In this first chapter of book 1 in Gary Taubes' book "why we get fat, and what to do about it" he sets the chapter up with you imagining you're on a jury and the defendant is accused of "heinous crime".
He paints the picture however with the defense attorney saying that the accused had an air tight alibi and that the investigators mishandled the evidence.
The point being that sometimes in a criminal case the accused seem to fit the picture. You know how it goes: the creepy mug shot, the personal history, the relationship to the victim etc. It FEELS right to incriminate such person even though there may be evidence to the contrary.
And so it is with the accused macronutrient, FAT. It feels right to call fat the criminal. Heck it's called Fat and we're all fat. It's also associated with some of the most hedonic foods. Steaks, Pork, Butter, Whole Milk, Creams etc.
Gary goes on to discuss the fact that science is a process and has rules that must be followed but are often ignored:
"In most of science, skeptical appraisals of the evidence are considered a fundamental requirement to make progress. In nutrition and public health, however, they are seen by many as counterproductive, because they undermine efforts to promote behavior's that the authorities believe rightly or wrongly, are good for us." ~ Gary Taubes "Why We Get Fat" p. 16
The best starting point is when the obesity epidemic began which according to the CDC started to break way in the mid 90's and the cause was "sedentary lifestyle and overeating."
Too much money to spend on leisure activities that helped make us more lazy, too much money to spend on labor saving machines and equipment (cars), and very little incentive to eat healthy with all the fast food joints.
So wealth was associated with obesity? Poverty is associated with obesity, not wealth. Now the narrative has switched.
Gary then goes into a historical digression of the Pima Native American Tribe in Arizona. To keep it short and to the point The Pima before the introduction of Flower, Sugar, and Wheat were among the wealthiest tribes in the southwest and perhaps the nation. They were described as healthy, tall, fit, and extremely strong.
But that all changed during the California Gold Rush when settlers destroyed any of the hunting for sport and diverted the Gila river to their farmlands. With the gold rush much of the Pima Indian Tribe lost their health and most of their wealth.
They were placed on reservations where they were fed rations of coffee and bread and often housed 8 people in a single room.
These people were beyond poor at this point barely eating any calories, and yet they were still obese. Especially the women of the tribe, while their children seemed malnourished and underweight.
These government rations consisted of very few calories, little to no protein or vitamins, and mostly carbohydrates.
Years of famine and starvations are suppose to take weight off of us, not put it on.
He then goes on to site several other examples of populations that were and are extremely impoverished and overweight.
The point being that it's not the money and the access to resources that causes us to become sick and obese. Because poor people get fat too. Certainly they don't have access to labor saving devices at times or even food.
so what is the common denominator in obesity in both the poor and the wealthy?
Sugar, sweet, cheap sugar. The most seemingly innocuous of things. Candy and breads.
Stay tuned for the next post as I go into chapter 2 of book 1 by Gary Taubes "The Elusive Benefits of Undereating."
To good health,
Dr. Lucas Marchand