the binge-eating files » Fat

Articles on fat-related issues and eating disorders, food addiction, obesity, weight, body image, emotions and mental health

‘Stop Teaching’ Kids It’s Their Fault They’re Fat’   Medscape (Jan 12, 2024) by Yoni Freedhoff, MD — The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has published draft recommendations that 6-year-olds with obesity be lectured to about diet and exercise. Never mind that there are no reproducible or scalable studies demonstrating durable and clinically meaningful benefits of this for adults let alone children. Never mind that children are not household decision-makers on matters of grocery shopping, cooking, or exercise. Never mind … that many children … will perceive that as their own personal failures. … We must teach children it’s their fault if they’re fat. Because ultimately that’s what many of them will learn. That’s not to say there’s no room for counseling. But with children as young as 6, that counseling should be delivered exclusively to their parents and caregivers. … more

Cravings for fatty foods traced to gut-brain connection   ScienceDaily (Sept 7, 2022) — Mouse research reveals fat sensors in the intestines that stimulate the brain and drive food desires. A dieter wrestling with cravings for fatty foods might be tempted to blame their tongue: the delicious taste of butter or ice cream is hard to resist. But new research investigating the source of our appetites has uncovered an entirely new connection between the gut and the brain that drives our desire for fat. … more

I Went Viral On TikTok For Being Fat-Shamed — Here’s What I Learned From The Response   Huffpost (Aug 24, 2022) by Gloria M. Bennett — Earlier this month, when one of my TikTok videos racked up over 1 million views in a matter of days, I was unprepared. Though I thought about taking it down, deleting my social media, or disappearing back into anonymity with a private account, something in my story was resonating with people, so I left it up. Even more difficult was that the video millions of strangers were watching was a vulnerable one. I made it in response to another TikToker, … who’d asked people to share the wildest way they’d ever been fat-shamed. … more

Think fat and sugar are the enemy? The things that replace them might be even worse   Toronto Star (Mar 14, 2022) by Christine Sismondo — Research on ‘nutritional mismatch’ suggests fat and sugar replacers might confuse our bodies when it comes to metabolizing food or drink … more

Being Fat Is Not A Moral Failure. Here’s How To Teach Your Kids That.  Huffington Post (March 2, 2021) by Brittany Wong – Parents, let’s teach our children to break the cycle and stop assigning moral value to weight loss or weight gain. Growing up in the ’90s, Jessica Sprengle could name all the big fad diets of the day: Weight Watchers, Atkins, the South Beach diet, SlimFast ― you name it, her parents and other family members had tried it. Offhand comments about bodies, both hers and their own, were often made in her house, and weight gain rarely went unnoticed. … more

How neurons reshape inside body fat to boost its calorie-burning capacity   ScienceDaily (July 22, 2020) – There’s no doubt that you can lose fat by eating less or moving more — yet after decades of research, the biology underlying this equation remains mysterious. What really ignites the breakdown of stored fat molecules are nerves embedded in the fat tissue, and a new study now reveals that these fat-burning neurons have previously unrecognized powers. If they receive the right signal, they have an astonishing capacity to grow. … more

‘Fat burning’ molecule has implications for treatment of obesity   ScienceDaily (June 8, 2020) – Scientists have recently identified a small mitochondrial uncoupler, named BAM15, that decreases the body fat mass of mice without affecting food intake and muscle mass or increasing body temperature. … more

Our ability to focus may falter after eating one meal high in saturated fat   ScienceDaily (May 12, 2020) – Study also looks at effect of leaky gut on concentration. Fatty food may feel like a friend during these troubled times, but new research suggests that eating just one meal high in saturated fat can hinder our ability to concentrate — not great news for people whose diets have gone south while they’re working at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. … more

How processed food makes us fat   The Washington Post (July 17, 2019) by Tamar Haspel — For many years, I’ve steadfastly clung to a position for which there has been almost no evidence: Processed food is the root of obesity. This doesn’t mean that processed food is the sole cause. There’s also the ubiquity of food, changing social mores and what is probably a more sedentary lifestyle (though evidence for that, too, is surprisingly hard to come by). It also doesn’t mean that all processed food is bad. … more

Fat Bias Kept Me Sick — But Not In The Way You Think   Huffpost (Mar 29, 2019) by Lesley Kinzel – Seven years ago, I found myself at the base of a mountain in New Hampshire. A group of us were going on a moderate hike … ― me, my then-spouse, my father, and some family friends. The hike would end at the top of the mountain, where we would be rewarded with a gorgeous view and a picnic lunch. It was a hike that said family friends had done many times. Aside from myself and my ex, everyone here was over 60. We walked through lush woods along a gently sloping trail that grew steeper. Did I mention that I have asthma? I do, and while this was part of the reason for my anxiety about this hike, it wasn’t the core of it. Although I exercised regularly, I just wasn’t “good” at inclines. I got winded quickly. Oddly, I didn’t blame the asthma for this. I blamed myself. I blamed my fat body. … more

Specific bacteria in the small intestine are crucial for fat absorption   ScienceDaily (Apr 11, 2018) – A high-fat diet promotes growth of the microbes that boost lipid digestion and absorption. A new study — one of a few to concentrate on microbes in the upper gastrointestinal tract — shows how the typical calorie-dense western diet can induce expansion of microbes that promote the digestion and absorption of high-fat foods. Over time, the steady presence of these microbes can lead to over-nutrition and obesity. … more

