Researcher: Losing Weight Doesn’t Improve Health Because People Can’t Lose Weight

Maybe it’s me.

Maybe I’m the dope.

I’m not a researcher, but I simply don’t know how to grasp the following report out of Australia:

Losing weight is often touted as a way to improve health, but many weight-loss programs may not help stave off disease since people tend to gain the weight back, Australian researchers say.

What’s better is the methodology our researchers used:

To test the potential impact of different diets, the researchers ran two computer simulations: One included a low-fat diet, the other a diet rich in whole grains and vegetables plus 180 minutes of exercise per week.

According to the models, people lost an average of 8 to 12 pounds on the diets and kept the weight off for an average of 6 months. But the pounds slowly crept back on, and after less than 6 years, the dieters were back where they started — negating any improvement in health from the weight loss.

In addition, the researchers estimate that only about 3 percent of Australia’s population would participate in weight-loss programs.

That’s right. They sat in front of a computer the whole time and based their data on 2 diets – low fat and low calorie – that we know quite well don’t work in the long run.

I work with data all the time, and know how easy it is to feed in a bunch of numbers, run an analysis against it, and have it spit out beautiful, detailed results – which are completely and entirely wrong. It just takes one bad number or one erroneous assumption and it all falls to pieces.

And besides all that – what is the point? To come to a conclusion that people can’t improve their health losing weight if they can’t keep it off is so obvious that I can’t conceive why it would take more than 5 minutes sitting in an armchair to figure this one out.

And yet it gets printed in a respected journal on obesity.

Is it any wonder that modern science is essentially useless in helping us fat folks get thinner?

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10 Personal Food Rules That Contradict Conventional Wisdom

In my own experience and research, I have a number of peculiar notions that most people find odd. I’ve come to these through my own research, as well as my own experimentation. I have way more than 10, but here is a list of 10 that I pretty much adhere to most of the time.

These are personal – I’m betting on them. I might be wrong. I’m not in the advice business – I’m just sharing. I leave it to my readers to draw their own conclusions about these rules.

  1. Soy isn’t all that great for you. It mimics estrogen and can affect your thyroid, as well as prevent the absorption of minerals. I stay away from it except for fermented types like miso.
  2. Saturated fat won’t hurt you. For the past 7 years I have eaten quantities of saturated fat daily that equate to other people’s monthly intake. Last I had it checked, my cholesterol was slightly elevated – nothing my physician feels necessary to treat.
  3. Grains need to be considered very carefully. Depending on how they are produced, they can be either OK in moderation or just plain awful for you. It is also very hard to get a healthy loaf of bread because what make bread so great is also what makes it bad for you.
  4. Most foods with a label containing more than 8 ingredients, or added vitamins, or anything that sounds like a chemical name are probably worthless junk and not worth purchasing.
  5. You have no idea what is in your supplements, so you shouldn’t depend on them for nutrition.
  6. Avoid seed oils like corn oil, sunflower oil, cottonseed oil like the plague.
  7. Use olive oil but be sure that it is cold-pressed. When they start heating it up to try to extract the last few drops is when they ruin the product. Cooking with it at high heat does the same thing, so add it at the end to a dish that is cooked at a high heat.
  8. Buy direct from local farmers if it is at all possible. You have a much better shot of getting food with a higher count of nutrients as well as interesting varieties that can’t take the stress of a supermarket supply chain.
  9. Even seemingly ‘natural’ food are ‘tarted up’ with added ingredients. Some sour cream for example has gums and cornstarch to make it thicker. Look for versions with only the necessary ingredients.
  10. The jury is still out on GMOs. How many years did science believe margarine to be OK? I’d like to give GMOs the benefit of the doubt, and believe the proponents when they say that it’s the same as selective breeding, but there’s a difference between two beans sharing genetic material and a bean and a fish sharing genetic material – I’ll pass at present.

Big Breakfast May Make You Fat After All, Study Finds

Oops. We were wrong. Again. Maybe.

I love nutrition studies. You can draw whatever conclusions you like, it seems. Probably because the problem is so complex that current science can only go so far into answering these type of questions.

From MSNBC.com:

a new study suggests that the only thing a big breakfast does is lard on more pounds. No matter how many calories are consumed in the morning, people eat the same size lunch and dinner — and that adds up to more total calories when the breakfast is big, according to the study, which was published in the Nutrition Journal.

Don’t worry – another study will come out to contradict this one – it’s inevitable.

Losing Weight Fast Can Poison You

As if we fat folk don’t have enough problems already.

This isn’t exactly new news – I had heard this years ago – but it did make the news cycle, so I thought it worth a post.

From AOL News:

If you’re working hard to achieve your New Year’s resolution of losing weight, you may want to proceed with caution.

