You’re being lied to about your weight and health

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Everywhere you go, there are references to how obesity and overweight cause cancer, heart disease, etc.

I call bullshit and it’s time to start talking about this anywhere and everywhere we can. In the US, all these lies are being used to target “fat” employees for firings or fine them for supposedly costing the company money.

None of this is true. Please read that link: JunkfoodScience is a blog by a registered nurse with a biological science degree dedicated to breaking down the myth that being thin is being healthy, and being other than thin is being other than healthy. This is perhaps her most thorough, simple article yet. For those who haven’t the time to read the link, I’ll sum up:

The latest study, a follow-up to Tommy Thompson’s bullshit that started all this, was very careful to err on the side of finding links from obesity and overweight to disease and instead found:

  • BMI’s under 18.5 (Hollywood thin) are linked to noticeably higher deaths from all the diseases included in the study (plus injuries).
  • BMI’s of 25-30 (“overweight”) are linked to fewer deaths from all of those diseases and injuries, excelt for slightly higher deaths from diabetes and kidney disease. “No way around it, being overweight was associated with a total of 138,281 fewer deaths from all causes.”
  • And BMI’s over 30 were associated with fewer deaths in general. “Yes, obesity was beneficial for all of these causes of death.”

They found that for all of the other 4 subgroups, obesity was associated with reduced mortality. So, while obesity was associated with higher risks for diabetes/kidney disease-related mortality, it was associated with lower deaths from all of the non-cancer/non-CVD causes.

But doesn’t fat give you cancer? Isn’t that the new thing caring researchers concerned only with their bottom line our health and well-being are telling us? From the study:

“Our results showed little or no association of excess all-cancer mortality with any of the BMI categories. None of the estimates of excess deaths was statistically significantly different [from null].”

The media’s attempt to recover its anti-fat bias (so lovely to have science to ground your prejudice in) works like this:

generally the reporting of this study has told us that it found that being a few pounds overweight or being “pleasantly plump” is beneficial, but cross that line into ‘obesity’ and you’re a goner.

Bottom line:

When we read that this study reported that an estimated total of 95,442 deaths were associated with those in the obese category and 46,198 among the underweight, at first glance it might appear that obesity is associated with the greatest risks. But to make sense of those numbers, we have to put them in the context of how many people are fall into each of those categories: only 2.2% of the population is underweight compared to 23.3% obese. In other words, overall, an obese person has one-fifth the risks for premature death compared to someone who is Hollywood thin.

In the 80’s, when I was a kid, you were supposed to want to be superthin. There were markers, like how you should be able to see your chest ribs and collarbones, how there should be a hollow at the thigh above the knee, into which your calves neatly tuck – or else you’re not thin enough. I learned to my disappointment I would never be “thin” because I have muscles in my legs and ass that prevent the calf-thigh tuck even when I’m really fit (which I never, ever thought I was, until now in hindsight). But at least then I knew it was all fashion.

Until doctors (yes, more than one) told me to lose a few pounds. I was 14 years old, weighed 114, was 5’2″ and full of muscle from jogging. I had polycystic ovaries, and they’d heard fat cells fueled that disorder (nope, it’s really just genes and it’s not that big a deal). For 20 years, I suffered with the I’d caused my own PCD by not weighing 108 pounds. Now they’re saying PCD causes women to gain weight no matter what they do because of insulin resistance. (I should’ve known: they also said PCD made you almost perfectly infertile, and yet my mom had it and here I am. Now they acknowledge that whoopsie, they made a widdle mistake telling me at 16 I would never have children.)

Now everyone is getting this message that caused me significant damage for years – that your health is dependent on slimness, you fat, disgusting, lazy, slob – and this is so dangerous I want to jail the people behind this fraud. And yes, I am claiming that a generation of researchers influenced from childhood by the appearance of skinny models and actresses has unconsciously applied their biases to their own research. That’s what human beings do. It doesn’t matter if they’re religious fundamentalists, film executives or scientists. It’s a continuous journey, seeing past your own assumptions. Even when people mean to, they often fail.

If I was a vindictive person, then for all the times my fat’s been pointed out and laughed at or used to guilt or shame me, I might now go about laughing at slim people my age who are already suffering disorders no one in my family has, and looking forward to difficulties in their senior years that are unlikely to befall me at all. In my mother’s fat family, we consider 87 a slightly premature death; we die of old age; the vast majority of us are healthy and able-bodied to the end. I spent the first 34 years of my life regretting my fat genes and the bad health they were sure to cause me because I paid attention to supposedly valid research instead of looking around and noticing: my whole family is fat, healthy and long-lived.

