Overeating is not the Primary cause of Obesity ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

Key Highlights

  • European countries already facing obesity epidemic.
  • USDAโ€™s dietary guideline didnโ€™t solve the puzzle completely.
  • According to a new analysis overeating is not the Primary cause of Obesity.

Although it is preventable, worldwide obesity has nearly tripled since 1975. [1]

Today obesity has taken the shape of an epidemic in US. [2]

Scientist blame overeating for obesity.

But according to an analysis published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, overeating is not the leading cause of obesity. [3]

Interesting right? ๐Ÿ˜„

Letโ€™s dig deep into it. ๐Ÿง

Table of Contents

Medical Research, Overeating is not the Primary cause of Obesity,
Number of obese people increasing day by day.

About The Analysis

Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that obesity affects more than 40% of American adults. [4]

It increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer. ๐Ÿ˜ฒ

The USDA’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020 – 2025 further tells us that losing weight “requires adults to reduce the number of calories they get from foods and beverages and increase the amount expended through physical activity.”

This approach to weight management is based on the century-old model, called energy balance model.

According to energy balance model, weight gain is due to consuming more energy than we expend. 

But in today’s world, surrounded by cheap, highly palatable, and commercialized processed foods, it is easy for people to consume more calories than they need.

It leads to an imbalanced lifestyle, called sedentary lifestyle. ๐Ÿ˜ต

Overeating, coupled with insufficient physical activity, is the main cause of obesity epidemic.

On the other hand, despite decades of public health messages urging people to eat less and exercise more, rates of obesity and obesity-related diseases have steadily increased. 

For this reason, the authors point to fundamental flaws in the energy balance model. โŒ

They arguing that, an alternative model, the carbohydrate-insulin model, better explains obesity and weight gain.

To understand the obesity epidemic, we need to consider not only how much we’re eating, but also how the foods we eat affect our hormones and metabolism.

The energy-balance model misses this critical piece of the puzzle.

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Fast Food Meal with Soda, Overeating is not the Primary cause of Obesity
The type of food you consume affect your health.

The Result of this Analysis

In contrast to the energy balance model, the carbohydrate-insulin model makes a bold claim: overeating isn’t the main cause of obesity. 

Instead, the carbohydrate-insulin model blames modern dietary patterns for modern obesity epidemic. ๐Ÿ˜ฒ

Modern dietary patterns characterized by excessive consumption of foods with a high glycemic load: in particular, processed, rapidly digestible carbohydrates. 

These foods cause hormonal responses which change our metabolism, increase fat storage, weight gain, and obesity.

The carbohydrate-insulin model is not new. It is originated in the early 1900s.

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition perspective is the most comprehensive formulation of this model to date, authored by a team of 17 internationally recognized scientists, clinical researchers, and public health experts. 

Collectively, they have summarized the growing body of evidence in support of the carbohydrate-insulin model. ๐Ÿ‘

Moreover, the authors have identified a series of testable hypotheses that distinguish the two models to guide future research.

Researchers Note

According to lead author Dr. David Ludwig, Endocrinologist at Boston Children’s Hospital and Professor at Harvard Medical School, the energy balance model doesn’t help us understand the biological causes of weight gain.

He said, “During a growth spurt, for instance, adolescents may increase food intake by 1,000 calories a day. But does their overeating cause the growth spurt or does the growth spurt cause the adolescent to get hungry and overeat?”

He added “reducing consumption of the rapidly digestible carbohydrates that flooded the food supply during the low-fat diet era lessens the underlying drive to store body fat. As a result, people may lose weight with less hunger and struggle.”

The authors acknowledge that further research is needed to conclusively test both models and, perhaps, to generate new models that better fit the evidence. 

Toward this end, they call for constructive discourse and “collaborations among scientists with diverse viewpoints to test predictions in rigorous and unbiased research.”

Nutrition Researchers Testing Food,
Overeating is not the Primary cause of Obesity

Why Overeating is not the Primary cause of Obesity?

When we eat highly processed carbohydrates, our body increase insulin secretion and suppresses glucagon secretion. 

This, in turn, signals fat cells to store more calories, while leaving fewer calories available to fuel muscles and other metabolically active tissues.

But the brain perceives that the body isn’t getting enough energy, which, in turn, leads to feelings of hunger.

In addition, the metabolism may slow down to save energy. ๐Ÿœ

Thus, we tend to remain hungry, even as we continue to gain excess fat.

So, it is not overeating, which results obesity. 

The main cause of obesity, according to this analysis, is highly processed carbohydrates. ๐Ÿฉ

Recommended Reading: Vitamin K can reduce Cardiac Risk (Study Find) ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

My Opinion

Nutrition science already showed that simple carbohydrate or first-digesting carbs and highly processed foods are dangerous to health. [5] ๐Ÿ

This add another proof that we should be aware of what we eat. 

Because we are what we eat. [6]

Balanced Meal
Eat foods that your body need, not your mind.

The Final Word

Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that obesity affects more than 40% of American adults. [4]

People all over the world should know the fact that today’s lifestyle can cause unnecessary weight gain. ๐Ÿ™‚

So, we should get the right nutrition information and implement them in our life. ๐Ÿง


This article is written by a certified nutritionist and verified by scientific evidence. โ˜‘๏ธ

We rely on reputed and specialized media sites, academic research institutions, peer-reviewed studies, government agencies, and medical associations to source information. ๐Ÿ“ฐ

We avoid using tertiary references. Know more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy. ๐Ÿง

Following are the references of this article. 

  1. World Health Organization (WHO): Obesity and overweight. Accessed 21 September 2021.
  2. HHS Public Access: OBESITY: OVERVIEW OF AN EPIDEMIC. Accessed 21 September 2021.
  3. Americal Society of Nutrition (ASN): Scientists Claim that Overeating Is Not the Primary Cause of Obesity. Accessed 21 September 2021.
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Obesity is a common, serious, and costly disease. Accessed 21 September 2021.
  5. Americal Journal of Lifestyle Medicine: The Hidden Dangers of Fast and Processed Food. Accessed 21 September 2021.
  6. Harvard Business Review: Weirdly True: We Are What We Eat. Accessed 21 September 2021.

A. R. Choudhury is a IGNOU certified nutritionist in India with a Bachelorโ€™s and Masterโ€™s degree in Biochemistry. He also has considerable research experience and additional certificates in nutrition. ๐Ÿ‘ย  Abdur started NutritionCrown in 2020 to organize nutrition information under one umbrella. โ˜‚๏ธย  He is passionate about empowering people to make well-informed food choices to support their health. Abdur currently lives in India and keeps fit by weight training and eating mainly home-cooked meals. ๐Ÿ’ช ๐Ÿฅ—