The Ecphorizer

The Naked Doctor Test
Ed Van Vleck

Issue #09 (May 1982)



This is the test on nutrition and obesity that the naked doctor flunked. It is named in his honor, as well as for all those many medicos who take one unit of "Nutrition" in their sophomore course in biochemistry and go out into the world trumpeting their naive, erroneous, and possibly harmful "calories in / calories out" theory to the world.

It was while I was doing research for a longer version of the test that I casually mentioned to my racquetball partner and fellow Mensan, in the locker room of a local court, that gallbladder patients, for example, do not always digest all the fat they [quoteright'/>consume, and sometimes suffer from steatorrhea, or fat in the stools; one of many instances in which the naive "calories in / calories out" dogma does not work. There are many more instances.

A short, wiry, naked man danced up to us aggressively and began shouting: "I heard what you said about gall bladders! I am a DOCTOR and I know better. Gall bladder patients digest every bit of fat they ingest, without exception. Besides (pointing to his scar) I am also a gall bladder patient and I assure you that I personally digest every bit of fat that I ingest. You are not a DOCTOR and you have no right to go about telling people that calories don't count!"

Whew! Was I ever put in my place! I stood there with my jaw hanging down as the Naked Doctor huffed away into the showers. It was at that moment that I decided to publish The Naked Doctor Test in THE ECPHORIZER for the edification of the entire world. It is based not on that ancient, half-baked theory that somehow has become the dogma of nearly every practicing physician (the AMA regularly denounces it, but that doesn't seem to help), but on modern nutritional and obesity studies by such researchers as Ancel Keyes, Jean Mayer, and Albert Stunkard. Any doctor, on his way to the golf links, may drop by Stanford's Lane Medical Library and check the original data, should he so desire.

There are 40 true/false questions. Circle the "best" answer. Some questions are still controversial; on these, credit will be given for either a T or an F. Your percentage score is given by the formula

S = 2.5 times (number right minus number wrong).

This means that you should not guess unless you are quite sure it is a good guess. The answers are printed on page 15. This test was taken by a group of 18 Mensans at a Rotunda gathering and their mean score was approximately 38%. The test was taken by 5 medical doctors of my acquaintance (most declined to take it), who scored approximately 30%. Since the average Mensan has an IQ of about 136 and the average M.D. has an IQ of about 125, this is perhaps consistent with the hypothesis that the average doctor knows no more about obesity than the public at large.

For a more complete statistical score report and more extensive discussions of each question, together with a short bibliography... [address deleted as Ed no longer lives there.'/>



1.

T

F

"Obese individuals exhibit psychological ""profiles"" that are quite different from those of ordinary people."

2.

T

F

Obese individuals are neither more nor less active physically than nonobese people.

3.

T

F

Socioeconomic status is an important factor in obesity.

4.

T

F

"So-called ""shot diets"" (specifically HCG) have been shown by the FDA not to result in significant weight loss."

5

T

F

"Beyond age 35, men gain weight, on the average, faster than women do."

6.

T

F

"Obese people are more sensitive to hunger ""pangs"" than are ordinary people."

7.

T

F

The theory that a significant number of obese people suffer from metabolic problems that contribute to their overweight has been thoroughly disproved.

8.

T

F

Epidemiologists have demonstrated that every excess pound shortens your life.

9.

T

F

"So-called individual variations in ""basal metabolism"" are not a significant factor in weight control."

10.

T

F

It has been demonstrated for all practical purposes that overweight definitely causes heart disease (ischemia).

11

T

F

"An average adult would have to walk or run so many miles to ""burn off"" a 200-calorie portion of ice cream that exercise simply cannot be considered a significant factor in the control of obesity."

12.

T

F

"Obesity is very probably congenital (i.e., it ""runs in families"")."

13.

T

F

"Thanks to 35 years of intensive research, medical science now knows most of the important facts about the causes and cure of obesity; the main problem now is the public health problem of educating patients so that they will apply the known rules."

14.

T

F

"Since the brain consumes a negligible amount of calories, ""brain work"" (e.g., puzzle solving) does not add measurably to one's daily caloric requirements."

