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What Really Makes Us Fat?

July 12, 2012
If there’s one steadfast rule in the world of weight loss, it’s that there’s no magic pill to make you thin. And with a wide array of diet information, myths, and fads available to us today, it ‘s nearly impossible to follow the perfect wight loss strategy. So what should we believe?
In a recent New York Times article, author Gary Taubes provides an insightful perspective challenging the misconstrued notion that “a calorie is a calorie.” If that were true, we could all eat 100 calories worth of French Fries instead of 100 calories of carrots and work it off in the same way. But we all know it’s not that simple.
The article, “What really Makes a Fat?” examines two common theories about fat: we get fat because we take in more calories than we expend and/or our body distributes those calories, either for energy expenditure or into fat storage.
Gary Taubes examines a recent study on obesity by Dr. David Ludwig of Boston Children’s Hospital and his collaborators. Taubes explains that the study compared two groups of obese subjects and fed them three different diets: one low in fat and high carbohydrates, another with low glycemic index: fewer carbohydrates in total from beans, non starchy foods and minimally processed sources, and finally te Atkins diet which is low in carbs and high in fat and protein. Taubes explains, “The study confirms that the nutrient composition of a diet can trigger the predisposition to get fat, independent of the calories consumed.” The bottom line: the fewer carbohydrates we eat, the more easily we remain lean. The more carbohydrates, the more difficult.
 “In other words, carbohydrates are fattening, and obesity is a fat-storage defect. What matters, then, is the quantity and quality of carbohydrates we consume and their effect on insulin,” Taubes said. While the media tended to treat the study as another diet trial — what should we eat to maintain weight loss? — it spoke to a far more fundamental issue: What actually causes obesity? Why do we get fat in the first place? Too many calories? Or something else? Read More…
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