Category

Body Composition

Many of us use body weight or BMI (body mass index) for a quick approximation of our health status. Yet the utility of these metrics is limited because they provide little information about a far more relevant parameter: body composition – and in particular, body fat and its distribution. Body weight and BMI alone do not discriminate between muscle mass (which we want to maintain or increase to promote longevity) and fat mass (which we generally want to keep relatively low). Thus, when we set a goal to “lose weight,” our real aim ought to be losing fat.

Losing fat mass isn’t necessarily easy, but unfortunately, that struggle pales in comparison to the challenge of keeping it off. This is caused in large part by a hormone called leptin, which is secreted by fat cells and plays a critical role in numerous endocrine pathways and functions, including the regulation of energy homeostasis. Leptin is secreted at levels proportional to body fat and acts as a “satiety hormone” in the brain, causing a reduction in food intake. However, as leptin signaling decreases – due to fat loss or to key neurons becoming leptin-resistant – the brain interprets this as a sign of starvation, and drives increased appetite and reduced energy expenditure to counteract the loss.

The content selections below provide more information on the accumulation and measurement of body fat, different types of fat and their relative impacts on health, and the effects of leptin on appetite and metabolism.

Body Composition

Visceral Fat vs. Subcutaneous Fat — What’s the Difference?

This clip is from “Ask Me Anything” (AMA) episode #17, originally released on November 9, 2020. If you’re a member, you…

Dispelling myths that excess protein intake increases cancer risk

This video clip is from episode #205 – Energy balance, nutrition, & building muscle with Layne Norton, Ph.D. (Pt.2), originally…

#205 – Energy balance, nutrition, & building muscle | Layne Norton, Ph.D. (Pt.2)

Lean body mass is inversely proportional to your risk of mortality after age 50.” —Layne Norton

Should BMI be used? Measuring obesity at the individual level

This video clip is taken from  Podcast #197 — The science of obesity & how to improve nutritional epidemiology with David…

Why is maintaining weight loss more challenging than losing weight?

This video clip is taken from Podcast #197 — The science of obesity & how to improve nutritional epidemiology with David…

#197 – The science of obesity & how to improve nutritional epidemiology | David Allison, Ph.D.

How much does obesity kill you because it stigmatizes you and it creates some stress?”  —David Allison

#194 – How fructose drives metabolic disease | Rick Johnson, M.D.

Fructose turns out to have been meant to be this wonderful system for survival, but in our culture with the amount of sugar in foods that we are eating (that either provide sugar or can be turned into fructose), this pathway has become hazardous.” —Rick Johnson

#167 – Gary Taubes: Bad science and challenging the conventional wisdom of obesity

Doing a background analysis is the hard, relentless, rigorous grunt work of science. It’s endless and thankless, because if you do it right, all you’ll do is prove that you were wrong all along.” —Gary Taubes

#157 – AMA #22: Losing fat and gaining fat: the lessons of fat flux

“If we didn’t understand fat flux, there would be no flux capacitor and Marty might still actually be in the past.” —Peter Attia

#136 – AMA #17: Body composition methods tour de force, insulin resistance, and Topo Chico

“Skeletal muscles are the greatest reservoir that you have for glucose disposal.” —Peter Attia

#120 – AMA with Dom D’Agostino, Ph.D., Part II of II: Ketosis for cancer and chronic disease, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, and the effect of ketosis on female health

“The function of the mitochondria and mitochondrial health are the ultimate mitigator of neurodegenerative diseases…just by reducing the potential for reactive oxygen species related damage.” — Dom D’Agostino

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