Having spent the better part of my life being told that the reason for my clumsiness was a lack of effort and that my stomach pain was all in my head, I am very sensitive to any situation where a medical condition is treated like a character flaw. No where is this more obvious today than when it comes to obesity. I am sick of fat shaming and acting like willpower can fix obesity. Obesity is not about character, willpower or healthy eating choices.
Yes, you can probably force the body to starve and shed the weight, but the truth is that when your health is in alignment, eating without overdoing it is effortless.
Oh and there is a staggering amount of research showing that the obesity crisis is actually the result of antibiotic overuse, MSG, and quite possibly pesticides and fruit juice.
Wanna see it?
I began to suspect that obesity and processed food might not be very related when our household switched back to eating like it was 1973. This got me thinking about life back in 1973. Back in the day when breakfast was cling peaches in heavy syrup, orange juice and a big bowl of sugar coated dyed cereal drowned in whole milk. Lunch was processed meat on squishy white bread with mayonnaise and a side of chips and of course, dessert. Dinner was pork, carrots, green beans (your two veggies for the day) and then of course, more dessert. Usually we washed it all down with powdered sugary “fruit punch” which did not actually contain fruit or fruit by products. The moms all drank gin and tonic with lots of sugar and we thought spray can cheese was an appetizer.
Yet somehow, no one I knew was obese. Even with all that sugar, the only people I knew with diabetes were over forty or had the autoimmune kind.
Don’t get me wrong, my friends all had cavities, lots and lots of cavities. This diet was not particularly healthy, but I literally knew one person who was obese. ONE. We used to have ads in every magazine promising to help people GAIN weight.
If sugar, poor willpower, and processed food were to blame more of us should have been fatter.
So why weren’t we?
As it turns out there are three scientifically proven ways to make a mammal fat without adding calories. Ranchers use some of these methods to get their animals to gain weight before selling them. Others are used by scientists who need obese research subjects. Those methods are.
Feed the animal MSG or monosodium glutamate
Feed the animal antibiotics
Give the animal access to fructose
I have covered the research on MSG at length in another blog post which you can access here.
So today we are going to discuss antibiotics.
You may think that cows are given antibiotics to keep them healthy in feedlots. You would be partly correct. The main reason to give animals antibiotics is that it makes them gain weight faster, and like MSG, they gain the weight faster without actually needing to ingest more calories or food.
You may think that you digest your own food. That is only partly true. Your gut bacteria extract calories from foods. So if you have certain gut bacteria, they will squeeze out every calorie from what you eat. Here is the research paper about how to make mice fat using just gut flora.
And here is how mice with a germ free intestine never get fat even when fed lots of fructose and or fat.
The link between obesity and gut flora is not new news by the way
And again listen to the language scientists use. This link between obesity and antibiotics is only a theory like evolution is a theory.
“The acquired obesity observed in patients treated with vancomycin may be related to a modulation of the gut microbiota rather than a direct antibiotic effect” note the tone of that quote. The fact that vancomycin causes obesity is just how it is.
Long doses of doxycycline caused morbid weight gain in 23% of humans
Even the low grade antibiotics left over in the water and the animals we eat are suspected of causing obesity
They don’t yet have an easy or guaranteed way to fix gut flora damaged by antibiotics, but here are a few things that might help
1) Drink only filtered water or coffee or tea made with filtered water to avoid antibiotics in the water.
2) Up your intake of probiotics especially fermented veggies. I consume probiotics every day.
2) Increase fiber and prebiotic intake. This can be peas, beans, lentils, flax, chia, or even certain grains.
3) Eat only grass fed antibiotic free meats and organic produce at home
4) Don’t eat out. Especially anything laden with MSG like pizza. If you doubt the MSG load in pizza check out Food Babe’s expose of pizza chains here.
Do I know that this will work? No I don’t. The microbiome is complex and hard to permanently alter. Changing these habits takes willpower and yes they are kind of a hassle, but the payoff is huge.
And if all those research papers are making your head spin here is the NPR interview
So what CAN you do to lose the weight and end up like me…eating caramel at 1am and still being thin?
1) Stop drinking anything with sugar in it especially juice
2) Eat fermented veggies, take probiotics etc. I drink probiotic drinks (like fruit free kombucha and a product called KeVita every day and I also eat real, vinegar free, live fermented veggies. (no shelf stable saurkraut or pickles)
3) Do not eat out or eat processed foods unless they have less than five ingredients and none of those ingredients is a synonym for MSG
4) Eat 100% organic. Even GMO free foods may have been treated with antimicrobial pesticides. You want your microbes healthy.
5) Find a way to manage and release stress. I do yoga and meditation but many other activities also work to help your microbes thrive.
Do I know that this will work…no. But I do know that once I added the probiotics to my diet I got fuller faster and my appetite went way down. It is certainly worth a try.