Obesity ‘not always linked with metabolic problems’

MNT: In a new study, researchers have found that some obese people do not have the metabolic changes usually associated with diabetes, heart disease and stroke. This suggests that some obese people may be protected from these metabolic abnormalities when gaining weight.

The researchers, from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, MO, recruited 20 obese participants who were asked to gain 15 lb in weight over several months. The findings of the study are published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation.

The researchers then studied how the gain in weight affected the participants’ metabolism. Before and after gaining the weight, the participants’ abilities to regulate blood sugar and liver fat were measured, as were their body compositions and sensitivities to insulin.

To gain weight, the participants ate at fast-food restaurants, under the supervision of a dietitian, at restaurants selected by the researchers on the basis of their accurate reporting of nutritional information and consistent portion sizes.

If the metabolic profiles of the participants were in the normal range when the study began, then they remained normal after these participants gained weight. 

But the researchers observed that, in obese subjects whose metabolic profiles were already abnormal, weight gain was associated with a significant worsening of their metabolic profiles.

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