Sunday, April 03, 2011
Why Are Thin People Not Fat - Documentary
I find the experiment in this documentary fascinating. That some people have a lower set weight and they can eat what they want seems like a reasonable idea and it corresponds to my experience.
It is a shame that I did not know as much as I do now 15 years ago. I certainly wouldn't have bothered buying lean cuisine. That so many professionals: dietitians, doctors, nutritions don't understand that humans vary in body type and that the diet of a lean person which keeps them lean might cause a fat person to gain weight is a scandal.
One point I make in Why We Get Fat is that we all respond to this carbohydrate/insulin effect differently. Some of us can eat carbohydrate-rich meals and burn them off effortlessly. We’re the ones (like Oz) who partition the carbs we consume into energy. (This is the fuel gauge metaphor that I use in WWGF and that Oz’s producers reproduced wonderfully on the show.) And some of us partition the carbs we consume into fat for storage, and that partitioning depends on a lot of different enzymatic and hormonal factors — mostly relating to insulin and LPL as Williams Textbook of Endocrinology said).
There are a few obvious dietary means to reduce the amount of insulin we secrete and ultimately the level of insulin in our circulation day in and day out. One is to eat fewer carbohydrates; one is to improve the quality of the carbs we do eat, which means eating carbs that are less refined (their glycemic index is low or at least lower) and carbs that come with a lot of fiber attached (green leafy vegetables), and then eating less sugars, by which I mean both sucrose and high fructose corn syrup.
And this brings us to the point of controversy on the show – where Oz and I disagree. (Okay, one of the many points on which we disagree, but the one that needs clarification sooner rather than later). This is also the point that public health authorities, physicians and nutritionists almost religiously refuse to accept or even understand, because one implication of what I’m saying is that the good Dr. Atkins was right all along, and they just can’t get it through their head, as Oz can’t, that a diet of the kind Atkins recommended might be not only healthy but the medically appropriate treatment for the condition – in this case, obesity.
Diego adds: I encourage the study of such things and realize that weight is much easier to manage for some than others for a variety of reasons. For me, inactivity sometimes feels like consumption of a toxic substance. I'm grateful for that. It doesn't just get me off the couch, it also allows me to enjoy 'earned' couch time more. However, something must be said about all of this reasoning regarding diet: it sure seems that the people who make the most of the studies like the one referenced are the people who exercise the least. There are other factors involved, I know, but it wouldn't hurt to walk, ride, run, swim or something.
Bill C responds: So what is the cause and what is the effect. Does the person who exercises do so because they have a metabolism which expends rather than stores energy easily? The experiment in the documentary as well as the Vermont prison experiment would suggest that some people are predisposed to obesity and must be very careful about what they consume.