The implications of this are rather fun, aren’t they?

Skinny people should not act as if they are “morally superior” to those struggling with their weight because the likelihood is they simply have lucky genes, new research has found.

A groundbreaking study by Cambridge University, which focused on healthy adults with a low body mass index (BMI), reveals the impact of genetics on body size is greater than previously thought.

The results help explain the considerable variation in weight within a population that shares the same high-calorie environment and sedentary lifestyle, the scientists said.

Namely, that PHE can go boil its head. If it’s all in the genes then control of what the population eats isn’t they way to deal with anything.

Sadly, I don’t quite believe the finding here – the thermodynamics of energy in and out still do rather seem to matter. PHE is still wrong of course, free people and all that, but its for a different reason.

52 comments on “The implications of this are rather fun, aren’t they?

  1. The thing pisses me off is the way PHE behaves as if the entire population’s wankers who do nothing but pilot a desk all day & spend their evenings & weekends sprawled on the sofa in front of the TV. It’s tailoring a health policy for the minority who are office drones.
    The majority of people I’ve known do not fit that profile. If they did, nothing’d get done apart from the paperwork. Houses wouldn’t get built, cars repaired or goods put on supermarket shelves. I’m now well into my sixties & supposedly retired but half an hour relaxing anywhere is a luxury I rarely see awake. At 5ft 9, I’m 11 stone & stuffing down 4000 calories a day to keep it that way. I’d like to be 12. 13’d be even better. There’s an advantage to being hefty if you do a lot of lifting & carrying. You have more weight advantage over what you’re handling & use less effort. Put less strain on joints & muscles. Lifting something close to your own weight, you’re as likely to go down rather than it go up because it has all the leverage.
    So what are the workers supposed to do under a mandated portion control policy designed for paper shufflers?

  2. Isn’t this all really old hat? I can remember, decades ago, being taught endomorph, mesomorph & ectomorph?

    And we all knew who was going to be picked for No 8 and who were going to be wing backs?

  3. Indeed, SE. I’,m 6’5″ and the PE teacher stuck me in second row without thinking about it (I dare say I was only about 6’2″ then).

  4. “…the impact of genetics on body size is greater than previously thought.”

    Previously thought by “experts” presumably, it as been obvious to the rest of us for decades.

    Seconding Bloke in Spain, I’m sixty, average height, 75K weight. Stay fit doing distance running and triathlons.

  5. I’m not sure how you help my argument, Mr Stonyground. You’re talking about gratuitous exercise. A vile pursuit. You could reduce your calorie requirement by simply refraining from doing it. I’m talking about the people who need the calories to provide the effort produces a functioning economy. An entirely different thing.

  6. Some people have faster metabolisms than others. Naturally that means they will die sooner, but it has its advantages too, particularly in the dating game. Wife #2 was 48kg and I was 72kg at the time. We ate exactly the same amount and in the mornings when we went for a brisk walk we covered the same distance at the same speed. Like my father and his sisters and his parents I expect to live well into my nineties.She unfortunately won’t.

  7. I’m a pretty sedentary office monkey, and got down from 90kg to 70kg by simply eating less. I’ve kept it off for a year, too. Genetically I should be nearer that 90kg than the 70 I am, probably around 82 or something.

  8. Bound to be the case. There is a significant proportion of the population struggling with their weight, and I am discounting the 30 stone lardbuckets who move their sofa to the hall so the pizza guy can post it straight in their mouths. The rest can’t all be moral failures*.

    BiS – you need to add more protein to that Med diet! Joking aside, calorie counts are bollocks. From the sound of it, if you wanted to bulk up, you’d have to do some serious eating, lift some weights and add an hour’s sleep a day. Which is tricky if you have a life.

  9. My Politics Klaxxon just went off – the leader of this project scolding the public for being ‘judgemental’. The use of that word is a red flag of Social Justice activism.

    Anyway, if genetics play a significant role, why didn’t this issue appear two or three generations ago?

  10. When I worked in the UK, most days I’d sit down with the lads in the caff for what was, for most of us, second breakfast. A plateful of calories, cooked in grease, would probably exceed PHE’s entire daily allowance. Later have lunch & go home to a substantial dinner. That’s what you need to get done what needs to be done. None of those lads were overweight, in the health threatening sense. Being underweight would be. And that describes the working lives of a substantial number of the UK population. Not everyone’s limp wristed web designers. Or health professionals, break into a sweat tying their own shoelaces.

