Basic theory of gaining weight

What is it to “gain weight by starvation status”?

I’m going to explain the core part of this blog.

  Some of you might think it’s different from what you expected, but I’m writing what I actually experienced. I was so thin that my weight was less than 40kg so I was able to clearly understand why I gained weight so rapidly (around 5 kg in a few days).

1. Hunger in Africa and hunger in the modern era

  The idea of storing fat in the body as a “reserve” for starvation is something that every researcher thinks once. However, it is said that this theory is an idea denied by many researchers in history. This is because many obese people often eat more and African refugees are thin and malnourished.

Some may say “If starvation makes us fat, African refugee should be obese...”

However, please understand that this is a true state of starvation (malnutrition) in which the people can’t eat even if they want to and I’m stating that it is different from “intestinal starvation”.

  African refugees can’t eat digestible foods and by being malnutrition, their digestive ability decreased. On the other hand, in developed countries we can take high-quality nutrition and digestible European food. Therefore, if we focus inside the intestines, we are more prone to be in an intestinal starvation status.

  As a matter of fact, obesity is a problem even among the world’s poor. Common to them is the “quality” and “balance” of food, not the excess consumption of calories, carbohydrate and sugar.

2. Why do we gain weight in starvation?

  In my blog, I’ve said intestinal starvation increases your Base Weight and I want to explain it here. For the purpose of explanation, I’ve used plants as my example.

 (1) For plants, eating foods and gaining weight is done by adding fertilizer to the plant. Of course, we need to give fertilizer periodically for growth.
  As in the case of people, this corresponds to our meal. (if we take only one meal a day, as long as it’s well-balanced, there will be enough nutrition left in intestines to be absorbed.)


  However, giving too much fertilizer doesn’t usually result in producing a bigger plant and if we give too often, it may sometimes have a negative effect. It goes the same for humans and just eating a lot doesn’t necessarily mean they will become obese.

 (2) Using an example of a plant (figure below), gaining weight by the increase of Base Weight due to intestinal starvation could be explained in the same way as a plant that is extending its roots.

 When there is not enough nutrition, plant roots grow deeper seeking for nutrition and in the same way in our intestines of 6 to 7 meters when all foods have been digested, it seeks further nutrition. It is said that “the small intestine is the second brain” or “they have a will” and I’ve actually felt the will of my small intestine.

  Although the villus of intestine won’t actually become longer, something similar to plant roots will happen. If the amount of the absorption and ability increases (*) and even if you eat the same thing over time, you will gain weight. (It may be 3 kg in a year or 3 kg in a few days)

 (*) It is said that villus of small intestine is about the size of the tennis court if unfolded and its purpose is for absorbing more nutrition.

  I believe that this is the cause of the fundamental differences between obese and thin people, and that this largely affects being too fat or too thin (despite eating a lot).

 (These are the roots of weeds. They grow without fertilizer.)

  Of course, we can’t gain weight only with water, but I think the Japanese expression of “getting fat by drinking water” is not completely wrong. It could mean that your absorption ability may be as high as that.

<Once you gain weight, it becomes more difficult to lose weight>
  If your Base Weight increases, it basically means that that is the point where “weight is well-balanced”. Temporally reducing calories to lose weight means reducing fertilizer in the example of a plant. Even if you could lose weight temporally, your weight will basically go back to the original weight as soon as you start eating normal food.

  We often hear about rebounding after losing weight, but this is because skipping meals and experiencing hunger for losing weight induces intestinal starvation and the absorption level increases.

<More muscle too>
  After body fat comes on, it does not get muscle to support it, but absorption of nutrition is increased, so I think that it will get muscle at almost the same rate up to a certain point.

  When an obese person loses body fat, he / she becomes very muscled with thick chest. I don’t think the chest becomes thicker after they gained body fat just in order to support its weight.

<Cause and effect reverses>
  Since digestive enzymes and hormones are made from protein (amino acid), digestive ability and appetite is thought to increase at the same time.

  There is nothing mysterious about a big person or persons with a strong stomach that can eat more than others. It’s not that they gain weight because they eat more, but rather, the bigger their body is, the more hungry they become, and in turn eat more. This reversal phenomenon of cause and effect exists.

<Those who tend to gain weight will easily gain weight and those who don’t gain weight, won’t gain weight regardless of age>
  Even if everyone eats exactly the same amount, people with a big body/ obese will be experiencing hunger, more often, so it means they eat relatively less and tend to gain weight more. It may be a vicious circle where a person eats modest amounts and gains weight, and if they overwhelm their intake amount, they gain even more weight (rapidly). 

【related article】What does it mean to eat relatively less?

