Gary Taubes is a real intelligent guy. He holds degrees in applied physics from Harvard, aerospace engineering from Stanford and journalism from Columbia University. He’s also written some books on eating. However, some of his claims make absolutely no sense at all in the context of total health. It reminds me of the surgeon who wanted to operate on my knee when the real problem was my flat-feet that were causing the stress. You can’t isolate one component of how our bodies work. Rest, movement, diet and genetics are what determine our physical health.

For example, he claims that there is “no compelling data that exercise has any effect on losing weight.” Intelligent guy but where’s the common sense? Weight alone is not as important as the type of weight, or body composition. Body fat is what we monitor now. That’s why BMI (Body Mass Index) is now referred to, as a Big Misunderstanding of Information! Show us the compelling evidence that exercise causes weight gain. Yes, exercise or movement can make us hungry but it can also make us tired. Should we not exercise because it makes us sleep better? In fact, there is compelling evidence that lack of sleep causes fat-gain. Besides, most people that need to lose weight have a variety of other lurking problems that can be completely reversed by exercise. Arthritis, heart disease, stress and on and on ….. In fact, in the January, 2011 issue of Newsweek there is an article entitled “Can you build a better brain” where the author states that a year of exercise can give a 70-year-old the connectivity of a 30-year-old improving memory, planning, dealing with ambiguity and multitasking. I guess we should sacrifice our mind so we won’t be hungry from exercise? Plus, the heart doesn’t get stronger from eating; it gets stronger from pumping blood to the muscles. Muscles create, or prevent movement. He states “the kiss of death is exercise?” I don’t think so. Do you really need a study to comprehend this? Don’t see too many cyclists, runners, gymnasts, swimmers, climbers, basketball players, tennis players, etc, that are overweight. Since Mr. Taubes wants to ignore how the body functions and its requirement of movement to maintain itself, I’ll address of few of the dietary comments both Gary and the other guru cited in the article, Dr. Eric Westman (director of Lifestyle Medicine Clinic at Duke) claim to be experts in.

  1. You don’t have to use portion control. That’s right, sausage for breakfast, four hotdogs for lunch and a 24 oz-porterhouse for dinner. The next day just reverse it. Steak and eggs for breakfast, another four hotdogs for lunch and some Italian sausage for dinner. I’m salivating right now. It’s so ludicrous I can’t believe I’m writing it. First, I guarantee you won’t lose body fat or weight and I’ve eaten like this. It doesn’t lower my appetite at all. I don’t know about you, but the more I eat, the more I can eat. Once stuffed, I like to maintain it. What do the lap band and a gastric bypass have in common? They both make the stomach smaller. Eating all this meat won’t keep it small for long. What is ironic is that if you look at Doctor Westman’s typical menu listed in the article, the guy eats like a bird. Two eggs with juice and coffee for breakfast, a salad for lunch, an unce rib eye (good luck trying to find a steak that small in a restaurant unless you’re ordering a filet mignon) and gelatin for dinner! Appears like portion control to me. If this guy tries to do more than 40 minutes of activity in a day, he’s going to run out of gas!
  2. Say no to fruit because it’s got hidden sugars. Have you ever tried to eat six bananas, six apples or an entire watermelon? Why not? Because the body won’t take that much sugar. However, I’m sure you’ve eaten a whole pizza. I guess according to these experts, you’ll have to obtain all your vitamins, minerals and fiber from salami and butter.
  3. Don’t try to limit fat. Eat as much butter and lard as you want. Pack it on. They claim our hunger will go down automatically. No kidding. The gastric emptying time (the satiety effect) for fat is much longer; but how much fat can we eat? Try eating tabs of butter at one sitting. Yeck!
  4. Back when we were hunter-gatherers we ate meat as often as we could get it and no highly refined grains and sugars. Nice point, except that we were also moving (didn’t have to exercise) to catch the food or to not become the food. Don’t think anyone was watching TV or sitting around for hours a day on a computer or a vehicle. Not to mention we were probably dead by age twenty!

I’m not a big sugar fan and agree that high processed foods are somewhat “empty.” However, it’s the lack of movement and sleep along with the large portions that cause the weight gain in most people. It’s not just food. Again, addressing a person’s health without correlating it to their movement patterns, sleep, diet and genetics is very misleading, if not, just ludicrous. Advising people to eat as much as they want, is not the answer. Shame on these guys

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