Tag Archive: obesity

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© David Gray
Scientific research has increasingly linked common chemicals found in everyday products to diabetes, obesity, cancer, and other major ailments, according to a new policy statement.

Endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) like bisphenol A and phthalates, found in food can linings, plastics, cosmetics, and pesticides, are common to the point that everyone on Earth has been exposed to one or more. EDCs – which influence the body’s natural hormones – mimic, block, or simply interfere with hormone functions, leading to the malformation of cells.

The Endocrine Society now says in a new scientific statement that research in recent years has repeatedly pointed to links between these and other chemicals to not only diabetes and obesity, but infertility and breast cancer.

“In 2015, there is far more conclusive evidence about whether, when, and how endocrine-disrupting chemicals perturb endocrine systems, including in humans,” said the Endocrine Society, which includes health specialists involved in EDC research.

READ MORE: TTIP will legalize cancer-causing chemicals banned by EU, trade union warns

“Thus, it is more necessary than ever to minimize further exposures, to identify new endocrine disrupting chemicals as they emerge, and to understand underlying mechanisms in order to develop methods to enable interventions in cases of endocrine disrupting chemical-associated disease. This is especially important because new chemicals may be released into the marketplace without appropriate safety testing.”


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End Of The American Dream

The American Dream Is Becoming A Nightmare And Life As We Know It Is About To Change

American Flag - Proud To Be An American - Public DomainIs the United States an “exceptional” nation?  Well, the facts show that we are, but not for the reasons that you may think.  Now that it is election season, we have all sorts of politicians running around proclaiming that America is the greatest nation on the entire planet.  And just this week, Warren Buffett stated that “America’s great now — it’s never been greater“.  But is it actually true?  Is the United States still a great nation?  I would submit that the numbers suggest otherwise.  I love America, and in my opinion there is not much hope for us until we are willing to admit to ourselves just how far we have fallen.  The following are 36 facts that prove that the United States is an “exceptional” nation…

#1 According to a brand new report that was just released by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the United States has the fattest population in the entire industrialized world by a wide margin.

#2 That same report from the OECD also found that we are number one in child obesity.  In fact, at 38 percent our rate of childhood obesity is even higher than our overall rate of obesity.

#3 According to USA Today, the obesity rate in the United States has more than doubled over the past 25 years.

#4The Washington Post has reported that Americans spend an average of 293 minutes a day watching television, which is the most in the world by a wide margin.   And as I have discussed previously, more than 90 percent of the “programming” that we absorb is created by just 6 enormously powerful media corporations.

#5 One study found that the average American spends more than 10 hours a day using some sort of electronic device.

#6 By the time an American child reaches the age of 18, that child will have seen approximately 40,000 murders on television.

#7 The average young American will spend 10,000 hours playing video games before the age of 21.

#8 Out of 22 countries studied by the Educational Testing Service, Americans were dead last in tech proficiency, dead last in numeracy and only two countries performed worse than us when it came to literacy proficiency.

#9 In more than half of all U.S. states, the highest paid public employee in the state is a football coach.

#10 The percentage of wealth owned by middle class adults is lower in North America than it is anywhere else in the world.

#11 Almost half of all Americans (47 percent) do not put a single penny out of their paychecks into savings.


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There are numerous benefits of licorice root that people have taken advantage of for centuries. Licorice or liquorice comes from the Glycyrrhiza plant species and is valued for its rich flavor. Used for centuries to sweeten drinks, licorice extract is still widely used today in candies, gum, soft drinks and herbal teas.

8 Amazing Health Benefits Of Licorice Root

Immune system
Licorice root to stimulate the immune system, and it is very helpful for people who have auto immune diseases such as Lupus, scleroderma or rheumatoid arthritis.

Healthy hair and skin
Licorice root extract is often used in natural soaps, shampoos, body washes, and deodorants to ward off dandruff, athlete’s foot, skin rash, psoriasis and hyperpigmentation.

The phytoestrogenic and antioxidant activity of Licorice Root is believed to be helpful for hormonal disorders such as fatigue, mood swings, and hot flashes in menopausal women.

Protects Your Liver
Licorice also helps treat liver disorders, such as jaundice, hepatitis and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Its natural antioxidant property protects the liver from damage due to free radicals and toxic materials.

Fights Arthritis
This herb has anti-inflammatory properties that can help treat chronic inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis.
It has an aspirin-like action that can help soothe pain and swelling, two common symptoms of arthritis. It reduces free-radical damage that causes inflammation and pain.

Gastric Disorders
Liquorice is used in a number of ways to cure various gastrointestinal and stomach conditions. Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, it is used to treat colic, heartburn, and chronic gastris (inflammation of the lining of the stomach).

