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Man has been trying to improve himself by his own power since the beginning. The results speak for themselves.
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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Obesity Cause and Effect

Here we go again, using brain research to suggest people act according to how the brain functions and not the other way around. The data -- or at least a presentation of the data in an article at FoxNews.com -- is suggesting that obese people are obese, and thin people aren't, because of the way their brain works. I would look at these data and say that obese people (absent organic causes of obesity such as a thyroid disorder) are in the habit of not balancing their activity and intake of foods, or they are in the habit of eating foods that incline to obesity, and thin people in another habit -- and their brain activity reflects their habits.

In other words, it is not as though people are hard-wired from birth to be either slim or obese. Obese people are not predestined or even at a disadvantage because of their brains to obesity. Their habits might be causing their difficulties and also causing the associated brain activity. Change the habits and the brain activity changes along with it.

The study in question is not the best. It is tiny and therefore the results are subject to scrutiny until a larger study with better statistical power comes along to verify it. Also, it would be nice to see the same kind of study to include people who have lost a significant amount of weight and have succeeded in keeping it off. In fact, it would be really cool to track a cohort of obese subjects through weight loss, say, monthly, for a year or two. I would love to see how the initial brain activity patterns change over time and if there is any pattern among those who keep the weight off and those who gain it back.

It seems to me that there are foods -- foods with sugars and especially high fructose corn syrup -- that make it hard to lose weight and keep it off. The offending stuff lurks in so-called healthy foods such as Gatorade energy/fitness drinks, health/energy bars, and that sort of thing. It's all over the place. If you are of a good weight and highly active, such things might be fine for you, when you are in the midst of a vigorous, extended activity. But for people to be sitting in their offices at work quaffing an energy drink to have energy for their computer work I believe is physically destructive.

At any rate, weight loss is difficult and the reasons for the difficulty are complex. It's not an easy task. If you are struggling with weight, you have my admiration in your struggle. Keep at it. You can do it.

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