Obesity is STILL NOT a disease

Posted on May 17, 2012. Filed under: Nutrition | Tags: , , , , |

Some of you may have watched the “Weight of a nation” documentary on HBO. If you haven’t, please follow the link and watch it. It’s not bad.


Like any documentary there will be pro and cons as there is only so much information you can squeeze in a few hour, and also only so much information you can give that is relatable to the general public.


Positives I liked about the film are the suggestions of ways to improve eating habit, and the showing of ways different communities and groups have found to improve what they do to help.


I also like the way they open up and humanize people who are dealing with these health issues. I think too often we forget there are people involved. People, who are in pain, people who are suffering. People who want to change and unfortunately the commercial fitness and nutrition industry has done nothing but take advantage of them. Or leave them so confused that they don’t know what or who to believe in anymore.


The repeated doomsaying I could do without. Not that I don’t believe it’s true, I just get tired of thinking about what’s going to kill off the global population first. AIDS, global warming, terrorist attack, flesh eating bacteria, zombie apocalypse, I mean really I get it. I’m not going to die from natural causes. I don’t need repeated reminders.


I would have also liked to see some better examples of exercise. I mean walking I great, but they didn’t even give an example of resistance exercise, and the only example they had of ‘personal coaching’ was Biggest Loser. A show I’m beginning to strongly dislike… with the intensity of 1000 white hot suns.


Of course my other issue with the documentary is my firm belief that obesity is not a disease, it is a symptom. Symptom of what, you might ask. Sorry, since I do not own a lab coat, I could never say for sure. A purely personal thought, I believe it will come down to a matter of “inflammation.”


Not saying inflammation is all bad, but I do think there are potential markers that are not yet being looked at as they affect our health. Mainly because we as a people tend to see things in term of black and white, on or off, disease or not-disease.


There are many, many aspects of the human body that are actually much more spectrum-like in nature.


For example, many people believe that you are either gluten intolerant or you aren’t. Yet in my opinion, most people probably have some degree of negative reaction to gluten. Noticeable to them or not, it is there.


Observe people who eliminate gluten from their diet for just a few days and most feel significantly better. No they are not classically ‘intolerant’, by medical definition. But there will be a difference.


So it is likely to be with inflammation. Just because a certain level of mediators doesn’t qualify as ‘inflammation’ to current medicine it is still (obviously) a form of inflammation. Levels of damage it may or may not cause remains to be seen. There have been noticeable effects with anti-inflammatory supplements on fat loss. However we need to wait and see this in some human trial to be certain.(1)


I also feel there should have at least been discussion of leptin and insulin in the documentary as they too will probably end up being major indicators in the long run. I understand leaving it out though as that would go a little to in depth into the science. I do think there needs to be some form of education for people in laymens terms on how leptin and insulin play a part in our health. As well as cortisol.


It doesn’t help that all the good information is confined to the most boring and technical jargon filled texts to the general public.


Most people still think of fat cell as stored calorie. Not realizing that not only are fat cells alive(2), but damage to them could have major health implications.(3,4)


There is no arguing that the major diseases of our time stem majorly from lifestyle. I only hope as we look for solutions we aren’t ignoring the bronchitis to cure the cough.


There is no reason to post this photo except for the fact that it exists 🙂

Keep Fitness Groovy,

Coach W

  1. Fischer-Posovszky P et al, Endocrinology of adipose tissue – an update. Endocrinology. 2008 Jul;149(7):3549-58. Epub 2008 Apr 10
  2. Weisberg SP et al, Dietary curcumin significantly improves obesity-associated inflammation and diabetes in mouse models of diabesity. Horm Metab Res. 2007 May;39(5):314-21.
  3. Guiherme A et al. Adipocyte dysfunctions linking obesity to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Nature Reviews (Molecular Cell Biology) 9 (May):367-377, 2008.
  4. McGuire TR et al,, Inflammation associated with obesity, Obesity (Silver Spring). 2011 Nov;19(11):2130-6. Epub 2011 Sep 8

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