Sumo wrestlers eat upto 7,000 calories a day
and weigh 300 to 400 pounds
or two to three times asmuch as the average adult.
While that may not sound likethe healthiest lifestyle,
you shouldn’t judge a book,or a body, by its cover.
Take a closer look,
and you’ll discover that it really is what’s on the inside that counts.
people with obesity store a portion of their extra fat deepinside the abdomen,
where it wraps around the pancreas, liver, and other vital organs.
We call this visceral fat.
It pollutes the blood with molecules that can cause inflammation,
and this is why obesity can lead to health issues
like high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, and heart attacks,
but sumo wrestlers don’t usuallysuffer from these symptoms.
So what’s their trick?
CT scans reveal that sumo wrestlers don’t have much visceral fat at all.
Instead, they store most of their fat right underneath the skin.
That’s why scientists thinksumo wrestlers are healthy.
They have normal levels of triglycerides, a type of fat in their blood,
and unexpectedly low levels of cholesterol,
both of which lower their risk of heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.
So how did they hit the jackpot on fat?
The secret’s in their name: sumo wrestler.
Studies show that intense exercise may prevent the buildup of visceral fat.
Basically, it has to do with how exercise increases a hormone called adiponectin.
Adiponectin guidesglucose and fat molecules
out of our blood stream,where they could build up
as visceral fat, and insteadputs them underneath the skin.
Mind you, sumo wrestlersget a lot of exercise.
At a sumo stable, or heya, in Japan,
training starts as early as 5 a.m.
and can last for up tofive hours straight,
and it’s nothing likewhat you’d expect to find at your typical group fitness class.
For example, during an exercisecalled butsukari-geiko,
wrestlers take turnsrepeatedly hitting and pushing each other
until they collapse to the floor from exhaustion.
And then, of course, there’s the match,
where wrestlers try to shovetheir opponent out of the ring or
force them to touch the ground with any body part other than the soles of their feet.
But as soon as the exercisestops, so does its benefits.
When sumo wrestlers retire, they have to seriously cut calories
or they become at risk for cardiovascular disease.
That might explain why retired wrestlers
reportedly die anestimated 10 years younger than the average Japanese citizen.
So while the thought ofeating 7,000 calories a day might be appealing,
you probably shouldn’t.
Unless you’re spending most of your day trying to topple a 400-pound man.