Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Can Fat People Starve?

I am just wondering, can fat people starve themselves? I would think if both fat and calories are both energy that can be burned, that a fat person can't starve until they become thin? --James. T.

Dear James,
You are correct in assuming that a person with ample fat stores would not starve to death from lack of energy stores. However, if an overweight person ceased to eat (or ate extremely poorly) they could still die from malnutrition. Having inadequate vitamin and mineral intakes could lead to deficiency diseases after several months and most of these are ultimately fatal. Protein is also vital and there are no body stores.  After a time without protein the body becomes more susceptible to infections and poor recovery. The heart and kidneys, among other organs, would be reduced in size and strength to the point they could not sustain their function adequately to support life.

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