Stef (firecat) wrote,
Stef
firecat

NYT reviews weight gain/loss research

The New York Times excerpts Gina Kolata’s new book, Rethinking Thin: The New Science of Weight Loss — and the Myths and Realities of Dieting reviews early human experiments on weight loss and gain. (free registration required)

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/08/health/08fat.html


A 1959 experiment on very low calorie dieting found that "fat people who lost large amounts of weight might look like someone who was never fat, but they were very different. In fact, by every metabolic measurement, they seemed like people who were starving....The Rockefeller subjects also had a psychiatric syndrome, called semi-starvation neurosis, which had been noticed before in people of normal weight who had been starved. They dreamed of food, they fantasized about food or about breaking their diet. They were anxious and depressed; some had thoughts of suicide. They secreted food in their rooms. And they binged."
and
Dr. Ethan Sims at the University of Vermont...asked what would happen if thin people who had never had a weight problem deliberately got fat.

His subjects were prisoners at a nearby state prison who volunteered to gain weight. With great difficulty, they succeeded, increasing their weight by 20 percent to 25 percent. But it took them four to six months, eating as much as they could every day. Some consumed 10,000 calories a day, an amount so incredible that it would be hard to believe, were it not for the fact that there were attendants present at each meal who dutifully recorded everything the men ate.

Once the men were fat, their metabolisms increased by 50 percent. They needed more than 2,700 calories per square meter of their body surface to stay fat but needed just 1,800 calories per square meter to maintain their normal weight.

When the study ended, the prisoners had no trouble losing weight. Within months, they were back to normal and effortlessly stayed there.
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