There are two separate human biologies. When obese individuals eat, they have a drop in LCN2 (Lipocalin-2). When lean individuals eat, they have a rise in LCN2 ( https://elifesciences.org/for-the-press/0e5f09a7/hormone-found-to-switch-off-hunger-could-help-tackle-obesity). The rise inhibits hunger. The decrease amplifies hunger. This is one of many distinctions which are each grand enough so as to describe the underlying biology as separate subspecies. I say this because what works for one subspecies will not and cannot work for another. And it’s not an overstatement. There is an overt and dramatic biological difference. I’ve covered it before with regard to many other underlying differences, including microbiome (https://www.elev8wellness.com/wellblog_best_nutrition_training_coaching_experts/bacteria-make-you-fat), LPL (https://www.elev8wellness.com/wellblog_best_nutrition_training_coaching_experts/why-cutting-calories-and-increasing-activity-never-works), sestrin response (https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-019-13832-9), leptin/ghrelin balance (https://www.elev8wellness.com/wellblog_best_nutrition_training_coaching_experts/all-possibilities-in-your-life-are-a-vast-forest6179975), and more.
In particular, this LCN2 is of interest, because the glycoprotein is a transport molecule which plays a role in organ health, immune health, inflammatory response, metabolic shifts, and the difference between bone formation or bone deterioration (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4819811/). Each subspecies has such disparate responses that we have to be careful in our assessment of exercise guidelines, medication recommendations, nutritional directives, and even success stories. Any one blanket statement does not fit at least half of the populace.
One group has the cards stacked against it. The lean group has a Royal Flush. To make the same dietary and activity recommendations for both is scientific nonsense. It would be like telling two different card players with two different hands to execute the exact same play at the exact same time. Scratch that. It would be like telling a domino player how to roll his Yahtzee dice in a game of poker. It’s akin to bowling a touchdown while shuffle-boarding a wheelie in cribbage and shaming someone for not slam dunking a table tennis snowboard half pipe.
Body fat is an endocrine organ. It’s not just a bunch of stored energy. Having a massive over-abundance of that organ is biologically unrelated to having an under-abundance. They play by different rules. They’re playing two different games.
This is my continuous bugbear in the fitness community. All popular health and wellness advice is bullshit - steaming piles of garbage, based on oversimplified and antiquated thinking. This may be a shocker, but science has nuance and it has continued for the past 70 years. What do you think scientists have been doing since 1950? Making NO new discoveries or only simple research that can be captured in a four word meme? That dumbass 1950s nutritional advice has been overturned. And we have many times over found that “calories-in/calories-out” is about as up-to-date as the geocentric theory of the universe. It’s about as complex an explanation as describing three totally unrelated stars which are trillions of miles apart as “Orion’s Belt.” Cool. That name tells us abso-friggin-lutely NOTHING of scientific significance.
Have you ever seen a plump child grow up to be a lanky teen? Did they eat fewer calories than they burned to get lean? Or did they eat more than they burned to grow bigger and taller? The sub-80 IQ that holds onto popular ideas can’t even begin to decipher this very simple equation. When a 180lb man with 25% body fat becomes a 250lb man at 4% body fat, did he eat more than he burned to drop the 35lbs of fat, or did he eat less than he burned to gain the 105lbs of muscle and lean tissue? Why do Americans gain one pound of fat per year after age 25 but lose a pound of lean tissue? Go ahead. I’ll wait. Please explain via the calories-in/calories-out hypothesis alone. Do not invoke any other explanatory model. Just use the calories-in/calories-out hypothesis.
Skeletal muscle is also an endocrine organ. It’s not just a motor to articulate. And it is our key to shift the biology. When we contract it intensely, there are endocrine changes which mimic the rules by which lean people get to play all the time: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK559006/.
There’s no good way around this. Two-to-one, non-lean people will have to find ways to lift heavy and sprint to invert their disadvantage. It may sound like something from sci fi, but we can perform strengthening exercises to mutate (https://journals.lww.com/nsca-jscr/fulltext/2020/06000/epigenetic_responses_to_acute_resistance_exercise.11.aspx). Epigenetics is real. We can change subspecies. We can close the divide. We can evolve. We can take one human biology and move it closer to another. And we must, for there are at least two completely separate human biologies.