Low-Calorie Sweetener Boosts Fat Accumulation in Explanted Cells (Mar 22, 2018) by Megan Brooks – Consumption of low-calorie sweeteners may promote metabolic dysfunction and predispose people to diabetes, particularly in individuals with obesity, hints in vitro research. … more

Losing sleep might make it harder to lose body fat   Reuters Health (Mar 23, 2018) by Lisa Rapaport – Even  when cutting calories helps people lose weight, they may have a harder time getting rid of excess body fat if they don’t get enough sleep, a small experiment suggests. … more

Fat, fructose and calories: 5 nutrition ‘facts’ we used to believe  Washington Post (Aug 29, 2017) by Cara Rosenbloom – The A friend of mine is trying to lose weight and wanted to check whether her strategies were sound. She said she counts every calorie, avoids nuts because of the high fat content and snacks only on sugary (but fat-free!) foods. Was she on track? If that conversation took place in 1993, she’d get kudos for her nutrition knowledge. But those bits of wisdom are badly outdated. Nutritional science changes quickly, and knowledge that was gleaned from a 25-year-old nutrition textbook needs to be refreshed. Here’s how nutrition information has changed over the years and why it’s important to keep up. … more

Fat Bias Starts Early and Takes a Serious Toll   New York Times (Aug 21, 2017) by Jane E. Brody –  A very slender friend recently admitted to me that she “can’t stand to be around fat people.” Her reaction is almost visceral, and it prompts her to avoid social and professional contact with people who are seriously overweight. Although she can’t pinpoint the source of her feelings, she said they go back as far as she can remember. And she is hardly alone. Decades ago, researchers found that weight-based bias, which is often accompanied by overt discrimination and bullying, can date back to childhood, sometimes as early as age 3. The prejudiced feelings may not be apparent to those who hold them, yet they can strongly influence someone’s behavior. A new study by researchers at Duke University, for example, found that “implicit weight bias” in children ages 9 to 11 was as common as “implicit racial bias” is among adults. … more

‘Environmental entrapment’: Is the food industry conspiring to make you fat? National Post (Aug 10, 2017) by Sara FL Kirk & Jessie-Lee McIsaac – Our current food environment sets us up for healthy food choice failure. Yet when we overeat and gain weight, society is there to dole out blame and shame. … It is now widely accepted that we are living in a food environment that does not value health. This “obesogenic environment” does not provide a set of rules to ensure easy and equitable access to healthy, affordable food. And evidence is mounting that some foods, particularly those high in fat, salt and sugar, are not easy to resist. … Food addiction actually shares common brain activity with alcohol addiction. … more

Fat Shaming Tied to Increased Risk of Metabolic Problems   Reuters (Feb 2, 2017) by Lisa Rapaport – Obese people who feel stigmatized about their size may be at increased risk for metabolic syndrome, a new study suggests. Weight stigma is a chronic stressor that may increase cardiometabolic risk. Some individuals with obesity self-stigmatize, but no study to date has examined whether this might be associated with metabolic syndrome, the authors note in their January 26 online paper in Obesity. … more

Are Fat Cells Forever?  New York Times (Feb 17, 2017) by Alice Callahan – The number of fat cells in a person’s body seems to be able to change in only one direction: up. Fat cell number increases through childhood and adolescence and generally stabilizes in adulthood. But this doesn’t mean that fat cells, or adipocytes, are stagnant. The size of individual fat cells is remarkably variable, expanding and contracting with weight gain or weight loss. And as with most cell types in the body, adipocytes die eventually. … more

Fecal bacteria linked to body fat  ScienceDaily  (Sept 26, 2016) – A new link between the diversity of bacteria in human poo — known as the human fecal microbiome — and levels of abdominal body fat, has been identified by scientists. The research provides further evidence of possible genetic influences on obesity, through heritable bacteria found in the fecal microbiome. … more

A Neuroscientist Tackles ‘Why Diets Make Us Fat’  NPR National Public Radio (June 7, 2016) by Jean Fain – When Sandra Aamodt talks about dieting, people listen … or, they stick their fingers in their ears and go la, la, la. Aamodt’s neuroscientific take on why diets backfire is that divisive. Aamodt is a neuroscientist, book author and former editor of a leading brain research journal. She also has become a prominent evangelist of the message that traditional diets just don’t work and often leave the dieter worse off than before. And she’s an enthusiastic proponent of mindful eating. … more

High-fat diet can alter the cellular body clock  MNT Medical News Today (Apr 6, 2016) by Yvette Brazier – “It’s not just what you eat, but also when you eat it,” say researchers who suggest that consuming saturated fats at particular times may put internal body clocks out of synch, also causing inflammation. … more

Fat cells outlive skinny ones  ScienceDaily (Feb 23, 2016) – Cells with higher fat content outlive lean cells, shows a new study. This study has implications for larger organisms, such as humans, as the results support the phenomenon known as the “obesity paradox.” This concept shows that overweight people have the lowest all-cause mortality rates while fit people, oddly enough, have mortality rates comparable to those categorized as slightly obese. … more

