— Topics —
How you eat (Way of intake)

2022.11.11

Why Are Sumo Wrestlers So Fat?; Six Reasons They’ve Adapted to the Gut Starvation Mechanism

Contents

    <Prologue>
  1. The same mechanism as people who rebound after dieting
  2. The six reasons that I believe it is a starvation mechanism
    The bottom line

Prologue

Have you ever seen a sumo wrestler right in front of you? When I was working as a waiter at a hotel several years ago, there was a pep rally for sumo wrestlers, and I was able to see them up close.

Also, at the 2017 Osaka tournament in Japan, I observed the morning practice of a team and was allowed to sample their breakfast called "chanko."

meal called chanko

I had a sample of "chanko."

sumo wrestler

I got the impression that they are big-boned, with steel-like muscles, and a lot of body fat on top of that.  

Their average body fat percentage is said to be around thirty percent or more, but there are some wrestlers in the twenty percent range, not that different from the average person. They are like a mass of muscles. 

It is generally believed in Japan that wrestlers will gain weight because they eat a lot and sleep well including taking naps, but I can explain that they have successfully adopted the mechanism of intestinal starvation.

1. The same mechanism as people who rebound after dieting

In Japan, the image of sumo wrestlers in particular may lead to the image that "eating more makes you fat," but I would like to explain that this is the same mechanism as "those who end up rebounding after dieting and gain more weight than before" or "those who gradually gain weight by skipping breakfast or having a late dinner.”

First of all, I'm going to illustrate how both of them gain weight in the figure below. 
  

■The concept of a person who gains more weight than before after dieting

ダイエット太るメカニズム

(1) You will lose a little weight through caloric restriction or exercising, etc.

(2) When you eat less (especially with an unbalanced diet), and you feel hungry for an extended period of time, you tend to starve your gut, and your set-point for body weight may go up without you realizing it. 

(3) Later, when you start eating as you did before dieting, your weight will be higher than before.

■The concept of sumo wrestlers gaining weight

力士太るメカニズム

(1)First, by their traditional unique diet and hard practice, intestinal starvation can be induced. Their set-point weight goes up. 

(2)Then, they eat a lot and thire actual weight increases (weight gain).

If you are a dieter, there is a time lag, but in the case of wrestlers, they eat good amounts of food every day, so it happens almost simultaneously.

Although they appear to eat a lot and are gaining weight, if intestinal starvation is not induced, their weight should not increase as much as expected.

2. The six reasons that I believe it is a starvation mechanism

When you see big eaters in a food eating competition, some may ask, "Why don't they get fat even though they eat so much?” But, from my theory, it is not at all surprising.

It’s not that they have a special "non-fattening constitution," but that anyone who eats like that from morning to night is less likely to gain weight (although I wonder why they can eat so much food at once).

Please understand that the way of eating of a sumo wrestler is a far cry from that of an eating competitor.
   

■An explanation of why the way of eating and exercising of sumo wrestlers can easily induce intestinal starvation. (1) - (6) 

(1)A wrestler must weigh at least sixty-seven kilograms to be admitted. People who are overweight or muscular from the beginning tend to have stronger stomachs, and are thought to have a relatively high digestive rate. Such people are more likely to induce gut starvation than thin people.

a chanko dish

(2) The basic diet for sumo wrestlers is called "chanko," which consists of easily digestible proteins such as chicken, fish, tofu, etc., and vegetables, slowly simmered in soy sauce. It is relatively low in fat and easy to digest. 

(3) Sumo wrestlers generally eat a good amount of rice. By eating a lot of rice and soup, the stomach expands (the balloon effect), which leads to creating the dilution effect and push-out effect of food in the stomach.

[Related article]

The Dilution Effect/ Pushing Out Effect of Carbohydrates

(4)They traditionally eat two meals a day: the first meal is around eleven a.m. after morning practice, and dinner is around six p.m.
Since they practice from the early morning without breakfast, if dinner is finished at seven p.m., it means that they do not eat for about fifteen to sixteen hours until the next meal. It make sense to do intense morning training on an empty stomach to gain weight.

Of course, there are some wrestlers who try to eat snacks or supplements late at night in order to take in more calories, but my idea is that it makes easier to gain weight when they don't eat.

morning practice of sumo wrestler

(5)Strength training is a force for gaining strength, and it ultimately works in the direction of weight gain. Eating two meals a day and exercising intensely will make sumo wrestlers gain more weight.

