Gluttony and Sloth ...

... ain't got nothing on Addict and Uncaring.

I think this is what has really poisoned the discourse when it comes to carbs and food quality vs. calories.  The "alternate hypothesis" camp banks heavily on the visceral response and religious/judgmental tone of the terms gluttony and sloth to anger their base.  

Gluttony, almost synonymous with greed, is one of the 7 deadly sins (that was just the first link in Google folks).  The problem here is that Americans are eating more, and I think most would not be offended were this couched in the terminology of "passive overeating".  Here is a Google Scholar search on the term.  This, I believe is far more explanatory of this "simple" obesity epidemic than any other single factor.  Bottom line, eating too much need not be associated with stuffing one's face to belly bursting.  

Sloth ... Well, who wants to be called lazy?  And yet again, while it is difficult to quantify, we are less active than we used to be.  Everything from transportation to remote controls to motorized everything to wireless everything else.  These little things do add up.   I mean a large proportion of former athletes?  Eat anything ever twig gets desk job in a cubicle?  I find the arguments that activity has nothing to do with it to be the most disingenuous.  

But if not a Glutton and Sloth, why are "those people" "fat"?  Of course it's not anyone's fault, but yet, there's all manner of sinning going on out there.  Those promoting some version of "CICO is meaningless" and it's all hormonal magic and nutrition and avoiding toxic stuff ... or the more simple version of carbs drive insulin drive fat ... have a hard time explaining why their approach seems to work no better.  The low carbers play the martyr, but that gets old in the face of the extremes folks are willing to go to lose weight.  Atkins has been around for over 40 years now (and it wasn't the first LC diet) and yet it did not forestall the obesity epidemic.  We didn't cut fat, we added mostly carbs and a little fat, and we are getting fatter on the whole.  Paleo has an even more spotty record as they can't even figure out what the diet is/was, but there's no evidence of lasting (and verifiable) obesity reversal just by improving the so-called "quality" of foods.    But, if paleo/LC cures all (as we are told repeatedly) why doesn't everyone just stick with it?  Why aren't even at least all of the die hards effortlessly ripped and voluptuous only in the right places? 

Because they are Addicts and Uncaring.  These are the two most often bantied around phrases.  You see that carbs are addictive is a "truth" taken at face value.  Anyone who dare eat carbs must be doing so because they are an addict and unable to abstain.  The athletes get a little dispensation these days, but that wasn't always so (fat was the macro to increase not all that long ago in CrossFit nutrition classes).  Everyone who eats carbs is looked upon the same as the drug addict or alcoholic who repeatedly relapses no matter how good they feel sober.  Then there are those who "don't care about their health" -- or that of their children or significant others, etc.  The purists among the purest of the pure in their ivory towers don't understand why the mere mortals would even want to eat something tasty while out with friends "in moderation".  No, moderation is the enemy and it must be judged out of favor.

Calling someone an addict because they can enjoy life and foods in moderation  is the ultimate smear.  Ditto accusing them of having any less respect or caring for their bodies, families, etc. because they would rather enjoy cultural festivities or just a normal night out with friends than obsess endlessly over whether the eggs came from cage fed or free range hens.    These terms are worse than even gluttony and sloth.   It's time to remove all such judgments from discourse in this realm.  I hold out little hope though.


Nigel Kinbrum said…
There's only one problem with moderation and it's this....
It all depends!
lucyricardanon said…
"Calling someone an addict because they can enjoy life and foods in moderation is the ultimate smear."

This makes me think of how Amber/GoKaleo constantly gets attacked and called an addict and all other sorts of names when she talks about eating carbs, especially sugar. Some people just don't want to believe that she lost all that weight and maintains the loss by eating whatever the hell she wants in reasonable amounts, and that that's okay.
carbsane said…
Love the moniker :D

What I don't get with GoKaleo is that she's a tall muscular active woman. If she had never been obese, would anyone who met her on the street question for a minute that she could eat as she does? No ... they would probably assume she's one of those metabolically gifted. So which people are "allowed" to eat sugar, etc.? After all, it's just a different take on the same game. Insert their favorite food and watch the shifting feet!