  11. ISTR some years ago that a theory was suggested that your ability to consume calories without severely increasing weight was linked to the percentage of “brown fat” that was contained in your body compared to the normal “white fat”. It appeared that brown fat enabled you to burn more calories by producing heat… I assume that this theory is out of favour as it doesn’t predicate the nanny option so much loved by PHE.

    O/T in passing… @Mr Ludd – there can’t be too many 6’5″ lawyers involved with blogging… You don’t by any chance drive a car called “Speranza”?

  12. “BiS – you need to add more protein to that Med diet! ”

    I see quite a lot of the Mediterranean diet. Copious amounts of meat. Greasy chips with everything. Virtually no vegetables. With a fried egg on top.
    Or are you talking about what they give the tourists in the hotels?
    Mostly I eat South American. As above but with yuca, beans & extra meat.

  13. I know who you mean and have met him, along with the car. And I don’t think they’re the same person. The legal experiences that come out in the course of the comments seem rather different. One seems to have done criminal law in London, the other property in Moscow and Warsaw….

  14. Any getetic trait which reduced the amount of fat stored wouldn’t exactly have been a great evolutionary benefit for our ancestors even five hundred years ago, let alone ten thousand. Looking slim despite stuffing your face wouldn’t get you through lean NH winters.

    I am very, very sceptical of anything other than a very small genetic influence. Look at physical activity, thermostat levels in the house, etc. Even a small, almost trivial calorie surplus can add up over years to kilos and kilos of fat. You just don’t notice it until you realise you are wearing 36in waist trousers instead of the 32in ones you wore ten years ago.

  15. Having done the calorie counting thing, it’s amazing how small but consistent surpluses/deficits add up over time. Work on the basis of 3.5k calories per pound of fat. Call it 7k per kg, rough estimate.

    100 cal per day extra (a mere 5% of 2000) over a year adds up to about 5kg. That’s half a mars bar or just under a can of coke you shouldn’t have had per day.

  16. Five or so years ago there was quite a bit of interest in the theory that certain gut bacteria might cause people to be overweight or obese. In other words, the obesity epidemic was an actual epidemic. Various medicos pointed out that it was spreading like a true epidemic and others bred rats that were identical genetically but had different gut bacteria and one lot got fat quick and the other lot didn’t.

    The theory seems to have disappeared from the news these days and we’re back to the ‘Nanny knows best’ nonsense, but I would laugh my head off if the biome theory was proven and obesity could be cured by a simple purgative.

    Of course, the likes of PHE would have no shame just as the IPCC will have no shame when the icebergs crush their New York offices, but it would be an ironic laugh for the rest of us.

  17. “Even a small, almost trivial calorie surplus can add up over years to kilos and kilos of fat.”

    That has to be nonsense on stilts. No-one can possibly judge their food input to exactly balance their energy output. If that were true we’d all be either balloons or skeletons.
    To my thinking, it’s because people have lost the ability to discern what actual hunger is. They think hungry is not having stuffed something in their face in the past half hour. It’s related to living in temperature controlled homes & offices & being unable to discern what actual cold & hot are, rather than the narrow range they experience. It’s simply an affluence effect. Getting too bloody soft.

  18. “No-one can possibly judge their food input to exactly balance their energy output.”

    Which is why people’s weight tends to go up and down a bit, whether deliberately or not.

    And if your weight is in fact stable, you are by definition balancing calories in or out – if you’re sitting on the sofa stuffing yourself with 4000 cal of crisps, your weight will increase until the point at which it takes all those 4000 calories to service all that excess fat and to heave yourself to and from the bog.

    Just basic thermodynamics.

  19. ‘Skinny people should not act as if they are “morally superior” to those struggling with their weight because the likelihood is they simply have lucky genes, new research has found.’

    What a dick. I work very hard to be a ‘skinny people.’ When I see a manbearpig, I AM morally superior. Gluttony is a sin, shithead.

    ‘A groundbreaking study by Cambridge University, which focused on healthy adults with a low body mass index (BMI), reveals the impact of genetics on body size is greater than previously thought.’

    New research? Groundbreaking? Than previously thought? As Stonyground points out these “experts” have just declared that they have been wrong all these years, their previous work is junk, BUT WE SHOULD BELIEVE THEM NOW!

