Correlation Does Not Equal Causation

When I taught a psychology class at the local community college a few years ago, I tried to drum this into the students’ impressionable minds.  Unfortunately people just don’t get this concept and it’s the root of a lot of suffering, prejudice, and misinformation.  A friend sent this graphic to me, which outlines the plight of America’s future as all the fat people conspire to bring it down with all their bad habits and grease-mongering.  I’m sure she didn’t realize I’d tear it apart on my blog (haha…*evil grin*…) but I must.  It describes obesity as the second leading “preventable” cause of death, next to cigarette smoking, and says the following diseases are occurring at astronomical rates “due to obesity”: heart disease, diabetes, gall bladder disease, sleep apnea.  It goes on to say that obesity will reduce life expectancy by an average of 13 years, by 2020.

Underlying all of this, of course, is the not-subtle implication that fat people are choosing this lifestyle.  It’s preventable.  All they have to do is eat less and exercise more and this problem will go away! Right?  I’ll tell you what – obese people in my life are some of the hardest working people I’ve ever met.  They’re desperately trying to figure out what it takes to be healthy and to shed body fat…they’re guzzling diet coke and eating their “healthy whole grains” per the doctor’s order, and still those pounds stay on.  Know why?  Because they’re being fed a complete line of crap from every source of information they believe is reliable.   They’re being told by the government, the media, Dr. Phil, Jillian Michaels, their sisters, their cousins, and the internet that all they have to do is eat less.  And then there are shows like “The Biggest Loser” that make this look real.  Just exercise for 5 hours a day and eat nothing and you’ll lose weight!!!

No.

Correlation does not equal causation.  The fact that two things happen at the same time does not mean one caused the other.  The fact that people are obese and that obese people have more health problems does not mean obesity causes the health problems. Maybe, just maybe whatever is causing the health problem is also causing the obesity.  Maybe obesity is a side effect – just like fatigue or depression or acne – of a health problem.  And maybe that health problem is hormone dysfunction resulting from the Standard American Diet, which no one – NO ONE – is biologically adapted to eating.

Maybe if we as a country and as a culture stopped blaming people for their health problems we could actually work together toward fixing them.

Fat people everywhere:  A message to you, from me.  I know you don’t want to be fat.  Well, maybe some of you do, but for those of you who don’t, I’m speaking to you.  I know you’re not choosing this.  Guess what.  It’s not your fault.  You’ve been lied to about what causes obesity, and what you have to do if you want to change it.  If you want to uncover the health problems that are ACTUALLY causing your obesity, read Gary Taubes and visit Jack Kruse.  I’m just learning myself, but I think they’re on to something.

8 thoughts on “Correlation Does Not Equal Causation

  1. Labs Update from today: Finished 7 weeks of reset, 1 month of CT. Thought some of these would improve quicker…just need to be more patient I guess. ALT(GOT) Liver is abnormal…I think it’s probably from detoxing from CT. Original labs were from late December.

    Weight: dropped 18lbs
    FBG 94 –> 90 (84 at home upon rising on glucometer (was in the 70’s when I was doing HIIT)
    ALKP 95.1 –> 71
    ALT (GPT) 36 –> 46 U/L (Detoxing?)
    AST (GOT) 21 –> 27 U/L
    TC: 193 –> 201
    LDL: 126 –> 133
    HDL: 33.8 –> 46 (thought this would improve more with paleo eating / going gluten free)
    Trigs: 168 –> 107 (Low-carbing + O3 does that)
    Iron: 178 ng/ml –> 83 UG/DL (eating more red meat..why iron going down?)
    B12: 624 pg/ml –> 622 pg/ml
    Folic Acid 1.5 –> >20 (took supps., eating more veggies)
    VitD 7 ng/ml –> 83.3 (supping 15k-20k IU/day)
    TSH: 7.87 –> 4.23 (Thyroid improving)
    Free-T4: 15.3 pmol/L –>13.40
    Free-T3: (didn’t test earlier) now: 4.87
    E2: 123 pmol/L –> 104 (eating mushrooms as Dr. Kruse said to block T to E2 conversion)
    Testosterone: 219 ng/ml — 336 ng/ml (went from clinically low to the low end of the medical “normal”. bleh)
    DHEA-S: 2.71 micrmol/L –> 4.60 (almost doubled)
    LH: Now: 2.46 Miu/ML (ref 1.10-9.00)

  2. He told me: @BenG HDL rose a lot….that is good. Same thing with DHEA level. Falling TSH also good……..That tells me your liver is doing better and since the HS CRP rose I bet its a toxin clearance issue. B12 is too low……so that maybe why the Crp is up. Increase use of mushrooms, B12, B6 and betaine…….nothing there to me is bad at all. Infact, I think there is a lot there to be pumped about.

  3. Yeah! Some of those numbers look great! Nice Vit D – maybe you’ll never get sick again. Hows the CT detox going? Thanks for posting your labs. It gives me an idea of what kinds of tests to get for me and my husband.

  4. CT detox is ongoing. Symptoms are off and on. Runny Nose, right now, occasional headache, some Acne. Nothing terrible. The D is a funny story. I freaked my wife and doctor out. Was taking 20k a day. 10k is recommended as “safe” but the studies say if you are overweight you need double. The doc didn’t want to hear that and told me to scale back, but I ignored him. I’m right where I want to be.

  5. BTW, did you get your A1c tested? Chris Kresser wrote when on a low-carb diet:
    One caveat here is that very low-carb diets will produce elevated fasting blood glucose levels. Why? Because low-carb diets induce insulin resistance. Restricting carbohydrates produces a natural drop in insulin levels, which in turn activates hormone sensitive lipase. Fat tissue is then broken down, and non-esterified fatty acids (a.k.a. “free fatty acids” or NEFA) are released into the bloodstream. These NEFA are taken up by the muscles, which use them as fuel. And since the muscle’s needs for fuel has been met, it decreases sensitivity to insulin. You can read more about this at Hyperlipid.

    So, if you eat a low-carb diet and have borderline high FBG (i.e. 90-105), it may not be cause for concern. Your post-meal blood sugars and A1c levels are more important.

  6. My A1C was 5.4. In the normal range, but I would hope for lower considering my very low carb intake. I’ve tested my blood glucose throughout the day – 1 and 2 hours after meals, and it basically drops throughout the day until it’s in the 80s by night. The next A1C might be much lower.

  7. My PCP was impressed with the blood work improvements..my wife told him it’s from the Leptin Rx and Cold. He was interested in it, so I sent him Jack’s info.

    Funny story, I’m in the tub on Friday doing a CT session. My wife (after giving me dumb look about CT), says, I’ll get in, too (no real adaptation/training). I tried to warn her she wasn’t ready; she didn’t care. So she plops in the tub and gives me a dumb look — this is easy. I kept asking her, if she was cold, etc as the tub was filling up…no. it’s fine…Of course she decides she needs bubbles so she fills the 50-55 degree tub with soap and bubble bath.

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