15.

T

F

There are numerous experimental conditions under which obese subjects generally eat less than nonobese subjects.

16.

T

F

"Studies have shown that there is no known medication (""diet pills,"" amphetamines, propanolamines, etc.) that is effective in weight loss."

17.

T

F

On the average, women gain less weight (% gain) than men do up to the age of 35.

18.

T

F

Obesity, as shown by Sigmund Freud, is basically the result of an "oral fixation" resulting from childhood experience.

19.

T

F

If left entirely to herself, a child will learn to select a nutritionally adequate diet.

20.

T

F

As shown by long-term controlled studies, behavior modification techniques are the most effective in taking weight off and keeping it off.

21.

T

F

Studies have shown that obese subjects do not have as much will power as nonobese subjects.

22.

T

F

There are some constitutional types who just don't seem to become obese.

23.

T

F

On the average, light-to-medium workers (laborers) take in more calories during a day than do sedentary clerks.

24.

T

F

As a formerly obese individual reduces toward his ideal weight his appetite mechanisms quickly adjust to stabilize him at the new weight.

25.

T

F

Psychodynamic techniques (psychotherapy, transactional analysis, hypnoanalysis, etc.) have producedextremely significant results in treating obesity by getting at the underlying causes.

26.

T

F

A man is 30% overweight; taking off the excess weight will probably prolong his expected life.

27.

T

F

There is no known reason for a standard, medically prescribed diet to be any more strenuous for the obese than for the nonobese.

28.

T

F

Dieting usually lowers the metabolic rate, thus tending to defeat the simple "diet" approach to weight loss.

29.

T

F

A "visibly lean" woman has slightly less fat than a "visibly lean" man.

30.

T

F

The average American diet has over 40% of its calories in the form of proteins.

31.

T

F

The so-called "glucostatic theory" explains most of the known facts of appetite; that is, that appetite is controlled by sensors in the brain (ventromedial hypothalamus) that monitor the level of sugar in the blood.

32.

T

F

Carbohydrate "craving" is a matter to be treated with selfdiscipline or psychiatric techniques, as it has no basis in physiology.

33.

T

F

The number and distribution of fat cells in the female body is known not to affect the ability to lose weight.

34.

T

F

Two 150-lb. men, one obese and the other nonobese, undergo identical balanced reduced-calory diets and identical (sedentary) exercise patterns for a week and each loses 4 pounds of tissue. On the average, the obese man loses significantly more protein than the other man.

35.

T

F

The "lipotrophic theory" of weight control, which postulates physiological and appetitive mechanisms by which the body tends to maintain a constant weight in spite of diet, has been totally disproved.

36.

T

F

The typical behavior pattern found in human obesity closely approximates the pathological hyperphagia (compulsive overeating) of animals with hypothalamic MM lesions.

37.

T

F

Men and women of the same weight and age have very nearly the same metabolic rates.

38.

T

F

The metabolic state known as "ketosis" (high blood levels of ketone bodies such as acetone, produced by low carbohydrate diets and certain diabetic conditions) is no longer thought to be detrimental to brain function.

39.

T

F

If one is obese it is entirely unnecessary to have any fat in one's diet; the body will supply its own "essential fatty acids" from the body's "fat reserve."

40.

T

F

In general, the best way to determine whether one is overweight is to compare one's weight with the height and weight tables supplied by the insurance companies (Metropolitan Tables). 


Contributor Profile

Ed Van Vleck

Ed Van Vleck was a rather unique person: A scientist at NASA-Ames, a talented singer, cartoonist, real estate investor, and writer. He was well-known within San Francisco Mensa in the 70s for his hosting of "Rotunda" events*, investment seminars, and other adventures. He is now hiding in the wilds of Utah devoid of a decent (or even an indecent) Internet conenction. *As newsletter editor in those days I once inadvertantly misspelled the "Rotunda" on the monthly calendar as "Rotund."




close
Title:
Link:
Summary:
We have collected the essential data you need to easily include this page on your blog. Just click and copy!close
E-mail Print Blog
Return to Table of Contents for Issue #09