  On the other hand, if a thin person takes 3 somewhat well-balanced meals a day, there will be no intestinal starvation and regardless of his / her calorie intake mount, his / her body shape won’t change often for life.

  Therefore, “easier to gain weight” or “won’t gain weight” is not due to an obesity gene at all.

  Also, for a person too thin like me, getting thinner means decreasing the amount of protein / nutrition intake (I’m still lightly anemic) and it results in less muscle supporting the stomach and less digestive ability. This is the vicious circle for a person who can’t gain weight.

Obesity can be explained not as a multifactorial disease but with “relativeness”

1. Obesity is not determined by one particular condition

  Some people are not obese despite eating a lot of calories, whereas others that are obese eat less or fewer calories. The same thing can be said for carbohydrates and sugar.

  Although it is said that various factors such as the number of meals, eating speed, eating breakfast or not, late dinners, snacks, processed foods, lack of vegetables and fat in addition to the above affects obesity, however I believe the intestinal starvation mechanism and “relativeness” can explain it.

[Cited from “The Obesity Code” by Dr. Jason Fung]

What causes weight gain? Contending theories abound:

・Calories・Food reward・Food addiction・Sugar・Sleep deprivation・Refined carbohydrates・Stress・Wheat・Low fiber intake・All carbohydrates・Genetics・Dietary fat・Red meat・Poverty・All meat・Wealth・Dairy products・Gut microbiome・Snacking・Childhood obesity

  The various theories fight among themselves, as if they are all mutually exclusive and there is only one true cause of obesity. For example, recent trials that compare a low-calorie to a low-carbohydrate diet assume that if one is correct, the other is not. Most obesity research is conducted in this manner.
This approach is wrong, since these theories all contain some element of truth.(p.70)

  THE MULTIFACTORIAL NATURE of obesity is the crucial missing link. There is no one single cause of obesity.

  Do calories cause obesity? Yes, partially.
Do carbohydrates cause obesity? Yes, partially.
Does fiber protect us from obesity? Yes, partially.
Does insulin resistance cause obesity? Yes, partially.
Does sugar cause obesity? Yes, partially. (p.216)

  What we need is a frame work, a structure, a coherent theory to understand how all its factors fit together. Too often, our current model of obesity assumes that there is only one single true cause, and that all others are pretenders to the throne. Endless debates ensue.

Too many calories cause obesity. No,
too many carbohydrates. No,
too much saturated fat. No,
too much red meat. No,
too much processed foods. No,
too much high fat dairy. No,
too much wheat. No,
too much sugar. No,
too much highly palatable foods. No,
too much eating out.
It goes on and on. They are all partially correct. (p.216)

  All diets work because they all address a different aspect of the disease. But none of them work for very long, because none of them address the totality of the disease. Without understanding the multifactorial nature of obesity-which is critical - we are doomed to an endless cycle of blame. (p.217)

2. Various factors intertwined….

  As I’ve already explained, please understand that the phrase “gaining weight” has two meanings.

【related article】→[2 meanings of the phrase "gaining weight"]

  The Mechanism many people refer to as “get fat by eating a lot” is (B) in the graph below. When (A) intestinal starvation mechanism occurs, there are various factors related.

For example, starch such as refined flour tends to cause starvation status, and fiber and fat prevent it. This is why people say you won’t gain weight if you eat a well-balanced diet.

  Also, since our intestine is about 6 to 7 meters long, you won’t gain weight by eating unbalanced food just only once, but if you continue eating such meals, you will be more likely to gain weight. This is why there are people who are likely to gain weight and who aren’t. I can explain why there is more obesity among poor people.

  A well-balanced breakfast with dairy products and vegetables will leave fiber and fat inside intestine for a long time, so it will prevent obesity, however, a breakfast with ham, toast and coffee only, could be a cause of gaining weight. What I want to say here is that whether eating breakfast or not, alone it can’t be the deciding factor.

  Also, even if we eat the same amount, those who digest faster tend to gain weight and those with weak stomachs would have undigested food inside their stomach longer, so they won’t gain weight. This is why we can’t explain the different weight gain, despite the same intake amount and calorie amount.

【related article】→What does it mean to eat relatively less?

  When we do exercise (especially muscle exercise), the body will accelerate taking nutrition into the body, so it actually moves to the direction of gaining weight. However, people who do exercise such as athletes tend to eat well-balanced meals, so they won’t have the starvation mechanism and won’t gain weight, despite the large amount they eat.

【related article】→Misunderstanding of the relationship between diet, exercise and body weight

  In other words, obesity can be complicated and intertwined with factors and theories we can see, but can not be completely explained. However, obesity may be pinpointed in the unseen workings of the intestines.

  That is to say, it can be explained with “relativeness”. I’ll explain more in detail.

