HealthDay News — Rather than the cause in-and-of-itself, obesity may be a symptom of something far more insidious that is causing obesity-related chronic health concerns, according to a presenter at TEDMED 2013.

Peter Attia, MD, founder and president of the Nutrition Science Initiative based in San Diego, took the stage and suggested that we do not yet have a clear scientific basis for nutritional recommendations to achieve optimal health.

Rather than excess weight causing insulin resistance, he hypothesized it could be that the root is insulin pathology, which then leads to the excess weight. “What if we’ve been wrong?” Attia said. “Are we blaming the victims?” 

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He said current public policy regarding nutritional recommendations is based on less-than optimal data. He aims to change that by rigorously testing how dietary constituents can influence body weight, and the mechanisms underlying those effects. His first question is: “What factors drive the body to accumulate excess fat?”

Although conventional wisdom states that obesity is an energy balance disorder caused merely by the consumption of more calories than are expended, nuances that contradict this conventional wisdom have not yet been scientifically explored to the level he proposes.


  1. Attia P. “Is the ‘Obesity Crisis’ Just a Disguise for a Deeper Problem?” Presented at: TEDMED 2013. April 16-19, 2013; Washington, D.C.