Where were researchers looking when they got the idea I needed to weigh less than 114 pounds?

Comments

  1. sbg says

    Yeah, I’m apparently enormous and face major health issues right at this very minute. Someone should tell my doctor, who proclaimed me “amazingly healthy” at my last physical.

    My continued quest to lose a few pounds (and it’s not even that so much as tone up what I have) isn’t for health reasons. I don’t need to lose weight for that purpose, because I’m already healthy.

  2. Sandy says

    Dear Beta Candy, Thanks so much for the wonderful synopsis and mention!

    P.S. I am a registered nurse with a biological science degree. I do love food, though. :)

  3. says

    SBG, that’s what I’m realizing: I am in very good health. I even am learning to like how I look. I work out to gain muscle because it feels great to be strong, and I do cardio because it gives me a rush and works off some stress. I was so frustrated this year that all this new working out wasn’t taking off the weight, but now I’m okay with it: maybe the weight is part of my family’s health secret. Maybe “boosting my metabolism” would alter my chances of living a long, healthy, active life like almost all the people I’m descended from.

    Sandy, thank you for the hard work on your fantastic blog. In fact, I’m going to add you to the blogroll.

  4. says

    Oh wow, I was just talking on my lj about these sorts of messages! I’ve so internalized the message that I *must* be lazy, because I am fat, and all fat people are lazy, because that’s what it is, and I hate it. I hate that I have such issues where I just don’t want to eat because of all the shame issues around food and how dangerously I under eat every day. It’s pathetic.

  5. says

    *nods*

    My “can’t gain weight” friends are always stunned at how little I eat while they scarf down entire restaurant portions. They walk up a set of stairs and get winded, while I jog up stairs and my pulse barely quickens.

    And yet I know what people think when they see us: I’m the lazy, wheezy, big eater, and the other one is the hard-working, physically fit healthy eater.

    It’s hard not to internalize it when you know it’s what people think, and they prove it at every opportunity. People have over the years come up with science to justify seeing other races or women as lesser beings; now they’re doing the same thing with fat people.

    Fat is as fat does. Skinny is as skinny does. People need to judge others’ health and character on, like, their actual health and character, not their appearance.

  6. Tessa says

    …I might now go about laughing at people I know who are putting their slim 70 year old parents into nursing homes because their bodies are falling apart.

    I sympathize with your message – I think it’s complete bullshit that people think they can judge a person’s health based on her appearance/weight/BMI/whatever stupid measure-of-the-week that really means “I don’t find you sufficiently sexy, how dare you not turn me on”, but as a person from a family that tends to the slim side, with a Mum who was a competitive athlete and who nevertheless has had a number of very scary mini-strokes, I find this pretty hurtful.
    I know you’re not saying that you’d actually do it, and I understand the feelings behind it, but it’s not me or any of the people who happen to be slim (though still not slim enough by Hollywood standards) who have tried to make you feel any less worthy of respect, or who have suggested or believed that you’re any less healthy or athletic because of your build.

  7. says

    It was meant to be hurtful, and you were meant to have that reaction, because:

    I understand the feelings behind it

    If you’re slim, you can’t possibly. Sorry, but it’s a privilege thing – not your fault. Like a white person who’s never experienced black, you can’t be expected to totally understand it or you would never have said this:

    but it’s not me or any of the people who happen to be slim (though still not slim enough by Hollywood standards) who have tried to make you feel any less worthy of respect

    Oh, really? Slim kids were cruel to me about my weight all through my childhood. Slim people were all the time judging me, and they let me know it.

    I’ve had slim employers remark in my presence on – and the presence of significantly heavier employees than I – how much they wish they could fire fatties.

    So it’s not just Calvin Klein and Hollywood conspiring against me. It’s an awful lot of people who imagine themselves to be wonderful no matter how they behave because they have the slim stamp of approval. I know you and many others are not like that. I have had slim girlfriends who told me I looked good and encouraged me to ignore all that bullshit by telling me how much they ate and how little they exercised compared to me – their way of saying they know it’s just genes and they are fortunate to be what’s “in” and they’re on my side.

