Fat Science

Investigating the science of body weight regulation

Posts Tagged ‘fat’

Health At Every Size (HAES)

Posted by Miriam Gordon on September 22, 2009

Tara Parker-Pope, in the health blog section of the New York Times website, addressed in her post “A Diva’s Lessons on Weight and Beauty” the scientifically based concept that controlling body weight is not a matter of will power. Thank G-d, it’s finally dawning on the New York Times’ editors that fat people actually don’t deserve to be punished for their lack of will power (particularly after that awful Times magazine cover touting Clive Thompson’s misguided article (“Are Your Friends Making You Fat?”) on Christakis and Fowler’s research).

What many people don’t understand about the very important concept that controlling body weight is not a matter of will power is that people can still be healthy, or improve their health dramatically, no matter what they weigh. Everyone can make changes in their lives that will improve their health. It is absolutely true that a sedentary lifestyle combined with poor eating habits is clearly linked with disease, such as diabetes and heart disease. The important thing is the process of learning to incorporate healthier habits, while doing away with prejudice or discrimination against fat people. Shaming fat people will not lead to improvement in anyone’s health. Instead, it will continue to engender low self-esteem, unhealthy dieting practices that will slow down metabolic rates, and eating disorders. In short, the focus should be on learning to live a healthier lifestyle that doesn’t involve beating oneself up on a regular basis, based on one’s appearance or a number on a scale. Check out Linda Bacon’s website and the website for the Association for Size Diversity and Health.


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Posted in biology, body image, health, obesity | Tagged: , , , | 5 Comments »

Here a SNP, There a SNP

Posted by Miriam Gordon on October 8, 2008

A “SNP” is a single nucleotide polymorphism. Within a genetically distinct population, i.e. people of a certain ethnicity, religion, or geographic region, there are several versions of the DNA sequence of any given gene that is almost identical, with the exception of one sequence unit at a specific site. This single nucleotide variation occurs in the population at observable frequencies. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in biology, obesity, science | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Diabetes or Diarrhea – Take Your Pick*

Posted by Miriam Gordon on September 18, 2008

Metformin, otherwise known as glucophage, is a medication that works to lower elevated blood sugar and help the body process the excess sugar more efficiently. However, if you have the unmitigated gall to eat sweets while taking this medication, you will be punished by having copious diarrhea. I found this out first hand. I guess this is the price I pay for feeding my addiction. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in biology, body image, health, Health at Every Size (HAES), obesity, science, Sociology | Tagged: , , , , , , | 10 Comments »

Twenty First Century Eugenics?*

Posted by Miriam Gordon on September 10, 2008

Last night I came across a blog entry by Matthew Brown (http://www.scientificblogging.com/scientific_notation/self_control_is_to_sudoku_can_you_end_addiction_with_analogies), which discussed data from the laboratory of Dr. Jeremy Gray and others on the inverse correlation of intelligence and self-control. Immediately, I thought wow, if I’m fat because of a lack of self control, does that mean I’m less intelligent than someone who is free of compulsive behaviors?* Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in biology, science, science writing | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Fat Cell Switcheroo*

Posted by Miriam Gordon on September 7, 2008

Humans, mice — indeed all mammals — have two types of fat cells in their bodies; white and brown. White fat cells store energy. In contrast, brown fat cells dissipate energy as heat, thus counteracting obesity. Much to the chagrin of humans living in industrialized societies, most fat cells in our (adult) bodies are white fat cells. While this trait served our kind well throughout our evolutionary history, we now face a vast abundance of inexpensive, easily accessible, high energy content foods. This, combined with our body’s tendency to want to store up energy for times when food is scarce, leads to obesity and its accompanying adverse health effects. Wouldn’t it be great if we could have more brown fat cells and less white fat cells?* Read the rest of this entry »

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Pity Thy Pancreas

Posted by Miriam Gordon on September 3, 2008

Today I had an appointment with Judith Townsend, the Physician’s Assistant who works with Dr. Louis Arrone, in New York City. Dr. Arrone is an expert in medications to treat obesity. I go there with the intention of trying medications to help me reduce my weight, which is an approach I haven’t yet tried. When I last had my blood tested (about 2 months ago), my glucose was a little high (114), Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in biology, science | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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