The anti-inflammatory properties of liquorice cure hepatitis-associated liver inflammation. Liquorice is also said to fight the hepatitis C virus and supplies valuable antioxidant compounds that help maintain the overall health of the liver.

Licorice extracts may also be effective in preventing obesity. The anti-obesity action of licorice flavonoid oil indicated a significant reduction in the presence of abdominal adipose tissues and triglycerides levels of the body.

Ginger Licorice Tea Recipe


2 quarts water
¼ cup licorice root
1 finger’s length fresh ginger, sliced


Fill a pot with 2 quarts of water
Add the licorice root and fresh ginger
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes
Pour tea through a small mesh strainer piping hot into mugs and serve.

Reference and sources:






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Sep. 22, 2013 at 8:43 AM ET

Hear “anorexia” and you think bone-thin young women — scary-skinny runway models with emaciated figures. But an overlooked group of young people are also struggling with anorexia nervosa: overweight and even obese kids.

Adolescents with a history of obesity are at “significant risk” for developing anorexia, says Dr. Leslie A. Sim, clinical director of the Mayo Clinic’s eating disorders program, in a recent paper in Pediatrics. But because of their size, their symptoms often go unrecognized and untreated, Sim says.

“It’s harder to see that they have an eating disorder because we think they should be dieting; the physician told them to be dieting,” says Sim, who has gathered some not-yet-published data suggesting that about 35 percent of the Mayo Clinic’s anorexic patients have a history of obesity, and that on average, the eating disorders they have go unidentified for about 11 months longer than in their smaller-sized peers.

Most people will probably be surprised or even skeptical to hear that a kid struggling with obesity can also be anorexic, says Lynn Grefe, president of the National Eating Disorders Association. But they shouldn’t be: an estimated 30 million Americans will have an eating disorder sometime in their life, Grefe says.

Taken too far, the anti-obesity movement can mean focusing on thin versus fat, instead of healthy versus unhealthy, which can trigger disordered eating behaviors in some children, both Sim and Grefe agree. Teaching habits such as counting calories or avoiding carbs or calling this food “good” and that food “bad” can all too easily slip into the obsessive eating patterns associated with eating disorders in vulnerable kids, Grefe says.

And that can especially be true for obese or overweight children, who are likely being told implicitly or explicitly by almost every adult in their lives that they’re not OK the way they are. “So they’re just kind of doing what they were told to do, but it gets out of control,” Sim says. “I think these kids are almost more at risk, because of the messages they receive that a kid of normal weight doesn’t get.”

Ali Hougnou

Ali Hougnou
In this photo, taken during Ali Hougnou’s sophomore year, the teenager was around her heaviest weight.

When Ali Hougnou was a little kid, she was a normal weight. But after her parents divorced when she was 9, she used food to try to quiet her heartache. She steadily gained weight for years, and by age 15 she weighed 200 pounds. At 5’5”, that put her body mass index – a way of measuring body fat using height and weight — at 33. (A BMI of 30 or higher is considered obese.)

She tried diets and exercise, but nothing would make the weight come off, until the summer before 10th grade, when she spent some time with her godmother’s family in Spokane, Wash. It was like an accidental fat camp: she ate the same healthful, organic foods her hosts did, and was outdoors and active in the same the way they lived, and easily lost 15 pounds. Back home, her classmates finally stopped teasing her about her weight; they started complimenting her instead. “And the more people told her how great she looked, the more she stopped eating,” her mom, Tammy Carlisle of Long Island, N.Y., says.

Over her sophomore year, Hougnou lost nearly 40 percent of her body weight. She felt faint and lightheaded all day long, and at one point, all she ate were 80-calorie cups of nonfat yogurt: one for breakfast, one for lunch, and one for dinner. She was wasting away, but all anyone seemed to care about was that she wasn’t fat anymore.

“To everyone else, and even to myself, I was just dieting,” Hougnou says. “I was doing exactly what the doctor had wanted. The pediatricians were so pleased with my weight loss.”

Because we have the idea that “any weight loss is good for an obese person, no matter what – even if the person is not eating all day, or purging or vomiting,” Sim says. “I think, too, what happens is (pediatricians) are so distracted by their perceived responsibility to prevent obesity in their patients that they’re like, ‘Oh, this is great, you’re losing weight,’ and they don’t ask, ‘Well, how are you losing weight?’”

Hougnou’s therapist advised her mom that the teenager was showing some signs of disordered eating, though there were no outward signs — she was a healthy size 4. Around that same time, the girl’s best friend told the school principal, who then told Hougnou’s mom, that Hougnou kept her locker stocked with all kinds of diet stuff: diet pills, “juice cleanse” drinks, diuretics.

