There is considerable evidence that the obesity epidemic is caused by a hormonal phenomenon, specifically by the consumption of refined carbohydrates, starches and sugars, all of which prompt (sooner or later) excessive insulin secretion. Insulin is the primary regulator of fat storage. When insulin levels are elevated, fat accumulates in our body tissue; when they fall, fat is released and we use it for fuel. By stimulating insulin secretion, carbohydrates make us fat; by driving us to accumulate fat, they increase hunger and decrease the energy we expend in metabolism and physical activity. In short, obesity is caused not by overeating or sedentary behaviour, but by hormonal malfunctioning triggered by the consumption of particular types of carbohydrate-containing foods.
Obesity researchers, nutritionists and health authorities have refused to contemplate this scenario, partly because it would imply that diet-book doctors advocating carbohydrate-restricted diets - Robert Atkins et al - were right all along. Instead, these alleged experts and guardians of our health have wasted a good part of a century on research based on a high-school misconception, watching their compatriots grow ever fatter while blaming everyone but themselves. In the process, they have created a field of clinical medicine that functions more like a religion than a science. It is time to put science back in charge. (my bold).
The rise in the consumption of high GI carbohydrates globally while people have continued to carefully watch their fat intakes suggests that the obesity-diabetes epidemics the world has experienced is in the main due primarily to excess sugar consumption not to the fact that we are getting lazier and/or eating too much. Moreover, replacing bread and pasta will likely reduce your blood pressure.
Atkins favours a diet with meat, fish, nuts, olives, lots of the bright-coloured vegetables but getting rid of the cakes, bread, potatoes, biscuits, doughnuts, pizzas, pasta, soft-drinks and fruit juices. He also recommends cutting back on high-sugar fruits.
It’s hard to avoid high sugar, starchy foods when you are travelling or when you are buying a quick pre-prepared meal. At a pinch you can buy a MacDonald’s hamburger and dice the bun or get some grilled fish without the batter or a pre-prepared salad minus the sugar-laden dressing. But it is hard. I notice that mainstream food for most university students these days is often pizza, pasta or fried chips.
It is also difficult to stick to the sort of nutritional program Atkins suggests when the food pyramid mafia tells you that your diet should be dominated by simple carbohydrates.
For all the ridicule Atkins has received even the new CSIRO diet (vigorously attacked by the pro-carbohydrates nutritional mafia) broadly endorses his approach although it is high protein-low fat-complex carbohydrate orientation rather than being aggressively anti-simple carbohydrates as with the Atkins approach. But in practise the approaches are similar.
We need to re-educate the community away from the stupid notion that fats alone are bad and that nutritionally-barren, simple carbohydrates are good. This wrong notion is causing a global obesity epidemic – now spreading to developing countries as they endorse western diets – and causing related epidemics of heart disease, cancer and Type 2 diabetes.