Thursday 8/29

For time:
Power Snatch @ 115/75
Toe 2 Bar

Reminder: Saturday will be a free class with hopes of raising money for the families of the Hotshot 19. You are welcome to bring friends and family, just give us advanced notice if they plan on participating. We will also be hosting a pot luck barbeque after, so bring something good to eat!

What Makes You Fat: Too Many Calories, or the Wrong Carbohydrates?

By Gary Taubes

Forgotten History
Conventional wisdom did not always favor the energy-imbalance hypothesis that prevails today. Until World War II, the leading authorities on obesity (and most medical disciplines) worked in Europe and had concluded that obesity was, like any other growth disorder, caused by a hormonal and regulatory defect. Something was amiss, they believed, with the hormones and enzymes that influence the storage of fat in fat cells.

Gustav von Bergmann, a German internist, developed the original hypothesis more than a century ago. (Today the highest honor bestowed by the German Society of Internal Medicine is the Gustav von Bergmann Medal.) Bergmann evoked the term “lipophilia”—love of fat—to describe the affinity of different body tissues for amassing fat. Just as we grow hair in some places and not others, we store fat in some places and not others, and this “lipophilic tendency,” he assumed, must be regulated by physiological factors.

The lipophilia concept vanished after World War II with the replacement of German with English as the scientific lingua franca. Meanwhile the technologies needed to understand the regulation of fat accumulation in fat cells and thus the biological basis of obesity—specifically, techniques to accurately measure fatty acids and hormone levels in the blood—were not invented until the late 1950s.

By the mid-1960s it was clear that insulin was the primary hormone regulating fat accumulation, but by then obesity was effectively considered an eating disorder to be treated by inducing or coercing obese subjects to eat fewer calories. Once studies linked the amount of cholesterol in the blood to the risk of heart disease and nutritionists targeted saturated fat as the primary dietary evil, authorities began recommending low-fat, high-carbohydrate diets. The idea that carbohydrates could cause obesity (or diabetes or heart disease) was swept aside.

Still, a few working physicians embraced the carbohydrate/insulin hypothesis and wrote diet books claiming that fat people could lose weight eating as much as they wanted, so long as they avoided carbohydrates. Because the most influential experts believed that people got fat to begin with precisely because they ate as much as they wanted, these diet books were perceived as con jobs. The most famous of these authors, Robert C. Atkins, did not help the cause by contending that saturated fat could be eaten to the heart’s delight—lobster Newburg, double cheeseburgers—so long as carbohydrates were avoided—a suggestion that many considered tantamount to medical malpractice.

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