Fat Science

Investigating the science of body weight regulation

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    Dear Reader, I will not accept any advertising on this site, in order to keep it free of any bias. I put a great deal of time and effort into making these posts accurate, readable, and interesting, and I welcome your comments. I would very much like to be able to make a living doing this, because the topic has very deep personal meaning for me. However, unfortunately, I haven't figured out yet how to do it. So, if you find what I write to be helpful to you, please consider donating whatever you can, so that I can continue this effort. Thank you so much.

Posts Tagged ‘health’

Health At Every Size (HAES)

Posted by Miriam Gordon on September 22, 2009

Tara Parker-Pope, in the health blog section of the New York Times website, addressed in her post “A Diva’s Lessons on Weight and Beauty” the scientifically based concept that controlling body weight is not a matter of will power. Thank G-d, it’s finally dawning on the New York Times’ editors that fat people actually don’t deserve to be punished for their lack of will power (particularly after that awful Times magazine cover touting Clive Thompson’s misguided article (“Are Your Friends Making You Fat?”) on Christakis and Fowler’s research).

What many people don’t understand about the very important concept that controlling body weight is not a matter of will power is that people can still be healthy, or improve their health dramatically, no matter what they weigh. Everyone can make changes in their lives that will improve their health. It is absolutely true that a sedentary lifestyle combined with poor eating habits is clearly linked with disease, such as diabetes and heart disease. The important thing is the process of learning to incorporate healthier habits, while doing away with prejudice or discrimination against fat people. Shaming fat people will not lead to improvement in anyone’s health. Instead, it will continue to engender low self-esteem, unhealthy dieting practices that will slow down metabolic rates, and eating disorders. In short, the focus should be on learning to live a healthier lifestyle that doesn’t involve beating oneself up on a regular basis, based on one’s appearance or a number on a scale. Check out Linda Bacon’s website and the website for the Association for Size Diversity and Health.


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Posted in biology, body image, health, obesity | Tagged: , , , | 5 Comments »

Causation, Correlation, Dogma, Weight, and Health

Posted by Miriam Gordon on August 10, 2009

After acquiring the book almost a year ago, I (again) started reading Gary Taubes’ book entitled Good Calories, Bad Calories. Based on what I’ve read so far, and knowing Gary Taubes’ background, I believe it’s a very scholarly work, and very thoroughly researched. From the title, it’s obvious that this book considers the scientific evidence for specific types of diets and how they affect body weight regulation. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in biology, health, obesity, science | Tagged: , , | 3 Comments »

Feminine Beauty: The Dada-ist view

Posted by Miriam Gordon on March 17, 2009

Part of the purpose of this blog is not only to examine the science behind metabolic regulation of body weight, but also to understand how current standards of beauty (read: thinness as opposed to fatness) evolved in modern Western culture. These two seemingly unrelated topics are actually very intimately tied together, as the ever-present, pervasive, all-encompassing, in-our-face images of our society’s ideals of beauty are so powerful that they have a profound effect on our perception of health. This is true for all members of our society, including health professionals. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in advertising, body image, health | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Here a SNP, There a SNP

Posted by Miriam Gordon on October 8, 2008

A “SNP” is a single nucleotide polymorphism. Within a genetically distinct population, i.e. people of a certain ethnicity, religion, or geographic region, there are several versions of the DNA sequence of any given gene that is almost identical, with the exception of one sequence unit at a specific site. This single nucleotide variation occurs in the population at observable frequencies. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in biology, obesity, science | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Fat Cell Switcheroo*

Posted by Miriam Gordon on September 7, 2008

Humans, mice — indeed all mammals — have two types of fat cells in their bodies; white and brown. White fat cells store energy. In contrast, brown fat cells dissipate energy as heat, thus counteracting obesity. Much to the chagrin of humans living in industrialized societies, most fat cells in our (adult) bodies are white fat cells. While this trait served our kind well throughout our evolutionary history, we now face a vast abundance of inexpensive, easily accessible, high energy content foods. This, combined with our body’s tendency to want to store up energy for times when food is scarce, leads to obesity and its accompanying adverse health effects. Wouldn’t it be great if we could have more brown fat cells and less white fat cells?* Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in biology, science | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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