Obesity isn’t the half of it: fat or thin, our eating is disordered   The Guardian/Opinion (Dec 14, 2015) by Susie Orbach – It’s wrong to focus on obesity as a ‘national risk’ like terrorism. The truth is far more complex, and solutions shouldn’t be couched in warlike rhetoric. … more

The air that makes you fat: Some puzzling studies appear to show that tiny airborne particles may contribute to obesity, diabetes and heart disease. Should we be concerned?   BBC/Future (Dec 8, 2015) by David Robson – Take a deep breath, and exhale. Depending on where you live, that life-giving lungful of air might just be pushing you towards diabetes and obesity. The idea that “thin air” can make you fat sounds ludicrous, yet some extremely puzzling studies appear to be showing that it’s possible. … more

Obesity breakthrough: Metabolic master switch prompts fat cells to store or burn fat  ScienceDaily (Aug 19, 2015) – Obesity is one of the biggest public health challenges of the 21st century. Affecting more than 500 million people worldwide, obesity costs at least $200 billion each year in the United States alone, and contributes to potentially fatal disorders such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer. Scientists have now revealed the mechanism underlying the genomic region most strongly associated with obesity. The findings uncover a genetic circuit that controls whether our bodies burn or store fat. Manipulating that genetic circuit may offer a new approach for obesity treatments. …more

High fat diet changes gut microbe populations and brain’s ability to recognize fullness ScienceDaily (July 7, 2015) – Have you ever wondered why eating one good-tasting French fry may lead you to eat the whole batch and leave you wanting more? According to a new study with rats, that high-fat indulgence literally changes the populations of bacteria residing inside the gut and also alters the signaling to the brain. The result? The brain no longer senses signals for fullness, which can cause overeating–a leading cause of obesity. more …

Fat Stigma Fuels Weight Bullying   New York Times (July 7, 2015) by Roni Rabin – Being “fat” is the most common reason children are bullied, and something needs to be done about it. That is the predominant view of thousands of adults from four different countries who, when asked why children are bullied, said the most common reason was not race, religion, physical disability or sexual orientation, but weight. Nearly three-quarters of respondents said that schools and anti-bullying policies need to address the issue, with many calling it a “serious” or “very serious” problem. more …

Fat, sugar cause bacterial changes that may relate to loss of cognitive function   ScienceDaily (June 22, 2015) – A study indicates that both a high-fat and a high-sugar diet, compared to a normal diet, cause changes in gut bacteria that appear related to a significant loss of ‘cognitive flexibility,’ or the power to adapt and adjust to changing situations. This effect was most serious on the high-sugar diet, which also showed an impairment of early learning for both long-term and short-term memory. more …

Sweet fat acceptance? Online fat acceptance and the body beautiful  ScienceDaily (May 11, 2015) – Media and healthcare institutions have long commanded that the ideal and desirable body shape should be thin. If you are fat are you irresponsibly risking your health? Will you ever be able to look or feel beautiful? Will you truly enjoy citizenship? New research explores the cultural and political marginalization of fat women and their perceived moral failure to be healthy. It follows the rising tide of the online fat acceptance movement and their strategies for challenging societal conventions of body image and beauty. more …

Five days of eating fatty foods can alter how your body’s muscle processes food ScienceDaily (Apr 14, 2015 ) – After just five days of eating a high-fat diet, the way in which the body’s muscle processes nutrients changes, which could lead to long-term problems such as weight gain, obesity, and other health issues, a new study has found. “Most people think they can indulge in high-fat foods for a few days and get away with it,” said one investigator. “But all it takes is five days for your body’s muscle to start to protest.”  more …

How body’s good fat tissue communicates with brain ScienceDaily (Mar 27, 2015) – Brown fat tissue, the body’s “good fat,” communicates with the brain through sensory nerves, possibly sharing information that is important for fighting human obesity, such as how much fat we have and how much fat we’ve lost, according to researchers. more…

A Fresh Cry Of Pain: Fat-Shaming In Science   National Public Radio (NPR) (June 19, 2014) by Barbara J. King — One year ago here at 13.7, I wrote about fat-shaming carried out by a college professor of evolutionary psychology. Ever since, I’ve been more attuned than before to blatant discrimination based on weight and have spotted evidence of fat-shaming in multiple contexts. Recent examples range from the world of opera to popular TV shows (Fargo) and sports, in this case tennis. When people — women, often — are seen and judged primarily by their weight instead of by their talents and actions in the world, the result is often incredibly hurtful. None of us wants to be seen and judged so superficially. Now there’s a fresh cry of pain and it comes again from the world of science and higher education. more …

Brazil takes an unambiguous new approach to fighting fat.  The Globe and Mail (Mar 16, 2014) by Adriana Barton – Brazil, like Canada, is getting fatter by the year.  Obesity has reached such epic proportions that Brazil’s new soccer stadiums include more than double the number of extra-wide seats required by World Cup authorities to accommodate both people with disabilities and heavyweight fans. On Brazil’s famous beaches, adipose folds have multiplied as fast as the pizza joints and Burger Kings that were virtually non-existent two decades ago.  more …

5 shocking reasons why Americans are getting fatter.  It’s not just the fast food…   Salon (Mar 13, 2014) by Martha Rosenberg of Alternet –Americans have become huge. Between the 1960s and the 2000s, Americans grew, on the average, an inch taller and 24 pounds heavier. The average American man today weights 194 pounds and the average woman 165 pounds. The growing girth has led to the creation of special-sized ambulances, operating tables and coffins as well as bigger seats on planes and trains. Almost a third of American children and teens are overweight, but 84 percent of parents believe their children are at a healthy weight in one study. Why? The adults are probably overweight too.   More …

