Every man I speak to says he has a “healthy diet.”
And almost all men will say that they are overweight.
They say that if they only lost weight, their problems would get better — or even disappear.
This is probably not the case.
Doctors have been hammering men for decades about four things:
- Lower your cholesterol
- Stop smoking
- Lose weight
- Exercise more
The implication is that if did those things, you would not have high blood pressure.
You would not have cardiovascular disease.
You would not have erectile dysfunction.
Now I have noticed in my travels all around the world that many men have a paunch.
My grandfather had a paunch, and he lived to very ripe old age.
He reached almost 100 with daily activity and sex into his 90s.
In this newsletter, I decided to explore the idea that men can live to be a very ripe old age.
And they can be very healthy even if they are overweight.
There are many, many studies that show that people who are overweight live longer.
People live longer who are not obese — but who are what we would consider “plump” in the old days.
One theory is that as a man ages, his metabolism slows down.
And so he also doesn’t exercise as much, and he loses lean mass.
Lean mass burns most of our calories and is responsible for most of our metabolism.
So a man has a lower metabolism, less lean mass.
And if he eats the same amount, then that food will become a “caloric excess” which turns into fat in the man’s body.
Women certainly have a version of this too, but we are talking about men here.
I don’t really buy this idea.
So, I’ve been investigating this very thoroughly, and I found a very important study that sheds light on the subject.
They did the study on mice.
And just to be sure that a particular breed of mouse that reacted a certain way, they used a variety of mice.
In fact, they used virtually all strains of common laboratory mice.
They let the mice eat whatever they wanted, and the mice became overweight.
Then, one group of mice received a continuous diet of whatever they wanted.
The other group received a new, restricted diet of just 60% of their former consumption of calories.
Be aware — they give these mice horrible “lab chow” diets, full of PUFAs and really bad stuff.
Nevertheless, all the mice ate the same crummy diet so we can rule that out as the cause of the striking result.
Basically what they found is this.
First of all, some of the mice failed to lose any weight at all even with a 40% reduction in calories:
Remarkably, many strains showed no appreciable reduction in adiposity under DIETARY RESTRICTION.
So, it does seem that there is a genetic or perhaps epigenetic fact that some people can actually diet and not lose weight at all.
That alone makes this study invaluable because presumably the same effect is frequently seen in human beings.
Some people diet and lose pounds while other people diet and don’t lose anything.
That’s what they discovered in the mice, and the mice had no opportunity to cheat!
They could not get into the refrigerator night or lie about what they were eating on a food journal.
Every milligram of food that they ate came from the researchers, so we know what they ate and what the consequences were.
I stress this because many studies on human beings use “recall” where the person fills in a questionnaire about what they ate.
In fact, nearly every single one of the studies that focus on diet uses this method.
This method is notoriously inaccurate.
But the mouse study was very accurate in this regard.
Here’s another amazing result and when I want to bring your attention to:
They found that the mice who lost weight did not live as long.
They found that the LESS weight a mouse lost, the longer the mouse lived.
Strikingly, none of the strains showing lifespan extension exhibited a significant reduction in adiposity.
Now you think about that a moment.
The mice that lost fat did not live as long.
The mice that did not lose fat even when they dieted, were the mice that tended to live the longest.
Losing fat is actually an indicator of shorter lifespan in this experiment.
But does the same thing apply to humans?
I think so.
I think that if people reach a certain age and are a bit overweight, they are often better off not losing the weight.
If they do lose the weight, they should do it very very slowly, like over a year or two.
If a man is obese, he is probably better off losing the weight but only if he does so slowly and safely.
This is a very important, even a landmark study that has gotten very little attention.
It shows that weight loss itself does not increase lifespan.
In fact, losing weight can lower lifespan.
It may be better to go through life with a bit of a paunch.