    ‘The results help explain the considerable variation in weight within a population that shares the same high-calorie environment and sedentary lifestyle, the scientists said.’

    WTF is a ‘high-calorie environment?’ It is nonsense sciencyspeak.

    PHE is not fit for purpose.

  20. Skinnies would have died out centuries ago, but we have changed the environment in many ways so that genetic “losers”* are “allowed”* to survive and breed.

    *not to be taken as moral judgments, just genetic adjectives.

  21. No-one can possibly judge their food input to exactly balance their energy output.

    I’m not saying they can. I am saying that the accumulation of small surpluses, barely noticeable or not noticeable at all, can add up to big weight gains over long enough timescales. Of course should have added ceteris paribus (or whatever it is).

    The popular image of the cause of being overweight is people stuffing huge meals down their throat, but it doesn’t have to be that.

  22. Sceptical until these people demonstrate how (a) genes are different from a couple of generations ago (impossible) or (b) what are the environmental factors that make people without those genes put on excess weight without also enjoying an excess of calories.

    I can understand that there are people out there whose metabolism burns calories at a faster rate than other people. I don’t see why that means people with the slower metabolism aren’t entirely responsible for eating more calories than they need to not put on weight.

    Of course, this assumes that we care they are overweight or obese. I’m assuming for the thread that we do, and are speculating on the cause.

  23. You are all going into detail – missing the point that this is a “bait and switch”.

    *Some* people are designed to be heavier than others – therefore the obese slobs who sit at home all day watching TV and eating junk food are not to blame for the mess they have made of themselves. Bullshit!

    Skipping over the little matter of the BMI being dimensionally inconsistent, I can be two stone overweight and still weight less than a superfit guy an inch shorter because he is broader. I never claim any moral superiority for that. I am insulted by the allegation that I claim moral superority for my lucky genes. I don’t – have you ever heard me claim that an inability to do mental arithmetic amounted to moral turpitude?

  24. “I can understand that there are people out there whose metabolism burns calories at a faster rate than other people.”

    Well, I can’t. Sounds like the usual nutritionist nonsense. For a metabolism to be “burning calories” it does actually have to be burning calories. Turning food into energy. So everything else being equal, where’s the energy going? They run at a higher temperature?
    There’s a slight difference in the energy budget for fat people because they’re better insulated and a slightly different point on the surface area/volume ratio but that’s more than compensated by they’re needing more energy to shift their own mass around.
    Digestive system efficiency would be a more sensible place to look for metabolic differences.
    But you can’t get round, people become overweight because they stuff too much food down their necks. They don’t have to do so. No-one’s making them. It’s a psychological problem. Put simply, they’re weak. They can’t resist the temptation of that next biscuit. The rest is looking for excuses.

  25. @ BIS
    Some of the energy is turned into heat.
    My brother-in-law (5ft 11″ and nine-and-a-bit-stone) has a high metabolic rate and, as a result, “radiates” heat. I have a higher-than-average metabolic rate and I don’t feel the cold as much as the average person.

  26. Hold on, bis! I have proof!

    Gamecock could eat any damn thing he wanted to when he was 20, and wouldn’t gain a pound. When he was 33, he had to start watching what he was eating.

    In the end, variability in people is irrelevant. People have to manage their intake to keep from being overweight. Some can eat more than others. Boo hoo! ALL except for skinny boys like me have to manage.

    Your genes are bad? Tough shit. You can still only eat what you can eat without gaining weight. Or you can eat more and gain weight, and blame your fracking genes.

    If you eat zero calories a day, you WILL LOSE WEIGHT.

  27. @bloke in spain January 25, 2019 at 8:46 am

    There’s an advantage to being hefty if you do a lot of lifting & carrying. You have more weight advantage over what you’re handling & use less effort. Put less strain on joints & muscles. Lifting something close to your own weight, you’re as likely to go down rather than it go up because it has all the leverage.

    I guess that explains why I had no problem carrying a 100kg multi-gym upstairs to spare bedroom when I weighed 57kg /sarc

  28. Sadly, I don’t quite believe the finding here – the thermodynamics of energy in and out still do rather seem to matter.

    +1

    @bloke in spain January 25, 2019 at 5:52 pm

    If I overeat I become too hot, restless and can’t sleep

    If calories in less than calories burnt weight loss; reverse equally true.

    +1 @abacab January 25, 2019 at 1:11 pm : Just basic thermodynamics.

