Fit & Fat beats Lazy & Lean

Fit and Fat Beats Lazy and Lean

–by Richard Maurer, ND

I am especially attentive to the results of this study, both professionally and personally. In my professional life, I know that a good diagnostician must avoid the hasty mistake of profiling—it is too easy to neglect the consideration of prediabetes and heart disease risk for the lean patient compared to the attention given to the more overweight individual. Personally too, I inherited the tendency toward becoming the thin diabetic. In my forties, as a lean jogger with prediabetic blood sugar and HgbA1C results on my Blood Code, I had to face that my diet and regular jog was not adequate for my overall and long-term health. The conclusion of this elegant study was clear: Fitness Trumps Fatness.[i]

The results of this study are not new to researchers and those who follow obesity studies. Obesity does not, I repeat not, cause type 2 diabetes. I can show you people who are shorter than I am and double the weight, yet they have substantially lower blood sugars and HgbA1c than I. This is not an injustice, don’t get me wrong, but I must realize, that if my blood sugars are high, the risk of heart disease is high, in fact higher than you might imagine.

A prior study displayed that thin individuals who develop diabetes are twice as likely to die, mostly from heart disease, than people that were overweight or obese at the time of their type 2 diabetes diagnosis. This is big news. Obese people are, in fact, more likely to express type 2 diabetes, but for this people prone to type 2 diabetes, it is more deadly.  The researcher concluded, “Doctors’ concern about normal weight people with diabetes should potentially be even higher than that for their counterparts who develop diabetes at a heavier weight.”[ii]

Take home message: Regardless of weight outcomes, pursue a level of fitness with regular challenging exercise like strength circuits and interval training. (Jeff and I assembled an effective workout video for you which is available here: Blood test results, not what weight you think you should be, provide the objective metric to steer your nutritional and fitness habits to truly lower the risk of heart disease over the long haul.

[i] McAuley PA, et al. Fitness, Fatness, and Survival in Adults With Prediabetes. Diabetes Care. 2014;37(2):529-536.

[ii] Carnethon MR, et al. Association of weight status with mortality in adults with incident diabetes. JAMA. 2012 Aug 8;308(6):581-590.