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Yet another sensational headline –“Is Fat Good for You?”

Friday, January 04, 2013

This popped up on my screen this morning.

I’ve always believed that as stated in #6 that “once you’re unhealthy, fat helps keep you alive, at least for awhile.” So this isn’t a surprise to me.

I also spent 10 years monitoring my mother’s diet as she lost interest in things, including eating, after my father’s death. That’s how my daily routine of morning weigh-in began. Trying to encourage her, we both recorded our weight. So when she died at age 88, she was VERY thin. This had nothing to do with her weight throughout her life.

We already know the relevance of the location of body fat, fat vs. muscle, drug intervention in chronic diseases and the limitations of all of our measures of healthy weight. About the only thing not discussed in the article is quality of life and the effect of extra weight on our joints, specifically knees and hips.

We also know that it’s a lot easier to move up in weight than down, unless you have some underlying mental disorder – another situation entirely. So if you decide you want to be heavier, it's not that hard.

It’s not the article that upsets me, just the headline. I wouldn’t mind if it said that maintaining a stable weight with some extra fat in harmless locations is good for you. However, in our super-sized society I’m concerned that this is will be used as one more justification to keep going in the wrong direction. We're surrounded with the evidence of the wrong direction.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    According to number 6, Rosie O'donnell ought to be good for 6 or 7 months without nutrition.
    1900 days ago
    I also don't understand Mjrvic2000 post. My mom was always thin, always extremely active and ate healthy foods. My dad went back and forth from overweight to obese, was inactive and loved everything except fruits, vegetables and anything healthy! My mom lived about 15 years longer than my dad, had a much better quality of life than him always. For me when I get 15 lbs heavier my joints hurt, my back hurts more, and I feel much better lighter.
    1902 days ago
    Saw this too (or another version reporting the same research) and thought it was very confusing and dubious.

    There's not much doubt: we're healthier being thinner, almost always! And in so many different ways.
    1902 days ago
    Thanks so much for your post - I agree that you really need to read the article beyond the headline. It is obvious from the article that ttey make a distinction between a "little overweight" which may or not be overweight but heavier end of normal vs. obesity.

    It is interesting to consider, I think you hit the nail on the head about the quality of life. My father's death, just about 9 months ago, has also taken a toll on my mom, me and many members of our family, and I am concerned about healthy eating and healthy living. It isn't just about the weight - it's about the nutrition, how you feel, and how much you are living your life!

    Thanks for the post.
    1902 days ago
    I have more of a problem with people just reading the headline or summary paragraph, instead of fully taking the time read the article or the studies it's reporting on. That's how internet-knowledge stays alive. People skim a headline and blast it all over the place, tell their friends, argue on forums citing the summary, without bothering to understand what it says.

    Headlines are meant to be attention-getters, and the writers know what headlines are going to draw readers in. Sensational, oversimplified, "haha WE know the truth, not these so-called health professionals" headlines get more people reading them.

    Of course, I take the writer's article with a grain of salt as well, considering the tone throughout the article.

    The human body isn't a binary equation. It's not like JUST the amount of fat vs. amount of muscle will define how healthy you really are. There isn't just one cause or measurement for every result. Our bodies are a result of the combination of genetics, lifestyle, environment and mental state.

    There are fat healthy people, skinny unhealthy people, fat unhealthy people, skinny healthy people, and the occasional godlike specimen that is the epitome of health, fitness, and all things good in the world. Of course, those people weren't covered in the study...
    1902 days ago
    Interesting article and blog! I think we all know that fat is an essential part of our bodies and our diets, but the article confuses fat (the noun) with BEING fat/obese (the adjective). I suspect it won't change anyone's mind, people will believe what they want to believe... emoticon

    1902 days ago
    I thought for a second you were going to go into eating foods with fat in them with all the "cut out the fat from your diet" fads, but then I read your blog and then the article. There are too many variables to consider when it comes to any study and so many studies can be skewed to the publishers motives.
    1902 days ago
  • KANOE10
    Yes,,that title could be misleading. I still the benefits of being thin and muscular to avoid disease are worth it!

    Thaks for an interesting article.
    1902 days ago
    My MIL used this article to justify telling me I needed to gain a few pounds. This from a woman so thin she looks emaciated. For crying out loud, I am 5'6" and weigh 143. That is NOT too thin.
    1902 days ago
    wow. this is disturbing. Thanks for sharing it with us.
    1902 days ago
    I agree completely! Read this headline, and felt it was just going to be an excuse-getter for a number of people!
    1902 days ago
  • DEBBY4576
    Wait a while, and they will find out they were wrong. For years they claimed eggs were bad for you. And meat. The list goes on and on.
    I too am upset at what the headline will do. We all know we look for excuses not to lose , or why we haven't lost. Many people will just state the headline that fat is good for you, to others and make up their own story to go with it, another words they now have an excuse to be heavy.
    1903 days ago
    I thought it interesting that the article said it might be appropriate to shift the BMI to the right for what is acceptable. The overweight would now become normal. Sounds like supersizing to me!

    I don't understand MJRVIC2000's comment - your blog sounded fine to me!
    1903 days ago
    There might be something to this, I'm not sure. I think it's another indication that BMI, especially in and around the "normal" zone is highly suspect when it comes as a measurement of health. You could be in the overweight category, maybe flirting with obese, but have a favorable body composition. It would seem that would be far more favorable from a survival standpoint than having a normal BMI with unfavorable body composition.

    The rub I have is that most people who are overweight, borderline obese do NOT have a favorable body composition and this article may allow them to think they get a pass. As someone who was overweight, bordering obese and more recently at the lower end of a "normal" BMI, I can say personally that I preferred neither. Today, I'm very close to "overweight" on the BMI scale and I feel better than ever. While I'm intentionally and deliberately up 30 pounds from my low weight, I'm still wearing the same size pants and shirts. To me this, shows just how flawed the scale and BMI are. Now you apply these flaws to this article and it opens up all kinds of questions and doubts.
    1903 days ago
  • 1935MARY
    I don't know how I feel about this,except that we live in a world where fat is not excepted. I clean a little lady's house and we talk about a many things,she said her doctor told her older people needed to weigh more to protect their bones and joints. I think babies look healthier when they are chubby a real thin baby to me looks sickly, Are they harmless locations to carry fat? I don't know. I know some of my doctors needs to diet.
    1903 days ago
    A little fat is good for you, yes, but everyone's idea of "a little fat" is different, alas.
    1903 days ago
  • MJRVIC2000
    Oh, be careful little mouth, what you say, For the Father up above, Is looking down in love, So be careful little mouth what you say. Did You Know? Vic.
    1903 days ago
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