Fat People Lose Their Thinking Skills Faster Than Thin People

Lifted from Business Insider, who lifts stuff all the time:

Fatter people are more likely to lose their memories and brain power quicker than those who are thinner, according to British research.

Those who are obese, and have other health problems such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol, lose their memory and thinking skills almost a quarter faster, found researchers at University College London.

Their study was based on almost 6,500 Whitehall civil servants, whose health was monitored between the ages of 50 and 60.
They were weighed and measured, their blood pressure and cholesterol levels were taken, and they were also asked what medication they were taking.

In addition, they were asked to perform mental tests three times during the decade, which were used to assess memory and other cognitive skills.

Of the 6,401 civil servants in the study, nine per cent (582) were obese. Of those, 350 were also classed as “metabolically abnormal” – meaning they had two additional risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, were taking medication for either condition, or were diabetic.

The researchers found the obese tended to lose their mental powers faster than their thinner colleagues, while those who also had additional conditions lost their memory and thinking skills fastest of all.

The latter group experienced a 22.5 percent faster decline on their cognitive test scores over the decade than those who were healthy.

Archana Singh-Manoux, of the Paris research institute Inserm, who contributed to the study, said their results indicated the idea that people could be obese but still healthy was flawed.

Shirley Cramer, chief executive of Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “We do not yet know why obesity and metabolic abnormality are linked to poorer brain performance, but with obesity levels on the rise, it will be important to delve a little deeper into this association.

“While the study itself focuses on cognitive decline, previous research suggests that a healthy diet, regular exercise, not smoking and controlling blood pressure and cholesterol in midlife can also help stave off dementia.

“With dementia figures spiralling towards a million, the findings suggest we should be conscious of our general health throughout life.”

Of course, it could have something to do with being a fat British civil servant – these’s types of observational studies are fraught with danger when you start extrapolating their conclusions to people outside the study.

Still interesting, though it doesn’t explain all the thin stupid people – fat people have *certainly* not cornered the market on stupidity, as can be evidenced by reading the news.

Low Carb Meets Chinese Medicine – and Eats, December 13

We went out Xmas shopping and there was a health fair at the mall. There was an acupuncture table there offering a free ‘pulse diagnosis’ – they would have you take a test to measure your meridians – this was done by you holding a metal bar connected to a computer in your right hand, while the tester taps another probe also connected to the computer at various points on both hands and both feet. 

This (somehow) measures your energy fields, analyzes them, and spits out a printed result with a chart corresponding to various organs and their balance, along with a sheet that looks a bit like a blood test.

Briefly, acupuncture believes that you have these ‘pathways’ of energy that flow through your body which they refer to as meridians. In their thinking, these can be blocked, causing imbalance.

By using very fine needles, inserted into your skin along the proper meridian line, these blockages can be eliminated and balance restored.

I personally don’t have a prior experience with acupuncture myself, but I accept that there might be something there.

You can read more about it here, but regarding the science on this – there really isn’t much. 

But it’s the same with hypnotism – western scientists have studied this for years and concluded little, except that there might be something going on here, but they don’t know what it is.

Michael Shermer, in his book: The Borderlands of Science, calls hypnosis a ‘borderland science’. It’s not complete quackery, but it’s not a solid body of proven knowledge either, like, say, physics. 

I’d say that acupuncture falls in about the same place. As the article on acupuncture states:

“emerging clinical evidence seems to imply that acupuncture is effective for some but not all conditions.”

So anyway, I took the test, figuring it might be fun. 

Let’s see how low carb stands up to Chinese medicine.

My wife took the test, and the chart that got spit out had several red bars, indicating imbalances. The doctor then did the pulse diagnosis by laying 4 fingers on the pulse-points of both arms. 

I didn’t hear the exact diagnosis as I was having my own test done at the time.

When my test was done and it started to print out, the tester smiled and said: “This is the best result anyone has gotten all day!”

I took it to my wife and the Chinese doctor and told them what the tester said. The doctor grabbed the results from me, and looked them over carefully.

“This is very good. You should be very happy.”

He then did my pulse diagnosis. The form you fill out asks you what major health complaints you have – I left it blank: I wanted him to tell me what they were.

He asked me: “You left this blank – you have nothing wrong with you?”

I said, “Well, I’d like to lose some weight and exercise.” 

“Well, that is a matter of proper diet – stay away from fat – greasy stuff, you know?”

“Oh no, not for me – I live low carb, and eat a lot of fat and meat.”

He looked at me like he didn’t quite understand. “Well, that’s why you can’t lose weight – your diet.”

“No, actually I lost 80 lbs. The reason I’m overweight now is because I am not doing low carb strict enough.”

His eyes widened. “You lost 80 lbs.? It must have been the exercise you were doing.”

“But I didn’t exercise – I lost 80 lbs. without exercise.”

His eyes stayed wide as he attempted to process this information. He looked at my wife and daughter: “Do they eat like you?”

“No.”

He looked at them, and scrunched his eyes, “Good, don’t eat like he does. You need vegetables in your diet.”

“But I do have vegetables – I just stay away from sugars and other refined carbohydrates.”

He asked. “What diet was this?”

“Low carb – Atkins.”

He repeated the name: “Atkins” under his breath as he continued the pulse diagnosis for a few minutes.

There were 23 bars on the chart, and only one was in the red – just slightly out of range. It had to do with my urinary tract. 

He asked. “Do you have problems urinating?”

