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But there’s a third model, not mentioned by Ludwig or Taubes, which is the one that predominates in my field.

It acknowledges the fact that body weight is regulated, but the regulation happens in the brain, in response to signals from the body that indicate its energy status.

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In the 1970s, scientists wanted to develop new rat models of obesity.

This was harder than it sounded; rats ate only as much as they needed and never got fat.

He writes The [calories in, calories out] model is the idea that our body weight is determined by voluntary decisions about how much we eat and move, and in order to control our body weight, all we need is a little advice about how many calories to eat and burn, and a little willpower.

The primary defining feature of this model is that it assumes that food intake and body fatness are not regulated.

Did you know there are entire premodern cultures where literally nobody is obese? That the prevalence of obesity has doubled since 1980?

Researchers have been keeping records of how much people eat for a long time, and increased food intake since 1980 perfectly explains increased obesity since 1980 – there is no need to bring in decreased exercise or any other factors.He is very careful to emphasize that the consensus doesn’t look anything like Taubes’ caricature of it.The consensus doesn’t believe that obesity is just about weak-willed people voluntarily choosing to eat too much, or that obese people would get thin if they just tried diet and exercise, or that all calories are the same.Overeating is caused by a kind of “internal starvation”.There are other versions of the insulin model, but this is the one advocated by Ludwig (and Taubes), so it will be my focus.The brain has some pretty sophisticated mechanisms to determine when we’ve eaten enough; these usually involve estimating food’s calorie load from its mass and fiber level.

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