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Morbidly obese two-year-old world’s youngest to have bariatric surgery


Youngest ever to undergo bariatric surgery … The morbidly obese two-year-old boy from Saudi Arabia who had bariatric surgery. Picture: Australian Doctor Web GrabSource: Supplied

The parents of the toddler from Saudi Arabia who weighed 33kg and had a Body Mass Index of 41 sought help because he suffered sleep apnoea that caused him to stop breathing while asleep.

Two attempts to control his weight by dieting failed said the medics who carried out the bariatric surgery Mohammed Al Mohaidlya, Ahmed Sulimana and Horia Malawib in an article in the

International Journal of Surgery Case Reports.

When he first presented to an endocrinologist at 14 months, the toddler weighed 21.3kg but after dieting for four months his weight increased by eight kilograms.

The doctors from Prince Sultan Military Medical City at Riyadh were unable to ascertain whether the child’s parents stuck to the diet.

By the time the boy was referred to the obesity clinic he weighed 29.4kg and his obesity had led to sleep apnoea and bowing of the legs.

A further attempt at dieting failed and when he reached 33kg doctors decided to perform surgery.

Surgeons carried out a laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy on the boy which involved removing the outer margin of the stomach to restrict food intake, leaving a sleeve of stomach, roughly the size and shape of a banana.

Unlike a lap band, the surgery is not reversible.

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Medical News Today

Healthy diet discourages obesity microbes in gut

Editor’s Choice
Academic Journal
Main Category: Obesity / Weight Loss / Fitness
Also Included In: Biology / Biochemistry;  Nutrition / Diet;  Genetics
Article Date: 07 Sep 2013 – 1:00 PDT

When you dine, you are never alone. Trillions of microbial guests, resident in your gut, eat with you. They help digest your food and convert it into energy and fat. Now, new research suggests changing the mix of gut microbes can prevent obesity, but only if combined with a healthy diet.

This was the conclusion of a study from researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, as reported in the journal Science on September 6th.

The study reveals another clue about the intimate ties between gut bacteria and diet in the development of obesity.

‘Lean’ gut microbes and healthy diet

The researchers bred mice in a sterile environment so they had no gut microbes of their own. Then, they took gut microbes from human twins – where one twin was lean and the other obese – and transplanted them to the mice.

Mice receiving the obesity-related gut microbes gained weight and fat, and developed obesity-related metabolic problems, while the mice that received the leanness-related gut microbes did not.

Researchers then paired up the mice so that the ones with microbes from the lean human twin were put in the same cages as mice with gut microbes from the obese twin.

Mice naturally eat each other’s feces, so the researchers wondered if they would transfer gut microbes to each other, and if so, which set would end up dominating the gut: the leanness ones or the obesity ones?

Fruit and vegetables
The study suggests that eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables encourages leanness-related microbes to populate the gut, leading to better weight control.

They found the answer depended on the type of diet.

If the mice were on a healthy diet – one low in saturated fat and high in fruits and vegetables – then the leanness-associated microbes invaded the gut of the mice with the obesity-associated microbes, stopping them putting on weight and developing metabolic problems tied to insulin resistance.

In humans, significant weight gain can be linked to insulin resistance, which is the first sign of metabolic disorder that can lead to type 2 diabetes.

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Warning!!  Some  scenes  may  be deemed offensive  by those  of  more  delicate  sensibilities. 


Half Ton Killer – My Shocking Story

MyShockingStory MyShockingStory

Published on Jul 4, 2013

On 18 March 2008 a two-year-old boy was beaten to death in a Texan border town. His aunt, Mayra Rosales, was the only one with him at the time and was charged with his murder. But was this really possible?

Mayra weighed nearly 500 kg, was bed-ridden and totally immobile. So why was she confessing to a heinous crime she seemingly could not have committed?

This incredible film follows the many twists and turns in the case with intimate interviews with Mayra, her family, and the investigators, lawyers and doctors involved.

Mayra Rosales is 28 years old and weighs 74 stone; unsparing, humiliating footage shows the fat cascading around her as she is hauled from her bed and her house by tarpaulin. There is so much tumbling flesh Rosales doesn’t appear to have a body, she’s just a huge, wobbling mound. In 2008 she was accused of murdering her two-year-old nephew in a Texan border town.

The case has triggered one of those American trash-media frenzies with Rosales claiming she accidentally fell on the child. Accused wonders if Rosales really could have committed such a dreadful crime.

