You know what makes me grumpy? What looks to me like getting sloppy about causation and correlation. For example, Stephan Guyenet (who I think is fab) tweeted this yesterday:
Is this really evidence that obesity increases cancer risk? Or is it possible that what causes obesity, which bariatric surgery addresses, is what increases cancer risk?
This really matters. I get that the above is a tweet and there are character limitations, but this “obesity causes …” or “obesity increases …” concept is really rampant. And it seems, to me anyways, that this language shortcut (if that’s what it is) is potentially very flawed.
Check out the section in Weighing Success beyond the Scale (starting around the 20-minute mark) where obesity researcher Gary Foster talks about the benefits of small amounts of weight loss — the small kinds of weight loss that means that the person is still obese.
I’m not an obesity researcher, but I don’t know how you don’t translate this to a HAES-friendly argument that it’s not the weight, it’s what’s causing the weight. And what’s leading to the benefit is not the reduction of weight, but what’s leading to the reduction … typically more movement and a healthier diet.
Don’t get me wrong, I do not think that adipose tissue is benign. But I think we have yet to really disentangle how much of what leads to disease is the excess fat vs lifestyle factors that create all sorts of stress and inflammation (and one of those is weight stigma).