There Is No Single Cause of (Or Treatment For) Obesity | Chris Kresser
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There Is No Single Cause of (Or Treatment For) Obesity

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One of the most hotly debated subjects over the past few years has been the cause of the obesity epidemic, and along with that, the best strategy for weight loss.

Some folks (Atkins, Taubes, Eades, etc.) believe that carbohydrates are to blame. Others (Ornish, Campbell, Esselstyn, Fuhrman, etc.) believe that fat is the problem. More recently, researchers like Seth Roberts and Stephan Guyenet and clinicians like Dr. Sharma have raised awareness of another hypothesis, called the food reward theory, which holds that the consumption of highly palatable foods leads to overeating and weight gain. And Paul Jaminet and others have argued that micronutrient deficiencies, toxins and infections may play a significant role in the obesity epidemic.

Here’s what I think: the most accurate answer to “why do people get fat?” and “what’s the most effective weight loss strategy?” is: “it depends.”

Separating Cause from Mechanism and Effect

One of the biggest mistakes often made in this debate is the confounding of cause, mechanism and effect. A classic example is the assumption that if reducing carbohydrate or fat intake leads to weight loss, then the original weight gain must have been caused by excess carbohydrate or fat consumption.

While it’s tempting to make such an assumption, the logic is faulty. It’s kind of like saying “Advil cures headaches. Therefore, headaches must be caused by Advil deficiency.”

Let’s look at some definitions.

Cause: something that brings about an effect or a result

Mechanism: the fundamental processes involved in or responsible for an action, reaction, or other natural phenomenon

Effect: an outward sign

Obesity is an effect. Insulin resistance, leptin resistance, lipotoxicity, disruption of the mesolimbic dopamine reward pathway and inflammation of the hypothalamus are presumed mechanisms. Excess consumption of carbohydrates, fat, highly palatable food and food toxins (wheat, seed oils, liquid fructose, etc.), exposure to environmental toxins (chemicals), stress, infections, etc. are presumed causes.

Say we do a study on obese people and we observe that they eat a lot of carbohydrates and are insulin and leptin resistant. It’s easy to assume that the chain of causality worked like this: normal weight person eats high-carbohydrate diet, becomes insulin and leptin resistant, and then becomes obese.

But again, this is faulty logic. There’s no proof that A (high carbohydrate intake) was what led to B (insulin and leptin resistance) was what led to C (obesity).

In fact, we could disprove that theory simply by observing another individual or group that eats a very high carbohydrate diet, but does not develop insulin or leptin resistance and obesity. Guess what? Such individuals and groups most certainly exist. There goes that theory.

Likewise, we could also disprove this theory by observing people that are insulin and leptin resistant, but don’t become obese. Such people do exist, and I’ve written about them in my series on diabesity and metabolic syndrome.

A More Rigorous Approach

How have we developed our theories on obesity and weight regulation? It seems to me they come from a blend of personal experience, belief and facts. And I think it’s time to become more rigorous about keeping them separate. Here’s an example of what I mean:

Personal experience: I lose weight on an low-carb diet, therefore low-carb diets must be best for weight loss.

Belief: carbohydrates are responsible for the obesity epidemic, via their effects on insulin.

Fact: many cultures around the world eat high-carbohydrate diets and are exceptionally lean.

Those who’ve lost a lot of weight on a low-carb diet have a tendency to become convinced that their wife, friends, family, plumber and everyone else will also lose weight following the same diet.

From this personal experience, a belief is formed. And once we believe in something, we have a remarkable ability to filter out any evidence that might contradict that belief.

This is especially true if our reputation or financial livelihood is tied to said belief. As Upton Sinclair famously said:

It’s difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary is dependent upon him not understanding it.

When a belief like “carbs cause obesity” is shared between enough individuals, it becomes a meme. Once that happens, it is accepted by most as fact – regardless of whether it has any scientific basis. Hence we had the idea for decades that eating fat makes you fat, and now the more recent idea that eating carbs makes you fat.

There’s No Single Cause (Or Treatment) of Obesity

Perhaps one of the reasons it’s so easy to confuse cause, mechanism and effect and personal experience, belief and fact is that obesity is an incredibly complex disease. Just how complex is it?

Click on the Obesity Systems Influence Diagram below to find out.

Click image for larger version

Wow. That should give you a rough idea of how many variables are potentially involved in weight regulation. Now you know why it has been such a challenge to come up with a single, unified theory of obesity.

