Are some people doomed to obesity? - The science of weight loss

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  • wamydia
    wamydia Posts: 259 Member
    Great article in this week's New Scientist on the science of individual differences in weight loss and weight gain. They start with the perennial question of why someone people seem to be able to eat what they want and not put on weight.

    I have always believed that I have put on weight because I eat too much, not because anything is faulty with my metabolism. The article backs this up and debunks a few Myths such as 'Skinny people have higher metabolisms,' 'Thin people digest less food' and 'Dieting permanently reduces your metabolic rate.'

    However, I have also thought there may be biological reasons why I eat too much. The article comes up with intriguing evidence. When researchers give study participants too much to eat, the thin and fat people respond differently. Thin people naturally adjust their food intake, eat less and become more active. Fat people don't. In fact, the food makes them sluggish and less active. This finding really chimes with me. My body does have a mechanisms that naturally regulates what I eat, but it's quite easy to break that mechanism and bury it in food. The natural regulation only starts when I have been eating healthily for a while.

    My conclusion is that I (and hopefully you too) am not doomed to obesity. But I have to work a little harder than others to avoid overeating. I have to work harder to listen to my body, and wait a little longer for the feeling of fullness. Although the work is getting easier.

    If this stuff is interesting to you or you have similar experiences would love to hear from you or receive friend requests.

    I don't think anyone is doomed to obesity, but I do believe that some people are more biologically predisposed. And I also think the reasons are extremely complex and have a lot to do with differences in hormones and how those hormones regulate things like appetite, satiation, and fat storage. It's not going to turn out to be as simple as researchers finding a single gene and saying "Aha! We have found the obesity gene and now we know what the problem is!" Like most biological questions, I think it is a wide variety of genetic variables that have a cumulative effect on how easily a person gains and/ or loses weight. Bottom line, though, is that anyone can lose weight if they are willing to put the work in. But I think it's important to recognize that, for some people, that will end up being way more work than it is for the average person.
  • mustgetmuscles1
    mustgetmuscles1 Posts: 3,346 Member

    Trying is hard.
  • JoRocka
    JoRocka Posts: 17,525 Member
    rubbish that's lite fair.

    I have zero issues using the C word- but that was totally uncalled for considering the vanilla-ness of the comment you seem to have your panties all wadded up about.
  • ksuh999
    ksuh999 Posts: 543 Member
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    Isn't odd that most of the people that have been doomed with bad genetics are in the USA? And that these people that share genetic ancestry in let's say Europe aren't obese in general?

    I don't think anyone is saying that genetics are all that matter when they say that genetics play a role. Obviously there's more to it, because the obesity stats have changed so dramatically.

    If that is the case, wouldn't there be similar %s in Obese in Europe and the USA?

    Only if the environmental factors are identical in the US and Europe, and they obviously are not.

    Canada also has a lower overweight and obesity rate than the US and we also tend to eat more fruits and vegitables as well. The major difference that I can see is that food in general is more expensive in Canada than the US but we also do not give farm subsidies so there is no cheap crop advantage for corn, soy and wheat like you see in the US so fruit and vegitables are relatively cheaper compared to highly processed foods and fast foods. We often here the complaints from our southern neighbours that it's more affordable to eat fast food and highly processed foods than it is to eat fresh produce but in Canada chips are generally no cheaper than apples and oranges on a weight comparisson (e.g. where I live is actually expensive and apples and oranges are generally $1 to $2 per pound while chips are around $2 to $3 for less than half a pound).

    Food pricing and availability is going to be a huge factor in the eating habits of a population and in the US it seems that it's harder and more expensive to eat healthy -- at least that seems to be the concensus.
    Wow. No. Fresh food in the US is way cheaper. Way cheaper. I could easily chop off $200-$300/month on my grocery bill if I lived anywhere there. We get killed in Canada for food prices overall. The only region in the Canada I've seen with even remotely comparable prices are certain parts of BC.

    Also Canada does have farm subsidies.


  • shireeniebeanie
    shireeniebeanie Posts: 293 Member
    sofaking6 wrote: »
    JoRocka wrote: »
    You better step back- that wasn't anywhere near a See you Next Tuesday worthy comment.

    "Thanks for playing" made it 100% earned and deserved.

    Wrong.
  • lemurcat12
    lemurcat12 Posts: 30,886 Member
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    Isn't odd that most of the people that have been doomed with bad genetics are in the USA? And that these people that share genetic ancestry in let's say Europe aren't obese in general?

    I don't think anyone is saying that genetics are all that matter when they say that genetics play a role. Obviously there's more to it, because the obesity stats have changed so dramatically.