3. As previously mentioned, what is “relativeness”?

  In a broad sense, there are two meanings.

 (1) Simply speaking, those who experience “hunger” relatively more tend to gain weight. However, strictly speaking, simple hunger won’t make us fat. The status in which “all foods are digested” in the intestines which is 6 or 7 meters long would be regarded as “no food status” and it makes us tend to gain weight.

  This has nothing to do with the quantity. Even if you eat a lot, if you eat carbohydrates and easy-to-digest side dishes, this starvation status could happen. Also, even when foods are not completely digested, if long-term hunger is repeated, it increases the tendency to gain weight.

 (2) The other meaning of “relativeness” is that “intestinal starvation” occurs under various conditions happening simultaneously or overlapping.

  That is to say, it won’t occur under just one condition but by “relativity with other conditions”. Meaning that one single reason such as skipping breakfast, eating late at night or eating junk food is not enough to induce intestinal starvation. This is because our intestines are about 6 to 7 meters long.

  Although there are several conditions happening simultaneously, the following (a) to(d) have the principal influence.

【related article】→3(+1) Factors to Accelerate “Intestinal Starvation”

(a) What you eat (“quality and balance” of food)
・Fiber  ・Refined carbohydrate
・Low G.I. food (carbohydrate that digests poorly)
・Processed food  ・Low/high fat, protein
・How we eat (eating speed, number of mastication and water intake)

(b) “Time” between meals
・Eating breakfast  ・Skip meal  ・Late dinner
・Number of meals per day  ・Eating snack or not

(c) Digestive capability
・Strong/weak stomach  ・Difference of digestive enzyme

(d) What you had previously or the meal before that (since our intestines are long)

♦If there are genetic factors, I believe the factors below must affect overall strongly.

Power of digestion (difference by family or race. Of course, it may change after birth)
Character (not hasty. Calm and slow character)
Preference of food (vegetable and diary product etc.), interest in food (diet balance)

Misunderstanding of the relationship between diet, exercise and body weight

・Losing weight by doing exercise is temporary and it’s possible to rebound. Basically, exercise, workout(※) is a power accelerating to the direction of gaining weight (※especially muscle training) .

・However, the priority is in how you control your “diet”. The way a person controls their diet (when to eat, what to eat, how to eat etc) has a huge effect on whether we gain weight or not.

・Originally lean people doing sports eat 3 balanced meals per day, and it hinders increasing their Base Weight since some undigested foods tend to remain in their intestines throughout the day.
  In contrast, people who quite doing exercise or live sedentary lives tend to eat light or skip their meals. Such a situation can create intestinal starvation and lead to an increase of their Base Weight.


  Many of those who do sports are lean. When we see athletes who gained weight after quitting sports, the formula of “exercise=losing weight” may seem to work. Though many specialists think in this way, the relation between exercise and body weight can’t be so simple.

  However, with my 3 basis, relationship between diet, exercise and body weight, it becomes much easier to explain:

  (1) each person has the function to maintain their present condition
  (2) the phrase “gain weight” has 2 meanings
  (3) Base Weight (set weight) increases by the intestinal starvation mechanism.

1. The relationship between “diet” and “exercise” is the commonly used pretext, for specialists

  Specialists (doctor etc) would say “Aren’t you still eating too much...?” to those who didn’t lose weight despite exercise and “your exercise may not be enough...” to those who can’t lose weight despite calorie restriction.

  That is to say, since the relation of diet and exercise were regarded as “calories- in / calories- out, it was used as a various pretext by specialists and no one really considered this relation deeply.

2. Consumed energy would be regained

  I repeat, but those who believe that “eat more and you’ll gain weight /exercise more and you’ll lose weight” are seeing things in this way(figure below). They are thinking that “intake and consumption are opposite and the difference between them would result in gaining weight (or losing weight)”.

However, it’s actually like this (figure below).

  Intake amount (A) and consumption amount (C) is mediated by the absorption. Therefore, as the consumption amount (C) increases, appetite and absorption rate and capacity(B) would increase relatively. Also, the increase of intake amount (A) not automatically increases absorption rate and capacity(B).

【Please refer here for detail】

If there is no need to exercise to lose weight….

There is no meaning in simply calculating calories

  Though exercise does consume energy once, there will be a reaction to regain consumed energy. There is some kind of a law that “consumed energy would be regained”. It’s the same thing as your hands become hot after playing with cold snow.

  On the other hand, if you don’t use it, your body will decay. If you break your leg and don’t move it, it will get extremely thin... it’s the same thing.
  That is to say, exercise(※) basically revives the body, regains the cycle of energy and tries to store energy so it’s a power that accelerates to the direction of getting fat (storing fat)
(※it’s especially the case for muscle loading exercise such as exercise without oxygen).

