Why Are Thin People Not Fat?

More people are now at risk from obesity than from starvation. Eating too much is killing us. But there are some people seemingly unaffected by the food they eat...

Our diet of ice cream, hamburgers, chocolate and other high-calorie foods is making us fat. Our 21st century society is literally eating itself into an early grave. But while some are getting fatter, there are others who seem to be immune to this new disease.

Dr Ethan Simms discovered this when he carried out an experiment on the inmates of Vermont State Prison in 1967. He recruited a group of prisoners who were asked to eat as much as they could until they gained an extra 25% of their original body weight. But despite heavy diets, only six out of nine made it.

Now, a group of medical students agree to eat double their normal intake of calories for four weeks. Will they all become overweight? Swedish scientist Fredrik Nystrom tries to find out what's happening to the extra calories they're taking on board.

Meanwhile, Dr Carel le Roux explodes some of the common misconceptions about weight. Is it all about self-control and exercise? Or do we have a natural weight which our bodies strive to maintain despite fluctuating levels of calorie intake and exercise? Could trying to lose weight trick some people's bodies into thinking they're being starved, slowing their metabolism and hanging on to the fat?

Busting myths and exposing facts, this compelling documentary goes in search of the truth about weight gain and finds out whether there could be more to blame for those extra pounds than just too much food and too little exercise.

Why Are Thin People Not Fat? airs 7.30pm, Monday 10 August on SBS.

Share article: 

Also on SBS