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Sunday, November 13. 2022
Why do people with any fat stores ever feel hungry, or eat anything at all, considering they may have 1-5 month's worth of energy stored as fat? (We term the hunger experienced by overweight people "False Hunger," because it is.) Except in the truly malnourished or extremely fit, low body-fat athletes, hunger is rarely a signal of an energy deficit or of any nutritional need.
Think about it. Even normal-weight (neither overweight nor underweight) people carry 8-10 weeks of energy stored in fat if they can only access it.
You can consider appetite in the pudgy or overweight, not to mention the obese, to be a design flaw based on the hunting and gathering, and, earlier, just plain gathering condition of human existence, same as the other great apes who only become overweight in captivity. Agriculture and food abundance, along with sedentary life, exposed the design flaw for people who overnourish themselves. Of course, physical inadequacy is another side effect.
Here are a few issues (below) -
1. As an individual begins to become heavy from eating in excess of their needs, they develop insulin resistance meaning their insulin levels rarely drop to normal fasting levels. Higher and longer-lasting post-eating insulin levels prevent fat-burning and enhance fat storage. That's why heavy people often feel weak or woozy and want a snack, a dose of sugar/carbs, or even an unnecessary meal: their elevated insulin prevents them from access to fat-burning. They feel "hypoglycemic" and feel they need food. Thus the fat cycle is perpetuated.
2. Fit, trim people do not have elevated insulin except for a brief time after eating. Thus their bodies quickly enter a "fasting" state, and have access to fat stores for energy. In normal "fed" situations, our energy sources are blood glucose (from carbs), and glycogen (stored sugar) in the liver and in muscle. These are limited, though.
3. Exercise: Exercise is a poor way to access fat-burning, but it can occur to some extent. It takes around 40 minutes of good-intensity calisthenics or cardio to exhaust your immediate sugar stores (glycogen) and to force some fat-burn. People often feel fatigue at that point, and especially high-insulin people because their body resists burning fat. The good news: intense exercise reduces appetite and ramps up your metabolism for an hour so more afterwards.
4. Another interesting factor is Leptin, the major satiety hormone. Heavy people develop Leptin-resistance and become less aware of when enough is enough, and "pleasure-eating" kicks in. Another Leptin-related issue is that many heavy people are voracious eaters, "speed-eaters" as it is termed. Speed-eaters defeat Leptin effects by stuffing themselves before Leptin kicks in. Generally speaking, eating "until full" or until "I'm stuffed" is a foolish idea. Good idea: "That's all I need."
5. Expanded stomach (not belly, stomach). Habitual excess eating results in a stretched stomach like Joey Chestnut's. This also delays the satiety response. Only small-volume meals can repair this.
6. Habit/life style. Many Americans were taught that they need 3 square meals daily. Try that, and see how pudgy you become. That's a hold-over from when people actually worked all day in the fields or factories. Unless you are in the growing phase, doing 8 hours of heavy labor each day, or pursuing serious fitness or athletic prowess, that is nonsense in my opinion. If overweight, it is double nonsense. A waste of food and money too.
7. To re-set your insulin response, a person has to lose fat by fasting longer. An alternative for those less temptation-resistant is to trick your body with low-carb, high-fat foods. Things like a steak salad. Fat does not stimulate insulin, but offers good satiety. Our attitude is that, if you have spare lard, feeling hunger is the happy sign that you are burning fat rather than a signal that nutrition is needed. To burn lard, embrace that feeling and tough it out.
Yes, I do understand that it's fun to eat food. It's called "recreational eating" or "pleasure eating." I love it too, occasionally, as a special treat. I would weigh 200 lbs. on a routine "See Food" or pleasure-eating plan. Good food is yummy.
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I can testify. Fasting between 16 and 20 hours every day has brought my blood glucose into near normal fasting ranges and appetite levels are only very light during a long fast. Not to mention the increased satiety from eating higher amounts of fat. My A1c was above 7 and it is now 6.1
So either God or Mother Nature never anticipated that every day could be a feast day, without 8 hours of physical effort.
On the other hand, God or Mother Nature offered us a brain with consciousness too. We can use that for our well-being if we want to.
I get a kick out of some people's values. The obsessive pursuits, the fervor and signalling, the ersatz principle and character, the few hour religion.
I wonder if they have an inclination to explore even one out of the thousands and thousands of the options they do not know exist.
The examples thereof are like leaves on the trees. https://twitter.com/wrathofgnon/status/932746386075873280
This sure seems to me evidence that God or any other designer of us, if one is out there, is not very competent and/or doesn't like us very much.
Still, it also seems to me to point to a cure that medicine ought to pursue. Give us the means to make items 2 and 4 no longer true chemically by taking a pill or having a patch installed. Voila!
I believe those who would resist this idea because "no pain, no gain" are misguided. If "god" had our best interests in mind he would not create traps like this for us.
One of these types who doesn't seem to believe in God (he certainly knows almost nothing about Him), but still blames Him for all his problems.
Obese people, not the BMI definition of obese but someone who weighs in excess of 300-400 lbs, has an illness. They can no more prevent it than someone with MS or Lupas. You and I do not have that illness and our weight is fine or at least manageable and we cannot comprehend their problem. So clearly it must be that they are gluttons and don't care how they look. I have never met an obese person who wants to be obese. Without exception they desperately want to be normal.
