Weight fluctuations may impact long-term health

That 10 pounds you gain while sheltering in place may be a risk, even if you lose it when we return
Dr. Ursula White leads a new federally funded study at LSU's Pennington Biomedical Research Center that will delve into the metabolic consequences of short-term weight gain. Credit: LSU's Pennington Biomedical Research Center

Lots of people give themselves permission to gain a few pounds during a stressful time such as COVID-19 sheltering in place. Because they know they will take it off when the new "normal" returns.

But allowing your weight to fluctuate, even temporarily, may negatively impact your health long term.

A new federally funded study at LSU's Pennington Biomedical Research Center will delve into the metabolic consequences of short-term .

"The idea is to understand and better inform an individual about what happens to their body during changes in weight," said Ursula White, Ph.D., Assistant Professor and primary investigator for the study. "We'll be looking at how changes in the fat tissue during weight gain can influence in the future."

Putting on 10 pounds during a stressful time, even if a person sheds the weight quickly, can have unintended consequences.

"You've potentially changed your physiology in a way that you don't understand," Dr. White said. "You may have made your body less sensitive to insulin or increased your risk of heart disease."

The study is expected to further our understanding of the impact of weight gain on .

Although most people look at fat as just an energy reservoir—the place where excess calories are stored—fat has a lot of other functions, Dr. White said. Fat affects a person's entire metabolism and influences everything from appetite and immune systems to blood clotting and .

There have been some studies about what happens when a person gains weight, Dr. White said. But no one has studied what happens to the functions of fat, aside from the changes in mass.

"That's the focus of this study," she said.


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Citation: Weight fluctuations may impact long-term health (2020, April 8) retrieved 15 August 2020 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2020-04-weight-fluctuations-impact-long-term-health.html
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