The sad reality is that people in today’s society have more cases of obesity than in the past. Despite the medical advances that we have and the current trend of health and beauty obsession, obesity rates continue to grow.
Why is there a growing rate of obesity in the world?
A study, conducted by researchers from the University of York in Toronto, Ontario, found that “people who are currently 40 years old, should eat less and exercise more to avoid gaining weight than people who were 40 years old in 1971, for example.”
The study, funded by the Canadian Institute of Health Research, analyzed the dietary data of almost 36.400 American adults between 1971 and 2008 and the data frequency of physical activity 14.419 adults in the period of 1988 to 2006.
The researchers compared the 3 crucial factors, and they found that the Body Mass Index of a person in 2006 was approximately 10% higher than that of another person that had the 3 identical factors in 1988.
This means that, if we were to compare two people of the same age who consume the same amount of macronutrients, the same amount of calories and make the same amount of exercise, currently would weigh more than in 1988.
“This is because the control of the weight is in reality much more complex than the simple difference between the calories in and out. In this operation, we are not accounting for all the factors that also affect weight,” says the lead author of the study, professor Jennifer Kuk.
5 Factors that promote weight gain
1 – Stress
Although in principle stress can reduce your appetite when it becomes chronic it increases weight in the long-term.
Once our bodies reach a certain level of stress, they trigger a response that makes us eat in excess. This is because one of the functions of the stress hormone, cortisol, is to increase the supply of glucose in the bloodstream so that it can be used as a source of energy. That energy is not used and, therefore, stored as fat.
2 – Environmental factors
Our environment is quite different from that of our ancestors. For example, the majority of the homes are full of products that may affect the functions of our body.
Some of the ingredients that most affect us are the BPA, PCBs, phthalates, triclosan, agricultural pesticides, etc. These ingredients have a structure similar to the hormone estrogen, which can cause weight gain.
3 – Quality of the food
The quality of our food has also changed (for the worse) in comparison with that of our ancestors. Now, many of the products that we consume are processed and full of additives and preservatives, something that was not happening 50 years ago. Not to mention the fact that the food is grown in a soil that is not as nutritious as it was before.
Transgenic crops and the spraying with pesticides are other factors that also affect the weight gain we are experiencing now.
4 – Prescription drugs
Also, we take many more medications than our ancestors, something that is also influencing the increase in obesity. As well as the delay in the maternal age, the reduction of the variability of the ambient temperature, the decreased prevalence of smoking, insomnia and the low level of calcium in the body.
5 – IntestinalMicrobiomea
Our intestinal flora helps to neutralise some of the toxic by-products of digestion and decreases the growth of “bad” bacteria. It also helps to stimulate the digestive process, and helps the absorption of nutrients.
Unfortunately, as a general rule, we eat less foods that promote bowel health than we should. Our intake of prebiotics and probiotics should be much higher. In addition, conventional meat grown in factory also has a high content of antibiotics that can kill the good bacteria in our gut, causing an imbalance and making us more susceptible to the bad bacteria that cause weight gain.
What can we do to getting fatter?
- Eat real food such as vegetables, fruits, vegetables, seeds, legumes, whole grains.
- Avoid processed foods, packaged and fried foods, any artificial sweetener, additives and preservatives.
- Consume organic foods whenever possible to minimize exposure to pesticides, fungicides and genetically modified foods.
- Opt for products natural cleaning products both for personal hygiene and for the home.
- Learn to manage stress properly.
- Sleep at least 7 hours each night.
- Avoid the excessive consumption of antibiotics and drugs in general.
- Be sure to include healthy foods in your diet such as prebiotics (garlic, leeks, onions, asparagus…) and probiotics (organic yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, tempeh, miso…).