Today’s question may seem to have an obvious answer.
I wanted to see is weight loss good for you?.
So I figured that you and I would investigate it together.
It sounds completely nuts even to question whether weight loss is healthy.
Obviously, it is.
Doctors always tell us to lose weight.
The media tells us to lose weight — they obsess with the latest diet and exercise trends.
And we’re all planning or trying to lose weight.
I have hardly ever talked to a man who hasn’t told me that he’s planning on losing weight.
Or he told me that he wants to lose weight, or wishes he could lose weight.
But with all this focus on weight loss, it struck me that we just accept that losing weight is healthy.
We don’t question it — we assume that being thinner must be healthier.
But what if it’s not?
What if there are side effects of losing weight?
Is it possible to lose too much weight?
Is there such a thing as unhealthy weight loss?
It’s that kind of curiosity that sent me looking for evidence, and what I found surprised me.
It will surprise you, too.
This study will change everything you’ve ever thought about weight loss — so prepare to be astounded.
What I’m about to tell you isn’t common knowledge.
In fact, if the medical community and Big Pharma are even aware of it, they’re not going to share this study any time soon.
But our newsletter is an opportunity for the truth.
We focus only on the truth based on real science and real studies — including studies that are buried, concealed, or willfully ignored by Big Pharma.
Before I go on, let me tell you two problems with this study.
Number one, it was apparently sponsored by the sugar industry.
Number two, it is a “meta-analysis,” which is a study of studies and can be subject to a LOT of bias.
On the other hand, this type of study will often show us patterns that aren’t apparent when looking at just one study at a time.
And this is one of those critical studies that spots a hard to find pattern.
Plus, it’s based on some good quality studies, which we’ll look at while we’re here.
Just a warning, though… the conclusion is going to SHOCK you, and you’re probably not going to like it.
Still with me? Good, let’s get to it.
This study looked at 26 studies where subjects lost weight, and researchers evaluated their health and their mortality rates.
They even kept track of if the weight was lost intentionally or not — that’s helpful.
There is a big difference in the study between intentional and unintentional weight loss.
Unexpected or unexplained weight loss is nearly always a “bad thing.”
Unintentional weight loss frequently accompanies illnesses — cancer for instance.
This is absolutely an unhealthy weight loss.
Since this weight loss is a sign that the person is sick, it doesn’t help us determine if weight loss itself is healthy.
So the only thing that we want to study here is intentional weight loss.
Now, let’s look at whether people in these 26 studies were healthier or unhealthier after losing weight.
Intentional weight loss appeared to be associated with slightly increased mortality…
for healthy individuals and for those who were overweight but not obese.
Like you’d expect, when unhealthy people lost weight, it had a benefit — a very SMALL benefit.
But when healthy people lost weight, it actually increased mortality!
Yes, that’s right — losing weight increased the death rate of HEALTHY people.
But as I said, that was sponsored by various sugar industry people.
I still think it’s a great study, but I figured the sugar industry has a bias against people losing weight.
So we’re still left with questions about if weight loss is good for us.
Does weight loss really cause higher mortality?
Is it actually bad for you to lose weight?
Or, is weight loss good for you?
Let’s look at another study and see if it found the same thing.
This study Looked at two other studies, both of which went on for many years.
In case you’re interested in the individual studies, the first one is the Tecumseh Community Health Study.
It had 1,890 subjects with 321 deaths within 16 years of follow-up.
And the second study is the Framingham Heart Study which had 2,731 subjects with 507 deaths within eight years of follow-up.)
The researchers in both looked at the people very closely.
They had the subjects come back regularly for lab tests and fat measurements.
And they found something EXTREMELY interesting — and it has two parts.
First, if you lose fat, you may live longer.
Ok, we expected that.
The second part is that if you just lose weight, you may die sooner.
How can this be?
Remember, you can think of cells in the body as either being fat or lean.
Fat cells store energy in the form of fat.
Lean mass includes glands, muscle, organs, blood cells — pretty much everything except fat cells.
So what the study found is that when people lost weight, they often lost lean mass and they did not live as long.
It was only when people lost ONLY fat mass that they generally extended their life at least a little bit.
Weight loss may be associated with increased mortality rate because it is accompanied by an undesirable loss of lean mass.
Once any lean mass is lost, it is frequently lost forever.
It’s very difficult to get lean mass back.
It’s especially difficult to get lean mass back when you’re over 30 or 40 years old.
You don’t want to lose lean mass.
As the study perceptively notes:
Weight loss might only be advisable under conditions promoting a suffIcient proportion of the lost weight as fat.
This is an understatement.
It should read that weight loss is very inadvisable, unless it’s almost entirely fat loss.
This is why some types of diets are so dangerous — low-carbohydrate diets for example.
Even though people do often lose weight on them, they’re losing the wrong type of weight.
In a low-carb diet, the body is deprived of sugars and carbs and still has to get them someplace.
So the body is continuously digesting its lean mass protein in order to maintain sufficient blood sugar levels.
To put it plainly, the body digests muscles and organ tissue so that it can survive.
Because of this, low-carb diets are not just extremely unhelpful, but also pretty dangerous.
Sure, they’re almost guaranteed to result in high weight loss.
But nearly none of the lost weight comes from fat loss — which increases mortality rates and makes a person less healthy.
The case for weight loss when it’s all fat loss is better.
Some of the research here shows that if you are extremely obese, with a BMI of over 34, you may benefit from losing weight.
But even there, the real benefit is always losing only fat, not just losing weight.
Losing weight as a strategy is a losing idea.
At this point, you must change your entire perception of weight loss.
You need to aim for fat loss and fat loss ONLY.
Preserving lean mass and losing just fat is what it’s all about.
Weight loss increases and fat loss decreases all-cause mortality rate: results from two independent cohort studies