This topic has been requested for a while. I already have several articles touching this subject, so this will be a simple breakdown and summary.
Let’s start with some uncomfortable truths. Being overweight, or worse, being obese, is not natural, it’s not normal, it’s not something we see in nature with other species unless they are to go into hibernation, prepare for a cold winter, or about to migrate to new grazing/hunting areas. In these cases, it’s simply adaptation to the circumstances for survival.
If we look at animals functioning as human companions, as in pets, we only see obesity and disease in those who are fed an extremely unnatural, toxic and unhealthy diet of dry food, as in kibble. For example, any cat or dog fed their natural carnivorous diet will be fully healthy and maintain a normal muscular body weight. As said, being overweight is not natural, it’s a clear sign of metabolic damage, and we will get into the reasons in a bit.
Now, this does not mean that you should look like a starving fitness model or a chronic overtrained gymnastic- or track and field athlete; it simply means that you should have visible muscle bellies and a flat stomach, as in a thin healthy layer of body fat.
So, what causes fat gain?
That is a question with multiple answers. First of all, it has absolutely nothing to do with calories, as calories does not exist. Calories is a faulty concept of measuring ‘heat units’ in foods, perceived by pseudoscience as energy, which has absolutely nothing to do with how our bodies use and extract nutrients from that same food. I’ve been writing about that for more than 10 years now, just follow the links.
With that said, food does seem to provide energy, and we seem to be able to store energy as fat tissue, to be used in case of starvation. If you go on a fast, or something as unhealthy as a weight-loss diet, as in starving yourself, your body fat storage will shrink, as it is being used to provide energy for movement and metabolic processes. The unhealthy part about this is, of course, that your nutrient stores will be used up as well, and you will quickly become deficient in several nutrients. And as most people follow a very lacking diet, they are usually deficient to begin with, resulting in severe hormonal imbalances, bodily harm, and thus a rapid re-gain of the weight lost.
Let’s break down a few of the main culprits causing weight-gain.
1. Poisons and Toxins.
In the last century, we have slowly been introduced into a storm of chemicals. In the last couple of decades, persistent organic pollutants (forever chemicals) have slowly risen, and we get exposed especially through drugs/pharmaceuticals, vaccines, plastics, synthetic fabrics, hygiene and beauty products, environmental pollution, and any form of plant-food that is drowned in pesticides. While most of these chemicals can be detoxed by a healthy body, some are more difficult to be rid of. And if you have nutrition deficiencies and you stress your body with garbage food and other stressors, your ability to detoxify will be severely hampered. These toxins will mess with your hormones, decreasing testosterone and thyroid hormones, making you more prone to losing metabolic active tissue, as in muscle mass. Also, your body will upregulate the production of fat-tissue, as fat cells are needed to store toxins when the body is unable to expel them. Adipose tissue simply acts as a “safe storage” for harmful toxins and poisons to reduce the burden and accumulation of these toxins in vital organs. This is a survival mechanism, keeping you from being severely poisoned and dying. This upregulation of fat tissue and gain in fat mass has nothing to do with energy intake or imaginary calories.
2. Non-Human Foods (Plant-Based Foods and Oils)
Since the 1970’s, obesity have more than tripled among the population. While toxins and pollutants are one of the culprits, our perception of food is another.
According to nutrient intake research between 2017 and 2020, the average American adult consumes the following:
81 grams of protein, mostly from toxic plant foods.
This should be at least 0.8 to 1 gram per pound of body weight (about 1,5 to 2 grams per kilogram,) and solely from animal sources, as in meat, eggs, and the occasional dairy product.
244 grams of carbohydrates, of which 105 grams is added sugars.
Humans should not consume any form of carbohydrates, as it forces the body to overproduce insulin from keeping your blood sugar levels from killing you. This in turn causes unnatural storage of glucose and fats as body fat.
28 grams of saturated fat, as in animal fats.
This is extremely low, as saturated fats is our main energy source and needed for all metabolic processes, for cell health, and for production of hormones (especially cholesterol.)
