The Obesity Myth?

The other day I found this video clip of The Obesity Myth author Paul Campos (via ZestyPing) giving a speech at a conference in Massachusetts.

Campos contends that the obesity epidemic in this country is a media construct and not based in fact. Here are some more of his points:

  • The correlations between obesity and illness/mortality are weak
  • Weight cycling is bad
  • Good diet and exercise = health at any size
  • Weight loss programs don't inspire health or improved mortality

Intrigued by the video, I passed it along to Dr. Fuhrman. Here's what he had to say:

Since almost all typical diets fail and result in regain of the weight anyway, Mr. Campos is correct that weight cycling is bad and weight loss programs don't work. A truly good diet and exercise are the key points; the main problem with his reasoning is that he doesn't know what a good diet is. If he did he would find that people who follow a good diet stop being overweight and are no longer overweight. He is also wrong about the correlation between obesity and mortality.


So the difference is that Eat to Live was designed first as the healthiest way to eat. The side effect is that people gravitate pretty rapidly to their ideal weight and furthermore, it is a knowledge-based approach that makes the client the nutritional expert, so they gain back control of their health destiny and their weight. It is not a diet, if a diet means restricting calories, portions or trying to lose weight.

Your health and weight are governed by the law of cause and effect. Most people don't fail because of lack of effort. The most common mistake that prevents people from achieving their goals is that they do the same thing over and over expecting a different result. They get locked into a single way of looking at things. Taking a different approach requires us to think differently. The standard diet is so nutrient-poor that it leads to a tremendous drive to over eat calories and causes withdrawal symptoms leading to cravings and food addictions (toxic hunger).

Eat to LiveStandard American Diet (SAD)
Vegetable-basedGrain-based
Lots of beans, nuts and seedsLots of dairy and meats
5 - 10 fresh fruits dailyLots of refined sweeteners
Oil used sparinglyOils supply a major caloric load
Animal products 2 - 5 times a weekAnimal products 2- 5 times a day
Focused on nutrient-dense calories Focused on nutrient-poor calories


The thought process behind the diet-style described in my book entitled, Eat to Live differs from conventional diets. When I first developed the Eat to Live approach, I started by asking: what is the healthiest way to eat? The fact that it is also the most effective way to lose weight is a great bonus. Other diets seem to be based on the premise: How can we make a popular diet and what type of gimmick or hook will sell books? My primary goal was not popularity or economic success. I have a duty to patients who rely on me for life saving advice. My goal was to be scientifically accurate and the most effective for both weight loss and disease reversal, bar none.

My book, Eat to Live has succeeded beyond my expectations. The people who have adopted this plan have achieved remarkable success, reversed their chronic diseases, and achieved a consistent healthy weight. The book has been translated into many foreign languages and has become a best seller. However, Eat to Live was written to speak to people who could not lose weight, no matter what they tried. It was not written for the masses and has limitations for wide acceptance by our society. Most people are looking for magic and are not interested in what the healthiest way to eat is, or the healthiest way to lose weight.

And lastly, taste is learned and food preferences can change and the myth that healthy eating has to take a second seat regarding taste or pleasure in life is simply incorrect. When people realize they can eat as much as they desire, not be hungry and uncomfortable, lose lots of weight and have the food taste as good or better than their prior diet, it is a no-brainer and they keep the weight off for life. But it takes time for food preferences to change, to learn the recipes and science that supports it.

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anet - May 13, 2006 10:50 PM

How can Campos purport that the obesity epidemic is a 'media construct'--does he honestly think its some big hoax-- that e v e n the clothes manufacturers are in on (since the size of clothes has increased so much in recent decades)--insurance companies (from their stats), etc??

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