    +1 @Rob January 25, 2019 at 3:09 pm : : people with the slower metabolism are entirely responsible for eating more calories than they need to not put on weight.

  29. On Tim’s central heating theory = fewer calories required

    Rather cold this week and I was working from home Mon-Thus wearing cords & a cotton shirt – study was 12C

    .
    Funny on C4 News “Shepherd was in the dock in Georgia court-house where he’s been hiding for months”

  30. “Sadly, I don’t quite believe the finding here – the thermodynamics of energy in and out still do rather seem to matter.”

    Of course, but the problem is that energy balance is subject to a subconscious feedback control system.

    It’s like the temperature inside your refrigerator is subject to the laws of thermodynamics. There’s heat leaking in through the wall or every time you open the door. There’s heat being pumped out. But the *biggest* factor affecting the temperature inside your refrigerator is the effin’ *thermostat*!

    The body has a control mechanism too, that acts like a thermostat by keeping the fat storage at a set level. (Some call it the ‘lipostat’.) If you’ve got too much fat, your appetite drops and your metabolism speeds up. If you’ve got too little, you get hungry and your metabolism slows down. The system keeps energy in and energy out within about half a percent of one another, in the long run. Over shorter periods there’s more wiggle room.

    Genes affect the setting on the lipostat – the storage level the body’s biological control mechanisms are aiming for.

    The laws of thermodynamics say that the rate of change of energy stored is equal to the difference between energy in and energy out. It does not say anything at all about the energy stored. And you can’t just talk about the energy in and totally ignore the energy out. While the amount in matches the amount out to within half a percent, both values vary together over a huge range, from about 1500 kcal/day to more than 4000. There are fat people who eat/burn 2000 kcal, and thin people who eat/burn 4000. Sometimes they’re even the same person, at different times in their life. When I was 20 I ate twice what I do now, and was more than a stone lighter! There is a huge amount being ignored when people say “other things held equal”.

    “Five or so years ago there was quite a bit of interest in the theory that certain gut bacteria might cause people to be overweight or obese. In other words, the obesity epidemic was an actual epidemic.”

    Yes. Antibodies to Ad36 are found in 30% of obese people, but only 11% of the non-obese. In experiments with chickens, it was found to cause permanent damage to fat cells, causing them to signal the wrong level to the feedback mechanism.

    There is also the faecal transplant observations, in which getting a faecal transplant from an obese person caused them to gain weight too. It has been suggested that certain gut bacteria (more Firmicutes and fewer Bacteroidetes) thrive on a certain sort of diet, and have evolved ways to release signalling molecules (glutamate and BCAA) that induce their host to eat foods favourable to their own reproduction.

    “Sceptical until these people demonstrate how (a) genes are different from a couple of generations ago (impossible) or (b) what are the environmental factors that make people without those genes put on excess weight without also enjoying an excess of calories.”

    It has been proposed that the human energy storage control system evolved to survive famines, where the energy input varies widely (far more than half a percent!) and uncontrollably. You can’t get more food so you have to reduce how much you burn. There’s a trade-off between having more stored to survive a longer famine, and the cost of having to carry more fat around with you. That optimum changes over time. During a famine, the old people starve first, so the young don’t need much stored but as you get older a bigger store makes more sense.

    There’s also a trade-off between a smaller body that requires less energy and so better survives famines, and a big body to defend a rich territory and fight off rivals. The body detects which sort of environment it is in, and changes the body shape to match. Short rations in childhood, and people are short and slim. Plentiful rations in childhood, and people are tall and heavy. Same genes, different outcome.

    It’s a lot easier to believe that human differences in height are heavily influenced by genetics – so why is it so hard to believe that other parameters of human body shape could change in the same way, for the same reason?

    “For a metabolism to be “burning calories” it does actually have to be burning calories. Turning food into energy. So everything else being equal, where’s the energy going? They run at a higher temperature?”

    They tend to wear fewer clothes, turn the heating down, sweat, and fidget more. The body’s temperature is *also* regulated by feedback control – the body is pretty good at getting rid of any excess, and can tolerate major differences and changes in heat generation.

    I suppose someone could try proposing the matching theory that a fever (where the body temperature rises too high) is caused by doing too much exercise. It’s thermodynamics, you see? Heat in minus heat out. If you’re too hot, it must be because you’re generating too much heat, so stop doing things that generate heat and you’ll be fine. Do you think that idea is totally Loony Tunes? Well, it’s the same one people have about body fat.