The fat drug   New York Times (Mar 8, 2014) by Pagan Kennedy – If  you walk into a farm-supply store today, you’re likely to find a bag of antibiotic powder that claims to boost the growth of poultry and livestock. That’s because decades of agricultural research has shown that antibiotics seem to flip a switch in young animals’ bodies, helping them pack on pounds. Manufacturers brag about the miraculous effects of feeding antibiotics to chicks and nursing calves. Dusty agricultural journals attest to the ways in which the drugs can act like a kind of superfood to produce cheap meat.  But what if that meat is us? Recently, a group of medical investigators have begun to wonder whether antibiotics might cause the same growth promotion in humans.   More …

Fat does not make you fat   Huffington Post (Nov 26, 2013) by Mark Hyman  MD – If  you’re feeling completely confused about whether you should cut fat from your diet, you are not alone.  But here’s the bottom line: Fat does not make you fat or sick.  So, why do so many people believe that fat is bad for you and causes heart attacks?  This all started in the Dr. Key’s Seven Countries Study decades ago … Link

Fat and thin find common ground.  New York Times (Oct 10, 2013) by Abby Ellin – When binge eating disorder gained legitimacy as a full-fledged mental condition in the latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders in May, many people in the eating disorders and obesity communities wondered: Will this inspire us to finally get along?  It was a good question, since historically, the two groups have been at odds.   Link

Obesity researchers uncover new human brown fat cell   Medical News Today (May 6, 2013) – The body’s brown fat cells play a key role in the development of obesity and diabetes. Researchers at Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden, have now discovered that we humans have two different kinds of brown fat cells and not one kind as previously thought. This discovery, now published in Nature Medicine, opens up new opportunities for future medicines that exploit the brown fat cells’ ability to consume calories.   Link

What really makes us fat?   Medical News Today (Apr. 18, 2013) – Article questions our understanding of the cause of obesity.   If we are to make any progress in tackling the obesity crisis, we have to look again at what really makes us fat, claims an article published in this week’s BMJ.  Gary Taubes, co-founder of the Nutrition Science Initiative, argues that our understanding of the cause of obesity may be incorrect, and that rectifying this misconception is “absolutely critical” to future progress.  “What we want to know,” he says, “is what causes us to gain weight, not whether weight loss can be induced under different conditions of semi-starvation.”   Link

Fat-shaming may curb obesity, bioethicist says (Jan. 24, 2013) by JoNel Aleccia – Unhappy  with the slow pace of public health efforts to curb America’s stubborn obesity epidemic, a prominent bioethicist is proposing a new push for what he says is an “edgier strategy” to promote weight loss: ginning up social stigma.   Daniel Callahan, a senior research scholar and president emeritus of The Hastings Center, put out a new paper this week calling for a renewed emphasis on social pressure against heavy people — what some may call fat-shaming — including public posters …   Link

Warnings from a flabby mouse   New York Times (Jan. 19, 2013) by Nicholas Kristof – One of the puzzles of the modern world is why we humans are growing so tubby. Maybe these two mice offer a clue.  They’re genetically the same, raised in the same lab and given the same food and chance to exercise. Yet the bottom one is svelte, while the other looks like, well, an American.   The only difference is that the top one was exposed at birth to just one part per billion of an endocrine-disrupting chemical.    Link

Our absurd fear of fat   New York Times (Jan. 2, 2013) by Paul Campos – According to the United States government, nearly 7 out of 10 American adults weigh too much. (In 2010, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention categorized 74 percent of men and 65 percent of women as either overweight or obese.)   But a new meta-analysis of the relationship between weight and mortality risk, involving nearly three million subjects from more than a dozen countries, illustrates just how exaggerated and unscientific that claim is.  Link

Shifting the balance between good fat and bad fat   ScienceDaily   (Jan. 4, 2013) — In many cases, obesity is caused by more than just overeating and a lack of exercise. Something in  the body goes haywire, causing it to store more fat and burn less energy. But what is it? Sanford-Burnham researchers have a new theory — a protein called p62. According to a study the team published December 21 in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, when p62 is missing in fat tissue, the body’s metabolic balance shifts — inhibiting “good” brown fat, while favoring “bad” white fat. These findings indicate that p62 might make a promising target for new therapies aimed at curbing obesity.   Link

Feeling fat may make you fat, study suggests   ScienceDaily (Aug. 8, 2012) — They’re everywhere — in magazines, on the Internet, on television — people with super-thin bodies who are presented as having the ideal body form. But despite the increasing pressure to be thin, more and more of us are overweight. Now, researchers from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) have found that normal weight teens who perceive themselves as fat are more likely to grow up to be fat.    Link

Turning white fat into energy-burning brown fat: hope for new obesity and diabetes treatments   ScienceDaily (Aug. 2, 2012) — Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) researchers have identified a mechanism that can give energy-storing white fat some of the beneficial characteristics of energy-burning brown fat. The findings, based on studies of mice and of human fat tissue, could lead to new strategies for treating obesity and type 2 diabetes. The study was published August 2 in the online edition of the journal CellLink