  However, whether you gain weight or not depends on how you control your “diet”.

“Diet” is always the priority.

  This is why false theories emerge like “people exercising everyday are lean, even if they eat a lot".

3. What does it mean that “diet” is the priority?

First, I want to explain by several patterns.

(1) Not gaining weight while doing exercise

  As Dr. John Briffa, the author of "escape the diet trap" says, the perspective that “originally lean people start marathons and football and eventually become athletes” is a crooked but righteous view.

  Those who do exercise pay attention to nutrition and take nutritional supplement other than 3 meals. It’s because we think “I have to eat nutritiously” or “I have to eat properly” when we do exercise.
  In other words, originally lean people doing sports such as football and marathons take 3 balanced meals per day. And that would prevent increasing their Base Weight because intestinal starvation mechanism never occur (Some undigested foods tend to remain in their intestines throughout the day).

  Their misunderstanding is that they believe “I won't gain weight even if I eat a lot because I’m consuming” or “I won't gain weight even if I eat a lot because I have high metabolism”. “Consuming” is not completely wrong but eating a well-balanced meal 3 times a day actually has more meaning.

(2) Putting on some weight after quitting exercise

  On the other hand, there are people who say they put on some weight after quitting exercise or more desk work and not enough exercise …

  However, the problems lie rather in skipping meals, taking light meals, eating an unbalanced diet (with much carbohydrate) or taking meals at irregular times. That would more likely cause the intestinal starvation mechanism.

  When we have  nothing to do or stay at the desk all day, we tend to think “we should eat a light meal”. We may skip breakfast or take something light for lunch. We may eat only a burger in order to save calories or money for dinner with colleagues.

  In such situations, “the intestinal starvation mechanism” tends to occur and in a long-term, we might put on some weight.

  There are people who say “though I didn’t gain weight when I was young even if I ate a lot, recently I don’t do exercise so I’m gaining weight....” but in other words, it means that they didn’t gain weight when they were young since they ate a proper diet 3 times a day, but now they are eating light meals (with less vegetable) and are experiencing hunger for a long time, so they’re gaining weight.

♦ A friend of mine from college used to be very thin when he was in high school. He was practicing Judo and ate a lot of calories in order to gain weight and muscle, but he remained thin.

  However, he gained more than 10kg in just a year when he failed the university entrance exams on the first try. He said it was because he didn’t do any exercise but even studying uses calories in brain.
  When I asked the details, it seemed the most part of his daily diet, even more than half, was something simple to eat such as rice ball, snack bread or instant noodles.

(3)Gaining weight while doing exercise

  Though fighters and Sumo wrestlers (Japanese national sport) do exercise, they need to gain weight due to the characteristics of the sports. However, we often hear that even if some fighters eat a lot and take protein supplements other than 3 meals per day, it’s difficult to gain more muscle and weight.

  On the other hand, those who don’t want to gain weight, sometimes put on some weight easily. This is because the intestinal starvation mechanism is necessary in order to gain weight. Those who exercise hard think they need to take sufficient nutrition (milk product, protein, fat, vegetables etc.) but those who don’t do any exercise or live sedentary lives tend to eat lightly or skip their meals.
  Exercise is a power accelerating to the direction of gaining weight, but if you eat meals and protein every 4 or 5 hours in order to gain weight, some undigested foods tends to remain in your intestines throughout the day. And it hinders increasing your Base Weight.

♦ Sumo wrestlers are famous for being big but their main diet is a lot of rice and hot-pot dish called “Chanko” (stewed meat and vegetables) which is easy to digest.


  In addition to this, they always do an early morning practice not eating breakfast. They eat only twice a day(at 11:00 am and 6:00 pm) after practice. So all the foods they ate are able to digest in the whole intestines easily and their Base Weight increases.

  We can see that they are directing “the power to gain weight" and “the intestinal starvation mechanism” in the same direction. That is to say, it’s very logical in view of gaining weight.

More emphasis should be put on ”Absorption amount”

1. Is there any meaning in comparing only the intake amount?

  Is there any meaning in strictly comparing consumed calories with the daily calorie intake? We can’t see how many calories we consume. Similarly, we can never really see how many calories we intake because calories and nutrition are absorbed in the intestines
  However, most people follow the calorie count strictly from what they ate and always compare them with the assumed consumed calories. I think what is important is the absorbed calories only.

 (Though it might be a theory that is difficult to understand for those with average weight, I believe those with too much or too less weight would understand)

  I think trying to compare everything based on the daily calorie intake is causing various distortions and contradictions. There are those who don’t eat much but are overweight or those who eat much but are slim, never gain weight. It is true that some people who are overweight often eat a lot but it’s because :

  (1) they have big body
  (2) their stomach and intestines are large and strong compared to thin people
  (3) they often tolerate hunger for a long time, so they end up eating much.

