“What You Don’t Know About Fat” by Anne Underwood & Jerry Adler.

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The problem of eutrophy is essential for people all over the world. I don’t know a single person among my friends and nodding acquaintances who is absolutely indifferent to the problem of excess weight. Even those, who have always been scrawny, in some periods of their lives come back to it. Few superfluous inches around the waist, independently of age and sex have become a national problem.

Nowadays more than two thirds of grown up population have excess weight and almost half of them suffer from clinical obesity. In the list of reasons for premature death obesity occupies the second point after dying from smoking.

The recipe of good fit and normal weight is widely known: reasonable restraint towards food and good physical exercise. People without endocrine pathologies are able to reach certain success in keeping their fit. But the main problem is that these simple things become a test beyond one’s strength. No one likes being fat and still rejection of a pleasure to have a good snack in front of the TV set is not that simple as well.

I am also always interested in new discoveries in the sphere of modern nutrition science. If I come across an article in a popular magazine or a newspaper concerning diets or proper food habits I always find time to read it. The article in Newsweek: “What You Don’t Know About Fat” by Anne Underwood and Jerry Adler was interesting and useful for me. The authors of the article provide the proof of genetic roots of obesity.

The authors dwell upon one of the greatest medical stories of the 1990th and as they call it one of the biggest disappointments. Many years ago the researches of one of the University laboratories have found the strange phenomenon: some of the mutant mice have become three times bigger compared to normal size. The difference in the mice weight was dew to the absence of a hormone called “leptin”. The scientists tried to inject the “fat” mice with leptin and it turned out in changing of mice eating habits: they began loosing appetite, ate less food and lost their extra grams. 1

Leptin is a hormone, which is produced by fat cell itself. It regulates fat accumulation and is responsible for feeling of hunger, which appears in brain. People with excess weight usually suffer from lack of leptin.2 The authors of the article describe the experiment which scientists carried out with mice: the synthetically increased level of leptin in mice organism caused the formation of fat free cells. The mice felt good: digestion was normal, the weight loss was evident. But the main problem which the scientists have faced up was the changes in the structure of fat tissue after increasing the level of leptin in the organism. 3

The article gives interesting details about the scientific approach to problem of obesity. It gives the description of complicated scientific research from a functionalist perspective. While many sociologists use biological organisms for describing a social system, this article is just the opposite – describing biological organism of a human being and how it functions or dysfunctions with certain amount of fat in it. This biological example shows us how various parts of our body form an organism, same as different aspects of our life form the society. In order to maintain the whole system, it is important that all parts function all together and all of them are healthy. If one part fails to function successfully, all others are affected by its dysfunction.

The problem of excess weight is a complex thing. The authors seem to make an objective point that many people, independently of age and sex do not have the will, strong enough to follow all rules for proper nutrition. I can’t call it a biased opinion, since this is a well-known fact, which authors support by scientific proofs and findings. When I’ve read the article I got the feeling that we still have the hope that our scientists will sooner or later find out the way to struggle with obesity without torturing people with hunger. However, as authors point it themselves, there’ll never be a better way than “eat less and exercise more”.4

References:

  1. Underwood, Anne; Adler, Jerry. What You Don’t Know About Fat. Newsweek.
  2. Underwood.
  3. Underwood
  4. Underwood.

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