Wednesday, February 10, 2016

What Is Fat For? Re-Thinking Obesity Science by Ignatius Brady

book cover
What Is Fat For?:
Re-Thinking Obesity Science
by Ignatius Brady

ISBN-13: 9780692590065
Paperback: 220 pages
Publisher: Ignatius Brady
Released: Dec. 10, 2015

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Ignatius Brady, a weight loss physician and science writer, presents a fresh perspective on obesity based on critical new research that has gone largely overlooked. The protein leverage hypothesis holds that neither dietary fat nor dietary carbohydrate “cause” us to gain weight. The obesity debate is re-framed as an imbalance between “protein” and “non-protein” energy. This imbalance has caused a widespread human adaptation: the obesity epidemic.

In a thorough yet readable style, the book takes the reader through normal human weight regulation, the time frame needed for weight loss, and what’s missing in the “carbs are bad” thinking. This is not a diet book, but a scientific exploration of the inner workings of human biology and our interactions with the modern nutritional environment. The author presents detailed evidence for the reader to consider. Biases are overturned, accepted wisdom is re-considered and new answers are discovered.

My Review:
What Is Fat For? looks at scientific studies relating to obesity and weight loss. The author explained what he's concluded based on the studies and what he's seen in his own clinical practice. He did a good job of explaining the science in a way that ordinary people can understand it. He provided enough information about the studies that a reader can understand how he came to those conclusions.

If you want a "do this and you'll lose weight!" book, then you might be unsettled by the many unknowns that the author admits still exist. But if you desire an honest look at the topic--including his best recommendations for weight loss--then you'll probably enjoy this book. He focused on obese people, though much of the information can also apply to overweight people and preventing future weight gain.

He discussed the most popular types of diets and how the body processes the macronutrients (fat, carbs, protein). The body appears to use the percentage of protein in your diet to monitor if you've eaten enough food. He explained how this knowledge can be used to lose or maintain weight. He talked about type 2 diabetes, how fat cells are a protective mechanism, and some dangers of long-term, high protein diets. He discussed why he recommends increased activity throughout the day (rather than intense exercise), especially for obese individuals.

He revealed the truth about how your BMI affects your longevity. That chapter made me angry at BMI calculator sites as they make it sound like you should panic if you're even slightly overweight. He wrapped up by talking about fad diets, quack doctors, and such. I'd recommend this book to those interested in what scientific studies actually indicate about weight loss.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

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