  31. The point that I was trying to make to Mr. Bloke in Spain was that I don’t fit the stereotype that PHE seem to be obsessed with either.

  32. @NiV January 25, 2019 at 8:51 pm

    “For a metabolism to be “burning calories” it does actually have to be burning calories. Turning food into energy. So everything else being equal, where’s the energy going? They run at a higher temperature?”

    They tend to wear fewer clothes, turn the heating down, sweat, and fidget more. The body’s temperature is *also* regulated by feedback control – the body is pretty good at getting rid of any excess, and can tolerate major differences and changes in heat generation.

    That’s me, see @January 25, 2019 at 8:14 pm : If I overeat I become too hot, restless and can’t sleep… Yes, I have hyperhidrosis too

  33. Well, I can’t. Sounds like the usual nutritionist nonsense. For a metabolism to be “burning calories” it does actually have to be burning calories. Turning food into energy. So everything else being equal, where’s the energy going? They run at a higher temperature?

    Well, my body temperature at around 8am is a lot higher than at noon, maybe other people keep that up for longer. Some people fidget and constantly move around; trivial amounts of energy expended but over a period of a day, every day?

    Perhaps even those annoying bastards who yap constantly are burning more calories thsn strong silent types, who merely grind their teeth in frustration.

  34. If calorie intake wasn’t the key, stomach stapling wouldn’t work.

    In fact some people, once they literally can’t eat too much, lose tremendous amounts of weight.

    Meanwhile I intend to remain in the morally superior group of those who tend to put on weight, but are capable of enough self-control to stay at a healthy one. By watching how much I eat.

  35. “If calorie intake wasn’t the key, stomach stapling wouldn’t work.”

    And if you unplug your refrigerator from the power supply the temperature inside tends to rise.

    Nevertheless, in most normal circumstances, the thermostat setting is a ‘better’ explanation for the temperature than the energy input/output. Both explanations are true, but one is a consequence of the other.

    “Meanwhile I intend to remain in the morally superior group of those who tend to put on weight, but are capable of enough self-control to stay at a healthy one.”

    What makes you think it’s a healthy one? Why do you suppose your biochemistry wants you to be heavier, and why do you believe you know better than evolution?

  36. “Well, my body temperature at around 8am is a lot higher than at noon” Rob
    “My brother-in-law (5ft 11″ and nine-and-a-bit-stone) has a high metabolic rate and, as a result, “radiates” heat. ” john 77

    People really do come out with this stuff with a straight face. The human body operates at a temperature of 37 deg C +/- 1/2 deg.
    Any marked departure from that range is likely to send the owner in the direction of the hospital emergency services or failing that, an undertaker. The difference in the amount of calories, between people, required to maintain that temperature is utterly trivial since we all run n the same basic biochemistry.
    Our usually verbose friend NiV posts a lenthy screed comparing human beings to refrigerators. Ignoring that humans are sentient beings & refrigerators (so far) aren’t.
    It is very simple. Humans are animals. Like all animals, they’re confronted by a conundrum. They need to eat to provide energy to stay alive. Obtaining something to eat entails work & broadly speaking, no animal wants to do unnecessary work. So the body has a mechanism, the hunger response, to incentivise getting up off it’s arse & go find something to eat. To reinforce this, there’s also a pleasure response to feeding. Having eaten, sufficiently, the hunger urge is satisfied & no longer predominates & the animal goes back to licking its privates or whatever else occupies its time. The body mass is therefore a balance between not expending unnecessary energy & not feeling hungry. Thus you don’t see many animals signing up for Weight Watchers.
    Humans are, unfortunately, sentient. One result being, they contrive to make this business of going find something to eat a minimal energy expenditure prospect. So they’re able to gratify the pleasure response to feeding at will.
    And it really is as simple as that. People become overweight because there’s minimal immediate cost to obtaining the pleasure derived from feeding. It’s simply the urge to stuff something in their mouths. All the guff about metabolisms etc is excuses.
    You want to lose weight, recognise there’s a difference between hunger & pushing the pleasure button through eating. Although very few people in the modern affluent societies get the experience to do so, first hand. Don’t keep pushing it.

  37. Well said, bis.

    The obese excessively reward themselves with food pleasure. Most because the rest of their lives suck.

    Obesity is quantitative, not qualitative. If you want to lose weight, don’t eat so damn much.