2. Absorbing capability differs by person

  As each of us have different ability to memorize, talk or communicate, our ability “to digest and absorb” are different by person. 
  In Japan, there are old sayings such as “gain weight even by drinking water”, “a big eater who stays thin”, “your body is inefficient (since you never gain weight even if you eat a lot)” or “my body is too efficient (I don’t eat very much but I get fat easily)”.

  I believe all these sayings represent “absorption capability” explained here. Also, though I’m not sure what % of you would agree, however I want to say it loudly that when we say “our body gets fat easily” or “our body will never gain weight”, it means not “good/bad metabolism” but rather “absorption capability".

3. Is 1 calorie intake still 1 calorie in the body?

  For example, it is known that the calcium from small fish or the iron from vegetables are difficult to absorb, depending on person. But only for calories, many people just simply total the calorie count from each food they have eaten. I think it’s strange.

  Is one calorie intake still one calorie in the body? Those who say it’s one calorie in body use “the first law of thermodynamics” as its ground.

 "The first law states that energy can neither be created nor destroyed. In other words, energy can be converted from one form to another, but the total amount of energy in the universe remains constant. How might this law apply to weight management?

  Suppose someone has stable weight over time. The first law dictates that, in theory, the number of calories consumed by this individual in the form of food is equal to the calories the individual expends during metabolism and activity. In other words, 'calories in = calories out’. Applying the first law of thermodynamics essentially dismisses any notion that different forms of calorie consumed by an individual can have different effects on weight. In summary: ‘a calorie is a calorie.

  However, the first law of thermodynamics actually refers to what are known as ‘closed systems' – ones that can exchange heat and energy with their surroundings, but not matter.

  Is this true for human beings? Actually, no: the human body does indeed exchange matter with its surroundings, principally in the form of the food (matter in) and as waste products such as urine and faeces (matter out). Also, technically speaking, the first law refers to systems in which chemical reactions do not take place. 

  But the human body is essentially a mass of chemical reactions. So, here again, the first law of thermodynamics cannot apply where weight management is concerned." (PP.63-64)

(Citation from “escape the diet trap” by Dr. John Briffa)

4. My wish

  I have a reason I wanted to write such an article. I actually felt I couldn’t absorb enough nutrition and actually sensed this in my intestines when I was extremely thin around 30 something kg. At that time, I couldn’t gain weight regardless of what I ate. Though it was certainly pathological, I thought it was a problem of the amount of the absorption rate.

  And although it was only once, I gained more than 5kg in a short period of time (about 3 days) and I was able to sense at that very moment that I was gaining weight throughout my body. After that, when my weight recovered about 50kg, I was able to keep the weight even though I didn’t eat as much as I did before (since my Base Weight increased).

5. ”Being slim due to high metabolism” is unnatural

  In Japan, it is often said that those who are slim don’t gain weight since “their metabolism is high” or since “their body can break down body fat easily” etc.

  However, if body fat is saved as a preparation for starvation (since we never know when we could eat the next time), would the body break down or metabolize the precious energy source in vain? If everyone absorbs in the same way and “those who are thin/slim are using extra energy by high metabolism”, isn’t it unnatural?

  It’s often said that gaining muscle will raise metabolism but isn’t that because we are shown figures such as a shaped up model as seen on advertisements?

  But I actually think that those who are thin have less muscle and those who are overweight have more muscle under their body fat. If that’s the case, it will lead us to believe that those who are overweight with much muscle are easy to lose weight, and those who are thin with less muscle are easy to gain weight which are contradictory.

  This isn’t a good thing for specialists who are just trying to justify themselves such as doctors, nutritionists etc. to explain why people get fat.

Wealthy ones get fat? Poor ones get fat?

  I want to tell you something interesting that is related to the content of my blog. At the end of this article, I will explain how it is related to my experience.

1. Some believe that wealthiness is said to be the cause of obesity...

 "Ever since researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) broke the news in the mid-1990s that the epidemic was upon us, authorities have blamed it on overeating and sedentary behavior and blamed those two factors on the relative wealth of modern societies.

In 2003

  "Improved prosperity" caused the epidemic, aided and abetted by the food and entertainment industries, as the New York University nutritionist Marion Nestle explained in the journal Science.

