Why we get Fat AND Hungry | (Biology of Weight Gain & Low-Carb )

Growing up in Texas, I thought that the weight
gain of people around me was just something that naturally happened. Though, I didn’t realize how big us Texans
were getting until I saw Morgan Spurlock’s “Supersize Me!” and he mentioned how 5
of the fattest cities in America were in Texas. This was surprising, but I was chubby when
I was younger and then in high school I exercised and slimmed up. I thought what to do to lose weight was obvious,
so I unfairly figured people in Texas were just lazy. Then in 2010 I went to Japan, and when I came
back 3 years later I realized people were significantly bigger compared to when I was
young – If there was an obesity epidemic then I was looking at it.

At this point, I started to think it couldn’t
be just a matter of not trying hard enough. Because that would suggest that we really
have an epidemic of is not caring. Maybe what actually happened is that the advice
we’d been given for losing weight doesn’t work. This may be hard to believe considering 80%
of the USDA’s $140 billion budget goes to the Food and Nutrition Service program, but
hear me out. In my previous video, I talked about how weight
regulation isn’t just calories in calories out, which is justified mainly by bad Physics. As Dr. Blake Donaldson suggests in his 1962
book “Strong Medicine,” : Continuous success in any line of endeavor, including weight
reduction, demands rigid adherence to biological laws.” It is Biology, not Physics that will help
us to understand the human body, and that when your body is properly fed, it will not
choose to store fat in excess nor make you hungry all the time.

First off let’s say you wanted to make an
animal fat. What would you feed it? If you want your cows produce steaks with
more fat on them, you feed them corn and grain instead of grass. To make Foie Gras, they force feed ducks primarily
corn. In this study, they found the best way to
fatten up rats was to give them a diet with ample amounts of cookies, cereals, chips,
crackers as well as some processed cheese and meats. Of course, Animals are not the same as humans,
so let’s look at a population of humans that intentionally try to get fat. Japanese Sumo wrestlers pack on as many pounds
as they can in order to be able to push their opponent out of the ring. According to the Sugahara Institutes’ examination
of Sumo wrestler’s diet and lifestyle while in training camp, the wrestlers, as expected
are eating massive amounts of food.

Some days they are hitting as much as 15,000
calories. But what macronutrient do they rely on to
pack on the pounds? They’re getting more than twice as much
carbohydrates as they are fat or protein. It may not be surprising that carbohydrates
drive fat accumulation, considering low-carb has been a pretty big thing since 2002, when
the New York Times Magazine published a cover story entitled "What if Fat Doesn't Make You
Fat?" What may be surprising is that “low carb”
is not new in the least. For almost 200 years, reducing carbohydrates
for weight loss was a common practice.

In 1797 the Scottish Military surgeon John
Rollo successfully treated a diabetes patient with a low carbohydrate diet. Jean Savarin published a book in 1825 called
“the Physiology of taste” in which he talks about his patients not being happy that
they need to reduce tasty things like flour, sugar, bread, and potatoes and cookies in
order to lose weight. In 1844 Jean Dancel published a book called
“Obesity, or Excessive Corpulence: The Various Causes and Rational Means of a cure” that
recommended to avoid carbohydrates and eat meat in order to “cure” obesity. There are dozens more examples I could list
going up to the late 1900’s, but let’s jump to 1971. This is when Charlotte Young released a study
showing that “With fewer carbohydrates and more fat in the diet, greater weight loss
and fat loss would be observed in subjects” So for a while obesity was relatively under
control, if people needed to lose weight they knew what to do.

That was until around 1977, when something
interesting happens. Any graph you pull up on the obesity trends,
you can see a very noticeable change around that year which shows a clear increase in
weight gain which leads ultimately to our current obesity epidemic. 1977 is the year
when the USDA put out the new dietary recommendations to cut fat and replace it with “heart healthy”
starches, bread, pasta and other carbohydrates. I guess it’s not that big of a surprise
that when you bury a method that worked for 200 years for reversing obesity and controlling
diabetes, that you get an obesity and diabetes epidemic. The history paints a pretty good picture,
but it’s important that we understand the biological mechanisms behind this. To save you the suspense, it’s not total
calories, but your hormones that cause weight gain. Particularly one called insulin, which you’ve
surely heard of. It’s known as the fat storage hormone. Where there’s insulin, there’s fat. And When people have to routinely inject insulin
in themselves, they experience something called lipohypertrophy – the site at which insulin
is injected has a clear accumulation of fat.

So how does insulin work in the body? As you know, your blood glucose or blood sugar
rises when you eat carbohydrates, particularly ones low in fiber. This then causes insulin to be released so
the insulin can carry the glucose into the cells that have an insulin receptor, which
then allows the cells to break down the glucose and produce energy in the form of phosphates. So far so good. However this process can only happen at a
certain rate, so glucose needs to be put somewhere else. In the form of glycogen, you can store about
200 grams of glucose in the muscle and 70 grams in the liver. When those are filled up, insulin receptors
decrease on those cells so glucose can’t go in. But the glucose still needs to go somewhere
because if it sits in the blood stream it will bind to proteins in a damaging process
called glycation.