Newly isolated ‘beige fat’ cells could help fight obesity   ScienceDaily (July 12, 2012) — Scientists at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute have isolated a new type of energy-burning fat cell in adult humans which they say may have therapeutic potential for treating obesity.  Called “beige fat,” the cells are found in scattered pea-sized deposits beneath the skin near the collarbone and along the spine in adult humans. Because this type of fat can burn off calories — rather than store them, as “white fat” cells do — beige fat cells might spawn new therapies for obesity and diabetes, according to researchers led by Bruce Spiegelman, PhD, of Dana-Farber.   Link

What really makes us fat   The New York Times:  Opinion (Jun. 30, 2012) by Gary Taubes – A calorie is a calorie. This truism has been the foundation of nutritional wisdom and our beliefs about obesity since the 1960s.   What it means is that a calorie of protein will generate the same energy when metabolized in a living organism as a calorie of fat or carbohydrate. When talking about obesity or why we get fat, evoking the phrase “a calorie is a calorie” is almost invariably used to imply that what we eat is relatively unimportant.   Link

America’s hatred of fat hurts obesity fight   Reuters: Insight (May 11, 2012) by Sharon Begley – The stigmatization of obesity begins in preschool: Children as young as 3 tell scientists studying the phenomenon that overweight people are mean, stupid, ugly and have few friends. It intensifies in adulthood, when substantial numbers of Americans say obese people are self-indulgent, lazy and unable to control their appetites. And it translates into poorer job prospects for the obese compared with their slim peers.  It may be the nation’s last, accepted form of prejudice. But the stigmatization of obesity has repercussions beyond the pain it inflicts on its targets: It threatens to impede efforts to fight the obesity epidemic.   Link

Scientists identify protein that stimulates brown fat to burn calories  ScienceDaily (May 10, 2012) — Scientists have identified a protein which regulates the activation of brown fat in both the brain and the body’s tissues. Their research, which was conducted in mice, was published May 11, in the journal Cell.   Link

Turning ‘bad’ fat into good: A new candidate pathway for treating visceral obesity   ScienceDaily (May 6, 2012) — Brown seems to be the color of choice when it comes to the types of fat cells in our bodies. Brown fat expends energy, while its counterpart, white fat stores it…[as] visceral fat. Visceral fat is the build-up of fat around the organs in the belly… brown fat appears to be our friend and white fat our foe. Now a team of researchers…at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) and Harvard Medical School has discovered a way to turn foe to friend.   Link

New drug to tackle body fat problems  ScienceDaily (Apr. 27, 2012) — Medical researchers at the University of Sheffield have defined the structure of a key part of the human obesity receptor- an essential factor in the regulation of body fat – which could help provide new treatments for the complications of obesity and anorexia.    Link

Potential method to control obesity: Red wine, fruit compound could help block fat cell formation   ScienceDaily (Apr. 4, 2012) — A compound found in red wine, grapes and other fruits, and similar in structure to Resveratrol, is able to block cellular processes that allow fat cells to develop, opening a door to a potential method to control obesity, according to a Purdue University study.  Link

The politics of fat: We have to keep struggling to liberate ourselves from self-hatred  AlterNet (Apr. 4, 2012) by Allison McCarthy – “We claimed the agency, we granted ourselves the authority. But we never stopped worrying about how our asses looked in our jeans.” … Psychologist Susie Orbach’s debut book Fat Is a Feminist Issue celebrates 34 years of providing theoretical and practical musings on the relationship between women and fat.    Link

For many girls, slimming down doesn’t help self-esteem:  Teens who were formerly obese often still view themselves as fat, study finds    US News & World Report: Healthday News (Apr. 3, 2012) – Weight loss doesn’t necessarily lead to a boost in obese teenage girls’ self-esteem, according to a new study.  “We found that obese black and white teenage girls who transitioned out of obesity continued to see themselves as fat, despite changes in their relative body mass,” study author Sarah Mustillo, an associate professor of sociology at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., said in a university news release.  Link

Protective gene discovered in fat cells  ScienceDaily (Apr. 1, 2012) — In a finding that may challenge popular notions of body fat and health, researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) have shown how fat cells can protect the body against diabetes. The results may lead to a new therapeutic strategy for preventing and treating type 2 diabetes and obesity-related metabolic diseases, the authors say.    Link

More trans fat consumption linked to greater aggression, researchers find   ScienceDaily (Mar. 13, 2012) — Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have shown — by each of a range of measures, in men and women of all ages, in Caucasians and minorities — that consumption of dietary trans fatty acids (dTFAs) is associated with irritability and aggression.  Link

Teaching fat cells to burn calories: new target against obesity involves brown fat   ScienceDaily (Mar. 7, 2012) — In the war against obesity, one’s own fat cells may seem an unlikely ally, but new research from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) suggests ordinary fat cells can be reengineered to burn calories.  Link

Disney closes controversial fat-fighting exhibit   Reuters (March 2, 2012) – Obesity experts on Friday applauded Walt Disney World for shuttering a new attraction that drew fierce criticism for its potential to shame overweight children and misrepresent the causes of the global obesity crisis.  “I think they (Disney) likely subscribed to that common misconception that this is something we should just be able to push away from the table and cure,” said Ottawa bariatric surgeon Yoni Freedhoff, whose blog post sparked a public outcry over the attraction at Walt Disney Co’s world-famous Florida theme park.  Link

