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Topic 5 - Genetics And Weight

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Old 06-27-2007, 12:03 PM   #16
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Surely it's like genetic predisposition to anything else? Intelligence, depression, optimism? Some people are born with more chips in one area, one in another. It doesn't mean you say, 'well the odds are against me in this area so I won't try.' That's like saying, 'I'm never going to be a rocket scientist so I may as well drop out of school.' I don't get the excuse mentality at all. I may be predispositioned to crave sugar, having Semitic blood and a high instance of diabetes in the family - but if I put sweets in my mouth, it's still a choice...
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Old 06-27-2007, 04:10 PM   #17
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Meg had summarized Chapter 5 as a "rounded up the studies proving that obesity is a genetically linked trait and that itís extremely difficult to manipulate your weight outside of a preset range."

If Kolata's premised based on her interperation of the studies is true, how does she account for 2/3's of Americans to be significantly overweight and how this has been an upward trend in our society over the past few decades?

Don't the hundreds of thousands of people who are 50, 100, 200, 300, etc pounds above their ideal weight disprove the 'preset weight range' theory?
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Old 06-27-2007, 07:30 PM   #18
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Meg had summarized Chapter 5 as a "rounded up the studies proving that obesity is a genetically linked trait and that itís extremely difficult to manipulate your weight outside of a preset range."
If Kolata's premised based on her interperation of the studies is true, how does she account for 2/3's of Americans to be significantly overweight and how this has been an upward trend in our society over the past few decades?
Don't the hundreds of thousands of people who are 50, 100, 200, 300, etc pounds above their ideal weight disprove the 'preset weight range' theory?

Her argument, as I understand it, is that the weight has been going up because of the environment. That the environment is one in which we are able to "fully express" the full extent of our genetic predisposition for obesity.

This ties into her comparision to the heights of Americans during the Civil War and how it was so many inches below the average height today and that that is due to proper nutrition and thus the genetic predispostition to be tall can be fully expressed since there isn't starvation to stunt growth, just as there isn't starvation to halt weight gain.

That's what I got out of it anyway!
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Old 06-28-2007, 02:27 PM   #19
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Her argument, as I understand it, is that the weight has been going up because of the environment. That the environment is one in which we are able to "fully express" the full extent of our genetic predisposition for obesity.
Ah, right, I forgot about that arguement.

Forgive my ignorance, do most morbidly obese people get to a set point and stay there for years? I may have mistakenly believed that obese people continue to gain as I did.
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Old 06-28-2007, 05:48 PM   #20
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I can't speak for all formerly obese people but for me it was just a constant up, up and away until I started losing.
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Old 06-30-2007, 08:03 PM   #21
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See...to a point I DO believe the set point theory, I can't tell you how many times I returned to exactly the same weight regardless of behavior....until I abused it enough to shift setpoint. But my set point crept up about 10 lbs every 3-4 years--I dont buy that is all "genetics". Yes maybe I am predisposed to be on the higher end of healthy, maybe even slightly overweight....but I do NOT believe that I was supposed to be obese.

It bothers me that she is making the comparison with height in a way that indicates that our "natural obesity" might be an ideal state and what nature intended. I just dont think evolution EVER foresaw an environment of limitless refined chemically enhanced non food product.

Even just the studies that have indicated that refined carbohydrates may lead to more belly fat which is tied in to poorer health show that WHATEVER genetics intended, it sure didnt see coke and twinkies coming.
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Old 06-30-2007, 08:32 PM   #22
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I had some of the same questions as Carolyn.

For me personally, my weight did keep going up. I was at 220 for a while... then 250ish... then it just kept going up. Honestly, had it stayed the same, I might have just accepted it and not really done anything about it.

Certainly I have run across a number of people (especially in the 300+ group) who have similar issues.

I don't know that there has been much research on the morbidly obese. The notion of a "set point" might not hold true for that group...
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Old 06-30-2007, 08:48 PM   #23
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I admit that I haven't gotten this book and I really don't want it. It seems to me to have such a fatalistic attitude toward wt. loss and maintenance and therefore contradictory to my goals and personal beliefs.
This said, I am following with interest the discussion and each person's own ideas and theories.

My mother was a little overweight for most of her life. Only 5 foot tall and a size 12. I never saw her try to lose weight or limit any food at all. My father was 6 ft.4 inches and weighed about 200 lbs. He looked very tall and slender. He could eat more than anyone I have ever known. Both my maternal and paternal grandmothers were morbidly obese and died of complications from diabetes and heart disease.

Both my brothers have never had any wt. problem. Always tall and thin like my dad. All of us girls have struggled with wt. and dieted off and on our whole adult lives.

My mother always cooked lots of fried food, gravies, potaoes, casseroles, chicken and dumplings, fresh breads and cobblers most every night for dessert. But, we didn't have much money and there were 6 kids to feed. So, she did what she could to stretch the food budget. For us, even a simple sandwich was a rarity. We Never dined out. We always had a large garden and we were very used to eating lots of fresh veggies. We had apple and pear trees and that is where we got our fruit. We absolutely never had Soda in the house. We drank milk or sweet tea or water. Even with all the fried food, not a single one of us had any wt. problems until after we moved away or married.

