Why Certain People are Skinny – & You May Not Like It!

Woman running outdoors

Research looked at why people are leaner and how different their activity levels are

Have you ever seen someone lean, eating a lot and wondering how they do it?
I did that a lot until I realised most lean people’s habits vastly differ from regular ones.
Perhaps it’s something they are eating (or not) or their physical activity level.

Are they just naturally lucky?

This doesn’t relate to everyone — but a few here and there.
Heavier people may envy skinny individuals — why won’t their bodies resemble a leaner physique too?
Researchers were interested in this concept, so they recruited 173 people with a normal to low BMI.
These people were classified as ‘healthy underweight.’
All participants were given a questionnaire to screen out people with eating disorders, individuals who intentionally restrained their eating, and many people living with HIV.
In addition, anyone that lost weight within the past six months due to illness or medical conditions was excluded.
These exclusions made it a lot fairer when it came to the results.
What’s very interesting here is that out of the 150 people who passed the researcher’s criteria, only four said they exercised in a very driven way (as in intense levels).
Participants were monitored for two weeks. Food intake was measured, such as water intake, energy expenditure and any physical activity they may have done.

Here is what the researchers found from this regarding healthy underweight people:

  • They consumed 12% less food.
  • They were also 23% less active!
  • Surprisingly, they had a higher resting metabolic rate, including elevated energy expenditure and thyroid activity.
  • Everyone had good markers for heart health, cholesterol and blood pressure.
This may suggest that low body fat is more beneficial than physical activity regarding the downstream health consequences!
The research had limitations, such as the participant’s food intake, feelings of satiety and what foods they picked.
This was a good starting point to understand how lean people compare to those of normal weight and look at genetic differences between normal and underweight individuals.

Burning more energy

Researchers have also suggested that these leaner individuals may be better genetically inclined regarding energy expenditure.
So, that shows that genetics may play a part in keeping people lean (although it’s not the essential component, of course).
Perhaps from future research, we can understand how these findings may benefit the obesity epidemic.
In the meantime, keep eating well and exercising.
Both factors are crucial in keeping you leaner and sustaining peak health as you age.
Unfortunately, some of us have to make more effort to maintain a lean body than others (me included), so we may as well embrace it and get on with it.

Are you naturally lean, and do you cop a lot of flack for it?

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