  The Yale University psychologist Kelly Brownell coined the term "toxic environment" to describe the same notion. Brownell says, live in a toxic environment "that encourages overeating and physical inactivity." Obesity is the natural consequence. (Cheeseburgers, French fries, super-sizes, soft drinks, computers, video games etc ) (P.17)


  The World Health Organization (WHO) uses the identical logic to explain the obesity epidemic worldwide, blaming it on rising incomes, urbanization, "shifts toward less physically demanding work...moves toward less physical activity...and more passive leisure pursuits." (P.18)

(Citation from “Why We Get Fat?” by Gary Taubes)

In Japan, this idea is widely accepted and TV programs, magazines on dieting or the majority of specialist explain that high-calorie food and less exercise are the cause of obesity.
2.The example of obesity in povert

  However, what we have to consider here is that obesity is spreading in poor layer, too.

  "This was first reported in a survey of New Yorkers - midtown Manhattanites - in the early 1960s: obese women were six times more likely to be poor than rich; obese men, twice as likely.

  Can it be possible that the obesity epidemic is caused by prosperity, so the richer we get, the fatter we get, and that obesity associates with poverty, so the poorer we are, the more likely we are to be fat? (P.18)

  In the early 1970s, nutritionists and research-minded physicians would discuss the observations of high levels of obesity in these poor populations, and they would occasionally do so with an open mind as to the cause. This was a time when obesity was still considered a problem of "malnutrition" rather than "overnutrition" as it is today. (P.29)

  Between 1901 and 1905, two anthropologists independently studied the Pima (Native American tribe in Arizona), and both commented on how fat they were, particularly the women.

  What makes this observation so remarkable is that the Pima, at the time, had just gone from being among the most affluent Native American tribes to among the poorest.

  The Pima used to be hardworking farmers and hunters, so it is said, and now they're sedentary wage earners, like the rest of us, driving to the same fast-food restaurants, eating the same snacks, watching the same TV shows, and getting fat and diabetic just like the rest of us, only more so. The tribe was relying on government rations for day-to-day sustenance.

  Why would the Pima get fat on the abundant rations and not on the abundant food they'd had prior to the famines? Perhaps the answer lies in the type of food being consumed, a question of a quality rather than quantity. (PP.19-22)


  Two researchers from the University of Chicago studied another Native American tribe, the Sioux living on the South Dakota.Fifteen families, with thirty-two children among them, lived "chiefly on bread and coffee." This was poverty almost beyond our imagination today.

  Yet their obesity rates were not much different from what we have today in the midst of our epidemic. But the researchers noted another pertinent fact about these Sioux: one-fifth of the adult women, a quarter of the men, and a quarter of the children were "extremely thin."

  This combination of obesity and malnutrition or undernutrition (not enough calories) existing in the same populations is something that authorities today talk about as though it were a new phenomenon, but it's  not. Here we have malnutrition or undernutrition coexisting with obesity in the same population eighty years ago. "(PP.23-24)

(“Why We Get Fat?” by Gary Taubes )


  Groups with high obesity rate despite their poverty and undernutrition were found all over the world. Below are just a few examples.

"1961-63: Trinidad, West Indies

  A team of nutritionists from the US reports that malnutrition is a serious medical problem on the island, but so is obesity.

1971: Rarotonga, the South Pacific

  40% of the adult women are obese; 25% are "grossly obese."


  This is from a 2005 New England Journal of Medicine article, "A Nutrition Paradox - Underweight and Obesity in Developing Countries," written by Benjamin Caballero (Johns Hopkins University).

  Caballero then describes the difficulty that he believed this phenomenon presents: "The coexistence of underweight and overweight poses a challenge to public health programs, since the aims of programs to reduce undernutrition are obviously in conflict with those for obesity prevention.”

  Put simply, if we want to prevent obesity, we have to get people to eat less, but if we want to prevent undernutrition, we have to make more food available. What do we do? " (PP.30-31)

( Citation from “Why We Get Fat?” by Gary Taubes )

3.Though we say we became wealthy, how is the quality of our food?

  I want to explain my consideration based on 1 and 2.
  First of all, in order to consider “obesity”, isn’t it too simple to believe that “obesity increased since we became wealthy”?  It is certain that our life is much freer and is wealthier in a sense that we have a lot of things. 
  If we have certain income, we can do what we like and eat what we want. However, when the income is low, we can’t spend a lot for food. Also, we don’t have enough time to eat.
  We might disproportionately take too much carbohydrate like eating toast and coffee for breakfast and burger or a cup of noodles for lunch. We might skip breakfast.

  In addition, those who get fat easily try to eat simple light meal since they ate a lot the day before. The idea of offsetting an over intake of calories from yesterday, eating less today, is wrong.

  That is to say, even if someone is said to be wealthy, in regards to  food, there are many things in common with groups in poverty with a high rate of obesity. As Mr. Gary says, what is important now is the “quality” of food rather than the “quantity”.

4.Underweight and obesity can coexist

  I will explain that underweight and overweight can coexist through the previous content mentioned earlier in “The coexistence of underweight and overweight poses a challenge to public health programs”.