That said, of all of the hypotheses advanced to explain the mechanisms behind obesity, I think the food reward theory is the most inclusive.

However, as even its proponents would agree, it doesn’t tell the whole story because there are people and groups that eat large amounts of highly palatable foods that do not become obese.

My opinion is that the modern lifestyle (i.e. food and environmental toxins, stress, poor gut health, infections, micronutrient deficiencies, sleep deprivation, etc.) interfere with hypothalamic hormonal regulation, dopamine signaling, leptin and insulin sensitivity at the cellular level, glucose metabolism and a range of other mechanisms that lead to obesity.

This is consistent with the observation that obesity is extremely rare or nonexistent in traditional cultures that do not consume modern foods and do not live a “modern” lifestyle.

But even this theory is incomplete, because there are people fully exposed to the modern lifestyle that do not become overweight or obese. This suggests that genetics, and perhaps other undiscovered factors, also play a role.

We’re Not Robots

Humans are not robots. We’re living, breathing, dynamic organisms influenced by varying genetics and environmental conditions.

Anthropological evidence combined with modern research has helped us to reveal the basic template of a species-appropriate diet. However, it has also shown us that humans can thrive on a wide variety of macronutrient ratios and foods within that basic template.

This is not a belief. It’s a fact, supported by the evidence as a whole. Ignoring the evidence doesn’t make it go away. Believing passionately in something doesn’t make it true. Experiencing something personally doesn’t make it fact for everybody else.

19th century philosopher Charles Peirce said:

The state of belief is a calm and satisfactory state which we do not wish to avoid, or to change to a belief in anything else.

And Tolstoy said:

I know that most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it be such as would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives.

Recognizing this basic human trait, philosopher of science Karl Popper advised every researcher to earnestly try to discredit their own hypotheses.

That is no easy task, and it asks a lot of us. Yet intellectual rigor, emotional maturity and personal integrity are characterized by the capacity to question our own beliefs, no matter how deeply cherished they are or how much is at stake.

I sometimes wonder why we’re all so sure of ourselves. It helps me to remember that at every point in history scientists (and the general public) were convinced they had the right answers. At one time the world was flat, the earth was the center of the solar system and disease was caused by foul humors and could be cured by bloodletting.

Nowadays we look back on those fallacies with a smirk. But are we so arrogant to assume that our great-grandchildren won’t do the same?

The truth is, there’s far more we don’t know than we do know.

138 Comments

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  1. Thank you for an helpful article and great discussion in the comments section. It is indeed complex. I will throw one more element into the mix, primarily based on my own experience, and that is the danger of extreme diets causing the body to go into ‘starvation mode’ and ultimately making it worse. I’d gone down to one small meal a day (I know, none of you would ever recommend or do such a thing! But I was young and ignorant and it was 1974) and I still couldn’t lose the last 15 pounds. A change in roommates brought about a change in diet (being a bit of an eating chameleon) so I was easily eating two or three times the amount – and I started losing the weight. I learned I need to feed my body early in the day to reassure it “we’re getting food today!” Almost as if I have to trick it into burning calories…. My point: avoid starvation mode because at least some of us were designed to survive the long famine.

  2. Chris: this blog post reminded me of something I read in “The Web that has No Weaver”, a book about Chinese medicine. Patients that were diagnosed with angina by Western doctors were sent for examination and treatment by traditional Chinese medicine doctors. The TCM doctors found five different distinct patterns among the patients, with different herbs prescribed for each pattern (BTW: the subjective improvement was 91%). This shows that though the symptoms were the same, the underlying mechanisms were completely different. Great blog.

  3. ps…. the link I just posted also addresses a link between asthma and hypothyroidism… and that he treated asthma patients with dessicated thyroid with good results…

  4. I’ve been doing a lot of internet research on hypothyroidism and various treatments. In the process I came across Dr. Derry, a former brilliant Canadian researcher who later became a brilliant GP… and learned much from his patients. He did a lot of research on iodine deficiencies and modern diseases, especially cancer… and in fact wrote a book after he retired called Breast Cancer and Iodine…. and described patients he had treated with iodine (Lugol’s) and their subsequent remissions.

    I have found his work fascinating and in doing some further research tonight came across an article of his (in response to a reader question on Mary Shomon’s thyroid.about.com site) where he lays out an hypothesis for the fact that Japanese are heavy smokers yet have a very low lung cancer rate, which several people commented on upthread.

