Two hundred years ago physicians routinely bled, purged, and plastered their patients. Bloodletting [with leeches] was the standard treatment for a host of diseases and had been so since the time of the philosopher-physician Galen almost 2,000 years before….The whole idea was nonsense, of course, and has been shown to be so in the early 1600s…But the fact that the “scientific” basis for bloodletting was nonexistent didn’t give pause to physicians 200 years ago, some of whom applied as many as fifty leeches to a single patient…Surely with all the scientific studies performed in great institutions the world over, today’s doctors would never ignore the actual evidence and pursue unnecessary and possibly even harmful treatments. Would they? – Jonny Bowden, Ph.D. and Stephen Sinatra, M.D.
If you’re like most people, you grew up thinking that the adults and the authorities always know what they’re talking about and have your best interests at heart.
Most people spend their whole lives relying on authorities to think for them despite the increasing feeling that perhaps not everything is as it seems. As much as we would all like to believe that we approach determining truth scientifically, the reality is that most of us (most of the time) make up our minds and then find reasons to support our decisions after the fact.
These beliefs seem to be particularly sticky when it comes to nutrition and obesity.
The problem is…well the problem is everyone is fat as sh*t and the authorities keep feeding everyone the same nonsense, which we dutifully slurp down along with our 44 oz cup of full-calorie soda from Whataburger.
Yeah…I’m looking at you Mr. I’m-Too-Large-for-a-Standard-Car-Cupholder-
Let’s take a minute to actually examine a few leading authorities and what they believe the causes of and cures for obesity are.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Obesity results from a combination of causes and contributing factors, including individual factors such as behavior and genetics. Behaviors can include dietary patterns, physical activity, inactivity, medication use, and other exposures. – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Adult Obesity Causes & Consequences
Well that’s an underwhelming response to say the least.
Their first draft response of, “aww shucks, that’s a tough one!” must’ve gotten rejected, so they replaced it with this one.
So, CDC, why is it that almost no one prior to 1900 had problems with their “behavior and genetics” and now almost everyone does?
Maybe this just isn’t the CDC’s specialty, let’s check in with the organization which is heavily involved in creating the Dietary Guidelines for Americans every 5 years, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
Weight loss therapy for adults should be based on three components: (1) Calorie-controlled eating plan, (2) Physical activity, (3) Behavior therapy (such as recognizing triggers for eating or learning to pinpoint obstacles that hold you back from making lifestyle changes) – Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Understanding Obesity
Let me get this straight, you’re saying that if I eat less and move more, I’ll somehow lose weight AND keep it off?
Why is it that almost everyone who tries that ends up hurt, exhausted, or both?
Why is it that even construction workers, people who spend the vast majority of every single day active (and frequently work 6 days a week) are still typically overweight?
Why are there overweight marathon runners? Are you really claiming that people who can train for and complete 26.2 mile races are STILL not exercising enough?
Hmm, something definitely doesn’t make sense here. Perhaps we should consult one more authority before we write them off altogether though.
U.S. Food & Drug Administration
In general, when diet and exercise are not effective, weight loss treatments can include:
- prescription medicines
- medical devices
But prior to prescribing medicine or recommending surgery, doctors will probably want their patients to demonstrate healthy lifestyles that include better nutrition and increased physical activity. – FDA: Medical Devices for Weight Loss and Weight Management: What to Know
When you have a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.
The FDA quickly glosses over the instance of “when diet and exercise are not effective” to shunt the conversation into an area they’re more comfortable with – medicine, surgery, and medical devices.
I’ll highlight the medical devices they’ve approved for weight loss:
Currently, there are four types of FDA-regulated devices intended for weight-loss:
- Gastric Band – bands are placed around the top portion of the stomach leaving only a small portion available for food.
- Electrical Stimulation Systems – electrical stimulator is placed in the abdomen to block nerve activity between the brain and stomach.
- Gastric Balloon Systems – inflatable balloons are placed in the stomach to take up space and delay gastric emptying
- Gastric Emptying Systems – a tube is inserted between the stomach and outside of abdomen to drain food after eating – FDA: Weight-Loss and Weight-Management Devices
Did you catch that?
