Wednesday, 16 June, 2004
Losing weight isn't enough. Exercise!
There's a lot we still don't know about how the body works. In my May 13 entry I mentioned some recent research about the biology of fat. In a nutshell, too many fat cells will cause toxic levels of chemicals in the body, leading to problems with heart, liver, kidneys, etc. You'd think, then, that if you got rid of a significant number of fat cells, those chemical levels in the blood would go down. Makes sense, right? Researchers thought so, too, but according to this article, it doesn't work that way.
Researchers checked the blood pressure and blood chemistry for 15 women who went in for cosmetic liposuction. Readings were taken before they had the surgery, and again three months after. No change. Losing the fat didn't change the metabolic brew in the blood. One possible explanation is that the type of fat removed by liposuction is not the primary culprit. Liposuction doesn't remove visceral fat, which some researchers think is the real culprit. Others think that you have to change the fat cells' size through diet and exercise, or put the body into energy deficit, again through diet and exercise, to switch on healthier fat chemistry.
Somehow I don't find this terribly surprising. If there's a quick and easy way to lose weight and become healthy, I haven't yet found it. But I know the slow and steady route works: reasonable diet and moderate exercise. Call me a relic. I'll stick with the tried and true on this one.