    If that is the case, wouldn't there be similar %s in Obese in Europe and the USA?

    Only if the environmental factors are identical in the US and Europe, and they obviously are not.

    Canada also has a lower overweight and obesity rate than the US and we also tend to eat more fruits and vegitables as well. The major difference that I can see is that food in general is more expensive in Canada than the US but we also do not give farm subsidies so there is no cheap crop advantage for corn, soy and wheat like you see in the US so fruit and vegitables are relatively cheaper compared to highly processed foods and fast foods.

    I'm curious if this is so, and I suspect not. That is, even if products containing corn and soy are cheaper in the US (and I doubt the domestic subsidies matter for that, since UD food companies probably market in Canada--the main effect would be an increased production of corn and soy in the US, and clearly we sell outside the US in large part), that would not mean that veggies and fruits are less available here.

    One difference I'm familiar with (at least seeing argued) is that US residents tend to be more dependent on cars and travel more car miles vs. Canadians. At least, although I'd have to check the stats, that was always raised back when I used to read Atlantic Cities regularly when people would try to blame our size and low density for the US's figures vs. Europe.

    The car vs. biking/walking thing is one of the differences I was thinking of between the US and Europe, although there are many.
    in Canada chips are generally no cheaper than apples and oranges on a weight comparisson (e.g. where I live is actually expensive and apples and oranges are generally $1 to $2 per pound while chips are around $2 to $3 for less than half a pound).

    They aren't here either, but there's tremendous difference within the US. I bet they are more expensive in certain parts of Canada just because my parents used to live in Alaska and I know the produce there was far more expensive than what I'm used to in Illinois (or than they currently experience in Washington).
    in the US it seems that it's harder and more expensive to eat healthy -- at least that seems to be the concensus.

    I think this is false, except perhaps for a small segment of the population (food deserts). It's reasonably cheap to eat healthy (again, food is on average cheap in the US); it's just reasonably cheap and convenient to buy convenience foods.
  • lemurcat12
    lemurcat12 Posts: 30,886 Member
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    Isn't odd that most of the people that have been doomed with bad genetics are in the USA? And that these people that share genetic ancestry in let's say Europe aren't obese in general?

    I don't think anyone is saying that genetics are all that matter when they say that genetics play a role. Obviously there's more to it, because the obesity stats have changed so dramatically.

    If that is the case, wouldn't there be similar %s in Obese in Europe and the USA?

    Only if the environmental factors are identical in the US and Europe, and they obviously are not.

    And what environmental factors do you speak of? wheelhouse touches on one. Food pricing.

    Where people live, how people travel, how much activity people get in their daily life, cultural factors, etc.
  • lemurcat12
    lemurcat12 Posts: 30,886 Member
    zarckon wrote: »
    Absolutely stunned at how many people can't tell the difference between "genetics plays a role in how likely someone is to be overweight" and "genetics is the only factor that determines whether someone will be overweight." The first is obviously true, the second is obviously not.

    Exactly! With essentially everything else we do there are natural differences between people. No one gets upset if I say that school is easier for some people than others, for example. So why it is offensive to suggest that some people might have more challenges than others in staying slim? We still don't know exactly who is one and who is the other, and none of it dooms us to be fat.
  • JeffseekingV
    JeffseekingV Posts: 3,165 Member
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    Isn't odd that most of the people that have been doomed with bad genetics are in the USA? And that these people that share genetic ancestry in let's say Europe aren't obese in general?

    I don't think anyone is saying that genetics are all that matter when they say that genetics play a role. Obviously there's more to it, because the obesity stats have changed so dramatically.

    If that is the case, wouldn't there be similar %s in Obese in Europe and the USA?

    Only if the environmental factors are identical in the US and Europe, and they obviously are not.

    And what environmental factors do you speak of? wheelhouse touches on one. Food pricing.

    Where people live, how people travel, how much activity people get in their daily life, cultural factors, etc.

    And I'm saying that genetics is a small part. Not a major part like people are stating. Same general genetics in the USA and Europe. Yet the USA has a much higher rate of obesity.
  • Wheelhouse15
    Wheelhouse15 Posts: 5,575 Member
    sofaking6 wrote: »
    JoRocka wrote: »
    You better step back- that wasn't anywhere near a See you Next Tuesday worthy comment.

    "Thanks for playing" made it 100% earned and deserved.

    Jo is correct your comment was out of line and juvenile.
  • sofaking6
    sofaking6 Posts: 4,589 Member
    JoRocka wrote: »
    rubbish that's lite fair.

