The Truth About Overweight & Obesity
Enough pain, shame, frustration, and judgment. You can lose the weight you hate. Here’s the truth.
Why There Is No Gimmicky Plan That Works
Dr. Gary V. Koyen, Ph.D. | March 2021
Our three promises:
The truth throwdown
Let’s imagine: You have a diesel engine vehicle and by mistake you put gasoline in the tank. Or you have a gasoline engine vehicle and by mistake you put diesel fuel in the tank. Do you think this is a problem? The answer is yes. Each engine is designed to run on fuel that is “good for it.” The truth is: You cannot put gasoline in a diesel engine. You cannot run a diesel engine on gasoline without the engine running poorly and ultimately causing damage. Similarly, you cannot put diesel fuel in a gasoline engine, and you cannot run a gasoline engine on diesel without harming the engine. In fact a gasoline engine will not run at all on 100% diesel, and a diesel engine will not run at all on 100% gasoline.
What about a tiny bit? What about a pint in a 25-gallon tank? It’s probably okay. The engine will probably digest that little bit without too much immediate harm. Even over the life of the engine it may not be a big deal. Okay, how about a 50% mix? Forget about it. There’s no way that those engines would run well, and without being damaged, on such fuel.
The same is true for people. As humans, we evolved to run on preferred fuels. When fed the right fuel in the right way, we function beautifully. Everything seems to work in sync. It’s magical. We move down the road of life efficiently and effectively.
When fed bad fuel or fueled in the wrong way, our bodies struggle, break down, and begin to fail. Life itself is more of a struggle.
For a human being, what is bad fuel? For some of us, specific foods can be problematic due to food sensitivities and allergies. For all of us the answer is: Sugars, refined carbohydrates, industrial seed oils, modified fats, excess starches, chemical additives, and food dyes, as well as toxic transport through our foods of pesticides, herbicides, bacteria, viruses, molds, heavy metals, exogenous hormones, and various other toxins. The more of these ingredients in the calories we eat, the worse off we will be. One of the most visible effects will be weight gain and eventually obesity.
Most calories today in the American diet contain the “bad fuel” ingredients listed above, and most Americans are “running their engines” on bad fuel. Where does all this bad fuel come from? Proportionately, very little of it comes from cooking from scratch at home. Most of the bad fuel we consume comes from fast food outlets, restaurants, coffee shops, vending machines, quick-stop convenience stores, and of course grocery stores, where we buy highly processed food and packaged food. Honest ingredients lists are very revealing.
The bad fuel delivers bad effects: Emotional, mental, physical, and even spiritual. Dreams are abandoned or compromised. We don’t feel up to it. Being overweight or obese is the most visible and obvious effect of consuming bad fuel, but there are other pathological effects happening hidden within our bodies.
If that diesel engine that’s running on bad fuel had feelings, it would say “I feel really crappy. I’m tired. I’m low energy. My parts hurt. I know what I want to do and have to do, but it’s an effort. I feel pretty rough today.” If that diesel engine had feelings, taste, motives, and attitudes, it might sound like this: “I just love gasoline. It’s so delicious!” It might even crave gasoline, or be addicted to it. It might also complain “Why was I designed to love gasoline when it’s so bad for me?” At which point it would sound like us humans.
If we are going to lose weight, keep it off, be healthy, and live a long and vital life, there are some truths we must come to accept—and deal with. It doesn’t matter that the modern food environment is so bad. It just is, and continuing our analogy of the diesel engine, we have to search for the right pump that has the right fuel. We cannot expect that the wrong fuel will have positive results. It won’t, and we’ve proved it: Over 70% of us are overweight or obese. Diabetes is exploding into an epidemic. Our children are becoming sick and fat at younger ages. How much more proof do we need?
At Cruxpoint we will not lie to you. Here are some facts—some truths—that we must address if we are to achieve a permanent, desirable lifetime body composition.
Unfortunate but honest truth #1
We cannot function well, feel well, or have long disease-free lives if we run on terrible fuel. We are running on bad fuel. We are a diesel engine trying to run on gasoline. An overweight or obese body is a body struggling to cope with really bad fuel.
Unfortunate but honest truth #2
Our bodies did not evolve and are not adapted to handle concentrated sugars and fast-burning carbohydrates. In our evolutionary history concentrated sweets and fast-burning carbohydrates were not available. If found at all, they were a very rare treat, such as honey from a beehive.
Unfortunate but honest truth #3
Our bodies’ signaling systems (primarily hormones) that govern our body composition are adapted primarily to fats and proteins, and very coarse carbohydrates. Sugars and fast carbs can bypass these messaging systems that are designed to keep our bodies in balance and functioning well.
Unfortunate but honest truth #4
Almost all our foods have been made sweeter, starchier, and with more rapidly burning carbohydrates. Every fruit, vegetable, seed, nut, and grain that we consume today has been put through this selective breeding process. In addition, virtually all processed and packaged foods have added sugar, starches, hot-burning carbs, and other additives that have detrimental effects.
