By Dr. Joseph Mercola
The documentary film Hungry For Change1 is another revolutionary look at food and nutrition from the creators of the best-selling film Food Matters.
Exposing food industry secrets and strategies designed to keep you coming back for more, it reveals why so many are suffering with weight issues and poor health despite their best intentions.
The importance of this topic cannot be overstated, especially in light of recent developments.
In mid-June, the American Medical Association (AMA) declared obesity a disease, officially opening the door for a range of medical interventions to “treat” this modern scourge. Yet the root causes of obesity remain wholly ignored…
As reported by USA Today:2
“Experts in obesity have struggled for years to have obesity recognized as a disease that deserves medical attention and insurance coverage as do other diseases. Previously, the AMA and others have referred to obesity as ‘a major public health problem.’
‘The American Medical Association’s recognition that obesity is a disease carries a lot of clout,’ says Samuel Klein, director of the Center for Human Nutrition at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.
‘The most important aspect of the AMA decision is that the AMA is a respected representative of American medicine. Their opinion can influence policy makers who are in a position to do more to support interventions and research to prevent and treat obesity.'”
We don’t need to throw billions of dollars into drug-based obesity treatment and prevention research. Well-educated nutritional experts already KNOW what’s causing obesity and how to fix the problem!
The truth is that the processed food industry needs to change, agricultural subsidies need to be updated to promote healthier fare, and the public needs to be told the truth about nutrition.
We also need to stop the dangerous marketing of junk food to children with their favorite cartoon characters or celebrities. Junk food companies know exactly what they are doing, and many children are pointing towards these unforgettable characters in the grocery aisles before they can speak.
Yet none of these factors are being addressed. Instead, money is being spent on obesity drugs and obesity vaccines, of all things! This truly is madness, if you ask me. Obesity is no more a disease than smoking is.
Who Benefits from Obesity Being Declared a Disease?
As Rob Kall, executive editor and publisher of OpEdNews.com3 recently stated:
“What is clear to me is that the medical profession, in an unholy alliance with corporations, is moving the healing profession further and further down the slippery slope of pathologization, just as psychiatry is doing. Cui bono is a question I like to ask—Who benefits?”
I believe it’s fair to assume that the biggest beneficiaries will be pharmaceutical companies, along with medical institutions at large. Meanwhile, it’s highly doubtful that their inventions will make a real dent. I would not be surprised if the medical treatment of obesity turns into another “war on cancer” fiasco.
Instead of focusing on low-cost lifestyle changes that address the root cause, the “pathologization” of obesity, to use Kall’s word, is only going to lead to more problems, not to mention drive health care costs skyward as expensive drug treatments are introduced and paid for by insurance companies.
Can You Really Cure Obesity with a Vaccine?
Last summer, media outlets circulated the news that not just one, but two obesity vaccines were in the works, which makes the AMA’s decision to recognize obesity as a disease all the more convenient. Additionally, two brand new obesity drugs are now being unveiled, just in time for the AMA’s decision. Amazing how such coincidences just “happen,” isn’t it?
As explained by GlobalResearch.org,4 one of the obesity vaccines would target the peptide hormone somatostatin. This hormone has an inhibitory effect on the action of human growth hormone (HGH) and insulin-growth factor (IGF), both of which increase metabolism. By engineering a vaccine to remove the chemical inhibition of somatostatin on HGH and IGF, and create antibodies against somatostatin, the researchers believe weight loss could be achieved.
“…[T]he drug corporations see the obesity market as an untapped monetary resource – as one executive explained:‘Can you imagine the potential for vaccines?‘ Globalresearch.org writes.
‘A study published in the Journal of Animal Science and Biotechnology claims that vaccines are the answer to the chemical and psychological issues that surround obesity. The co-author of the study was also the president and chief scientific officer of a company called Braasch Biotech LLC… which specializes in the development of human and animal vaccines. Essentially, by inhibiting natural hormones, researchers hope to stop people from eating…
Because somatostatin is secreted in the digestive system, the hormone would eventually be carried to the brain where it would have a great likelihood of interacting with the chemical makeup of the brain and thereby have an encompassing psychological reaction.’”
Another route being investigated is a vaccine that targets the hunger hormone ghrelin. In my view, the whole idea of an obesity vaccine is nothing short of insanity.
Remember the old nursery rhyme about the old lady who swallowed the fly and in turn swallowed a spider to catch it? Modern medicine appears to use the same mistaken strategy for addressing many of our health care concerns. Take this drug for that symptom, take another drug to take care of the side effects from the first drug, and it goes on and on – until, well you know how it ends.
