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March 4, 2013

Obesity Is Not A Choice, But If It Were….

obesityObesity is not a Choice?

Obesity is not a choice according to Robert Lustig, MD in his must read book Fat Chance.  Given the health consequences and the social stigma of being overfat it sure doesn’t seem like people would choose to be fat and I agree with Dr. Lustig.

I’ve met and treated a few who don’t seem to mind carrying around extra weight. And some seem indifferent to the fact that they are at higher risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and arthritis too. Perhaps they are simply beaten down and have given up.

Sometimes a little reverse psychology works. That was our thought when we wrote a tongue in cheek piece titled How To Age Faster And Die YoungerOur hope was we could motivate people to improve their health habits by telling them steps they could take to actually shorten their life span. So today we are going to the same with topic of obesity. Instead of telling you how to lose fat, we are going to share with you the secrets of joining the obesity club.

If Obesity Were a Choice

Obesity is not an imbalance in calories. It is an imbalance in hormones. So says Gary Taubes in his book, Why We Get Fat. We have been conditioned to think that weight loss or gain is a simple arithmetic equation where we gain weight when we consume more calories than we burn. And we lose weight when we burn more calories than we take in. In reality, it is more complicated than that.

No matter how much you exercise and how little you eat you will not lose meaningful weight if you have a hormonal imbalance. Having a hormonal imbalance is a prerequisite to fat gain. So if you want to gain fat develop a hormonal imbalance. The easiest way to do this is to figure out a way to raise insulin levels. Insulin is primarily thought as the hormone that regulates sugar metabolism – which it does. But, it is also the main hormone that regulates fat storage.


Perhaps the best way to become obese is to raise insulin is to eat simple sugars including high fructose corn syrup. It’s easy to find sugar laden foods. Nearly anything in a bag, box, can, or jar has sugar in it.  Another way of looking at it is eat everything that your great-grandmother would not recognize as food.

As long as insulin is elevated you cannot burn calories from fat, and instead, you store more calories as fat. Guess what this does? Since you are unable to tap into your fat stores to fuel your body’s energy needs, you eat to provide the body with an immediates source of calories found circulating in the bloodstream.

So in the presence of high insulin we find ourselves repeatedly eating. This is what Gary Taubes means when he says, “We don’t get fat because we overeat. We overeat because we get fat.”

So eat sugar if you want to gain fat.

Sex Hormones

As we age our sex hormones decline. When they do, ignore them. Ignore the fact that you may not have any libido. Ignore the fact that people tell you you’re moody. Ignore the fact that you’re tired and in a brain fog. And, ignore the fact that you’re getting fatter the older you become.

How do sex hormones relate to fat gain? Most of us can control our weight during early adulthood, but once sex hormones begin to decline many of us begin to struggle with fat gain. Both testosterone and estrogen inhibit an enzyme called lipoprotein lipase or LPL. LPL pulls fat from the bloodstream and into the cells. LPL is found in abundance in fat tissues. When testosterone and estrogen are low LPL goes unchecked and we gain fat.


The benefits of exercise on weight loss are overstated, but exercise does help some. So don’t exercise if you want to gain fat. Spend as much time as you can on the couch, and be sure to use the remote to change the station on the television. Take the elevator to walk up one flight of stairs. and drive around the parking lot for 30 minutes to find the closest parking spot possible to the store.


Poor sleep is associated with overeating. Disrupt your sleep as much as possible in order to gain fat. Go to bed late. Sleep with lights on or music blaring. If you’re guy be sure to get up every hour or two to use the bathroom – that’s an effective way of not gettng a good night’s sleep.


Lastly, don’t start the day off right by eating breakfast. People who routinely skip breakfast tend to be fatter. Forget the advice of eating breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper.

So there you have it – five secrets to pack on extra pounds around the belly and hips, five steps towards obesity.

See related articles.

Sleep: An Easy Way To Lose Weight

The Myths About Calories In – Calories Out

Hormones Control Appetite And Weight Loss

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Dr. Joe Jacko

Dr. Joe is board certified in internal medicine and sports medicine with additional training in hormone replacement therapy and regenerative medicine. He has trained or practiced at leading institutions including the Hughston Clinic, Cooper Clinic, Steadman-Hawkins Clinic of the Carolinas, and Cenegenics. He currently practices in Columbus, Ohio at Grandview Primary Care. Read more about Dr. Joe Jacko

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