(6)Most of the food in the pot is eaten first by the top-ranked wrestlers. The lower-ranked wrestlers eat next, and lastly the new trainees. 

The last people have to eat a big ball of rice and leftovers, which consists of only a little meat and most of the soup.
However,
it is said that this kind of meal tends to make sumo wrestlers gain more weight.

The bottom line

(1)Sumo wrestlers are famous for being big and fat, but they do not gain weight because their daily caloric intake exceeds their daily caloric expenditure.
Their traditional diet and exercise makes sense in terms of weight gain in that it facilitates the creation of intestinal starvation.

(2)Intestinal starvation is more likely to be induced when a person who has a big body from the start eats relatively easily digestible foods with lots of carbohydrates (rice) and two meals a day.

(3)The mechanism by which wrestlers gain weight is the same as that of "people who diet and gain more weight than before due to the rebound effect.”
In the case of sumo wrestlers, since they eat a lot every day, this happens almost simultaneously, and they appear to eat a lot and gain weight.
    

2019.11.21

There Are Two Steps to Lose Weight the Right Way

Contents

  1. There are two ways to lose weight
  2. How to lower one's set-point weight
  3. What is your specific diet?
  4. Differences from low-carb diets
  5. The meaning of the “two-step”
    The bottom line

Although this is not a diet blog, since I’m writing the reasons why people gain weight, naturally, I thought about ways to lose weight, and I felt that I should write about it.

In this post, I will only write about my theory for losing weight. Please understand this is not based on practice, but I hope this will help someone.
    

1. There are two ways to lose weight

Just like the phrase “to gain weight” has two meanings, “to lose weight” also has two meanings.
【Related article】 Two Meanings to the Phrase "Gaining Weight"
    

 (1) In the case you rebound

The first way is done by eating less and exercising more, as in conventional calorie-restricted diets. This method requires constant hunger.

I consider that humans have an ability to maintain their present condition, and  use the "set-point" theory of body weight to explain their stable weight.

The rebound effect

When you eat less (fewer calories) and stay hungry over many hours, your body will try to minimize the change by:

  • increasing absorption rate in order to utilize maximum nutrition.
  • decreasing calorie expenditure including basal metabolism in order to suppress unnecessary consumption.

Even if you lose a little weight with your hard work, I believe it is only temporary, and most people will rebound because their set-point weight hasn’t changed.

[Related article]  Dieting Doesn’t Work in the Long Run
        
        

(2) Lower the “set-point weight” itself

The other way is to lower your set-point weight. As I have mentioned many times, the cause of being overweight, in my opinion, is an increased 'set-point' for body weight.

This means that one's absorption ability is higher than that of the average person, and I assume that the higher absorption tendency is related to symptoms such as high blood pressure, heart disease, abnormal blood sugar levels, and diabetes,etc.

So, I believe that to lose weight correctly, lowering the set-point weight itself is necessary rather than reducing caloric intake.

I will quote the reference related to this  from the book, “The Obesity Code.”

     

(About rebounding of weight)

"The fundamental biological principle at work here is homeostasis. There appears to be a “set point(*1) for body weight and fatness, as first proposed in 1984 by Keesey and Corbett. Homeostatic mechanisms defend this body set weight against changes, both up and down. If weight drops below body set weight, compensatory mechanisms activate to raise it. If weight goes above body set weight, compensatory mechanisms activate to lower it.

The problem in obesity is that the set point is too high. "
(Jason Fung. The Obesity Code. Greystone Books, 2016, Page 62.)

There are two prominent findings from all the dietary studies done over the years.

First: all diets work. Second: all diets fail.

What do I mean? Weight loss follows the same basic curve so familiar to dieters. Whether it is the Mediterranean, the Atkins or even the old fashioned low-fat, low-calorie, all diets in the short term seem to produce weight loss.

Sure, they differ by amount lost–some a little more, some a little less. But they all seem to work.

However, by six to twelve months, weight loss plateaus, followed by a relentless regain, despite continued dietary compliance.(*snip*)

So all diets fail. The question is why. 
Permanent weight loss is actually a two-step process. There is a short-term and a long-term (or time-dependent) problem. "

(Jason Fung. The Obesity Code. Page 215.)