  38. “People really do come out with this stuff with a straight face. The human body operates at a temperature of 37 deg C +/- 1/2 deg. Any marked departure from that range is likely to send the owner in the direction of the hospital emergency services or failing that, an undertaker.”

    [Rolls eyes]

    It’s a cold day. A friend comes in with a smile and wave and tells you her hands are frozen. “Feel that!” she says, touching your arm with her hand. Her hand feels cold on your arm. “But how is that possible?!” you exclaim. “Everyone is always at a temperature of exacty 37 C, so how can heat possibly be transferring from me to you? Your hand feels really cold!”

    Then you realise. “OMG! You’re dead! You’ve died of hypothermia! Oh Nooooo!!!” But wait. She’s still moving. That’s thermodynamically impossible if she’s dead. “Oh, hang on, you must be in the process of dying of hypothermia! Maybe it’s not too late to save you? Let’s rush you to the hospital emergency room!”

    She looks at you funny, like she thinks you’ve gone nuts. Is her confusion a symptom of her hypothermia, or something more serious…?


    There’s a difference between *core* body temperature, and *surface* body temperature, especially at the extremities. The skin is usually at around 33 C when in comfortable surroundings, but can drop to 15 C in the cold without discomfort, and even lower without damage. Cutaneous vasoconstriction is a homeostatic reflex to cold, an adaptive mechanism for reducing heat loss.

    And the rest of your ‘screed’ is similarly erroneous. But I’d hate to bore you… 😉

    But I’m very curious. How did you think the body kept its temperature so precisely at 37 C, if it’s sentient and therefore not ‘acting like a refrigerator’? Why doesn’t the invention of clothes and fire and central heating cause humans to thoughtlessly overheat, like you reckon the invention of easy food causes them to overeat?

  39. The core body temperature, like the necessity to breath, is not under voluntary control. Whether or not to eat is. And the invention of easy food does not “cause” anyone to over eat. Whether they overeat or not is entirely a matter of choice.

  40. “The core body temperature, like the necessity to breath, is not under voluntary control.”

    I think you’re still missing the point.

    I was suggesting that energy storage regulation, like all other essential biological parameters like breathing and body temperature, is subject to autonomic feeback control. (Like a refrigerator thermostat.) The general principle is called homeostasis. It would be pretty strange if the body regulated everything else but left out something as important as energy regulation. Like breathing, you can override the autonomic system within a narrow range by a voluntary effort, and with an increasing level of discomfort. But you can’t go out of bounds through absent-minded carelessness. As soon as you stop paying attention to it, the automatic system takes over again.

    You ridiculed this idea of an autonomous thermostat-like mechanism by saying that humans are sentient. Their voluntary choices override the autonomous systems that other animals depend on.

    However, as soon as I ask you how you square this with your claim that temperature is regulated and fixed, as with a refrigerator’s thermostat, you simply restate that it’s regulated and not under voluntary control. All of a sudden, the refrigerator analogy is no longer ridiculous. However, you don’t say anything to explain why you think it is ridiculous in the one case and not the other. You just assert that it is.

    You can do things consciously to affect your oxygen use and heat generation. You can do exercise, or go live at high altitude on top of a mountain. Your body first protests at the abuse, and then adapts itself to the changed circumstances. It builds bigger muscles, bigger lungs, more red blood cells, it pants to get more oxygen, and it shifts blood flow around and sweats to dump the excess heat. It tries to keep all its essential parameters between the lines.

    What I’m saying is that the latest research says that energy storage works exactly the same way every other biological homeostasis mechanism does. It lets you play around at will between set limits, but if you try to go beyond them it first protests and then adapts to nullify the effect of your interference.

    What I’m also saying is that this dieting fad is the equivalent of arguing that you can reduce your unhealthily high oxygen levels by holding your breath indefinitely. In theory, yes you could permanently lower your oxygen level by deliberately breathing less – it’s just a matter of willpower! People who don’t are just weak-willed! Or maybe they’re just wondering what bunch of idiots told you that the biological preset levels are wrong/broken, and that ‘the experts’ know better than sixty million years of evolution what’s good for you?!

    It’s a lot like global warming science. Just as climate science attacks the energy generation system that powers modern civilisation, so nutrition science chooses to attack the generally improved nutrition humanity has achieved, and tells us that plentiful food is bad, something must be done, and because we clearly don’t have the willpower to do it voluntarily on our own, they must be given the power to take over and make us do it by legal force for our own good.

