Is everything I know about obesity wrong?

General philosophy message board for Discussion and debate on other philosophical issues not directly related to veganism. Metaphysics, religion, theist vs. atheist debates, politics, general science discussion, etc.
Post Reply
User avatar
Lightningman_42
Senior Member
Posts: 489
Joined: Sat Mar 21, 2015 12:19 am
Religion: None (Atheist)
Diet: Vegan
Location: California

Is everything I know about obesity wrong?

Post by Lightningman_42 » Wed Sep 19, 2018 3:54 pm

For a long time now I've been under the impression that people are more likely to develop certain health problems if they are overweight. Furthermore, the more excess weight people develop, the greater their risks are, and the more severe their health problems become.

Does obesity promote risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, and stroke? Does being slightly overweight promote these risks as well, but to a lesser degree than being obese?

These are the impressions I've had so far. Recently, however, I've considered that I might be completely wrong about this, and that I am in desperate need of enlightenment by a HuffPost journalist with no formal education in dietary science.

Have any of you read this article linked below?

https://highline.huffingtonpost.com/art ... -is-wrong/

I'm curious to know how many of the claims in this article are correct, and how many are incorrect. Some examples:


"The first is that diets do not work. Not just paleo or Atkins or Weight Watchers or Goop, but all diets."

"95 to 98 percent of attempts to lose weight fail and that two-thirds of dieters gain back more than they lost. The reasons are biological and irreversible."

"Anywhere from one-third to three-quarters of people classified as obese are metabolically healthy. They show no signs of elevated blood pressure, insulin resistance or high cholesterol."

"A 2016 study that followed participants for an average of 19 years found that unfit skinny people were twice as likely to get diabetes as fit fat people." (Does this study, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4731253/ , actually prove this?)
"The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil but because of those who look on and do nothing."
-Albert Einstein

PhilRisk
Newbie
Posts: 24
Joined: Tue Oct 10, 2017 5:08 am
Religion: None (Atheist)
Diet: Vegan

Post by PhilRisk » Thu Sep 20, 2018 7:04 am

The 2016 study showed, that unhealthy skinny people were twice as likely to get diabetes as healthy fat people. In the study "health" is defined by measuring three metabolic indicators: blood pressure, blood glucose, and blood lipids. To interpret this as fitness and saying things about habits and dozens of indicators like vegetables or excersise is lousy interpretation by the huffpost-author as the study says nothing about the cause of the health status in the first place.
Furthermore, the risk of diabetes is the same for for healthy people with obesity and lean, who are suboptimally healthy. Therefore, the study gives further evidence that obesity is a risk factor even though other factors seems to be a better prognostic tool and that the health status is quite stable, despite people gaining weight and overweight and obese seems to have a higher rate of becoming less healthy (but this was only my eyeball method on figure 4-6), it is not statistically analyzed as far as I am found. Further, lean people are about twice as likely to stay in the healthy group than obese people.
Additionally, one result was that obese people close to never get lean, but lean young adults can become obese. The study states as a clinical implication reasoning about the prevention of obesity: "On the other hand, young-elder lean people seldom become obesity, but ~18% of young lean adults will become obesity in their middle age. These data imply that among adults primary efforts to prevent obesity should be directed at young adults." (young- elder is defined as 45-65 years).

User avatar
brimstoneSalad
neither stone nor salad
Posts: 8943
Joined: Wed May 28, 2014 9:20 am
Religion: None (Atheist)
Diet: Vegan

Post by brimstoneSalad » Fri Sep 21, 2018 1:12 pm

Good to be skeptical of claims like this that go so starkly against well established mainstream consensus.

It's one thing to be against fat shaming (I don't know if it's useful or not) but quite another to spread myths to make people complacent with obesity and dissuade people from even trying to lose weight.
"The first is that diets do not work. Not just paleo or Atkins or Weight Watchers or Goop, but all diets."
Calorie restriction works if done correctly, but a difference in just a couple hundred calories can make the difference, so it's important to weigh foods and keep careful track of consumption.
Not all diets are calorie restrictive, but depending on a person's habits they can result in that.
"95 to 98 percent of attempts to lose weight fail


Attempts do not equal people. Most people seem to try a few times, so obviously in that context most attempts would fail. You can say the same thing about attempts to quit smoking, or change pretty much any habit, because "success" is permanent so no more attempts can be made after that: a person can only make one successful attempt max.

It's as asinine as saying: 99.9% of attempts to learn to swim fail.
Well, that's why you keep trying, but once you succeed by whatever arbitrary metric then you're done and you're no longer attempting it.
and that two-thirds of dieters gain back more than they lost.
ONE THIRD of people may have ultimately lost weight they didn't gain back. That sounds like success.