2. How to lower one's set-point weight

Doctor Fung, the author of “The Obesity Code”, believes that the higher set point of body weight is  relevant to insulin resistance, which is why he has adopted fasting to cure obesity.

      
My opinion, which is quite different 
from other researchers, is that instead of starving ourselves, we can lower our set-point weight by eating a lot of less digestible foods, according to certain rules, which may reduce the feeling of hunger. This is because I believe that if the underlying cause of weight gain is due to the mechanism of intestinal starvation, then by doing the opposite, one should theoretically be able to lower one's set-point weight, and in turn lose weight.

fish and meat

Of all the diets that have been done , the low-carb diet (one which allows you to eat as much meat and fat as you want), the carnivore diet, the Mediterranean diet, and eating more low-G.I. foods and fibrous vegetables, etc. are all ways that fit my theory.

One might say, "I am just combining those diets.” But since the point is to leave more undigested food in the intestines, I believe they should be combined.

Note that when I say "set-point weight itself goes down," I don't mean that one's metabolism goes up, but rather that one's absorption ability itself goes down.

It may be difficult to understand how eating food reduces absorption rate, but imagine, for example, eating a snack bread and a glass of orange juice.

If you eat it when you are starving, your blood glucose level will jump up, whereas if you eat it three hours after finishing a well-balanced lunch, your blood glucose level will not rise as much.

Blood sugar spikes

Even when you go out for drinks, if you haven't eaten anything for almost ten hours, you may get drunk faster, but if you eat a good lunch and have ice cream two hours before drinking, you will get drunk more slowly. In other words, if you keep eating less digestible food to reduce hunger, the absorption rate should decrease.
     

3.What is your specific diet?

I think the key is to reduce carbohydrate intake to a certain extent and conversely increase meat, fish, oil/fat, fibrous vegetables, seaweed, nuts, dairy products, etc. to reduce the time you feel hungry.
(If you feel a little hungry, eat something. Eat regularly even if you don't have an appetite.) 

Specifically, I believe there are two ways to do this.
      

(1) The way to actually improve your diet

  • Reduce carbohydrate intake (rice, bread, noodles, etc.) by half to a third. 
  • Eat low G.I. carbohydrates if possible, such as brown rice, whole-grain bread, cold rice (starch turns indigestible once cooled down) and al dente pasta.
  • Increase foods other than carbs such as meat, fish, fat/oil, dairy products, nuts, vegetables, seaweed, etc.
  • If you feel hungry between meals, you can eat something.
  • Of course, you can combine this step with some exercise, but make sure you eat balanced meals at least three times a day.

   

<Regarding fat intake>

Fat is an important energy souce for the body, and at the same time a cause of weight gain for some, but I believe that it is a food that can help us lose weight depending on how we eat it.

Fat was originally thought to be fattening because of its high energy density (9 kcal/g), but in fact, since it takes longer to digest, consuming it every three to five hours can also help you to lose weight (Of course, this varies from person to person).

For those who usually eat less to lose weight, the idea that "consuming fats along with carbohydrates will make you gain weight" would not be wrong. However, what matters is how you eat it, and it cannot be judged solely by the number of calories.

[Related article]  Eating Fat/oil Is a Deterrent to Gaining Weight
   

(2) Slow down the digestive enzymes

For those who seem to digest food quickly no matter how much they eat, and who always feel hungry, the method (1) may not be effective. Some of them may even gain weight because of the increased calories.

I believe that the reason it becomes more difficult to lose weight as obesity levels become higher, is that they digest food faster and the absorption rate doesn't decrease so easily. In other words, the theory itself is not necessarily wrong.

In a similar case, in addition to improving the diet, it may be helpful to take medication that, for example, slows down the digestive process for fats and proteins, or decreases one’s appetite.

By slowing down the working of the gastrointestinal tract or lowering the ability to digest food, undigested food will remain longer in the intestines, which will have the same effect as (1) above.
( Naturally, it must be done under a physician's guidance.)

  

4. Differences from low-carb diets

Even though it is not up to extreme carb restriction (ketogenic), I believe my idea would result in a diet similar to a low-carb diet.

Those who advocate low-carb diets say, "it is the carbohydrates that cause weight gain, and instead of limiting them, you can eat as many protein-and fat-rich foods as you like to make up for the calories.”