This should be equivalent to your protein intake, or slightly more, as in at least 0.8 to 1.2 grams per pound of body weight (about 1,8 to 2.5 grams per kilogram,) and solely from animal sources.
51 grams of mono- and poly-unsaturated fats, as in vegetable/seed oils.
This is extremely unhealthy, as all vegetable/seed oils are toxic to humans as they go rancid the moment they are exposed to oxygen and/or sunlight. They will interfere with your metabolic processes and hormone production, as well as causing damage to your cells.
As you can see, the average ‘diet’ will cause enormous amounts of damage, which will cause fat gain. Also take into consideration that the carbohydrates mostly come from refined grains, such as bread, pasta, cereal, and so on. And most of the fats come from soy-, canola-, and corn oils being added to food products. These foodstuffs have been genetically modified, processed and refined, and are much more easily digestible and absorbed than any food found in nature.
3. Nutrient Deficiencies/Malnutrition
As the ‘micronutrients,’ usually referred to as vitamins and minerals, found in plant-foods cannot really be absorbed, converted and used by humans, most people on a heavy plant-based diet, as in a diet low or lacking animal-based foods, are actually malnourished even though they might be consuming a lot of “food.”
A body lacking in vital nutrients will not be able to detoxify, and hormone levels will also be out of whack. When you are malnourished, you will quickly get hungry again and you will be craving food, as your body will urge you to get the nutrients it is lacking. In other words, you will overeat, and most likely overeat on crap as listed in the point above.
Those are the three main points. Also, there is the factor of mental trauma and emotional stress, as in self-devaluation or loss of self-worth. These mental states, as well as fear and worry, can upregulate fat storage as well.
As we already covered hormonal changes in the points above, mainly from toxins and nutrition deficiencies, these listed points are the main culprits.
And to simplify the matter, gaining body fat is either from toxicity or from following a non-human processed and refined plant-based diet, or when it’s happening rather quickly, a combination of them both.
Now, some people will likely say that most vegans are thin, as in malnourished decaying zombies, and that is partly correct. We have two camps of “vegans,” those who try to eat raw or unprocessed plant-foods, and then we have those who simply avoid animal-products and eat a lot of processed garbage. The latter, those who eat whatever they can find as long as it’s not from animal sources tend to be overweight, bloated, and even very obese.
The other camp, the “true vegans,” are usually thin and look like zombies, simply because humans have a very hard time extracting nutrients and energy from raw or unprocessed plant-foods like vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds or even rice and potatoes – as they are not meant for human consumption. Most of the low-quality protein and the starches (carbohydrates) are attached/bound to fiber, resulting in only 30 to 60% of these nutrients being absorbed, and the rest will go right through you! Considering that these foods already are quite low in these macronutrients, they can eat a lot without gaining weight – even a lot of sugary fruits. Actually, they will need to constantly eat not to lose weight, which is why they all have severe digestion problems, diarrhea and hemorrhoids.
A processed plant-based food on the other hand, will have an absorption rate of 70 to 80%, and they usually contain a lot of vegetable/seed oils as well, as not found in nature.
Both of these types of vegans will however eventually quit or die, as their diet is extremely lacking and dangerous. Only those cheating with animal foods will endure for years, and some vegetarians might make it much longer. But that is not living, that is barely surviving – something I would not wish upon anybody.
Now, if we turn the coin, and if you follow our natural species-appropriate, species-specific diet of the flesh and fat of animals, it’s almost impossible to become ‘overweight’ as you will be fully nourished and you will never feel hungry or have cravings, making it very difficult to regularly overeat. Also, your toxic load from your food will be very low and your hormones will be in optimal balance. And because your insulin production will be normal, fat storage from overeating will be also be normal and not ‘enhanced’ as we see in those consuming carbohydrates, especially in combination with vegetable/seed oils.
If you want to learn more, or if you need help with adopting our natural species-specific diet, I’m available for both consulting and coaching. Please read more in the provided link.