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Nature Wants Us to Be Fat: The Surprising Science Behind Why We Gain Weight and How We Can Prevent--and Reverse--It Hardcover – February 8, 2022
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Nature puts a “survival switch” in our bodies to protect us from starvation. Stuck in the “on” position, it’s the hidden source of weight gain, heart disease, and many other common health struggles. But you can turn it off.
Dr. Richard Johnson has been on the cutting edge of research into the cause of obesity for more than a decade. His team’s discovery of the fructose-powered survival switch—a metabolic pathway that animals in nature turn on and off as needed, but that our modern diet has permanently fixed in the “on” position, where it becomes a fat switch—revolutionized the way we think about why we gain weight.
In Nature Wants Us to Be Fat, he details the mounting evidence on how this switch is responsible both for excess fat storage and for many of the major diseases endemic to the Western world, including heart disease, cancer, and dementia. Dr. Johnson also reveals the surprising link between the survival switch and health conditions such as gout, kidney disease, liver disease, stroke—and even behavioral issues like addiction and ADHD. And, most important, he shares a science-based plan to help readers fight back against nature.
Guided by ongoing clinical research—plus fascinating observations from the animal kingdom, evolution, and history—Dr. Johnson takes you along on an eye-opening investigation into:
- What you can do to turn off your survival switch
- What we have in common with hibernating bears, sperm whales, and the world’s fattest bird
- Why it’s fructose (not glucose) that drives insulin resistance and metabolic disease
- The foods we eat that trigger the body to make its own fructose
- The surprising role salt and dehydration play in fat accumulation
- The surprising link between the survival switch and health conditions such as gout and liver and kidney diseases, and even behavioral issues like addiction and ADHD
Dr. Johnson not only provides new recommendations for how we can prevent or treat obesity, but also how we can use this information to reduce our risk of developing disease. Nature wants us to be fat, and when we understand why, we gain the tools we need to lose weight and optimize our health.
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—Jason Fung, MD, author of The Obesity Code
"[Johnson] has brought those who haven’t kept up with his team’s peer-reviewed research and related science up to date in his wide-ranging and readable new book, Nature Wants Us to Be Fat: The Surprising Science Behind Why We Gain Weight and How We Can Prevent—and Reverse—It."
—Todd Neff, UCHealth
“This fascinating and provocative book makes the case that fructose has a unique role to play in the development of diabetes, obesity, and other chronic diseases . . . Dr. Johnson takes us on an entertaining, wide-ranging journey, through animal and human studies as well as stories from the history of humankind, to provide some rigorous answers.”
—Nina Teicholz, science journalist and New York Times bestselling author of The Big Fat Surprise
“Dr. Johnson explains how a simple mutation turned a simple sugar, fructose, ostensibly an energy source, into a metabolic poison that foments the chronic diseases that plague America and, indeed, the rest of the world.”
—Robert Lustig, MD, MSL, neuroendocrinologist at University of California, San Francisco, and author of Metabolical
“By providing an evolutionary explanation for fructose’s unique metabolic role, [Dr. Johnson] takes the emotion out of a very charged topic and lets the biology speak for itself.”
—Peter Attia, MD, founder of Attia Medical and host of The Drive podcast
“Metabolic dysfunction is ravaging the globe, with an incalculable toll of lost lives, human suffering, and medical costs. This book is an evidence-based lifeline and a practical path forward for any individual who wants to lose weight, take control of their health, and understand the impact of food on the body.”
—Casey Means, MD, nutritionist and cofounder of the Levels health app
“Dr. Johnson presents a credible new theory to explain why more and more people are getting fatter and sicker, and what can be done about it . . . Highly valuable reading."
—Jeff Volek, PhD, RD, cofounder and chief science officer at Virta Health
“Richard Johnson . . . has been at the forefront of research on human nutrition and physiology and has developed a novel understanding to explain at the metabolic level why we are destined to gain weight and what to do about it. In his new book, Dr. Johnson writes about the latest research on this topic in very approachable and easily understood terms and artfully blends this with real-life examples from nature and cultural references to make for a very compelling, informative, and fun read.”
—Michael Goran, MD, author of Sugarproof
“Nature Wants Us to Be Fat sets a new standard when it comes to understanding the pathology of obesity and metabolic disorders. [Dr. Johnson] presents a complete science-based description of the underlying pathology, and he uses this information to give us revolutionary new tools to reverse obesity and metabolic disorders.”