In reality, however, it is not "you can eat" but rather "you have to" in order to lose weight.
If you reduce meat, fish, and fats/oils as well, you will feel hungry just like in a conventional calorie-restricted diet, and such diets do not work for long, as studies have shown.

meat,fat,oil

My theory is that carbohydrates are only an indirect cause of weight gain making it easier to induce intestinal starvation. The point is only that we should consume more indigestible foods, which slow down the digestion process and suppress hunger. So, while carbohydrates are not necessarily bad, I believe that cutting the amount of carbohydrates in the diet will be more effective.

Of course, it is possible that reducing glucose, which provides immediate energy, may speed up weight loss in the short term.
  

5. The meaning of the “two-step”

For those who have been dieting by eating less, their caloric intake may at least increase . So "eat more to lose weight" may sound fishy.

However, reducing caloric intake is not the final point.

  • In the short term, the absorption rate should be temporarily reduced by eating more indigestible foods so as not to feel hungry. 
  • In the long term, it's more important, by continuing to do so, to lower one’s set-point weight and get the non-rebound body you desire.

In other words, a "two-step" process is necessary to lose weight properly.


▽In Japan, there are various ways of dieting to lose weight by eating a lot of foods, and many people have their own interpretation of “losing weight by eating a lot.”

  • Raised metabolism by eating foods.
  • Eating a lot of low-calorie foods result in reducing the total caloric intake daily.
  • Snacking results in a decrease in appetites, and as a result, reduced caloric intake at meals.
  • Some components in a specific food eaten break down(/decomposed) body fat.

Still, I believe that none of these explanations are correct (although there might be some truth in them), since “why we gain weight” is not recognized correctly and people still believe that too many calories and carbohydrates eaten are the causes of being overweight.
        

The bottom line

(1) Just as the phrase "to gain weight" has two meanings, "to lose weight" also has two meanings. To avoid rebounding, the set-point weight itself must be lowered.

(2) Two steps are needed to lower the set-point weight.
In the short term, eating more indigestible food and reducing hunger will lead to a temporary decrease in absorption rate.
In the long term, I believe that by continuing to do so, the set-point weight itself will drop, and the body will be less likely to rebound.

(3) In Japan, the "eat a lot and lose weight" diet is all around us, but I think it is not properly recognized, and of course, it is not officially approved as a treatment. If it is proven that intestinal starvation causes people to gain weight, I'd like to believe that the meaning of "eating a lot and losing weight" will be properly understood.
           

2018.05.30

Why Do We Gain Weight even Though We Eat Small Portions of Food?

Contents

  1. A woman friend who eventually put on some weight
  2. A colleague who gained three kilograms in a year
  3. "Just reduce calories" is a mistake 

It is said that the cause of weight gain is the caloric intake exceeding calories burned through metabolism and activity. For this reason, I see people dieting by only reducing the amount of food they eat, and putting up with being hungry over long hours.

being hungry

For example, they eat only a rice ball and a piece of fried chicken, or a hamburger and a drink for lunch. These people say they are hungry but continue experiencing hunger for long periods of time.

In my opinion, people like this not only do not diet well, but they also tend to gain weight eventually.

1.  A woman friend who eventually put on some weight

When I was working part-time at a restaurant in college, there was a woman who wasn’t that overweight, but she started dieting anyway. 

She wasn’t slim, but she wasn’t overweight, either. To me, she looked healthy and fit. I thought she was okay as she was. But it seemed that she started dieting because she wanted to get slim. 

a small portion of food

Therefore, she only ate half of her meal, such as rice and meat/fish dish and never any vegetables. She was always saying, “I’m starving...” but continued experiencing hunger and stopped eating snacks.

As a result, not only did she not lose weight, but she also gained a little weight.

2.  A colleague who gained three kilograms in a year

The same goes for my colleague, T, who worked as a cook in the kitchen at a nursing home. When I first met him, he was a stocky guy (about 170cm tall and 70 kilos).
He wasn’t overweight but he was on a diet, saying he had gained three kilos which shattered his  previous weight level in the last year. 

a small portion of food(2)

In his case, he was working before six a.m., but he hardly ever ate breakfast.
For lunch, he only ate a small bowl of rice and meat or fish. He almost never ate vegetable dishes such as salad and simmered vegetables (traditional Japanese vegetable stew).

He gained two more kilos in the following year.