They truly do not know what they’re meddling with… Case in point: In September of last year, The Atlantic5 published findings that put a serious damper on the anti-ghrelin vaccine theory, as researchers discovered that knocking out ghrelin leads to an exaggerated anxiety response to stress.6 As reported by The Atlantic:7
“[T]his is the first study8 to show that ghrelin ‘prevents a hyperactive, over-anxious response to acute stress.’ So the reduced appetite caused by ghrelin suppression might come at the cost of increased anxiety…
The authors point out that an evolutionary response to stress is to eat more, hypothesizing that ‘under conditions of acute stress, ghrelin limits excessive anxious behavior by promoting the feeling of reward to ensure appropriate food-seeking behavior and maintain energy homeostasis.’ With enough stress, compensatory eating could end up counteracting the vaccine’s effects, leaving us right back where we started.”
Two New Prescription Diet Drugs Now Available
As of June, a new diet drug sold under the name Belviq is available by prescription to patients with a body mass index (BMI) above 30, or a BMI of 27 with at least one weight-related condition, such as hypertension or type 2 diabetes. The drug works by activating serotonin receptors in your brain, which is thought to reduce feelings of hunger—although it sounds awfully similar to the action of certain antidepressants, known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, which boost serotonin levels and are fraught with dangerous side effects, including suicide.
The release of Belviq comes on the heels of another prescription weight-loss drug called Qsymia, which was released last September. As reported by CNN Health:9
“Weight loss with both drugs is modest. Patients in clinical trials went from an average 227 pounds to 204 pounds on Qsymia; on Belviq, the average weight dropped from 220 to 207… At the time of approval, the FDA said Belviq’s manufacturer, Arena Pharmaceuticals, would be required to conduct six post-marketing studies, including a long-term cardiovascular trial to assess the risk of heart attack and stroke.
The most common side effects of Belviq in nondiabetic patients included headache, dizziness and fatigue, according to the FDA. In diabetic patients, side effects included pain and low blood sugar. In addition, some people taking medicines such as Belviq have reported heart valve problems, according to Eisai Inc., which markets the drug. ‘It is not known if Belviq changes your risk of heart problems or of stroke, or death due to heart problems or stroke,’ according to the drug’s website.”10
Why on earth would you take a weight loss drug that might lead to increased heart attack or stroke risk when the appropriate dietary and lifestyle changes would REDUCE those risks right along with the weight you drop? Not to mention you’d be paying a lot more for the drug than you would pay for healthier foods.
How to Safely and Effectively Combat Excess Weight
For the majority of people, severely restricting carbohydrates such as sugars, fructose, and grains in your diet will be the key to sustained weight loss. Refined carbohydrates like breakfast cereals, bagels, waffles, pretzels, and most other processed foods quickly break down to sugar, increase your insulin levels, and cause insulin resistance, which is the number one underlying factor of nearly every chronic disease and condition known to man, including weight gain.
As you cut these dietary villains from your meals, you need to replace them with healthy substitutes like vegetables and healthy fats (including natural saturated fats!). I’ve detailed a step-by-step guide to this type of healthy eating program in my comprehensive nutrition plan, and I urge you to consult this guide if you are trying to lose weight.
Additionally, a growing body of evidence shows that intermittent fasting is particularly effective for losing weight.
One of the mechanisms that makes intermittent fasting so effective for weight loss is the fact that it provokes the natural secretion of human growth hormone (HGH), which is a fat-burning hormone—essentially the same effect sought by the obesity vaccine discussed above, but without the potential health risks. Fasting also increases catecholamines, which increases resting energy expenditure, while decreasing insulin levels, which allows stored fat to be burned for fuel.
Together, these and other factors will turn you into an effective fat-burning machine. Hence, if like many tens of millions of people, your goal is to shed excess fat, fasting can be both effective and beneficial for improving many disease markers.
Keep in mind that food cravings are a sign that you’re not providing your body with proper nutrients in the appropriate ratios, so following your hunger can in many cases be staggeringly counterproductive. Instead, view your cravings for what they are: a sign from your body that you’re not feeding it properly, and make the necessary adjustments. More often than not, people are not consuming enough healthy fats, which provide a more sustained form of energy compared to carbs. I believe most people may need between 50-70 percent of their daily calories in the form of healthful fats, such as avocados, organic pastured eggs, coconut oil, raw organic butter, and raw nuts like macadamia.
The foods you choose to eat, and how much you eat, will be the driving force behind successfully achieving your weight loss goals — even more so than exercise.
But exercise is still important for weight loss and optimal health. The key to boosting weight loss and getting the most out of your exercise routine is to make sure to incorporate high-intensity, short-burst-type exercises, such as my Peak Fitness Program, two to three times per week. Several studies have confirmed that exercising in shorter bursts with rest periods in between burns more fat than exercising continuously for an entire session.
- 1 Hungry for Change
- 2 USA Today June 19, 2013
- 3 Opednews.com June 19, 2013
- 4 Globalresearch.org July 12, 2012
- 5 The Atlantic September 18, 2012
- 6 Biological Psychiatry 2012 Sep 15;72(6):457-65
- 7 The Atlantic September 18, 2012
- 8 Biological Psychiatry 2012 Sep 15;72(6):457-65
- 9 CNN Health June 11, 2013
- 10 Belviq.com
Photo by Aaron Miller/Flickr.