Fact or Fiction: Healthy Obesity

Scientists from the Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis have recently completed a study following 20 obese patients over the course of several months and have discovered that around a quarter of them were healthy despite having gained several kilos during the course of the study. This study was published in the January 2nd edition of the Journal of Clinical Investigation. Subjects were asked to consume 1000 additional calories per day, mostly from fast food restaurants, to increase their weight by at least 6%.

The results of the study show that some obese patients do not suffer from traditional symptoms and complications that come with obesity. In fact, scientists have already observed such findings in the general populace: around a quarter of obese people do not suffer from complications that put them at risk of heart attacks, aneurisms, and diabetes, such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and an excess of fat in the liver. Those who have already observed metabolic problems, however, only made the problem worse after they gained more weight. It is important to underline that for the vast majority of people, gaining weight will still have an adverse effect on their health. In other words, just because there are a few people out there who have won the genetic lottery doesn’t mean that we ought to expect the same treatment. The key is to stay healthy.

One way this study has helped researchers is by giving them vital insight into what differentiates obese individuals that are less susceptible to developing further complications and those that are more susceptible. “…Genetics might play a role”, Samuel Klein, the author of the study and director of Washington University’s Center for Human Nutrition, suggests. Results show that people of excess weight with a normal metabolism had advantageous genes that helped them regulate their fat intake. Gene activity is still present when people with normal metabolism gain weight, but not the same can be said for those with abnormal metabolisms.

Written by Guillaume Lapointe-Gagner

Source: lapresse

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