A good friend recently let me know that her ex-husband referred to me as ‘that fat white guy.’ Darn. I had an idea. My activity level plummeted with the arrival of the twins and, if I’m completely honest, for 5 years prior to their births. While on vacation at the end of last year I read an Aeon article entitled The case against sugar – A potent toxin that alters hormones and metabolism, sugar sets the stage for epidemic levels of obesity and diabetes . The piece is a teaser for a book by Gary Taubes’ The case against sugar. I’ve yet to read the book but it is on my radar.
The article is worth reading and pointed out an interesting concept that seems contrary to thermodynamics: ‘a calorie is a calorie;’ is incorrect. I happen to have a project at work looking at the metabolism of single celled organisms. Modifying diet, modifying the sugar solutions we feed the microorganisms makes for completely different transcription profiles as measured by RNA sequencing. If this happens in single celled organisms, it most certainly happens in humans. Taubes makes the argument that sugar is toxic (in the quantities found in typical Western diets) because in many unfortunate souls, creates fat, through insulin resistance leading to diabetes – my ancestry has at least three diabetics. Some however, are metabolically lucky; my partner can eat anything without worry of becoming fat. When pregnant she had difficulty gaining weight and went through extraordinary measures to gain weight (daily lunchtime milkshakes and large daily protein portions). When the twins were born the weight disappeared without exercise. There may exist some truth behind the thinking that a calorie is not a calorie and human metabolism is more complicated that the amount of energy that can cause water to rise 1 degree Celsius.
So why write about my expanding waist line? A reason is to publicly declare I want to improve from being ‘that fat white guy.’ Lerner and Tetlock‘s review illustrates when goals are made public, people tend to push harder toward their achievement.
What have I done so far? My weight has not plummeted precipitously now that I am avoiding sugar and white flour. My blood sugar level is stable and I no longer have sugar-lows where I am unable to concentrate. My last weigh-in showed a decrease of approximately 5 kilograms. I am however fastening my belt with its tightest loop hole. Tomorrow I go for a physical and will report back with information from my blood work and other tests.