Can People Be Fat Yet Fit?

People can be obese yet physically healthy and fit and at no greater risk of heart disease or cancer than normal weight people, say researchers. The key is being “metabolically fit”, meaning no high blood pressure, cholesterol or raised blood sugar, and exercising, according to experts.

Looking at data from over 43,000 US people they found that being overweight per se did not pose a big health risk. The results are published in the European Heart Journal.

In the study at the University of South Carolina, more than a third of the participants were obese. Of these 18,500, half were assessed as metabolically healthy after a physical examination and lab tests. This subset of metabolically healthy obese people who did not suffer from conditions such as diabetes, high cholesterol or high blood pressure, were generally fitter and exercised more than the other obese people. And their risk of developing or dying from cardiovascular disease or cancer was identical to people of ideal weight and was half that of “metabolically less fit” obese people.


Lead researcher Dr Francisco Ortega, who currently works at the University of Granada in Spain, said the findings show that getting more exercise can keep you healthier, even if you still carry a bit of extra weight.

Amy Thompson, of the British Heart Foundation, said: “In the majority of cases, obesity is an undeniable risk factor for developing coronary heart disease. However, these studies remind us that it is not always your weight that’s important, but where you carry fat and also how it affects your health and fitness.. It is particularly important to be aware of your weight if you are carrying excess fat around your middle…”

Do you believe that you can be fat yet fit? How do you personally maintain a metabolically fit body? Share your health regimen with us!

Source: BBC News

Image: Independent

How Effective Is Intermittent Fasting?

Scientists are uncovering evidence that short periods of fasting, if properly controlled, could achieve a number of health benefits, as well as potentially helping the overweight, as Michael Mosley discovered.

The IGF-1 hormone (insulin-like growth factor) is one of the drivers which keep our bodies in go-go mode, with cells driven to reproduce. This is fine when you are growing, but not so good later in life. But it turns out IGF-1 levels can be lowered by fasting. The reason seems to be that when our bodies no longer have access to food they switch from “growth mode” to “repair mode”.

One area of current research into diet is Alternate Day fasting (ADF), involving eating what you want one day, then a very restricted diet (fewer than 600 calories) the next, and most surprisingly, it does not seem to matter that much what you eat on non-fast days.


I decided I couldn’t manage ADF, it was just too impractical. Instead I did an easier version, the so-called 5:2 diet. As the name implies you eat normally 5 days a week, then two days a week you eat 500 calories if you are a woman, or 600 calories, if you are a man. On my feed days I ate what I normally do and felt no need to gorge. I stuck to this diet for 5 weeks, during which time I lost nearly a stone and my blood markers, like IGF-1, glucose and cholesterol, improved. If I can sustain that, it will greatly reduce my risk of contracting age-related diseases like cancer and diabetes.

Current medical opinion is that the benefits of fasting are unproven and until there are more human studies it’s better to eat at least 2000 calories a day. If you really want to fast then you should do it in a proper clinic or under medical supervision, because there are many people, such as pregnant women or diabetics on medication, for whom it could be dangerous.

Do you think intermittent fasting is a healthier and more effective way of losing weight compared to extreme dieting? Would you subject yourself to intermittent fasting?

Source: BBC News

Image: Platon Plus