ACCORDING TO THE "EXPERTS"
OBESITY IS GENETIC
That pillar of truth Yahoo, carried an article by the AP's Marilynn Marchione yesterday called Scientists Discover How the Obesity Gene Works. The article was based on a study --- a collaboration between 19 scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University --- that was published in this month's issue of the New England Journal of Medicine (FTO Obesity Variant Circuitry and Adipocyte Browning in Humans).
In the article, there was lots of congratulation and 'back-slapping' going around, with scientists all over the globe describing what happened as "an amazing study" and "a scientific tour de force". I can't blame them when you look at the profits that will be involved. Profits? Bless God, this study was not about profits --- it was about about a marvelous / invaluable / unfathomable (include your own adjective here) scientific discovery. How could I dare be talking about profits? Easy. The title of the very same article, but run in the Huffington Post, let the cat out of the bag (Obesity Gene Discovery Could Forever Change Weight Loss). What do we all know about WEIGHT LOSS? Some estimates say it is a sixty billion dollar a year industry.
The study's abstract itself provides a taste of what I am talking about by stating that, "Inhibition of Irx3 in adipose tissue in mice reduced body weight and increased energy dissipation without a change in physical activity or appetite." Not sure what IrX3 is? Who cares. Just re-read the highlighted sentence and you'll get the point. This is a pharmaceutical company's dream --- creating a drug that provides the ability to be able to eat whatever one wants, while living that same sedentary lifestyle --- and not gaining an ounce of weight in the process. Heck; according to this study, the heavily fed, sedentary mice lost weight after having their genes "manipulated".
I want to focus on two problems here (there are actually many that we could discuss, but today we will keep it to two). Firstly, it's not like we haven't known for decades that at least for some people, OBESITY is a genetic problem. But let's put this in perspective. If you are old enough, think back to your school years in the 'good ole days', you'll likely remember that overweight children were few and far between. Overweight adults were relatively rare as well. Now we have a population which, when you add in the people who are MONW, four of five are either overweight or have PRE-DIABETES. Are we really supposed to believe that all of this is genetic? Certainly not. This is a perfect example of EPIGENETICS in action (or HERE). The truth is, we are not nearly as defined by our genes as we have been led to believe.
Secondly, even though we know there are billions being made off weight loss scams, the MEDICAL APPROACH to obesity, although wrapped in the cloak of 'science', is really no better --- a fact driven home by Pam Brown writing for Medpage Today on earlier this week (The Weight Loss Menu: Surgery with a Side of Meds?). Without me going into the gory details, listen as she reveals (in a mainstream medical publication) that none of the weight loss methods the medical community is currently providing are working. That would be none as in "none". Is this a surprise? Not if you've been following my blog (HERE). Brown writes that....
"U.S. consumers now have a veritable fast-food menu of options when it comes to treatments for obesity: bypass surgeries, gastric sleeves, and lap bands; vagal nerve stimulators and balloons; and, of course, a growing list of weight loss drugs. Yet this full plate of available therapies doesn't seem to have had a major impact on the obesity epidemic -- nearly 35% of Americans are obese, according to current figures on the CDC website, and the estimated annual medical cost of obesity in the U.S. was $147 billion in 2008. In addition, according to a 2014 paper in the Journal of the American Medical Association, 'overall, there have been no significant changes in obesity prevalence in youth or adults between 2003 and 2012'."
The truth is, we all want AN EXCUSE. Heck; I want one too. Personal responsibility is tough stuff. Give me the "Easy Button" any day of the week. Honestly, there is no easier excuse to use for our weight than to blame our genetic makeup (it's mom and dad's fault), and there's no easier hope of weight loss than to believe we won't have do do anything hard to get there from here.
The food industry, which is largely made up of the same corporations that make up big pharma, works overtime to make sure we are ADDICTED TO JUNK. If you are looking for an EXIT STRATEGY, just click the link. By the way, Brown's article mentions the, "heavy lobbying from the industry" to get drugs and procedures approved by the FDA. Just another of the plethora of reasons that EVIDENCE-BASED MEDICINE should be taken with a grain of SALT.