I just spent 3 hours and 13 minutes of my life listening to Peter Attia and Gary Taubes talk about the cause of obesity. (1) Actually it was mostly about a lot of other stuff that isn’t the cause of obesity. Three hours is a long time for someone who is morbidly ADHD. I did have to take a few coffees breaks but it mostly gripped me. If everyone, young and old, even the smartest scientists, can be so wrong headed sometimes, I started thinking – hey now I get Trump voters – but no, I still don’t get them.
The stories were amazing and should be a required philosophy of science lesson for all my students but it ended unsatisfactorily for me. I was reminded of Gary Taubes’ essay in Scientific American from 2013 (2) wherein he said, “Rigorously controlled studies may soon give us a definitive answer about what causes obesity—excessive calories or the wrong carbohydrates.” At that time I wrote, or tried to write, a letter to the editor that said, “Scientific American shouldn’t be publishing someone who says he knows the answer and soon he will be proved correct.” As of today, those rigorously controlled studies have not been done yet.
Gary Taubes contentions also reminded me of the time I sent a letter to my hero Dr. Albert Stunkard, using the United States Postal Service, telling him that Prozac could be a big help for bulimia for reasons I won’t bore you with here and he very graciously wrote back, “That’s a good idea. You should do that study.” Maybe Mr. Taubes will have to do his study by himself.
Gary Taubes is typical of so many of the best selling authors about obesity who explain very cogently why everyone else has been so wrong about the cause of obesity but then blindly propound the true cause of obesity that is also wrong. If sugar or carbs was really the cause of obesity it wouldn’t be subtle and we wouldn’t be having this argument.
It’s time to point out the true cause of obesity. It’s not the fats or the carbs. It’s the proteins, stupid. Remember where you heard that first.
From now on I will have to remember to mention Gary Tubes in any sentence that includes Drs. Ludwig and Lustig the other famous sugar shamers.
1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8js28V95flc. 167 – Gary Taubes: Bad science and challenging the conventional wisdom of obesity.
This writer’s opinion is their own and not the opinion of this newspaper
John DiTraglia M.D. is a Pediatrician in Portsmouth. He can be reached by e-mail- firstname.lastname@example.org or phone-354-6605.