This week, there was a debate on the Joe Rogan podcast between Stephan Guyenet and Gary Taubes. To keep it overly simple, Taubes is a low-carb advocate who believes the obesity epidemic is a result of the effect of carbs on insulin causing excess storage of body fat while Guyenet believes it’s due to an overconsumption of calories caused by hunger signaling issues from the brain due to a variety of factors. Basically, Taubes believes the fix is eliminating carbs and Guyenet believes it’s more in managing hunger signals.
Without going into the details (see their debate if you want more info), one thing stands out to me after reflecting on it a bit. What we believe about food, and how we relate to it has a profound impact on the decisions we make every day. You may be thinking, “I don’t care who’s right. If it works that’s all that matters.” The problem is that if you believe that excess body fat is caused by insulin and carbs apart from overconsumption of calories, you may cut carbs erroneously thinking this will cause weight loss due to the effect on insulin while overconsuming fat to compensate for it. This may cause excess overall calorie consumption. Alternatively, you may find success with something like keto (very-low-carb, high fat) for a while but then reach a point where it doesn’t fit your lifestyle or preferences anymore. If you believe carbs are bad, this can impact your enjoyment of food as you avoid the food you love containing carbs, and may even cause you to just throw in the towel thinking that if you can’t stay away from carbs, I guess you’ll never lose weight. You probably figured out where I side in this debate.
My point is that what we believe matters. It informs our decisions. If we base our decisions on incorrect information, it can lead us down a wrong path at some point, even if it “works” for a while. Basing our decisions on facts and evidence ensures the decisions we make are for the right reasons and that positive results are as expected rather than coincidental as a side effect.