Clues to a Fat Future
There are a few factors that may suggest that one is likely to become overweight or obese in the future, new studies suggest. One study reported recently in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism that a breath test may be able to detect the presence of both hydrogen and methane on people’s breath and predict their risk for obesity. Author Ruchi Mathur, M.D., of the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, states that these gases represent an imbalance of microorganisms in the gut, which is linked to obesity.
Elizabeth DeRobertis, MS, RD, of the Scarsdale Medical Nutrition and Diabetes Center also states that one’s thyroid function, as reflected in laboratory tests called TSH and free T4, can tell if the organ is underactive. This condition is linked to a slow metabolism, which in turn can result in weight gain.
Furthermore, DeRobertis states that an elevated fasting insulin level can predict an increase in weight, since extra insulin can turn extra carbohydrates in the diet into fat. She therefore advises cutting more calories from the diet when fasting insulin levels are high.
A recent review in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests that a past history of being overweight or a family history of overweight or obesity can predict one’s future weight or difficulty in controlling weight gain. Since there is no medicine for changing one’s genetic background, DeRobertis advises people to watch their diet and maintain a regular exercise habit.
Finally, Tanvir Hussain, M.D., a preventive cardiologist in Los Angeles states that lack of sleep can cause an imbalance in hormones called leptin and ghrelin, which regulate appetite. Studies show that regularly sleeping for less than six hours per night is linked to long-term weight gain, according to a report in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Kuzma, C. How to tell if you’ve got a fat future. MSN.