Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Letter to Obesity Researchers

Dear Obesity Researchers:

I will begin this letter with the caveat and admission, I do not know of all the research being done, but there are problems I am seriously concerned about. I also am not a scientist but I know when something seems to be missing and when the concentration seems to be all in the wrong places.

Years and years ago, when I was looking into why I gained so much weight, I wrote letters to obesity researchers. [wish I kept some of the names], please help! I did find a medical reporter who did help me, found out about PCOS, so all my efforts did have a good outcome. Finding out about PCOS and other endocrine problems definitely bought me more years of life. During this time, I used to scour Pub med. Personal research saved my life as I have earlier detailed on this blog.

When I looked into this stuff, this was the late 90s, I couldn't find ONE study that had taken the severely obese over 400-500lbs and actually seriously studied them. Ok, there may be some limits, they are immobile, often ill with co-morbs galore, but every other condition is studied in it's most extreme forms why not obesity? Could some of you please study us with the motive to help the severely obese?

Sometimes I want to ask, do obesity researchers really want to help people or is all the research now financed to feed the belly of the diet-industry complex? Am I going into conspiracy land to ask this? It kind of bugs me when I see so much of the research for a new product or related to weight loss surgery. I know one has to get funding for research but could someone please think outside the box for once. Is the future of treatment for obesity restricted to risky weight loss surgery?

More and more I think fat people [especially super obese] are physiologically different but this is horribly denied. Diet, exercise and lose weight and supposely the formula applies to EVERYONE. Sorry guys, but it is failing. This tells me more research needs done. Back in the 1800s, they used to admit that people had different metabolisms, some even far lower then others, what happened to that? Can any of you admit these physiological differences? Maybe some of you already have, but it's not affecting society much. They still expect all bodies to function the exact same.

I remember satiety issues even used to be mentioned far more, where has that research gone? Looks like some studies are being done, but you never see satiety mentioned in the regular medical news anymore except in terms of a new product. [That sounds all well and good, but probably all they will do is add some bulking fiber to the food--remember brown rice fills you up faster then white]

When I go to Pubmed and do a search of "severe obesity" [so much is bariactric surgery related]. It looks like the horses are getting more real research then humans. There's plenty of studies detailing the health outcomes of obesity or seeing if obesity is correlated with certain conditions such as in this one. We already know obesity in severe forms rips the body apart, now please find something that will help solve the problem.

Weirdly it seems its mainly to be the Chinese and others dealing with issues of metabolism. Well Western researchers need to step up.

Now this really bothered me...

I searched for studies citing "super-obesity" and got 293 hits on Pubmed. Over 200 [I counted 203] are weight loss surgery related! There are some mice studies on metabolism thrown in, sociological studies regarding fast food poor people and children, affect of conditions and medical procedures on the superobese--the ill effects from all the weight loss surgery--the cart these researchers seem to have put all their eggs in are scary enough, but really few studies on how they came to be that way in the first place!

Sorry guys, I see a total bias in that!

I have to admit these folks are on to something:[quote taken from here]

Gard and Jan Wright argue in a review of obesity research that “obesity research itself has become so entangled with moral discourses and aesthetic values that the ‘science of obesity’ can no longer speak for itself.”

Why isn't anyone caring to find out, how fat bodies [especially super-sized ones]really function?

I suppose this really doesn't surprise me:

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—Researchers at the University of Alabama (UAB) at Birmingham School of Public Health say a “white-hat bias” abounds in obesity research, and may skew reported results. White-hat bias is described as the “tendency to distort information about products regardless of the facts, when the distortions are perceived to serve good ends.”
In the case of obesity research, results may be misrepresented by scientists operating with particular biases on topics related to weight, nutrition and the food industry, as well as biases toward products like sugar-sweetened beverages, and practices like breastfeeding, according to the UAB study

There are a few of you thinking outside the box, not letting lies about obesity blind you, but there needs to more in that category.

Some questions to ask yourselves as you go forth with more research:

If we do not know these things, then how can anyone help fat people?