    THAT is why I’d never actually say those things. I do now frequently mention to people how long and how well my family lives, not usually in the context of my weight, but just to reaffirm in my own head that my genes are not these awful things of fat but the good things of long life. If they should put it into the context of, “But she’s fat!!! She can’t outlive me!!! Katie Couric promiiiiised!” that’s their own lesson to learn.

    That said, I do apologize to you for causing you pain. But to be honest, I still think what I said was appropriate as a demonstration for those who have no way of experiencing what I and many fat people have gone through just how much it hurts.

  8. Tessa says

    Actually, I weighed over 200 pounds for years (throughout highschool, in fact), and I was always treated as “the fat kid” in elementary and junior high school (though looking back at those times, I wasn’t really big – I was just taller and stronger built than the other kids). I had to move schools because I was being beaten so badly during recesses. I have slim privilege now; I haven’t always. I probably didn’t word my comment as well as I could have – it was written very quickly in a rather upset state of mind. But when I say I understand, I really, really do. I even sometimes get a little bit of schadenfreude out of the fact that I know I’m fitter and stronger than the vast majority of people who were complete assholes to me when I was bigger, and that I would be even if I were still big – it’s just the idea of schadenfreude based on their parents’ suffering (and the horrible things I’ve seen happen in nursing homes) that set me off.

  9. scarlett says

    I was at a day concert yesterday with my sis. It topped out at 38 degrees; there were people running around in shorts and bikini tops for the women. I saw a few people who were wearing lightweight longsleeved shirts to protect their arms, but my sis, who weighs about 50kgs, went one step further and put on a longsleeved cardigan. It was realy strange, seeing all these shorts and bikinis and her in jeans and a cardi. Me and the group we were with were floored that, on such a hot day, she could stand to wear something so heavy, but she reckoned she didn’t feel the heat. Maybe there’s something with the way she feels temperatures – she says she gets cold much more easier than others – but I’m inclined to believe that being so thin, her body has little insulation and she feels temperatures about 10 degress cooler than the rest of us. And that can’t possibly he healthy.

  10. says

    Tessa, I do apologize again. I get what you’re saying now. I’ve edited the line “who are putting their slim 70 year old parents into nursing homes because their bodies are falling apart” and replaced it with “who are already suffering disorders no one in my family has, and looking forward to difficulties in their senior years that are unlikely to befall me at all”. (Recording the old line here for posterity, so people can make sense of the comment thread).

    Still harsh, but hopefully an improvement that still makes the point that needs making. (?)

    Scarlett, I have no idea if a lack of fat can have that effect, but it does seem to make sense. I understand wearing more clothes than seems appropriate can also be a sign of an eating disorder – a way not to let people know just how thin you are. Of course, I always wore more clothes than others in hot weather to disguise the curves Calvin Klein didn’t think I should have, so there ya go. ;) Whatever the case, I wish your sister good health.

  11. scarlett says

    Well I’ve been told that people who suffer from anorexia and bulimia often suffer from being constantly cold because there’s so little fat on their bodies. My sister doesn’t have an eating disorder – except in the sense that she eats erratically and a lot of junk, but she doesn’t think much about her body – but she’s on medication which is something of an appetite suppresor.

    I was having my dinner at work today before going to the gym, and had to explain to about the twentieth person that I was staying back a bit late to have my dinner so I wasn’t absolutely starving after my workout and having that McDonalds looking really tempting. For about the twentieth time I was met with completely dumbfoundedness that someone as slim as I am feels they need to go to the gym. I then have to explain that I’m terribly out of shape and I’ve put on twenty kilos in two years thanks to a diet largely consisting of laste night pasta and beer. More often than not, they don’t get it. It’s like they just see a woman who, because she’s slim, must be in excellent helath, and therefor has no reason to work out or eat well.

  12. Tessa says

    Thanks BetaCandy – I really appreciate that. Sorry to be such a pain about it; the first version really hit an exposed nerve for me. Thanks again!

  13. says

    Scarlett, that’s exactly the reason this is all such a health issue. Slim women aren’t getting the screening they need because doctors also often look at them and think they look “healthy”, so they must be. Meanwhile, women who aren’t slim (honestly, at this point I’ve no idea what to call us) are sometimes getting their weight blamed for all their troubles when in fact there are other, unrelated problems at issue.

