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The metabolism of fat people seems to run as fast or faster than that of lean people. This observation is repeatedly confirmed. So much for the "slow metabolism" theory. They burn faster. Seems hard to believe. Afer all, fat insulates. They need to make less, not more body heat. But the energy they're burning need not be for heat. Maybe it's just expended in moving all those extra pounds around. Even so, it's counterintuitive. Why can't it just be simple.

If on average they expend more energy, they must eat more. But they don't. So let's see: they eat about the same, they expend more energy, and they save more energy as fat? A conundrum. A thermodynamic paradox. But we've already looked at the idea that it's not a closed system. There's leakage. There's seepage as well. More energy is getting into the system than we think.

The answer is to be found in feces! Perhaps. Gram for gram, could the stool of a fat person burn cooler than that of a lean person? It's not that the obese are eating more. It's that they're absorbing more. The lean are wasting calories, by not getting them into the bloodsteam to begin with. If calories remain in the digestive tract only, then they would show up in the self-same crucible that determines the caloric value of food. It's just a hypothesis.

We know that not all calories need be absorbed, because there can be sugar in urine, and stool can be oily under certain diets -- of very much oil. That oil would burn bright in the camp fire. An unpleasant subject? We are adults, here. How much protein is to be found, in feces? How many carbs? How much fat? And comparatively, between the obese and lean? Or is digestion generally an entirely efficient process? We would hope so, but is it?

The presumption is that if a lean or a fat man eats, say 2500 calories a day, that's what will end up in their bloodstream. But there must be seepage. More is seeping in, for the obese. Must be, because they eat the same, expend more, and save more. Or, from a different perspective, the lean leak more. They absorb the same, but waste it as fidgeting or body heat or libido or thinking. Either way, the lean seem to be less efficient. Somehow that doesn't seem like a bad thing, given the alternative. But if there were a way to harness this supposed waste, toward athletic excellence -- wouldn't that be swell.

Heat, again. We measure basal metabolism by measuring how much oxygen is used. That tells us combustion, which tells us about calories. What it does not tell us about is how the energy was actually exploited. If there are the same amount of calories in the bloodstream -- excluding the confounding factor of digestive absorption -- and if the same oxidation rates are found in the fat and the lean, showing equal energy usage, then it's a matter of how that energy is wasted, and more importantly, how it is used. It shouldn't be heat, calories, that we measure. There should be a unit of measurement for vitality.

As has been noted, the gut is a brain -- there are as many neurons associated with digestion as there are with the cranium. Further, there is only one nerve connecting the two -- the vagus nerve, the severing of which seems not to interfere with digestion. Hm. LLut us then propose, informally -- and don't let this get back to our professional colleagues in the, uh, Digestive Sciences and Extraordinary Fitness Department at Übermensch U -- that the gut itself has a homeostatic mechanism, whereby overall bodyfat is regulated. The gut knows where the gauge is set, and maintains that level by digesting and absorbing, or passing through calories, undigested.

Guessing and speculation is one thing. Effectiveness is something else. What matters is what works. You lose excess bodyfat by cutting way down on the industrial carbs -- low nutrient, high calorie starches. Just say no. You gain muscle mass, strength and beauty, by exercising effectively.

Be excellent.


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