The Cause of Obesity?

Discussion in 'Diet & Nutrition' started by anoop, Dec 29, 2011.

  1. anoop

    anoop New Member

    Here is an article which many will disagree.

    Are obese people fat mainly because they are lazy or because of their life style or their genes?

    The Cause of Obesity
  2. CDB

    CDB New Member

    People are obese for various proximate reasons, the ultimate reason is always just a plain calorie surplus. All the wanking about how much genetics vs gut flora vs exercise or lack thereof contributes is only useful in as much as you can pin specifics to an individual case to help them better understand what they need to do to get to a healthier weight. For example, if a person is unlucky enough to have the type of gut flora which leads to them absorbing a lot more calories than others from the same meal, that's only helpful in as much as they now know they need stricter and smaller portions overall. However, I don't think we're at the point where such specifics can be and are routinely diagnosed and who knows if we ever will be.
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2012
  3. anoop

    anoop New Member

    Hey CDB,

    Did you get a chance to read the article?

    It s true that obese people eat more than lean. The question is why are they dong t in the first place?

    And I am copying my practical recommendations here:

    1. We should focus more on health than weight or the cosmetic aspects.
    2. It is clear than moderate weight loss of 10-15 lbs of weight loss in obese people can have dramatic improvements in their health.
    3. It is also very clear that eating healthy and exercising has a beneficial effect on health independent of the change in body weight.
    4. The major cause for obesity is your genes and not the lack of will power or lifestyle.
    5. Obesity is not the fault of obese people. So treat them with respect.
  4. anoop

    anoop New Member

    In the second part, I reply to the important question “If it is largely genes, why is there an obesity epidemic?”

    Here is the second part: The Cause of Obesity - Part 2
  5. anoop

    anoop New Member

    In this last part, I will be replying to some of the most common questions and comments people had about the first two articles.

    The Cause of Obesity - Part 3
  6. faz

    faz Active Member

    i think i read somewhere that there are efficient and ineffecient body types,and the effecient body types are actually the ones that gain fat and hold onto it easily.

    this dates back to ancient times,when holding onto fat (the best energy source) would have been an advantage,maybe fat people are not lazy its just there bodies telling them,you've done enough now sit down and relax,dont burn to many cals you might need them later.
  7. anoop

    anoop New Member

    Hi Faz,

    Thanks for the reply.

    It is true. Bouchard has shown this with controlled feeding experiments in identical twins. This was true for both weight loss and weight gain. They gained different weights and lost different weights for the same calorie and energy expenditure. And the variability ranged from from 13-24lbs! So there are people who gain weight easily and lose weight easily too. But we lump them all together.

    That was the thrifty gene theory. But it doesn't explain why there are lean people in the same obeseginic environment. And leptin works on the energy expenditure side too. It is clearly seen when they inject leptin in leptin deficient mice. Even before losing weight, they starts moving around like normal mice. But before they would just sit there dong nothing. Could be the same with humans too.
  8. QuantumPositron2

    QuantumPositron2 New Member

    Of course it doesn't. Its multifactoral. Ditto for hypertrophic signaling. Ditto for strength development. Until the various factors are exhaustively identified and their interactions are able to be described by mathematical formulae we will not have an optimal solution, nor be able to enumerate the solutions available.

  9. Jester

    Jester Well-Known Member

    How about we just go with 'eating too much' ... ?
  10. anoop

    anoop New Member

    I If I were you, I would read the article. The question is "why are they eating too much and why few other aren't doing the same".
  11. CDB

    CDB New Member

    Personally I think the question is pointless. Every time someone tries to find out the reasons behind obesity it inevitably turns into some people claiming energy balance doesn't apply to human digestion even if that's not what the originator of the discussion wanted. And in the end the answer to the question is too individual to matter and too multifactoral and information intensive to lead to practical answers beyond what we have now in various diet and fitness approaches. Everyone wants a magic bullet, but by the nature of the problem one won't ever be found. Until someone can tell me something other than, "Find a maintainable approach to diet and fitness that produces the results you're looking for and keep at it," why should I care? Everything else is wanking of marginal to complete irrelevance about the claimed superiority of this or that approach.
  12. TangoDown

    TangoDown Member

    Why do some eat too much and some don't? Lifestyle, abundance of food per culture, and upbringing. Depression can cause a dependence on food, for example.

    There is no genetic signaling that tells one person to eat more than another person. It's simply a matter of psychology and circumstance. The body adapts to various diets to an extent, but at the end of the day, if you eat more than your body needs, you're going to add fat, and if you eat less than your body requires, you're going to lose weight. Thermodynamics and ectomorphic "hardgainer" bull**** be damned. You take a sedentary, skinny person, and feed him copious amounts of food, and he's going to eventually become fat. You take a fat person and make him take up an exercise protocol and eat well, and he's going to eventually become skinny. You feed me at my current activity level 5000 calories a day, and I'm going to become fat. You feed Totz 1200 calories a day, and he's going to become a string bean.
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2012
  13. Jester

    Jester Well-Known Member

    But the premise of your question is that there exists a single (or dominant) cause of obesity; that there is a reason that people eat too much and we can identify it and address it. And the premise itself is flawed. The question being asked is more or less akin to 'how long is a piece of string?'.