    Here’s the link, see what you think… it sounds highly plausible to me:
    http://thyroid.about.com/library/derry/bl10.htm

  5. The ongoing issue of specific foods may be missing the point, it’s how the body deals with the foods. Research on stress and inflammation demonstrate this may be the key issue, not the food we eat. For example: Circulating IL-6 stimulates the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis, activation of which is associated with central obesity, hypertension and insulin resistance (Yudkin et al, 2000).
    Environmental, perinatal and genetic factors induce neuroendocrine perturbations followed by abdominal obesity with its associated co-morbidities. The activation of the HPA axis and the sympathetic nervous system have been utilised as objective measurements of stress reactions and elevated cortisol, particularly when combined with secondary inhibition of sex steroids and growth hormone secretions, which causes accumulation of fat in visceral adipose tissues as well as metabolic abnormalities (Björntorp , 2001).
    Also, low HPA axis (burnout) and locus ceruleus–norepinephrine (LC/NE) activity, fatigue, depressive symptomatology, hyperalgesia and increased immune/inflammatory responses to stimuli are pathophysiologic effects of the dysregulation of the stress response, which may result in vulnerability to several disease entities, such as anxiety or depression and chronic inflammatory processes including GI function (Tsigos & Chrousos 2002). Certain exteroceptive stressful life events have been associated with the onset or symptom exacerbation in some of the most common chronic disorders of the digestive system, including functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGD), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD), and peptic ulcer disease (PUD) (Mayer,2000).

    Mayer EA. The neurobiology of stress and gastrointestinal disease. Gut 2000;47:861-869 doi:10.1136/gut.47.6.861
    Tsigos C & Chrousos GP. Hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis, neuroendocrine factors and stress. J Psychosomatic Research. Volume 53, Issue 4, Pages 865-871 (October 2002)
    Yudkin JS, Kumari M, Humphries SE & Mohamed-Ali V. Inflammation, obesity, stress and coronary heart disease: is interleukin-6 the link? Atherosclerosis. Volume 148, Issue 2, 1 February 2000, Pp 209-14 doi:10.1016/S0021-9150(99)00463-3
    Björntorp P. Do stress reactions cause abdominal obesity and comorbidities? Obesity Reviews. Volume 2, Issue 2, pages 73–86, May 2001. DOI: 10.1046/j.1467-789x.2001.00027.

  6. I love the tone of his article! It seems that obesity is a product of our modern diet, but that the cure for people who have it may not be so simple. I love that you challenge your readers to question our hypotheses and stop being so arrogant about our beliefs.

  7. I propose that we change the acronym for HFCS per Barry Groves’ suggestion (from a Sept 2010 post on his blog http://www.barrygroves.blogspot.com):

    “The Corn Refiners Association (CRA) has been trying for years to make high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), which I prefer to call the ‘Corn Refiners Association Product’ (CRAP), as acceptable as all other forms of sugar.” and he goes on to talk about their re-branding efforts to begin calling it corn sugar… but I much prefer CRAP!

  8. Here is an interesting abstract on the issue of gluten
    Hansen AK, Ling F, Kaas A, Funda DP, Farlov H, Buschard K. Diabetes preventive gluten-free diet decreases the number of caecal bacteria in non-obese diabetic mice. Diabetes Metab Res Rev. 2006 May-Jun;22(3):220-5.

  9. My theory from personal experience and extensive reading over the past 30 years: stress is the underlying culprit for all dis-ease – including obesity. I posit that smokers who don’t get lung disease are people who are calmed greatly by their smoking, and don’t have a lot of other stress in their lives. The best way to deal with stress? Intense physical activity OR intense physical inactivity/meditation OR intense laughter – I love Chris’s idea about making FUN a part of your everyday life – lose the fun, lose your life, I think?

    I gained 30 pounds in 3 months 25 years ago, despite all thyroid tests being within “normal” limits and no change to my diet (except for perhaps eating LESS!). In the 6 mos. prior, my husband lost his job, we moved ourselves & 3 kids 3x (including cross-country), sold & purchased a home, one child had to have hernia surgery, and we moved in with my parents (and a father who was abusive.) The other key thing that went missing from my life during this time was regular exercise AND laughter……

    If you just look at the mobility in the US since 1970’s (moving is stressful, ask a military family!) and the technology that has allowed us to become a nation of watchers, as opposed to doers (we have to be entertained!), coupled with the addition of highly processed “fast” food (when I was a kid the only fast food was making your own peanut butter & jelly sandwich to take with you when you went outside to play after school) and you have a great recipe for diabesity.