There are currently 4 categories of FDA approved weight-loss devices:
- Devices that restrict the size of your stomach using a band (so you eat less)
- Devices that shock your nervous system (so you eat less)
- Devices that restrict the size of your stomach by inflating a balloon (so you eat less)
- Or my favorite, and the winner of the most disgusting solution award, a device that runs a tube from your stomach to the OUTSIDE of your body (so some of the food you eat bypasses digestion)
Just in case you don’t already have a visual of that last device, here’s an artist’s depiction.
FDA Approved Weight Loss Device, Aspire Assist
…mmm, can’t wait to go out to eat wearing this
How about instead of restricting the size of someone’s stomach, we just put a muzzle on people to stop most food from getting into their bodies in the first place?
I wrote the above line as a joke, but then I continued to scroll down the same page I linked to above and found that there actually IS a separate category of FDA approved weight-management devices, one of which is a freakin’ retainer you wear while you’re eating so it takes up space in your mouth, forcing you to take smaller bites. You literally can’t make this stuff up!
SmartByte, works by literally
taking up space in your mouth
I Choose to Exercise My First Amendment Right
As a citizen of the United States, I choose to exercise my first amendment right to freedom of speech, and this is what I choose to say about the authorities’ positions on the causes of and cures for obesity…
EVERYBODY WAKE UP, THIS IS MADNESS, PURE MADNESS!
Obesity is a simple problem to solve.
In fact, it’s so simple to solve that almost all humans prior to 100 years ago solved it without actively trying.
Is any serious person willing to claim that we somehow gained the knowledge of how to fly planes around the world, shoot rockets into outer space, and transfer information at the speed of light, but we lost the knowledge of how to maintain a reasonable weight without resorting to extreme measures?
The authorities lead us to believe that obesity is all about how much you eat, how much you exercise, and your genetics, but the reality is obesity has almost nothing to do with focusing on calories and genetics and everything to do with focusing on the quality of our food, environment, relationships, and purpose in life.
Here are MY recommendations to the authorities (and the powers that be behind the scenes pulling the levers) that will solve this obesity crisis once and for all:
- Stop coating our foods with government approved poison (AKA pesticides)
- Stop feeding us food we never evolved to eat and claiming it’s safe for human consumption (AKA genetically modified organisms)
- Stop leading people to believe that meat is bad by funding biased, poorly designed studies (AKA pretending that somehow an ancient food is causing modern disease)
- Stop hinting that the root cause of obesity is balancing calories in and calories out (AKA caloric balance)
- Stop putting obese people on the cover of “health” magazines and pretending that there’s not a strong correlation between obesity and health (AKA Tess Holliday)
- Stop creating nonsense social stigmas like “fat shaming” (AKA misdirecting who deserves the ACTUAL blame for the obesity epidemic)
Most important, stop trying to recreate the wheel!
There are plenty of people who have already done the research and figured out how to lose weight AND keep it off without ever counting a single calorie or tracking a single point – and they have the data to prove it.
Why don’t you start by asking some of those people?
Here’s a of short list of 10 people to get you started:
- Robb Wolf – author of The Paleo Solution and key figure in the Paleo movement
- Dominic D’Agostino, Ph.D. – clinical researcher with a focus on the ketogenic diet
- Peter Attia – advocate for the ketogenic diet and founder of a longevity focused medical practice
- Sally Fallon – daughter of the late Weston A. Price, President of the Weston A. Price Foundation, and author of multiple books on health including the bestselling series Nourishing Traditions
- Stephen Phinney and Jeff Volek, Ph.D. – authors of Low Carbohydrate Living and Low Carbohydrate Performance (Phinney, Volek)
- Tim Ferriss – author of The 4-Hour Body and creator of the highly successful Slow-Carb Diet
- Thomas Cowan – author of numerous books on health and nutrition
- Ben Greenfield – athlete, coach, and author of numerous books on health, fitness, and nutrition
- Nick Mitchell – founder of the chain of Ultimate Performance gyms and author of several books
- Catherine Shanahan, MD – author of Deep Nutrition
Better yet…just go home.
Pack up your things, hang your head in shame, walk out the door, and don’t come back.
You’ve lost all credibility, let the real professionals take it from here.