Holding nothing back…

Further proof that NOBODY really knows what makes us fat…

Posted on: April 2, 2008

This press release from Science Daily states that a study out of Quebec by Jean-Phillipe Chaput “proves” a relation between the length of time you sleep, on average, and your weight.

Basically, after adjusting for age, gender, and BMI, adults sleeping less than 6 hours per night gained 1.98 kg (or 4.4 lbs) more over six years.  Those sleeping for 9 hours or more per night gained 1.58 kg (or 3.5 lbs) more over that same six years.  The kicker, for me at least, is that Mssr. Chaput never tells us how much the average-length sleepers (8 hours per night) gained, just that those that slept less and those that slept more GAINED more.

My question is this:  Did Mssr. Chaput take into consideration the circumstances that might be making it more difficult for some to sleep (the “short-term sleepers”) or that might be causing others to sleep more (the “long-term sleepers”)?  All kinds of things can contribute to sleep problems (making your average sleep per night go up or down, depending), and most of those things are statistically shown to affect your weight as well.

Depression can cause a person to sleep longer than normal, and has also been shown to contribute to weight gain.  Especially in those of us who were comforted and/or rewarded with food as children (“Awwww!  You scraped your knee.  Here, have a cookie!”).  A lifetime of conditioning is difficult to change.

Stress can cause a person to sleep less than normal, and recent studies have shown that stress can be related to *both* weight gain *and* weight loss.

Medicines like anti-depressants can make a person sleep longer than normal, and a known side-effect of anti-depressants is weight gain.

Sleep apnea can cause a person to “sleep” longer than they should because they aren’t getting a truly restful sleep since they are waking (short term) throughout the night due to their breathing being interrupted.  When you don’t get a full nights, restful sleep, it leaves you exhausted the following day.  It’s hard to feel motivated to eat healthily and exercise when you are exhausted all the time, which leads to weight gain.

Those are just a few examples that I have had personal experience with.

My other problem with this particular study is that, according to the press release from Science Daily, the sleep duration of the individuals participating in the study was self-reported.  In other words, there was no control.  If a few people overestimated or underestimated their sleep duration, or deliberately misreported, then the results are flawed.

Add into all that the fact that the study was done with only 276 participants, and well…  It just isn’t very reliable.  Yet it is being reported all over the globe as fact that one MUST get 8 hours of sleep a night, and ONLY 8 hours, if one wants to avoid OMG TEH FATZ!

Message to the medical establishment:  FACE IT!  Nobody, and I do mean NObody, knows what makes one person fat and another person thin.  MANY of us fat people eat a reasonable number of calories, avoid eating excessive amounts of junk food, exercise regularly, and are STILL FAT.  MANY thin people eat more than they should, eat much more junk than they should, rarely exercise, and are STILL THIN.  There is no single thing, and I sincerely doubt that there is even a combination of things, that you can point to and say “THIS is why you are fat.”  There is no magic pill, surgery, exercise, diet, or combination thereof that you can point to and say “THIS will MAKE you thin.”  Get over it.  I have, and my life is SO much better for it!

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1 Response to "Further proof that NOBODY really knows what makes us fat…"

[…] proof that NOBODY really knows what makes us fat… Kinda Vegan wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerpt This press release from Science […]

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