    I have zero issues using the C word- but that was totally uncalled for considering the vanilla-ness of the comment you seem to have your panties all wadded up about.

    I don't really know what makes it more uncalled for than "you're off topic, thanks for playing", but I guess this is even more off-topic so - I agree to disagree about that and will abscond from this thread as of immediately.

  • Wheelhouse15
    Wheelhouse15 Posts: 5,575 Member
    ksuh999 wrote: »
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    Isn't odd that most of the people that have been doomed with bad genetics are in the USA? And that these people that share genetic ancestry in let's say Europe aren't obese in general?

    I don't think anyone is saying that genetics are all that matter when they say that genetics play a role. Obviously there's more to it, because the obesity stats have changed so dramatically.

    If that is the case, wouldn't there be similar %s in Obese in Europe and the USA?

    Only if the environmental factors are identical in the US and Europe, and they obviously are not.

    Canada also has a lower overweight and obesity rate than the US and we also tend to eat more fruits and vegitables as well. The major difference that I can see is that food in general is more expensive in Canada than the US but we also do not give farm subsidies so there is no cheap crop advantage for corn, soy and wheat like you see in the US so fruit and vegitables are relatively cheaper compared to highly processed foods and fast foods. We often here the complaints from our southern neighbours that it's more affordable to eat fast food and highly processed foods than it is to eat fresh produce but in Canada chips are generally no cheaper than apples and oranges on a weight comparisson (e.g. where I live is actually expensive and apples and oranges are generally $1 to $2 per pound while chips are around $2 to $3 for less than half a pound).

    Food pricing and availability is going to be a huge factor in the eating habits of a population and in the US it seems that it's harder and more expensive to eat healthy -- at least that seems to be the concensus.
    Wow. No. Fresh food in the US is way cheaper. Way cheaper. I could easily chop off $200-$300/month on my grocery bill if I lived anywhere there. We get killed in Canada for food prices overall. The only region in the Canada I've seen with even remotely comparable prices are certain parts of BC.

    Also Canada does have farm subsidies.


    I have lived in SE idaho and food was certainly cheaper but it's relative costs I refere to. Now is fresh food more expensive? Many say it is and I won't argue since it's been a long time but if that's the general perception than that's what affects your shipping habits rightly or wrongly.

    Could you tell me what sub programs we have? My family farms dairy and cattle and receive no subs but there are marketing boards. If you can show I have no problem accepting that we do but I have not seen them personally.
  • lemurcat12
    lemurcat12 Posts: 30,886 Member
    edited November 2014
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    Isn't odd that most of the people that have been doomed with bad genetics are in the USA? And that these people that share genetic ancestry in let's say Europe aren't obese in general?

    I don't think anyone is saying that genetics are all that matter when they say that genetics play a role. Obviously there's more to it, because the obesity stats have changed so dramatically.

    If that is the case, wouldn't there be similar %s in Obese in Europe and the USA?

    Only if the environmental factors are identical in the US and Europe, and they obviously are not.

    And what environmental factors do you speak of? wheelhouse touches on one. Food pricing.

    Where people live, how people travel, how much activity people get in their daily life, cultural factors, etc.

    And I'm saying that genetics is a small part. Not a major part like people are stating. Same general genetics in the USA and Europe. Yet the USA has a much higher rate of obesity.

    The USA also does a lot worse on some of those tests for school kids. That there are natural differences between people doesn't mean that it's remotely determinative, especially across a relatively diverse population.

    My guess is that there are factors that make it especially easy for some people to put on weight barring environmental factors that tend to prevent it. The US currently probably is more lacking in those factors (as compared to historically and other countries) although in many ways the differences are getting to be less and they are probably going to become more like us.

    Also, apparently the increase in obesity stalled at a certain point here, which could well be because of natural or genetic factors too.

    I am not saying that this means anyone can't help being fat or "waah poor me" or anything like that. (I do not intend to get fat again, and if I do it's because of my own actions or inactions.)
  • bennettinfinity
    bennettinfinity Posts: 865 Member
    JoRocka wrote: »
    You better step back- that wasn't anywhere near a See you Next Tuesday worthy comment.


    Until I saw this post, I thought I had been called a cARt... that left me scratching my head a bit. NOW it makes more sense. :)
  • Wheelhouse15
    Wheelhouse15 Posts: 5,575 Member
    edited November 2014
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    Isn't odd that most of the people that have been doomed with bad genetics are in the USA? And that these people that share genetic ancestry in let's say Europe aren't obese in general?

    I don't think anyone is saying that genetics are all that matter when they say that genetics play a role. Obviously there's more to it, because the obesity stats have changed so dramatically.

