Tara Parker-Pope recently wrote about her weight struggles in the New York Times magazine and concluded based on her interviews--and personal experience--that once a person gains weight, the body prefers its cushiony state and resists our most valiant attempts to cut calories and increase energy expenditures.
Writing in his book, "Why We Get Fat And What To Do About It," Gary Taubes explains why obesity may be an endocrine disorder caused at least in part by our increased consumption of refined grains and sugars ("carbs"). White bread and sugar rev up our insulin levels. High levels of this hormone are linked to both heart disease and diabetes, says Taubes, and also to increased body fat. Taube explains today in The Daily Beast:
In the past decade, clinical trials have repeatedly demonstrated that when obese and overweight individuals consciously restrict the carbohydrates they eat, but not calories, they not only tend to lose significant weight, but their heart disease and diabetes risk factors improve significantly as well. Their insulin resistance, in effect, resolves. (An observation that itself suggests that it’s the quantity and quality of carbohydrates we consume that are the fundamental cause of metabolic syndrome.)
Another well-accepted effect of carbohydrate-restriction is that intrusive and obsessive thoughts of food seem to disappear on these diets. People lose weight, but they’re not hungry doing so. In fact, the American Medical Association has described the absence of hunger (technically “anorexia”) as a side effect of diets that severely restrict carbohydrate content but otherwise allow dieters to eat as many calories (from fat and protein) as they want.
And there's more: Diabetes seems to increase the risk of Alzheimer's disease, suggesting that insulin has some role there, too. In fact, insulin treatment is being investigated as a possible treatment for early Alzheimer's. Here's what MayoClinic.com says:
The link between type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer's may be especially strong as a result of the complex ways that type 2 diabetes affects the ability of the brain and other body tissues to use sugar (glucose) and respond to insulin.
That bagel looks amazing, but maybe I'll just take the lox.