It appears to be a self-preservation mechanism employed by most cults, and the case to use that term is quite strong. This doesn't make it right, but it seems to be what is behind it. If I say X is bad for you, don't eat X. I don't eat X. Look at all these people who don't eat X. So you have your group of like-minded X-shunners who reinforce each others beliefs -- especially during the weak times -- that X is bad. You can't have that person in a moment of weakness seeing a group of people consuming X together that seem rather healthy. Then they have to drag out the "Bible" to warn how X will catch up to you. I imagine it must suck to abstain from something for a long time only to learn that X isn't bad for you after all.
lucyricardanon said…
It really does suck to abstain from something for a long time and then realize that it was all for naught, but it's funny how some people can just go "Oh well that sucked, but I guess I learned something from the experience" and move on, while others will pile logical fallacy on logical fallacy to keep from doing that. They'll use circular "no true Scotsman" type arguments, like "sugar isn't healthy, therefore people who eat sugar aren't healthy, and if you show me a healthy person who eats sugar I'll say obviously they aren't healthy because they eat sugar" in order to support their own irrational escalation of commitment. Is it really that hard for these people to accept that they might be wrong?
Sanjeev Sharma said…
yeah ... those "CICO" people who abused the obese in the past with moralistic, simplistic solutions in the past are now faced with their opposite number abusing the obese by leveraging that older abuse.

It should be about behaviour that works to apply scientific law ... finding which behaviours are the easiest way to apply CICO, MINUS the moral judgements.

anyway , hahaha ... I found this funny ;

The only Lyle article without "it depends" or "It's complicated" or "tangentially ..." in every 2nd sentence.

Is he copying me?
carbsane said…
Too many people have tied their identities and careers to this and it is easy to get caught up in that sense of community even if nothing really changes if you drop the term tomorrow.
Mark said…
The lack of basic common sense applied to the subject of nutrition is mind boggling.

We have gone from a state in medicine where diet was not thought to be a large contributor to health issues to where diet is now the end all be all to every ailment known to man, it's simply ludicrous.

Obesity aside, (we know that condition to be pathological to many but not all), our diet in the proper energy balance may not be as all reaching as we think. We need a better dialogue with regards to diet.

A better dialogue that needs to start with the professionals in the field. The amount of crap that comes from people who call themselves Nutritionists, Dietitians, Registered Dietitians etc. Whenever I hear anyone who is supposed to know what they are talking about discuss foods in terms such as "healthy", "unhealthy", "good", "bad", "clean", "dirty", I immediately send up a red flag. How on earth can we expect the average person going through life to increase their understanding of dietary composition when those that should be educating them don't understand themselves and use silly monikers that are irrelevant?

In the end moderation does rule, has always ruled and works virtually every time it's tried, but clearly more is needed.

Last thought, does nobody consider the fact that a large portion of people who are overweight simply don't give a shit? I say this from my daily interactions and discussions on this very topic. (And helping people lose weight) I have many friends, customers and colleagues who are either overweight or obese. Few give a shit quite frankly. Oh they do when it creates a pathological condition, and for some it's too late, they can't simply change overnight, lose weight and be fine, this of course is what we are all researching. But for the majority, I don't think they give a shit! Being fat, overweight, obese or whatever you wan to call it means nothing to them. We constantly discuss all the mechanisms behind what we think of as a problem but we don't have enough discussions about the psychology involved. If people don't mind being fat then all the hand wringing and worrying and education in the world isn't going to change that, nor should it!
Craig_in_CT said…
"passive overeating"

What a great label! I've always understood my problem to be "mindless snacking", "nervous nibbling", and "bored munching", but I may begin to use this, as it sounds more technical.
Paleo Nouveau said…
Why are we fat? Carbs? Type of carbs? Fats? Type of fats? Protein? Too many calories? Too sedentary? What if we look at it from a survival viewpoint? After all that's what real Paleo was. Survival not living. Calories had a price. There were no FREE calories. If you were a knowledgeable survivalist and you were off to fend for yourself in the wild for a year, could you GET fat? Or BE fat? Would you be lean?

Paleo Nouveau said…
Have to agree. There are so many people that are obese and can solve the problem with simple eating plans and moving properly (exercise) but dismiss it as "too hard." All I can think of is "survival of the fittest."
Is Occam"s razor the answer? Survival of the fittest?

I was obese (245 at a low gravity day at 5' 7'' with a waist measurement of 51'') and today I am still 5' 7'' but 161 lbs. with a bodyfat of about 8-10%.

Different protocols at different times. Low carb? Yes. Low calories? Yes. High Carbs? Yes. High protein? Yes? Vegetarian? Yes. Animal protein? Yes? Animal protein? No.
bacon & perrier said…
There are people (like me) who have been overweight their whole lives and who haven't had any huge amounts of suffering because of it. I've had a pretty cool life, with lots of experiences and minor health problems. Trust me, I know I'm heavy, I've just chosen to live life. I take lots of leisure walks, and I am not glued to a couch.

