Continuing Junkfood Science's series on peer-reviewed research into fat, diet and health that has produced some surprising and counter intuitive results.
Though for those who keep an eye on the results of the good quality science, and not the pseudo-scientific epidemiological rubbish to underpins so much of the scare campaigns and hysteria surrounding our food, this will not come as a surprise at all.
The series is called Paradoxes compel us to think.
It's a long post, but worth a read. Here are the concluding paragraphs:
The adult years are characterized by a gradual and persistent physiologic increase in body weight, leading researchers to suggest that this age-related natural phenomenon may be protective and a major force in human longevity. The typical American adult gains 3–5 kg per decade beyond the age of 20 years, which translates into about 10–15 kg [22-33 pounds] between the third to fifth decades. The clinical research of Dr. Andres found that the fewest deaths occurred in those whose weights increased as they aged. Given the protective, fertility, immunological and nurturing benefits of fat stores, it is not surprising that the preponderance of medical research has failed to support beliefs that midlife weight gain is harmful to healthy women and men. With age, fat cells have also been shown to become less metabolically active, lessening their role in diseases associated with aging like diabetes.
“It’s acceptable, possibly even highly beneficial, for normal, healthy adults to gain gradually about a pound a year beginning around age 40,” said Dr. Andres in Food & Nutrition Digest, “so that by the time they’re in their 60s they weigh about 20 pounds more than the Met Life tables would suggest.”
The possible healthfulness of natural weight gain with aging, however, is a paradoxical idea in popular media. People may never think to question their beliefs about the deadliness of fat and benefits of weight loss when they never hear anything different.
The importance of research finding seeming paradoxes is that it make us think, question and not be afraid to learn where the evidence might really take us.