Episode 18 Bodyfat Revisited


Response to a comment on our website

“Glad you made your weight goal. A year ago I started working weekly with a personal Pilates trainer. She is terrific. Once a week I am also in a group class, I run 2 1/4 miles and I attend yoga. My muscles are constantly challenged and sore. In yoga I sweat and I sweat. A year ago I was 138 pounds and 32% body fat. Today I am 138 pounds and 32% body fat. A year ago a friend you coached removed sugar from her diet, and has no exercise regime. She has lost 40 pounds and has 23% body fat. I hate all this exercise stuff and think maybe I should just ditch the sugar from my diet.”

This comment underscores several key points:

  1. Most of the change in body composition will be driven by hormones most notably insulin and leptin.
  2. Exercise helps to improve insulin sensitivity but a lifetime sugar consumption causes metabolic changes that are not easily reversed.
  3. The more you crave carbs, the more likely it is that you need to get them out of your diet because:
    1. Roller coaster effect
    2. Probable carb sensitivity
    3. Only removal of most carbs will stop the cravings.
    4. Exercise without dietary change increases cravings and appetite along with a justification for increased carb consumption.
    5. If body composition does not change within six weeks of low carb living, it may be time for a medical exam to determine what is going on with hormones such as insulin and thyroid hormone.
    6. Exercise is beneficial and we not only endorse regular exercise but we engage in it for the following benefits:
      1. The pleasure of physical activities such as tennis, golf, biking and kayaking.
      2. The retention of our ability to do the things we love to do.
      3. The retention of muscle when losing weight
      4. The addition of lean muscle to improve strength and appearance
      5. Improved endurance and energy
      6. Improved flexibility
      7. Improved balance
      8. Reduction of osteoarthritis symptoms
      9. Improved sleep and relaxation.
      10. Decreased risk of heart disease and cancer.
      11. Improved mental functioning
      12. Improved safety and security
      13. Exercise will create toned and sculpted muscles that will be revealed slowly as body fat is lost. One of the big motivators for a low fat lifestyle is discovery of fit toned muscle under layers of disappearing subcutaneous fat.

Last week we briefly mentioned a study that reported that our home state Alabama would have an obesity rate over 60% by 2030. The full report is available at the link below. It was published by  the Trust for America’s Health a non-profit organization funded by the Robert Wood Johnson foundation


A few key points in the report;

If obesity rates continue on their current trajectory, it’s estimated that:

  • Obesity rates for adults could reach or exceed 44 percent in every state and exceed 60 percent in 13 states
  • The number of new cases of type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease and stroke, hypertension and arthritis could increase 10 times between 2010 and 2020 — and then double again by 2030;
  • Obesity-related health care costs could increase by more than 10 percent in 43 state and by more than 20% in nine states.

Obesity disproportionately impacts the poor and uneducated making their lot in life worse. The cost of obesity will be largely absorbed by government programs which means the money will have to come from increased taxes or cuts in other programs. Nobody wins in this scenario.

The report is crystal clear on one point. What we are doing is not working and the best definition of insanity is to keep doing what you are doing and expect a different result.


In related news drug companies are working on new drugs to fight obesity. This should come as no surprise because the worse the problem gets the more money there is to be made from it. The best drugs to make are those that have:

  1. A huge market
  2. The drug needs to be started early in life
  3. The drug needs to be taken for life
  4. Taking the drug extends life and therefore the need to take the drug for more years.

One company Zafgen has a drug in clinical trials called beloranib which inhibits a liver enzyme important to fat metabolism.

The FDA approved a drug made by San Diego Based, Arena Pharmaceuticals company. The drug will be marketed in the U.S. as Belviq.  The drug is designed for chronic weight management in adult patients.

Vivus another California drug company also won approval for its drug Qsymia which is designed to suppress appetite in people dieting and exercising.

The gold rush to come up with an anti-obesity drug given the projections above may yield some fundamental science that will help us to better understand this complex biological process.

Previous attempts at weight reduction with drugs have failed and in some cases at the cost of lives. Fat, once deposited does not go away without a fight. The best information available today strongly suggests that as a minimum everyone should:

  1. Stop consuming sugary drinks
  2. Cut back or eliminate other sugars in the diet
  3. Cut back or eliminate many starches in the diet.
  4. Eat real food comprised of fresh or frozen vegetables and proteins prepared with high quality fats.
  5. Stay active

Alternatively review our first seven podcasts for more details.

Book of the week: The Forgotten Man

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