There is a long term weight loss study done in Finland that shows that people that lost weight had a higher mortality rate than people that didn’t.
The results from the study are really confusing, but they indicate that weight loss is not indicative of better health, at least not when it comes to mortality rate.
To summarize (numbers adjusted for smoking, alcohol, and other factors):
- Wanting to lose weight and doing so increased mortality by 87%
- Wanting to lose weight but not doing so decreased mortality by 16%
- Wanting to lose weight but gaining weight decreased mortality by 7%
- Not wanting to lose weight and staying stable was used as baseline
- Not wanting to lose weight but doing so increased mortality by 17%
- Not wanting to lose weight and gaining weight increased mortality by 58%
The study provides a lot of details, but the one detail that is lacking is what diet the subjects used. However, considering the time frame (1975 – 1999) I bet that the participants were on low fat, high carb diets.
Not even the researchers could interpret the results and they speculate that loss of lean mass or release of toxins in body fat could play a role. The simple answer is that they don’t really have a clue.
My non-expert interpretation of the results is that changing your lifestyle and eating better will decrease mortality rate. The study subjects who wanted to lose weight but didn’t do so were the ones benefiting the most from their efforts. Even the ones wanting to lose weight but failing to do so decreased their mortality rate!
Eat healthy, live longer! And healthy does not mean low fat!
What is painfully obvious is that being successful on a low fat diet is not beneficial if you want to live a long life.
I really, really hope that people avoid low fat diets like Kimkins that possibly could be the most deadly of them all.
Illustration by Squeakie