An insight into a high-profile American murder trial in which 74st Texas woman Mayra Rosales confessed to beating her two-year-old nephew to death. As the only person in the company of the youngster when he died, Mayra became the prime suspect, and the programme follows the twists and turns of the trial, discovering how a bedridden, immobile woman appeared to be admitting to a crime it seemed unlikely she was able to commit. Includes testimony from Mayra, her family and friends, and the doctors, lawyers and investigators involved in the case.

Michael Moss’ new book reveals exactly how the food industry uses three key ingredients to create never-satisfied cravings for very unhealthy foods.

The international obesity epidemic didn’t just happen by accident. Sure, people’s lifestyle habits shifted from active to sedentary. And, yes, we moved to the suburbs and stopped cooking at home so much.

But a new book suggests a more calculated and insidious reason why two-thirds of American adults and one-third of children are overweight or obese: The food industry started crafting foods that were of little nutritional value but kept consumers reaching for more.

Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us, by New York Times investigative reporter Michael Moss, is a detailed look at how the food industry has contributed to America’s nutritional mess by infusing processed foods with what he calls the “pillars” of the industry: sugar, salt and fat. Moss’ reporting turned up evidence that the industry capitalized on the ability of these three ingredients to mask bitter flavors that develop during manufacturing and to hook consumers on taste.

“Companies convincingly argue that they haven’t intended to make Americans obese or ill,” Moss told TakePart. “But they have been driving hard for decades to make their products as utterly crave-able as possible. They know from their research that when they engineer the perfect amounts of salt, sugar, and fat they will send us over the moon.”

Moss describes food industry marketing campaigns that were adapted from tobacco company blueprints aimed at downplaying health risks by promoting a fix or two designed to make a product a bit healthier. “You see a proliferation of products billed as low-fat, low-sugar, low-salt,” he says. “These are extensions to their mainline products which remain their biggest sellers.” However, these niche products are rarely truly healthy. Many products labeled low-fat, for example, are high in sugar. Or products labeled low-salt are high in both fat and sugar, Moss says.


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Health And Wellness Report

by: Dr. Daniel Zagst
(NaturalNews) Fat gets a bad rap. It’s not only essential to life and human function, but can actually burn calories and trim up the waistline. Brown adipose tissue (AKA brown fat) is a type of fat found in the bodies of mammals that acts as a furnace for the body. Once thought to only be present in newborns and hibernating mammals, research has shown we all have it, more or less. Not only does brown fat work like a furnace to produce heat when the body gets cold, but its fuel source is that of white fat, the kind we hate and want less of.

White vs. brown

There are two types of fat, white and brown. White fat is the stuff we all want to get rid of, although it serves as a means of energy storage throughout the body. Before food became plentiful and over-eaten, white fat had a major role in survival as energy backup when there was a shortage of food and potentially days between meals. Since we started gorging ourselves with toxic, artificial, and empty calories, white fat accumulation has reached beyond a necessity and has become a burden. Brown fat on the other hand, is plentiful when we are babies and decreases as we age. As adults, there are only a few areas on the upper back and neck that contain stores of brown fat in most people. When introduced to cold temperatures, brown fat burns white fat for heat until we reach the point of shivering, which takes over to produce more heat. Babies don’t shiver because the high amount of brown fat replaces the need to shiver. Its brown color can be contributed to the high number of iron-containing mitochondria within the cells that churn out incredible amounts of heat from gobbling fatty acids.

How much of your fat is brown fat?

Contrary to what you might think, thinner people have more brown fat than fatter people, and brown fat stores increase with exercise and extended cold exposure. In fact, brown fat is a very effective calorie burner. One study exposed healthy males to cold temperatures at their threshold of shivering. Over a three-hour period, the participants burned an extra 250 calories when the brown fat was activated via cold temperatures. People with more brown fat take longer to start shivering when temperatures get cold because of the effectiveness of brown fat to turn white fat into heat. Unfortunately, pharmaceutical companies are hot on the trail of unlocking the secrets of activating brown fat and turning it into a billion dollar drug to combat obesity.

Turn on your own furnace by turning off another

If you are looking to ramp up your brown fat metabolism to burn some extra calories, start by turning down the other furnace. Research shows that brown fat is activated by cold temperatures. By turning down the furnace in your house, you’re encouraging your body to enter thermogenesis, the generation of heat. If you find yourself shivering, it may be too cold. Although shivering itself burns calories, it is easy to slip into a state of hypothermia if you are not careful. Brown fat works best at the threshold of shivering, and longer exposure will lead to the conversion of white fat into brown fat which in turn, leads to more calories burned. Another method to encourage brown fat metabolism is to take cold showers, albeit hard to do, it’ll jump start your metabolism and encourage the breakdown of white fat. Lastly, and probably the most effective method to burn extra calories is by exercising in the cold. The cold temperature combined with exercise will activate both brown fat and metabolic white fat breakdown. It’s time you start embracing the cold weather to trim up for beach season, even if it’s months away.