    At 55, and morbidly obese, I am re-learning how to play from my toddler grandkids – avoiding gluten, sugar/processed foods & most fruits, and trying to figure out how to parent an adult child who is mentally ill/neuro-atypical who lives with me – a non-ending “stress piece” of my life. It is probably too late for me to regain the physical vitality of my youth given my weight status – but I am SO appreciative to have found the Healthy Skeptic (via Kathleen DesMaisons – “Potatoes not Prozac”) and scientifically-based blogs, opinions, insights! Keep up the great dialogue, Chris, and congrats on your new parenthood – the best education you get will be from her!

    ps – still love the “Healthy Skeptic” title – hate to see it go………

  10. Very interesting. HFCS does sound like the smoking gun, doesn’t? Still it’s only one fact among many. We need to take into consideration the well established fact that the health of whole populations deteriorates as soon as they are introduced to modern food, even before the advent of HFCS. It could be that people of European descent (among others) were partially adapted to eating a diet flour and sugar. This would explain why modern diseases were not as prevalent as today, before 1950. Could it be that HFCS is the factor that made everything tip over? Or could it be that something in our grandparents diet was protective ? Could it be the combination of HFCS, modern wheat, and PUFA?

    There has been so many changes over the past 50 years. Soil depletion, the green revolution, a massive move from the country to the city, an explosion in manufacturing, in the use of plastics, to name but a few; hundreds and hundred of factors. Our modern lifestyle is so radically different from that of let’s say, the Kitavans. We are so focused on nutritional changes, it might be that there is something that we have not even considered yet.

    • Great points. Certainly agree that there is more to it than just HFCS.

      Purely anecdotal, but I myself managed to pack on 40 extra pounds from ages 30 to 40 while doing a good job of avoiding HFCS and not overeating, most likely because of too much alcohol, lack of quality sleep, possible dysbiosis, and stress.

    • Another interesting thing to look at, assuming the data is correct.

      http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/trends.html

      In 1990, not state had an obesity rate over 15% (though 6 state had no data)
      In 1996, no state had an obesity rate over 19%.
      In 2000, no state had an obesity rate over 24%

      Obesity has more than doubled in just 20 years in the U.S.

      “In 2010, no state had a prevalence of obesity less than 20%. Thirty-six states had a prevalence of 25% or more; 12 of these states (Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and West Virginia) had a prevalence of 30% or more.”

      I am curious what the differences (lifestyle, diet, environ, economics, etc.) are between the 13 lowest states (20% obese), and the 12 most obese states (+30%).

  11. Great article. How I would like someone to discover the simple, magical formula to shed (or never put on n the first place) the extra pounds. But “it depends” seems to be as good as it gets. Thanks for this reality check.

  12. According to the USDA…

    http://www.usda.gov/factbook/chapter2.pdf

    If you look at 1950 – 2000, the consumption of (in pounds/person):

    • wheat had not increased that drastically (126 to 147)
    • corn and rice saw a bump (15 to 28; 5 to 20)
    • fruits have had modest changes (99 to 127)
    • vegetables (95 to 154)
    • potatoes down (53 to 47)
    • red meat had a minor increase (107 to 114)
    • chicken tripled (16 to 53)
    • cheese tripled (8 to 30)
    • whole milk down (33 to 8)
    • lower fat milk up (3 to 15)
    • butter declined (9 to 5)
    • salad and cooking oil went up (10 to 35)
    • cane and beet sugar went down (97 to 66)
    • glucose (7 to 18)

    and no surprise…

    HFCS went from 0 to 64 pounds/person a year — by far, during those 50 years, the most dramatic change in the American diet.

    Stephen Guyenet has blogged on this in the past, but referred to a different USDA source that dates 1970-2005. It also has HFCS at slightly lower levels of 59 in 2005, than in 2000 — somewhat hard to believe. This study also shows the increase of wheat from 137 in 1970 to 192 in 2005. (Numbers are off between the two studies. Is there something I am missing?)

    http://www.ers.usda.gov/Publications/EIB33/EIB33.pdf

    Looking at the 55 years of data, the increase of wheat had been 66 pounds a year. Break that down per day, and it seems fairly insignificant. Even at 192 pounds a year total, that is only around 8 ounces a day. While I don’t believe wheat is healthy, is it a major contributor?