Researchers have discovered that chemicals and pollutants may be stored in our body fat, and when significant amounts of body fat are broken down, as they are during weight loss, these harmful substances could be released into the bloodstream and may cause disease.

Yep. A number of environmental toxins are fat-soluable and get bound up in that stubborn fat of yours. When you burn the fat, all that toxic gunk has to go somewhere. Surely a lot is excreted, but on the way to the exit, some may find a new home and the rest might cause some mischief on the way out.

The article recommends avoiding chemicals, eating organic, etc. But what if you’re already fat and you didn’t avoid chemicals?

Ugh. You’re damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

Get over it.

Here’s the trick: lose the weight slowly. Don’t be in a God-awful rush. You are poisoned every day anyway by 1001 substances that you come in contact with – miracles of technology that have effects that we don’t even know about yet.

If you lose weight slowly, it will only add to your daily poisoning level to a smaller percentage. It is also useful advice to begin avoiding chemicals as much as possible.

Eating organic does help, if you can afford it. So does buying a water filter for your sink, and avoiding plastic food containers – especially microwaving food in plastic containers. And drinking water – at least filtered water that didn’t come in plastic bottles that sat in the sun and leached plastics into them – might help. You’d imagine that the excess water might flush it out. Can’t hurt – as long as the water itself isn’t a source of toxins.

Gary Taubes Finally Gets Around to Writing a Book on Low Carb that People Can Read – And It’s AWESOME!

This was the book that I knew was inside of ‘Good Calories, Bad Calories’.

‘Why We Get Fat And What To Do About It‘ was to the book to give to friends, doctors, congressmen, and anyone else who wants to understand the futility of our current nutritional advice.

Short and to-the-point, written in accessible style, this is the book I can give to people who find out I live low carb and look at me like I’m some sort of crackpot.

They’re the crackpots!

Low calorie diets, exercising for weight loss, calories in=calories out, and the sickening moral superiority of some of those leaner than thou, who think that our weight shows us as having some character defect – eviscerated. Clearly, obviously, succinctly, Gary shows us how scientific theories that explained obesity as a hormonal rather than moral issue was abandoned during World War II for simplistic theories based on thermodynamics that work in physics, but make no sense when used to describe the behavior of complex biological systems. These simplistic theories also put the onus on the patient’s behavior – ‘eat less and you’ll weigh less, you fat f**k!’ – and what has ensued is close to 50 years of collective suffering among the fat and obese in both their health and their standing in society that we can now begin to undo – by whacking this book upside the head of every ‘party-line’ nutritionist, moralizer, and dogmatic doctor.

Thank you, Gary Taubes.

Franklin’s Thirteen Virtues

The story I heard was that Ben Franklin, like most young men, was not necessarily destined for greatness, but at age 20 he resolved to better himself – and came up with 13 ‘virtues’ that he attempted to follow the rest of his life.

it’s a good idea – and it worked for him well enough.

Here they are – stolen straight from Wikipedia – I think some form of this might also help me reach my goals. Think of it as a guest post.

Thirteen Virtues

Franklin sought to cultivate his character by a plan of thirteen virtues, which he developed at age 20 (in 1726) and continued to practice in some form for the rest of his life. His autobiography lists his thirteen virtues as:

  1. “Temperance. Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.”
  2. “Silence. Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.”
  3. “Order. Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.”
  4. “Resolution. Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.”
  5. “Frugality. Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing.”
  6. “Industry. Lose no time; be always employ’d in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.”
  7. “Sincerity. Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.”
  8. “Justice. Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.”
  9. “Moderation. Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.”
  10. “Cleanliness. Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths, or habitation.”
  11. “Tranquility. Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.”
  12. “Chastity. Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another’s peace or reputation.”
  13. “Humility. Imitate Jesus and Socrates.”

Franklin did not try to work on them all at once. Instead, he would work on one and only one each week “leaving all others to their ordinary chance”. While Franklin did not live completely by his virtues and by his own admission, he fell short of them many times, he believed the attempt made him a better man contributing greatly to his success and happiness, which is why in his autobiography, he devoted more pages to this plan than to any other single point; in his autobiography Franklin wrote, “I hope, therefore, that some of my descendants may follow the example and reap the benefit.”

5 Weight Loss Tips for Cynical Bastards

This isn’t my work, but comes from Cracked.com – an irreverant ‘comedy site’, NSFW frequently, that really has some awesome articles – along with much junk. Junk aside, some of their articles are well written, well researched, and funny as hell.

In this one, a woman relates her experience with Weight Watchers – while we would disagree with the details of dieting and nutrition, I thought it worth sharing.

The stuff on this site is NSFW and quite edgy – if this offends you, please don’t bother with it.

If it doesn’t – here’s the link.