‘FAT’- The word has endured sufferings from ancient times to till date. When we hear the word FAT, we have been upskilled to think of a horizontally enlarged sluggish human. We link fat with obesity, heart diseases, other lifestyle diseases and presume that FAT IS OUR KILLER.
But is fat really our killer? Or we’ve been wrong the whole time, hating our boon companion?? Evolution has given the word ‘FAT’ furthermore significance and an in-depth interpretation.
Traversing evolution makes one an avid observer. Learning evolution or observing nature or even the mere observance of man will acknowledge the fact that big and strong beings survive for longer periods. There are over 6000 species of mammals in the world. Amongst the mammals, the mighty blue whale is known to survive the longest.
Considering the amphibians, tortoises are found to have a longer life but the gigantic tortoise has outnumbered the others in life expectancy. Another classical example is the largest living animal on land, the Mighty Elephant which has a lifespan of 60-70 years whereas, the rat lives for 1 ½ years only. From these observations, we can analyse that “INCREASE IN SIZE LEADS TO INCREASE IN LIFESPAN” and by an increase in size, it means the increased fat content in the body.
Fat percentage in our body determines our lifespan. Interpreting the chart given above, the most fascinating example is of the human female holding 30% of fat.
Men are more muscular than women but women have more fat content in their body hence survive longer. The lion is a ferocious muscular animal but contains only 1% of fat in its body and lives about 12 years only. The musculature of any mammal is closely compared to a furnace.
The big muscles are much larger furnaces that eliminate too much waste leading to an increase in the oxidative stress and free radical generation. This eventually speeds up the ageing process. 5% increase in the life span of the human female is due to the decrease in musculature and the increase in the fat percentage.
Another striking example is the primates. Human beings belong to the class of primates. Totally there are 400 species of primates and amongst them, only humans have 20% fat content in their body. Nature has endowed monkeys with 1-3 % fat and more musculature so that they can swing from one branch to the other in search of food.
Men don’t have to swing around hence they are enriched with more fat content, leading to the increased lifespan of 60 years considering that a monkey will live only up to 30 years.
Amongst 6000 mammals on earth, humans are ranked THIRD considering their fat percentage. African hunter-gatherer women with increased fat percentage show a mighty decrease in various lifestyle disorders. This concept of “FAT FOR PREVENTION OF DISEASES”, is to be thoroughly considered. Fat is not a bad thing but the DISTRIBUTION of fat is important.
The picture depicts two kinds of obesity- android obesity and gynoid obesity.Gynoid obesity is characterized by fat around hips, thighs, buttocks and breasts giving a PEAR shaped appearance whereas Android obesity is denoted by the distribution of adipose tissue around the trunk, upper body, abdomen, chest, shoulder and nape of the neck resulting in an APPLE shaped appearance.
In women, distribution of fat in the buttocks, thighs and breasts are for a purpose – Nutrition for the baby. Hence termed as REPRODUCTIVE FAT. The adipose distribution of the buttocks, thighs and breasts of a human female contains tons of polyunsaturated fatty acids which are crucial for the growth and development of the foetal brain which weighs approximately 1 ½ kg.
But modern food habits are changing the fat distribution sites. Increased grain and refined food intake cause accumulation of fat in the tummy region (central obesity). This fat is termed as VISCERAL FAT (fat surrounding the organs like pancreas, liver, ovary) that can kill us rapidly. All the lifestyle-related disorders arise from this disproportion in the adipose arrangement of the body.
FAT is commonly feared by everyone. But Good Fat and its correct distribution in the body will prevent all lifestyle diseases and promote good health, nutrition and longer lifespan. Therefore, it is the SURVIVAL OF THE FATTEST and not the survival of the fittest.
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