Obesity as a side effect, not an enemy

I just saw a thought-provoking “TedTalks” by Peter Attia, MD, about diabetes and obesity. Please take time to watch it. I can’t do justice to it, but he is challenging the accepted thinking about weight, insulin and diabetes.

We know insulin resistance leads to diabetes. We assume the overweight leads to insulin resistance, because that seems logical. So the medical community instructs those at risk of or suffering from diabetes to lose weight.

The assumption is that if an overweight person loses weight, the insulin resistance will abate. Unfortunately, the majority of people have great difficulty reversing the process. Presently 69% of Americans over the age of 20 are considered overweight. (source: CDC) But what if something else triggers insulin resistance in the body and the side effect of insulin resistance is overweight?

Just a couple of days ago we reported on a study from Brown University, published in the New England Journal of Medicinethat focused on getting diabetic people to lose weight in order to avoid cardiovascular events like stroke and heart attack. Losing weight did not work. The study could not find a significant difference in cardiac events between those who had lost weight and those who remained overweight.

Maybe being overweight doesn’t cause insulin resistance. Maybe it doesn’t cause diabetes or heart attacks. Perhaps obesity is not the trigger, but it is an adverse reaction to whatever else is going on in the body. Fascinating.


Suzanne B. Robotti

Suzanne Robotti founded MedShadow Foundation in 2012. Learn more about Su and her mission.


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