Here’s an interesting New York Times article that examines the current calories in/calories out theory that’s dominated obesity thinking for the last 60 years. The piece poses an interesting question – What if it’s not overeating that causes us to get fat, but its the process of getting fatter that causes us to get overeat?
A matrix logic puzzle? Not really. Just science.
Part of the problem is how calories are distributed in our bodies. If calories are stored in fat tissue, then there are fewer circulating in our bloodstream to meet the body’s needs. So the body increases its intake. The result, we get hungrier because we’re getting fatter.
So why doesn’t eating less work over the long run?
Other factors (think insulin and carbs) trigger fat cells to store excessive amounts of glucose and other calorie-rich compounds. By cutting your calories, you have less fuel for your metabolism. Your brain tells you to increase your calories (by making you feel hungry) and save energy (slowing down your metabolism). Cutting calories is a temporary fix, but all it does is increase your hunger and zaps your energy.
Over time, your hunger will drive you to eat more since your body needs the fuel. And like most folks, you’ll probably gain back the weight you lost when you cut calories. Clearly counting calories isn’t a long-term option for permanent weight loss.
It’s a great read and shows the how the weight loss industry focuses too much on calorie counting and not enough on diet quality.