How Did We Get Here?

How did we get here and why do we have such an obesity epidemic on our hands? What do we do to fix it?

How Did We Get Here?
Photo by Kenny Eliason / Unsplash

How did we get to where we are? How did what we believe about nutrition get turned so upside down and lead us down the path to obesity? If you start studying nutrition at all and really dive into the problems with what the Standard American Diet teaches us, you’ll sadly encounter one name - Ancel Keys. This man did more to change the way we think about food than pretty much anyone in history. And not in a good way unfortunately.

Ancel Keys did a study to try to find out what caused heart disease back in the 1950s and did things terribly wrong. He basically had his opinion formed (he was positive it was dietary fat) and went to find “evidence” to back up what he believed rather than doing a truly scientific study to see what the results were. He cherry picked 7 countries that he claimed proved that fat was causing heart disease and based his study on that. But what wasn’t included in his results were the 15 countries that did not reveal any connection between dietary fat and heart disease. He ignored countries like Denmark, Sweden and Norway, which had a low number of people with heart disease despite having a diet that was high in fat. And Chile, on the other hand, had a high rate of heart disease even though they ate little fat in their diet.

But money talks and political persuasion won the day and Ancel Keys was able to bully his way to the top with his flawed study and claims and when people spoke against him saying it wasn’t the fat that was the problem but the starchy carbs and sugar, it was they who suffered consequences rather than him.

Since his study was published, there have been many studies that have been done - some to try to reproduce his results more scientifically and some to try to disprove his study. None have successfully proven his theory but many have disproved it. The biggest study that did disprove it was the Women’s Health Initiative. This study was done over a longer period of time, had significantly more participants to study, and followed proper methods for a scientific study more accurately.

So why am I sharing all of this with you? Because I want you to know that just because something is taught to us as “truth” and “scientific fact” - that doesn’t mean it is. I want you to question your doctor and not follow blindly. I want you to research for yourself and learn how all this works. Don’t just add prescriptions to your daily routine and never question why you’re taking them.

clear framed eyeglasses on top of pile of books
Photo by Kari Shea on Unsplash

You can follow the studies and follow the evidence - including looking at statistics that prove that our health, as a whole in this country, has gotten worse rather than better over the last 50-60 years. Ever since we were told to remove good, healthy fats out of our diets and instead add unhealthy fats (trans fats), grains, and sugars to our diet, our health has declined. The rates for obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, dementia, cancer, and so many other health issues are sky high - much higher than they were for our ancestors who ate all those healthy fats and very little grains and sugar.

It’s been shown that fat is not the cause of our health issues today but a diet high in carbs and sugar is causing our problems. Carbs and sugar cause inflammation in our bodies, it causes hyperinsulinemia, metabolic syndrome, and many of the health issues we deal with today.

So do your health a favor and start learning more about how our bodies work, how our macros (fats, proteins, and carbs) are used in our bodies, and what foods truly ARE healthy. Because sadly it’s not what we’ve been taught for the last 50-60 years.

Some books that I recommend to learn more about what I’ve talked about here today:

Eat Rich Live Long by Ivor Cummins & Jeffrey Gerber, MD

Metabolical by Robert H. Lustig, MD

The Obesity Code by Jason Fung, MD