New research proves you can’t really be “fat and fit”

It looks like the other shoe has finally dropped. New research is raising some serious questions about all those “fat and fit” claims. It’s about time someone did. (And I’m glad it wasn’t just me…again.)

According to the results of South Korea’s Kangbuk Samsung Health Study, people who are overweight and obese still face a higher risk of chronic kidney disease (CKD) over the long term — even if they’re otherwise metabolically healthy.

This study cohort featured men and women who had received health examinations between 2002 and 2008. Screenings checked for high blood sugar, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, insulin resistance, and kidney problems. And researchers excluded any candidates with evidence of metabolic dysfunction from the study.

Ultimately, more than 62,000 patients made the cut. They were all metabolically healthy, and had no signs of kidney disease at the study’s start. The subjects’ mean age was 36 years old, and the mean BMI was 22.1 — so we’re talking about a group comprised primarily of young, slender people.

And yet, five years later, results showed that incidence of chronic kidney disease were consistently higher (and developed more rapidly) among patients with higher BMIs. Even when the researchers adjusted for influencing factors like age, gender, smoking status, and physical activity.

Obese subjects originally deemed “fat and fit” suffered chronic kidney disease at a rate of 1 percent, on average. And the onset occurred nearly two and a half years earlier than normal weight subjects, as well.

Granted, 1 percent isn’t a huge risk. But it’s a significantly higher risk than slimmer participants faced. And it was even more pronounced among subjects who were over 40 and obese when the study started. (Kidney disease rates in this group jumped to 2 percent.)

Researchers aren’t sure how obesity could cause kidney damage in the absence of more obvious metabolic risk factors. But they speculate that oxidative stress might be the culprit. (Isn’t it always?)

Either way, this study clearly shows that obesity — even if you’re metabolically healthy — is not the benign condition that “fat and fit” proponents have been suggesting it is. At the very least, it can harm your kidneys. And I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to spend my life on a dialysis machine if it’s in my power to prevent it.

Losing weight can be a challenge — I know, because I’ve been there myself. But you can do it. And if you’re obese, you must believe me when I say that your weight is totally within your control.

You’ve already taken the first step toward self-empowerment by signing up for this e-letter. (If you haven’t done so yet, consider subscribing to my monthly Logical Health Alternatives newsletter, too.) Stick with me, and you’ll see just how simple a slimmer, healthier life can be.