Good Calories, Bad Calories

Chapter 20

This chapter, entitled Unconventional Diets, primarily recapped some of the low carb, high fat diets that have been conducted throughout history. One compared a 1500 calorie carbohydrate restricted diet to a 1200 calorie low fat diet. The former induced an average of 3 pounds of weight loss per week with little to no hunger. The latter resulted in only a half pound of weight loss per week even though it contained less calorie content. The chapter continued with more examples of diets that resulted in similar findings. The convincing results of such studies never drove any real change in weight management protocols due the the difficult paradoxes found in such diets. How could more calories induce weight loss? These diets seemingly defied the laws of thermodynamics so they were often dismissed based based on this fact despite their profound effect on weight loss.

Chapter 21

This chapter was all about fat metabolism. Most of it covered a series of interesting animal experiments done in the first half of the 20th century. The major theme of all of these experiments was hormonal manipulation of these animals and the ensuing disturbance in fat metabolism and storage. Essentially, when the animals (mostly rats, so don’t feel too bad) had some of their hormones changed (ie. growth hormone elevate) they would gain weight regardless of calorie intake. If they were not allowed to eat voraciously as they desired in this hormonally adjusted state they would become extremely lethargic to allow for enough calorie excess to fuel the hormonally driven growth. The point being, hormonal imbalance came first and drove the weight gain.

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