Taubes says calories-in/calories-out is a damaging theory.
It reinforces what appears to be obvious, which is:
“Obesity as the penalty for gluttony and sloth”
He says it is Harmful because…
It is partly responsible for the growing number of obese;
It directs attention away from the real reasons we get fa;,
It reinforces the perception that fat people have no one to blame but themselves.
Instead of making us question our assumptions
about calories-in/calories-out..... .
...The fact that eating less FAILS as a CURE for obesity
is taken as evidence that fat people
are incapable of following a diet and eating in moderation
and they are blamed for it.
“There has to be a reason…
why anyone would eat more calories than he or she expends,
particularly since the penalty for doing so is
to suffer the physical and emotional cruelties of obesity.
There must be a defect involved somewhere;
the question is where.”
“The logic of calories-in/calories-out
allows only one acceptable answer to this question.
The defect cannot lie in the body—in the enzymes and hormones
that control how our bodies turn what is eaten into fat—
--because this would imply that something other than overeating
was fundamentally responsible for making us fat.
And that’s not allowed.
So the problem must lie in the brain.
And more precisely, in behavior,
which makes it an issue of character.
So, both eating too much and exercising too little are Behaviors,
not Physiological states,
a fact made even more obvious by the use of the…terms -- gluttony and sloth.”
Suggesting as an answer that fat people
respond to food restriction just as animals do
--that they reduce their energy expenditure
while experiencing increased hunger—
opens up the possibility that
the same physiologic mechanism that drives fat people
to hold onto their fat—even when semi-starved—
--might be the cause of their obesity in the first place.
This thinking is not allowed under the calories-in/calories-out theory.
So instead it is said the diet didn’t work
because the fat persons failed to stay on it.
They are blamed lack of willpower,
a lack of strength of character
to eat in moderation the way lean people do.
Once the fundamental cause of obesity
is established as overeating,
blaming behavior—a lack of character and willpower—
is the only acceptable explanation.
The fat have a “perverted appetite”.
Taubes talks about the History of how this “insidious logic”
invaded the American science community in the 1920s,
and continued through the second world war.
He says the only thing different now
is that experts word it in less demeaning terms.
Like referring to obesity as an Eating Disorder,
which has become common since the 1960s.
He says by the 1970s “Behavioral Medicine” emerged to treat fat people with
“behavioral therapies” which are ways to make the fat eat like the lean.
When speaking of these behavioral treatments, Taubes says
“None of these therapies has ever been shown to work..
even so..many are still with us today.”
Taubes says that today most of the leading authorities on obesity
are psychologists and psychiatrists…
people whose expertise is in the ways of the mind,
not of the body.
He points out
“Imagine how many more dead diabetics we’d have
if victims of that disease
were treated by psychologists instead of physicians.
And yet diabetes and obesity are so closely linked…
...that some authorities have taken to calling the two disorders “diabesity”,
as though they’re two sides of the same pathological coin,
which they assuredly are.”
Taubes concludes with
“So long as we believe that people get fat because they overeat,
because they take in more calories than they expend,
we’re putting the ultimate blame on a mental state, a weakness of character,
and we’re leaving human biology out of the equation entirely.”
He says it’s a mistake to think this way,
and he will give us a better way to think about it in the rest of the book.
This chapter very much rings true for me.
I have a life-time of personal experience
in being blamed for failing to eat in moderation,
despite extensive and almost continual efforts to do so.
For me, this started at puberty and continued until
this present time when I began weighing in the normal range.
I’ve experienced this issue with regards to
parents, siblings, boyfriends, husband, children, and other relatives;
friends, acquaintances, and strangers, teachers, potential employers,
Doctors, Psychologists, “Eating Disorder” specialists, Diet Counselors,
but most of all with my own accountability.
Details of my History are in the "About Me" section.
Personally, I’d very much like to have a better way to think about it.
Mar 01, 2021 DietHobby: A Digital Scrapbook. 2000+ Blogs and 500+ Videos in DietHobby reflect my personal experience in weight-loss and maintenance. One-size-doesn't-fit-all, and I address many ways-of-eating whenever they become interesting or applicable to me.
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