Faulty fat sensor implicated in obesity and liver disease   ScienceDaily (Feb. 19, 2012) — Defects in a protein that functions as a dietary fat sensor may be a cause of obesity and liver disease, according to a study published in the journal Nature, led by researchers at Imperial College London. The findings highlight a promising target for new drugs to treat obesity and metabolic disorders.   Link

Blame your taste buds for liking fat: Receptor for tasting fat identified in humans  ScienceDaily (Jan. 12, 2012) – Why do we like fatty foods so much? We can blame our taste buds. Our tongues apparently recognize and have an affinity for fat, according to researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. They have found that variations in a gene can make people more or less sensitive to the taste of fat.  Link

The naked truth: I let my weight limit my pleasure  Huffpost Women (Jan. 4, 2012) by Rebecca Jane Weinstein – “No man will ever love you,” proclaimed my grandmother in what she considered her infinite wisdom. I was nine or ten — old enough to know exactly what she was talking about, and young enough that I believed her. Thirty-five years later, undergoing the kind of therapy usually prescribed for veterans of war, I understood that she wasn’t entirely right… Growing up overweight, forced to diet early and listen to forecasts of my own spinsterhood, it took me years — years — to say the word “fat.” So you can imagine the complete shift in perspective it took for me to say the words “fat sex.”  Link

The fat trap  New York Times: Well (Dec. 28, 2011) by Tara Parker-Pope – For 15 years, Joseph Proietto has been helping people lose weight. When these obese patients arrive at his weight-loss clinic in Australia, they are determined to slim down. And most of the time, he says, they do just that, sticking to the clinic’s program and dropping excess pounds. But then, almost without exception, the weight begins to creep back. In a matter of months or years, the entire effort has come undone, and the patient is fat again.   Link

Free to be fat   Globe and Mail (Dec. 28, 2011) by David Haslam – The classic 1981 horror movie The Monster Club, starring Vincent Price, Donald Pleasence and John Carradine as monsters, included a cast of cannibals, vampires, werewolves, ghouls and a hybrid creature called a “shadmock.” Among this group of misfits, the only outcast was an ordinary fat girl … The obese were not always considered monsters.  Link

Why some obese people are healthier than skinny people (Aug. 15, 2011) by Debra Black – Being fat doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re in poor health.  Or so suggests a study done by Jennifer Kuk, a York University assistant professor in the School of Kinesiology and Health Science in the Faculty of Health.  “Not all obese individuals have poor health,” Kuk told the Star. “Conversely not all normal weight individuals have good health. You can have normal weight individuals who have high blood pressure, diabetes and poor lifestyle.”  Kuk and her team looked at 6,000 obese Americans comparing them to 23,000 healthy individuals.   Link

The thins versus the fats: Is obesity really a health, and a health care, issue?  New York Times: Opinionator (July 30, 2011) by Eric Etheridge – Though the now-twinned issues of race and beer have dominated the week’s storyline, Paul Campos wants you to think about another form of discrimination — fatism. It’s time we “stop harassing people about their weight,” says Campos, author of the “Obesity Myth,” in an interview with Megan McArdle for her Atlantic blog.  It appears that focusing on the idea that being fat actually makes people fatter. At least there’s an extremely strong correlation there. I bet if we stopped demonizing fatness, people would actually be a bit thinner. They’d certainly be happier and healthier.  Link

Belly fat in men: Why weight loss matters  Mayo Clinic (June 9, 2011) by Mayo Clinic staff – Belly fat is nothing to joke about. Find out what causes belly fat, the health risks it poses for men and what you can do to lose the extra pounds.  If you’re carrying a few extra pounds, you’re not alone. But this is one case where following the crowd isn’t a good idea. Carrying extra weight — especially belly fat — can be risky.  Michael Jensen, M.D., an endocrinology specialist at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn., answers common questions about belly fat in men.   Link

Study links trans fats to depression (Jan. 26, 2011) by Kate Allen – The more trans fats a healthy person consumes, the higher the risk of developing depression, new research suggests.  A Spanish study, published Wednesday in the online peer-reviewed journal PLoS ONE, followed 12,000 individuals over an average of six years, and in some cases as many as 10. All were initially depression-free… Researchers discovered the biggest consumers of unhealthy trans fats were 48 per cent more likely to develop depression than those with the lowest intake of those fats, which are most commonly found in processed foods and have been linked to coronary heart disease, obesity and other health problems.   Link

Food addiction: Could it explain why 70 percent of Americans are fat?   Huffington Post (Oct. 16, 2010) by Mark Hyman, MD – Our government and food industry both encourage more “personal responsibility” when it comes to battling the obesity epidemic and its associated diseases. They say people should exercise more self-control, make better choices, avoid overeating, and reduce their intake of sugar-sweetened drinks and processed food. We are led to believe that there is no good food or bad food, that it’s all a matter of balance. This sounds good in theory, except for one thing…New discoveries in science prove that industrially processed, sugar- fat- and salt-laden food — food that is made in a plant rather than grown on a plant, as Michael Pollan would say — is biologically addictive.    Link

