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Int J Obes. 1990 May;14(5):421-7.

Weight set-point theory predicts HDL-cholesterol levels in previously obese long-distance runners.

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Donner Laboratory, Berkeley Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720.


I have proposed that long-distance runners have the high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol metabolism of men who are below their sedentary weight set-point. This hypothesis was tested by correlating HDL-cholesterol levels with other variables in 33 long-distance runners who ran at least 24 km/week. The most significant determinant of the runners' plasma HDL-cholesterol concentrations was the difference between the runners' current weight and their self-reported greatest weight (r = -0.50, P less than 0.0001). HDL-cholesterol levels were highest in previously-obese runners who had lost the most weight, i.e. highest in those who were the furthest below their presumed weight set-point. Plasma HDL-cholesterol concentrations were unrelated to training level, running performance, current weight and upper-body obesity. Although these results do not prove homeostatic regulation of weight at a set point, they do suggest that deviations from sedentary weight affect metabolism. Moreover, with respect to male runners elevating their HDL-cholesterol concentrations, these results suggest, 'tis better to have been fat and lost than to have never been fat at all.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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