Glycation is a process where sugar in the
bloodstream mucks onto proteins, creating something called advanced glycation end products
or AGE’s for short. It’s the cellular equivalent of pouring
maple syrup on your keyboard. One example is a banana. As it gets more ripe, you see some brown spots
on the peel and if you peel the banana you can see some dark spots which are particularly
sweet. The same thing happens to your skin over time:
proteins in your bloodstream get sugar stuck on them and the resulting AGE’s damage your
skin internally, creating age spots. You also see these spots from external damage
from the sun. Where these things become a real problem is
in diabetics who have trouble controlling their blood sugar, and end up with a large
amount of AGE’s.

This is why diabetics can lose sight in their
eyes and may even end up having to amputate their toes because these are the places with
very small capillaries where it’s easy for these AGE’s to get stuck and cause serious
damage. So back to the glucose processing: Your muscles
and liver have stored as much glucose as they can, and your body really does not want glucose
overloading the cells, so it decreases the insulin receptors on most cells preventing
the glucose from getting in. Then, glucose is broken down and stored as
triglycerides in the only place where insulin receptors are actually increasing- your body
fat. So this is how carbohydrates and the insulin
response cause you to get fat. A couple years back before I learned about
intermittent fasting and this low carb business, there was an all you can eat Yakiniku- Japanese
barbecue place that I’d sometimes go to.

It’s common to always have a bowl of rice
to accompany the meat when you’re eating, but one day I decided to skip the rice and
just focus on the meat. The next day I noticed something new: I felt
stuffed the entire day and I didn’t want to eat until dinner. Whereas when I usually had the rice with my
meat, I was already starving for breakfast by morning. Now, I finally understand what was going on. To use the energy within our fat tissues,
fatty acids are taken out of the tissue to be broken down for energy.

Which obviously would make you shed fat. But when you have a high serum insulin level
from eating too much carbohydrate, you cannot break down your fat tissue because the enzyme
that allows that – hormone sensitive lipase, is sensitive to insulin, which will not allow
the fat to be broken down. So you then have this situation where insulin
won’t let you use your fat for energy, so when you’re low on energy, you’re going
to feel very lethargic and hungry until you get new glucose. This is how high blood sugar and insulin keeps
you fat and keeps you hungry. People don’t get fat because they want to
eat all the time, they want to eat all the time because they’re getting fat. So then, are people staying fat because they
don’t exercise, or do they not exercise because they don’t have any energy available
to do so? I would argue the latter. So the diet and exercise recommendations we’ve
been getting the past several decades ignore basic endocrinology and something natural
to all animals: the desire to keep their biological processes balanced and remain in homeostasis.

For example: Your body always wants to stay
at a constant temperature, so when it’s too hot, your metabolism slows down so you
don’t overheat from the inside. When it’s cold, you start to shiver so the
glycogen stored in your muscles breaks down and produces heat to maintain your body temperature. Your body will also auto regulate your blood
pressure, as well as your sodium and other mineral levels. Physiologist Edward F Adolph back in the 1940's
found that however he tried to trick his lab rats, he couldn’t get them to take in more
nutrients than usual. He would dilute their food with water and
they just drank more of it until they got the same amount of nutrients, and he would
even pump food into their stomachs and they would then just eat less. So why would we humans, the smartest and most
evolutionarily successful creatures on the planet, have to expend willpower and consciously
regulate how much we eat? The simple answer is that if you feed your
body properly, it will regulate consumption for you.

In the 1960’s Ethan Sims conducted experiments
where he took prisoners from the Vermont State prison and tried to overfeed them with either
carbs or fat on top of their normal diet. He could get them to eat an excess of 7000
calories in carbs per day, yet getting them to eat 800 calories of fat, about 1 stick
of butter, took a heroic amount of effort. It takes willpower to overeat if you are on
the right diet, but it takes even more willpower to not overeat if you are on the wrong diet This is the issue.

Humans have not had time to adapt to the massive
amount of low fiber carbohydrates recently introduced to our diet. The low fiber aspect is important because
Fiber reduces the rate of intestinal carbohydrate absorption, reducing the insulin response,
and essentially preventing all these problems I just talked about. Way back when we were hunting and gathering
and before the cultivation of sweeter and juicier fruit, we were getting about 100 to
300 grams of fiber a day, whereas today the average is more like 15 grams. So no, the people of Texas and others struggling
with their weight are not just lazy, we’ve just had the wrong food and the wrong advice
pushed on us the past 40 years.

By the way, remember how I said I slimmed
up by exercising when I was young? That wasn’t really me, it was my hormones. I went through a massive hormonal change called.. puberty, which slimmed me up and gave me the
energy to exercise- not the other way around. If you liked this video, make sure to subscribe
and if you’d like to help the channel please check me out on Patreon.

If you still have some questions about the
significance of calories, or the potential harm from fats, take a look at these other
two videos of mine. Credit for some of the information in here
goes to Albert Lehninger’s principles of Biochemistry textbook, Gary Taubes’ book
“Good Calories Bad Calories,” his other book “Why we get fat”, Robert Lustig’s
book “Fat Chance” and Johnathon Bailor’s book “The Calorie Myth”.

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