63: Why Do I Get Fat and You Don't?

Posted by John Bosse on

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Body fat.
Why do some of us get fat and others do the same thing and don't get fat? It doesn't make sense, right? Or does it? Today's study tries to tease out baseline factors that predict how much weight we gain when we overeat and how those factors also influence how much of the weight we do gain is from fat vs. lean tissue. Somehow the findings dovetail into a variety of applications tips, with the highlight being reflections on how perhaps both the people accused of spreading "bro science" and researchers alike are missing the boat by overgeneralizing their beliefs and observations. John always reviews the full text of every article, but to see the abstract of the study discussed, click here:

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Additional notes on this episode of the more detailed findings:
- The more FFM at baseline – the less fat you gained as a percentage of total weight gain
- Those more calories you burned after a meal, or the higher your thermic effect, the less fat you gained as a percentage of total weight gain
- Those with higher baseline fitness, per VO2 max gained significantly less weight, fat, and fat as a percentage of total weight gain
- The more type 1 muscle fibers one has – which indicates muscles very good at burning fat, the lower the gains in fat – same was the case when levels of the fat burning enzyme oxygluterate dehydrogenase were high
- The researchers looked at the ratio of activity of a carb burning enzyme, phosphofructokinase to this fat burning enzyme oxygluterate dehydrogenase as an estimate of ability to burn carbs for fat and when this ratio was shifted more toward carb burning – these participants were more likely to gain more fat
- I think we all know thyroid hormone plays a big role in regulating our metabolic rate. For thyroid hormone levels to go up they must first be called for by increases in thyroid-stimulating hormone or TSH – the researchers can inject participants with stuff that raises TSH levels and what they found was that the more someones TSH levels went up after injection, the less fat they gained as a percentage of total weight gain
- Leptin is a hormone made in our fat cells that helps our body regulate weight – the more fat we have the higher our leptin levels. In this study the higher baseline leptin levels were and the bigger ones abdominal fat cells were, the more likely they were to gain more weight and fat
- Higher baseline norepinephrine meant less likelihood of gaining fat free mass
- Higher baseline androstenediol sulfate, dehydroepiandrosterone and 17-hydroxy pregnenolone led to smaller gains in fat while higher androstene-3alpha17betadiolglucoronideled to larger fat gains
- Higher estrone meant less FFM gains while higher androsterone glucoronide was positively correlated with FFM gains
- The researchers did some other cool comparisons between the 6 people who gained the most weight and the 6 people who gained the least. Compared to the six highest gainers, the six lowest had a higher thermic effect of a meal (TEM) and higher masculine hormones and cortisol. Meanwhile, higher calorie burn to breakdown a meal and levels of a couple male characteristic hormones were associated with lower fat gain. On the other hand, low fat free mass gainers had high baseline levels of free testosterone and estrone.

- Factors not associated with fat gain:
epinephrine, norepinephrine, thyroid hormones,
growth hormone, insulin-like growth factor 1, adiponectin, ghrelin,
fasting insulin and insulin area during oral glucose tolerance test,
free and total testosterone, progesterone, androsterone, dihydrotestosterone,
pregnenolone, androstenedione, cortisol sex
hormone-binding globulin,respiratory exchange ratio at
rest & 4 h post meal, skeletal muscle fiber-type percentages and various marker enzymes of glycolysis


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