3.  "Just reduce calories" is a mistake 

What's wrong with this is, that the people previously mentioned thought that in order to lose weight, they only needed to reduce calories from carbohydrates, meat, and fat, etc. Furthermore, they thought they had to be hungry in order to lose weight. 

As a result, I can posit that intestinal starvation was induced because they didn’t consume fiber from vegetables, fat, and dairy products, etc. very much, causing the set-point weight to increase.

vegetable dishes

There are two ways in which the intestinal starvation mechanism occurs.

(1) Eating regular or big portions of an unbalanced meal, but not eating as often (e.g. skipping breakfast and eating two meals a day) and experiencing hunger over many hours. 

(2)Eating small portions as seen in dieters or pregnant women, sometimes skewed towards digestible carbohydrates and protein, etc. Even if they eat three times a day, they often experience hunger over many hours.


In conclusion, whether you eat a good amount of food or a small portion of food, if your diet consists of mostly digestible carbs and some protein, an imbalance of food in the intestines remains the same. If you don’t eat anything else and experience hunger over many hours, it leads to the similar effect in view of creating intestinal starvation.

Eating vegetable dishes, dairy products and fat/oil, etc. is important with regards to preventing intestinal starvation, but those people in the previous examples were only conscious of caloric intake, and chose not to eat them.
        

2017.12.07

After Gaining Weight, We Eat Too Much and Do Less Exercise

Contents

Prologue
  1. Rats don’t get fat from eating too much 
  2. Example of not enough exercise after getting fat

Prologue

"The experts who say that we get fat because we overeat or we get fat as a  result of overeating - the vast majority  - are making the kind of mistake that would (or at least should) earn a failing grade in a high-school science class.

They're taking a law of nature that says absolutely nothing about why we get fat and a phenomenon that has to happen if we do get fat - overeating - and assuming these say all that needs to be said."
(Gary Taubes. Why We Get Fat. New York: Anchor Books, 2011, Page 76.)

This is the foundation I started writing my blog on. I’m sure that there are at least a few researchers in the world who think the same way as I do.

Even if someone insisted that, “the Earth is going around the Sun” in the sixteenth or seventeenth century where "geocentric theory" was the prevailing thought, no one would have believed him. 

Many should have argued that, “if the Earth is going around the sun, our heads should go around, too.” However, now, it’s common sense that the Earth is going around the sun.

In the same way, many might not believe me when I say, “people can gain weight by intestinal starvation and it is the fundamental cause of being overweight.” However, I believe it’s the truth.

  

1.Rats don’t get fat from eating too much 

It is said that, “eating too much and not enough exercise are the causes of gaining weight,” but here is an interesting experiment that is related to it.
 

"In the early 1970s, a young researcher at the University of Massachusetts named George Wade set out to study the relationship between sex hormones, weight, and appetite by removing the ovaries from rats (females,obviously) and then monitoring their subsequent weight and behavior.

The effects of the surgery were suitably dramatic: the rats would begin to eat voraciously and quickly become obese.The rat eats too much, the excess calories find their way to the fat tissue, and the animal becomes obese. This would confirm our preconception that overeating is responsible for obesity in humans as well.

Rat got fat

But Wade did a revealing second experiment, removing the ovaries from the rats and putting them on a strict postsurgical diet. (*snip*) The rats, postsurgery, were only allowed the same amount of food they would have eaten had they never had the surgery.

What happened is not what you'd probably think. The rats got just as fat, just as quickly. But these rats were now completely sedentary. They moved only when movement was required to get food. (*snip*)

The way Wade explained it to me, the animal doesn't get fat because it overeats, it overeats because it's getting fat. The cause and effect are reversed.

(*snip*)

The evidence that fat tissue is carefully regulated, not just a garbage can where we dump whatever calories we don't burn, is incontrovertible.(*snip*)

Those who get fat do so because of the way their fat happens to be regulated and that a conspicuous consequence of this regulation is to cause the eating behavior (gluttony) and the physical inactivity (sloth) that we so readily assume are the actual causes."
(Taubes. Why We Get Fat. Page 89-90, 93-4.)

<1970s>
Words of Bruce Birstrian who conducted a treatment of a low-calorie diet (600kcal/day) to thousands of obese patients at Harvard University of Medicine.

"Undereating isn't a treatment or cure for obesity; it's a way of temporarily reducing the most obvious symptom. And if undereating isn't a treatment or a cure , this certainly suggests that overeating is not a cause."
(Taubes. Why We Get Fat. Page 39.)