1. Why are fat people hungrier?

2. Why do some people stop at a certain weight and some keep gaining?

3. Why with even the pressure of immobility, severe health problems and worse etc, do so many people fail in losing weight?

4. What is the actual human range in metabolism?

5. Why is so much of the research focused on weight loss surgery? Surely other options should be explored?

6. Why can't more people admit that fat bodies operate differently then thin ones?

It's time to really study the severely obese, this country is getting fatter, and more needs done. Some out there need to do a LOT BETTER.


  1. Unfortunately most studies need funding from outside sources and this means gaining a research grant or something similar. Research grants are generally funded publically (govt) or privately (industry). When it comes to fat people and studies, private industry is likely to be funded by the weight loss industry as there is no business/organisation representing the interests of fat people who would have the ability to fund a large long term study of the type you speak of. Government are unlikely to fund such a study because they just want to get rid of the fatties and so studying the 'super obese' (of which there are relatively few population wise) wouldn't be a 'wise' move expenditure wise. Researchers (like myself!) often want to study certain areas/topics but just can't because we can't get the funding needed to do so. It's true and it sucks.

  2. I think you are right, well I mentioned the diet-industry complex stopping real research. Yesterday when writing this article I was flabbergasted at all the WLS research and so little to find the core causes of obesity except with one study I mentioned towards the end. This is the BEST they can do? I often think yes the billions of dollars diet industry would collapse, if they actually figured the truth out and none of them want that to happen. The sociological studies seem all run by Captain Obvious; poor people are fatter, children are getting less exercise etc, things already known about but with no solutions offered. I feared that the money making enterprises were directing the research, with all those bariactric studies. [I do not blame people who make that decision--who wants to suffer from obesity, but I see weight loss surgery as another way, they have betrayed the fat; so much of appetite, hunger etc is NOT stomach but brain based. Since the 90s, Ive never discovered a study, and I do look on occasion, that has taken severely obese people and studied them or their lives. This is why I have spent so many years of my life, trying to tell doctors how I really live. I think you are right no one wants to fund the study, but the irony is, if they did study things like this, they could maybe crack the obesity problem. The last study I put up, folks like that doing real research where they think outside the box, maybe the only hope in solving the obesity problem. All the shrill people who scream you lazy so and sos, you need to put down the fork, well as I said guys its NOT WORKING.

    I found this study really interesting:

    "A new study published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B suggests the current obesity epidemic goes way beyond eating too much and lack of physical activity. University of Alabama at Birmingham researchers suggest exposure to light, infections and epigenetics also may contribute to the battle of the bulge."

    Are you a researcher? Happy to hear that Bri, not sure if you are in this area. It stinks so much of the funding or lack there of stops certain studies from being done. This society is so controlled top down, where conformity is ruling and where creativity and innovation are being suppressed. The best to you, you do sound like you care, and glad you have wanted to study things that maybe are a bit out of the box.

  3. Hi

    I think that the factors that cause some of us to be fat are still too complex for our science. There are many things about the human body that we are far from understanding.

    I would bet that hormones and the endocrine system plays are part in the answer.


  4. Yes I agree hormones and endocrine system definitely play a part. I do think they could find out more if there was not so much bias. Still disturbed from the day I wrote this article where everything went towards WLS surgery.

  5. You said, "Back in the 1800s, they used to admit that people had different metabolisms, some even far lower then others, what happened to that? Can any of you admit these physiological differences?"

    You know, I have a comment related to that. My parents spent much of the 1960s & 1970s living in a tiny, rural Iranian village. Everyone basically ate the same meals and did the same work (obviously, men did men's work and women did women's work -- but you know what I mean). And there were still variances in people's weights, though they were not vast. There were a very few people one could truly call 'fat' by our Western standards, and very few one could mark out as too 'skinny -- and all such folks were related to one another -- so there was a genetic component there.

    I guess a second related point. For the younger generation of our family living in Tehran, Western 'luxuries' like soda and fast foods are a daily temptation, and even in the village, soda has become popular. Some people have actually become obese eating even small amounts of this 'new' food, and other people seem able to indulge in this new food as they please without putting on weight.

