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A history of obesity research



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JUSTBIRDY
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8/23/12 12:51 P

Here's the wiki article on the Paleo diet, so interested folks can read themselves about the modern founders of the movement. Dr. Mike and Mary Dan Eades mentioned a paleolithic diet in their books dating from the early 90's. Drs. Rosedale and Schwarzbein had been recommending this eating plan well before Dr. Loren Cordain's most popular book came out in the late 90's.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paleolithic_diet


Edited by: JUSTBIRDY at: 8/23/2012 (12:51)


JUSTBIRDY
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8/23/12 12:47 P

People I know from China also have problems with obesity, and they, like folks in many other cultures, seem to have developed a liking for sweet rolls and other deserts and snacks that combine wheat and sugar.
Just to set the record straight. Gary Taubes is a scientist. He studied physics at Harvard and aerospace engineering at Stanford. His career has been that of a science writer and mostly a bad-science debunker.
In his diet science books, I think he has successfully debunked the prevailing ideas of what causes obesity. However, even though he has some alternative theories, he very carefully outlines in his book Good Calories Bad Calories that they are just theories. This is why he has been working with Dr. Peter Attia to start up a non-profit organization to test some of the theories that have been abandoned or ignored by the dominant obesity research cartel.
It really bothers me when some people go after Taubes, either with twisting around what he says or repeating such outright lies such as being the founder of the paleo diet. He is one of the most intense but careful thinkers and writers I know, and I do know him personally.



RACKMYBRAINS
Posts: 435
8/23/12 12:27 P

As to the rice/noodles and Asia question... I've been to China, traveling all around small town and large cities, north and south. There are plenty of overweight people there, all different sizes really. Even in the tiny countryside villages, which have a lot of poor people who rely on cheaper staples like rice and noodles (by comparison with a city like Beijing where people eat as expensively as any New Yorker), there are people of all different sizes.

Japan and Korea... same thing... people of all different sizes.




SALONKITTY
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8/23/12 10:10 A

Just a quick correction--We first started hearing about the paleo diet in 1975 by gastroenterologist Walter L. Voegtlin. So this isn't actually Gary Taubes' brilliant idea.

Taubes is indeed a proponent of this way of eating, as are many other noteworthy people.

Obviously, I like Gary Taubes. I found his writings to be invaluable to sorting out a lot of my health problems, and am having a great deal of success with eating according to the paleo or primal way.




PARISAPRIL1
SparkPoints: (8,951)
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Posts: 518
8/23/12 7:06 A

Interesting article. I quite like Gary Taubes he is a very smart man.

There have been tons of studies done on how raised insulin levels cause fat storage in the human body. It is an fact.

OP - I think you would like Sean Croxton over at Underground Wellness. He has a Bachelor’s in Kinesiology (emph: fitness, nutrition, and health) and is a certified personal trainer. He has some amazing podcasts on his site that are so enlightening, I can't say enough good things about him.

undergroundwellness.com/radio/

You can download his free podcasts through I Tunes as well. He has guests like Gary Taubes, Jonathon Bailor, Mark Sission, Chris Kressler and so many more.

LOL! I'm like a commercial. Sorry about that.



ALGEBRAGIRL
Posts: 1,443
8/23/12 1:08 A

' Which leads me to wonder why they don't have an obesity epidemic in East Asia, which leans heavily of white rice as its staple.'

Not only white rice, but also noodles!

The rest of the world does tend to load up on carbs - and sugar is not an exotic food to them - and yet, portion sizes are much smaller, they eat more vegetables and fruits as well as pastries and candies for special treats (not snacking). There doesn't seem to be as much snacking anyway, when you travel in those countries.



DIETITIANBECKY
Posts: 26,368
8/22/12 8:48 P

Interesting.
My parents are 90, both Depression Era children--but both from a rural setting.
I just scanned their old photo album from their childhood---several pictures of all the children in the 1 and 2 room school houses....no overweight child seen. I also have this historical book from my county with many school pictures from this era....no overweight children to be seen. Like I said this was from the rural setting, not the city with soup lines. I can even check pictures from church groups, sunday schools, farming pictures...no overweight children seen.

While I am sure their were genetic/medical reasons for some children to have weight issues (however classified) in the Depression Era---it hardly is a comparison to today's causes and concerns.

SP Dietitian Becky


Edited by: DIETITIANBECKY at: 8/22/2012 (21:00)


MPLANE37
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8/22/12 5:36 P

Junk food makes people fat. This is without doubt.

But in democracies you can't just shut down businesses because what they produce can cause fatness *if* eaten too much.

I don't think the problem is with the authorities as claimed by the article, but the consumers should know better than buying and consuming large quantities of junk food.

Also some of the conclusions drawn are just inconsequential, e.g. those about exercise.

Edited by: MPLANE37 at: 8/22/2012 (17:40)


YACHTSMAN
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8/22/12 3:34 P

Agree, it can be interesting to read different ideas that have been experimented with when it comes to weight loss. Dr. Eades has written some about that.

"Changing dietary trends and the obesity epidemic"

www.proteinpower.com/drmike/saturated-fat/
changing-dietary-trends-and-the-obesit
y-epidemic/




BEARCLAW6
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Posts: 1,939
8/22/12 10:51 A

I am trying to figure out how deep and how detailed I would want to be in this thread. So, I think I will keep it short and sweet (no pun intended) since I and one of those people who has a lot of respect for Gary Taubes.