My experience is a little different from the rats’ story, but I want to tell of my experience that I gained weight not because of eating more.

When I was very thin, under forty kilograms, I couldn’t eat a lot since my stomach always felt heavy. Fatty foods and oily foods were the worst. I tried hard to gain weight, but I couldn’t.

One day, I realized that I could gain weight by eating only easy-to-digest foods (mainly carbs and a little meat) and experiencing being hungry for hours. So, I tried to eat light meals for breakfast and lunch, and I tried not to eat vegetables and fat very much until dinner. By doing so, I gradually gained weight. And when I weighed about fifty kilograms, I had more muscle and less discomfort in my stomach. I was able to eat more than before.

Those who didn’t know my experience told me, “You’re gaining weight because you’re eating more,” but that wasn’t true.
After my body adjusted to my new eating plan, I gained weight by eating and got more muscle and a greater appetite. As a result, I was able to eat more than before. So, the reality was the other way around.
 

▽Maybe it’s easier for you to imagine with an extreme example.

Let’s say there is a big man who is three meters tall and weighs two-hundred-fifty kilograms. If he eats five times as much food as we do, we would not think that he has grown big because he eats so much. Rather, we would think, "He is able to eat that much because he is so big.”

"Just prior to the Second World War, European medical researchers argued that it is absurd to think about obesity as caused by overeating, because anything that makes people growーwhether in height or in weight, in muscle or in fatーwill make them overeat.

Children, for example, don't grow taller because they eat voraciously and consume more calories than they expend. They eat so muchーovereatーbecause they're growing."
(Taubes. Why We Get Fat. Page 9.)

2.Example of not enough exercise after getting fat

"Some people find it hard to get their head round the fact that aerobic exercise is not particularly effective for weight loss, even when faced with all the facts.

One reason for this is our experience of seeing physically fit and active individuals who are clearly lean.
Look at any elite long-distance runner or Tour de France cyclist and you're probably getting a glimpse of what it's like to have a single-digit body fat percentage.
The automatic thought process is that exercise causes leanness.

However, could it that individuals who are naturally lean are simply more likely to end up as elite long-distance runners or cyclists? In other words, might their natural leanness cause certain people to be more active, rather than the other way round?

There's actually some evidence for this. In one piece of research, the relationship between physical activity and body fatness in children over a 3-year period was assessed. It was found that the more sedentary children were, the more fat they carried.

TV game

This is all to be expected, but because the study was conducted over a prolonged period the researchers were able to gauge whether sedentary behaviour preceded weight gain.

Actually, it did not. In reality, children accumulated fat first, and then became more sedentary.

The authors noted that this finding 'may explain why attempts to tackle childhood obesity by promoting PA [physical activity] have been largely unsuccessful'. "
(Jone Briffa, Escape the Diet Trap. London: Fourth Estate, 2013, Pages 223-4.)

I agree with this opinion, but I’d like to add my own opinion. 
As Dr. Briffa said, I think it’s reasonable to think those who are slim aim to be marathon athletes or soccer players, etc. They at least know that they can eat a lot and not get fat. So they will eat whatever they want without hesitation, won’t they?

In other words, by eating balanced foods every meal, intestinal starvation doesn’t happen —by that, I mean their set-point for body weight doesn’t change—and they keep their current weight while getting a little more muscle. 

On the other hand, when people spend all their time at home relaxing , or when doing light physical labor at work, don’t they tend to eat less?

light meals

Sometimes, they eat light meals such as hamburgers, hot-dogs, or noodles for lunch. Since they don’t exercise, they don’t pay attention to eating nutritious meals.

If their diet leans toward easily digestible carbs and some protein and they are experiencing being hungry for hours, the intestinal starvation mechanism may occur and their set-point weight will go up. They end up gaining more weight.

To sum up, I’d like to say that not enough exercise or laziness won’t directly make people fat. Physical activity will affect the amount of food you eat as well as food choices.

2017.09.28

What Does It Mean to Eat Relatively Less?

Contents

  1. An example of judo
  2. An example of delivery center
  3. An example of food
    The bottom line

I always felt something was wrong, when I was having lunch with my coworker K, who is about eighty kilograms. He said to me, “You have to eat more in order to gain weight”, because I was very thin. 

