Origins of Obesity

Obese stomach

Reading Michael Greger, MD new book, How Not To Diet, and he has a very important quote in the book:

So the prime cause for obesity is neither gluttony nor sloth. Obesity may be a normal response to an abnormal environment.”

How Not to Diet


Having worked on obesity for so many years I definitely concur. My patients have been mistreated most of their lives and subjected to bias and assumptions.

Turns out that obesity is a very inherited trait. We know this best from studying twins. Identical twins have very similar weights even if reared in different households.

The correlation is far greater than in dizygotic twins. In fact, if you take 12 identical twin pairs and over feed them the exact same amount of calories you will see different degrees of weight gains but the twins will gain similar weight while differing in the amount gained compared to a non related person (twin set).

Hunger is not as simple as you think. Hunger is actually controlled at the very primitive parts of the brain. So someone suffering from obesity may be hungrier, may be more attracted to high calorie food, and may be more likely to store the calories.

These traits that tend toward resulting in obesity may have been protective thousands of years ago when food was scarce. But this genotype hurts the patient when faced with easily attainable, high calorie dense foods.

Functional MRI studies show that when faced with junk food an obese person’s brain will light up like a cocaine addict looking at a bag of white stuff. The genetic predisposition may have to do with epigenetics as studies show that the intrauterine environment is even more of a factor than mother’s genotype.

Origins of Obesity

Purchase your copy of How Not to Diet here

Origins of Obesity
A Twin Study of Human Obesity

Origins of Obesity
The Response to Long-term Overfeeding in Identical Twins

Click on an article to view it in via the journal where it is located.

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