Sources for this article include:


About the author:
Dr. Daniel Zagst is a chiropractic physician at Advanced Health & Chiropractic in Mooresville, NC. He has a BS in Professional Studies of Adjunctive Therapies, Doctorate of Chiropractic from NYCC, and an Advanced Certificate in Sport Science and Human Performance. Find out more at www.dzchiro.com

Why leaving the heating off and avoiding the gym could help you lose weight

By Peta Bee

Five years ago brown fat was 'rediscovered' in adultsFive years ago brown fat was ‘rediscovered’ in adults

By plunging my hand into a bucket of cold tap water, I am about to find out how effective my body is at burning calories.

What seems a rudimentary experiment is, in fact, the basis of a groundbreaking study into the effects of brown — or ‘good’ — fat.

We’re all born with brown fat around our shoulder blades: it plays an important role in maintaining our body temperature as babies, by burning up calories and fat reserves to keep us warm.

Unfortunately, scientists have long thought that brown fat disappears in infancy once its physiological uses have been exhausted.

Then five years ago, brown fat was ‘rediscovered’ in adults, when researchers carrying out scans on adult patients in the winter months noticed areas of fat that seemed to be turned on by the cold weather.

Their scans detected a few ounces of brown fat in the upper back, on the side of the neck, in the dip between the collarbone and the shoulder, and along the spine.

Since then, brown fat has become a rapidly growing area of interest among researchers who believe it could hold a vital key to weight problems.

Within just five years their understanding of it has advanced significantly.

It’s now thought, for instance, that not just the cold, but certain foods can activate it. So, too, can exercise.

So what is brown fat?

Unlike the more familiar, yellowish-white body fat you pile on if you eat too many calories, brown fat — apparently the colour of chocolate — does the opposite, burning excess energy to generate heat and maintain the body’s core temperature.

When ‘switched on’ it is said to produce around 300 times more heat than any other organ in the body.

Because of their higher total body fat, women are known to have proportionately more brown fat than men and it is more detectable in lean people than obese (researchers think this could be because excess white fat stifles the effects of brown fat, or the obese become overweight because their brown fat is inefficient anyway).

There is little doubt about the excitement being generated by the discovery of brown fat.

As one of the lead researchers, Professor Michael Symonds, says: ‘We are on the threshold of what could prove really significant advances in obesity research.’

And what’s so intriguing is that possible treatments could be extremely low-tech.

It’s now established that exposure to cold spurs brown fat into action in some people — could this simple principle be used to tackle obesity?

To answer this, scientists at the University of Nottingham’s Queen’s Medical Centre are using thermal imaging techniques — and a bucket of cold water — to assess changes in brown fat in adult recruits, and see how it affects their weight.

To activate your brown fat: Turn the heating off or down in the car, the office and at homeTo activate your brown fat: Turn the heating off or down in the car, the office and at home

Professor Symonds, who is leading the study, has agreed to let me see the research for myself, and I’m going to have my own levels of brown fat measured — and tested to see if it’s working.

Before my brown fat can be assessed, Dr Lindsay Elvidge, a children’s doctor who is helping Professor Symonds, measures the thickness of the skin at the top of my shoulders using ultrasound — some studies have shown the thicker the skin here, the less active the brown fat beneath.

My skin thickness is average.

The temperature of my brown fat is then measured using a thermal scan. I’m asked to sit in a comfortable position for ten minutes (without moving to ensure my temperature fluctuates as little as possible) before placing my hand in the bucket of water.

At 20c, it is chilly but not freezing. After five minutes of submersion, my hand is turning numb — I can feel it and Dr Elvidge says it’s also being picked up by the thermal imaging camera hidden behind a screen, which is showing my hand as a startling blue.

She says the cameras are displaying a distinct increase in red areas around my lower neck — a sign that my brown fat stores are reacting in the way they should, producing heat and burning calories to keep me warm.

Is my brown fat reaction what they would expect?

Yes, says Professor Symonds, adding that in the overweight the patterns are different.

‘We are finding that the brown fat in overweight or obese children and adults is not activated in the same way,’ he says.

‘The million dollar question is why this happens. Nobody knows whether it is just less active, or if there is less of it.’

In a study published in the Journal of Pediatrics in June, Professor Symonds used thermal imaging to show the neck region in healthy children produces heat.

