Nature Wants Us to Be Fat: The Surprising Science Behind Why We Gain Weight and How We Can Prevent--and Reverse--It

Nature Wants Us to Be Fat: The Surprising Science Behind Why We Gain Weight and How We Can Prevent--and Reverse--It

Nature Wants Us to Be Fat: The Surprising Science Behind Why We Gain Weight and How We Can Prevent--and Reverse--It

Nature Wants Us to Be Fat: The Surprising Science Behind Why We Gain Weight and How We Can Prevent--and Reverse--It


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“It is exceptionally well organized and presented, making it an ideal and highly recommended addition to personal, community, college, and university library Health/Medicine collections.” —Midwest Book Review

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781637740347
Publisher: BenBella Books, Inc.
Publication date: 02/08/2022
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 217,710
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Dr. Richard Johnson is a Professor of Medicine at the University of Colorado and is both a clinician, educator and researcher. He is board certified in internal medicine, infectious diseases, and kidney disease and is the founding editor of Comprehensive Clinical Nephrology, one of the main textbooks on kidney disease. For more than 20 years, he has led research on the cause of obesity and diabetes, with especial interest in the role of sugar (especially fructose) and uric acid. His research has been highly cited, published in top medical journals, and supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health. He is the author of The Sugar Fix and The Fat Switch. His latest work contains state-of-the art discoveries on the cause of obesity and potential cures. Currently Dr. Johnson lives in Colorado with his wife, kids, and two rambunctious puppies.

Table of Contents

Foreword xiii

Introduction: The Birth of an Epidemic 1

Part I Why Nature Wants Us to Be Fat

Chapter 1 The Power of Fat 13

Chapter 2 Secret Reasons It Helps to Be Fat 27

Chapter 3 The Survival Switch 41

Chapter 4 Why We Are Becoming Fat 63

Chapter 5 An Unpleasant Surprise: It's Not Just Fructose 83

Part II The Fat Switch and Disease

Chapter 6 The Bread-and-Butter Diseases of Humankind 105

Chapter 7 How the Survival Switch Affects Our Mind and Behavior 123

Part III Outfoxing Nature

Chapter 8 Understanding Sugar in Our Diet 145

Chapter 9 The Optimal Diet for Blocking the Fat Switch 167

Chapter 10 Restoring Your Original Weight and Improving Your Healthspan 193

A Few Final Words 211

An Ode to Sugar 213

Acknowledgments 215

Glossary 217

References 225

Index 259

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“A fascinating look at the science of obesity, with many practical tips. Dr. Johnson points out that ‘It is not our culture that is making us fat. It is our biology’ and proceeds to explain that biology from an evolutionary viewpoint. An important book."
Jason Fung, MD, author of The Obesity Code

“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

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