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March 03, 2004



I don't know about the fast/slow metabolism thing, but I was recently reading that the linear calorie/weight connection is one of those entrenched beliefs people hold that, it turns out, is based on one six-week study done forty years ago. Some people suggest something called "set-point theory," which is the idea that your body has a weight it "wants" to be at, and that it makes adjustments to stay at or near that weight, and that weight may be higher (or lower) than the ideal. But I have no idea whether that's scientifically valid or whether it's just something fat activists cooked up.

I am actually a fat woman. I hovered around 240 for a good ten years until I got pregnant, and, like you, went easily back to my pre-pregnancy weight after my son was born...though, like you, I've put on more weight in my current pregnancy and am hoping, since I am very comfortable in my body and generaly fit and active, that I go back to my old friendly size again post-partum.

But I've had the same observation you have, in sort of the opposite direction: I don't eat anywhere near the amount of food, or as anti-nutritiously, as reports would suggest I would have to in order to maintain this weight at this activity level.

My suspicion: it's all a lot more complicated than we are led to believe.


Not "fast" or "slow" metabolism so much as "inefficient" and "efficient". We skinny folks toss away more nutrients than the fat folks do. Come the apocalypse we won't look so good.

But most Americans (at least most of the ones in my family) are obese because they don't get much exercise and they eat all the time. *All the time.*

(The Onion made an iffy choice of joke vehicles, I think, given how often Nietzsche mentions his digestion in his writings and how horribly he was tormented by constipation.)

Mitch Mills

I know you have a bone or two to pick with Alice Waters, Belle, but there's an article in this past Sunday's NY Times magazine that might be of interest. It focuses on her Edible Schoolyard project but has some info at least somewhat relevant to the discussion above. For example, growing rates of childhood obesity, the fact that "Nationally, a third of children eat fast food for at least one meal a day", etc.

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