‘There is only about 50g of brown fat in the neck region of children and it switches on and off throughout the day as it’s exposed to different temperatures or if you exercise or eat,’ he says.

But this effect is less well-defined in adolescents and adults.

‘We do know that you have less brown fat as you get older and that ties in with the other metabolic changes that occur with age,’ says Professor Symonds.

‘We also think there might be subtle changes in brown fat that occur around puberty.’

What he and his team hope to find in their current trial is whether factors such as cool temperatures can be used to manipulate brown fat action, thereby preventing excess weight gain.

‘The more we know about how it works and what switches it on, the better,’ he says. ‘Certain foods, including milk, seem to have a positive thermogenic, or warming effect, on brown fat that triggers it into action.’

In theory, consuming cold, slush puppy-type drinks may be useful, particularly when combined with exercise, he explains.

Equally, hot drinks and a high consumption of high-fat foods are probably not great brown fat triggers.

Several studies, including one at the Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Facility at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, have proposed that eating chilli peppers might help — they contain a compound, capsaicin, which seems to trick the brain into thinking it is cold, coaxing brown fat into burning a few more calories than normal.

With diet the next area to be studied in this emerging field of science, we could one day see the benefit on supermarket shelves.

‘We could add a heat index to food labels to show whether that product would increase or decrease heat production within brown fat,’ says Professor Symonds.

‘We could inform people whether the foods they select would speed up or slow down the number of calories they burn.’

There is also the potential for the development of drugs that prompt brown fat into action.

Avoid the gym. Take a walk, go for a cycle or just skip outdoors on a cold dayAvoid the gym. Take a walk, go for a cycle or just skip outdoors on a cold day

Already, some scientists are investigating ways in which stubborn white fat could be given some of the beneficial characteristics of energy-burning brown fat.

In one study, published in the journal Cell in August, researchers at Columbia University medical school managed to ‘brown’ white fat with the use of a class of drugs called thiazolidinediones (TZDs), sometimes used to lower blood sugar in type 2 diabetes.

‘Turning white fat into brown fat is an appealing therapeutic approach to staunching the obesity epidemic,’ says lead researcher Professor Domenico Accili. ‘But so far it has been difficult to do so in a safe and effective way.’

This is because these drugs are linked to risky side-effects including liver toxicity and bone loss.

However, Professor Accili concluded ‘TZDs may not be so bad — if you can find a way to tweak their activity’ and they may help to prevent both type 2 diabetes and heart disease in addition to weight problems.

A simpler way to convert white fat into a calorie-burning form of fat could be through exercise. In the flurry of research into the area, scientists have discovered another type of brown fat — initially they spotted it in mice, but now they’ve found it in humans.

Dubbed ‘beige fat’ because of its lighter colour, it is often interspersed in the white fat, and occurs in pea-size deposits rather than in large masses.

Writing in the journal Nature earlier this year, Bruce Spiegelman, a professor of cell biology and medicine at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in the U.S., revealed that in mice studies, exercise appears to temporarily turn white fat into beige fat — this burns calories, although not as effectively as brown fat.

The mouse muscle cells released a newly discovered hormone, irisin, that enabled their bodies to make beige fat from white.

As humans also have irisin that’s identical to mouse irisin, the same could be true in people who exercise.

‘What I would guess is that this is likely to be the explanation for some of the weight-loss effects of exercise,’ Professor Spiegelman says.

In other words, beige fat could be partly responsible for the so-called ‘after-burn’ of calories following a workout.

There is something I am keen to ask him. Every winter I lose half a stone in weight without trying and despite my activity levels and diet remaining unchanged. I literally feel myself ‘shrinking’ when the first cold snap of autumn arrives.

And, like many women, I suffer from Raynaud’s, the circulatory problem that leaves my fingers numb and invariably means I am constantly shifting about to try to stay warm.

Could all of this be sending my brown fat levels into overdrive?

Yes, he says, and is probably the reason my weight has remained stable within half a stone for the past eight years.

The fact I’ve done all my exercise — I run five or six times a week — outdoors, come rain or shine, has also helped to keep my brown fat activated.

And I can see the results myself from his test — the temperature of my brown fat rose 0.15c from its baseline of 34.5c.

It doesn’t sound much, but represents a rapid increase in just five minutes of cold exposure, equating to a 10-15 per cent rise in the number of calories I burn.

The Nottingham study, which will involve 20 adults, will look at the influence of weight, body mass index, food consumption and activity levels on brown fat.

As the results come out in the next couple of years, they could change the way we think about calorie burning.

And if we can activate our brown fat, it could even mean we could eat more without gaining weight.
As Professor Symonds points out: ‘It would turn us into more efficient calorie-gobbling machines.’


