A new science-based, anti-diet book offers the most enabling advice we’ve heard this year: The fat you hate so much might be key to long life.
“The Obesity Paradox” presents compelling evidence that those with excess baggage might be healthier and better able to fight off diseases than normal-weight counterparts. Conversely, the “thin and unfit” waifs have the worst body types for long-term health.
Though obesity remains a risk factor of “epidemic portions” – more, some researchers say, than smoking or alcoholism- associated with heart disease, stroke, Type-2 diabetes, and cancer, cardiologist Carl J. Lavie argues that we need to rethink what we call “fat” and what we consider “healthy.”
Lavie, a cardiologist at the John Ochsner Heart and Vascular Institute in New Orleans sums it up with one phrase in his book: “Looks can be deceiving.”
“Obesity paradox,” the term, was coined in 2002 by Dr. Luis Gruberg and colleagues at the Cardiovascular Research Institute in Washington D.C., when they discovered – to their surprise – that overweight and obese patients had roughly half the risk of mortality than normal-weight patients following angioplasty, a procedure to unblock arteries in the heart.
Lavie noticed a similar trend in his patients recovering from heart failure. He published his findings in 2003, where he revealed that for every 1 percent increase in body fat there was a 13 percent increase in overall survival.
“These findings created an uproar among my colleagues,” Lavie writes. “Unfortunately, the science world wasn’t ready to accept this observation in the early 2000s.”
But other studies backed the findings up. Overweight and moderately obese people also had better outcomes with other chronic diseases like kidney failure, and advanced cancer.
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