Discover 4 surprising factors that could be causing obesity – David Berreby’s grand thoughts

Written By Mikayla H

“We are increasingly understanding that attributing obesity to personal responsibility is very simplistic.”

Berraby begins by explaining that over the years, the obesity rate has exploded. This has caused an increase in diabetes, heart ailments, strokes, and kidney failures.

Long-term illnesses that stem from obesity come with significant financial costs and since health-care systems are facing bankruptcies, they’re shifting the blame to us.

Several organizations benefit and thrive off of consumers’ weaknesses. So, while there have been many regulations put in place to avoid promoting products that lead to obesity, they typically are framed to blame only the customer, without considering organizations’ contribution.

The research does not support the notion that only the individual is to blame. Scientists have found that calorie consumption can not be only the factor at play because they are seeing these obesity rates in other species that do not have access to a large number of calories.

Other statistics and research has also debunked the “calories in, calories out” idea that weight gain is simply because we eat more than we burn.

One such powerful piece of evidence is that there has been a huge increase of body weight in lab and domestic animals over the last decade. While you may think, “everyone spoils their pets a little too much,” this doesn’t explain the same weight gain in lab animals.

Calories requires food, and food requires money, but in rich countries, it is the uneducated and poor people who are overweight. Similarly, there are three obese women for every two obese men. These abnormalities are making scientists rethink obesity.

So why is everyone gaining weight? Berraby believes real problem is the chemicals, hormones, bacteria, and viruses that alter our cells and bodies. These small contributing factors are overlooked because individually they do not cause great impact. But, together, Berraby says that they can create the kind of epidemic that we are seeing today.

What exactly are causing these small effects that turn into significant weight gain?

  1. Chemicals: Chemicals surround us. BPA is found in many household plastics (even including plastic baby bottles). This chemical disrupts the energy storing and usage processes in the body, therefore effecting and promoting fat storage.
  2. Bacteria: Those who are overweight often have a higher level of gut microorganisms called Methanobrevibacter smithii. These organisms are better at digesting food, so the body takes in more nutrients for storage.
  3. Viruses: Ad-36 is a virus that has been found to cause weight gain and it is contagious. It leads us to believe that it is possible that other viral infections could have the same effect.
  4. Other factors: Sleeplessness and stress cause you to eat more, because they are known to disrupt leptin levels – which can prevent your body from knowing that it is full.

According to Berraby all of these factors play a role in obesity, but we are the only ones who can change that. Authoroties are not going to consider such “small” factors while they have an easy scapegoat in personal responsibility. We should consider this research in our public policies and legislation going forward if we are ever going to start to reverse obesity.



Background David Berreby from David Berreby:

“I write. Mostly non-fiction, most often about sciences that try to explain why people act the way they do.

For the past few years I’ve written about how people relate to algorithms and machines. In earlier years I wrote often about how people’s identities drive their feelings and actions.

For instance I’m the author of Us and Them: The Science of Identity, about why people are so wrapped up in identities like race, nation, religion and others.

I’ve taught science writing at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, MA, and at the American Museum of Natural History. I’ve receive fellowships from Yaddo and the American University of Paris.

I’ve also worked as an editor at venues from The Sciences magazine to the New York Post.  I live in Brooklyn with my wife and son and cats.”


More Fasting Flamingo Resources that may be of interest to you: 

Read the entire article here!

Do you have content that fits with this blog and would like to share it?

All Topics

fasting flamingo

Read more content like this

Fasting Safely – Here’s what to know

Fasting Safely – Here’s what to know

In this article, Dr. Jason Fung discusses some of the most important things to keep in mind in order to fast in the safest way possible. He discusses some of the most common dangers associated with improper fasting and gives advice on how to prevent these. Most importantly, he discusses the importance of fasting with knowledge and experience and the power of easing into fasting. If you ever feel concerned about your own fasting practices, remember we’re here to help and provide you with advice and resources to make sure you have a positive experience with fasting!

read more
Eat, Fast, Feast

Eat, Fast, Feast

Eat, Fast, Feast – Heal Your Body While Feeding Your Soul – A Christian Guide to Fasting :: Why did most Christians stop fasting? And, is this ancient practice something your should consider adopting to strengthen your connection to God?

read more
The Joy of Fasting – Rumi Poem

The Joy of Fasting – Rumi Poem

There’s hidden sweetness in the stomach’s emptiness.
We are lutes, no more, no less.
If the soundbox
is stuffed full of anything, no music.
If the brain and belly are burning clean
with fasting, every moment a new song comes out of the fire.
The fog clears, and new energy makes you
 run up the steps in front of you.

read more
My favorite Intermittent Fasting Books – The 37 Best & Most Useful

My favorite Intermittent Fasting Books – The 37 Best & Most Useful

In the early 1900s there were a number of book published on fasting, but then there were very few new books on fasting or intermittent fasting until 2002 when Ori Hofmekler came out with The Warrior Diet. Then and starting in 2016 Intermittent Fasting books started popping up everywhere…

read more

Share this post with a friend

fasting flamingo

Leave a message


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.