|“Conventional scientific opinion says that eating too many calories without doing enough exercise to burn them off again causes weight gain. But this prevailing energy balance model faces a fresh challenge from the carbohydrate-insulin model (CIM) following the publication of a new article in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.|
The CIM argues that it is the quality of the food a person eats — rather than the quantity — that determines whether a person will gain weight and eventually develop obesity. Consuming large quantities of processed and starchy carbohydrates in particular sustains a cascade of hormonal and metabolic changes that result in the storage of excess energy as fat.
Crucially, the CIM says that the urge to eat too many calories is a result of accumulating excess fat in the body, not its cause. This directly opposes the energy balance model.
So which model is correct? The answer has huge implications for the diets of billions of people, as well as the prospects of overcoming the obesity pandemic.
This week, Medical News Today spoke with several experts from both camps about the merits and shortcomings of each model. There is one thing that both models agree on: the sugars and refined grains that make up 42% of the calories in the U.S. diet should be drastically reduced.
To learn more about both models and the debate that rages around them, jump to “Obesity and weight loss: Why overall calorie intake may not be so important.”
Newsletter Editor, Medical News Today
What Does “Fattening” Mean?
A term used for decades to describe foods that would make one gain weight was the expression of “fattening”.
Moderate avoidance (though not totally responsible) of these foods became the conventional wisdom to help avoid weight gain and became a dieter’s mantra. In fact, food history indicates that body-weight was relatively stable until about the late 1990’s in the United States. At that time, dietary advice had shifted to low-fat diets with the added disadvantage of food companies at the time replacing fat in their food products with more carbohydrate-containing foods.
Keep in mind- basic biochemistry tells us that all carbohydrates (except for dietary fiber) are eventually converted to glucose in the body to be used for energy. We are further reminded that some carbs are referred to as “starchy” (bad) and others as “non starchy” (good ).
The following article further elucidates the term of what are now commonly referred to as “white foods” and refers to their state of processing – refined or unrefined and how they may participate in our current obesity epidemic.