Wednesday, February 2, 2011

More [allegedly] mysterious causes of obesity

The articles I've seen don't talk much about the method of figuring out causes, but I do love these theories for the weight gain: 

There are several theories about why some kids may be putting on pounds.
One is that when children have enlarged tonsils, they're spending more energy (calories) to breathe. Once they're removed, breathing is easier and uses less calories, Jeyakumar explained.
Another is that when tonsils are big and swallowing is difficult, children may limit the foods they eat or have less of an appetite. After the surgery, kids typically feel better and food probably tastes better, too.
This is really just amazing. Those theories might be true; it does, after all, suck to eat when your throat is sore. 
[Of course, both theories imply that the kids lost weight due to the inflamed tonsils, then just went back to normal when they were removed. But the studies imply that the kids were at a normal weight, then got fat. Is weight loss a symptom of tonsillitis? Did the kid's charts include notation that they had lost weight in the previous few weeks? The logical breakdown was obvious to me after one second. Good to see the journalists pointing it out.] 
But again, two theories that just recite the "calories in, calories out" hypothesis and ignore the endocrine system and hormones, and gut bacteria and inflammation. (Maybe the study itself mentions insulin & leptin and every other hormone that effects fat storage (all of them), but I doubt it.)
A better guess would be that going under the knife to have tonsils removed means taking powerful antibiotics for a decent amount of time (maybe even a few different kinds); those antibiotics kill off the kid's good and bad gut flora; the kid's gut flora is then repopulated with only bad bacteria; that leads to inflammation, inability to process some foods, and maybe hypothalamus issues.  

All of those are  well-established side effects of antibioticsand also well-established causes of obesity. 

But I'm sure you already knew that. That's what turns me on about you: Your attention to detail. 

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