Everything You Know About Eating Is Wrong

Or maybe everything you know about eating is not wrong, but it’s a great title for a series that explores myths and truths about what we eat, how and when we eat it, who does the eating, and even where we eat; and especially, why we eat.

This headline implies that childhood obesity is not connected with what or why or how: “Lack of an association between dietary patterns and adiposity among primary school children in Kilimanjaro Tanzania.” It appeared a year ago, and does not exactly fit with mainstream thinking:

After adjusting for potential confounders (factors previously associated with overweight and obesity) for both models, we found no associations between the extracted dietary patterns and adiposity measures. There was no association between BMI z — scores categories, normal weight, thinness, and overweight/ obesity, with dietary patterns terciles.

The report mentions that other studies had also “reported a lack of association between dietary patterns and adiposity.” The Conclusion explains that while two dietary patterns (mixed and healthy) were identified, neither was more associated with adiposity. The authors admit that their Food Frequency Questionnaire might have been inadequate because it did not ask about portion sizes. All in all, it was kind of a non-story, but it does indicate the existence of a school of thought that says diet is not the answer.

An interesting incidental point about this paper is that, right up front, the authors mention a painful paradox: In general, worldwide, overweight and obesity have increased right along with undernutrition. That is definitely a subject worthy of attention.

Not enough hours in the day

In an interview, Dr. Rhonda Patrick talked about how difficult it is for a full-time clinician to keep up with advances even in one field, let alone stay current with what is happening in other specialties. Add to that, many medical professionals never received any training in the first place in such areas as genetics or nutrition, and so might have blind spots when it comes to assessing their own patients.

Furthermore, even an advanced degree in anything is no guarantee of expertise, because of narrow, selective focus and continuing advances in knowledge. Dr. Patrick herself had successively concentrated on chemistry, aging, cancer, nutrition, and the brain, because this is the sort of continuing education that helps a professional to gain new perspectives that people who specialize may not be aware of.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “Lack of an association between dietary patterns and adiposity among primary school children in Kilimanjaro Tanzania,” BioMedCentral.com, 04/21/22
Source: “The Joe Rogan Experience: Dr. Rhonda Patrick,” PodcastNotes.org, 09/08/15
Images from Twitter by @JakeVig, @therealjoeybel, @tesajayy

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Profiles: Kids Struggling with Weight

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The Book

OVERWEIGHT: What Kids Say explores the obesity problem from the often-overlooked perspective of children struggling with being overweight.

About Dr. Robert A. Pretlow

Dr. Robert A. Pretlow is a pediatrician and childhood obesity specialist. He has been researching and spreading awareness on the childhood obesity epidemic in the US for more than a decade.
You can contact Dr. Pretlow at:


Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the American Society of Animal Science 2020 Conference
What’s Causing Obesity in Companion Animals and What Can We Do About It

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the World Obesity Federation 2019 Conference:
Food/Eating Addiction and the Displacement Mechanism

Dr. Pretlow’s Multi-Center Clinical Trial Kick-off Speech 2018:
Obesity: Tackling the Root Cause

Dr. Pretlow’s 2017 Workshop on
Treatment of Obesity Using the Addiction Model

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation for
TEC and UNC 2016

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the 2015 Obesity Summit in London, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s invited keynote at the 2014 European Childhood Obesity Group Congress in Salzburg, Austria.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2013 European Congress on Obesity in Liverpool, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2011 International Conference on Childhood Obesity in Lisbon, Portugal.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2010 Uniting Against Childhood Obesity Conference in Houston, TX.

Food & Health Resources