If you are obese and if you can stay on a starvation diet for a year or two you can reach a more or less normal weight. If you can then maintain a "near" starvation diet you may be able to keep the weight from coming back. This is not easy to do and is literally suffering that equals torture. Obese people are not simply lazy glutons they are genetically predetermined to be obese and it is incorrect to believe all they need to do is eat like you and I do.
More accurate to consider obesity (and ordinary overweight too) a condition rather than a single, specific disease.
Fact is, anybody can become obese if they put in the effort.
I respectfully disagree that anyone can become obese. At least not the obesity as I define it. My sister in law is 5'2" and weighs 450+. She is obese. Her husband is 5'11' and weighs 245. He is not obese. I am 6'2" about 215 and I don't think I could get to 450 lbs if someone offered me a million dollars to do it. I could most likely get to the BMI definition of obese but because of my build I wouldn't even look fat. The variation in humans is quite large and it simply makes no sense to try to apply one standard, such as BMI.
We use body fat %, not BMI, to determine extent of overweight
The point about the BMI is that their threshold for "obesity" is quite low. Half the professional athletes in America would be obese under the BMI. So while body fat % would be an improvement it still comes down to; is the person actually "obese" or did they simply pass some artificial threshold.
That's not true, because no one who knows anything about BMI, body fat and obesity would ever apply BMI to professional athletes, not even Sumo wrestlers...Well, maybe professional curlers and some off the trap and skeet guys. Golfers, before Tiger Woods.
BMI was intended to be at the population level, not to a given person.
That said, for people who aren't dedicated to fitness it's within a point or two of their body fat percentage.
The numbers picked for obesity and overweight are based on actuarial studies across all sorts of medical conditions, and as you pass around 30% body fat your risk of all sorts of bad outcomes increases. From increased probability of type II diabetes or metabolic syndrome to cancer, you stand a higher chance of developing arteriosclerosis earlier, dementia risks goes up etc. etc.
Is 30 an arbitrary number? Probably. We like round numbers like that, but really does it matter if it's 29 or 32.5? It (like BMI) is what we see in a large population. You can be 40 percent body fat and live into your 90s. You can be rail thin and start having heart attacks in your 30s (I knew a guy...)
This is (partially) why they have the "overweight" and "pre-diabetic" categories. If you're ok at 29, and "overweight" at 39 there's a REALLY good chance that unless you do something you're going to be (medically) obese at 59, because most people put on weight as they age.
Just like if you're "pre-diabetic" today, you are being put on notice that if you don't eat less sugar and exercise your willy is going to stop working, you will lose feeling in your toes, and get dementia early.
Arbitrary? Ok. But still useful.
Well you are a little bit correct when you say the BMI is arbitrary but simply wrong on most everything else. BMI isn't a predictor. You want it to be, you are willing to twist the data to make it happen but it just isn't there so you resort to weasel words.
Pre-diabetic for example: Most people with diabetes were born with it and consuming sugar or carbs didn't "give" it to them. It is genetic with certain races having very high percentages of diabetes and other races having far less. Can't get around that!!
If you do not have diabetes no amount of carbs will "give" it to you. If you do have diabetes no amount of dieting/cutting carbs will make it go away.
Pre-diabetes actually means that the results of certain tests show numbers outside of an arbitrary range. It is the most misrepresented test in medicine today. It absolutely does NOT mean you will get diabetes.
BMI works out pretty good for tall people but really sucks for short people. Interestingly you are more at risk with a low BMI than with a high BMI. Pretty much if your BMI is below 20 and you aren't in a concentration camp you are unhealthy. Conversely pretty much if your BMI is above 25 and below 30 you are probably healthy as a horse and will live to 90. So pretty much the BMI is a useless artifact based on no science at all.
Obesity: It's genetic. If your mother or father or both were obese than you will be obese. The alternative is a life long starvation diet while your body fights you everyday and every inch of the way.
This article is so helpful! I had a couple of Ah-Ha's while reading the 7 points. Our brains are fascinating--they work for us and sometimes, in my opinion, against us. They love to try and send us down the sugar-pathway, if we seem willing to go. I struggle with this issue but make efforts to eat intelligently much of the time. Thanks for the article.
I see these "crossed-up signals" as proof of evolution, not design (though not necessarily disproof of creation). When given plenty to eat we build fat cells because for our ancient ancestors it made sense.
Of course, there are things that the food industry could do to help but have not, partly because of too much regulation. For instance, develop snack foods with nutrients and little or no fat. Or make salad vegetables less perishable so that single people could keep them around more easily. The scolds who prohibit these innovations to try to force us to change our habits should know better by now.
I don't think that "normal-weight (neither overweight nor underweight) people carry 8-10 weeks of energy stored in fat". Something is wrong with that math. I would say half that amount at best.
"As an individual begins to become heavy from eating in excess of their needs, they develop insulin resistance"
I doubt that this applies to everyone, perhaps not even a quarter of the population.
"Exercise is a poor way to access fat-burning"
This is true for athletes but essentially for different reasons than stated. Fit people who exercise regularly will store more glycogen in their muscles and thus have more reserve before they need to call on stored fat.
Losing my taste and smell for a month or two due to Covid taught me a huge lesson. With no taste/smell reward, I did not snack AT ALL.