Thursday, March 25, 2010

Obesity & Heredity, Part 3: Why Are Thin People Not Fat?

Below is an intriguing BBC documentary, called "Why Are Thin People Not Fat?"  In this film, ten thin people who have no history of obesity overeat whatever foods they want for several weeks and the results are evaluated at the end of the experiment.  One especially interesting facet of the documentary is the fact that the Asian participant gains the least weight of all the participants and also appears to have the most elevated metabolism.  Could it be that his genes are more pure -- i.e. less degeneration in his family -- than the others?  Watch and decide for yourself!


Half Navajo said...

oh my my... i would love to do this... i would destroy food... even the highly processed shit!!!!!


Matt Stone said...

Damn you Koch! You always do this to me! I have work to do and then end up on your site for a whole hour.

Really enjoyed this video series though. Very in line with the way I discuss it in my next eBook.

Everything from infection causing obesity to heredity being by far the greatest determinant.

Ed said...

Hrmm what about epigenetics? We already know that children born to women who were starved during pregnancy are more likely to have problems.

What about prior liver insult, or leptin issues that are not genetic in origin?

I think the hypothesis that "it's all genetics" coming from "well the asian guy didn't get fat" is really really lazy thinking... Ryan I love the blog, but everyone needs to try a little harder here...

Ryan Koch @ Health Matters to Me said...

100% agreed, Ed. There will be a part 4 coming soon where I get into epigenetics and obesity. I'm learning a lot about this subject right now and will greatly appreciate your feedback when I post on it.

That being said, it is interesting that the Asian man appeared to the best in terms of maintaining his lean weight and elevating metabolism to compensate for increased calories. Nothing scientifically solid, but raises some questions nonetheless.

Thanks for the feedback!

Matt Stone said...

Ed, it's not lazy thinking. Rudy Leibel (in the video) and other top obesity researchers know that the hereditary correlation to obesity is the most significant thing they've found thus far by a long shot. In fact, identical twins that have been separated, raised on different diets, etc. often have not only the same amount of body fat later in life, but they carry it in the same place.

This has everything to do with mom and dad's bodies believing they are in starvation (leptin resistance). Hence the epidemic of low body temperature, fat storage, insulin resistance, increased appetite, and so on.

Also, obese and lean people both respond identically to overfeeding - even fed a liquid mixture of corn oil and simple sugars. They gain, on average, 25% lean and 75% fat in response to overfeeding until they've reached 10% above their starting weights. Then they lose it all. Talk to Leibel. He's seen this happen again and again and again and again his whole career.

The question is not what raises or lowers weight. Calories have shown an inability to have a long-term effect on weight. The question is what alters the set point?

Talk about a billion dollar question.

Robert Pool's book, FAT is a great primer on this issue. Rethinking Thin by Gina Kolata ain't too shabby either.

Ed said...

"In fact, identical twins that have been separated, raised on different diets, etc. often have not only the same amount of body fat later in life, but they carry it in the same place."

How odd. I have not only the same genetics as myself, but I also have had the same maternal environment, childhood environment, the same diet, the same exercise, the same everything as myself. You could say that I am better than an identical twin.

Yet, if you look at me 12 months ago vs today, I do not carry the same amount of fat, in the same places, as myself.

What a conundrum. Is body fat controlled by genetics or not? Apparently different data sets tell us different things....

I would posit that the identical twins raised differently reaching the same end-state perhaps weren't raised as differently as you might be assuming. Multi-variate analysis is extremely sensitive to which variables you control. How good are you at identifying all the variables? Let alone measuring them with any sort of accuracy to be able to control for them.

I mean, of course the entire state and operation of your body is controlled by your operating genes. "Duh," right? But I am extremely skeptical, to say the least, to a hypothesis that genetics are "by far the greatest determinant." (Apologies if I'm misunderstanding your point here.) I have seen too many people have too drastic of changes in body composition by manipulating their environment to believe that genetics == destiny irrespective of environment. (They are of course, complexly inter-related. Likewise I do not believe environment == destiny.)

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health shop said...

This documentary makes a whole lot of sense. People are skinny in most parts of Asia. An Asian diet would normally consist of fruits, vegetables, meat and rice. This is why they are so much healthier and less in weigh because they have a better diet.

Atlanta Plastic Surgeons said...

I do firmly believe there are 2 reasons of obesity.One is genetic and the other the lifestyle you are leading.There is a need to watch the diet post 30 definitely to keep in good shape.Thanks for sharing the research findings.

generic viagra pharmacy said...

Very Nice article about obesity. It is very right that obesity is hereditary. There are basically two types of heredity available one is because of diet and another is hereditary. so one has to very careful about if you are suffering from obesity because of diet.... As you ca get rid of that heredity.

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