Weight Loss & Health – question for Gillian

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    • #9831

      Hi Gillian,
      when you introduced this topic in the webinar on Sunday, to be honest initially I was fairly skeptical. However, now I have had chance to watch the video again and digest it, and I can definitely see that losing weight doesn’t necessarily improve you health, as you point out it is definitely not clear cut. However, one thing is still puzzling me if overeating is the cause of being metabolically abnormal, how does this explain the 30% of obese people who were metabolically normal. Surely, the only way to become obese is too overeat.. and if you don’t eat a lot of sugary food, refined carbohydrates and have never dieted it is actually REALLY difficult to gain weight as shown in the Vermont Prison Feast experiment – see link to the paper below. I read about this in ‘Why we Eat (Too Much)’ by Andrew Jenkinson. (https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/21.12.1455)


    • #9835


      The paper on the Vermont Prison Feast looks interesting but doesn’t have open access.

      There can be a difference with this depending (in general terms) on gender, and I wonder if the Vermont prisoners were men. Age would be a factor, and perhaps as a result of genetic luck some can overeat to the point of obesity and still have a robust metabolism.

      I’m not sure I agree with you, though, that it is REALLY difficult to gain weight on truly healthy food. I’d be interested to hear what others on this course think about this and any experiences.

    • #9837

      I believe that the gender has a lot to do here, but the main important thing is that, in my opinion, it isn´t difficult to gain weight with healthy foods.

      The issue is how much we eat. Obviously it is better to eat an oatmeal and banana pancake with honey and raspberries made by me, than not to eat a donut bought in the supermarket. But if I behave the same in my eating habits and only replace ultra-processed by healthier or homemade, I will go from eating 5 donuts or pecking cookies or chocolate all day, to eating 5 pancakes and pecking 90% chocolate, which is healthier.

      I think the important point is to eat less of the ultra-processed, and eat healthier, but that doesn´t mean to replace the bad habits of the “bad” with the “good” and to continue maintaining the same behavior of overeating, but now in a “healthier” version. Because the weight will remain the same or worse, because we can fall into: “as it is healthier.. I eat more.”

      • #9842

        I agree with all of this, Guadalupe.

        Want to add, though, that eating less ultra-processed foods usually produces very clear non-weight benefits. Eating less healthy food often means the non-weight benefits are more subtle – but still there and observable nonetheless.

        As you say, “it’s healthy so why not eat more” and my guess is finding an answer to this is the challenge for you right now. Sometimes just doing it (eating less of the healthy things) is the way forward, to experiment and discover what benefit may be there for you.

    • #9839

      Most of my life I have always eaten a really healthy diet and I can testify it is really easy to gain weight eating healthy foods – vast quantities of them.

      On the flip side I come from a large and naturally thin family and yet skinny as she was, my mother was metabolically unhealthy. And I was a competitive runner and there was a lot of evidence of metabolically unhealthy skinny athletes.

    • #9846
      Renée L

      To chime in here,

      My experience has shown that eating more than your body needs (regardless of food type) will result in weight gain. Gary Taubes sheds an interesting light on the biology/physiology of this in his book, “Why We Get Fat.”

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