The final blog post is underway for the FAT: No More Fear, No More Contempt and with any luck it will be posted by the end of this week. In the meantime, there have been a few interesting follow-up questions regarding the Fat blog post series on the forum and I will re-post a response I made to the question of cardiovascular disease rates and optimal weight set points in general:
The primary reason for lower cardiovascular disease rates is smoking cessation and lower smoking rates. In fact, neither hypertension or cholesterol (monitoring it or messing with it) has had appreciable impact on the rates of cardiovascular disease.
With cholesterol, it appears we are off the mark completely and it has weak correlation with the development of CVD or stroke. It is looking like inflammatory responses are more of a dependable marker than cholesterol levels for CVD and stroke.
"For example, the average blood pressure in the population went down between about 1976 and 1994. During that same period, the rates of death from heart attacks and strokes also went down. So, it looked like the declining blood pressures may have been associated with declining death rates. However, over the last decade, the average blood pressures have been rising while the rate of premature death from heart disease and stroke continues to fall."
Robert M. Kaplan, Disease, Diagnoses, and Dollars, Copernicus Books, 2009.
As I hopefully I also mentioned I think in VIII of the fat series, we have an inherited optimal weight set point range.
The 5-8% that we may lose by exercising is not suppressing our metabolic rate (as restricting calories does) and as so many other biological functions improve with regular activity, the very modest drop in weight may actually suggest that we are optimizing our optimal weight set point.
The ED-neurotransmitters are most sensitive to an energy deficit. If subjects exercise and do not diet (usually we are studying men in these circumstances, because few women exercise without also restricting calories) then they do not appear to create any energy deficit. In other words, they appear to eat to match their expenditures of energy and yet nonetheless can lose somewhere between 5-8% of their pre-exercise weight (8% is a more common percentage achieved for males, whereas females are more likely to reach a maximum of a 5% loss).
Presumably weight loss that occurs in these circumstances suggests that the metabolic rate is shifting within its optimal range -- still demanding sufficient energy in and yet also using fat mass for energy support as well.