“Yeah – I think it’s called BPH – benign prostatic hypertrophy. It’s been like this since I was in my 20s. When I told my doctor and gave him my own diagnosis, he seemed to agree with me and didn’t seem to be worried about it.”

“When were you last at the doctor?”

“In the summer. For a checkup.”

“What were the results?”

“Well, I have diabetes in my family, and my blood sugar was a bit high. My cholesterol was slightly high as well, but nothing he felt was worth medicating.”

The doctor saw an in: “Well of course your cholesterol is high – it’s because of all the meat and fat you eat.”

“Oh no, it’s because I was eating too many carbs. When I had lost the 80 lbs. and had a blood test, my blood work improved, with a total cholesterol of 186, the HDL/LDL ratios perfect, and the triglycerides were through the floor.”

His eyes did the pie-plate thing again.

“I am a vegan.” He said suddenly. 

“Oh – that’s works very good for a lot of people. Do you watch your ratio of Omega 3 fats to Omega 6 fats?”

He looked at me a bit strange, maybe almost defensively. “I know what you are talking about. I eat almonds and take flaxseed oil.”

“You might want to research the flaxseed oil. I’ve read two sources where it mentions that for men, flaxseed might be linked to prostate cancer.”

“I had not heard that.” He said. He appeared to be listening very carefully.

“Yeah – I had first learned about it reading a book by Dean Ornish.”

“Who?”

“He’s a very respected doctor that wrote books on reversing heart disease through a very low fat diet.”

He asked me to repeat the name.

“I am going to research this.” He said solemnly. We said our goodbyes.

Walking with my wife in the store a little later, she said: “do you believe what he was doing?”

“I don’t know – he did point out the BPH, but at the same time, if you are presented with a 46 year old guy and the chart is high corresponding to the urinary tract, it’s a pretty simple guess to think it has something to do with the prostate. Also – why didn’t he see that my back hurts a lot? Why didn’t he pick that up in his test?”

My back was hurting when I sat down with the tester, so you’d a thunk that the thing would have picked it up, right?

The Eats

First up, and hardly needing mention, was the 5am 16oz coffee with 2 tablespoons of cream. 

I was thirsty afterward, however, and had a bottle of San Pellegrino at 7am. At about noon I had a hard-boiled egg, then at about 3pm I have about a 1/3 of the remaining cup of Italian chicken.

In the evening I was hungry – maybe because I had people pushing me to eat spring rolls all day. These spring rolls were hand-made and deep-fried in peanut oil.

These things were to die for. 

Instead, I had the remaining 2/3 rds cup of the Italian chicken, a pickle, 3 slices of cheese, some leftover steak with butter, and one of my cryogenic meals frozen a few weeks ago – Italian sausage & meatballs. I washed all this down with a bottle of San Pellegrino.

I put lemon and two packets of Splenda in the San Pellegrino – the 2 packets of Splenda were the extent of my sweets for the day.

Later on in the evening, I sat down with some brie cheese and pork rinds with some wine. 

And right before bed, I had 2 leftover Swedish meatballs.

Now, while I typically don’t catalog it, I do weigh myself in the evenings. I have a theory about easy weight and hard weight.

Most days, I will notice a significant difference – maybe 2 lbs – from my morning weight and my evening weight. Then I eat dinner and this difference might disappear, or I might keep the pound or two off.

If I notice no change, or a slight increase during the day, I know that, even if I just drank water for the rest of the evening, I will probably gain weight.

So I wasn’t surprised that the scale reported a 2.6 lb. increase this morning to 206.6.

Now, if that did not happen, that would have been a pointer toward Irvingia having some impact, in my estimation. 

But instead, my body did what it usually does when it gets close to my setpoint weight of 203 – it bounces up.

No matter. It’s been little more than a week. There’s still 5 weeks to go, and nothing in the research on Irvingia indicated that there would be any impact on weight this early.

Not that it wouldn’t have been nice…

“TV Allowance” – A Breakthrough In Reducing Childhood Obesity?

I suppose I should be proud to say this amazingly simple product, TV Allowance, was developed at a university in my locality.  Researchers came up with a large-calculator-sized device that lets families program “budgets” into their home televisions and computers, decreasing the available screen time from 10% to 50% over a period of several months.  They then studied 70 children of both genders between age 4 and 7 who had a higher-than-average BMI and watched TV or played computer games a minimum of 14 hours per week.  Along with the reduced screen time, the kids were also given inducements; monetary rewards and praise were doled out for doing something other than sitting idle in front of the boob tube.  Parents who reduced their family’s weekly video availability by 17.5 hours on average wound up with kids who ate less and lowered their BMIs.  The two-year study appears in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

“Results showed that watching television and playing computer games can lead to obesity by reducing the amount of time that children are physically active, or by increasing the amount of food they consume as they are engaged in these sedentary behaviors,” said one of the study’s authors.

The author, while admitting the overall changes were “modest,” believes the use of this device across the population may produce “important reductions in obesity and obesity-related health problems.”  Additionally, while it did reduce the time these kids were in front of a video screen, it did NOT increase their physical activity.  The study’s assumption is that the restriction minimizes cues to eat by limiting the number of child-targeted food ads to which this demographic is exposed.

So, is the underlying problem the amount of time these little couch potatoes sit doing nothing, or is it the continuous bombardment of sugar-peddling marketing schemes on their impressionable minds?  If they weren’t being active, as the study found, what were they doing?  Reading?  Meditating? 

So these kids “ate less” and had “modest” changes in BMI over a two year period.  Can someone do a study letting a similar group watch whatever they want but restrict their carb intake?