    That makes me think that there is definitely something wrong with the McFood modern people are being sold and also some additional component of people's bodies and genetics where some people react badly to it compared to others.

  6. Very interesting Siobanyan,

    I would welcome your theory, along with the differences of metabolism, I think what they are putting in the food is hurting people badly, and you are right some are more suspectible then others. The whole 'failure of willpower" thing doesnt work, when it's been proven every group introduced to Western food gains weight, including every group from Samoans to the Chinese to folks from Latin America. Thanks for sharing your family's experience.

  7. yea something is wrong, to much sugar not enough fat and nutrients to buffer it maybe? drink a dr pepper out right and all that sugar goes straight away into the body unbuffered.

    ou bodies have to deal with the regular influx of glucose from low quality sources and we know how oxidative sugar is don't we? it sticks to everything (when your glucose intolerant) and literally burns it when oxidized,our poor bodies have to adapt to this long term thing low fat high carb diets (mostly poor quality carbs by the way) it has to not only provide energy, but cleaning up services as well, no wonder those with the thrifty genes get fat. they need it to survive all that glycation, sugar etc going on. their fat cells are getting damaged to and thus are only working at half capacity and so call out for more fat cells to be produced to handle the excess glucose load and low dietary cholesterol intake. those fat cells are generally doing what they are programmed to do.

    we have to triggor it to do something else it is programmed to do, apoptosis. when a cell is no longer needed it is destroyed. lets figure out what diet would cause that? how do we make our fat cells reduntant and not needed anymore for survival?

    it seems to me if we eat enough saturated fats, (not oxidized fats of any kind) enough cholesterol, and lower glucose load then how many fat cells would it take to provide the energy needed (in a glucose intolerant body) the converstion of glucose to fat to fuel the cells who cant use glucose due to low calcium, vita d and choleserol status and recycle choleseterol? if we need less help from teh fat cells do you suppose they will be apoptosised?

    what do you say? find out what will achieve this without drugs?


  8. Research how MSG has been used to fatten lab rats, and how high fructose corn syrup is a definite sugar fattening agent. I did try going off all sugar carbs--in fact when on gluten free diet, my carbs got very low....[I am off it now] but sugars went higher, especially during one month I was VERY LOW carbs, and for the life of me I still can't get this. I dropped the A1c when I went off the gluten free diet. I think complex carbs may be ok, but not the simple hit you at once carbs. The lack of nutrients, fiber, etc in a lot of foods, is allowing the sugars to just flow in. The irony for me is to know my body sucks that stuff up like a straw, but then when digestion goes off the rails, this may be TMI, but its not so good at breaking down the "good stuff". When I do eat bread I always make sure there is protein, veggies or some sort of fiber to slow down the infusion. Ie for me eating two pieces of a toast is a waste of a meal, there will be a sugar rebound, and Ill be hungry within 2 hours.

  9. I'm way late to this discussion; but this reminds me of people who are chemically sensitive. Like me. Some people can tolerate dowsing themselves in perfume and being around fresh paint etc. Put some of us are totally sick from these things. It has something to do with the way our bodies can not process the toxins. Everyone's bodies are different. But a lot of people don't get this. If it's not happening to them then it just doesn't exist.

    1. I was very chemically sensitive for a long time and still am, perfume makes me sick though some abated wit time. I think it had something to do with Lipedema not cleaning out the toxins and as an art teacher I was touching chemicals and art products all day long. I tried to tell the fat logic crowd my body does not work like yours. There's tons of lipo-lymphedema women in my stage ending up in nursing homes. According to those people they think we are all pigging out and 'deserve" it like someone would be insane enough to ALLOW that to happen.

  10. I saw this woman on you-tube saying if Americans would just eat perfectly healthy and do yoga and exercise they wouldn't be sick.
    I did all that and I became sick anyway. It is a baloney meme that people buy into, that if you just do everything perfect all will be well..It makes me want to pull my hair out!I wish people would stop pushing this and get real and solve the problems by looking at them more truthfully.
    I feel your frustrations!