  I repeat that when I was very thin about 30kg, at first I was eating a lot of high-calorie food but I couldn’t gain weight. And then, I realized that I can gain weight by creating “intestinal starvation”. The easiest way to create intestinal starvation was to take carbohydrate and good protein, but since it lacked vegetables and minerals, I felt dizzy by the undernutrition.  If I eat milk, egg, vegetable, beans and fish to add nutrition and mineral, though nutrition is better, I couldn’t gain any weight. For me, it was because I couldn’t digest them well.

  So, even if they eat similar food in the same group, it may lead to a different result in the body. Some people who digested all the food they ate in their whole intestines may have become obese. However, those who did not digest all the food in their whole intestines remained underweight.

  A small difference sometimes makes a big difference in the result. Whether or not they are overweight is not based on the amount of intake of calories they eat.

 "Not all of us get fat when we eat carbohydrates, but for those of us who do get fat, the carbohydrates are to blame; the fewer carbohydrates we eat, the leaner we will be. (p.134)

 These foods are also, almost invariably, the cheapest calories available. This is the conspicuous explanation for why the poorer we are, the fatter we're likely to be." (P.150)

(Citation from “Why We Get Fat?” by Gary Taubes)

My Definition of “Intestinal Starvation”

If you haven’t read the article below, please read it first.

The highest priority is the mechanism to maintain present condition

2 meanings of the phrase 'gaining weight'

  In my previous article "2 meanings of the phrase 'gaining weight' ", I said that your Base Weight increases by the starvation mechanism (strictly speaking, "intestinal starvation")... I would like to explain it simply.

  Of course, in order to gain weight, you need nutrition such as carbohydrates, protein or fat however it’s what happens later on...because there is a "time lag" between emergence of the cause of gaining weight and the actually gaining of weight by eating. What I mention here as “starvation” is different from the situation like when you don't eat over a few days.


.It happens when you eat and when your stomach is working

.It refers to the situation between meals (like between breakfast and supper or lunch and late supper etc.) where all substance in the intestines of 7 to 8m has been digested.

.It’s different from simple “hunger” in that,
a) /there is no fiber or fat at all (or anything close to it)
   ※This is why the refined carbohydrates make you fat
b) /basically everything including water is digested

  In the way of evolution, human stored nutrition inside bone/ muscle/ fat in order to prepare for cases of starvation. This is because they didn’t know when they could eat the next time.

Getting fat should be the mechanism of the body trying to store the nutrition. Then this mechanism of storing nutrition should work strongly with those who won’t eat a lot.
  However, in this era with an abundance of food, it seems like those who eat a lot are obese and those that don't eat much are thin and this tends to lead to a misunderstanding.

  There is a reason for this. It’s a theory based on my personal experience. The question here is, "In what way does our body perceive 'starvation' ?" "Starvation" is not decided by the "amount" of how much we’ve eaten, but rather how the digesting process in the intestines proceeded.

  That is to say, even if you eat a lot and mainly carbohydrates and experiencing hunger for hours, you will be near a “starvation” situation.

  On the other hand, even if you eat a little, if you eat a well balanced diet with fiber including vegetable/ dairy/ fat every 5 to 6 hours, then your body won’t perceive you as being in "starvation". When there are some indigested substances in your intestines, your body perceives it as "there is still food". In other words, your intestines decide everything.

  Our ancestors a long time ago had nuts, meat or root vegetables and then they had nothing after that for a day, but their bodies didn’t perceive it as "starvation".

  On the other hand, our current bodies perceive us in "starvation" only within a half-day. It depends largely on the "quality and balance" of food ,and if we eat a lot of refined carbohydrate, easy-to-digest meat, or well cooked vegetables etc.

2 meanings of the phrase "gaining weight"

Please check out my blog below before reading this one.
→The highest priority is the mechanism to maintain present condition 

  I would like to define first. There are 2 meanings of the expression "gaining weight" which we use daily. I think the confusion of these 2 meanings cause a lot of misunderstandings.

  For example, such as “you'll gain weight if you eat a lot of calories” or “even with diets when you rebound, you might weigh even more than you did before you did the diet” etc.

  I realized this when I got really thin, but I think the confusion of these 2 meanings result in various misunderstandings and false information and most people are dieting in the wrong way.

1.When your weight goes back to your Base Weight  (A)

  First one is “gaining weight” meaning to go back to your Base Weight based on the mechanism to "maintain present condition". Many of those who are obese try to reduce calorie intake or do exercise to reduce weight. In such cases, the body will always try to go back to your Base Weight so as soon as you eat, naturally, you get fat.

