A clue to why some of us can stay trim on a diet that causes others to gain weight may be found in the way the body handles sodium and potassium.

According to a recent report in Science News (118:295), Harvard Medical researchers have found there is a direct relationship between body weight and the capacity to move sodium and potassium through body membranes. Since this transport process burns up a lot of energy, a relative lack of sodium and potassium transporters could understandably be associated with increased body weight.

“For the first time we have evidence that obese people have a primary biochemical defect not caused by overeating,” reported one of the researchers. The question of whether the biochemical defect is hereditary remains to be fully answered. Meanwhile, let us not use this as an excuse. It may be harder for some of us to diet if we have fewer than normal sodium and potassium transporters, but it is not impossible.


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