Thursday, August 2, 2007

The day when I stopped to believe in weight loss

august 2nd
When I started this blog some months ago, I was not aware that weight loss is a religion and that I was a believer. I was convinced that science had proven obesity to be bad for health. I took for granted that obese people must lose weight in order to gain health and to live longer and better. Today is the day when I have changed my mind.

Let's step back into history. I have posted weight loss tips concerning fish, drinking water, borage oil, stress, liquid calories, small portions and, just recently, social pressure.

While doing this, I stumbled upon facts that did not fit my view as a weight loss advocate: Fit men live longer when obese. I began to look closer, found more and came to the conclusion that weight loss may be bad for your health. I found an expert team claiming that the war on fat does more harm than good. After having posted this, I said to myself the worst thing I can do is just to believe some new guru. I must look at the facts with my own eyes and draw my own conclusions. Today I did a Medline search with the terms BMI and mortality, and this is what I have found:

Ten positive (or not negative) outcomes of being overweight:

  1. Overweight prostate cancer patients survive better.
  2. Overweight heart failure patients survive better.
  3. Lower mortality in old overweights.
  4. Equal mortality in old persons of any weight.
  5. Old overweight breast cancer patients live longer.
  6. Better survival of overweight coronary bypass patients.
  7. Better survival of overweight patients after a heart attack.
  8. Old overweight Japanese live longer.
  9. Better outcome in overweight heart patients.
  10. Higher mortality in underweight frail elderly.
Four negative outcomes of being overweight:
  1. Higher cardio risk of overweight white (but not black) women.
  2. Higher suicide rate of overweight women (but not overweight men).
  3. Higher mortality in overweights (but even more in underweights).
  4. Worse prognosis of overweight breast cancer patients.
Very interesting harvest from the past two or three months. Let's sum up this rough overview without going deeper into details:

We have seven positive outcomes of so-called «overweight» in patients (remember that weight loss can be a sign of worsening) but also three positive outcomes of «overweight» in old but healthy people.

On the negative side, we have one negative outcome of «overweight» in female patients and three negative outcomes in healthy persons, one of them (suicide risk) is likely to be an adverse side effect of the war on obesity and in a second case, underweight has come out as a higher risk than overweight. Anyway, these outcomes are not necessarily direct effects of body fat. Rather we should assume that there is a common cause of body fat increase and certain diseases.

I do not claim to have found the last truth about weight and health. I'll continue to watch journals for new studies on the subject and I'll continue to deal with the results whatever they may be. But what I know for sure is August 2nd, 2007 being the date when I have stopped to take excess body weight for a disease that must be treated by diets and other weight loss attempts.

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