December 8, 2021

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Harvard Study: Overeating is not the main cause of obesity

Harvard Study: Overeating is not the main cause of obesity.

Harvard Study: Overeating is not the main cause of obesity



Harvard Study: Overeating is not the main cause of obesity.

Subverting a century-old classic theory, experts such as Harvard University pointed out: Overeating is not the main cause of obesity.

With economic development and the improvement of living standards, obesity has become a major public health problem worldwide. According to statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO), nearly 2 billion people are overweight or obese in the world. From 1975 to 2016, the global obesity rate has nearly tripled. Every year, overweight or obesity causes 2.8 million deaths.

In fact, obesity is not only a feature, but also a disease. Obese people not only have inconvenience in life and decreased exercise capacity, but are also more susceptible to metabolic diseases and cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases. In addition, many studies have shown that obesity is associated with more than ten kinds of cancers. The increased risk of disease is related to the decrease of prognosis and survival rate.

In response to the growing obesity epidemic, the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines issued by the US Department of Agriculture tells us that weight loss requires adults to reduce the calories obtained from food and beverages and increase the calories consumed through physical activities.

This method of weight management is based on a century-old “energy balance model” that states that weight gain is due to more energy intake than energy consumption. In today’s world, surrounded by delicious, massively sold, and inexpensive processed foods, it is easy for people to consume more calories than they actually need. Today’s sedentary lifestyle further exacerbates this imbalance.

According to this model, overeating and insufficient physical activity are driving the obesity epidemic. Despite decades of public health information advising people to eat less and exercise more, the incidence of obesity and obesity-related diseases has been steadily increasing.

However, the “energy balance model” treats obesity as an energy balance disorder. This view reiterates the principles of physics, but does not consider the biological mechanism of weight gain.

Recently, a team of 17 internationally recognized scientists, clinical researchers, and public health experts from Harvard University Medical School, Weill Cornell School of Medicine, University of Copenhagen, National Institutes of Health and other institutions in The American Journal of The Journal of Clinical Nutrition published an article titled: The carbohydrate-insulin model: a physiological perspective on the obesity pandemic.

The study supports the “carbohydrate-insulin model”, which believes that obesity is a metabolic disorder and is more related to “what you eat” rather than “how much you eat.” This also explains why many people eat less and exercise more but fail to lose weight.

The “Carbohydrate-Insulin Model” puts forward a bold claim: Overeating will not lead to obesity; the process of getting fat will lead to overeating. The current obesity epidemic is due to hormones’ response to changes in food quality: especially foods with high glycemic load, they fundamentally change our metabolism.

In general, the author of the article points out the fundamental flaws of the “energy balance model” and believes that the “carbohydrate-insulin model” can better explain obesity and weight gain, and also points the way for more effective and longer-lasting weight management strategies. : You should pay more attention to what you eat, not how much you eat.

Harvard Study: Overeating is not the main cause of obesity.

The leader of the study, Dr. David Ludwig, an endocrinologist at Boston Children’s Hospital and a professor at Harvard Medical School, explained why the “energy balance model” does not help us understand the biological causes of weight gain: for example, during adolescence with a growth spurt, You may consume 1,000 calories a day, but is this overeating caused the growth spurt, or the growth spurt caused hunger and overeating?

Harvard Study: Overeating is not the main cause of obesity.
Professor David Ludwig

Contrary to the “energy balance model”, the “carbohydrate-insulin model” boldly declares that overeating is not the main cause of obesity. This model attributes the current obesity epidemic to modern eating patterns, which are characterized by excessive consumption and high blood sugar load. Foods: especially processed carbohydrates that can be digested quickly. These foods can cause hormonal responses, fundamentally change our metabolism, leading to fat storage, weight gain and obesity.

When we eat highly processed carbohydrates, the body increases insulin secretion and inhibits glucagon secretion. In turn, this sends a signal to fat cells to store more calories, thereby reducing the energy expenditure available to muscles and other metabolically active tissues. The brain thinks that the body is not getting enough energy, which in turn can lead to hunger. In addition, when the body tries to save energy expenditure, the metabolism may slow down as a result. Therefore, even if we continue to gain excess fat, we tend to remain hungry.

Harvard Study: Overeating is not the main cause of obesity.
Carbohydrate-insulin model

Therefore, to understand the obesity epidemic, we need to consider not only how much food we eat, but also how the type of food we eat affects our hormones and metabolism. The “energy balance model” asserts that all calories from food are similar to the body, which ignores the key part of the puzzle.

In fact, the “carbohydrate-insulin model” is not a newly proposed new model. It can be traced back to the 1900s, but this one was developed by Harvard University Medical School, Weill Cornell Medical School, University of Copenhagen, and the National Health Institute. The opinion articles published by a team of 17 internationally recognized scientists, clinical researchers and public health experts from institutes and other institutions are the most comprehensive expression of the “carbohydrate-insulin model” so far.

Overall, this article summarizes the growing evidence supporting the “carbohydrate-insulin model.” In addition, the author also identified a series of testable hypotheses to distinguish between the two models to guide future research.

Using the “carbohydrate-insulin model” instead of the “energy balance model” has a fundamental impact on weight management and obesity treatment. The “carbohydrate-insulin model” does not urge people to eat less, but proposes another way to pay more attention to what we eat. Reducing the consumption of fast-digestible carbohydrates that are now flooding the food supply will reduce the body’s potential motivation to store fat. This way we can lose weight with less hunger and struggle.

Finally, the author of the article also pointed out that further research is needed to finally test these two models, which will also lead to more accurate new models. To this end, they called for constructive discussions and cooperation with scientists with different views to test the predictions of the “carbohydrate-insulin model” in rigorous and fair research.

Paper link:

https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/nqab270

(source:internet, reference only)


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