Readers React: Fighting obesity will require more social science than hard science

Loaves of white bread move on a conveyor belt at a food-production plant.
Loaves of white bread move on a conveyor belt at a food-production plant.
(Lavondia Majors / Charlotte Observer)

To the editor: Dr. David S. Ludwig misses the boat with his hypothesis that processed carbohydrates stimulate more insulin, forcing glucose into fat cells and depriving the rest of the body of calories, thus resulting in hunger.

It has already been proved that excess insulin results in hypoglycemia and rebound hunger. Any diabetic is very conscious of this fact with his or her insulin injections.

Ludwig’s evidence-based study of the metabolism of individuals whose carbohydrate intake was controlled has permeated the media as gospel. But his study had only 164 subjects divided into three groups. A better study can be done on laboratory animals with a controlled diet and environment and in the numbers required for credible results.

Too much money and resources are wasted on medical studies by researchers seeking grants to justify their position in the medical hierarchy. Common sense and experience should count for more in medicine, which is more a social science than a pure one.


Jerome P. Helman, MD, Venice

The writer is a gastroenterologist who specializes in nutrition.


To the editor: Ludwig questions the “eat less, move more” theory of weight loss yet confesses that his hypothesis needs, at least, replication by other authorities.

We do know this much: You can’t make something out of nothing. The body needs energy (calories). If the energy is not burned, it accumulates.

Think of a battery being charged. It can’t be overcharged, so when it’s full, it’s full. This is not so in the case of the human body, where any “overcharge” accumulates as fat.

The rest is up for discussion.

Louis H. Nevell, Los Angeles


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