Today’s homework assignment is to write a bit about the why the caloric balance hypothesis is mistaken. I already did that in some detail on day 18, but I’ll summarize it here.
For the past few decades, the hypothesis that has dominated nutritional science is the idea that we gain or lose weight based on the number of calories we consume or expend. Eat more than you exercise, you’ll get fat. Exercise more than you eat, you’ll get skinny. Easy as that. This notion is based on a superficial reading of the laws of thermodynamics, specifically the conservation of energy.
Science journalist Gary Taubes points out, though, that the scientists espousing this hypothesis have been assuming one-directional causality when they only see a demonstrated correlation. In fact, the thermodynamics equations have no arrow of causality — and we can see that the causality points in the opposite direction when we think about children growing into adults. Children going through growth spurts don’t grow because they’re eating a lot — they eat a lot because they’re growing. That growth, and the ravenous appetite it consequently brings, stems from human growth hormone.
So, contrary to the conventional wisdom that people get fat because they consume more energy than they expend, this is the alternate hypothesis: People consume more energy than they expend because they’re getting fat. That growth, and the ravenous appetite it consequently brings, stems from insulin production and resistance, which is gradually developed from excessive carbohydrate consumption — particularly refined sugars and grains. This has been borne out in controlled studies of rodent diets, and observational studies of human diets.
The insight here is that physical growth of all kinds is first and foremost a hormonal phenomenon. If your hormones are telling your body to grow, they will also give you the appetite and energy inclinations to make that growth possible.
Pinning it all on caloric balance without understanding the unique metabolic effects of different kinds of calories is to pretend that you can control a system without understanding the structural complexity underlying it.
In short, hormones are the cause, appetite is the result, growth is the effect.
Here are my food photos for day 47:
Sunday, March 2
I woke up at 10:40 a.m. (after heading to bed at 2:20 a.m.).
Breakfast: 11:45 a.m. | 4 eggs, lettuce, 2 Tbsp. red palm oil, herbs & spices
Lunch: 5:50 p.m. | 4 eggs, greens mix, 2 Tbsp. red palm oil, herbs & spices
Dinner: 10:15 p.m. | 8 oz. salmon, 1/2 celeriac root, greens mix, 2 Tbsp. coconut oil, herbs & spices