Weight loss engages a “starvation response” that acts to regain the lost weight, and this is a key reason why weight loss is difficult and often temporary. This starvation response includes an increase in the drive to eat and a decrease in calorie expenditure. Using a clever study design, Kevin Hall and colleagues recently quantified the contribution of eating drive to this starvation response. The results suggest that increased eating drive is the primary way in which the starvation response opposes weight loss.
Gerald Reaven is the researcher who first identified the state of insulin resistance and played a central role in defining its consequences. Understanding insulin resistance is worthwhile, and if we want to do so, his work is one of the most informative places to look. I recently read his general-audience book Syndrome X: The Silent Killer, and I’ll share my thoughts on it in this review.
I’ve been asked by a number of people to review Gary Taubes’s new book, The Case Against Sugar. I reluctantly agreed that it would probably be a good idea for me to do so. In this post, I’ll provide something that is not available anywhere else (to my knowledge): a review of the book from the perspective of a former researcher who is an expert in some of the topics it discusses. [update 7/22/17: there is now a second detailed expert review of the book available here]
The Case Against Sugar is a journey through sugar history and science that argues the point that sugar is the principal cause of obesity, diabetes, coronary heart disease, and many other common noncommunicable diseases. This differs from the prevailing view in the research and public health communities that obesity and noncommunicable disease are multi-factorial, with refined sugar playing a role among other things like excess calorie intake, physical inactivity, cigarette smoking, alcohol and illegal drug use, and various other diet and lifestyle factors. I side with the latter view. In case anyone is wondering, I’ve never had any contact with the sugar industry and I have no other relevant conflicts of interest.
I’ll break the review into two parts, the first covering the historical aspects of the book, and the second covering its scientific aspects.