Since the beginning of our lives, we’re constantly told that weight is directly related to caloric consumption. The more calories you ingest, the more weight you’ll gain. Subsequently, the more calories you cut out of from your diet, the more weight you’ll be able to lose. By this logic, anyone who is overweight, or anyone who experiences weight gain, is lacking in “will power” to do anything about it.
If we look at the First Law of Thermodynamics, the equalizer scale has calories consumed from food on one side, and calories burned during physical activity on the other. The total energy of the system is constant. It’s either calories coming in or calories coming out.
But what if calories really aren’t related to weight gain and loss whatsoever?
We’ve confused the proximate versus the ultimate causes of weight gain today. Proximate, meaning the most close to, is consumption of calories. But what ultimately causes obesity is the ultimate cause. This ultimate cause is what is actually underlying this “rampant disease.” There’s a lot more that goes into weight gain than simply ingesting a heightened amount of calories.
The unspoken accusation today is that: it’s your fault.
If we look at a new model, one that reviews hormonal obesity as opposed to just plain obesity, the ultimate cause shifts. It goes from being your lack of will power to a hormonal imbalance. The ultimate cause is one hormone specifically: insulin. The treatment therefore is to lower insulin.
Obesity is really a two-compartment problem, not a singular, calories-in only problem. Our bodies have to choose if they want to burn the calories, or store them as fat. It’s a crossroads conundrum.
So let’s say we assume weight is only related to calories. If you lower your caloric intake, you’re providing your body with less energy. With less energy, your body still has to make a two-compartment decision. As you reduce the amount of energy, you convince your body that it needs to hang onto the energy longer in the form of fat. Known as your basal metabolic rate, you will affect your body’s ability to efficiently burn calories for energy. Studies have shown a lower caloric intake reduces metabolic rates by 30% or more in each individual. This is not good.
The lower your metabolism, the higher your levels of Ghrelin, which is the hormone that makes you hungry. So by cutting back on calories, you’re essentially: lowering your metabolism, increasing the excretion of insulin and ghrelin, and putting your body into survival mode.
Insulin tells the body when to store fat. It’s the real culprit here. Studies have shown that individuals with higher excretions of insulin have major weight problems. What raises insulin the most? Refined carbohydrates like sugars and refined grains. What raises it the least? Natural fats like avocados, nuts, and so forth.
You can actually predict the effect of insulin if you focus on whole foods and compliment a balanced approach to protein, carbohydrates and the all important essential fatty acids. Only by understanding this will people be able to control their weight loss.
“We do not get fat because we overeat. We overeat because we get fat.”