Obesity is Now a Disease, Says AMA

LA Times: AMA declares obesity a disease

Personally I don’t look at obesity as a disease. I see obesity as a symptom of a disturbed weight regulation, which is often due to a hormonal problem. Most commonly having way too much insulin in the blood. Obese people often have 5 – 10 times normal levels of insulin. But there are many other possible problems that can also lead to the symptom of obesity.

Thus obesity is a symptom of a disease. The underlying disease is often metabolic syndrome, resulting in too much fat-storing insulin. The cause of metabolic syndrome is often decades of eating too much sugar and other processed junk carbohydrates.

Update: Here’s another interesting perspective on the AMA decision: Wheat Belly blog: The monetization of obesity

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61 comments

  1. ZellZ
    Well, of course treatment needs to be paid for by insurance, because few are rich enough to afford to underwrite their entire health care. We need insurance, but it's a nasty bargain we make w/insurance companies, which is why I wanted a "dreaded" governmental complete takeover of hellth care. The government is powerful & could reign things in if it wanted to. Other countries have government run health care systems which, no doubt, are far from perfect, but better than having a For Profit system, where the person is just an entity for insurance companies to try to make as much money off of as possible.

    That is No way to treat sick people!

    I am reading (or Re-reading) Dr. Robert Lustig's book, "Fat Chance". Have not looked too much, yet, into what he says as a "policy wonk" about our health care system.

    Right now, I'm more entranced w/the idea of eating fruit again (in moderation) and tons of organic veggies (w/o worrying about CARB count) and, perhaps most daring of all, eating organic beans.

    Yes, I've come to see, in all my comments here & in reading all the comments from others, that I am very tired, at this point, of the mainly meats & veggies fare I have been consuming for a long time.

    I need to liven things up some.

    So: I'm Going to eat that mango I bought 2 days ago. (I already started it & am doling it out to myself, so as not to eat the whole thing in one sitting, but this way of consuming it Prolongs the pleasure of eating a mango).

    I'm Also going to let myself eat a Full, Entire, Whole avocado & not worry that it's possibly exceeding my carb count for the day.

    I do not have a carb count for the day anymore. I just have a carb Awareness, to guide me.

    I'm going to have whole fat helpings of plain yogurt w/nice helpings of pecans, ground flax and wild blueberries mixed in, plus some heavy cream mixed in - 3x a day, if I want!

    This is a Very Satisfying meal, but previously I would fret over the carbs in the heavy cream, carbs in the nuts, carbs in the flax seeds, even the carbs in the plain, whole fat yogurt.

    Carbs! Carbs! Carbs! So much carb fear & it's Justified, but not so much for whole foods, as Dr. Robert Lustig points out in his book "Fat Chance".

    (But no whole grains cereal mixed in, because for me, this is a mite Too addictive, at least at this point).

    I also have learned that there is the Theory of any given diet & there is the Practice of it & the 2 can often be rather far apart, especially the longer one is on a diet.

    There is fudging things, & I don't mean the dessert that many of us used to binge on.

    For instance, as Woo & some others have said, people can be fine with eating Atkins Endulge bars.

    Well, that is processed Crap as far as I am concerned. Its much better than a Reeses peanut butter bar, I guess, but it can't even come close to These, which one can Easily make & are Quite Delish:

    http://lowcarbbetterhealth.blogspot.com/2012/07/fat-bombs.html?m=1

    Dr. Lustig is "agnostic" on artificial sweeteners & Dr. E., of this bog, has nothing good to say about stevia, even though the liquid & powder forms I have on hand to use have no added sweeteners (you have to get them in a health food store, though, not in a supermarket, which sells the stevia that is bulked up with added sweeteners).

    I don't want to live in a world w/o chocolate & that is ok. That is being realistic about myself, rather than trying to be masochistic. Nor am I giving in to the binge monster.

    As an ex rampant binger, I used to go insane over regular sweets.

    Fat bombs are different. I am not sure why, but they are, & probably because the carb count for them is quite low. Especially compared to regular sweets.

    A few small fat bombs when one craves chocolate, goes a Long way. I keep them frozen & do not feel compelled to constantly eat them.

    So, I'm saying YES to:

    1. not worrying anyore keeping carb counts extremely low

    2. getting in daily exercise, stuff that I like to do, for the pure fun of it, because Dr. Lustig is really big on exercise

    3. eating more fiber, Way more fiber, in the form of lots of veggies & ground flax seeds

    And I'm Saying NO to:

    1. relying too much on hot dogs & diet soda, because I am too tired to cook real food

    2. eating a Lot of non organic meats. Dr. Lustig warns that the corn feed meats we are all eating can raise insulin, because of containing branched chain amino acids & other bad stuff. At any rate, there is a ton of antibiotics & hormones & other junk in this meat.

