SANE Science

Starvation Is NOT Healthy. Stop counting calories & go #SANE w/me at http://SANESolution.com

Scientific Fact: Overeating Is Not The Cause Of Obesity

 

“Saying that obesity is caused by eating too much is like saying that allergies are caused by breathing too much.” – Jonathan Bailor

Commenting on his recent study at University of Colorado School of Medicine Dr. Guido Frank stated: “It is clear that in humans the brain’s reward system helps to regulate food intake…The specific role of these networks in eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa and, conversely, obesity, remains unclear.” Dr. Frank’s commentary reminded me of an analogy between anorexia and obesity that I find useful in illustrating how calorie quantity is not the cause of obesity and should not be our focus when trying to cure it.

A couple of posts back we covered the hormonally horrible condition known as internal starvation.

Internal Starvation: When the metabolism is so clogged that it encourages us to overeat to compensate for all the calories it is leaking into our fat cells.

Learn the exact foods you must eat if you want to finally lose weight permanently. Click here to download your free Weight Loss Food List, the “Eat More, Lose More” Weight Loss Plan, and the “Slim in 6” Cheat Sheet…CLICK HERE FOR FREE “HOW TO” WEIGHT LOSS GUIDES

We then looked at an example that showed how inSANE food causes the hormonal clog that leads to overeating and then obesity. More simply, that inSANE food is the cause of obesity. Not overeating. Chronically eating an excessive quantity of calories is a symptom of the metabolic disaster caused by inSANE low-quality calories.

 

 

While it took me a while to wrap my head around thinking of overeating as a symptom rather than a cause, I found that the thought process became easier when I flipped the problem on its head. By thinking about under-eating. By examining anorexia.

Let’s look at an example. Say we have an anorexic individual named Ann who heads to the doctor to get help. The doctor sits Ann down, looks at her chart, and tells Ann, “The cause of your problem is that you are eating too few calories. The solution to your problem is eating more calories.” We would all agree that doctor was not helpful. Ann knows she is eating too few calories. What she does not know is why she keeps eating too few calories. What she needs help with is the cause of her chronic low calorie consumption. Taking in too few calories is a symptom, not a cause. Making Ann aware of the cause is the key to helping her long term.

Like eating too few calories is not the cause of anorexia and focusing on calorie quantity does not lead to the solution, eating too many calories is not the cause of obesity and focusing on calorie quantity does not lead to the solution. Telling overweight individuals that they are eating too many calories is useless. Telling overweight individuals about the cause of their chronic high-calorie consumption (a hormonal clog cured via high-quality food and exercise) is useful. But as long as we are told calorie quantity is all that matters, we will never get that far. Why? Because the government, food, fitness, and pharmaceutical industries already believe they “know” the answer and therefore ignore the last forty years of scientific research proving the importance of food and exercise quality.

Consider this incorrect and condescending three-step weight loss plan from the American Council on Science and Health:

“1. Don’t expect a government bureaucracy to solve your problems.
2. Don’t single out one substance and complain that addiction to it has caused your lack of overall self-control.
3. When you’re ready to start dealing rationally with your weight problem, if you have one: eat less and/or exercise more.”

 

Why Focusing On Calorie Quantity Is Bad

 

 

It is a scientific fact that cure for obesity is not 100 calorie snack packs. It’s also not low-fat food products. And it’s definitely not about starving yourself until the suffering becomes unbearable. It’s not about calorie quantity at all. Until we free ourselves from this scientifically disproven theory, we will continue to experience the 95.4% failure rate of eating less and exercising more. So why do we keep hearing about counting calories and exercising excessively? In short, our government started and keeps fueling this fat-loss fiction to fund the food, fitness, and pharmaceutical industries.

We’ll start digging into that data in the next couple of posts.

“What could be better than an industry whose products do not work, or work only as long as you use them, for as long as you live, but whose customers believe that they have no other choice?” – Geoffrey Cannon

 