With or without dieting, people have a tendency to continue to gain weight. That's the status quo. There's no reason to believe that attempting dieting accelerates that process. You'd have to do a study specifically on that. "Metabolic damage" claims, at least, are bullshit (one of the main pseudoscience claims against dieting). There doesn't seem to be any reason not to make an effort, this Huffington Post offer just seems to be fear mongering for some reason.
The reasons are biological and irreversible."
Fatalistic bullshit.

It's calories in and calories out. It's totally reversible. Doesn't mean it's always easy to reverse, but it's always possible (even for people with metabolic conditions, although that can be a Herculean effort).
"Anywhere from one-third to three-quarters of people classified as obese are metabolically healthy. They show no signs of elevated blood pressure, insulin resistance or high cholesterol."
YET. Many of those are children. But they are at higher risk to develop health conditions over time.

I think PhilRisk addressed that study.
People who are skinny and unhealthy are so for a reason which the study isn't addressing. All that says is that obesity isn't the only risk factor, but it is one of the most significant and it's also one you have some control over.

PhilRisk
Newbie
Posts: 24
Joined: Tue Oct 10, 2017 5:08 am
Religion: None (Atheist)
Diet: Vegan

Post by PhilRisk » Mon Sep 24, 2018 4:32 am

I want to add something in support of the anti fat shaming movement. I think they are partially right, insofar as people should not be bullied for their overweight or obesity. And such bullying could consist out of inappropriately reminding the other person, that she should loose weight.
I really do not think that this sort of shaming the other is useful. If you want to address someones health problems you should probably think, whether it is appropriate regarding your relationship and if it is the right situation do so. Furthermore, you should be sensitive to emotional reactions. Even if obesity is not healthy, this dos not imply that it is useful to make other feel bad.

Short: Do not be a social idiot talking to overweight or obese people.

There is something about body shaming from the vegan rd: http://www.theveganrd.com/2018/08/body- ... community/

User avatar
Jebus
Master of the Forum
Posts: 1819
Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2014 2:08 pm
Religion: None (Atheist)
Diet: Vegan

Post by Jebus » Mon Sep 24, 2018 10:39 am

PhilRisk wrote:
Mon Sep 24, 2018 4:32 am
Short: Do not be a social idiot talking to overweight or obese people.
Criticizing harmful actions, such as eating ice-cream, could be ok (if done in the right way). Criticizing people for being fat is never ok.
How to become vegan in 4.5 hours:
1.Watch Forks over Knives (Health)
2.Watch Cowspiracy (Environment)
3. Watch Earthlings (Ethics)
Congratulations, unless you are a complete idiot you are now a vegan.

User avatar
brimstoneSalad
neither stone nor salad
Posts: 8943
Joined: Wed May 28, 2014 9:20 am
Religion: None (Atheist)
Diet: Vegan

Post by brimstoneSalad » Wed Sep 26, 2018 11:25 pm

PhilRisk wrote:
Mon Sep 24, 2018 4:32 am
I want to add something in support of the anti fat shaming movement. I think they are partially right, insofar as people should not be bullied for their overweight or obesity. And such bullying could consist out of inappropriately reminding the other person, that she should loose weight.
Sure, although the trouble with some of these complaints about shaming we see is that they don't regard ANY situation as appropriate, and even accuse doctors of it :roll:
So, it's hard to say what people are and aren't going to consider shaming.

There's also the difference between being down on a particular person (particularly if it's repeated and relentless), and expressing generally negative views about obesity on the societal level. Some level of background social pressure helps sustain the motivation for those 1/3rd of people who didn't completely fail at dieting. It can also encourage people to keep trying, and to consider potentially life saving procedures like gastric bypass.

carnap
Senior Member
Posts: 367
Joined: Wed Feb 01, 2017 12:54 pm
Religion: Other

Post by carnap » Sun Oct 07, 2018 3:07 pm

I don't think we really have a good understanding off the health impact of being overweight or obese in itself and that is because these are correlated with other lifestyle factors. For example how many overweight and obese people truly eat healthy?

Also my feeling is that weight issues are hard to reverse once they exist and as such "fat-shaming" serves no real function and it would be much more valuable just to focus on healthy lifestyle factors. In terms of shaming it would be better to focus on parents because that seems to be where most weight issues are created but that is ironically less socially tolerated than fat-shaming adults.

Another downside of focusing on weight is that it can lead slim people to have inaccurate views of their health. For example someone that isn't prone to weight issues may have less motivation to eat healthy, etc.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 6 guests