Obese Teens and their Hidden Metabolic Abnormalities

In addition to all of the social, mental & emotional crap that goes along with being a fat teenager, researchers have found that even when obese teens ‘feel’ healthy, blood tests show that they are likely to have high levels of:

And it gets worse – high levels of inflammation, insulin resistance and homocysteine means that the process of developing heart disease has already begun to happen.

The Study

Researchers compared the diets and blood test results of 33 obese youths (ages 11 to 19) with 19 age-matched youths of normal weight.

Blood tests revealed that the obese teens had:

  • C-reactive protein levels almost ten times higher than controls, indicating more inflammation in the body.
  • Insulin resistance, a precursor to type 2 diabetes, with greater amounts of insulin needed to keep blood sugar levels normal.
  • Homocysteine levels 62 percent higher than controls. High levels of the amino acid homocysteine are related to greater heart disease risk.
  • Total glutathione levels 27.9 percent lower than controls, with oxidized glutathione levels 125 percent higher. A higher ratio of oxidized to non-oxidized glutathione indicates oxidative stress, an imbalance in the production of cell-damaging free radicals and the body’s ability to neutralize them. Oxidative stress leads to more inflammation and an increase in blood vessel damage and stiffening.

“Looking at the numbers you would think these children might feel sick, but they did not. They are apparently feeling well, but there is a lot going on beneath the surface.”

Conclusion

Don’t assume that your kid is going to grow out of his or her ‘baby fat’.

Obesity is a medical symptom telling you that their body is not working as well as it should be.

A diet that is high in calories and low in nutrition sets off a whole bunch of metabolic processes that often lead straight to obesity…and inflammation and insulin resistance and heart disease.

So, stop being their friend…and start being a parent.

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FYI – this is the diet your kids are supposed to be eating.

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Reference

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9 comments

  1. “FYI – this is the diet your kids are supposed to be eating.”

    :-/

    If an adult wants to follow the Paleo diet, fine. But when it seems like we learn something new every day about how nutrition affects us, the idea of putting growing kids on a diet that restricts ANY food group (unless it’s for something like a food allergy) really rubs me the wrong way. Get them to eat more veggies and less sugar, fine. But completely cut something out, when who knows if it provides something essential to the growth process? No thanks.

    So side-eyeing that statement right now.

  2. @Brit:

    In the 2.6 million years that our species (Homo) has been around, we have almost exclusively lived on a diet devoid of grains, dairy, sugar, processed foods, etc. In fact, agriculture was only developed during the last 0.4% of our historical timeline.

    There is nothing in grains, dairy, etc that can’t be found in vegetables & animal protein….from a nutritional perspective.

    From a culinary perspective, that’s another story. I walked by a pizza shop the other day and the aroma hit me like a slap in the face. Within seconds, my mouth was watering and I was craving a pepperoni & mushroom slice. My lizard brain was screaming for fat & sugar.

    And in spite of knowing better, I still put cream in my coffee because I like it that way. And I still drink coffee. And I still do a bunch of other stuff my Paleo ancestors would have been unable to do. It’s a balancing act between eating what’s BEST for me and sometimes eating stuff that’s not the best but tastes great to me.

    So, when I talked about how our kids should be eating, I was speaking about nutrition.

    Parents are obviously free to feed their kids whatever they want. And if the want to B.S. themselves into believing that breakfast cereals, chocolate milk and string cheese sticks are good for their kids’ health, then they can do that too.

  3. […] into a more health-focused diet.Over at Health Habits, Doug shares some unsettling research on the health abnormalities associated with being an obese teenager.Evelyn of Become a Healthier You shares a list of items that not only make you feel great, but look […]

  4. […] Over at Health Habits, Doug shares some unsettling research on the health abnormalities associated with being an obese teenager. […]

  5. I would love for someone to explain to me just what they think my daughter is missing from not eating rice, cereal, pancakes, crackers, or pasta. She is a natural Paleo eater, she loves nuts, fruit, veggies, and meat. Many parents are envious of her varied diet.

  6. Plenty of people also have a lot to say about the negative effects of animal fats on the heart, as you know. I really think that different bodies will respond differently to certain foods and it’s up to us to learn to be connected with our bodies and figure out what food choices work best for our physical & mental health. The challenge with me when I first started losing weight was that everything on my menu was processed. I didn’t understand vegetables. So when I began to diet, I shifted to processed diet food, which was covenient & effective but bad for my emotional well-being. So one of the next steps was exploring real, whole foods. As a 25-year-old, my generation isn’t far off from these kids, and I grew up with little variety/knowledge by way of veggies but I knew all the junk food brands & flavors bc of TV. No surprise I was overweight. Paleo or not, I doubt any kid who isn’t eating processed foods is going to have lots of weight issues

  7. Karen, your daughter is missing nothing but the chance to be ill and diseased down the road. Congratulations on raising a smart healthy girl.

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