A recent meta-analysis of a hundred large studies showed
that being a little bit overweight offers slight protection (a six
percent decrease) from premature death (Journal of the American
Medical Association, January 2, 2013). This study has been widely
reported in the media, with headlines such as "Our Imaginary
Instead of being told that overweight is beneficial,
people should continue to hear that excess weight shortens lives,
particularly if their fat is stored in the belly.
WHY THE REPORT IS FLAWED: People with wasting diseases
usually lose weight long before they die. All chronic diseases
that shorten lives have a tendency to make people lose weight.
Heart diseases, cancers, late stages of diabetes, kidney failure,
arthritis, and even aging itself, usually cause weight loss before
death (J Cachexia Sarcopenia Muscle, 2012;3(1):1-4). Weight loss
that precedes death can last as long as 10 to 20 years, so it is
impossible to correct epidemiological studies for this effect.
As people with wasting diseases approach death, their rate
of weight loss increases dramatically. Sicker people, and those
closer to death, lose weight faster than people with wasting diseases
whose immunities are successfully holding their diseases at bay.
It is true that people who have diseases that will eventually kill
them may live longer as long as they do not lose weight.
EVEN A LITTLE BIT OF FAT IN YOUR BELLY CAN KILL YOU. Not
all fat is harmful. Fat stored on your hips and upper legs
protects you from disease. It does not turn on your immunity or
cause inflammation; and it helps to prevent diabetes and heart
However, fat located inside your belly and around your
• turns on your immunity to cause inflammation that leads to
cancers, heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, inflammatory types of
arthritis and so forth; and
• blocks insulin receptors to raise blood sugar levels, leading to
diabetes that can damage every cell in your body.
This large study should not make you believe that being
overweight is beneficial. You should maintain a healthful
weight and try to lose any excess fat that you have in your belly.
Belly fat is harmful and shortens lives.