Thursday, March 11, 2010

Thin on the Outside, Fat on the Inside?

It’s every string bean’s worst nightmare: What if natural, effortless skinniness isn’t the hallmark of health, but a socially acceptable veneer hiding some of the same health problems?

If this idea troubles you, thank Dr. Jimmy Bell, a British scientist who has scanned more than 800 people with MRI machines to study their fat. One of his most disquieting discoveries was that nearly half of people with normal-weight BMI scores actually had excessive amounts of visceral fat buried inside their bodies. Apparently, those most at risk for hidden visceral fat are people who seldom exercise and maintain their weight through diet alone. As Dr. Bell puts it, “Being thin doesn’t automatically mean you’re not fat.”

While this should worry the skinny, it isn’t much comfort to the obese. They’re even more likely to have still larger deposits of visceral fat. The only exception is if they’re extremely athletic. For example, some studies suggest that sumo wrestlers, despite their proudly displayed subcutaneous fat, actually have a fair bit of muscle and surprisingly little visceral fat.

Dr. Bell’s discoveries are controversial, and they call into question virtually everything we say about fat. After all, if you can have health-damaging amounts of fat without being fat, how can anyone really get a handle on the danger of these dastardly cells?

Source of Information : Oreilly - Your Body Missing Manual

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