  When people say “I will get fat if I eat cake ” or “I gain weight when I eat a lot”, they are mostly talking about this meaning. I often meet women who say “My body tends to get fat when I eat” but it really means that the body is repeating a “mini-diet” and a “mini-rebound” by the mechanism to "maintain present condition".

Toru Watanabe, Japanese actor, used to be heavy but with a diet, he weighed around 70kg when he appeared on a TV show. However, when he got married at 26, he couldn't maintain his diet anymore and ate a lot and he went back to 130kg. (It is said that he made a new record for his weight change every time he dieted)

  Again with the help of his wife’s home cooking, he succeeded in losing 40kg. However, after all he repeated his rebound. It’s quite famous in Japan.

  Here, “gaining weight” means the mechanism of going back to your Base Weight, so you will put on weight as soon as you take sugar, meat and fat etc. (You can imagine a beaker in which water is increasing and decreasing)

2.When your Base Weight itself increases (B)

  On the other hand,the second “gaining weight” means that your Base Weight itself increases. Though I haven't changed amount of intake (I rather reduced a little), I gained 3 kg in the last year or gained 10kg in the last 3 years... meaning your maximum weight has been increasing.

  This is not due to intake amount or calorie but by the mechanism of starvation (strictly speaking, I defined it as “intestinal starvation” ).

  For example, someone who has never been more than 60kg has become 63kg in the last year. In this case, it means that his/her Base Weight itself increased from 60kg to 63kg.

  When you gain weight to your Base Weight from a rebound after a diet, it's the (A) mechanism , but if you gain weight naturally more than your Base Weight, it is the (B) mechanism. This is because the diet creates a  starving situation.

  Generally, it is said that “eating while your metabolism is low makes you fat” but I will write an argument to this soon.

  Note: Through my own experience and people around me who gained weight suddenly, I became certain that my theory is right so I wrote this article. If I can correspond with a research institute, I have the means to prove it.

 An extreme argument, Sumo wrestler(Japan's national sport) gain weight with mix of (A) and (B) and though it looks like they gain weight by eating, the mechanism is the same as those who gained even more weight after doing a diet.

The highest priority is the mechanism to "maintain present condition"

1.Each person has the mechanism to "maintain present condition"

  First of all, I want to explain the most important point. It's the assumption that each person has the mechanism to "maintain present condition". I recognize that this is the pre-condition of everyone.

 For example, there are 3 women;

(A) 48kg・・・who can't gain weight even if she eats

(B) 57kg・・・who can gain weight till 60kg if she eats a lot

(C) 85kg・・・who can gain weight till 90kg if she eats a lot

  All through the year, we get thinner when we are busy and we gain a little fat when we eat a lot...though everyone repeats such things, even if we don't calculate calories strictly, body shape of person won't change so easily. Fat people are fat and thin people are thin.

  So here, I want to define the word “Base Weight” as the weight to which you go back when you continue eating for 3 to 5 days doing nothing such as during the long holidays. Usually in most cases, you won't go beyond the Base Weight and will usually come back to it.

  In this example, the Base Weight of A is 48kg and that of B is 60kg and that of C is 90kg. There is the mechanism to "maintain their present condition" working in their body to bring them back to their Base Weight.

  So, it’s difficult to assume a person’s body and weight condition only with calorie intake /consumption. Consider the example above, that if A continues an intake of 100kcal everyday for several months or years, it will be accumulated into fat and she will weigh 80kg is wrong. (She might gain weight but it's a different mechanism)

  In general, people who are obes are living with calorie restrictions so their present weight is lower than their Base Weight.

  On the other hand, thin people don't have calorie restrictions so their present weight and their Base Weight are often close. Therefore, thin A won't gain weight even if she ate and B and C will gain weight as soon as they eat.

Example of Hozumi Hasegawa, the professional boxer who defended 10 times as the 26th Champion of WBC World bantam weight.

  Bantam weight limit is 53.5kg. As his body get older, losing weight became hard and for a defending match, he had to lose more than 10kg in a month. But as soon as the match is over and he started to eat, the weight went back 10kg in a few days. The rate of going back to his Base Weight is so fast. Those who have tried diets and eat less than usual might have experienced this.

2. What fixes the mechanism to "maintain present condition"? 

  If you have studied about the subconscious or brain science, you might know that your current situation (income and status) are fixed by the subconscious. The conscious mind only accounts for 1% of the ability to make a change in a person’s current situation.

  But in here, I believe that a person who goes back to their Base Weight has nothing to do with the conscious or subconscious mind. The one who decides the mechanism to “maintain present condition” is the absorbing ability.

  That is to say, it's the “small intestine” who is also called “the second brain”. This is my conclusion from my own experience but I will talk about this in another blog post.