    Tessa, don’t apologize. You were right, and the post is better for it. ;)

  14. scarlett says

    Slim women aren’t getting the screening they need because doctors also often look at them and think they look “healthy”, so they must be. Meanwhile, women who aren’t slim (honestly, at this point I’ve no idea what to call us) are sometimes getting their weight blamed for all their troubles when in fact there are other, unrelated problems at issue.

    A couple of weeks ago I’d come home from the gym and made myself steak and chips to watch with my favorite TV show which started at 930. I offered my youngest sister (the overweight one with bipolar, for anyone who’s keeping tabs :p) what was leftover – ie, the bit of the steak that I had to cut off so it would fit into the pan and the chips I couldn’t fit onto the plate along with the steak that could barely fit into the pan – and dad had an absolute fit over her eating so late while blithely ignoring the fact that I had a serving at least twice as big. There were a few extentuating circumstances – it was my first dinner, not counting the light meal I have before I go, whereas it was my sister’s second, and I treat myself to such a big meal and a few beers with my favorite show because otherwise it’s hell trying to get through the week on a low-fat, low-carb, alcohol-free diet otherwise – but DAD DIDN’T KNOW THIS. He just got stuck into the ‘fat’ one for eating steak and chips so late while ignoring the ‘thin’ one for eating twice as big a portion (and washing it down with beer!). I pointed out that our middle sister (the skinny one who feels the cold much easier) eats far more junk than the two of us combined but it was like his mental processing couldn’t get past ‘fat girl eating late at night’. She was so upset that she couldn’t eat after it.

  15. says

    Interesting indeed… I hope they put some research into this hypothesis.

    I’ve certainly had my own moments of taking issue with things like the BMI, which put me at almost unhealthy when I really wasn’t very heavy at all (150 lbs at 5’6″) I sat there thinking to myself “this just can’t be right.”

    I do though, certainly think that obesity is a problem in this country, and a serious one. My sister in law is running into problems already in her early thirties because she is so heavy.

    But the idea that carrying a little extra weight around is as bad for you as they say… I don’t buy it. In one of Dr. Weil’s books he even commented on the fact that men who carrying some extra weight (think one of those robust and healthy looking Scottish types with a bit of a beer gut or something) actually have better longevity than their skinny counterparts.

    I think nutrition, food, and diet in this country need serious re-evaluations, and obviously on both sides of the issue. Great post.

  16. says

    Nonslim women: Womanly. Curvacious.

    I like those. :D

    Whatshername, if I wasn’t clear, many members of my super-healthy family are more than just “overweight”. From the article:

    And BMI’s over 30 were associated with fewer deaths in general. “Yes, obesity was beneficial for all of these causes of death.”

    Are you sure your SIL’s problems are from her weight, or is that just what her doctors are saying because they haven’t read this study all the way through yet? Old research insisted being at all overweight was bad for you. Now they’re saying overweight is actually BEST, and obesity protects you from more diseases than it causes.

    This certainly explains the lifelong obese people in my family who are now in their 90’s and 100’s, who are active and in astoundingly great health for their age.

  17. says

    Yah, her doctors are very sure it has to do with her weight. She’s quite obese and has been for a long time. I mean, I’m not a doctor, but it seems like an accurate diagnosis to me.

    My point about the overweight thing was just how quickly you will get put into that category, which is what first tipped me off that there was something wrong with this system. :)

  18. says

    Do not like either “curvy” or “womanly”, nor any of the other popular alternatives. I am neither. I am FAT, and I have no problem with that. Just like some stupid people use words like “gay” or “girly” as pejoratives, many — most! — people use “fat” as an insult or an indictment. It isn’t. It’s just WHAT I AM.

  19. sbg says

    It’s interesting, Lea. I work with a guy who quite frequently references how he’s fat. Not once have I ever thought that about him. I also have a friend who generally weighs in between 270-300. She, too, says she’s fat…but when I see her, I just see her. It’s not an adjective I use lightly – when I think fat, I think of folks who literally cannot get out of bed.

    But you’re right – it’s a major, oft-used pejorative. The only people in our society in which it’s acceptable to be fat are babies. Come to their 2nd or 3rd birthday and the cute chubbiness of before becomes “whoa, that kid is fat and should lose weight!” and stays that way from that point on.

    Most people do make assumptions of health based on physical appearance – like the employer cited in BetaCandy’s article, which is punishing those who look like they don’t exercise rather than using exercise programs as an incentive. Hell, I am fairly active (walk 4-5 miles a day, 45 min of yoga 4 times a week), but I sure don’t meet the “thin and healthy” look.