    Organic meat & fish IS expensive so - I will just have to eat Less of the stuff & buy a higher quality of my meat & fish. Problem Solved! (I even found organic hot dogs).

    3. Trying to lose any more weight. I've lost a good portion of weight, but I am at a plateau & that is when frustration can set in & going off a healthy eating plan can occur.

    Here's My Reality

    I'm Damn sick & tired of eating the "page four" way of Dr. Eric Westman, even though I think it's a valuable tool when first trying to get away from bingeing on sweets & other "carbage".

    But, after 2 years plus of following this type of diet, I am now ready to eat a more inclusive type of food plan, maybe even including brown rice on occasion.

    I Don't want to:

    1. EVER go back to bingeing on anything, Especially simple carbs

    2. Regain my lost weight. Even if I stay at a high weight, to Not regain lost weight is a feat that most cannot do, according to Dr. Lustig (& we can see this everywhere in friends & family who struggle to KEEP it all off & usually regain it All Plus MORE)

    3. Give up. Or assume that improved health = being thin. Maybe I can never be thin again & maybe I will stay fat - oh well, I'm not crazy about this for all kinds of reasons - but at least I can be a Healthier fat person And a Less fat person than otherwise....

    So, there it is!

    I'm sick & tired of being very low carb. I need some beans to bulk up my tuna salad & I want bigger leafy green salads, with luscious, jewel like cherry tomatoes thrown in, lavish amounts of feta cheese & (gasp!) corn, yes CORN!!!!! (from the cob) mixed in w/my greens. (In my salads, or w/tons of butter on the cob, corn is ok; in my meats, Not ok)!! Yes, & I want all this Great food w/o stressing over carb counts & dealing w/carb worry.

    And I want some water melon. Not a lot. Just in moderation.

    But Damn it I LOVE water melon!!! Nothing is More refreshing on a hot summer's day. (Can't you just feel a trickle of cold water melon juice drip down your chin right now, as the hot sun beats down on you)????

    I am a Food Sensulist, but I have learned that being a binger is Pure HELL.

    There IS a middle path. I am finding it, w/the help of Dr. Lustig's book, "Fat Chance". No expert is the be all end all, which is why I like to read up on them all, but Dr. Lustig seems the most for whole foods, regardless of carb count.

    I know I can eat this way successfully, for I've done it before.

    I am enough away from the binge monster (2 years & counting) to start eating more types of foods safely & that's what I'm going to do.

    (And hey, if this somehow Doesn't work out - but I think it Will - it will be back to "page four" even though I think it encourages people to rely too much on hot dogs, diet soda, Wendy's Baconater & other things, such as pork skins. All that stuff is fine, perhaps, in moderation, but I was eating too much of it. I think I need to rely Less on any kind of meat & more on just regular, whole foods that do not induce a binge response in me).

    (But I'm still going to watch it w/those whole grains)!!!!

    Thanks for reading! I write all this in hopes that it might be of help to some others who, in reading these words, recognize some or all of their own struggles in the ones I am going through, on a lchf diet. I can't speak for everyone & am just speaking for Myself, but surely I am Not the only one w/these kinds of struggles.

  2. NS
    Further evidence that obesity most certainly is a disease and what may be needed, in addition to a multitude of other strategies, particulary post weight-loss, is leptin therapy:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20935667

  3. ZellZ
    Interesting about leptin, because in Dr. Robert Lustig's book, "Fat Chance", he writes that Most (but not All) fat people have tons of leptin; in fact, the fatter they are, the More leptin they have. Unfortunately, though, they Also have leptin Resistance. From my understanding of his book, which is not as good as I would like, Insulin plays a strong role in causing this leptin resistance. He also writes that Gary Taubes doesn't put much into leptin, focusing more on insulin, but Dr. Lustig focuses on both, (as well as all the pollutants in the environment that might very well be contributing to obesity & related illnesses)
  4. Galina L.
    Whatever is true regardless fat people's level of leptine, it is very safe to assume that most people who lost some weight on a diet, and especially thouse who reached the weight-loss plateau, have decreased leptine levels and would benefit from Leptine therapy. I resently checked my leptine level, it is pretty low after eating LC diet, loosing 30 lb during first 3 years, and being rather weight-stable last 2 years. I can't loose more weight whatever I do, but conveniently, my BMI now is 27, and the clothes size is socially acceptable american 12.
  5. NS
    Hi Galina,

