The fundamental flaw with obesity research and the proposed cure for it centers around the current interpretation of the law of thermodynamics. This is the law that says calories in less calories out equals body weight. Or, as everyone everywhere knows, the one and only right way to lose weight is to eat less and exercise more. Taubes explains how a simplistic, incomplete view of this law does not account for the regulation of fat tissue by hormones and enzymes, and thereby overlooks the underlying metabolic cause and disorder of fat growth. The role of insulin on fat tissue, for example, is not considered or factored into the thermodynamic equation. "…medical experts have been remarkably uninterested in the fat tissue itself."
Taubes reminds us that insulin is the primary regulator of fat metabolism. When insulin levels go up, fat is stored, and when insulin levels go down, fat is released. Likewise, insulin is also responsible for distortions and problems with fat metabolism. A common one is the constant over production of insulin from eating too many refined carbohydrates (foods made with flours and caloric sweeteners). This eventually results in “insulin resistance,” a condition where cells stop responding to the insulin. Insulin resistance is a primary indicator of type 2 Diabetes and a cluster of other systemic metabolic problems including high blood pressure, high triglycerides, low HDL cholesterol (the healthy cholesterol), high blood sugar, a big waist, and of course, obesity!
Despite the direct link between fat and insulin, mainstream researchers and the medical community continues to insist dietary fat is the root cause of obesity, type 2 diabetes and the other metabolic problems mentioned above. In fact, the idea that anything other than dietary fat might be the culprit in our diet is nutritional heresy. We’ve been programmed, relentlessly, to cut down on the amount of fat we consume and to eat “heart-healthy” foods like bread, cereal and pasta. These are the same flour-based foods mentioned above, that raise insulin. Saturated fat, by the way, lowers it. Therein is the crux of the contention. Is it dietary fat that’s to be avoided or is it white flour and caloric sweeteners?