Taubes - Chapter 14 - Injustice Collecting

- POSTED ON: Jan 01, 2011


Taubes begins

“If you’re predisposed to get fat
and want to be as lean as you can be
without compromising your health,
you have to restrict carbohydrates
and so keep your blood sugar and insulin levels low.

…you don’t lose fat because you cut calories;
you lose fat because you cut out the foods
that make you fat – the carbohydrates.

 If you get down to a weight you like,
and then add those foods back into the diet,
you’ll get fat again.

That only some people get fat from eating carbohydrates 
 (just as only some get lung cancer from smoking cigarettes)

doesn’t change the fact that if you’re one of the ones who do,
you’ll only lose fat and keep it off if you avoid these foods.”

Carbohydrates make us fat and keep us fat,
and those foods are the ones we’re likely to want the most
and would never want to live without.

Taubes says this is no coincidence.

“It’s clear from animal research
that the foods animals prefer to eat in excess
are those that most quickly supply energy to the cells –
easily digestible carbohydrates.”

Another factor is how hungry we are,
because the hungrier we are, the better foods taste.
Taubes says that insulin works to increase our feelings of hunger,
and he provides details of how this works in the body.

He says

“This palatability-by-blood-sugar-and-insulin response
is …exaggerated in people who are fat or predisposed to get fat.
And the fatter they get, the more they’ll crave carbohydrate-rich foods,
because their insulin will be more effective at stashing fat
and protein in their muscles and fat tissue,
where they can’t be used for fuel.”

 Taubes says that once you are resistant to insulin,
there is insulin coursing through your veins
during most of the day, and during those periods
the only fuel you can burn is glucose from carbohydrates.

“The insulin, remember, is working to keep protein and fat
and even glycogen…safely stashed away for later.
It’s telling our cells that there is blood sugar in excess to be burned,
but there’s not.

Even if you eat fat and protein – a hamburger without the bun,
or a hunk of cheese – the insulin will work to store these nutrients
rather than allow your body to burn them for fuel.
You will have little desire to eat these,

at least without some carbohydrate-rich bread as well,
because your body, at the moment,
has little interest in burning it for fuel.”

 He says sweets are a special case.

“First, the unique metabolic effects of fructose in the liver,
combined with the insulin-stimulating effect of glucose,
might be enough to induce cravings in those predisposed to fatten.

When you eat sugar…
it triggers a response in the brain…the “reward center”…
All food does this to some extent,
because that’s what the reward system..evolved to do;
reinforce behaviors (eating and sex) that benefit the species.

But sugar seems to hijack the signal to an unnatural degree,
just as cocaine and nicotine do.
If we believe the animal research,
then sugar and HFCS are addictive in the same way that drugs are
and for much the same biochemical reasons.”

Taubes ends the chapter by saying that like smoking,

“the cigarettes that give us lung cancer
also make us crave the cigarettes that give us lung cancer

the foods that make us fat 
also make us crave precisely the foods that make us fat.”

Well, I know a lot about craving the foods that make me fat,
and I completely believe that statement.
I also like Taubes comparison of
cigarettes and lung cancer to the carb cravings.

Everything Taubes says here makes sense to me,
and yet, I have difficulty believing that it is carbohydrates
instead of calories that make me fat.
It is difficult to overcome the ”conventional wisdom”
in my mind that tells me that calories really matter.

I’ve moved to the position that perhaps restricting carbs
will help me lose and maintain weight,
but at this point,
I just am not able to believe this would allow me to
stop restricting calories as well.
My own prior knowledge and experience says otherwise.

I’m still personally thinking calories-in/calories out
is at least a partial truth that belongs somewhere in this concept,
and that maybe a practical application combining
both concepts is necessary for the bodies of some people.
There are those who believe “calories-in/calories-out”
is the simple truth,
and say that Low-Carb eating is simply:

“a way to be satisfied on a low-calorie healthy diet
by the clever use of
reduced carbs to control appetite spikes,
and increased fat to add satiety.”

 I think Taubes clearly shows that low-carb issues
are far more complicated than that,
but my response to that above-quoted statement is:
even if that’s totally how and why it works,
if it would let me maintain my current weight
without feeling so hungry,
I’d be fine with that..


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Existing Comments:

On Feb 18, 2011 wrote:
I dog eared the page with the sentence…………………………. "Even before we begin eating, insulin works to increase our feeling of hunger." …………………………..The other key thought in here was a reference to "people who are fat or predisposed to get that way". Taubes wrote about them:………………………………."The fatter they get, the more they'll crave carbohydrate-rich feeds, because their insulin will be more effective at stashing fat and protein in their muscle and fat tissue." ……………………………………………………….A few days ago, when we took a tour in the Tower-Soudan mine, there were two bats flying around in an area where the tour guide was talking with us. I was terrified, absolutely terrified. If a bat got anywhere near me, I crouched down. The tour guide even commented on my behavior. ………………..Over the last few days, I’ve come to realize that my reaction to hunger is similar to my reaction to those bats. I’m terrified. That’s why I’m bingeing. As I learn to welcome hunger growls, I’ll learn to overcome my terror of hunger. That will take time, which is why I’m still so fat. The root cause of my obesity is the fear of starvation, and becoming accustomed to a hunger growl will take time. I only have to reach one more hunger growl this week, and I’m comfortable now having small meals. The reason why I'm so interested in the production of insulin before actual eating is that something was going on when I only allowed myself to eat after a stomach growl, and it was a physical reaction brought on by a mental decision…………………………………………………… At the end of Injustice Collecting, Taubes writes ……………………….."The cycle can be broken, although it requires fighting these cravings... but not without constant effort and vigilience." ……………………………..I'm not exactly thin, so I can't be saying that this approach of intermittent fasting is the answer, but I can say that I'd rather be obese than have to live with "constant effort and vigilence." ……………………………………..Low carb, like calorie counting, means the same thing in the end: the need to constantly restrict what you eat so that you cannot ever feel fully satisfied. If you crave a bagel, bacon and eggs will not satify. ………………………I prefer the approach of intermittent restriction. If it means I'll never be thin, so be it.

On Feb 19, 2011 Karen925 wrote:
I think it is and/both. Both reduced calories and reduced carbs whatever those levels might be for each person. I think at this point, psychology comes into play. Because the memory of pleasure from these foods beckons, even if hunger does not.

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