Basic theory of gaining 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)