    I don’t know what my point is, heh. I’ll stop rambling.

  20. says

    Yah, her doctors are very sure it has to do with her weight. She’s quite obese and has been for a long time. I mean, I’m not a doctor, but it seems like an accurate diagnosis to me.

    Okay. Maybe that’s true. I’m sure if someone’s heavy enough, then just things like their ability to move around comfortably is an issue that should be addressed. I personally am skeptical when doctors blame various diseases on one’s weight, especially in light of the new research, but whatever.

    You also say there’s a serious obesity problem in this country. What do YOU mean by obesity, since you seem to agree they put too many people in that category? As my article states, the “obese” class is actually protected by its flab from several diseases, and only has higher incident of diabetes when you lump diabetes in with kidney disease… which means being obese is slightly advantageous.

  21. says

    Lea, what I was originally wondering when I said I’m no longer sure what to call those of us who aren’t slim was:

    –“Overweight” is now wrong, since the new research clearly indicates what it previous called “overweight” folks are at the optimum weight for health
    –“Fat” is a pejorative which suggests we’re worse off than other people, which is now clearly not true, but like you say, maybe we should just claim it the way the queer community has claimed and rehabilitated “queer” to simply mean “what we are”.

    Also, there are different levels of “not slim”. Some people are big and round like Santa, some of us just have big asses or beer bellies. I fall into the latter category, and it’s been my experience that when I try to evince solidarity with larger “fat” people, they don’t feel it because they perceive me as being in a privileged class they’re not. And I have come to realize they’re right: I’m perceived as a normal woman needing to lose a few pounds, they’re perceived as altogether abnormal.

    So when I call myself “fat”, I’ve found that larger women tend to take offense at my attempt to include myself in their group. Understandably. So I usually call myself “plump” or “chunky” out of sensitivity to them, but it probably comes off to others like I’m ashamed of my weight and trying to use nicer words.

    That’s what I’m really talking about here. We need a whole new vocabulary.

  22. says

    For me, observing “fat” people shows a pattern. There are those with extra weight, some with quite a bit even, who are obviously otherwise healthy. They move around and run and swim and everything else, they just have extra weight. I’ve known tons of these people, mostly women.

    Then there are those who have trouble moving around, start running into health problems like high blood pressure, non-cancer issues but things that (like my SIL’s doctors are talking about) seem to reasonably result from stress on the body due to carrying too much weight around. I mean, my SIL can’t walk normally…She walks more like a pregnant woman. That can’t be good for her organs and bones, can it? These people, are my definition of obese. Looking at the BMI I realized that to doctors, people I would only consider “chubby” are also considered obese, and people I don’t consider fat at all are considered overweight. Truly, that is ridiculous.

    The other part of it is to me though, that the U.S. has a serious problem with food. That’s a whole other rant but our food culture sucks, and I really, really want it to be addressed. I think that’s a big part of our problems with health (which like is talked about here, is not just about obese people, skinny people’s health is virtually over looked because we’re assumed to be healthy, HA!)

  23. says

    [I]t’s been my experience that when I try to evince solidarity with larger “fat” people, they don’t feel it because they perceive me as being in a privileged class they’re not. And I have come to realize they’re right: I’m perceived as a normal woman needing to lose a few pounds, they’re perceived as altogether abnormal.

    And I go into the queer community and get called “switch-hitter” and “liesexual” and a few other terms I don’t feel like listing. And biracial or otherwise fair-skinned individuals gets flack in communities of people of color. And….

    One of the first and most persistent themes in any movement of marginalized people is learning to live with the boundaries of what we can and cannot say to those who are more privileged than us. This is largely a factor of fighting our own self-loathing and internalized bias, and the virulent backlash this invariably produces. Nothing is more natural than hating or resenting those who are more privileged than us on any scale, but the fact that it’s natural doesn’t mean we don’t have to fight it.

    Just as we cannot say “anorexic bitch” to any woman who is too skinny for our liking, we will gradually learn that grading ourselves in reverse is counter-productive. Just as we are coming to realize that saying “real women have curves” still puts women’s bodies in subservience to their attractiveness.

    I have long come to realize that much of the hatred and misconception comes from confusing the meanings of these three terms: fat, overweight and obese. Now I am coming to understand that the medical definitions and population ratios of them are also deeply skewed. In short:

    1) “Fat” means a person who has relatively more body fat repositories. It is a neutral and subjective term; fatter, less fat, a little fat, very fat. It is erroneously and maliciously used as a pejorative.

