Thursday, May 17, 2007



Even thin people can be too fat!

Note the entirely unjustified assumption that all fat is bad for you

If it really is what's on the inside that counts, then a lot of thin people might be in trouble. Some doctors now think that the internal fat surrounding vital organs like the heart, liver or pancreas - invisible to the naked eye - could be as dangerous as the more obvious external fat that bulges underneath the skin. "Being thin doesn't automatically mean you're not fat," said Dr Jimmy Bell, a professor of molecular imaging at Imperial College, London. Since 1994, Bell and his team have scanned nearly 800 people with MRI machines to create "fat maps" showing where people store their fat.

According to their data, people who maintain their weight through diet instead of exercise, are likely to have major deposits of internal fat, even if they are otherwise slim. "The whole concept of being fat needs to be redefined," said Bell, whose research is funded by Britain's Medical Research Council. Without a clear warning signal - like a rounder middle - doctors worry that thin people may be lulled into falsely assuming that because they're not overweight, they're healthy. "Just because someone is lean doesn't make them immune to diabetes or other risk factors for heart disease," said Dr Louis Teichholz, chief of cardiology at Hackensack Hospital in New Jersey.

Even people with normal Body Mass Index scores - a standard obesity measure that divides your weight by the square of your height - can have surprising levels of fat deposits inside. Of the women scanned by Bell and his colleagues, as many as 45 per cent of those with normal BMI scores (20 to 25) actually had excessive levels of internal fat. Among men, the percentage was nearly 60 per cent. Relating the news to what Bell refers to as TOFIs, or people who are "thin outside, fat inside," is rarely uneventful. "The thinner people are, the bigger the surprise," he said. He said that they have even found TOFIs among people who are professional models.

According to Bell, people who are fat on the inside are essentially on the threshold of being obese. They eat too many fatty, sugary foods - and exercise too little to work it off - but they are not eating enough to actually be fat. Scientists believe we naturally accumulate fat around the belly first, but at some point, the body may start storing it elsewhere. Still, most experts believe that being of normal weight is an indicator of good health, and that BMI is a reliable measurement. "BMI won't give you the exact indication of where fat is, but it's a useful clinical tool," said Dr Toni Steer, a nutritionist at Britain's Medical Research Council.

Doctors are unsure about the exact dangers of internal fat, but some suspect it contributes to the risk of heart disease and diabetes. They theorise that internal fat disrupts the body's communication systems. The fat enveloping internal organs might be sending the body mistaken chemical signals to store fat inside organs like the liver or pancreas. This could ultimately lead to insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, or heart disease.

Experts have long known that fat, active people can be healthier than their skinny, inactive counterparts. "Normal-weight persons who are sedentary and unfit are at much higher risk for mortality than obese persons who are active and fit," said Dr Steven Blair, an obesity expert at the University of South Carolina. For example, despite their ripples of fat, super-sized Sumo wrestlers probably have a better metabolic profile than some of their slim, seated spectators, Bell said. That's because the wrestlers' fat is primarily stored under the skin, not streaking throughout their vital organs and muscles.

The good news is that internal fat can be easily burned off through exercise or even by improving your diet. "Even if you don't see it on your bathroom scale, caloric restriction and physical exercise have an aggressive effect on visceral fat," said Dr Bob Ross, an obesity expert at Queen's University in Canada.

Because many factors contribute to heart disease, Teichholz says it's difficult to determine the precise danger of internal fat - though it certainly doesn't help. "Obesity is a risk factor, but it's lower down on the totem pole of risk factors," he said, explaining that whether or not people smoke, their family histories and blood pressure and cholesterol rates are more important determinants than both external and internal fat.

When it comes to being fit, experts say there is no short-cut. "If you just want to look thin, then maybe dieting is enough," Bell said. "But if you want to actually be healthy, then exercise has to be an important component of your lifestyle."

Source




Deep-thinking movie star things legislation can prevent depression!

Brooke Shields says postpartum depression is more prevalent than anyone wants to admit, and that it's time for US lawmakers to pass legislation to help new mothers. "There is an entire population of women suffering," the actress told George Stephanopoulos in an interview broadcast today on ABC's This Week. "And it's time, I believe, for Congress to step in and prevent that, and actually save lives and save potential tragedy," she said.

Shields made headlines last year when she acknowledged taking antidepressants after her first child was born - and Tom Cruise publicly criticised her for using the drugs.

She told Stephanopoulos that she experienced acute postpartum depression after the birth of her first daughter, and it was devastating to her family. "I had gone through numerous attempts to have a baby, and then I finally did have this perfect, beautiful, healthy baby, and it all but destroyed me," she said. She said a bill being considered by Congress would be "an easy gift to give to women everywhere."

Source

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Just some problems with the "Obesity" war:

1). It tries to impose behavior change on everybody -- when most of those targeted are not obese and hence have no reason to change their behaviour. It is a form of punishing the innocent and the guilty alike. (It is also typical of Leftist thinking: Scorning the individual and capable of dealing with large groups only).

2). The longevity research all leads to the conclusion that it is people of MIDDLING weight who live longest -- not slim people. So the "epidemic" of obesity is in fact largely an "epidemic" of living longer.

3). It is total calorie intake that makes you fat -- not where you get your calories. Policies that attack only the source of the calories (e.g. "junk food") without addressing total calorie intake are hence pissing into the wind. People involuntarily deprived of their preferred calorie intake from one source are highly likely to seek and find their calories elsewhere.

4). So-called junk food is perfectly nutritious. A big Mac meal comprises meat, bread, salad and potatoes -- which is a mainstream Western diet. If that is bad then we are all in big trouble.

5). Food warriors demonize salt and fat. But we need a daily salt intake to counter salt-loss through perspiration and the research shows that people on salt-restricted diets die SOONER. And Eskimos eat huge amounts of fat with no apparent ill-effects. And the average home-cooked roast dinner has LOTS of fat. Will we ban roast dinners?

6). The foods restricted are often no more calorific than those permitted -- such as milk and fruit-juice drinks.

7). Tendency to weight is mostly genetic and is therefore not readily susceptible to voluntary behaviour change.

8). And when are we going to ban cheese? Cheese is a concentrated calorie bomb and has lots of that wicked animal fat in it too. Wouldn't we all be better off without it? And what about butter and margarine? They are just about pure fat. Surely they should be treated as contraband in kids' lunchboxes! [/sarcasm].

Trans fats:

For one summary of the weak science behind the "trans-fat" hysteria, see here. Trans fats have only a temporary effect on blood chemistry and the evidence of lasting harm from them is dubious. By taking extreme groups in trans fats intake, some weak association with coronary heart disease has at times been shown in some sub-populations but extreme group studies are inherently at risk of confounding with other factors and are intrinsically of little interest to the average person.


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1 comment:

trivenic said...

Hi.....
I am a Ph.D Research Scholar in Nutrition from India. I admire ur way of writing on food and health.... and what u said about "being thin does not mean u r not fat" is totally right. I know my thin friend suffering from heart ailment cos her fat levels were high especially the visceral fat.... Was even wondering how this happened.