Rethinking Thin Revives Dieting Set Point Theory

So much for new scientific information. "Rethinking Thin: The New Science of Weight Loss" revives defunct "set point" theory, which holds the tenant that everyone has a different set point for weight and that the individual's metabolism speeds up or slows down to keep their set point weight. In "Rethinking Thin" we have the mythical genetic determinism, so popular in current scientific thinking. Science somehow is relegated only to physics, chemistry, and biology, leaving out abstract areas such as society or psychology, which are poo-pooed as unscientific.

Simply looking at the scientific data on overweight in America, as we at PF Weight Loss Guide are wont to do, quickly dismisses set point theory. Here's why: the rate of obesity and overweight is increasing through all age ranges, races, and geographic locations in America the past 20 years. Certainly our genes have not changed significantly in this time frame. Where's the set point? Will it be finally set when the entire population is obese?

We do salute Gina Kolata, science writer for The New York Times, and author of "Rethinking Thin: The New Science of Weight Loss," for her courage in understanding that overweight is not a question of personal failure, or lack of will. Attempts to blame individuals for their overweight simply ignore the data of the explosion of obesity through the entire society. A forthcoming book, available only through PF Weight Loss Guide, frankly discusses the reasons for the surge in overweight from a more broadly defined scientific perspective.

Kolata does point out in "Rethinking Thin" that the vast majority of people who attempt weight loss fail at keeping the weight off for more than a few months. Roughly ninety-seven percent of traditional weight loss programs fail within 12 months. Now desperate, overweight people are turning to gastric bypass surgery, which may be contributory as we now begin to find out, to Wernicke's disease. This disease is seen most commonly in alcoholics suffering from prolonged malnutrition. The disease affects memory in tragic ways.