    And it doesn’t matter how many times you try to explain how the theory makes no physical, logical, or biological sense, and their claims are not supported by the evidence, true believers determinedly stick to blindly asserting their beliefs!

    Humans…

    Since you can hold your breath, breathing *is* under voluntary control, like eating is. So why does human ‘sentience’ make it any different from fat storage?

  41. @NiV January 27, 2019 at 6:47 pm

    What I’m saying is that the latest research says that energy storage works exactly the same way every other biological homeostasis mechanism does. It lets you play around at will between set limits, but if you try to go beyond them it first protests and then adapts to nullify the effect of your interference.

    “nullify the effect of your interference” – if that was true we would not become fat by overeating.

    “It’s [PHE] a lot like global warming science” – Yes, but contradicts earlier points

    NiV – you started well in thread, but once disagreed with started digging a hole.

  42. “if that was true we would not become fat by overeating.”

    We don’t get fat bcause by overeating. We store extra fat because our biochemistry tells us to. It’s subconsciously controlled, like breathing is.

    If you’re biochemistry is set to ‘thin’, you can overeat 5,000 kcal/day and not get fat. If your biochemistry is set to ‘fat’, you can get fat on under 2,000 kcal/day. It depends also on what energy you burn, and that can vary too.

    The difference between getting fat or staying the same is about 1% of your intake – an amount so small you couldn’t even measure it. (No use Calorie counting – the measurements on food packets can have a 10% margin of error. Most people get it about 30% wrong.) If you ‘overeat’ it’s going to be by far more than that! And if your biochemistry made no adjustment for that (as can happen with those few unfortunates with metabolic diseases) you would wind up a 600 pound shut-in who can’t get out of bed without a fire crew and a crane.

    A typical Western man eats about 3,100 kcal/day which is equivalent to about a pound of fat. The top end of the distribution is about 5,000 kcal/day, but we’ll go with the average. 365 days a year, and 40 years between the ages of 20 and 60, mean you eat the equivalent of 14,600 pounds weight in a lifetime. If intake exceeded expenditure by as much as 1% you would put on 146 pounds, or about 10 stone by the time you’re 60. Eat even as much as 10% over – which you’d still probably not notice – and you’d do so 10 times faster. The idea that people could eat noticeably more than their actual requirement (like 5,000 kcal/day is double the health-Nazi recommendation) and not explode is clearly nonsense.

    It would certainly be contrary to those thermodynamic laws Tim mentioned!

    “NiV – you started well in thread, but once disagreed with started digging a hole.”

    Thanks, but I’m not in a hole.

    As usual, everthing’s fine while you agree with what I say, but as soon as I say anything contrary to your beliefs, things turn nasty and we get into all the argument-by-because-you-say-so. I get called a ‘shithead’, and so forth, which I don’t find persuasive.

    I don’t mind at all if you don’t agree with me – most people don’t. I’m just expressing my opinion, same as everyone.

  43. @NiV

    “If you’re biochemistry is set to ‘thin’…. If your biochemistry is set to ‘fat’”

    I do not believe your fat/thin biochemistry, it’s an excuse. Just Eat/Don’t Eat is a choice and will-power.

    You won’t change my opinion on that, so call it closed.

    .
    “things turn nasty, I get called a ‘shithead’”

    I try to stay out of that; except on RoP where I profoundly disagree with you, but try to avoid ad-hom insults.

  44. “I do not believe your fat/thin biochemistry, it’s an excuse. Just Eat/Don’t Eat is a choice and will-power.”

    Sure. So is breathing! 🙂

    “You won’t change my opinion on that, so call it closed.”

    Fair enough.

    “I try to stay out of that; except on RoP where I profoundly disagree with you, but try to avoid ad-hom insults.”

    Ad hom doesn’t bother me. It just makes me think less of the people who do it. And as I said, it’s a profoundly unpersuasive argument!

    But I do actually *like* to seek out people who disagree with me, and who are capable of putting a coherent argument forward without all the ad hom abuse. It makes for a more interesting conversation, and provides a good test of ideas. I try always to be ready to change an opinion if someone presents me with stronger evidence! There’s surely more shame in holding unfalsifiable beliefs than wrong ones. So I don’t have any objection to you disagreeing with me. It’s useful.

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