    While HFCS per pound, per year is even less, I find that it went from ZERO to around 60 pounds more interesting.

    • This data also doesn’t account for GMO and the increase of actual gluten in our wheat over the past 50 years.

    • Garfinkel, interesting info. To me the important factors identified in this data set are the big increase in salad and cooking oils with big decrease in dairy fats and the big increase in sugars from 104 to 148 lb/yr. What is missing are the big increases in non-nutritive sweeteners, like aspartame and sucralose, and flavor enhancers like MSG, both of which I believe are important factors along with the PUFA, trans-fat, and sugar increases and dairy fat decreases.

  13. My thinking is that being obese is not bad for health if cause is food reward from non toxic sources (Or micro-nutrient deficiency or infection). Reason is whatever influences a person to become obese most of them hasn’t evolved in humans. This is something that has been there for very long time and every animal follow same and there are animals which are fat like hippo, bear and wild boar but they don’t die of heart attack or diabetes.

  14. I have been dealing with a weight problem for over 20 years. Having had over 15 mercury fillings ( I think all are now gone, having been extracted one or two at a time over that time period ) , I knew from my research that my body, including fat cells , was probably loaded with that highly toxic heavy metal and that losing weight rapidly could be the worst thing I could do, because I would probably end up in an Alzheimer unit, or get MS, etc.( a simple at – home test verfied my concern, I was loaded with heavy metal toxicity ) I finnaly found what I felt was a safe effective detox program ( bentonite clay ) and now feel it is safe to start losing weight gradually. However, I have also discovered that I am a ” congenital snacker ” which of course will DESTROY any weight loss program. It wasnt until I read and UNDERSTOOD that my snacking was actually caused by the fact that I did not receive the necessary love and hugs that all children need when young, and so I learned very early in life to SUBSTITUTE FOOD FOR LOVE. I have mentioned this little story to point out and validate the arguments given here just how complex the subject of weight loss / gain can be. However, I would also like to point out that once you make the crucial decision to be responsible for YOUR HEALTH and WELLBEING, it can become an exciting jouney of discovery filled with hope and optimism, as it has for me after being on the SAD diet for over 50 years. There are remarkable discoveries being made ( and/or being REDISCOVERED ) in the Holistic health field. And once you start to understand how your body functions at the CELLULAR LEVEL, you can make remarkable progress. I learned long ago, not to put all my eggs in the basket of just one health guru, and so I monitor the E – MAIL newsletters of 5 or 6. And yes, that takes an hour or two a day, but the info is freely shared, ( just like this site ) and just learning one new piece of info can turn your life around. One of my new favorites is DR Mark Sircus who has been pointing out how crucial Magnesium is since it affects over 300 body / cell functions
    Sugestion — dont get hung up on one single aspect of a health problem, try and look at as large a picture as possible, ( which I think our host does a great job of ) As an artist who paints watercolor landscapes, I learned to do that long ago, and it has SERVED ME WELL.

  15. [quote]Chris wrote, “One of the biggest mistakes often made in this debate is the confounding of cause, mechanism and effect. A classic example is the assumption that if reducing carbohydrate or fat intake leads to weight loss, then the original weight gain must have been caused by excess carbohydrate or fat consumption.

    While it’s tempting to make such an assumption, the logic is faulty. It’s kind of like saying “Advil cures headaches. Therefore, headaches must be caused by Advil deficiency.”
    [/quote]

    From my perspective, it is not that the logic is faulty, but simply that the CAUSE (Advil) was wrong. Taubes says that carbs drives insulin which makes fat. If the cause, carbs, is removed, and the person loses fat, then the logic works.

    Chris wrote, “My opinion is that the modern lifestyle (i.e. that food and environmental toxins, stress, poor gut health, infections, micronutrient deficiencies, sleep deprivation.”

    This reminds me when I read something talking about some drugs that AIDS patients take, some of which makes them fat, so I agree that these things can contribute; however, obesity has exploded since the 1980s and it is striking that this jump seems to correspond with HCFS (high fructose corn syrup).

