Did you know more people are overweight today than ever before? Ever wonder what specifically causes a lot of them to put on the unwanted weight? Keep reading if you want to know the answers to these questions.
Since the 1960s, the Weight-Control Information Network (WIN) has determined that the number of people that are overweight or obese has steadily risen. This is not good. Approximately 20% of all fatalities of people in their 40s to 80s are caused by weight related issues. What’s more is that there are about $200 billion of associated medical costs annually. This is costing the economy more than $150 billion in efficiency.
Without a doubt, obesity is an issue with many complexities. Did you know that over $100 billion has been used for obesity studies in the past few decades? These studies have revealed what has caused obesity. Read on if you want to learn seven of the top reasons for expanding waistlines and ways to combat them.
- We eat out frequently. This includes restaurants, fast food chains, and so forth. According to the U.S. department of Agriculture (USDA), since the 1970s, the amount of money spent on these foods has gone from about 26% to around 44%.
The truth is that the food from these places is generally higher in calories and lower in nutritional value in comparison to food made at home. Specifically, people are getting roughly 31% of all daily calories from these foods (this percentage was approximately 17% in the past). What’s more is that the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has concluded about 11% of all daily calories for the typical adult come from fast food. In regard to the lack of nutritional value from these places, people need to eat healthy, nutritionally balanced foods to feel full. In other words, these places don’t fill people up, which makes them consume way too many calories. Needless to say, it’s best to make healthy, homemade meals and snacks at home frequently so that you can better monitor the amount of calories you ingest. This will guarantee that that the majority of your calories will come from foods that have a high nutritional value.
- Our sugar consumption is too high. Research from the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) indicates that since the 1900s, as sugar consumption has increased, so has obesity. However, the truth is that it only poses a real problem if an individual abuses sugar and doesn’t work out regularly.
What’s more is that lean, active peoples’ bodies generally process sugar better than people that are overweight and inactive. As to why too much sugar (and too little exercise) causes weight gain, the thing to remember is the concept of energy balance. This concept states that if you burn fewer calories (energy) than you consume, you will gain weight. Also, note that it doesn’t matter if the calories come from sugar, fat, or even protein. Calories are calories. The main thing to remember here is to be sure to consume sugar in moderation and have an exercise plan in place. You should focus on getting your calories from foods that have a high nutrient content and that are not processed. Nothing bad will happen to your waistline if you choose to add in a little amount of sugar to your diet, however. Ideally, try to keep the amount of daily calories that you get from sugar under 11% by reducing high-sugar foods and cooking your own meals. If you eat foods that are rich in micro-nutrients and exercise regularly, you will never have to worry about obesity affecting you.
- We drink too many high calorie beverages, such as soda. The USDA has determined that since the late 1970s, the daily consumption of soda has been on the rise. The problem with a lot of these drinks is that they don’t make you feel full for long. This is why one glass can turn in to many, which leads to way too many calories ingested. Add in your daily normal food intake and that’s an excessive intake of calories.
You don’t want to be fat from calorie-rich beverages forever, do you? Calorie-rich drinks will never fill you up the way food does so it’s important not to over consume them, yet this is the adverse effect such drinks have on you – they are likely to make you overeat. Scientific research has already proven the correlation between excessive ingestion of sugar-filled drinks and weight gain in both men and women. The proper fix for this is to choose low calorie beverages, like water, more often. Water helps you burn more calories and stay hydrated at the same time.
- Our diets are made up of too much fat. According to the USDA, fat consumption has gone up by about 65% from the 1970s to the mid-2000s. It has reached astronomical levels in the last 20 years. Despite this, the sky isn’t falling because this is generally regarded as good.
Dietary fats play an important role in recognizing insulin levels, cell maintenance, and hormone development, to name a few. What’s the problem then, you ask? It’s simply that dietary fat tastes good, contains many calories, but doesn’t relieve hunger. This is not a good mix. Did you know that 1 gram of fat has roughly 10 calories while 1 gram of protein or carbs has just 3 calories, but the fat is not as filling as the carbohydrates or protein? No wonder it’s easier to overeat if your diet if is high in fat! It goes without saying that obesity is more prevalent in people who consume high-fat diets than in people whose diets are low in fat. Hence, try to limit your fat intake but don’t eliminate it altogether since there are healthy types of fat, which are necessary for your body. For adults, about 21%-36% of your everyday calories should come from fat according to the Institute of Medicine (IOM). To avoid over consuming fat, you should satisfy your hunger with foods and beverages that are high in protein, fiber, or carbohydrates.
- We aren’t getting enough sleep. In the 1950s, most people reported to get about 8 hours of sleep every night. Today, most people get only about 6 hours. Getting enough sleep each night will help you prevent weight gain. Why, you ask?
The fact is that your body actually burns calories and fat while asleep, since it is essentially in what is known as a “fasting state.” For example, a person that weighs 150 pounds eliminates around 65 calories every hour while sleeping. Additionally, most of the body’s growth hormone is made during sleep, which promotes fat loss because growth hormone is considered to be a fat-loss hormone. Therefore adequate sleep is directly correlated with your fat loss and over all well-being. A study done by the University of Chicago had 10 overweight people follow a low calorie diet for a period of two weeks. The first group went to sleep about 8 hours every night. The second group got around 5 hours of sleep. Which group do you think shed more body fat? The study concluded that the second group shed roughly 50% less body fat and 55% more muscle than the first group. The second group also reported an increase in hunger as the day progressed. Quite simply, the less you sleep, the more your body fat levels will rise and the less likely you body will use the insulin it naturally produces adequately. Such “insulin inefficiency” is found in diabetics and may make your body more prone to store carbohydrates as fat. Due to all of these factors, try to get approximately 8 hours of sleep each night so as not to be sleep deprived.
- We aren’t burning enough calories at work. To put things in to perspective, back in the 1960s, nearly 50% of private sector jobs made people perform at least a moderate quantity of physical labor. Currently, just about 19% of jobs require this much labor.
Additionally, the average amount of daily calories burned by Americans has fallen by more than 100 calories when compared to the 1960s. That might not sound like much, but if you were to consume 100 more calories than you burn on a daily basis for a period of 1 year, you would gain 10 pounds! This statistic would not be important if we just reduced the amount of food we ate but, sadly, we aren’t sticking to this simple lesson. A sedentary lifestyle is never healthy and it can even lead to acute illness. The bottom line is that you should make time to exercise regularly or participate in some sort of frequent physical activity.
- We consume a record amount of calories every day. Couple this with the fact that many people don’t burn enough calories, and it’s easy to see why the USA has become the nation with the most obese people on the planet.
Does the energy balance concept from the second point above ring a bell? Taking the previous six points into account, it is clear that we overeat and are overly sedentary. You can easily reduce the adverse health effects of weight gain by simply reversing this negative trend. The buzz surrounding GMOs, sugar, and carbohydrates hides the simple fact that weight loss will always be about balancing the amount of calories you ingest with the amount of calories you expend each day.
In sum, many people are overweight because they consuming too much and lack enough physical activity in their lives. If you are one of the people that fall in to this group, you should try your very best to always remember these seven points and implement their lessons to achieve a healthier lifestyle. Are there any other reasons for obesity that you can think of?