Team McCallum

R&D for Lifetime of Life

Walking v diabetes+.

Dr Terry Dwyer and colleagues have found that walking cuts the risk of diabetes in a study of 600 adults in Tasmania. While the team focussed on diabetes, the results suggest a protective effect against metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease.

Roughly 600 adults aged around 50 in 2000 were tracked for 5 years.  At the start, most were overweight or obese and as a whole, the group gained weight over the period.

The volunteers were fitted with pedometers for 2 days in 2000. One finding was that those with higher daily step counts at this start time ended with a better body mass index (BMI), better waist to hip ratio and better insulin sensitivity, compared to those less active.

After 5 years, the group wore pedometers for another 2 days. As a whole, the group gained weight and became less active.  However, one third stayed active or increased their steps in the period, and again these were the ones with better measures on BMI, waist-hip ratio and insulin sensitivity.

The following figures are for those walking 10,000 steps, which is about 5 miles or 8km.

For a person of average height, weight dropped was just under 3kg, or about 6lbs. This corresponds to a BMI reduction of 0.83kg/metre squared. Insulin sensitivity increased by about 12%, with men doing slightly better than women.

These results are all ‘dose-dependent’. In other words, walking less still resulted in some improvements.

When the researchers factored in BMI, the differences between those active and those not disappeared, so the team attributed the improvement to a cut in body fat.

The researchers were looking at diabetes, and the improvement in insulin sensitivity would result in a considerably reduced risk of the disease.

The figures also strongly suggest there would be an improvement in other diseases linked to BMI and larger waists, including high blood pressure, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease and more.

The impact on the waist is interesting, since fat stored around the waist is linked to adiposopathy (sick fat), and this study suggests that walking is a way to burn ‘sick’ fat preferentially to ‘healthy’ fat, reducing the waist to hip ratio.


January 17, 2011 Posted by | Accelerometer, Activity, Adiposopathy - sick fat, Aging, BMI - body mass index, CVD - cardiovascular disease, Diabetes, Exercise, High blood pressure, Metabolic syndrome, Success, Waist circumference, Walking, Weight management | Leave a comment

What you should know about SICK fat.

The International Journal of Clinical Practice is running a special section in its December issue covering male health. Dr Harold E Bays, Dr Joseph M Gonzalez-Campoy, and Dr Alan B Schorr, 3 experts in metabolic syndrome and related conditions, have written a reference summary on the topic.

It is called “What men should know about metabolic syndrome, adiposopathy and ‘sick fat’, but it also covers women. So it’s really a summary of adiposopathy, where ‘adiposo’ means fat, and ‘pathy’ means sick or diseased, hence SICK FAT.

The article is free, and quite short, but it is fairly technical.

In simple English, the 3 doctors are suggesting that metabolic syndrome is a rather loose term covering a series of problems that lay people understand better in other terms – high blood pressure, blood fats that are wrong, blood sugar level wrong, type 2 diabetes and increased risk of cardivascular disease (CVD) and other illnesses.

The first key point is that fat is not an inactive store of calories. It has a wide range of hormonal functions essential for human health. So there is ‘good’ fat.

However, visceral fat (that stored around the organs inside the abdomen) can turn from healthy fat into sick fat (adiposopathy). Sick visceral fat does not look like or work like healthy visceral fat. When it turns sick, it churns out a range of inflammatory substances, increases blood pressure and unbalances a range of hormones.

It decreases testosterone levels in men and increases them in women, closing the gender gap. “One of the biochemical consequences of obesity is often a closer approximation of the genders with regard to sex hormone levels.”

There is a quick review of all the major treatments for metabolic syndrome diseases, ranging from exercise and good diet through all the major medications to bariatric surgery (stomach bypass or banding). This shows the impact on blood sugar levels, blood pressure and blood fat profiles work similarly across all.

The experts then discuss which path is wiser – treating the results of sick fat, or curing the sick fat. They concluded “An emerging concept is that the development of antiobesity agents must not only reduce fat mass (adiposity) but must also correct fat dysfunction (adiposopathy).”

They conclude that scientists have known about the disease-causing potential of fat for more than 50 years, but that it is only in the last 10 years that fat has been thought of as being a major active component in the human hormone system.  “Clinicians may find that: ‘A discussion as to how increasing body weight may cause their fat to becomesick,or how losing body weight may cause their fat to becomehealthier, might be better than discussing the diagnostic components defining themetabolic syndrome.’”

The only notable omissions from an excellent round-up are – why visceral fat turns sick in the first place – and – whether there is a smarter or faster way to cure sick fat than simply overall weight loss.

Our recent articles on fructose (in the form of pure fruit drinks) and sugar-sweetened beverages suggest that both dump in more fructose than the body can handle at one go. This suggests one trigger for making it sick, and one way to cure it faster, though this is unlikely to be the only cause/cure.

Click here for a full copy of the article by the 3 doctors.

November 15, 2010 Posted by | Adiposopathy - sick fat, CVD - cardiovascular disease, Diabetes, Diet, Exercise, Gastric banding, Health, HFCS - high-fructose corn syrup, High blood pressure, Metabolic syndrome, Obesity, Soft drinks, Success, Weight management | Leave a comment