In this interview, researcher Glenn Gaesser, MD challenges common assumptions about body fat and it’s impact on health.
It may seem logical to assume that people who exercise a lot and eat a healthy diet will naturally be thin. That is wishful thinking. Our weight, body fat and lean tissue mass are the result of a complex interaction of genes, behavior and environment. There are only so many things we can control.
Furthermore, he says, after 25 years of examining the research,
I became aware of research which showed that virtually all the health problems typically associated with obesity could be improved or entirely normalized by changes in diet and exercise, even in the absence of weight loss. If obesity-related health problems could be improved independent of weight loss, this suggests that body weight itself is not the underlying cause. This requires a major paradigm shift in how we look at body weight and health conditions thought to be weight-related.
His conclusion is to focus on quality nutrition and and being physically active, as well as other health promoting lifestyle factors such as spending time with friends and getting enough rest. Dieting, he says, promotes yo yo weight loss, and has other associated dangers.