The times that I've been obsessed with weight loss have made me more miserable. I've learned a lot but the pursuit of being thin usually leaves more questions than answers. Plus, there is the undeniable fact that most who lose regain. And so, to the observer, it may appear I "don't give a shit." The reality is you can live your life in pursuit of something you may never, ever have or you can pick up the pieces and work with what you have.
Mark said…
Bacon I agree. However there is a difference between overweight and morbidly obese. Much of the research is for those that are obese.

Remember this, fitness trumps fatness! What that means is outcomes are known to be better for someone who is overweight and fit, than someone who is thin and sedentary. Body fat % does not necessarily portend fitness. So stay active, don't become obese and you should be fine!

(I've made many an argument that thin people worry more about overweight or even obese people than the overweight and or obese worry about it, the fact is most I know, and it's many, until they have obesity or weight related problems simply don't give a shit to be quite honest).
carbsane said…
I'm reminded of a study (O'Dea?) where they took a bunch of overweight people (I think with diabetes) and put them on a real HG diet for several weeks -- as in traveled around remote areas in Australia procuring their own food. They lost weight and had improved health markers. Was it the diet, the amount of food, the activity or some combination?
carbsane said…
Yep! I think it also applies to eating behavior when you have portions selected for you as in eating out and packaged foods. Depending on how a household was run, home cooked "family style" service you take what you think you'll eat and can generally get more if you're still hungry. Eat the same meal in a restaurant and you get what comes on the plate. Eat 3/4th of it, and there's not enough to take home in a doggy bag so you finish it up so as not to waste.
carbsane said…
Love your screen name! :D

Yeah, I think "don't give a shit" is a bit of a stretch as regards most of the overweight people I know. Personally, I may or may not want to lose more weight at any particular time. For me it's just one aspect of my life and I think people presume all people somehow should want to or need to be a certain size, etc. If it impacts health and quality of life that's when it is something to put higher on the priority list, but if it's not, then it's possibly even detrimental to put it there.
carbsane said…
I think especially as we age, this fixation with lower weight tends to fall apart. There is ample research that a certain level of fat stores are protective against succumbing to disease, stress, etc.
Sanjeev Sharma said…
shouldn't that be bacon, perrier & benzene?
Sanjeev Sharma said…
> There were no FREE calories.

I'm definitely NOT convinced of this. There have been a lot of cultures that had to work hard for food all the time but definitely not all cultures have had this.

Take the Pima (please) ... by all reports they had excess calories available, enough to become obese, for long stretches of their history.

Even ignoring the modern societies surviving just fine (food wise) living the traditional lifestyles, I've read archaeological and anthropological reports that the same was true for many cultures ... Hawaiians, various Amazonian tribes, the Indian tribes of Oregon, Washington, BC and ancient Newfoundland.

In many of these instances populations were controlled by infectious disease, probably not by regular starvation.
Paleo Nouveau said…
I'm not positive but I believe i read that the Pima were very industrious and prosperous compared to other cultures. They were also more dependent on agriculture than hunting. i don't recall reading anything about them being overweight until there recent interactions with settlers.
It is hard to have excess calories in a traditional HG society. Being a Native culture does not mean they are HG.
Paleo Nouveau said…
“The combination of calorie restriction—inadvertent, but part and parcel
of being a hunter-gatherer—causing weight loss, plus the healthier diet
and increased physical activity all contributed to their improved
metabolic profiles. In western populations today, we don't have to do
the physical activity and yet we still get the ‘reward’ of a diet rich
in fat, salt, and sugar”, O'Dea told The Lancet.
Seems pretty simple and straightforward. Makes sense. It's repeatable. Appears logical from an evolutionary and survival standpoint. I would argue that it is this (turning our backs to our basic evolutionary lifestyle) that has given us the obesity epidemic. It is not macronutient driven but rather lifestyle driven.
carbsane said…
Definitely! Not macro driven -- except that I do not believe our ancestors ate as many mixed meals as we do.

One thing that always bugs people is to bring up family lifestyle. When I was a kid we didn't eat whatever we wanted, we ate what we were given ... mostly at home! The vast majority (like 90+ %) of homes were two parent households with one parent as full time caretaker or at least kids always having one parent at home. We were supervised by family and if not parents, extended family. We didn't eat out often. Nobody seems to want to discuss that :(