In this post, I will explain why it is not the truth. I will explain why people’s attempts to lose weight by eating less and/or exercising more are more often than not futile. I will show you how research has proven the calories in versus calories out theory to be a long way from reality.
If you or someone you know has struggled to lose excess body fat, then this article may be the most important one you ever read.
To think that eating too much or not exercising enough causes obesity is like believing pain causes bruising. Pain and bruising are just symptoms of trauma to the body.
Eating more and exercising less are symptoms of hormonal imbalances. In a study by George Wade of The University of Massachusetts in the 1970’s, he removed the ovaries from female rats. These rats immediately began eating much more food and soon became obese.
More interestingly, Wade also removed the ovaries of another group of rats and restricted their calorie intake. This group of rats became more sedentary and became just as fat as the group who could eat as much as they liked.
So what caused the over-eating and the inactivity? With the removal of the ovaries, the estrogen levels of the rats were severely reduced. Estrogen has a direct affect on an enzyme called Lipoprotein Lipase (LPL). LPL pulls fat from the blood stream into any cell (fat or muscle) that happens to express LPL.
It just so happens that Estrogen inhibits LPL’s affect on fat cells. Therefore, the higher the Estrogen levels, the lower the fat uptake by the fat cells. Conversely, the lower the Estrogen levels, the more fat can be taken up by the fat cells.
So when Estrogen is low and the fat cells are storing more fat than normal, energy is being prevented from being stored in the muscle tissue and therefore less energy is available to the body. This has two possible consequences. The person will need to eat more food to raise energy levels or the person will conserve energy by being less active.
This may explain why post-menopausal women tend to put on weight.
What Wade’s research also suggests is that when fat tissue absorbs more calories from the circulation the fat cells expand. If the person is able to eat more food they will (to make up the deficit in available energy and to maintain their new size). If they are unable to eat more food, they will become more sedentary.
Also, Wade gave estrogen to the rats after the study and there eating habits, activity levels and weight normalised.
To emphasize the point further, think about a teenager going through a growth spurt. They eat more during the growth spurt to fuel the growth, which has been initiated by growth hormones. Teenagers don’t go through growth spurts because they spontaneously start eating more.
In addition, a teenage male will often eat more, reduce body fat percentage and gain muscle over that period. Does this not prove that eating more does not cause fat gain?
It is size and growth that determines appetite and activity levels, not appetite and activity determining size and growth. Elephants and whales eat huge amounts of food to sustain their huge bodies. Their bodies aren’t huge because they over eat.
So whenever our bodies GROW fat tissue, we need to increase calorie intake to sustain it. If we choose to or are unable to increase calorie intake, we’ll feel fatigued and won’t be able to exercise. It’s simply not true that people are fat because they are lazy.
Also, I see a lot of clients with chronic fatigue and they are nearly always overweight too. So these people have large bodies that need high levels of calories, but because they are not eating enough (because they think that is how to lose weight) they are in a vicious cycle that won’t be broken until they know the answer.
So what the answer?
Tune in next time to find out….