Updated: Dec 26, 2019
EAT LESS. CUT your calories. Watch your portion size. These mantras have formed the foundation of conventional weight-loss advice over the past fifty years. And the widespread obesity epidemic proves that this advice has been an utter disaster, perhaps only topped by the nuclear meltdown of Chernobyl. This caloric reduction advice is based on a false understanding of what causes weight Gain.
What causes obesity? We donʼt stop to consider this basic question because we believe that we already know the full answer. It seems so obvious, doesnʼt it? Excessive intake of calories causes obesity. Too many calories in compared to too few calories out lead to weight gain. This energy balance model of obesity has been drilled into us since childhood. FAT GAAIN=CALORIES IN - CALORIES OUT.
For the past fifty years, our best weight-loss advice was primarily to restrict our caloric intake. Specifically, we were told to restrict the amount of dietary fat, which is calorically dense. This means reducing high-fat food, such as meat, butter, cheese, and nuts, in order to lower our calorie intake and therefor Lose weight. We made food guides, pyramids and food plates yo indoctrinate children into this brand-new low-calorie religion. ‘ʼCUT YOUR CALORIESʼʼ, we declared. ‘ʼEAT LESS, MOVE MOREʼʼ WE CHANTED.
Nutrition labels are mandated to include calorie counts. Programs and apps are created to more precisely count calories. Using all our ingenuity, focused like a laser beam and dogged as a title crossing a road, we cut calories. What is the result? did the problem of obesity has simply faded away like the morning mist on a hot summer day? IN A WORD, NO. The underlying, unspoken premise of this model is that energy creation(CALORIES IN ) energy expenditure (CALORIES OUT), and Fat gain are independent variables fully under our conscious control. It assumes that the number of calories used to keep our bodies running more or less normally remains stable and unchanging. But the is UNTRUE. The truth is that the body can adjust its BASAL METABOLIC RATE (BMR) the energy required to keep the heart pumping, lungs breathing, kidney and liver detoxifying, brain thinking, body generating heat and so on-up or down by 40 percent. When you eat fewer calories, your body slows down so it uses fewer calories, WHICH MEANS YOU DONʼT LOSE WEIGHT.
This model also completely ignores the multiple overlapping hormonal systems that signal hunger and satiety. That is, we may decide what to eat and when to eat it, but we cannot decide to feel less hungry. We cannot decide when to burn calories as body heat and when to store that as body fat. Hormones make decisions. The results of the so-called “CALORIC REDUCTION AS PRIMARY” advice could hardly have been worse if we had tried. The storm of obesity and type 2 diabetes that began in late 1079s has today engulf the entire world in sickness and disability.
Only two possibilities can explain how obesity could spread so rapidly in the face of out shiny new advice to reduce fat and calories: First, perhaps this advice is good but people are simply not following it, second, perhaps the advice is simply wrong. Was the entire obesity epidemic simply a sudden, simultaneous, coordinated, worldwide lack of willpower? The world canʼt agree which side of the road we should drive on, yet without discussion, we all decided to eat more and move less so that we could become undesirably fat? This explanation is only the latest iteration of the game called “BLAME THE VICTIM”. It shifts the responsibility from the advice-giver ( the advice is bad) to the advice taker (the advice is good, but you are not following it) By declaring that their scientifically unproven caloric reduction advice was flawless, doctors and nutritionists could conveniently shift the blame from themselves to you. It wasnʼt their fault. It was yours. Their advice was good. You dinʼt follow it. To admit that all their precious theories of obesity were simply incorrect was too psychologically difficult. Yet evidence continued to accumulate that this new caloric restriction strategy was about as useful as a comb to a bald man.
This simple formula is riddled with erroneous assumptions. The most important error is believing that basal metabolic rate, or calorie out, always remains stable. But a 40% reduction in calorie intake quickly met with a 40% reduction in basal metabolic rate. The net result is NO WEIGHT LOSS. The other major false assumption is that weight is consciously regulated. But no system in our body functions like that. The thyroid, parathyroid, sympathetic, parasympathetic, respiratory, circulatory, hepatic, renal, gastrointestinal and adrenal systems are all closely controlled by hormones. BODY WEIGHT AND BODY FAT are strictly regulated by hormones. In fact, our bodies contain multiple overlapping systems of body weight control. Body fat, one of the most important determinants of survival in the wild, is simply not left to the vagaries of what we decide to put in our mouths.
Dr. Rajneesh Shastri