Why we are fat

A fascinating and intellectual take on why we (especially Americans) are fat in Harvard Magazine.

I’ve been following a low carb regime for over a year now, and am 50lbs lighter because of it.  I have several collogues who have had similar benefits.  I am floored by what I often over hear in restaurants which usually goes like “It isn’t natural, your body needs carbs!”  Yes it does, but for over 99% of our existence on this planet there was no such thing as high fructose corn syrup.  Your body doesn’t need 64oz of corn sweetened soda – it may need all that caffeine to get the project done on time, but not the sugar.

A word of advice if you are considering a low carb way of eating – educate yourself about it.  Eating bags of Doritos Edge chips and Atkins Bars does not count.  Go buy a book like South Beach of Atkins (I more or less followed the later).

Comments (10)

  1. Dave says:

    I really hate trendy diets.

    Atkins just introduces a new problem. Instead of fat people, we now have skinny people with heart disease.

    Exercise is the key to it all. I am convinced that I can create the new fad diet of the future. All I have to do is get wildly obese, workout for 8 hours a day, lose 150 lbs. and claim it was all due to my Beer and Bugles diet.

    I’ll be the first to tell you that my diet sucks. I could do without half the things I eat. Yet going to the gym 5 days a week *amazingly* seems to keep me nice and in shape.

  2. TB says:

    Moderation is the real key to it all. Moderate exercise, moderate diet…calorie in…calorie out…up….down…..now side to side….very good Daniel-san.

  3. Derek says:

    Your point is valid – exercise is also the key to also no looking like a bag of empty skin (after a rapid weight loss). Plus I would pretty much bet if one could get on a regular exercise program, their diet will fall better in line. Last thing I want after a good workout is junk.

    Nonetheless, the article is interesting from a public heath standpoint of how we got to eating what we do. The most interesting thing IMO is the fact that the food pryamid is published by a government agency (Dept of Ag.) with no madate to improve the public’s heath, but instead is mandated with improving commerce.

    Like Atkins or not (even Dr. Atkins himself said one can be healthy on a low fat/high carb diet if done in moderation) I certainly enjoy not being fat (or at least as fat).

  4. Steve K. says:

    The problem with moderation is that everyone is still different. Moderation, therefore, is different for each person.

    That was a great article. Took forever to read, but it’s Harvard, so I expected that.

    Basically, it does come down to physical activity. For millions of years we were able to adapt to changes in diet and food cultivation because we remained active. But now we consume even more calories because of refined, sugar-dense foods and get little or no exercise:

    "Humans evolved in a state of ceaseless physical activity. … Our bodies were not designed to handle so much caloric input and so little energy outflow."

    So, in a way excercise seems to create a natural moderation for the human body.

    Thanks for the link!

  5. Jeff says:

    For most of human history we didn’t eat meat every day. Most of the world still doesn’t. Hawaiians got fat when white folks brought beef to a culture that lived on poi (carb). Now China (rice) is getting fat as they get richer and eat more meat.

    Moderate intake of any food combined with exercise will allow you to lose weight. This low-carb nonsense is just people eating less of one food instead of eating less of everything.

  6. TB says:

    What about Eskimos or certain African tribes that eat nothing but meat? And do you count Spam as beef?

  7. B.Y. says:

    I think we really should hike a few mile every day, because that’s what we did for over 99% of our existence on this planet.

  8. B.Y. says:

    I think we really should hike a few mile every day, because that’s what we did for over 99% of our existence on this planet.

  9. When my mom lost around 90 lbs, people would always ask how she did it, what diet she used. She would tell them she didn’t use a diet, she just started to "eat right and exercise". Nobody wanted to believe that, they wanted a nice catch-phrase diet instead of having to admit they just needed to put down the food and get off the sofa.

  10. Cliff says:

    I have to contest the skinny people with heart disease comment. Last year in August I was 273lbs with a cholesterol level of 200. My blood pressure was also through the roof and I was on medicine for it. Last Saturday I came back from the doctors office on Saturday weighing 210lbs with a cholesterol level of 154 and off of the pills. Don’t knock the low carb thing until you try it. I switched to weight watchers for awhile but I jumped right back on the low carb train because it is when I felt my best.