—William L. Wilson, MD, family physician and author of Brain Drain
"By zeroing in first on the fructose aspect of weight gain, Dr. Richard Johnson has been on the cutting edge of this issue for many years. After digging even deeper into this topic, he now realizes that there is more to the obesity story than mere fructose consumption. Nature Wants Us to Be Fat gets into the nuts and bolts of exactly how we got here and what it will take to deal with the obesity epidemic once and for all."
—Jimmy Moore, international bestselling author of Keto Clarity
“With authority and clarity, Nature Wants Us to Be Fat presents critical insights into the challenges of obesity . . . A powerful new framework for understanding why we gain weight, why it is so difficult to lose weight, and the most effective strategies for maintaining optimal weight and health.”
—Barbara N. Horowitz, MD, Harvard professor and coauthor of Zoobiquity
”Richard Johnson, author of The Fat Switch, has written a must-read and delightful follow-up book full of interesting information describing the surprising science behind weight gain. Through an understanding of our ancestral genetics and studies of nature, the author uses a biomimetic approach to explain and understand the power of fat and why obesity has turned out to be a pandemic in slow-motion.”
—Peter Stenvinkel, MD, Karolinska Institutet, international expert and advocate for how nature can teach us about medicine
“Nature Wants Us to Be Fat is a book that must be read. It describes the journey of a recognized scientist moving back and forth from observations in zoology and anthropology to rigorous laboratory observations, leading to the conclusion that nature’s defense mechanisms are at the root of obesity and other present-day diseases.”
—Bernardo Rodriguez-Iturbe, MD, professor of medicine and past president of the International Society of Nephrology
“Professor, clinician, obesity researcher, and author, Richard Johnson, MD, in his new book Nature Wants Us to Be Fat takes a unique look at the root causes of obesity and chronic disease . . . He explains the unique role of fructose and uric acid as triggers to gain fat and drive chronic disease and what we can do to prevent and reverse these conditions.”
—Jeffry N Gerber, MD, FAAFP, Denver’s Diet Doctor and co-organizer Low Carb Conferences
About the Author
- Publisher : BenBella Books (February 8, 2022)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 288 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1637740344
- ISBN-13 : 978-1637740347
- Item Weight : 15.4 ounces
- Dimensions : 6.31 x 0.99 x 9.31 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #10,655 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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While I mildy disagree with his conclusions about avoiding salty and umami foods because of several mortality studies I've seen, I remain open to be convinced otherwise with further evidence. I also found a couple of foods I will be more cautious with and certain situations where I would increase my water intake.
If time-restricted eating is not working well for you or you are curious about the metabolic pathways that can turn on the survival switch leading to obesity, I highly recommend this book.
As for the reviewer calling this book snake oil, I say don't throw out the baby with the bathwater. You may disagree on a few food recommendations, but it is hard to argue with the conclusions of the well-designed studies that he presents. Also the China Study was an observational study and cannot prove cause-effect relationships. As a publishing researcher, Dr. Johnson is held to a higher level of proving causation. Only the most superficial of readings would conclude that Dr. Johnson is pushing a western diet as his recommendations are far from the SAD (Standard American Diet).
This book rewards the reader with a wealth of information that can be used to improve the way each individual can reduce the adverse effects of over consumption of sweet substances especially fructose.
It made me more sympathetic of individuals that are hooked on uncontrolled ingestion of fructose. My hope is that the information in this book becomes widely distributed and adopted by everyone involved in it's production, sales, distribution and mostly consumption.
Top reviews from other countries
I knew there had been times in my life where my metabolism was on fire and I could eat loads each day and not gain weight. And then many times like this, where I just felt so miserable existing on next to nothing - determined not to give in and pile on the pounds.
I had no idea what was switching me from one state of being into another, or how to control it. I was already not eating any hardcore carbs, after reading lots of keto literature. I didn't eat much sugar either. So what was going on??
This book gave me the missing piece of the puzzle. Because - I was eating a lot of fructose. I had replaced all my missing carbs and sugar with fruit, thinking I was being healthy. I was often eating bowls of blueberries and a couple of oranges and a couple of apples - oh and a couple of bananas - each day. I wasn't drinking juices, but it was a lotta fruit.
After reading this, I stopped buying apples, pears and oranges and I switched to kiwis and green-ish bananas and restricted my intake of those too - plus I went much much easier on the berries. I focussed on increasing non-starchy veg, introduced tofu, and ate a lot of dairy and healthy fats (olive oil). I only eat meat a few times a week so kept that the same.
I am now back to stuffing my face and burning (the right) food properly. I have so much energy and I feel great. Finally, this little piece of the world makes sense and I have the missing piece of the puzzle....