Taubes - Chapter 01 - Why Were They Fat?

- POSTED ON: Jan 01, 2011

This Chapter is filled with Examples that refute the Theory
that it is our "improved prosperity" or "toxic environment"
that has created the obesity epidemic.

Taubes says facts show that being fat
is often associated with poverty rather than merely with prosperity.
Examples of connections to poverty, obesity, and high carbohydrates are:

Pima Indians in Arizona
Sioux Indians, in South Dakota
1951 Naples, Italy
1959 Charleston, So Carolina
1960 Durban, So Africa
1961 Naura, the South Pacific
1961-63 Trinidad, West Indies
1963 Chili
1964-65 Johannesburg, So Africa
1965 Cherokee Indians in No Carolina
1969 Ghana, West Africa
1970 Lagos, Nigera
1971 Rarotonga, the South Pacific
1974 Kingston, Jamica
1974 Chili (again)
1978 Native American Tribes in Oklahoma
1981-83 Mexican Americans in Starr County, Texas

In all of these studies, a large percentage of these populations
were poor, many were physically active doing manual labor,
but were also fat.

2005 New England Journal of Medicine article
by Benjamin Caballero, at Johns Hopkins University
tells of his experience in Brazil,
of seeing starving children together with their fat mothers.

Taubes points out that this poses a challenge to the current "conventional wisdom

"If we believe the mothers were fat
because they ate too much,
and we know their children are thin and stunted
because they're not getting enough food,

we're assuming that the mothers' were willing
to starve their children so they could overeat.

This goes against everything we know about maternal behavior."

Chapter 1 is filled with examples of times and places where a large percentage
of the population were Obese, even though they were very poor
and had no access to our present “Toxic Environment.”

A great many of those Obese people were physically very active
doing hard manual labor. It was noted that there were instances in those populations,
like in Brazil, where while the majority of poor children were thin and malnourished,
as poor adults…and still malnourished…they became obese.

Taubes asks about the people he used as Examples….

”Why were they fat?”

They were physically very active,
and there was little food available to them.

The facts in those cases show that a simple explanation of….
“calories-in/calories-out”….doesn’t answer this question about those people.

Taubes noted that all of these Obese populations had something in common,
in that the majority of their nutrition came from carbohydrates.

Leave me a comment.

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Existing Comments:

On Feb 18, 2011 wrote:
I really related to the story of malnourished children and overweight mothers. What makes me curious is why we would want to overeat, and how we can get to the point that we don't want to overeat.

On Feb 21, 2011 Karen925 wrote:
This chapter tied to gether how my very underweight son suffering from Crohn's and myself wanting to maintain my weight loss (and looking back over my weight losss journey) is related. The book is about fat metabolism, tissue growth and inflamation (particualry GCBC). I like unified theories in science.

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