Excess Body Fat Isn’t Healthy But Too Little Muscle More Strongly Linked to Death

by Mike Mutzel


Most health experts agree that increased body fat and obesity are unhealthy, but new data suggests low muscle mass presents just as problematic a risk for chronic disease and death. In today’s show, we explore more about how muscle mass protects against the development of deadly diseases and may extend lifespan.




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Time Stamps:


00:05 Lean Muscle Mass is protective.

02:48 Increased fat mass or low lean mass, is linked with inflammation, metabolic impairments, endothelial dysfunction, high blood pressure and abnormal lipid profile.

04:40 Bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) and the DEXA scan can approximate lean mass.

06:00 Over the age of 60, there is less of an association with all-cause mortality with increased fat mass index. Fat mass may then be protective.

10:35 Grip strength gives an approximation of whole-body strength.

Related:How I Put on 4 lbs of Muscle + Lost 1% Body Fat in 45 Days

13:30 There is a strong inverse association between predicted lean mass and mortality from all causes.

13:44 Higher and lower predicted fat mass is associated with higher risk of mortality from all causes and cardiovascular disease.

15:30 Low lean mass, as you age, is inversely correlated with all-cause mortality.

16:20 Fat mass that is too high and lean mass that is too low are both associated with increased risk for all-cause mortality.

17:10 DEXA is a low dose of radiation.

18:20 Lean mass index is a better predictor of mortality than body mass.

19:00 Waist circumference, fat mass and fat proportion were not associated with mortality, concluded an Asian study.

20.55 There was no gender difference in the lean mass study.

21.10 The relative risk of mortality between the highest lean mass group and the lowest lean mass was 74%.

23.10 Work every major muscle group at least one day each week.



Han, S. S.,  Chin, H. J. et al (2010). Lean Mass Index: A Better Predictor of Mortality than Body Mass Index in Elderly Asians. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 58(2), 312–317. 

Liu, M., et al. (2022). Predicted fat mass and lean mass in relation to all-cause and cause-specific mortality. Journal of Cachexia, Sarcopenia and Muscle, 13(2), 1064–1075.

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