Lost pounds lead to burst fantasy (April 27, 2010) – by Joan Raymond.   If thin equals happy, Jen Larsen should be on cloud nine. Larsen, 36, of Ogden, Utah, was the fat child. The fat teen. The fat adult. Four years ago, Larsen hit a high of 316 pounds and when diet after diet failed she opted for bariatric surgery. By all measures, the procedure was textbook perfect. The 5-foot-7-inch Larsen is now a slim 140 pounds.  Life, she says, is simpler: she has more energy; her knees feel better; her back doesn’t hurt. And study after study shows she has slashed her risk for life-threatening health conditions like heart disease, cancer and diabetes. But a funny thing happened on the way to becoming a size 8: No matter how much Larsen shrank, her troubles stayed the same size.  Link

Obesity gene, carried by more than a third of the US population, leads to brain tissue loss  ScienceDaily (Apr. 20, 2010) — Three years ago, geneticists reported the startling discovery that nearly half of all people in the U.S. with European ancestry carry a variant of the fat mass and obesity associated (FTO) gene, which causes them to gain weight — from three to seven pounds, on average – but worse, puts them at risk for obesity.   Link

Too much sugar increases heart disease risk:  Eating a lot of sugar not only makes you fat. It may also increase a person’s risk for heart disease, U.S. researchers said (April 20, 2010) – They said people who ate more added sugar were more likely to have higher risk factors for heart disease, such as higher triglycerides and lower levels of protective high-density lipoprotein or HDL cholesterol.  Link

Trans fats can be deadly for women: Linked to risk of sudden cardiac death, research shows (Apr. 17, 2010) by Leah Zerbe – By this point, we know trans fats are a no-no. The fats, often found in processed foods, margarine, or shortening, and in fried foods, are commonly added to food products to extend their shelf life. The bad news is, the stuff is doing nothing to extend your own shelf life. In fact, a recent study published in the American Heart Journal found that women living with coronary heart disease who eat trans fat foods are at particular risk of sudden cardiac death.   Link

Fear of getting fat seen in healthy women’s brain scans  ScienceDaily (Apr. 14, 2010) — A group of women in a new study seemed unlikely to have body image issues — at least their responses on a tried-and-true psychological screening presented no red flags. That assessment changed when Brigham Young University researchers used MRI technology to observe what happened in the brain when people viewed images of complete strangers.  Link

Discovery of ‘fat’ taste could hold the key to reducing obesity  ScienceDaily (Mar. 10, 2010) — A newly discovered ability for people to taste fat could hold the key to reducing obesity, Deakin University health researchers believe.  Deakin researchers…have found that humans can detect a sixth taste — fat. They also found that people with a high sensitivity to the taste of fat tended to eat less fatty foods and were less likely to be overweight. The results of their research are published in the latest issue of the British Journal of NutritionLink

Fat epidemic linked to chemicals run amok  (Mar. 8, 2010) – by Stephen Perrine with Heather Hurlock.   It’s not just about calories in versus calories out.  If that were all it took to lose weight — eating a little less and exercising a little more — then weight loss would be as simple as grade-school math: Subtract Y from Z and end up with X.  But if you’ve ever followed a diet program and achieved less than your desired result, you probably came away feeling frustrated, depressed, and maybe a bit guilty. What did I do wrong?    Link

Are your food allergies making you fat? (Nov. 3, 2009) by Mark Hyman, MD — Your digestive system may be making you fat. It’s hard to believe – but very true!  Today, I’m going to explain the bugs in your digestive tract, why they upset your gut’s immune system, and how they just might be behind those extra pounds.  Link

Do high-fat diets make us stupid and lazy? Physical and memory abilities of rats affected after 9 days    ScienceDaily (Sep. 5, 2009) — Rats fed a high-fat diet show a stark reduction in their physical endurance and a decline in their cognitive ability after just nine days, a study by Oxford University researchers has shown.  The research, funded by the British Heart Foundation and published in the FASEB Journal, may have implications not only for those eating lots of high-fat foods, but also athletes looking for the optimal diet for training and patients with metabolic disorders.  Link

Mice can eat ‘junk’ and not get fat: researchers find gene that protects high-fat-diet mice from obesity    ScienceDaily (Sep. 4, 2009) — University of Michigan researchers have identified a gene that acts as a master switch to control obesity in mice. When the switch is turned off, even high-fat-diet mice remain thin.  Link

High-fat, high-sugar foods alter brain receptors  ScienceDaily (Aug. 6, 2009) — Over consumption of fatty, sugary foods leads to changes in brain receptors, according to new animal research at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.  The new research results are being presented at the 2009 annual meeting of the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior (SSIB). The results have implications for understanding bulimia and other binge eating disorders.  Link

Does this show make me look fat?  Ryerson University: Research News (June 25, 2009) — Dr. Stephen Want, Assistant Professor in Ryerson University’s Department of Psychology looked at the impact of television programs on young women’s body image using the sitcom Friends. He found that watching this program had a significantly adverse effect on the participants’ satisfaction with their own appearance.   Link

Get fat, live longer: What the obesity industry doesn’t want you to know  Globe and Mail: Opinion (July 25, 2009) by Margaret Wente  — A new study based on Statistics Canada population data reaches an exceedingly awkward conclusion: People who are overweight live longer than people who are classified as “normal” weight. Not only that, people who are classified as significantly overweight also live longer.  Link