    Chris wrote, “Personal experience: I lose weight on an low-carb diet, therefore low-carb diets must be best for weight loss.
    Belief: carbohydrates are responsible for the obesity epidemic, via their effects on insulin.
    Fact: many cultures around the world eat high-carbohydrate diets and are exceptionally lean.”

    Taubes addresses this. What he says is that he believes is that while these cultures eat high carb diets, they tend NOT to eat much sugar. Sugar seems to be the “tipping point” (or catalyst) that creates the insulin resistance problem.

    I have a couple thoughts of my own about this: first, I believe that other cultures simply eat smaller portions, hence less carb intake. Second, the term “carbohydrate” is too general, as it can include everything from spinach to Pop Tarts. So, just to say that some cultures eat high carb diets, without addressing the “quality” of the carb is inappropriate.

    One final concern I have with using stress, lack of sleep, etc., as causes of obesity is that it is viewed as cause, instead of a correlation.

  16. Chris
    An interesting study by Bakker et al (2010) in which he demonstrates that chronic inflammation, as measured by hs C-RP was involved in obesity. In one aspect of the study, the reduction in inflammation paralleled an in increase in prolaction in the brain, which will, of course act as an antidepressant. The study goes on to suggest “An intervention with selected dietary products (antiinflammatory dietary mix / AIDM) affected inflammatory processes, oxidative stress, and metabolism in humans, as shown by large-scale profiling of genes, proteins, and metabolites in plasma, urine, and adipose tissue” (Bakke GCM, J van Erk MJ, Pellis L, et al. Am J Clin Nutr 2010;91:1044–59). I also see these increases in chronic inflammation being activated by ongoing stimulation of the HPA Axis, which is itself caused by unresolved stress. And as to Karl Popper, he and John Eccles in “The Self and its Brain” presents a fine and refined view of thinking in science.

  17. In reading Stephan’s post, I in no way see this as a R.I.P. for Taubes or Eades. In fact, Stephan is taken to task quite well by on of his readers (ItsTheWooo2.)

    I think before jumping on the Guyenet bandwagon, we should take into consideration that a diet free of processed carbohydrates could do wonders for our nation’s obesity problem.

    • Really?

      There isn’t a single person in the entire healthy nutrition blogosphere that would disagree with that statement, including Guyenet, Taubes, Ornish, Campbell and even the AHA. What’s your point?

      Stephan has never argued that eating processed carbs doesn’t contribute to the obesity epidemic. He’s just saying it isn’t for the reason that Taubes and others claim. And I completely disagree with you that ItsTheWoo2 has “taken Stephan to task”. He distorts and misrepresents Stephan’s argument, and Stephan’s original article already addressed most of the points he made.

      • ItsTheWoo2 knows a lot of stuff, but her approach and tone is completely repelling. She has some interesting thoughts and ideas, but much of what she lays down as “fact” is, in fact, not factual.

        Stephan has been extraordinarily patient with her, while she continues to clutter the comments section on dozens of his articles with endless long winded and whiny examples of how her particular situation could not possibly fit into his food reward theory, and so therefore his entire angle is bunk. It’s ridiculous.

        Simply put, most of his readers are sorta tired of scrolling through her comments. I think if she were to just ease up, and come at it with a less overblown approach and discuss things in a mature and reasonable manner, she might get somewhere with what she brings to the discussion.

        • I too found ItsTheWoo2’s tone is a bit over the top. But I also found Stephan’s tone a bit churlish and his writing style tortuous, disjoint and rambling. After reading the article (twice) I would say that isn’t apparent that he has proved that the insulin-fat storage theory is false. He has just added another layer of doubt into a complex problem. Perhaps there’s more we don’t know about fat storage than we do know.

        • I think that it is inappropriate for anyone to be taking ItsThe Woo2 ‘s inventory. Other people who have commented on Stephan’s blog have also used insults, profanity, sarcassim and questionable arguments. Let’s not get into personal attacks and dismissive comments.

  18. to your question, “i sometimes wonder why we’re all so sure of ourselves…,” i can also reply with a quote. “Thinking’s a dizzy business, a matter of catching as many of those foggy glimpses as you can and fitting them together the best you can. That’s why people hang on so tight to their beliefs and opinions; because, compared to the haphazard way in which they’re arrived at, even the goofiest opinion seems wonderfully clear, sane, and self-evident.” 🙂 not that i think this applies to your blog (or Stephan’s, or Chris M’s…).

    tess (a big fan of Dashiell Hammett)