Wednesday 1.13.16 Box Brief

Rethinking Weight Loss and the Reasons We’re ‘Always Hungry’

Q. What is the basic message of your book?

A. The basic premise is that overeating doesn’t make you fat. The process of getting fat makes you overeat.

Q. But we’ve all been told that obesity is caused by eating too much. Is that not the case?

A. We think of obesity as a state of excess, but it’s really more akin to a state of starvation. If the fat cells are storing too many calories, the brain doesn’t have access to enough to make sure that metabolism runs properly.

Q. That’s very different from the conventional wisdom that weight loss boils down to calories in, calories out.

A.Yes. An analogy would be like trying to treat a fever with an ice bath. Imagine going to the hospital with a very high fever, and the doctor says, “Fever is just a problem of heat balance – too much heat in the body, not enough heat leaving the body.” That’s true from a physics standpoint. So the doctor decides to put you in an ice bath. That will work temporarily. An ice bath will break your fever. But imagine what’s going to happen. Your body is going to fight back furiously with severe shivering and blood vessel constriction and you’ll feel miserable. You’ll want out of that ice bath as soon as possible. For that reason, ice baths are not a popular treatment for fever.