Immune system may help fight obesity  Toronto Star: (July 27, 2009) by Joseph Hall  — The body’s immune system targets its own fat and may soon be manipulated to fight epidemic obesity and diabetes, a revolutionary Toronto study has found.   Link

‘Phantom fat’ can linger after weight loss: Losing weight is just the first step (June 23, 2009) by Jacqueline Stenson — Even though Kellylyn Hicks has lost about 85 pounds over the last year and a half, and gone from a size 24 to a tiny size 4, she still worries she won’t fit into chairs…Some specialists use the term “phantom fat” to refer to this phenomenon of feeling fat and unacceptable after weight loss.  Link

Blow your diet? Blame your brain:  low-fat labels and encouraging exercise can backfire (May 13, 2009) by Linda Carroll — Ever make a resolution to go out and exercise and end up grabbing a gooey chocolate cupcake instead?  No matter how good our intentions are, sometimes it seems like our stomachs are out to sabotage us. Scientists are now starting to understand why this happens.   Link

Maternal Mirrors:  Two new books look at the influence mothers have on their daughters’ body image—and how women can instill confidence instead of insecurity  Newsweek (May 6, 2009) by Barbara Kantrowitz and Pat Wingert — The next time you take a look in the mirror and find yourself asking, “Does my butt look fat in this dress?,” it might be worth also asking whether you should thank your mom for such thoughts. That’s the thesis of two new books that explore the influence of mothers on their daughters’ developing body images. These aren’t the typical “blame mom for everything” tomes that we usually want to toss against a wall….Rather, both books … offer reassuring and practical advice for raising confident daughters and overcoming negative messages you may have received from your own mother.  Link

Dietary fats trigger long-term memory formation   ScienceDaily (May 3, 2009) — Having strong memories of that rich, delicious dessert you ate last night? If so, you shouldn’t feel like a glutton. It’s only natural.  UC Irvine researchers have found that eating fat-rich foods triggers the formation of long-term memories of that activity. The study adds to their recent work linking dietary fats to appetite control and may herald new approaches for treating obesity and other eating disorders.  Link

Depression linked with accumulation of visceral fat  ScienceDaily (Apr. 29, 2009) — Numerous studies have shown that depression is associated with an increased risk of heart disease, but exactly how has never been clear.  Now, researchers at Rush University Medical Center have shown that depression is linked with the accumulation of visceral fat, the kind of fat packed between internal organs at the waistline, which has long been known to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.   Link

Dieters’ best intentions hijacked by their brains (Apr. 20, 2009) — New research suggests millions have their best intentions foiled by “conditioned hypereating” – the drive to eat high-fat, high-sugar foods even when they’re not hungry.  Link

Factors other than genes could cause obesity, insulin study shows  ScienceDaily (Apr. 15, 2009) — Researchers have uncovered new evidence suggesting factors other than genes could cause obesity, finding that genetically identical cells store widely differing amounts of fat depending on subtle variations in how cells process insulin.   Link

Adults have brown fat too, studies find   New York Times (Apr. 09, 2009) by Gina Kolata — Originally believed to be lost after infancy, calorie-burning brown fat has been discovered in adults.  Link

Why women should feel good naked (Jan. 23, 2009) — For years Laure Redmond hated her body: too fat, too freckled, too lumpy, too stumpy. And that hatred was like a set of shackles holding her back from life. Author says she finds that women comfortable with their own body are nicer to other women.  Now a self-esteem coach who specializes in mind/body issues, Redmond has made a career of helping women and teenage girls get over what she calls their body demons. Her goal for them is summed up in the title of her 2001 book: “Feel Good Naked.”  It’s not about naked for naked’s sake, she says it’s about the amazing confidence that comes with being at ease in your own skin.  Link

Another reason to avoid high-fat diet: it can disrupt our biological clock, say researchers   ScienceDaily (Dec. 31, 2008) — Indulgence in a high-fat diet can not only lead to overweight because of excessive calorie intake, but also can affect the balance of circadian rhythms – everyone’s 24-hour biological clock, Hebrew University of Jerusalem researchers have shown.   Link

One tiny truffle may lead to more indulgence (Dec. 19, 2008) by Brian Alexander — In a recently released study, professors Juliano Laran of the University of Miami and Chris Janiszewski of the University of Florida Gainesville say they may have uncovered a key to why some people overindulge in fattening foods, buy more than they want and party too much – and why others seem immune.   Link

Gene may explain why some go for fatty foods (Dec 10, 2008) – A study of children found those with a common gene variation tends to overeat high-calorie foods. They ate 100 extra calories per meal, which over the long term can put on weight.  Link

Eating quickly and until full triples risk of being overweight  ScienceDaily (Oct. 22, 2008) — The combination of eating quickly and eating until full trebles the risk of being overweight, according to a study published on the British Medical Journal website.  Until the last decade or so most adults did not have the opportunity to consume enough energy to enable fat to be stored. However, with the increased availability of inexpensive food in larger portions, fast food, and fewer families eating together and eating while distracted (e.g. while watching TV), eating behaviours are changing, and this may be contributing to the obesity epidemic.  Link

Losing the weight stigma   New York Times (Oct. 05, 2008) by Robin Marantz Henig — A social movement argues that you can be healthy no matter how fat you are.  Link

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