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Originally posted by DevolutionEvolvd
This virus crap is new and still not the cause of the epidemic we see today. If obesity was caused by a virus, you would have expected obesity rates to be the same in the early part of the century. This is not observed.
The first law of thermodynamics dictates that weight gain--the increase in energy stored as fat and lean-tissue mass--will be accompanied by or associated with positive energy balance, but it does not say that it is caused by a positive energy balance.
...All those who have insisted (and still do) that overeating and/or sedentary behavior MUST be the cause of obesity have done so on the basis of this same fundamental error: they will observe correctly that positive caloric balance mush be associated with weight gain, but then they will assume without justification that positive caloric balance is the cause of weight gain. This simple misconception has led to a century of misguided obesity research.
Daily Bell: Good Calories, Bad Calories (2007) ...
Taubes: This was the result of my foray into public health and particularly nutrition and chronic disease research. It's hard to imagine how bad this science really is in that field until you go back and actually read the papers yourself and see how completely ambiguous the evidence was and how it was selectively interpreted to support the preconceptions of the researchers doing the studies. I spent, depending on how you want to count it, from five to seven or eight years on this one book. The first third of the book explains how we came to believe that saturated fat and cholesterol cause heart disease and describes how this came about by selective interpretation of the evidence. The second third provides an alternative hypothesis, which is that most chronic diseases - heart disease, diabetes, cancer, even Alzheimer's - are caused by the effect of easily digestible carbohydrates and sugars on our blood sugar, insulin and fat accumulation. I never thought going into this that I'd actually find an alternative hypothesis that was compelling; I thought I'd just be debunking the conventional wisdom, which I already knew was the result of some terrible science. As it turned out, though, there was an obvious alternative hypothesis and a consistent line of evidence supporting it that went from the 19th century through to the latest research in the journals today. Finally, the last third of the book is about obesity and what makes us fat, arguing that it's not this simplistic and effectively meaningless calories-in-calories-out, but the effect of carbohydrates specifically on insulin and insulin on fat accumulation. As for the impact, I'm still hoping to see some. Some researchers in the field have read the book and find the arguments compelling, and I've been invited to give some fairly prestigious lectures that journalists rarely do - grand rounds in medical schools and the NIH, for instance - but I'd still say 99 percent of the relevant researchers and policy makers either don't know the book exists or would say it's nonsense, and then proudly proclaim they've never read it and never will.
Daily Bell: What have you learned about the scientific establishment from your writings and its reaction?
Taubes: Well, I don't want to tar the entire scientific establishment. In general, I'd still rather hang out with a dozen scientists than a dozen lawyers or wall street bankers any day, but there are some fields of inquiry that have gone off the rails, where the researchers just don't understand what science is and how to do it. In the epilog to GCBC I talk about this problem and how I went out of my way not to use the word "scientist" to describe the people working in nutrition, chronic disease and obesity research. The few times I did use it, I did so because I thought those people were exceptions to the general rule -- good scientists who would be recognized as such in any field. So what I learned is that skepticism is always warranted and that science journalists should approach their subject in the same way that political reporters approach politics or even sports reporters sports. We shouldn't assume something is true just because a figure of authority tells us so or because a paper was published to that effect in a peer reviewed journal. On the other hand, science is inherently more difficult to understand, or at least requires more technical background, than politics or sports and it requires a higher level of expertise to be skeptical in the right ways. I'm not sure many science journalists are smart enough to do the kind of skeptical reporting that's necessary, and I've often wondered if I'm one of those who could use an extra ten or twenty IQ points to do the job.
Daily Bell: Can you explain the main findings of your book on Good Calories, Bad Calories?
Taubes: I listed them in the epilogue of the book. Here's that list:
1. Dietary fat, whether saturated or not, is not a cause of obesity, heart disease or any other chronic disease of civilization.
2. The problem is the carbohydrates in the diet, their effect on insulin secretion and so the hormonal regulation of homeostasis -- the entire harmonic ensemble of the human body. The more easily-digestible and refined the carbohydrates, the greater the effect on our health, weight and well-being.
3. Sugars - sucrose and high fructose corn syrup specifically - are particularly harmful, probably because the combination of fructose and glucose simultaneously elevate insulin levels while overloading the liver with carbohydrates.
4. Through their direct effect on insulin and blood sugar, refined carbohydrates, starches and sugars are the dietary cause of coronary heart disease and diabetes. They are the most likely dietary causes of cancer, Alzheimer's Disease and the other chronic diseases of civilization.
5. Obesity is a disorder of excess fat accumulation not overeating and not sedentary behavior.
6. Consuming excess calories does not cause us to grow fatter any more than it causes a child to grow taller. Expending more energy than we consume does not lead to long-term weight loss; it leads to hunger.
7. Fattening and obesity are caused by an imbalance - a disequilibrium -- in the hormonal regulation of adipose tissue and fat metabolism: Fat synthesis and storage exceeds the mobilization of fat from the adipose tissue and its subsequent oxidation. We become leaner when the hormonal regulation of the fat tissue reverses this balance.
8. Insulin is the primary regulator of fat storage. When insulin levels are elevated - either chronically or after a meal - we accumulate fat in our fat tissue. When insulin levels fall, we release fat from our fat tissue and use it for fuel.
9. By stimulating insulin secretion, carbohydrates make us fat and ultimately cause obesity. The less carbohydrates we consume, the leaner we will be.
10. By driving fat accumulation, carbohydrates also increase hunger and decrease the amount of energy we expend in metabolism and physical activity.