It is a Tenet of our modern society that:

We control what we eat and how much we exercise. If you are obese, it must be because you chose to either eat more, exercise less, or both. Lustig, Robert H. (2012-12-27). Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity, and Disease (p. 11). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

It is Lustig’s mission to prove that this belief is just not reality – that Personal Responsibility is a straw horse used by those who profit off the Obese so that their own Responsibility for Obesity does not come to the fore.

He spends a great deal the book showing how the false belief of Personal Responsibility and the failure to acknowledge the true causes of obesity result in the continuing increase in obesity.  He shows that:

  1. Obesity is not choice.
  2. Diet and exercise don’t work.
  3. The Obesity Epidemic is now a Pandemic.
  4. Even animals raised in captivity are getting fat.
  5. The Poor pay more.
  6. The Greatest rate of increase in obesity is in our young ones.

He believes that we are not in control of our behavior because Our Biochemistry and Hormones Drive Our Behavior.  To prove that point, he inundates us with Science.  No problem.  He has to prove his point – and he does it rather well.  Insulin and Leptin – are the two key hormones

The more insulin there is, the more energy goes to fat. Normally your fat makes more leptin, which would feedback on your hypothalamus and decrease your insulin by reducing appetite and limiting your energy intake. In this way, the “servo-mechanism” between leptin, the brain, your pancreas, your insulin, and your fat cells maintains normal energy balance. But…if your hypothalamus can’t see your leptin (in this case, because those neurons are dead from a brain tumor ), then your brain thinks it’s starving. It will reduce your activity to conserve energy, and increase your appetite to store more energy. When leptin doesn’t work, the biochemistry comes first and the behaviors of gluttony and sloth are secondary. (p. 44). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition. 

We hear so much about Insulin Resistance but he adds a second layer – Leptin Resistance.

All these obese adult subjects had high leptin levels. They were leptin resistant; if their leptin worked right, they wouldn’t have been obese. (p. 45). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

And the cause – the pervasiveness of sugar in our food – which significantly raises Insulin levels not just periodically but all the time.  This impairs leptin signaling.  Our energy gets stored – but – our brains see starvation, and our obesity worsens.

Once he explains the biochemistry behind this thesis, he continues on to show that Sugar is an addictive substance and that Big Food knows this and plays us with it as they did with nicotine.

He does not come down in favor of any one diet.  He simply states that all diets rely on controlling sugar to greater or lesser degrees.  Here is where he takes a turn into more Natural Food.  He blames the stripping of the plants natural fiber during processing as one of the underlying causes for this problem.   He states that once the fiber is processed out – you can’t put it back as an additive and have it work the way it should.

To get the full metabolic benefits of fiber, it needs to “coat” the starch granule on all sides (forming a sphere, or a “kernel”) so that the digestive enzymes in the intestine must slowly strip it away. The starch (endosperm) is on the inside. The bran is on the outside. The whole kernel represents a source of insoluble fiber. Strip away the outside bran, and you are left only with the starch (glucose). When you ingest the whole kernel, your intestines will slowly strip away the outside bran, making the rise in serum glucose occur slowly and reach a lower peak concentration. But when the outside bran is removed by processing, your liver is hit with an influx of glucose and the rise occurs quickly, with a higher peak. And that means a higher insulin peak.

So, to derive maximal effects from fiber, you need to consume products with the unadulterated whole grain. (pp. 132-133). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

And then he becomes an Advocate for Change – a heavy-duty – ranting Advocate.  His call for action falls on deaf ears.  Neither Governments nor Big Food will act.  He believes that change must come from a grass-roots movement – that’s right – you and me.  We must get out there and beat the drums, only then will our institutions listen.

I’m all for it – let’s storm the Bastille – but first – I’ve got to stop at Mickey D’s for dinner.