Are gray skies making me fat?

I heard a report on the news last night about a study linking insufficient levels of vitamin D to weight gain. I have to admit that my ears perk up anytime I hear of anything that might cause weight gain other than poor choices. Hey, it’s not the chocolate and lack of exercise – it’s the lack of sunshine!

The study, published in the Journal of Women’s Health, found those with insufficient levels of vitamin D in their blood gained about two pounds more than those with adequate levels of the vitamin. Two pounds?  At this point I’m thinking this isn’t really news. I can fluctuate up and down two pounds in a week easily.

According to an online article, the study involved more than 4,600 women age 65 over nearly five years. “In the group of 571 women who gained weight, those with insufficient vitamin D levels gained more — 18.5 pounds over five years — than women who had sufficient vitamin D,” said study author Dr. Erin LeBlanc, an endocrinologist at the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in Portland, Ore. “The latter group gained 16.4 pounds over the same period.” LeBlanc went on to say that although it was only 2 pounds, over time that can add up.

I’m always skeptical of studies, so I did a little math. According to the article, 78 percent (or 3588) of the 4600 study participants had a vitamin D deficiency, yet only 571 (or 12.4 percent) gained weight. If a lack of vitamin D is the reason for weight gain, then why didn’t a higher percentage of those with the deficiency gain weight? And why did a percentage of the 571 who gained weight do so in spite of having sufficient levels of vitamin D?

I’m the first to admit that I’m not a researcher, doctor or scientist, but this study doesn’t appear to prove any solid link between vitamin D deficiency and weight gain. Am I missing something? I don’t think so, but just in case I am, I think I’ll go outside and enjoy some natural vitamin D!

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