Scientists Want To Trick The Gut Into Burning Fat Without Food (NPR)

Scientists Want To Trick The Gut Into Burning Fat Without Food

I was getting into it with a former co-worker and health nut and wanted to see what you all thought about it, I’ve included our conversation bellow with names blanked out for obvious reasons:



That’s an interesting conversation, and you made a lot of cogent points.

I’m not sure that will power itself is the most important thing in the whole weightloss equation. It’s easy on the basis of individual choices. “I could grab a burrito right now, or I could wait until I get home and make a salad.” Assuming access to healthy food isn’t an issue (it usually is, but I’m doing this from my armchair), the big stumbling block to maintaining a healthy diet are our problematic habits, and often, our lack of attention to the choices at hand. The bad habits are usually instigated early in life by cultural forces as well as commercial interests, and pester power is one of advertising’s biggest successes up there with addictive products.

Willpower isn’t that hard to summon in a single situation, but our brains aren’t well-adapted to express willpower long-term over the course of a whole day, weeks, months and years. That’s why having emotional support and cognitive accountability in one’s social groups is also very important to successful weightloss. Even having three people working together makes a huge difference over one person, as long as the group’s goal is clearly known to the participants. It’s easy to fall off the wagon when there’s nobody to catch you. And this co-worker you were speaking with seems to have forgotten all the help he had to get fit. It’s exceedingly rare for someone to do it on their own, and I don’t know anyone who’s done it without the help and support of the people around them, whether that means their family and friends, a personal trainer or workout partner, or the military forcing the change.

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And I think that support structure seems to dissipate the further down the income bracket you go. People holding down multiple jobs don’t have time to work out, let alone think about making a good choice in food habits. And those poor food choices usually end up being instilled in the children creating another cycle.

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Absolutely. Access shrinks, social support shrinks, and expense blooms when you look down the social economic spectrum toward the lower end. The more you work, the less time you have to plan, and the less time you have to cook healthily, and the less time you have to exercise. There’s also the fact that there’s a stress-obesity feedback loop.

Being stressed out makes you more prone to take easy choices including food choices, therefore increasing the likelihood of becoming overweight. When you become overweight, your life becomes more stressful. You have less facility with your body, you don’t look as good, flexibility is lost, and stamina wanes. People often look at you less positively, and it damages self-image. This additional stress can then exacerbate bad habits, and these bad habits feed back into the weightgain equation again. Another viscous cycle, that is very hard to escape from. Attempting to get healthy again doesn’t immediately pay off, and there’s the embarrassment of quantifying your limitations when you get started working out. You always suspected that you couldn’t walk as far, or lift as much, or do as many situp, and registering your baseline (in my case) proves how weak and pathetic you’ve let yourself get.

Then there’s the fact that starting out and sticking to a vigorous enough exercise regiment to start getting healthy again means being in pain all day for months. Pain that used to not be there. I weight trained in high school senior year with good form, lost about 25 pounds of body fat and gained about 10 pounds of muscle, but the trade off was having all my muscles hurting all the time. It was the strongest and most physically capable I’ve ever felt, but I never felt like doing anything because of the aversive pain and constantly being wiped out.

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