Insulin, Storing Fat and Getting Rid of It

I thought I’d share a few highlights from my Kindle version of Gary Taubes new book Why We Get Fat and What to do About It.

I will argue in this book that the fault lies entirely with the medical orthodoxy—both the belief that excess fat is caused by consuming excess calories, and the advice that stems from it. I’m going to argue that this calories-in/calories-out paradigm of adiposity is nonsensical: that we don’t get fat because we eat too much and move too little, and that we can’t solve the problem or prevent it by consciously doing the opposite.

This is the original sin, so to speak, and we’re never going to solve our own weight problems, let alone the societal problems of obesity and diabetes and the diseases that accompany them, until we understand this and correct it.

Gary makes some incredibly powerful arguments, all backed by accepted science and research. I’m not sure why everyone still thinks that starving themselves is the best way to lose weight. It’s not, starvation diets don’t work.

An animal whose food is suddenly restricted tends to reduce its energy expenditure both by being less active and by slowing energy use in cells, thereby limiting weight loss. It also experiences increased hunger so that once the restriction ends, it will eat more than its prior norm until the earlier weight is attained.

If we starve ourselves thin and then begin to eat again our metabolism and fat cells retaliate with vengeance.

…when insulin levels go up, we store fat. When they come down, we mobilize the fat and use it for fuel. This suggests that anything that makes us secrete more insulin than nature intended, or keeps insulin levels elevated for longer than nature intended, will extend the periods during which we store fat and shorten the periods when we burn it.

Seems pretty simple and it is. Anything you ingest that raises your insulin levels is making you fat. If you eat a pound of bacon the fat and protein are absorbed by your digestive tract and shuttled to various parts of your body for use as energy. If you eat that same pound of bacon as a sandwich the carbohydrates in the bread raise your insulin levels and your body only burns the carbs while storing all the fat in an effort to normalize your blood glucose.

If you don’t read any of the other books I’ve suggested get this one.

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