    If that is the case, wouldn't there be similar %s in Obese in Europe and the USA?

    Only if the environmental factors are identical in the US and Europe, and they obviously are not.

    Canada also has a lower overweight and obesity rate than the US and we also tend to eat more fruits and vegitables as well. The major difference that I can see is that food in general is more expensive in Canada than the US but we also do not give farm subsidies so there is no cheap crop advantage for corn, soy and wheat like you see in the US so fruit and vegitables are relatively cheaper compared to highly processed foods and fast foods.

    I'm curious if this is so, and I suspect not. That is, even if products containing corn and soy are cheaper in the US (and I doubt the domestic subsidies matter for that, since UD food companies probably market in Canada--the main effect would be an increased production of corn and soy in the US, and clearly we sell outside the US in large part), that would not mean that veggies and fruits are less available here.

    One difference I'm familiar with (at least seeing argued) is that US residents tend to be more dependent on cars and travel more car miles vs. Canadians. At least, although I'd have to check the stats, that was always raised back when I used to read Atlantic Cities regularly when people would try to blame our size and low density for the US's figures vs. Europe.

    The car vs. biking/walking thing is one of the differences I was thinking of between the US and Europe, although there are many.
    in Canada chips are generally no cheaper than apples and oranges on a weight comparisson (e.g. where I live is actually expensive and apples and oranges are generally $1 to $2 per pound while chips are around $2 to $3 for less than half a pound).

    They aren't here either, but there's tremendous difference within the US. I bet they are more expensive in certain parts of Canada just because my parents used to live in Alaska and I know the produce there was far more expensive than what I'm used to in Illinois (or than they currently experience in Washington).
    in the US it seems that it's harder and more expensive to eat healthy -- at least that seems to be the concensus.

    I think this is false, except perhaps for a small segment of the population (food deserts). It's reasonably cheap to eat healthy (again, food is on average cheap in the US); it's just reasonably cheap and convenient to buy convenience foods.

    As I tried to state that the price difference is perhaps a perception and not a reality. However, Canadians do eat more fruits and vegitables than Americans and our food is more expensive. We do not import a lot of manufacturered US food most just set up factories up here to avoid duty and to cater to our tastes. Canada is a net exporter of the big three crops already so I doubt we import any raw US crop.

    I will see of a can find some price comparison for food groups between our countries.

    ETA: here is a comparison I found: moneytipscanada.ca/us-canada-food-price-comparison/

    I'll keep looking around for more as well since this is a small chart...

    Hmm here are some from the main government stat collectors in each country but the differences in measurements makes it a little tricky at times:

    statcan.gc.ca/tables-tableaux/sum-som/l01/cst01/econ155a-eng.htm
    bls.gov/regions/mid-atlantic/data/AverageRetailFoodAndEnergyPrices_USandMidwest_Table.htm
  • wamydia
    wamydia Posts: 259 Member
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    Isn't odd that most of the people that have been doomed with bad genetics are in the USA? And that these people that share genetic ancestry in let's say Europe aren't obese in general?

    I don't think anyone is saying that genetics are all that matter when they say that genetics play a role. Obviously there's more to it, because the obesity stats have changed so dramatically.

    If that is the case, wouldn't there be similar %s in Obese in Europe and the USA?

    Obesity rates are climbing worldwide. The US is still the most obese, but there are quite a few countries that aren't far behind us (including some in Europe). http://www.oecd.org/els/health-systems/Obesity-Update-2014.pdf

    More to the point though, a difference in obesity rates between American and Europeans would actually be more of an argument for a genetic component, IMO. Although the population of the US was originally mostly of European descent, we've had about 200 years to mix up the genetic bag and boy, have we. We have healthy doses of lots of different genetic groups mixed into the overall population, including Native American (whom are well-known to have high obesity rates on a modern diet) and Latin American (Mexico is right behind us on the worldwide obesity chart). So it isn't really fair to say that the population of the US would respond exactly like Europeans just because the US was originally populated by a few European countries. The genetics are far too mixed up now.

    All that aside, I fully acknowledge that although I believe genetics play a role, that's obviously not all there is to it. The US is a country of excess -- we have a ridiculous number of choices at our fingertips on a daily basis, and many of those are high calorie and delicious. It's easy for us to get away with sitting in our chairs all day and doing nothing (even at work). And I think we as a culture don't have as much discipline about our eating habits as other cultures do. All of these things add up to a country that's at the head of the race for the most obese country in the world.
  • JoRocka
    JoRocka Posts: 17,525 Member
    JoRocka wrote: »
    You better step back- that wasn't anywhere near a See you Next Tuesday worthy comment.


