Just because a plus size woman has normal blood sugar does NOT mean she is healthy.
A blood sugar reading is not the only metric for good health in the body.
However, many body positivity activists don’t get this.
Plus-size model Ashley Graham inspired me to write this article about the relationship between normal blood sugar and being “healthy.”
Blood sugar is only ONE metric!
“Normal blood sugar is only a small determining factor of optimal health, and some people are [naturally] less prone to insulin resistance, resulting in luck of not having high blood sugars,” says Dr. Keith Kantor, a leading nutritionist and CEO of the Nutritional Addiction Mitigation Eating and Drinking (NAMED) program, which treats substance abuse, mental illnesses and other illnesses.
“Additional laboratory markers that should be monitored and also reflect health include thyroid hormone levels, lipid profile levels, sex hormone levels and stress hormone levels,” continues Dr. Kantor.
“Our body is not meant to function properly when overweight. When we are overweight, it is a reflection of an imbalance somewhere in the lifestyle, metabolism and/or hormones of the individual.”
The “Obese People Can Be Healthy” Defense
One day I was reading an article about body positivity, and as always, comments included pointing out how unhealthy obesity is.
Then a commenter posted that Ashley Graham is healthy despite her size because she has normal blood sugar.
And that’s all the poster said: normal blood sugar.
Since when does how healthy a body is all come down to a single data point: blood sugar?
Does this mean a three-pack-a-day smoker who never exercises and never eats fruits and vegetables and mainly subsists on beer and hotdogs is healthy because his fasting blood sugar is always in the 70s?
The Research: You Need to Read This
Imperial College of London and University of Cambridge researchers have published a big study that examined the issue of overweight and heart disease.
Over half a million adults were followed for over 12 years.
The conclusion of the study is that being overweight, and especially obese, is an independent risk factor for coronary heart disease.
What this means is that it doesn’t matter what the person’s blood sugar is!
Famous plus size models who have normal blood sugar are at greater risk for heart disease than if they were, by medical standards, not overweight.
The study, published in the August 2017 European Heart Journal, adjusted for lifestyle risk factors for heart disease such as smoking, diet and exercise.
Even in the metabolically healthy group (normal blood sugar, normal blood pressure and healthy cholesterol panel), whether or not a subject had excess body fat was a factor in an increased risk of coronary heart disease.
• Overweight subjects with good metabolic health had a 26 percent higher heart disease risk.
• Obese subjects with a good metabolic health had a 28 percent higher risk.
• Their risk is in comparison to metabolically healthy subjects who were not overweight by body mass standards.
This study is a sock in the gut to the naysayers who insist that fat people can be healthy.
A plus size or obese woman or man might be classified as “healthy” NOW…based on fasting blood sugar and other metrics such as blood pressure.
However…they are on the path to eventually being diagnosed with an undesirable metabolic profile — later on in the timeline.
They are then at a more directly increased risk of a cardiac event.
Dr. Kantor has a PhD in nutritional science and a doctorate in naturopathic medicine, has appeared on CNN and Fox News Channel for his expertise, and has been an advocate of natural food and healthy living for 30+ years.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.