However, he was eating the same thing as  I was. It’s just that he had a little more rice than I.

Why It felt odd was that "K was eating relatively less" and " I was eating relatively more " in terms of quality and quantity.

1. An example of "judo"

First, I’d like to explain by using the Japanese sport of judo. There are usually wrestlers of forty-five, sixty, and up to ninety kilograms mixed weight groups at a practice.

The forty-five kilogram wrestler often works with those who are heavier than him, so he will be practicing relatively hard. In particular, if he practices with a ninety kilogram wrestler, there is twice the difference of weight, so it’s difficult to win. 

On the other hand, for the ninety kilogram wrestler, it’s a practice which is relatively easy, since there are only those who weigh less than him. Even if they do the same practice, the level of challenge is different for each wrestler.

2. An example of delivery center

Let’s see it again here by using a “delivery center” example. A delivery center is a place where they sort packages and send them out everyday. There are two delivery centers. Center A has a capacity of five hundred packages, and delivery center B has a capacity of eight hundred packages. 

When there are five hundred packages being processed, A will be at its limit, but B still has some room.

When there are seven hundred packages being processed, A is over its capacity, so employees have to work overtime, but B still has some room.

That is to say, even if the quantity of packages is the same, the things happening inside differ by their capacity. If this were food, then the package would be equivalent to the “intake amount of food.”

3. An example of food

I guess you already know what I want to say. Here again, we have three ladies of different weights eating the same thing. A: 90kg, B: 60kg, C: 45kg.

Let’s say all three had the same hamburger set for lunch.

In terms of the food intake, all of them have the same amount and calories, but when we take their weight into account, C, who is forty-five kilograms is eating relatively more, and A, who is ninety kilograms is eating a relatively light meal.

It’s because A who is ninety kilograms has a body twice as large as C, with a thicker chest and a bigger stomach. You can also say that she might have a stronger digestive ability compared to B or C.

Here, when we focus on body size, you can say, “A is eating quantitatively less." When we focus on digestive ability, “A is eating qualitatively simpler than C.

“Qualitatively” means that those with a stronger digestive ability can digest the same amount of food faster, even if they are the same body size. For example, it's been said that Caucasians generally have stronger digestive enzymes for protein and fat, compared to many Asian people.

Now, suppose A orders a large bowl of rice. Regarding intake amount, you might think, “after all, she must be fat because she eats a lot.”

However, if we take their weight into account, since rice is a carbohydrate which is easy to digest, it can be said that A is still eating relatively less and eating a lighter meal compared to B or C.

The bottom line

(1) Based on my intestinal starvation theory, people who have a bigger body or stronger digestion eat relatively less or lighter meals compared to thin people. They are more likely to feel hungrier, and depending on what they eat, they are prone to inducing intestinal starvation and gain more weight.

            
(2) Also, assuming that European, American, or African people generally have a stronger digestion for fat and protein compared to many Asian people, they are more likely to gain weight than many Asians, even if everyone eats the same. It’s not that they have particular obesity gene.
                

2017.06.10

Dieting (Eating Less and Exercising More) Doesn’t Work in the Long Run

Contents

  1. It has nothing to do with lack of willpower
  2. What was the long-term effect of dieting
  3. Cognitive dissonance

It is said that exercising and food restriction is necessary for losing weight. However, we rarely meet those who succeeded in dieting using such a method.

Japanese wrestler Bull Nakano (below) has repeatedly dieted and rebounded, but after having knee problems, it was imperative that she lose weight, so she had a gastrectomy to remove part of her stomach.
She said that “cutting the amount of foods and exercising didn’t make her thinner.”

Japanese comedian, Sugi-chan lost seven kilograms with Billy’s Boots Camp diet method, but rebounded to the same weight afterward.

In this article, I would like to introduce how conventional calorie-based diets are ineffective, based on two books: "Escape the Diet Trap" and "Why Do We Get Fat.”
Please note that most of these are quotations.

1.It has nothing to do with lack of willpower

"Ideas about what causes obesity vary. But you'll almost certainly be familiar with the idea that, at the end of the day, the problem is a product of caloric imbalance: specifically, the consumption of calories in excess of those burned through metabolism and activity. No doubt you'll also be familiar with the idea that the solution to your weight problem is simply to redress the balance by eating less and exercising more.

This advice seems to make sense. The trouble is, not only our collective experience but scientific research, too, shows that applying this advice hardly ever brings significant weight loss in the long term.

