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Middle Aged Obesity

The Problem

Up until recently (now 25 years old) I didn’t put on weight. I could happily eat ‘crap’ and not worry about the consequences. That’s not unique by any means – lots of guys are similar. It appears to be one of the benefits of youth. However as I’ve got older I’ve put on weight that wasn’t there before. Much like most men really.

Not a huge deal – but I’ve always dreaded ending up looking like a rotund middle aged man. I assumed that ‘listening’ to my body in terms of hunger was enough to stave off obesity – however it turns out this isn’t the case (unremarkably). Perhaps in pre-industrialised world where shops aren’t filled with high sugar snacks and drinks – this would be possible. Instead it turns out I’m going to have to be conscious about the food I eat *sigh*… so off I went in search of some answers.

The Research

Fortunately the search wasn’t long – and I appear to have stuck oil. I came across an author called Gary Taubes, a science journalist who has spent almost a decade researching and writing about fat.

There’s a couple of ways you can look at his work. The first is to jump to his research conclusions and base your future diet on that info. The second is to spend some time understanding those conclusions – as he has gone into exhaustive detail. I’d suggest the latter, and intend to do so, with some accompanying blog posts. Part of the reason for this is due to the beautiful simplicity of his answer to what is a modern day epidemic. Essentially it’s this:

Obesity is a disorder of excess fat accumulation, not overeating, and not sedentary behaviour. What regulates fat accumulation? Insulin. When insulin levels are elevated we accumulate fat in our fat tissue. The fewer carbohydrates we consume, the leaner we will be.

The Confusion

Simple right? Then what’s all this fuss about ‘the obesity epidemic’? That’s the reason for spending some time understanding Taubes’ conclusions. Society is vastly biased in favour of the calorie model. Such that we should balance the number of calories we require against the number of calories that we consume. Then it’s apparently just a case of reducing the number of calories we consume to lose weight. As it turns out it’s possible to consume the same number of calories in different macronutrient splits, with each split having different effects on your hormones. Ultimately resulting in different effects on ones fat levels (both subcutaneous and visceral).

The Potential Solution

Take a look at Gary Taubes’ books ‘Good Calories, Bad Calories’ and ‘Why We Get Fat’.

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