What Can We Learn From Thin Folks

The HealthGal Health Guide
  • We all know someone who seems to be able to eat everything in sight and never gain weight.  Some of these people are active or exercise with regularity, while some don’t.  Oh, how we all wish we could be one of those people who enjoy food to the maximum, while body weight stays steady state and at a healthy number.  Researchers hear your cry for information and are studying this very phenomenon.


    Scientists believe that each person’s unique genetic makeup, plus influences I’ve previously mentioned in some recent blogs may affect what foods he craves, how much food he craves, and how his body uses fat and stores calories.  If you look at Americans, one third are in appropriate height to weight proportion, one third are overweight, and one third are obese.  Hence, we really need this research   Instead of just dieting to lose weight, experts indicate that our weight issues may be more connected to genes and how they interact with the environment of abundant, tasty, tough-to-resist foods. 

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    From an evolutionary perspective, we were hardwired by evolution to be more hungry so we would seek food and store food, because you would never know if and when a “next meal opportunity” would present.  Problem is, that innate trait is now contributing to obesity substantially, since food is abundant and available 24/7.  And the food that is readily accessible is not lean meat, leaves, and other plants, but rather high salt, high fat, high sugar, calorie dense food.  Add not moving a whole lot to the equation, and you’ve got the perfect recipe for weight gain and obesity.  And some people seem to be more sensitive to these relationships, while others can eat, not move and stay seemingly stable in terms of weight.  So research is poised to look at:

    • How some people can consume large calorie loads and still stay within specific weight parameters
    • Why some people seem able to burn excess calories without additional exercise
    • Whether certain food group choices make a difference when it comes to calorie overload and weight gain
    • What makes some overeaters able to continue to overeat through their lifespan and not gain weight, while others who initially overeat and stay weight stable, then begin to gain weight as they age

    These studies are being conducted at The National Institute of Health, Diabetes, and Obesity Lab in Phoenix, and the hope is to uncover explanations to these questions.  Research will also look at brown fat and white fat, hormones, and issues independent of metabolic rate that could explain why some individuals have the ability to burn off calories so efficiently.  Long range studies will feed thin and heavier participants a variety of diets and also measure input (calories) and output (in the form of urine and stool).  Research at a lab in Bethesda, Maryland will look at how temperature, cold especially, affects stress hormones, thyroid hormones, energy output and other weight-mediating variables.  If living in cooler temperatures can help to instigate weight loss, it may be a feasible tool to add to a weight loss strategy. 


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    Research is also looking at the impact of sleep deprivation on weight and hunger.  Preliminary results confirm that individuals with poor sleep quality or inadequate sleep intervals are hungrier and may eat more than people who get adequate, quality sleep.


Published On: July 23, 2012