Stephan Guyenet asks the question: Has Obesity Research Failed? The short answer is “no” … that “it has produced huge amounts of scientifically robust information, and a number of effective therapies.”
Aye, but here’s the rub. There is still no “magic bullet” as of yet (emphasis mine):
The reason we don’t have a magic bullet is that obesity is a difficult problem. Preventing and treating obesity means fighting the natural tendency of the human body and mind in the context of our current culture. You can tell people to eat less sugar, white flour, added fats, and processed foods in general, but only a minority of people will actually alter their behavior significantly as a result. This is because people don’t eat junk food for its health benefits– they eat it because they like it, it’s cheap, and it’s readily available.
This is why I am frustrated by the well-meaning efforts of folks like Stephan (and partner Dan Pardi) and Armi Legge and James Fell and so on and so forth. It’s not that people don’t know what to do, it’s that they struggle to do so in their environment.
I am am starting to feel strongly that the written word — whether in the form of books or blogs — is not the solution. It doesn’t seem to matter if it’s in the form of what to eat or how to avoid overeating, knowing what we’re supposed to do is just not enough.
Update, 6/11: Here’s an interesting comment from Stephan re the potential harm of obesity research (emphasis mine):
I think it’s fair to consider the potential harm caused by obesity researchers, physicians, and public policy experts. There has certainly been a kernel of moral superiority in some of their behavior. Thin people like to think of reasons why they’re thin that make them feel morally superior. In fact, the main fundamental difference between lean and obese people in the US is genetics.