  • Turn the heating off or down in the car, the office and at home. If you are walking round in a T-shirt in mid-winter, your environment is too warm. ‘Our modern lifestyles are not conducive to brown fat activation,’ says Professor Symonds.

‘Thirty years ago, our houses and offices were not centrally heated. We had maybe one room in a house that was really warm. Many studies have noted a seasonal variation with more brown fat activation in winter months — so the more cold we are exposed to, the better.’

So turn down the heating and put on a jumper if you feel really cold. ‘We need to feel the cold to burn calories,’ he says.

  • Add chilli peppers to food — the active ingredient capsaicin has been shown to trigger brown fat into action.
  • Avoid the gym. Take a walk, go for a cycle or just skip outdoors on a cold day. If you are really brave, an outdoor swim is guaranteed to get brown fat working. Outdoor exercise of any kind is beneficial.
  • Consume dairy products — yoghurt, milk and cheese are thought to be important in activating brown fat. Steer clear of high-fat, sugary carbohydrates and highly processed foods. It is likely they have an adverse impact on brown fat.
  • Drink cold water or ice-cold juice. Some studies have shown that cold drinks help to keep the body’s core temperature lower during exercise — the effects might also trigger brown fat into action.

Health  and Wellness Report

Health : Obesity  – Genetics/Medical Research

‘Fitness and Fatness’: Not All Obese People Have the Same Prognosis; Second Study Sheds Light On ‘Obesity Paradox’


 People can be obese but metabolically healthy and fit, with no greater risk of developing or dying from cardiovascular disease or cancer than normal weight people, according to the largest study ever to have investigated this seeming paradox.

The study is published online in the European Heart Journal [1].

The findings show there is a subset of obese people who are metabolically healthy — they don’t suffer from conditions such as insulin resistance, diabetes and high cholesterol or blood pressure — and who have a higher level of fitness, as measured by how well the heart and lungs perform, than other obese people. Being obese does not seem to have a detrimental effect on their health, and doctors should bear this in mind when considering what, if any, interventions are required, say the researchers.

“It is well known that obesity is linked to a large number of chronic disease such as cardiovascular problems and cancer. However, there appears to be a sub-set of obese people who seem to be protected from obesity-related metabolic complications,” said the first author of the study, Dr Francisco Ortega (PhD). “They may have greater cardio-respiratory fitness than other obese individuals, but, until now, it was not known the extent to which these metabolically healthy but obese people are at lower risk of diseases or premature death.”

Dr Ortega is currently a research associate affiliated to the Department of Physical Activity and Sport, University of Granada (Spain), and at the Department of Biosciences and Nutrition, Karolinska Institutet (Stockholm, Sweden); but the project and investigation took place at the University of South Carolina (Columbia, USA) under the direction of Professor Steven Blair, who is responsible for the long-running “Aerobics Center Longitudinal Study” (ACLS) which provided the 43,265 participants for this current analysis.

The participants were recruited to the ACLS between 1979 and 2003. They completed a detailed questionnaire, including information on their medical and lifestyle history, and they had a physical examination that included a treadmill test to assess cardio-respiratory fitness and measurements of height, weight, waist circumference, and their percentage of body fat. Body fat percentage (BF%) was measured either by calculating the amount of water displaced when the person was completely submerged (the method that is considered the most accurate), or by taking the sum of seven skin fold measures (when folds of skin are pinched between measurement callipers). Blood pressure, cholesterol and fasting glucose levels were also measured. The study participants were followed until they died or until the end of 2003.

Dr Ortega and his colleagues found that 46% of the obese participants were metabolically healthy. After adjusting for several confounding factors, including fitness, the metabolically healthy but obese people had a 38% lower risk of death from any cause than their metabolically unhealthy obese peers, while no significant difference was seen between the metabolically healthy but obese and the metabolically healthy, normal weight participants. The risk of developing or dying from cardiovascular disease or cancer was reduced by between 30-50% for the metabolically healthy but obese people, and there were no significant differences observed between them and the metabolically healthy, normal weight participants.

“Our study suggests that metabolically healthy but obese people have a better fitness level than the rest of obese individuals. Based on the data that our group and others have collected over years, we believe that getting more exercise broadly and positively influences major body systems and organs and consequently contributes to make someone metabolically healthier, including obese people. In our study, we measure fitness, which is largely influenced by exercise,” said Dr Ortega.

“There are two major findings derived from our study. Firstly, a better cardio-respiratory fitness level should be considered from now on as a characteristic of this subset of metabolically healthy obese people. Secondly, once fitness is accounted for, our study shows for the first time that metabolically healthy but obese individuals have similar prognosis as metabolically healthy normal-weight individuals, and a better prognosis than their obese peers with an abnormal metabolic profile.”