I went to college and discovered both pizza and beer pretty much simultaneously. I also discovered KFC, Taco Bell, Schlotzsky's, Wendy's, McDonald's, and many, many "All you can Eat" buffets. This to me is when Environment took over and my genetic predispostion for obesity collided. I don't at all blame my family. At least we were fed and I was never even slightly overweight when I lived at home.
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Old 06-30-2007, 11:26 PM   #24
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I had some of the same questions as Carolyn.

For me personally, my weight did keep going up. I was at 220 for a while... then 250ish... then it just kept going up. Honestly, had it stayed the same, I might have just accepted it and not really done anything about it.

Certainly I have run across a number of people (especially in the 300+ group) who have similar issues.

I don't know that there has been much research on the morbidly obese. The notion of a "set point" might not hold true for that group...
I wonder, because it did feel this way once I got over a certain weight...if at some point it just cascades. At some point the body chemistry is SO screwed up that all "natural" weight control is gone. I remember feeling hungrier and hungrier and lo I was becoming insulin resistant, etc. At some point does the bodies response to food etc. become "broken" either temporarily or if let go long enough, permanently.

Are you BORN to be morbidly obese or do some of these factors she is talking about DEVELOP as a result of being obese. Because I am not discounting Meg's experience and feeling that she would rapidly return if not ever vigilant.
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Old 07-01-2007, 12:06 AM   #25
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I appear to have something like set points. My obese point is about 200, which I maintained for most of my adult life. Then there was a rapid and scary rise to morbidly obese, which put me around 280, and I maintained that for about 4 years. My current, overweight, set point is about 175-180, which I've been at for a few years now (aside from being pregnant).

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Old 07-01-2007, 02:11 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by ennay View Post
See...to a point I DO believe the set point theory, I can't tell you how many times I returned to exactly the same weight regardless of behavior....until I abused it enough to shift setpoint. But my set point crept up about 10 lbs every 3-4 years--I dont buy that is all "genetics". Yes maybe I am predisposed to be on the higher end of healthy, maybe even slightly overweight....but I do NOT believe that I was supposed to be obese.

It bothers me that she is making the comparison with height in a way that indicates that our "natural obesity" might be an ideal state and what nature intended. I just dont think evolution EVER foresaw an environment of limitless refined chemically enhanced non food product.
I've been wondering about that, too. On an evolutionary level, it just doesn't make sense. The only thing that was ever totally screwed up in nature is (pardon me, but frankly, isn't it true?) what Man has touched. The rest normally tends to function as intended (okay, save for the dinosaurs getting extinct). Limitless refined foods certainly were not intended. So are there really natural setpoints of 200, 280, 320... lbs? Or is it just us who, aided by those crappy junk foods, have managed to push those setpoints up and up? I'm not sure if there's an answer to that, but I'm still wondering...
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Old 07-01-2007, 01:40 PM   #27
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I was also triggered by the comparison to height. Because the dutch are among the top 5 talles people walking the face of the earth, but the obesity percentage of the dutch is way lower than the american number.

So how come ? IMO the difference is environmental: food is plentiful in both locations, but the european food is different from the US food, the european portion sizes are different, and europe is less car centred (medieval road plans).

So I do not think obesity is the way evolution intended us to be.

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Old 07-01-2007, 02:29 PM   #28
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So I do not think obesity is the way evolution intended us to be.
I think that that is because nature never banked on there ever being an existence of something called McDonald's.

And since our ancient forebears never had that luxury to deal with--- there was never a necessity for our bodies to develop a way of coping with an excess amount of food. 500,000 years ago it truly was a dog eat dog kind of world.
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Old 07-24-2008, 04:49 PM   #29
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What about women who are thin until they get pregnant? Some of them just can't seem to take the weight off after the baby comes and keep putting on more weight with each subsequent baby. Surely it's not in their genetic code to become obese due to pregnancy?

I think it's a combo of nature and nurture, (genetics and cultural influences). Otherwise we assume the role of passive victims of something which is beyond us to change.

Is the regaining of the weight because we are genetically predisposed or is it because we took it off too fast in the first place and with eating styles unnatural to us?

Of course I'm just shootin' my mouth off here as my goal weight was 17 lbs. less than my "fat" weight. I'd have to eat my way up to about 200 lbs. and then take it off and keep it off to be such a smarty pants.

I wonder how many people in 3FC's maintenance forum have kept the weight off for over 2 years? And how much they are struggling?

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Old 08-20-2008, 07:27 PM   #30
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It would seem to me, on the topic of set points, that the data is incomplete. Did they do studies on the fat cells of people that have maintained a substantial weight loss over time? Or are there just too few ... I kept waiting to hear studies about the "starvation mode" of formerly fat people's bodies years into the future. If your set point can go up and up (did nature really intend my co-worker to live with 450 pounds?) over time than can it come down too?

Like a few others have said, I found this book to be very disheartening.
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