    Until I saw this post, I thought I had been called a cARt... that left me scratching my head a bit. NOW it makes more sense. :)
    HA

    glad I could clear that up for you.

    perhaps saying cart will catch on now. LULZ
  • kyta32
    kyta32 Posts: 670 Member
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    lemurcat12 wrote: »

    We often here the complaints from our southern neighbours that it's more affordable to eat fast food and highly processed foods than it is to eat fresh produce but in Canada chips are generally no cheaper than apples and oranges on a weight comparisson (e.g. where I live is actually expensive and apples and oranges are generally $1 to $2 per pound while chips are around $2 to $3 for less than half a pound).

    It is far cheaper and faster to get your calories from "bad" foods than from nutritious, protein- and fiber-rich foods in Canada. I used to get a large jar of peanut butter for $10 and a large bag of chocolate chips for $20 about once a month. Any time I felt hungry I would have a (large) tablespoon or two of each, and get back to my day (maybe 120 "meals" a month). This would be almost all I ate for the month, except when being treated out by my boyfriend. Now I'm dieting, I spend $15 to get the basics for a salad (about 7 salads) and they take 5 minutes each to make. Then I could spend $17 for the basics (about 9 meals, with some veggies and beans left over) and 2 hours and have chili. And now I just have to come up with the money for the rest of the 900 calories I need that day. Or, for the same calories, no prep time, and $2.50, I could have a bag of chips (or my peanut butter, or spend half that on a Mars bar). Getting your calories throught healthy food takes more time and money, and eating nutrition-poor (but calorie-dense) food leads to weight gain.
  • Wheelhouse15
    Wheelhouse15 Posts: 5,575 Member
    edited November 2014
    kyta32 wrote: »
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    lemurcat12 wrote: »

    We often here the complaints from our southern neighbours that it's more affordable to eat fast food and highly processed foods than it is to eat fresh produce but in Canada chips are generally no cheaper than apples and oranges on a weight comparisson (e.g. where I live is actually expensive and apples and oranges are generally $1 to $2 per pound while chips are around $2 to $3 for less than half a pound).

    It is far cheaper and faster to get your calories from "bad" foods than from nutritious, protein- and fiber-rich foods in Canada. I used to get a large jar of peanut butter for $10 and a large bag of chocolate chips for $20 about once a month. Any time I felt hungry I would have a (large) tablespoon or two of each, and get back to my day (maybe 120 "meals" a month). This would be almost all I ate for the month, except when being treated out by my boyfriend. Now I'm dieting, I spend $15 to get the basics for a salad (about 7 salads) and they take 5 minutes each to make. Then I could spend $17 for the basics (about 9 meals, with some veggies and beans left over) and 2 hours and have chili. And now I just have to come up with the money for the rest of the 900 calories I need that day. Or, for the same calories, no prep time, and $2.50, I could have a bag of chips (or my peanut butter, or spend half that on a Mars bar). Getting your calories throught healthy food takes more time and money, and eating nutrition-poor (but calorie-dense) food leads to weight gain.

    I certainly won't argue with your statements of faster and the idea that it's cheaper is always the general feeling I get from any discussion on food choices. I believe that this is the main reason why people eat too many calorically dense but nutritionally poor foods and end up gaining weight. One big difference between now and when I grew up is that there are far fewer one income homes where one person (almost always the wife) stayed home and prepared meals from scratch. Since everyone is rushed we get a lot more eating out and a lot more fast food intake.

    However, I don't believe that processed and fast foods are really cheaper. It wouldn't make economic sense for any company to sell you what you can make cheaper than you can make it since they don't buy it for much less than you do. What you get from processed foods is a lot of cheap fillers and a little bit of real food and that's not really the same thing at all.

    ETA please don't misunderstand that I agree that processed food can seem cheaper but when you compare it really isn't. This really does go to my own point about food choices and price perceptions.
  • _Waffle_
    _Waffle_ Posts: 13,049 Member
    The science of weight loss

    E=MC^2

    Energy and mass are the same thing in different forms. That's science. If you have too much mass you've obtained too much energy (calories).

    The biggest problem I've witnessed is that people don't like the notion that different people have different energy demands. If I give my wife a piece of pumpkin pie half the size of mine she's going to complain even though I'm nearly twice her size. It's apparently not fair that I have a larger slice even if it makes her fat and I need the energy. Pointing out this fact makes me mean.

    Transportation is a huge factor in obesity as well. I think this was already mentioned in that there's not much incentive to weigh less.