  1. Apoundu J. Pi-Sunyer F. Obesity and Diabetes In: Bray GA, Couchard d, James WP, eds. Handbook of Obesity. New York: Marcel Dekker, 1997: 697-707.
  2. Cannon, Geoffrey. Dieting Makes You Fat: The Scientifically Proven Way to be Slim without Lowering Your Food Intake. Revised edition ed. None: Virgin Books, 2008.
  3. Caro JF. Clinical review 26: Insulin resistance in obese and nonobese man. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1991 Oct;73(4):691-5. Review. PubMed PMID: 1890146.
  4. Cordain L, Eaton SB, Sebastian A, Mann N, Lindeberg S, Watkins BA, O’Keefe JH, Brand-Miller J. Origins and evolution of the Western diet: health implications for the 21st century. Am J Clin Nutr. 2005 Feb;81(2):341-54. Review. PubMed PMID: 15699220.
  5. DeFronzo RA, Ferrannini E. Insulin resistance. A multifaceted syndrome responsible for NIDDM, obesity, hypertension, dyslipidemia, and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. Diabetes Care. 1991 Mar;14(3):173-94. Review. PubMed PMID: 2044434.
  6. Kissebah AH, Peiris AN. Biology of regional body fat distribution: relationship to non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. Diabetes Metab Rev. 1989 Mar;5(2):83-109. Review. PubMed PMID: 2647436.
  7. Knowler WC, Pettitt DJ, Savage PJ, Bennett PH. Diabetes incidence in Pima indians: contributions of obesity and parental diabetes. Am J Epidemiol. 1981
  8. Lamarche B, Tchernof A, Mauriege P, et al. Fasting insulin and apolipoprotein B levels and low-density lipoprotein particle size as risk factors for ischemic heart disease. JAMA. 1998;279:1955-1961.
  9. http://www.acsh.org/factsfears/newsID.727/news_detail.asp
  10. Crawford D, Jeffery RW, French SA. Can anyone successfully control their weight? Findings of a three year community-based study of men and women. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2000 Sep;24(9):1107-10. PubMed PMID: 11033978.
  11. Johnson D., Drenick E. J. (1977) therapeutic fasting in morbid obesity: long-term fellow-up. Arch. Intern. Med. 137:1381–1382

 

 

Learn the exact foods you must eat if you want to finally lose weight permanently. Click here to download your free Weight Loss Food List, the “Eat More, Lose More” Weight Loss Plan, and the “Slim in 6” Cheat Sheet…CLICK HERE FOR FREE “HOW TO” WEIGHT LOSS GUIDES
Starvation Is NOT Healthy. Stop counting calories & go #SANE w/me at http://SANESolution.com

Can All Those Non-Starchy Vegetables Give Me Kidney Stones?

spinach-stone

Catherine Britell, M.D.

We love our non-starchy vegetables!  And for most of us, eating ten or more servings of non-starchy vegetables  (concentrating on the dark green ones) per day is the mainstay of a healthy diet.   If you have had kidney stones, however, you’ll need to pay attention to the oxalate contained in the vegetables you eat.  The good news:  this is not difficult, and armed with the right information you can still enjoy plenty of low-oxalate non-starchy vegetables.

People who are overweight or obese need to be aware of the possibility of kidney stones.  Compared with persons at or near ideal body weight (BMI = 21-23), obese men (BMI ≥30) have a 33% greater risk for kidney stone formation, while obese women have a 200% greater risk. ( Taylor EN, Stampfer MJ, Curhan GC. Obesity, weight gain, and the risk of kidney stones. JAMA. 2005;293:455-462)

Learn the exact foods you must eat if you want to finally lose weight permanently. Click here to download your free Weight Loss Food List, the “Eat More, Lose More” Weight Loss Plan, and the “Slim in 6” Cheat Sheet…CLICK HERE FOR FREE “HOW TO” WEIGHT LOSS GUIDES

We know that 75% of kidney stones are calcium oxalate stones, and oxalates in the diet can be important causative factors.   So, for someone who has had one or more calcium oxalate kidney stones, the general recommendation is limiting oxalates to 50-60 mg/day.  For these people, getting 8-10 servings of non-starchy vegetables can present a bit of a challenge.  Spinach, chard, beet greens, and many others of those beautiful dark-green non-starchy veggies have large concentrations of oxalates.    Also strawberries and most nuts need to be limited or avoided if you must limit oxalates.

 However, there are many low-oxalate vegetables — asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumbers, iceberg and Romaine lettuce, radishes, mushrooms, onions (yellow and white);,squash (zucchini, acorn, and yellow), red sweet peppers, turnips (root), water chestnuts and bok choi — that we can eat in quantity and still keep our diet low in oxalate.

Here are some oxalate levels in a few common non-starchy and non-sweet fruits and veggies:

