The Obesity Paradox: Can Body Fat Ever Be Good For You?

When it concerns a medical consensus on body fat here's what we know: There isn't one. The research study is clashing, translating the results can be complicated and even leading experts disagree about whether you can be healthy at any size.

More than one third of U.S. grownups are obese. And being overweight or obese can put people at a higher danger for other health issues like heart disease and diabetes. Yet, in the last decade or so, there's increasing information recommending body fat may, in some cases, impart a type of protective advantage. This has actually caused what's called the "obesity paradox"-- the truth that moderately overweight individuals with chronic diseases are frequently outliving normal-weight individuals with the very same health problems.

The most current example is a study released today in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine. In the research study, researchers took a look at over 10,500 clients with type 2 diabetes who were followed for around 10 years. They found that obese or overweight people in the research study had a higher rate of heart events like cardiac arrest compared to people who were a regular weight. Nevertheless, individuals who were overweight-- but not obese-- lived longer than the people who were of regular weight or underweight. In fact individuals who were underweight had the worst prognosis, the scientists revealed.

" The explanation for these outcomes is unidentified and does not indicate that patients with diabetes should try to become overweight," the editors of Annals write. "Patients ought to continue to follow a healthy way of life."

That doesn't respond to the concern of why heavier individuals fared much better by some procedures, however-- a concern that has been plaguing scientists for more than a decade. Some researchers state they've had trouble getting their initial findings published in medical journals because it raises many tough concerns. And for average joes, this emerging body of proof continues to confuse.

Can Fat Help the Heart?

The current study does not contest the fact that being overweight puts people at risk for heart problems. However how can it be that the very aspects that put individuals at risk for cardiovascular disease could also add years to their life?

In a 2014 study, a group of researchers performed a meta-analysis of 36 research studies and discovered that a that low BMI in countless patients with coronary artery disease who went through surgical treatment was connected with up to a 2.7-fold higher threat of heart attack and heart-related death over a follow up duration of near two years. But obese and overweight patients had better results and heart-related death danger was least expensive amongst overweight clients with a high BMI compared to people with a typical BMI.