Here’s the link to a great programme on super morbid obesity (The programme is no longer available sadly).
Great programme spot from one of our super fans – Melissa. This is worth the 47 mins to watch. I just wanted to draw your attention to yet another example of the calorie myth being completely absurdly applied…
The programme features 4 morbidly obese people:
Paul is 45 years old and he weighs 48 stone and consumes an estimated 36,902 calories a day.
Larry is 38 years old and he weighs 50 stone and consumes an estimated 14,349 calories a day.
Lisa is 39 years old and she weighs 45 stone and consumes an estimated 9,277 calories a day.
Jacqui is 40 years old and she weighs 26 stone and consumes an estimated 15,880 calories a day.
Quick couple of observations:
1) Where on earth do they get the 2 calories at the end of Paul’s estimate?! The calories in 1 gram of fat/carb/protein are not even accurate – how do they think that they can estimate a day’s consumption to that level of accuracy.
2) Why is Paul not massively heavier than Larry? He’s eating 2.5 times the number of calories and can’t move around (as Larry proved he could when food was put in the other room!)
Ian Campbell (former head of National Obesity Forum) is the main expert speaker on the programme.
With reference to Paul – Ian says it is physically and physiologically impossible for Paul to burn off the calories he consumes. I agree – this is a factual statement using hours in the day and maximum activity rates possible – notwithstanding the fact that Paul is bedridden. However – I would like to see what would happen if Paul’s intake were changed from predominantly processed carbs to real fat/protein. He would be unable to store fat in the absence of carbs and insulin and he would be unable to consume anywhere near that intake of real food.
With reference to Larry (I made a note of the time for this one – so see how they do this for Larry at c. 12 minutes) – the narrator (Samantha Bond) quotes the usual statement that the average man needs 2,500 calories a day. Ian Campbell estimates that Larry needs about 4-4,500 calories a day “and so that extra 10,000 calories a day would equate to 3lbs of weight gain on a daily basis.” Did you spot that use of the unproven calorie formula – applied directly as if fact – without even being quoted? Ian has divided 10,000 by 3500 to get 3lbs and has assumed that every excess of 3500 will gain 1lb (in fat alone – we are forgetting water and lean tissue for now), just as Ian assumes that every deficit of 3500 will lose 1lb. Neither surplus or deficit works with this formula – I have yet to find even one study to prove this formula and would be astonished if I ever did.
Let’s apply some common sense here – Ian is saying that Larry will be gaining weight at the rate of 3lbs a day – that’s 1095lbs EACH & EVERY year. That is 78 stone and 3lbs EACH & EVERY year. Let’s forget water and lean tissue and assume he is the first person in the world only to gain fat. So – if the programme checks in on Larry next year – he should be 128 stone.
With reference to Lisa (they do this for Lisa at c. 44 minutes) – the narrator again says that the Recommended Daily Intake for an average woman is just 2000 calories. They obviously allow 3000 calories a day, for Lisa being larger and then the narrator says “If she continues to eat this daily excess of over 6000 calories, Lisa will gain almost 2lbs every day.”
Ditto on the common sense – Lisa is supposed to gain 52 stone, 2lbs each & every year she continues to eat in this way.
With reference to Jacqui – Ian says that Jacqui is having “perhaps seven times the number of calories she needs just to keep her body healthy.” The narrator then says “To burn off what Jacqui eats in a day she’d have to walk briskly non-stop for almost two days.”
The last point is interesting because so many government officials and dietary advisors continue to think that our ‘sedentary behaviour’ is to blame for the obesity epidemic. Ian Campbell makes the point that Olympic rowers could not need this number of calories (my comment – and they would eat their intake in a hugely healthier way). Surely it is vastly more important to NOT put something in one’s mouth in the first place than it is to think we can burn off that fuel in some way. Aside from the fact that we can only ‘burn fat’ when there is no glucose or glycogen more readily available for the body. These four are eating carbs continuously every waking minute (Lisa in the middle of the night also) and therefore are continually storing fat and are never in a physiological environment in which they can burn fat.
Check also – around 40 mins into the programme – the serious issue about fat cell number and size, which has become more widely accepted in recent years. It is estimated that Lisa’s fat cells will have multiplied from a ‘normal’ number of 40 billion to 100 billion. If she loses weight, these fat cells do not disappear – she will still have 100 billion – they just shrink in size.
p.s. daftest thought of all – if Ian Campbell estimates that Larry needs 4-4,500 calories a day, let’s assume that Paul needs the same. Paul is therefore eating 32,000 calories a day more than he needs. I bet Ian Campbell did the maths – that’s a gain of 9lbs EVERY DAY; 2 stone every 3 days; so Paul should gain 238 stone over the coming year – and then thought “no, that’s mad!” Then he would have thought – let’s stick to using the 3,500 calorie theory for Larry and Lisa – it seems daft for Paul. It’s daft for all of them Ian! (And everyone else who uses this formula on a daily basis – NHS, Dept of Health, NICE, dieticians, nutritionists …..)
p.s. Jan 2011 update – please note that I am sadly simply unable to keep up with comments on blogs/youtube/facebook and all the wonders of the web. Please feel free to leave a comment to have your say & for others to read. If you have any questions our forum is the best place to have them answered. Your question may well have been answered already so you can read the thousands of questions already there if you don’t want to join. Many thanks for your understanding. Very best wishes – Zoe