I know I’ve already done a historical perspective on Why are we Fat: a time-line of some articles found in Science News regarding the views on fat through the ages. But I wanted to share something which comes from even earlier than the earliest article I found in my search of that particular title that might just give pause for a moment. (Bear in mind the writing in this article uses old English styles of “s” [which resembles an “f”] and “v” used in place of “u”s writings so reading it was a bit difficult at first, if fascinating. Hopefully I haven’t mis-spelled any of the words, aside from replacing the “f”s with “s”s, I’ve left the original spellings and capitalization as well as the italics.) The bolding for emphasis is, however, all my own.
“An Observation about the Epiploon, or the double Membrane, which covers the Entrails of Animals, and is filled with Fat.
The Epiploon, being look’d upon by a good Microscope, is like a great Sack full of abundance of other small Sacks, which do inclose gatherings of Grease or Fat. There are many vessels which may be call’d Adipose or Fatty, which issue out of this membrane, and spreading themselves all over the Body, conveigh Fat to it, just as the Arteries carry the Blood all over the same. Whereever is Fat or Grease, there is found store of these little sacks, wherein that is inclosed; when it is, that in lean and emaciated Bodies, instead of Fat, you find nothing but Skins.
The structure of these Small Sacks, and of the adipous Vessels, sufficiently sheweth, that the Fat is not formed accidentally out of the thick Vapours of the Blood, as is the common belief: Nor is its chief use to soment the natural Heat; but it seems rather to conduce to the allaying of the Acrimony of the Salts, that are in the Blood and the Serosities. And indeed (saith this Author) lean persons, and those whose Epiploon hath been cut, are more subject than others to Rheumatisms, Lienteries, and the diseases that are caused by the sharpness of the Humours. And those that are fat, are not so easily seized on by them, in regard the Acrimony of the serosities is corrected by the mixture of the Fat, just as the sharpest Lixivium will lose its force, if Oil be mingled therewith. (An Observation about the Epiploon, or the Double Membrane, Which Covers the Entrails of Animals, and is Filled with Fat. Philosophical Transactions (1665-1678), Vol. 2, (1666 – 1667), pp. 552-553.)
When was this written you ask? Well, as you might have guessed from the odd language and note about spellings, it is old. 1667’s old. Almost 350 years ago. 350 long years ago it was suggested that perhaps people (perfons) that are fat are not so easily susceptible to the diseases that might prey more strongly upon those not so fortunate as to hold such stores in their “Body”. Granted, they were using the concepts of “Humours” and “Vapours”, which has long since been revealed as no longer applicable to modern medicine (who else wonders what sort of articles printed now might be read 350 years in the future with a giggle-snort at our archaic beliefs about how the Body worked??) Yet tell me if this old item brings to mind anything we might have seen more recently…
“Though no one wants to be labeled overweight, new research shows overweight people live longer than underweight, normal weight and obese people.” (Experts say being moderately overweight may be good for you – Jan 7, 2009)
Anyone else feel like medical science has been going in circles for a very long freaking time, getting no-where???
Just some history this morning for thought-provoking purposes.