Creeping obesity

Philip J. Goscienski, M.D.

June 2009

Frustrating, isn't it? Just as the years sneak past us one at a time the pounds add up the same way — one at a time. The average American accumulates about one pound of fat every year from the time he or she picks up that high school diploma until a benevolent government pops the first Social Security check in the mail.

That's only one-twentieth of an ounce a day and it doesn't sound like much but it sure is expensive! After about 40 years not all of that tiny daily build-up of fat is obvious to the naked eye. Much of it is crowded between little-used muscle fibers of the arms and legs, which can no longer lift as much or last as long as they used to because they have simply wasted away. The most dangerous fat is that which is stored among the coils of intestine, displaying itself prominently in a bulging abdomen. It's not only a sign that we have drifted far from our Stone Age heritage, it's a marker for a high risk of heart disease and stroke.

Now that we have unlimited food supplies and labor-saving devices some of us manage to double or triple our normal body weight. Those who claim to be "big-boned" are kidding themselves; it's all fat. Some of the fat piles up in arteries that supply oxygen to the heart or the brain, resulting in heart attack or stroke.

The diet that makes us fat produces high levels of blood sugar. Excess sugar molecules attach themselves to proteins, a process called glycation. Such distorted proteins are like keys with a few extra bumps; they may not open the locks for which they are intended. No wonder kidneys fail, eyes stop seeing and toes become gangrenous in type 2 diabetes. The blood vessels that are supposed to nourish them are distorted, narrow and leaky.

It doesn't make sense to lose in a few weeks a deposit of fat that accumulated over decades. And you don't have to lose it all in order to reap huge benefits. Losing just a few ounces a week for a few months will lower blood pressure and the risk of diabetes.

Philip J. Goscienski, M.D. is the author of Health Secrets of the Stone Age, Better Life Publishers 2005. Contact him at drphil@stoneagedoc.com.