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Debunking the Healthy Fat Myth

Debunking the Healthy Fat Myth

William “Refrigerator” Perry weighed 382 pounds when he helped the Chicago Bears win the 1986 Super Bowl. If anyone could pull off “fat, but healthy,” it would be a super-sized, super-star player like Perry! But down the road, The Fridge developed a roster of health woes. 

That shouldn’t surprise you, but there’s been a lot of talk about “fat, but healthy” and headlines declaring, “Why obesity protects against heart disease and heart attack.” Well, finally a top-notch study shuts that refrigerator door once and for all.

Researchers found that many obesity studies examining the link between obesity and mortality didn’t distinguish between, 1) people who have always been normal weight, and 2) those who were a normal weight at the time of the study, but were overweight or obese earlier in life. So they first identified folks who were formerly overweight and separated them from folks who had always been a normal weight. They then looked at the health history of the overweight and obese compared to always-normal-weight folks. And guess what? At no time did being overweight ever afforded protection against health problems.  

So if you have pounds to shed, don’t delay. You can reverse the damage of excess fat if you walk 10,000 steps every day, do jumping and resistance exercises, and avoid toxins like secondhand smoke and risky air pollution. Also, avoid processed foods, refined carbs, red meat, egg yolks, and added sugars and syrups; but do enjoy nuts, seeds, all fruits and veggies, and salmon and ocean trout.

Medically reviewed in February 2019.

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