A handful of celebrities with quite a large following and influence have been promoting being “thick” – almost applauding weight gain.
There are many dangers that come with gaining weight, including diabetes, heart issues, etc. What is your advice to some of the younger generation who view being “larger” as a choice based off of the trends and pop culture?
Dr. Tucker’s Answer:
If “thick” refers to bigger, I want people getting “thick” in the brain and not around the waist. Good fats for the brain such as fatty fish (salmon, mackerel), beef tallow, ghee, butter, and coconut oil are healthy for the brain and protective of dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease as we age. If being “thick” means fatter around the waist, hips, and butt, then people need to know that having even just 5% more body fat than what is ideal especially around the gut can increase cytokines which cause inflammation in the body. Inflammation is related to all the degenerative diseases and can show up as aches, stiffness, and joint pain. You always make a better decision when you think ‘long term’ and not just right about your health. For example, females entering into pre-menopause may do well with a little extra fat (thickness) because fat contains stored hormones, and your body could use some extra hormones during menopause.
If “thick” refers to building muscle, I think it’s smart and actionable. I challenged all my patients to gain 3 pounds of muscle this year. Gaining muscle is protective of everything as we age, especially frailty, osteoporosis (bone loss), and loss of balance.
I want people:
1) lifting heavy stuff (2-3 sets of 3-6 reps) at least twice a week.
2) adding plyometrics (jumping up and down 20-30 times) twice a week.
3) adding two 20-30 second all out sprints (walking, running, cycling, elliptical, row, etc.) twice a week at the end of your cardio or weight training.