    Your comments are always so beneficial. Can I ask where you had your leptin levels checked. Was it at an Endocronolgist? My case is similar to yours but worse and far more complicated. I've been trying to move more in the direction of LCHF/Keto and have been influenced recently by Woo's excellent blog but it is not really working for me....yet. I basically live on non-starchy vegetables and limited amounts of protein and fat, not just for weight loss but for health, and I usually eat only once a day. I don't feel well on Keto but the weight just doesn't come off, despite intensive exercise, almost daily. It is phenomenally frustrating and depressing....

  6. Galina L.
    Thank you, NS. I just paid out of pocket in my native Russia which I visit now. I am sure in US you can find labs that don't require a doctor's order. I wanted to check our how far my menopause was, and decided to check my leptin and insulin as well. My insulin is also exactly on the low normal number. I think it explains why I am never hungry nowadays and my food feels much less rewarding.
    As you alreadynotised, our body often doesn't cooperates well with our desire to be thin. Some people manage to find ways to twick their diet (but your diet looks like a starvation one for me - not good, especially on a long run), my lady friend got some relieve from a very strickt diet by starting a hormone replacement therapy to offset the menopause effect, others claime that changing their thyroid med on the natural one helped. It looks like you feel like you exhausted your options, probably, the next thing to try is getting enough sleep and reducing your stress level by exchanging long hours of cardio on 3 weekly sessions of intervall training. Also, low-fat-low-carb diet led many to a health crisis.
  7. NS
    Thanks Galina,

    I appreciate your response and attention. Yea, I've been researching about Armour Thyroid replacement. I have unfortunately many health issues which I'm convinced is sabotaging my efforts. To the degree that I can, I play basketball since I love it. On other days, I just walk between two to three hours. I'm trying to work in more strength training but it's not easy for many reasons. I definitely have to and will have my insulin, leptin levels checked. Thanks again for your help.

    Warmest

  8. NS
    Further evidence for the need for leptin replacement therapy, post weight loss.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11994393

    Incidentally, if diabetics require (type II and of course type I) insulin therapy, since diabetes is most certainly a disease, and if obesity, post weight loss, requires leptin therapy (insulin and leptin are both hormones), doesn't it necessarilly follow that obesity should also be referred to as that, a disease, and accordingly treated as such?

    One wonders when - if ever - we'll be lucky enough to receive leptin therapy.

  9. Galina L.
    It looks like leptine could be also reduced by removing small after a weight-loss fat sells during lipo or skin-reduction surgery. I just recently experimented with some kavitation-like equipment which was used to treat my middle-section - 5 sm and 4 kg were gone without changing my diet or physical activity level. If bariatric surgeries are medical treatment, why not cavitations and skin-removal surgeries?
  10. grinch
    Obesity is a disease just like alcoholism is a disease. For someone who is a thin non-alcoholic, it might seem like some kind of behavioral disorder but I know this is far from the truth. I have met alcoholics both within the family and even been friends with them, and know that alcohol has an effect on them that it can't possibly have on me. At about 13-14 years old, I introduced alcohol to a friend of mine for the first time. From that first drink, he was obsessed with it, and got to the point where he was drinking bottles of whiskey on school nights by himself, getting so wasted that he stayed home sick the next day. I never did anything like that, the thought of that kind of drinking was repulsive to me. He was destined to be an alcoholic, I was not. Moderation was easy for me, because anytime I overdid it, my body didn't want it for long stretches of time.

    Same goes for obesity. Some people can eat the industrial foods in this modern environment and stay thin, others can't and they get huge. I think it is unreasonable to blame someone for not counting calories as they become obese. The reason we have to count calories is because we live in an environment with foods that are toxic to our health.

    While I disagree with many here on the significance of calories, macro-nutrients, the root causes, the one thing I agree on is that obese is not a behavioral disorder, but mainly one of people with genetic predisposition being in the wrong environment. Same goes with alcoholism. Put people in an environment with no alcohol and no industrial foods and they will likely be thin and healthy.

    Reply: #61
  11. Galina L.
    People are not supposed to count calories. I used to be obsessed with eating, even though I didn't eat industrially prepared food on a daily basis. Only a low-carbohydrate diet cured my abnormal appetite. The same could be said about my mom.
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