Does Obesity Kill?

July 14, 2012 at 3:34 am Leave a comment

Do you believe that obesity “kills”? Or, that being overweight increases your health risks?  You certainly aren’t alone if you do – the current emphasis on controlling obesity, as a way to control “health care costs” is overwhelming.  However, I want to call to your attention a study you’ve probably never heard about.

On June 24, 2009, researchers at Statistics Canada, Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research, Portland State University, Oregon Health & Science University, and McGill University published a study in the online journal Obesity. The results were contradictory to what is considered common knowledge.  The finding?  “Underweight people and those who are extremely obese die earlier than people of normal weight, but those who are overweight actually live longer than people of normal weight.” (www.healthnewstrack.com/health-news-1606.html)

This study examined the relationship between body mass index (BMI) and death among 11,326 adults in Canada over a 12-year period.  The research found that underweight people had the highest risk of dying, and the extremely obese had the second highest risk. Overweight people had a lower risk of death than those of normal weight.

This is not the first study to show this result.  An American study published in 2005 in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) showed similar results. That study, however, indicated that the “ideal” BMI may, in fact, be too low.  I commented on that study when it first came out in an earlier blog post.

However, political correctness requires that the researchers decry their own results and warn people not to put on weight, since being overweight is horrendous.  So much for accepting the results of scientific studies!

Serendipitously, as I was writing this newsletter (on June 25, 2012), it was announced that the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) – part of the tangled bureaucracy created by Obama’s national health care act – has issued new recommendations that all patients be screened for obesity.  Furthermore, if a person is found to be overweight, they should be referred to “intensive counseling” for weight loss. The recommendations include:  more exercise, and low fat diets.  Furthermore, we now know, thanks to the Supreme Court decision on June 28, 2012, that we can also be taxed if we don’t comply with the government’s recommendations.  It’s pretty scary when you realize that the BMI is fatally flawed, and bureaucrats are imposing regulations based upon junk science and prejudice.  I can only hope that this bureaucratic monstrosity gets repealed, because this is only the tip of the iceberg.  Watch for upcoming newsletters wherein I will share more information about the negative impact of this law.

Even more alarmingly, the diet recommendation they endorse is faulty.  The latest review article on WebMD reports findings published in JAMA regarding low-fat, very-low-carb and low-glycemic-index diets.  Participants followed each plan for one month, consuming the same number of calories (1,600 daily).

  1. The low-fat diet included mostly whole grains, fruits and vegetables, where 60% of the calories came from carbohydrates, 20% from fats and 20% from protein.
  1. The low-glycemic-index diet included minimally processed grains, vegetables, legumes and healthy fats, where 40% of calories came from carbohydrates, 40% from fat and 20% from protein.
  1. The very-low-carb diet, modeled after the Atkins plan, was relatively high fat, where 10% of calories came from carbohydrates, 60% from fats and 30% from protein.

Those people following option 3, burned about 300 calories more a day than those eating a low-fat diet.  Furthermore, people using option 2, burned 150 calories more than those on the low-fat diet. Apparently, a low-fat diet slows the metabolism so that you don’t burn calories as effectively.

Other benefits of options 2 and 3 include better insulin sensitivity and improved cholesterol levels.  If you have been following my blog, you know that cholesterol is actually manufactured from excess carbohydrate in the diet.

Dr. David S. Ludwig, MD, PhD, director of the Optimal Weight for Life program at the Harvard-affiliated Children’s Hospital in Boston, points out that, while people often lose weight very quickly on either option 1 or option 3, they also tend to gain the weight back very quickly.  So, balance is the key and including adequate amounts of fat in your diet is crucial.  I have been recommending option 2 for many years.

Eating adequate amounts of high-quality fat is becoming increasingly difficult with the proliferation of “low fat” and “no fat” foods. You may notice that as Americans are eating less and less fat, the nation is getting heavier and heavier. If you are a label reader, as am I, you will note that low-fat or no-fat foods are loaded with carbohydrates to improve flavor and “mouth feel” – a totally arbitrary measurement established by the food science industry to make food more appealing to the consumer.

So, what is a person to do?  I have long recommended the Paleolithic (or “Cave Man”) diet which consists of unrefined carbohydrates, unprocessed fruits and vegetables, protein and adequate amounts of fat – particularly olive oil, avocados and butter.  Yes, butter.  There is an important component to fat called medium chain triglycerides (MCTs), which are extremely valuable in controlling your blood fats (including cholesterol and excess triglycerides).  The highest sources of MCTs are coconut oil, olive oil and butter.  Forget margarine – a toxic, non-food that has only been consumed widely in the U.S. since World War I.  (By the way, the substance originated in France where Emperor Louis Napoleon II offered a prize to anyone who could make a satisfactory substitute for butter, suitable for use by the armed forces and the lower classes.)  Even the margarines that are “trans-fat free,” a relatively recent development, contain almost exclusively omega-6 fatty acids that are extremely inflammatory.  The American diet is loaded with omega-6 oils (corn oil, canola oil, soy oil), particularly since feed lots and farm-raised fish are fed corn meal.

If you would like a copy of the Cave Man Diet, please send a request, together with a large, stamped, self-addressed envelope (2 stamps, please), and we will be happy to send it to you. [clinic address]

Entry filed under: Weight Loss.

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