The excerpt from the Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology comment in The Nutrition Debate #297, “Obesity in Remission,” brought to mind a segment from “Choices,” the 2nd of four hour-long videos reviewed in The Nutrition Debate #275, “Weight of the Nation,” published on 12/31/14. You might have missed it. But if you are having trouble losing weight or, having been successful in the past, are now putting weight back on (as I am), you should read #297, and this blog post.
Starting at minute 17:00 in “Choices,” Rudolph Leibel, MD, Co-Director of the New York Obesity Research Center at the Columbia University Medical Center, says, “Individuals losing weight are NOT metabolically the same as they were before they lost weight.” “The weight reduced individual will be requiring about 20% less (sic) calories per day relative to what somebody of that weight who’s never lost weight would eat…in order to keep at that body weight,” he says
“Consider two individuals – same gender, same age, exactly the same body weight – one of whom is at that body weight as a result of let’s say a 10 or 15% weight reduction, the other who’s been at that weight for their entire adult life. If that reduced weight individual goes out to lunch with her friend, and they both order the same meal, that will represent a 20% overeating for the weight-reduced individual, and be quite normal for the individual who’s not in that state. Twenty percent might seem like a little, but 20% excess calorie intake a year will account for the inexorable weight regain.”
“As far as we know, this phenomenon does not go away,” Dr Leibel says. “So, being successful for a year or two doesn’t mean that you’re going to be able to go back to eating what would be appropriate for a person who’s never lost weight.”
“Does that seem unfair?” an off-camera voice asks an overweight woman. “Sure, it does seem unfair. It’s unfair that, you know, I just can’t lose the weight and go back to the way a normal thin person lives their life, but that’s part of the price you pay for allowing yourself to get overweight in the first place,” the woman responds. Okay, that’s the thinking of this well-meaning and very well-funded, widely-viewed and deeply-flawed HBO series. Forget for a minute who funded it.
You can choose to blame yourself for following the Government’s Dietary Guidelines since 1977, and your doctor’s advice at least since 1961 when the American Heart Association started telling you to eat less saturated fat and cholesterol. That’s when Agribusiness starting making more “low-fat” manufactured foods with added sugars and processed carbohydrates.
Or you can choose to eat many fewer carbs and more fat – both saturated and monounsaturated, but not polyunsaturated fats (vegetable and seed oils). You will feel fuller when you eat fatty meats and fish and a few low-carb veggies. Fat satiates. Protein digests slowly. Your blood sugar will stabilize, your blood lipids will improve, your inflammatory markers will too, and as you lose weight, without hunger, your blood pressure should come down too. All these good things happened to me.
And when I regained some of the weight I lost, but continued to eat low-carb, high-fat – just too much of it – the only thing that went up was the number on the scale. Like many of my readers, I have a “biological predisposition for energy storage” and I live in “an environment that promotes high energy intake” (both carbs and fat). The RESULT: an obesity–promoting interaction between the two (weight gain). This condition is both chronic and, at times, treatment-resistant. I like to eat.