Unfortunate but honest truth #5
Our “taste”—both on the tongue and in the brain—evolved to respond both positively and strongly to sweetness. Sweetness indicated a plant food that was safe to eat. Bitter and sour tastes signaled greater risk and danger. Sweetness also indicated a fast energy source. Sweetness on the tongue is our strongest positive taste sensation, and sweet foods light up the pleasure centers of our brains.
Unfortunate but honest truth #6
Sugar (or sweetness) is the strongest addiction humans experience, estimated to be stronger than caffeine, nicotine, cocaine, and heroin. Sugar is addictive, and by the time we are seriously overweight or obese, we are usually addicted. The tests of addiction are (1) how strong the cravings are, (2) whether it produces binge over-consumption, (3) whether it’s easy to skip it, (4) whether it affects mood and attitude, (5) whether it produces compulsive or obsessive behavior, (6) whether sweets and consumption of sweets are ‘hidden’ from others, (7) whether it produces lying and denial, (8) whether we have to use willpower to control it, and (9) whether we experience withdrawal if we eliminate it.
Unfortunate but honest truth #7
The addiction to sugars, sweet tastes, and fast-burning carbohydrates is driven by four primary forces: The powerful effects of sweet taste, the stimulation of the pleasure centers of our brains, the way in which sugars and carbs ‘fix’ blood sugar crashes, and the bacterial make-up (balance) in our gut microbiome. We have to address all four in order to succeed at permanent weight-management.
Unfortunate but honest truth #8
Perhaps the most unfortunate fact of all: The modern foods we eat are intentionally bred and designed to have an addictive effect on us. Unfortunately, it’s working. The ultimate lab-created food is one we buy over-and-over, consume daily, consume in large amounts, and never get tired of. The people who work in the food companies’ labs are paid to come up with the most addictive concoctions possible. The lab-created addictive foods mostly rely on sugars, fats, salt, texture, and flavor as the base ingredients.
Unfortunate but honest truth #9
The lab-created products—highly processed foods and beverages—are really ‘food-like’ concoctions, and are loaded with ingredients and additives that are harmful to us. Many of these ingredients and additives are obesogenic, meaning they cause us to become fat. Most of the ingredients and additives have adverse effects on our hormones and gut bacteria, which in turn drive weight gain. We can’t simply reduce calories; we have to change the content of what we eat, not just the amount.
Unfortunate but honest truth #10
When we eat we feed ourselves, but we also feed and starve bacteria in our gut. The gut bacteria—called the microbiome—consists of all the bacteria (and viruses and fungi) in our GI tract. Collectively they number in the trillions and are critical to our health. They also affect our ability to manage our weight. If we eat sugars and hot carbohydrates, we will tend to feed the bacteria that live best on this sort of feed (fuel), and we’ll tend to starve bacteria that don’t do as well on such a diet. Whatever we eat favors some bacteria while disadvantaging others. A microbiome that’s been put out of balance through diet will have to be corrected.
Unfortunate but honest truth #11
What and how we eat is the root of the problem. Overweight and obesity are not medical problems. They are “what and how I’m eating” problems that become medical problems. What and how I eat is so consequential that I end up with medical problems. But we cannot reverse this with medical solutions. We have to deal with the root of the problem: What I’m eating and how I’m eating. We must change the content of the calories we’re consuming and we must move away from consuming food and beverages virtually all of our waking hours.
The Ultimate Truth #1: We have to take control, learn, and do
In terms of human history and evolution, the last 50 years is shorter than a blink of the eye. We became seriously overweight and obese during that short time frame. In terms of material abundance, the past century or so is a complete departure from the past. See the attached chart. In the last 30 years we moved from starvation being the main food threat, to obesity being the primary food threat. In countries like China, where starvation was a very real risk, obesity became the problem overnight. A complete flip in only a couple of decades. Almost all of the increase in average life expectancy came in the past 100+ years.
This is different. We’ve never been here before, and we’re not handling it very well. If we don’t want to be fat, we’ll have to take charge of our situation and learn to live well in this new and remarkable environment. We can’t participate in things as they are. We now see that “normal” is sick, soft, and fat. It will be a learning journey for each of us. We’re mapping new territory.
The Ultimate Truth #2: There is no gimmicky plan that works
If we’re serious, we’ll stop chasing fantasies. There is no “burn bellyfat fast” pill, supplement, or food. There is no magical formula that lets you “eat everything you want while losing pounds fast.” Counting calories, chewing your food 50 times, or doing five 20-minute walks per week will not work. While it’s possible that some of them can be helpful, they are not solutions.
The Ultimate Truth #3: There is a solution that works (decision required)
If we want to be lean, strong, shapely, attractive, and healthy for life, we have to make a real decision to be so. Life comes with trade-offs. Each of us will have to decide if the trade-offs are worth it to us. Why do I want to be lean, strong, shapely, attractive, and healthy? How important is it to me? How long do I want to live, and why? How do I want those years in my 70s, 80s, 90s to be? A genuine decision is a powerful force. It’s a requirement for taking weight off and keeping it off.
Learn more about the solution: