Paul Jaminet: A Theory of Obesity, With Supporting Evidence

Paul Jaminet’s talk from Ancestral Health Symposium 2014 is on Youtube. In the talk, Paul proposes that the modern obesity trend is driven by a combination the following factors:

  • Dietary nutrient (im)balance: the modern food economy strongly emphasizes refined foods which are high in macronutrients (carbohydrate, fat, protein) and low in micronutrients (vitamins and minerals, e.g. copper, zinc, magnesium, vitamin D, vitamin K). An obesogenic positive feedback loop is created: the body’s satiety mechanism senses micronutrient deficiency (or perhaps macronutrient/micronutrient imbalance) and accordingly elevates hunger, appetite and interest in food, causing a person to eat; but the food available is strongly biased towards macronutrient-dense and micronutrient-sparse, so the macronutrient/micronutrient imbalance is sustained or increased; the superfluous macronutrients are necessarily converted to adipose tissue; the nutrient imbalance remains and the cycle continues.
  • Circadian rhythm disruption: environmental inputs that drive circadian rhythms are social interaction, stress, blue or broadband light exposure, exercise, and meal timing. I am less sure I correctly recall the proposed obesogenic mechanism for this factor, but I believe it is simply that disruption of circadian rhythm worsens sleep quality, and sleep quality is correlated with a lot of important health parameters, obesity included.
  • Microbes (specifically gut flora): a diverse population of gut flora is better for health than a population dominated by one or two species. Again not as sure I quite recall the mechanism here, and I think it is multifaceted, but the general upshot is that gut flora are the key to gut health, and gut health is at the center of a lot of important physiological processes, e.g. nutrient absorption, toxin rejection. I believe the important one wrt obesity was that an unhealthy gut allows inflammatory agents to penetrate the gut-blood barrier and then accumulate in adipose tissue, which is obesogenic somehow — can’t recall at this time, guess I should review that portion of the talk…

Paul Jaminet is known in the ancestral health sphere for his work on the “Perfect Health Diet.”

Edited 2014 Nov 27 (happy thanksgiving) to expand on obesogenic mechanisms of each of those three factors.


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