Why The Energy Balance Equation Is a Dangerous Lie, an Embarrassment to Health Professionals, and an Insult To Our Patients

Controversies in ObesityThe title of today’s post paraphrases the title of a chapter by Damian Edwards, in our new book “Controversies in Obesity” (published by Springer), which I co-edited with my friends and colleagues David Haslam and Carel le Roux.

This chapter by Damian Edwards, Board Member of the National Obesity Forum (UK) and Professional Member of the NICE Public Health Programme Development Group, stands for the type of thought-provoking essays that readers can expect to find in this book.

Recognizing that our present strategies to prevent and clinically manage obesity are nothing short of a miserable failure on all fronts (anecdotal “success” stories apart), we challenged some of the most-prominent present-day thought-leaders in obesity to come up with their most provocative (and perhaps outrageous) ideas about what is really causing the obesity epidemic and how we may have to fundamentally rethink our approaches to preventing and managing it.

To those working in the field, names like Boyd Swinburn, J-P Despres, Richard Atkinson, Michael Lean, Susan Jebb, John Dixon, Henry Purcell, Stephen Rossner, Kirsi Pietilainen, Nikhil Dhurandhar, or the many other authors of this book need no introduction.

These authors are not quacks or self-appointed experts peddling the next fad diet or demonizing [enter your favourite nutrient here]. They are all widely recognized and respected thought-leaders with the highest academic credentials, bold enough to openly challenge conventional wisdom and “folksy” theories about obesity based on their interpretation of the latest scientific insights into this complex chronic disease.

I am happy to say that this short volume, although primarily written for a technical audience (which explains the relatively high price), may also be of interest to educated lay readers – especially those, willing to open their minds to scientific ideas and theories that go against mainstream thinking (including the simplistic and paternalistic “Eat-Less-Move-More” nonsense widely propagated by public health and clinical professionals alike).

Obviously, controversies would not be controversies if everyone agreed. Indeed, even I don’t fully agree with all of the theses and arguments presented in these essays. But this only makes for an even more stimulating and provocative read.

Look for more on Edwards’ arguments (and the explanation to the title of today’s post) in coming posts.

Edmonton, AB

To order Controversies in Obesity directly from the publisher – click here (half-price promotion runs till March 10, 2014)

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