    I'm not having a go at you or your article, nor your ambitions in this area. But I think the energy is somewhat misdirected. Count the # of obese people, that's the # of reasons there are that a specific someone is obese.
  14. anoop

    anoop New Member

    Hey CDB

    I wouldn't have written if there was no practical application. I guessing you missed the third part. I am posting it below where alot of people asked the same question. Is it gong to change anything.

  15. TangoDown

    TangoDown Member

    "Normal weight and lean people would look at obese from a different perspective - one filled with compassion and empathy.
    And for the most important part: Obese people will finally understand that it was never their fault. They will finally be free of their endless self-blaming, depression, and lack of self-esteem that they had to endure their ther whole life."

    It was never their fault? Excepting responsibility is what starts a process of healing, as opposed to living delusionally in a world of "it's genetics, I'm big boned, etc." Yes, depression can cause you to reach out to food as a method of coping, but at the end of the day, a person makes a deliberate choice to place a piece of food into their mouth.

    Distancing one's self from reality is what keeps drug addicts using, food addicts eating, and racists/sexists/homophobes/etc spewing bigotry. If one doesn't recognize the root cause of their illness, they're never going to get better. It does matter how they got to where they are, but ultimately the responsibility to use/eat/etc falls on their shoulders.
  16. anoop

    anoop New Member

    I am not sure what you are saying. But it is pretty simple. You look at twin studies and look at the genetic contribution.

    If there wasn't large genetic component or this was as multi-factorial as people think, the twin studies would clearly show there isn't one. It is as simple as that. And we have multiple lines of evidence to show it.

    From what I have seen, almost everyone who thinks that it is multi-factorial or there isn't one large contributing factor has not much to back their evidence. Just their opinion and their anecdotal observations.

    And check Friedman's presentation in you tube: . I look at the evidence and he is pretty right on the money. The major arguement against the genetics of obesity is why are obesity levels going up if it was all genetics and less environment.
  17. anoop

    anoop New Member

    Hi Tanodown,

    Your answer is the typical response. I used to think along the same lines.

    So you think people who are obese lacks responsiblty, self control or have a common psychological trait that is preventing them being lean? And I am guessing you also think people who are lean do not have these traits right. This sort of thinking is what is prevalent among most people , even health care professionals.

    If this is the case, this is probably an earth shattering discovery in the field of psychology that will change the world for ever. This would deserve its own nobel prize.
  18. TangoDown

    TangoDown Member

    And this is why I used other examples besides food. Lean people can also lack self control; that doesn't mean they turn to food. That means they can turn to drugs, to promiscuity, etc.

    How can one not be to blame for what they consume? That's utterly illogical. It's one thing if unhealthy food is the ONLY source of food available to them (and this is possible, especially in poorer communities), but that discludes the people who have economic access to food that isn't high in calories, and still choose to eat a diet that makes them obese. It doesn't matter if they're ignorant as to a means of keeping a lean weight; if they are suckered into stupid cucumber and blueberry diets and the like, that doesn't mean they don't have the mental capacity or physical ability to find out HOW to lose weight and STAY away from disease that is caused in part by obesity.

    Regardless of lifestyle, if you can afford shopping for groceries that don't consist of chips and hohos, you can stay lean. It doesn't matter if you work 16 hour days and your cafeteria only serves hamburgers and fries. One has the power to not become morbidly obese if they take the time to actually find out what to do.
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2012
  19. anoop

    anoop New Member

    Hey Tangodown,

    So lean people who lack self control are not getting obese because they all turn to drugs, promiscuity and so forth. I hope you can check yourself and see the slippery slope you are sliding down.

    I think you will better understand the problem if you read the third part: I think I answered a lot of common questions posed.

    I would also watch the Friedman presentation if you can.

    These are all the same questions I had to.
  20. TangoDown

    TangoDown Member

    Drug addiction can cause a lack of appetite as well as a dependence on the acquirement of drugs that can result in a lack of nutritional consumption when said priorities shift to the all-encompassing substance.

    But, I never stated, besides the above example, that lean people with a lack of self control can never become obese. A lack of self control can manifest itself in a variety of crutches. To some people, it's food. To others, it's not. But that doesn't mean that people who lack self control and give themselves up to sex also can't become fat. People who lack self control/are clinically depressed/etc can have deep rooted issues that lead to the behaviors that manifest.

    And that doesn't mean that all fat people have self control issues. Like I stated, it can be due to a number of reasons: socioeconomic status (ability to afford nutritionally sound and/or food that is not filled with an exuberant amount of calories), event(s)-triggered disorder, upbringing or peer group (which can also tie into socioeconomic status), etc. And it can also be due to ignorance as to how one can stay lean, or it can be due to a simple lack of caring (or the claim that one doesn't care, which is a lot more feasible considering that may just be a mental wall that one puts up).

    Now it is true that some obesity can be due to genetic predisposition or genetic mutation (metabolic disorders, lymph-node issues, etc). But I utterly doubt that the majority of obese people are physically incapable of substantially altering their body fat through a reduction in highly caloric food and/or portion size and/or an increase in activity level.

    And I reject that "slippery slope" comment. You're an exercise physiologist. Not a psychologist.

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