After about 50 years in general medical practice and seven years studying obesity, weight loss and nutrition quite intensively, I’ve become extremely selective about my scientific sources.
My Weight Loss Story
I started my personal journey in 2013, with the ground-breaking BBC documentary by Dr. Michael Mosley’s where he described and popularised intermittent fasting and his own brand, the 5:2 diet.
I removed 24 kilos of excess fat and have maintained that weight to this day.
How to Manage Excess Body Fat
But recently, on the SBS channel in Australia, I watched an hour-long documentary about excess body fat and what to do about it.
In all fairness, it contained quite a bit of good information. No expense had been spared. It took us to Tanzania to see hunter-gatherers. A number of authoritative people were interviewed and we learned a fair bit about the importance of our genetic background.
We saw genetically overweight mice and we saw a man who had virtually no body fat because of the opposite genetic problem. We saw identical twins and non-identical twins.
By the time we got to the last segment I was beginning to feel that if I had the wrong genes, and I didn’t live hunting antelopes in Tanzania, I was probably in trouble.
Bariatric Surgery – The Only Option?
This segment introduced us to a young lady whose mother was very obese and had died suddenly in her 50’s of a heart attack. We learned how the child was gaining weight fast. She had recognised that she was likely to suffer the same fate as her mother. She made a very difficult decision to have bariatric weight loss surgery.
There is a lot of bariatric surgery done throughout the western world. It is undoubtedly the quickest and, easiest way of reversing severe obesity, Type 2 Diabetes, and metabolic syndrome.
The programme emphasised that the good results of bariatric surgery derive. Partly from the permanent removal of a large part of the stomach but partly from the removal of the parts of the stomach that release hormones.
What really disappointed me about this programme was that it failed to even mention how the consumption of excess carbohydrates is related to obesity.
The causal relationship between the excessive consumption of carbohydrates, glucose intolerance, and insulin resistance leading to metabolic syndrome, central obesity, hypertension, and disordered fat metabolism, didn’t rate even a mention.
The hormone insulin is THE fat storing hormone.
Its primary function is to take excess sugar and store it first as glycogen and then as fat.
The whole body can only store about 2,000 calories as glycogen it but can store unlimited amounts of carbohydrate as fat.
How a smart, seemingly intelligent television programme with good production values chose to omit any mention of the role of sugar and carbohydrates in the pathogenesis of obesity is an extraordinary omission.
Looking back on the programme it made me think that I had probably been looking at a very subtle advert for bariatric surgery. Rather than a balanced appraisal of the current dilemma that affects so many people.
I will continue to focus my studies on the few reliable and authentic providers of sound information. Sieving through and discarding the vast majority of what I read, hear and see in order to further my understanding of this fascinating subject. I have a few thoughts on teenage bariatric surgery also.
I will distill the best of the information and continue to bring it to your attention.