The researchers say their findings have important clinical implications. “Our data suggest that accurate BF% and fitness assessment can contribute to properly define a subset of obese individuals who do not have an elevated risk of CVD [cardiovascular disease] or cancer,” they write.

Dr Ortega added: “Physician should take into consideration that not all obese people have the same prognosis. Physician could assess fitness, fatness and metabolic markers to do a better estimation of the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer of obese patients. Our data support the idea that interventions might be more urgently needed in metabolically unhealthy and unfit obese people, since they are at a higher risk. This research highlights once again the important role of physical fitness as a health marker.”

A second study [2], which analysed data from over 64,000 patients on the Swedish Coronary Angiography and Angioplasty registry, has provided further evidence for a phenomenon known as the “obesity paradox,” whereby once someone has developed heart disease, they have a reduced risk of dying if they are overweight or obese, while underweight and normal weight patients have an increased risk.

The researchers looked at 64,436 patients who had developed acute coronary syndromes (ACS) such as unstable angina and myocardial infarction (heart attacks) and who underwent coronary angiography (a specialised x-ray test to discover detailed information about the condition of a patient’s coronary arteries) between May 2005 and December 2008.

Dr Oskar Angerås, consultant cardiologist and PhD student at the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg (Gothenburg, Sweden) who led the research, explained: “We found that patients who were underweight with a body mass index (BMI) of less than 18.5 kg/m2 had the greatest risk of dying. Their risk was double that of normal weight patients, who had a BMI of between 21 and 23.5 kg/m2. Compared to the group with lowest risk — those with a BMI of 26.5 to 28 kg/m2, they had three times the risk of death.”

The researchers found that the relation between BMI and mortality was U-shaped. “Those with the lowest risk of death were overweight and obese patients with BMIs ranging from 26.5 to about 35 kg/m2. The highest risk was found among underweight and morbidly obese patients, that is those with a BMI above 40 kg/m2,” said Dr Angerås.

It is well known that maintaining a healthy weight is one of the ways to avoid developing heart problems. However, the researchers say that advice to lose weight has been extended to overweight and obese patients who have already developed heart problems, despite limited scientific evidence that this helps. As a result of their findings, the authors write: “We believe that no evidence exists that proves weight reduction in itself has a positive prognostic value after ACSs. Actually some evidence suggests that weight loss after ACSs might in fact have a negative effect. We believe that given the current state of our knowledge, obesity paradox requires much more attention and deserves to be recognized in the guidelines.”

In an accompanying editorial on both papers [3], Stephan von Haehling, Oliver Hartmann and Stefan Anker conclude: “The available studies, together with previously published study data, permit the conclusion that weight loss in patients with chronic illness and a BMI <40 kg/m2 is always bad, and in fact not a single study exists to suggest that weight loss in chronic illness makes patients live longer. In this context, fat tissue has several beneficial effects, for example in its action as an endocrine organ, but also, nevertheless, as an aid in protecting against hip fracture. Obesity may carry benefit up to a certain degree, and it should be recognized that obesity is not necessarily associated with abnormal metabolic function.”

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The above story is reprinted from materials provided by European Society of Cardiology (ESC), via AlphaGalileo.

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Journal References:

  1. Francisco B. Ortega, Duck-chul Lee, Peter T. Katzmarzyk, Jonatan R. Ruiz, Xuemei Sui, Timothy S. Church, and Steven N. Blair. The intriguing metabolically healthy but obese phenotype: cardiovascular prognosis and role of fitness. European Heart Journal, 2012; DOI: 10.1093/eurheartj/ehs174
  2. Oskar Angerås, Per Albertsson, Kristjan Karason, Truls Råmunddal, Göran Matejka, Stefan James, Bo Lagerqvist, Annika Rosengren, and Elmir Omerovic. Evidence for obesity paradox in patients with acute coronary syndromes: A report from the Swedish Coronary Angiography and Angioplasty Registry. European Heart Journal, 2012; DOI: 10.1093/eurheartj/ehs217
  3. Stephan von Haehling, Oliver Hartmann, and Stefan D. Anker. Does obesity make it better or worse: insights into cardiovascular illnesses. European Heart Journal, 2012; DOI: 10.1093/eurheartj/ehs237
European Society of Cardiology (ESC) (2012, September 4). ‘Fitness and fatness’: Not all obese people have the same prognosis; second study sheds light on ‘obesity paradox’. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 6, 2012, from http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2012/09/120904193052.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sciencedaily+%28ScienceDaily%3A+Latest+Science+News%29

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