    2) “Overweight” means a person who is carrying somewhat more fat deposits that is healthy for them. This is relative to the body in question, especially to the skeleton strength and muscle tissue. It is uncomfortable, and can cause pain especially in the ankles, knees and back.

    3) “Obese” means a person who is carrying a lot more fat that is healthy for them, by a factor that can cause serious long-term health problems. It is a disease that needs treatment.

    4) Caveat: As ever, health cannot and will not be regarded as a moral imperative. Society does not have the right to require things of an individual’s body, as that would be intolerably invasive.

  24. says

    Whatshername: I see what you’re saying. I’m just concerned because my family – the type that looks fat but moves well, is active and is generally healthier than average – gets lumped in with people who are actually suffering because of their weight. And if an employer decides that your sister in law and I both need to lose weight or pay a fine, guess what? Your SIL may be able to lose the weight with proper training and discipline (since her body is apparently “happier” at a lower weight), but I can’t. I’ve had a trainer. I can do any diet without cheating – I have that self-control. It’s just that my body will lose a pound or two, then it figures out how to reset itself to the weight it was at before. Which is not fashionable, but is healthy… but an insurance company or employer out to punish fatties is not going to make the distinction.

    Lea: that is just a fantastic comment, and I have nothing to add. I think you are exactly right in pointing out that “overweight” is relative to that individual body, not to some number on a chart or an insurance form.

    You also make very good points about the language. Here, where none of our bodies are visible, I think perhaps keeping “fat” inclusive of everyone who’s not slim and using it in ways that clearly are not pejorative is a good idea. In regular day to day dealings with people who are larger than I am and frustrated, I’m still not sure what to do. After all, a very large person who can easily lose weight if only they did a moderate amount of exercise and diet improvements is facing a totally different situation than I am: I can neither lose nor gain weight through any amount of effort. Maybe in the end, we need different words for people who are out of shape and people who have a naturally “fat” body type.

    If we’re going to judge anything, we should be judging one’s fitness, which is NOT indicated by visible fat or the lack thereof. There are really large people who run marathons. There are really skinny people who can’t walk up a flight of stairs without a rest at the top (whereas I can jog up them and have a conversation all the way).

    But fat is visual, and people are lazy, so we desperately want this to be a quick and easy way to judge people. Like some people still desperately want to use skin color to judge intelligence.

  25. Patience St. James says

    Lea, fancy seeing you here!

    While I find the Junkfood Science blog to be quite interesting, I don’t know that I buy her readings of the science. What she seems to say (overall) is that being obese–fat to the point of causing yourself serious harm, by Lea’s definition, which I think is quite good–is not actually harmful. I don’t think I buy that argument.

    What I think is true is that the appropriate body weight and shape for each person should be based on their frame. It should not be based on an arbitrary ratio of height and weight (hell, by BMI I’m overweight and edging towards obese: I am 5’2″ and weigh 155 pounds, the horror). Further, we as a society should move away from the idea that thin=healthy and not-thin=unhealthy. If that was the only message of Junkfood Science, I would unequivocally get behind her. But too many blogs I like and trust, on scienceblogs.com, have pointed out niggling flaws in her science that I–a political scientist, which is like being no sort of scientist at all–am wary.

  26. Jennifer Kesler says

    Hmm, Patience, the message I’ve gotten from what I’ve read WAS simply that “overweight” should be relative to the individual. Maybe I’m projecting that because it’s the only way to explain how my “obese” family (we’re talking 5’2″ and 190 pounds in some cases) lives so much longer and more healthily than most people.

    By frame, do you mean both skeleton and muscle mass? I think muscle mass may be what’s been missing from all the traditional research. Aside from living long and well, the two major ways my family differs from most is: excellent muscle tone even when we’re sedentary, and high levels of “good cholesterol”, which has been linked to longevity and protection from disease:

    The high HDL cholesterol levels appear to confer protection on these individuals even if they have high fat diets, or lack of exercise, or even if they smoke.

    I’d be interested to read links pointing out the “niggling flaws” at Junkfood Science, if you have time to provide them. At any rate, I’m confident her reporting is closer to the truth than the standard bull we’re spoonfed by the press and doctors who don’t question the methodology of studies that reaffirm the status quo.

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