  • Beet greens, cooked 1/2 cup — 916
  • Rhubarb, stewed, no sugar 1/2 cup — 860
  • Spinach, cooked 1/2 cup —  750
  • Beets, cooked 1/2 cup — 675
  • Chard, Swiss, leaves cooked 1/2 cup — 660
  • Rhubarb, canned 1/2 cup — 600
  • Spinach, frozen 1/2 cup — 600
  • Beets, pickled 1/2 cup — 500
  • Endive, raw 20 long leaves — 273
  • Cocoa, dry 1/3 cup — 254
  • Dandelion greens, cooked 1/2 cup — 246
  • Okra, cooked 8-9 pods — 146
  • Kale, cooked 1/2 cup — 125
  • Peanuts, raw 1/3 cup (1-3/4 oz.) — 113
  • Turnip greens, cooked 1/2 cup — 110
  • Chocolate, unsweetened 1 ounce — 91
  • Parsnips, diced, cooked 1/2 cup — 81
  • Walnuts, 100grams — 77
  • Collard greens, cooked 1/2 cup — 74
  • Pecans, halves, raw 1/3 cup (1-1/4 oz) — 74
  • Black Tea, leaves (4 mm. infusion) 1 level tsp in 7 oz water —  72
  • Carrots, cooked 1/2 cup — 45
  • Brussels sprouts, cooked 6-8 medium — 37
  • Strawberries, raw 1/2 cup — 35
  • Celery, raw 2 stalks — 34
  • Raspberries, black, raw 1/2 cup — 33
  • Orange, edible portion 1 medium — 24
  • Green beans, cooked 1/2 cup — 23
  • Chives, raw, chopped 1 tablespoon — 19
  • Leeks, raw 1/2 medium — 15
  • Blackberries, raw 1/2 cup — 13
  • Blueberries, raw 1/2 cup — 11
  • Raspberries, red, raw 1/2 cup — 10
  • Broccoli, cooked 1 large stalk — 6
  • Asparagus, 1/2 cup  — 5.2
  • Tomatoes 1 medium raw — 2.0
  • Bok choy  1 cup 1.6 — mg
  • Cauliflower 1/2 cup — 1.0

There are many places on the Web to find out the oxalate content of various veggies and fruits.

The Bottom Line: People who are prone to kidney stones can build a healthy diet around low-oxalate veggies. (i.e., broccoli is your friend!)  Another important dietary consideration for those who develop kidney stones is the need for adequate calcium. (800-1200 mg/day) The Greek yogurt that I love has 200 mg of calcium per serving.  Again, broccoili is our buddy here, with almost as much: 180 mg/serving.  And Bok Choy with a whopping 180 mg/cup.   Celery is also calcium-rich.  

And here’s another sweet morsel:  Green tea can be beneficial in this regard!   It seems that green tea binds to calcium oxalate, creating crystals that break down easily so that they pass out through the urine unnoticed while they are tiny.  So, if you have had kidney stones, enjoy your low-oxalate non-starchy vegetables and perhaps a few cups of brewed green tea every day!  

Learn the exact foods you must eat if you want to finally lose weight permanently. Click here to download your free Weight Loss Food List, the “Eat More, Lose More” Weight Loss Plan, and the “Slim in 6” Cheat Sheet…CLICK HERE FOR FREE “HOW TO” WEIGHT LOSS GUIDES

 

Starvation Is NOT Healthy. Stop counting calories & go #SANE w/me at http://SANESolution.com

Calories In — Calories Out Has Been Proven False and Frustrating

 

  • Intro: Thousands of pages of academic research prove that the three most common fat loss concepts we hear about daily (Calories In – Calories Out, A Calorie Is A Calorie, and Calories Are All That Matter) are at best misleading and at worst wrong. In this post, Jane, Beth, and Sarah show how frustrating the Calories In – Calories Out myth can be.

 

Learn the exact foods you must eat if you want to finally lose weight permanently. Click here to download your free Weight Loss Food List, the “Eat More, Lose More” Weight Loss Plan, and the “Slim in 6” Cheat Sheet…CLICK HERE FOR FREE “HOW TO” WEIGHT LOSS GUIDES

Meet Jane. Jane weighed 130 pounds on her twenty-first birthday. Fast forward twenty years and three kids later. Jane is now forty-one years old and weighs 150 pounds. According to mythical manual calorie balancing, Jane gained twenty pounds over twenty years because she did not manually balance calories precisely enough. Specifically, she exceeded her calorie quantity quota by about nine and a half calories per day over the past twenty years (9.6 calories x 365 days x 20 years = 70,000 calories = 20 pounds of body fat).

If she had only cut her daily calories by three-fourths of a saltine cracker (nine and a half calories), then she would have avoided gaining any weight even after having three kids and getting twenty years older. False. If that were true then undereating by 100 calories per day would cause people to lose about 100 pounds every ten years. Biology doesn’t work like math.

“A lie told often enough becomes the truth.” – Vladimir Lenin

Meet Beth. Beth is a thirty-five-year-old, 140-pound woman. Beth has no job, hobbies, family, or friends, so she is able to spend all her time manually balancing calories. Thanks to her hours of free time and careful calorie counting, Beth is able to trim a modest 400 calories out of the diet that has kept her at 140 pounds for the last ten years.

Four hundred calories per day for three years is 438,000 calories. According to the “metabolism is like math” myth, we divide 438,000 by 3,500 (the number of calories in a pound of body fat) and poof, Beth loses 125 pounds of body fat. She started out weighing 140 pounds and weighs fifteen pounds after three years of cutting 400 calories a day.

