Thursday, September 16, 2010

"Catch-Up Fat" and Metabolic Issues

This sounds like a really interesting paper. Here's the abstract and a link to the full text.  Obviously, emphasis is mine.

Pathways from weight fluctuations to metabolic diseases: focus on maladaptive thermogenesis during catch-up fat.  Dulloo AG, Jacquet J, Montani JP. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2002 Sep;26 Suppl 2:S46-57.

Department of Medicine/Physiology, University of Fribourg, Switzerland.


It has long been known that obesity is a high risk factor for cardiovascular diseases. In more recent years, the analysis of several large epidemiological databases has also revealed that, independently of excess weight, large fluctuations in body weight at some point earlier in life represent an independent risk factor for type 2 diabetes and hypertension-two major contributors to cardiovascular diseases.

High cardiovascular morbidity and mortality have indeed been reported in men and women who in young adulthood experienced weight fluctuations (involving the recovery of body weight after weight loss due to disease, famine or voluntary slimming), or when weight fluctuations occurred much earlier in life and involved catch-up growth after fetal or neonatal growth retardation.

This paper addresses the pathways from weight fluctuations to chronic metabolic diseases by focusing on the phenomenon of accelerated fat recovery (ie catch-up fat) after weight loss or growth retardation. Arguments are put forward that, during catch-up growth or weight recovery on our modern refined foods, the mechanisms of adaptive thermogenesis that regulate catch-up fat are pushed beyond the limits for which they were meant to operate and turn maladaptive.

The consequences are enhanced susceptibilities towards skeletal muscle insulin resistance and overactive sympathetic activity, both of which are major contributors to the pathogenesis of chronic metabolic diseases.

Since weight fluctuation earlier in life (independently of excess weight later in life) is an independent risk factor for metabolic diseases, the mechanisms by which body fat is acquired would seem to be at least as important as the consequences of excess fat per se in the pathogenesis of diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular diseases.

PMID: 12174328

Free full text available at:

Interesting quote:

"Several lines of evidence suggest that the process of recovering body weight is itself an independent risk factor for the development of cardiovascular diseases."


Anonymous said...

Very interesting...this may be why some of us "dieted up" our weight so efficiently.

I do know some people who just gain and lose the same 5-10lbs all the time, but I never set my sights on losing less then 40 (and that was in 4th grade). I definitely did the "large fluctuations".

Kel said...

Just found your blog today and wanted to say hi. Have read some of your bits on your pregnancy and adoption plus sized sites which I found just by googling. I'm in the UK, 35, married and PCOS for about 10 years. Weighing in at 25 stone 9.5lbs earlier this year, and after being turned down for fertility treatment of any kind, I was told by the Senior Fertility lady that if I had babies they would be deformed.... not could be, not here are some dangers, would be. Needless to say I was heartbroken and now my super fit husband will no longer try for babies. I'm trying to lose weight and have lost 37 lbs over the last 10 weeks, because despite being offered gastric surgery for October, I don't want it. I don't want to be a skinny minny, I want to be in control of my size. But I want children through natural means ideally, but also through adoption, a more complicated route for my husband. Sorry for the mammouth post. Just wanted to say hi, and if you fancy some reading of my dilemas there is plenty of food for thought on my blog about our situation. I have a feeling I may be turning to you for more help!! Even if I lose my 10 stone goal, I will still be plus sized at 15 stone!