Obesity, the deadly quartet and the contribution of the neglected daily organ rest - a new dimension of un-health and its prevention

Hepatobiliary Surg Nutr. 2015 Aug;4(4):278-88. doi: 10.3978/j.issn.2304-3881.2015.07.02.


The "deadly quartet": excessive weight, hypertension, impaired glucose homeostasis, and atherogenic dyslipidemia constitute a greater threat to health than the added effects of smoking and alcohol abuse. It is strongly associated with unrestricted consumption of processed, refined foods. Recent observations from experience in South East Asia shows that the interval between lifestyle changes and associated change in disease pattern is shorter than earlier believed. Recent experience from obesity studies in Africa demonstrates not only dramatic changes in health but also large social consequences from being overweight. Obesity is not only a result of overeating - dozens of other factors are known to contribute. Our palaeolithic forefathers and those living a similar lifestyle today are reported to rarely have diseases and to live a long life. One such group is the Hunzas, living in Northern Pakistan, are reported to live on a daily 1,800-calorie 99% plant-based diet, consisting in 73% of mostly unrefined/unprocessed carbohydrates, 17% fat and 10% protein. They, and most likely also our forefathers, do/did most likely only eat twice a day, at noon and early evening. Calorie-restriction (CR) and also fasting was early recommended and has been so during thousands of years - early Greek medicine and giants such as Hippocrates, Galenus and later also Paracelsus prescribed restrictions in eating and fasting. So did Middle Age physicians and other nutrition experts such as Louis Cornado. Today it is again practiced around the World. Overeating and heavy postprandial metabolism is a great burden to the body causing elevated levels in blood of endotoxin, increased inflammatory and oxidative stress, release of tumor necrosis factor-α, and other pro-inflammatory cytokines, increases in numbers of and activating of leukocytes, a reaction that is potentiated by the presence of large-chain fatty acids and sugars. Various metabolic, uremic, microbiota-derived and environmental poisons accumulate in large amounts in the adipose tissues. High levels of poisons in the adipose tissues decreases the turnover of fats in order to protect other organs. The content in adipose of POPs - altogether 17 dioxins/furans and 18 polychlorinated biphenyl congeners, has been reported to be 2-3 times higher in obese compared to lean persons. Daily fasting consisting in 16 to 18 hours of avoidance of calorie intake offers an interesting alternative. An attractive policy is to abstain from eating between 18:00 in the evening and 10:00 or 12:00 AM, a plan, which I personally have practiced during many years.

Keywords: Postprandial; detoxification; hyperglycaemia; organ rest; sleep deprivation.

Publication types

  • Review