The usual explanation offered here is that those who fail with conventional tactics lack willpower and self-control. The reality, though, is that calorie-based strategies for slimming not only don't work, but simply can't work, for all but a small minority.

‘Escape the Diet Trap’ explores the reasons why traditional approaches to weight loss are a crashing failure. It reveals how eating less and exercising more causes the body to resist weight loss, and can actually predispose to weight gain over time."
(Jone Briffa, Escape the Diet Trap. London: Fourth Estate, 2013, Pages 1, 19.)

2.What was the long-term effect of dieting

"Limiting the studies to those where individuals were monitored for at least two years after the start of their efforts to lose weight allows us to assess the long-term success of these approaches. Many of us will know what it is to get a short-term win from eating less and exercising more but it's the long game we're interested in here.

<Study1>

Individuals with an average age of 36 and average BMI of 35.0 were prescribed a calorie-reduced diet (individuals ate about 1,000 calories less each day than the amount needed to maintain a stable weight).

low-calorie diet

Some of the individuals added exercise to this dietary restriction in the form of brisk walking for 45 minutes, 4-5 times each week.

The intervention lasted for a year, and weight was assessed another year after the end of the intervention.

Two years after embarking on a long-term (lasting at least a year) restrictive dietary regime, average weight loss was in the order of just 2 kg. Even when regular exercise is added, the weight loss still only averaged about 3 kg (about 6 lbs).

These outcomes look even more paltry when put in the context of the weight of many of the study participants. For someone of average height, a BMI of 35 works out at about 16 stone. I'd say it's unlikely that individuals of this weight would view a loss of a few pounds as a satisfying return on investment in terms of their diet and exercise efforts.

Another potential surprise is just how ineffective exercise was for the purposes of weight loss when employed as an adjunct to dietary restraint. The results from these studies suggest an additional loss of a mere 1 kg in those who were exercising regularly."
(Briffa, Escape the Diet Trap, Pages 20, 22-3.)
     

 "Prescribing low-calorie diets for obese and overweight patients, according to a 2007 review from Tufts University, leads, at best, to “modest weight losses” that are “transient” – that is, temporary. Typically, nine or ten pounds are lost in the first six months. After a year, much of what was lost has been regained.

the rebound effect

The Tufts review was an analysis of all the relevant diet trials in the medical journals since 1980. The single largest such trial ever done yields the very same answer. The researchers were from Harvard and the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, which is in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and is the most influential academic obesity-research institute in the United States.

Together they enrolled more than eight hundred overweight and obese subjects and then randomly assigned them to eat one of four diets. These diets were marginally different in nutrient composition (proportions of protein, fat, and carbohydrates), but all were substantially the same in that the subjects were supposed to undereat by 750 calories a day, a significant amount.

The subiecte were also given “intensive behavioral counseling” to keep them on their diets, the kind of professional assistance that few of us ever get when we try to lose weight.

They were even given meal plans every two weeks to help them with the difficult chore of cooking tasty meals that were also sufficiently low in calories.

The subjects began the study, on average, fifty pounds overweight. They lost, on average, only nine pounds. And, once again, just as the Tufts review would have predicted, most of the nine pounds came off in the first six months, and most of the participants were gaining weight back after a year.

No wonder obesity is so rarely cured. Eating less –that is, undereating–simply doesn't work for more than a few months, if that."
(Gary Taubes. Why We Get Fat. New York: Anchor Books, 2011, Page 36-7.)

3.Cognitive dissonance

cognitive dissonance

"This reality, however, hasn't stopped the authorities from recommending the approach, which makes reading such recommendations an exercise in what psychologists call “cognitive dissonance,” the tension that results from trying to hold two incompatible beliefs simultaneously.

Take, for instance, the Handbook of Obesity, a 1998 textbook edited by three of the most prominent authorities in the field–George Bray, Claude Bouchard, and W. P. T. James.

“Dietary therapy remains the cornerstone of treatment and the reduction of energy intake continues to be the basis of successful weight reduction programs," the book says.

But it then states, a few paragraphs later, that the results of such energy-reduced restricted diets "are known to be poor and not long-lasting. So why is such an ineffective therapy the cornerstone of treatment? The Handbook of Obesity neglects to say."
(Taubes. Why We Get Fat. Page 37.)