Simple. But sadly, silly. There may be fifteen pound thirty-five year olds in the fictional fat loss world, but there are not any in the real world.

“[Eating less] causes the condition it is meant to cure. The more that we endure cycles of dieting, the more our bodies become trained to seek out food, slow down vital functions, and conserve built-in energy in the form of body fat.” – Geoffrey Cannon, Author

Finally, meet Sarah. Sarah is a twenty-nine-year-old accountant. To ensure that she accounts for every calorie she eats, Sarah only eats food with those little nutrition facts labels on them. Sarah is happy because she is able to do “fun” accounting every time she eats and thinks she is keeping an accurate count of her calories. Sadly, Sarah’s calorie counting is not nearly as bulletproof as she believes because food labels are at best 90% accurate.

That does not seem like a big deal, but in the fictional fat loss world it is huge. Like any normal person, Sarah eats about a million calories per year. The 10% margin of error of the nutrition facts labels could cause her to massively mess-up her manual calorie balancing. Ten percent times one million calories per year is 100,000 calories per year. In the mythical “metabolism works like math” world, incorrectly balancing her calories by 100,000 calories a year means an extra twenty-eight pounds of body fat per year. So Sarah, who always counts every single calorie she eats, and who manually balances calories more precisely than anyone else in the world, could easily gain 280 pounds over the next decade because of reporting errors on nutrition facts labels?

Fiction.

Jane, Beth, Sarah, you, me, and everyone else who knows the facts of fat loss, does not need to think about eating too much. We need to think about restoring our fat metabolism system’s ability to burn body fat for us automatically by clearing our hormonal clog and lowering our set-point. If we focus on calorie quality and take care of our fat metabolism system, then it will take care of calorie quantity for us. Clear the clog and our body will do automatically what is practically impossible to do manually.

“Since obesity may be better characterized by diet composition [quality] than by energy intake [quantity], successful weight-loss programs should include diet [quality] changes in their regimes.” – researcher W.C. Miller, Indiana University


[i] Weigle DS. Human obesity. Exploding the myths. West J Med. 1990 Oct;153(4):421-8. Review. PubMed PMID: 2244378; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC1002573.

[ii] 3500 calories in a pound of fat times twenty pounds is 70,000. 20 years times 365 days is 7300 days. 70000 calories divided by 7300 days is 9.6 calories a day.     &     100 calories x 365 days x 10 years = 365,000 calories / 3500 calories in a pound of fat = 104.3 pounds of fat

[iii] Cannon, Geoffrey. Dieting Makes You Fat: The Scientifically Proven Way to be Slim without Lowering Your Food Intake. Revised edition ed. None: Virgin Books, 2008.

[iv] Urban LE, Dallal GE, Robinson LM, Ausman LM, Saltzman E, Roberts SB. The accuracy of stated energy contents of reduced-energy, commercially prepared foods. J Am Diet Assoc. 2010 Jan;110(1):116-23. PubMed PMID: 20102837; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2838242.    &    Note: “there seemed to be a consistent bias toward underreporting, indicating that the inaccuracy was not random error.”Allison DB, Heshka S, Sepulveda D, Heymsfield SB. Counting calories—caveat emptor. JAMA. 1993 Sep 22-29;270(12):1454-6. PubMed PMID: 8371446.

[v] Friedman JM. A war on obesity, not the obese. Science. 2003 Feb7;299(5608):856-8. PubMed PMID: 12574619.

[vi] Miller WC. Diet composition, energy intake, and nutritional status in relation to obesity in men and women. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1991 Mar;23(3):280-4. Review.  PubMed PMID: 2020264.

Learn the exact foods you must eat if you want to finally lose weight permanently. Click here to download your free Weight Loss Food List, the “Eat More, Lose More” Weight Loss Plan, and the “Slim in 6” Cheat Sheet…CLICK HERE FOR FREE “HOW TO” WEIGHT LOSS GUIDES
Starvation Is NOT Healthy. Stop counting calories & go #SANE w/me at http://SANESolution.com

How Humanity Can Get Its SANEity Back

  “We found marked improvement…after advice to follow a Paleolithic [SANE] diet compared with a healthy Western diet…The study adds to the notion that healthy diets based on whole-grain cereals and low-fat dairy products are only the second best choice in the prevention and treatment of type 2 diabetes.”– S. Lindeberg, University of Lund How […]

Starvation Is NOT Healthy. Stop counting calories & go #SANE w/me at http://SANESolution.com

How Many Carbs Should I Eat While Going SANE?

  “Diets should be moderate in carbohydrate, moderate in fat, and protein should contribute 25% to 30% of energy intake.” – D.A. Schoeller, University of Wisconsin-Madison No matter how misinformed they are, people will say you are on a low-carbohydrate diet when they see you taking in a natural balanced amount of carbohydrates. Eating a large […]