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June 1, 2018
By Tom Hopke, Contributing Columnist

If you are like 70% of all Americans, then you will find the
title of this article almost a joke. 67% of us are overweight,
according to the Centers for Disease Control, making the
problem of losing weight without really trying exactly the
kind of "problem" we would welcome.

Yet, many people are in fact struggling with this issue.
Unexplained weight loss is a frightening thing, conjuring up
thoughts of cancer and imminent death from some
undiagnosed disease. The problem becomes terrifying if you
start to try to gain weight and discover that, despite your
efforts, that you can't maintain your body weight easily.

In truth, there are instances when unexplained weight loss is
a serious medical concern. We have mentioned cancer but
there are others. What kinds of conditions cause rapid weight

Reasons You're Losing Weight Without Really Trying

Hepatitis A Causes Weight Loss and It's More Common Than
You Think

Hepatitis A is a viral infection caused by contact, direct or
indirect, with fecal matter. Hepatitis literally means
inflammation of the liver.

The Centers for Disease Control lists the following groups of
people who are more at risk for contracting hepatitis A:

• Travel to or live in countries where Hepatitis A is common
• Have sexual contact with someone who has Hepatitis A
• Are men who have sexual encounters with other men
• Use of recreational drugs, whether injected or not
• Have clotting-factor disorders, such as hemophilia
• Are household members or caregivers of a person infected
with Hepatitis A

But there is a common scenario which you encounter every
month which exposes you to hepatitis virus.

Here is the scenario. A food service worker fails to wash his
or her hands and then touches food being prepared for you.

If you think that this is an uncommon scenario, you're
wrong. A 2005 study from Health, Social, and Economics
Research, RTI International, in Research Triangle Park, NC,
found that 60% of food service workers report that they "did
not always wear gloves while touching ready-to-eat (RTE)
food (60%), did not always wash their hands or change their
gloves between handling raw meat and RTE food (23% and

Moreover, the Food and Drug Administration "observed
improper hand washing in 73% of restaurants and failure to
prevent bare-hand contact with ready-to-eat foods in 57% of
restaurants", according to a 2007 study led by Vincent Radke
of the National Center for Environmental Health, Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention.

Here's another scenario. You care for a child in diapers or an
incontinent adult and later handle food, unwittingly spreading
the hepatitis virus.

Symptoms of hepatitis A include dark urine, body aches,
nausea, jaundice and weight loss.

Diabetes Can Make You Lose Weight

Unintended weight loss is a symptom of diabetes. Other
symptoms include feeling tired, changes in urine output or
color, frequent urination, especially at night.

The American Diabetes Association lists these additional

  • Urinating often.
  • Feeling very thirsty.
  • Feeling very hungry - even though you are eating.
  • Extreme fatigue.
  • Blurry vision.
  • Cuts/bruises that are slow to heal.
  • Weight loss - even though you are eating more (type 1)
  • Tingling, pain, or numbness in the hands/feet (type 2)

The Centers for Disease Control reports that 29 million
Americans have diabetes and 25% don' know it. That's 7.25
million people walking around with undiagnosed diabetes.

A 2015 study from the University of Aberdeen in Scotland
looked at the pattern of weight loss following a diagnosis of
Type 2 diabetes. The study examined the health records of
29, 316 overweight or obese patients and followed them fro
2 years.

By the end of 2 years, 36% of patients had lost at least 2.5%
of their weight. A person weighing 100 kilograms would have
lost 2.5 kilograms (5.5 pounds) without dieting.

Weight loss is less common with diabetes mellitus, Type 2
diabetes. In fact, weight loss is now being touted as a way to
"reverse" or manage Type 2 diabetes by many health
authorities based on a 2017 study from the UK. The study
was conducted by a large team of scientists led by Professor
Michael E.J. Lean of the Institute of Health and Society in
Newcastle, UK.

The study examined the effect of dietary changes on 30
diabetic patients between the ages of 30 and 65. All of the
participants were overweight or obese.

They divided the 30 people into two groups. The first group
was put on a low-calorie diet of 853 calories per day, which
is about one third of normal calories needed to maintain body
weight for the group members. The diet consisted of
milkshakes and soups and lasted 3 to 5 months. Following
the 3 to 5 month period, solid food was gradually
reintroduced.  All diabetes medications were stopped in the
first group.

The other group of participants ate their normal diets. The
second group continued to take their diabetes medications.

The the end of the study, blood glucose levels were
measured in both groups. Surprisingly, 46% of people in the
restricted diet had normal blood glucose levels a year later.

Only 4% of people in the second group had normal blood
glucose levels.

Perhaps the most striking finding of the study was that the
more weight the participants lost, the greater was their
chance of reversing diabetes. Of those who lost 15kg (33
pounds) in the study, 80% saw their diabetes go into

Of those who lost between 22 and 55 pounds, more than half
(57 per cent) of those who lost 10kg (1st 8lb) to 15kg, and
34 per cent of those who lost 5kg (11lb) to 10kg.

Which Cancers Cause Weight Loss?

Continue reading
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