Most of us worry about putting on unwanted weight at this time of year. But we should all just relax a little and enjoy the holiday feasting. In fact, recent scientific evidence confirms the many health benefits of carrying a little extra weight.
One hundred years ago, doctors wouldn’t have thought of this finding as earth-shaking. Back then, they considered a little extra weight a sign of a healthy, well-nourished individual, according to their good clinical wisdom and common sense.
But today, these findings about the benefits of extra weight shake the foundation of medical orthodoxy.
I find it ironic.
The mainstream claims to follow the “science.” But, in reality, it often just clings to fashion or political correctness, regardless of the scientific data or common sense. My colleague and friend, Dr. George Lundberg (former editor of the Journal of the American Medical Association and founding editor of Medscape) recently used the term “eminence-based” medicine, instead of “evidence-based” medicine, to describe how modern mainstream medicine really works.
Somehow, over the past century, the western cultural image of beauty evolved so that ever-thinner women (who look more and more like some modern men) have become the ideal. This image of emaciation — part of the real “war on women” — isn’t healthy culturally or physically.
In fact, people who strive to reach this so-called “ideal” may be missing out on some serious protective benefits associated with having some “meat on their bones.”
The science behind the so-called “obesity paradox”
Beginning about 12 years ago, observant researchers noted some patients with chronic conditions such as heart disease fared better than other patients. Researchers searched high and low for the factor that could explain why these patients consistently did better.
It turns out being overweight — or even being mildly obese — was the factor why those heart patients fared better!
Of course, researchers tried hard to explain away this finding…and even make it disappear. They called it the “obesity paradox.” Instead of changing their philosophy to account for the new, real data, they referred to it as some kind of unexplainable anomaly, as if it were a UFO.
Twenty years earlier, similar research found that French men and women have half the rates of chronic diseases, although on average they drink more wine and alcohol, smoke more, and eat more fatty foods. They called it the “French Paradox.”
It turns out the U.S. medical establishment emphasized all the wrong things — and it now acknowledges that moderate wine consumption benefits health. (Although the establishment’s admission doesn’t stop the politically correct, prohibitionist attacks.) And eating more fatty foods, instead of replacing them with more carbs, is also better for nutrition and health.
It isn’t a “paradox” when you follow the science
Over the past decade, dozens of studies confirmed being somewhat overweight can actually protect you against burn and thermal injuries, cancer, hypertension, heart disease, pneumonia, stroke, and traumatic injuries. Researchers tried to claim these studies are flawed, but their claims have come up more than a little short.
It all began again with a study by a lone epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) who looked at hundreds of mortality studies that included data on body mass index (BMI).
Remember — statisticians can’t massage death rates and mortality data. Someone is either dead or they aren’t, and you can’t cheat the Grim Reaper (even in Dickens’ A Christmas Carol).
They considered someone “overweight” if they had a BMI beyond 25. They considered someone with a BMI over 30 “obese.”
Yes, they found a strong link between disease and severe obesity. But the men and women with the lowest mortality rates fell in the overweight to slightly obese category. Overall, the results seemed to show that a few extra pounds genuinely benefits health in adults.
The most recent analysis, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, incorporated data from almost 100 studies that involved nearly three million people.
Of course, the mainstream attempted to explain away these conclusive, repeated results. They said heavier people get more medical treatment than thin people because doctors and patients alike worry about counteracting the supposed health effects of heavier weight.
But careful analysis shows heavier people don’t, in fact, get “better” treatment. In fact, more medical treatment often does NOT lead to better health anyway, as many studies show. When you consider the toxicity of typical new drugs and treatments, given as part of regular medical care, that finding makes sense.
According to another study I reported on last year, men and women with heart disease did not have better overall health when they had higher levels of medical care. Of course, men and women of all sizes and shapes develop heart disease, but overweight people with heart disease tend to do better overall than thin people.
Still — much of the medical establishment can’t wrap their (fat) heads around the benefits of being a little fat. Maybe the real problem lies in how we define a “normal,” healthy weight in the first place.
Now that you know why Santa is so jolly, go ahead and eat, drink, and be merry.
Enjoy the holidays, even if it means possibly putting on a couple extra pounds. Just avoid too much sugar and processed carbs. You can still enjoy good food and drink without them.
- “The Obesity Paradox in Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: Relationship of Body Mass Index to Prognosis: A Cohort Study The Obesity Paradox in Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus,” Ann Intern Med. 2015;162(9):610-618