I have a friend………….. she is absolutely enormous. Let’s call her Mary. Since I am obsessed with body chemistry and understand, the problem with being overweight is not aesthetic, but biochemical, I find her fascinating.
Everytime I see her, she is a little bigger.
But, she is bigger ALL OVER. I think the upper part of her legs, are almost as wide as my body. This is so very different from my body, my legs look like I am an Olympic athlete, my bigness is all round my belly.
And……………………of course, she is perfectly healthy. Well almost, her health complaints revolve around aches and pains, the issues are brought on by the fact that she is carrying a seriously heavy load. Metabolically speaking, she is healthy. Her blood pressure is normal. Her cholesterol is normal. Her sugar levels are normal. Her triglyceride levels are normal. Her periods are normal.
Yup. Despite being morbidly obese, metabolically she is in perfect shape.
Me………… officially I am NORMAL. BMI at least, is within the normal range, but metabolically speaking, I teeter on the edge of metabolic derangement. The only thing that keeps me from sliding off the precipice to serious health issues, is continued vigilance.
I must confess………
I am jealous
Part of me thinks, the weight will eventually catch up to her – it is a matter of time. This is the standard party line…………
But, as I’ve watched her expand, I doubt this will happen.
There is something about her metabolism that protects her.
We’ve got it wrong.
Obesity is not the cause of insulin resistance. Instead, insulin resistance is the cause of obesity. The implications of this………………… are mind boggling and far reaching, because it raises the question – what causes insulin resistance ? Genes are only part of the story, is it…
Curious about the obese
As I said, she fascinates me. I’m not the only one fascinated by the anomaly of the metabolically normal obese. A group of researchers from Washington University, decided to test the theory.
If you’re seriously fat, and healthy, you’ll eventually cross a line and become metabolically deranged.
They ate MORE calories
The team enrolled a group of heavy weights into their study. And instead of cutting calories, they fed them more, much, much more – so they got heavier and heavier. Now in the group of heavy weights they signed up for their study, they identified two distinct groupings.
- Heavy weights with metabolic troubles i.e. people showing signs of metabolic syndrome.
- 100 % metabolically healthy heavy weights
The criteria the team used to decide whether, the heavy weights were normal or in metabolic trouble, was the presence/absence of fat inside the liver. Officially known as intrahepatic triglyceride content or IHTG for short. IHTG is a biomarker for insulin resistance, signalling excess fat is no longer being stored exclusively in adipocytes.
And the heavy got heavier
The calorie loading saw all the heavy weights, get heavier. Believe it or not, this was not as easy as you would think. On average, they increased their weight by around 6 %. Most of the weight gain was fat, fat mass increased by approx. 72 %. The consequences of the weight gain – differed.
- The metabolically unhealthy guys, became – MORE unhealthy. A variety of health parameters slipped.
- The metabolically healthy guys, remained……………metabolically healthy. Their health parameters stayed within the normal ranges.
So……….. not all obese people are metabolically IN TROUBLE. And extra pounds does not always equate with more trouble. It is an inconvenient TRUTH.
BMI tells you NOTHING
BMI (body mass index) is currently the number that is used to classify your health status. A normal BMI is between 18 and 25. Anything above this is considered abnormal and problematic. The higher the number, the more trouble you’re in. So a BMI above 30, puts you in the category of obese. A BMI above 35, makes you morbidly obese.
But………… being overweight or obese does not mean you’re UNHEALTHY.
It just means, your doctor is expecting TROUBLE. Heart disease, diabetes are on his radar…….
Skinny people missing out
We all have heard the stories…………
Jo Soap was skinny. He ate “right”. Worked out. And last week he dropped down dead from a heart attack. How could this be ?
His BMI betrayed him. His doctor assumed he was okay – because he believed, obesity causes insulin resistance. This study, hints it’s more complicated…
Ditch the BMI
The reality is, a percentage of skinny people have seriously defective metabolism. And a percentage of overweight people have excellent metabolism. You need to know your metabolic status……. And then act accordingly. NOTE : The CANDY FLOSS system, our signature programme is designed to help manage insulin resistance, click here to learn more.
Want quantify your risk of developing postmenopausal breast cancer ? It doesn’t involve any needles, just a little shopping……
If you’re still carrying extra pounds, a year after the big day, you need to take stock – the baby fat is a sign you’re on the road to metabolic syndrome.
FEELING FAT, as a teen, even when you’re not…………..is enough to push you over the edge, so that you end up as an overweight adult.
Interested in learning more about the chemistry behind those extra fat layers ?
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