Gary Taubes' book, "Good Calories, Bad Calories", changed my life. Before reading that book, I was a 345 lbs guy who couldn't figure out why he was fatter than almost everyone he knew despite the fact that he ate better (but certainly not great) and ate less than almost everyone around him. After reading that book, I started an experiment on carb restriction that resulted in the weight melting off in ways that seemed like magic. After losing the equvalent weight of a newborn giraffe, I have come to realize that maybe....just maybe....some of us are a tad sensitive to the carbs they eat. All without even one day of being really hungry.


Edited by: BEARCLAW6 at: 8/22/2012 (10:52)


ALGEBRAGIRL
Posts: 1,443
8/22/12 10:30 A

Gary Taubes is a science journalist. He's not an obesity researcher. He has some very devoted fans. But his 'take' on dieting and obesity sells books just as effectively as an other entity is motivated by economic interests. And there's nothing wrong with that: the Beverly Hills Diet, which focused on fruit, had/has its fans, too.



OUTDOORFREAK
Posts: 61
8/22/12 4:12 A

The author of this article is Gary Taubes - the man behind the Paleo Diet.

This isn't science - it's one mans opinion and he sees the world through American eyes.

There is no way anyone who lived through the European depression would report "fat children"...perhaps malnourished ones, but nobody was overweight...people were starving.

Likewise, rice and grains didn't traditionally make the people of Asia, Africa and South America Fat...the American diet has!

Almost 50 million Chinese are now considered obese - and it's all happened since the excessive portions and crazy high calorie diets of the US have been introduced...





AUDREYUK
Posts: 607
8/22/12 3:32 A

Thank you both for sharing the articles. I look forward to reading them! There seem to be so many pieces in this puzzle, but I enjoy trying (if fruitlessly) to put them together.

"The more I learn, the more I find that dietary guidelines are based in cultural norms as much as (or more than?) empirical research. And that the guidelines are very much subject to political and business interests."

I totally agree with this. You might have seen my "Geek Alert" thread a few weeks ago. There's an online course from John Hopkins/Bloomberg School of Health, which I'm hoping will answer some of the government/business interest related questions.

I'm in NO way affiliated with the course (which is TOTALLY free), but I am interested in getting as many people as I can find to take it so that I can discuss it with others (whether in person or on a message board.)

https://www.coursera.org/course/obesitye
con

Edited by: AUDREYUK at: 8/22/2012 (03:33)


RADIOTIKSPARK1
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8/22/12 3:00 A

OH! This will give me something to read on the way to work!

Regarding what you said about East Africa with rice as a staple and the possible link of simply carb and sugars overabundance, two things to say (without reading the article yes). First you are missing the "sugars" side of that equation in East Africa; second you are missing the overabundance. If this article conforms to what I have been reading, it really is the overabundance that is the key...and we are talking about 'McDonalds on every corner', dollar value menu, supersize overabundance. The other thing is that it is 'refined' carbs and sugars that are blamed...rice is not a refined carb, at least in most of Africa :).

I note that the article is by Gary Taubes who wrote 'Why We Get Fat'. For a few reasons, I never find myself trusting his perspective...perhaps mostly because he is a journalist and not a nutritional expert. But also because he is known for being into an Atkins-style diet...which I think is crap in every possible way. A critique of him can be found on the Scientific American blog:
blogs.scientificamerican.com/cross-check/2
011/05/16/thin-body-of-evidence-why-i-
have-doubts-about-gary-taubess-why-we-
get-fat/


Just scanning the first part of his article, he doesn't actually define what he (or the German researcher) meant by 'fat' in the 1930s. What kind of perceptions of weight does someone coming out of post WWI Germany have? What was "FAT" in the 30s? I'd bet money that it isn't what we call fat or obese.

I tend to like Michael Polan's books. He, as well as others, believes that over abundance is the issue...it tricks our poor animal brains and survival instincts, but he doesn't conclude that all you should eat is piles of meat and butter. Yick!



SCREAMINGFLEA
SparkPoints: (4,863)
Fitness Minutes: (6,830)
Posts: 37
8/22/12 1:26 A

A friend turned me on to this today and I found it really interesting. www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2012/05/06/
why-the-campaign-to-stop-america-s-obe
sity-crisis-keeps-failing.html?fb_acti
on_ids=4124124814198&fb_action_types=o
g.recommends&fb_source=ot


It's a long read and well worth it, about the shifting perspectives in what causes weight gain. It starts with a childhood obesity clinic that opened in the height of the Great Depression ... "an era of bread lines and soup kitchens, when 6 in 10 Americans were living in poverty. The conventional wisdom these days—promoted by government, obesity researchers, physicians, and probably your personal trainer as well—is that we get fat because we have too much to eat and not enough reasons to be physically active. But then why were the PC- and Big Mac–-deprived Depression-era kids fat? How can we blame the obesity epidemic on gluttony and sloth if we easily find epidemics of obesity throughout the past century in populations that barely had food to survive and had to work hard to earn it?"

While the article raises a lot more questions than answers, it suggests that weight gain is linked more to an overabundance of simple carbs and sugar than to a lack of exercise or too much fat. Which leads me to wonder why they don't have an obesity epidemic in East Asia, which leans heavily of white rice as its staple.

Can anyone point me to more information about the history of this research in the US and elsewhere? The more I learn, the more I find that dietary guidelines are based in cultural norms as much as (or more than?) empirical research. And that the guidelines are very much subject to political and business interests.

I'm not sure where that leaves me in terms of my own weight loss efforts, other than simply following my own intuitive promptings about what my body needs and when. Would love some suggestions.



 
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