Although it is universally believed that overweight people eat too much, it can only be true if overweight people eat more then thin people do. If, in fact, thinner people eat as much or more than overweight people, the number of calories can’t be the true cause of the growing obesity epidemic.
Gary Taubes found surprising facts in the scientific literature
Taubes is a correspondent for the magazine Science, and has received three Science in Society Journalism Awards from the National Association of Science Writers.
He spent five years reviewing all the available studies and scientific reports about obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic illnesses that are known to be related to the food we eat, and then published his surprising conclusions in his latest book – Good Calories, Bad Calories
In this book he states that many oveweight people say they actually eat less than their thin friends and neighbors, and they’re often right.
He refers to a report called Diet and Health, Implications for Reducing Chronic Disease, available through the National Academy Press, which states that, calorie for calorie, most overweight people actually eat less than people of normal weight.
In the last hundred years, many highly-qualified scientists have questioned the assumption that weight gain is caused by excess calories. The idea that fat people eat more than thin people has been disproved in several well-designed studies by highly respected scientists.
But the myth holds on in the minds of doctors and obesity experts everywhere.
It seems so obviously true that too much food will make you fat
If you’ve ever watched a political debate, you know it’s human nature to ignore evidence that would prove you wrong – and doctors and scientists are just as human as the rest of us.
And the rest of us believe it, too. Almost everyone believes that overweight people get fat because they eat too much. If you need proof, just look at the magazine rack at your local store.
You’ll see headlines every month on popular magazine covers, and many articles in newspapers, that give helpful suggestions for reducing the number of calories we eat in order to stay thin.
If you’re overweight, you probably believe there’s something wrong with your relationship with food
After years of struggling with a weight problem, many people assume that some character flaw prevents them from having enough will-power or character to back away from the table when they’ve had enough.
Or they may stay on a low-calorie diet for years because they’re afraid they’ll gain unwanted pounds if they relax their vigilance against the dreaded calorie. Food has become the enemy for millions of people in the modern world.
- In our society, tubby children are often teased on the schoolyard/
- Overweight adults get psychiatric counseling to help them improve their resistance to food/
- Employers often discriminate against overweight applicants and employees because of an unspoken predjudice that assumes the overweight individual has some sort of character flaw, or they’ll add to the company’s health insurance costs.
As if the stares and disapproval and teasing were not enough, a Jackson Mississipi legislator recently introduced a bill in the state house, (as a joke, evidently), that restaurants in his state should be prohibited from serving overweight customers. Republican Rep. John Read, the lawmaker who drafted the bill, is overweight.
This almost-universal predjudice has created a new industry of psychiatrists and counselors who help patient’s deal with their low-self esteem and ‘inability to control their eating habits’.
A huge industry is profiting from highly-processed and refined ‘low-fat’ and ‘low-calorie’ diet foods – not to mention all the pharmaceutical companies scrambling to invent the next best appetite suppressant or diet pill.
But how can we blame our excess weight on eating too much, if we don’t actually eat any more calories than thin people do?
The assumption that we’re fat because we eat too many calories naturally leads to the next myth about diet and weight loss: Low-Calorie Diets Will Help You Lose Weight. You can also use special devices for health to feel better on a diet.