Obesity is one of the major problems existing in the world today, covering a large number of people in all age groups. The major factors for weight gain and obesity are:
Genes have a strong influence on obesity issues. Children born of obese parents are much more likely to become obese than children of physically fit parents. However, the genetic expression isn’t that influential unless they receive signals from our lifestyle. People indulging in an unhealthy diet become prone to obesity.
Engineered “Hyper Palatable” Junk Foods
Today, fast foods are primarily ingredients mixed with a lot of chemicals and preservatives. These products are engineered to be cheap, have a longer shelf life and taste so incredibly good that they are irresistible. By making foods “hyper palatable,” the food manufacturers ensure both overeating and overconsumption. Most processed foods today are pretty harmful to our bodies. The junk food companies are very aggressive marketers. Their tactics are quite unethical at times and they constantly push very unhealthy products in the markets posing them as health products.
These highly engineered junk foods lead to a powerful stimulation of the reward centres in our brains. An action similar to those of drugs of abuse like alcohol and nicotine.The fact is that junk foods can cause full-blown addiction in susceptible individuals. People lose control over their eating behaviour. They are inclined to overeat and junk food in particular.
Children are becoming obese, diabetic and addicted to junk foods way before they’re old enough to make conscious decisions about these things.
Insulin is a very important hormone that regulates glucose metabolism and energy production as well as storage. The hormone insulin also manages fat retention in our body. The Western diet causes insulin resistance in many individuals. This elevates insulin levels all over the body, making energy selectively getting stored in the fat cells instead of being available for use. The best way to lower insulin is to cut back on carbohydrates, which usually leads to an automatic reduction in calorie intake and effortless weight loss.
Many pharmaceutical drugs have been reported to pose weight gain as a side effect.
Examples include diabetes medication, antidepressants, antipsychotics, etc. These drugs manipulate the functioning of body and brain, making it store fat selectively instead of burning it out.
Another hormone that is crucial in obesity is Leptin. This hormone is produced by the fat cells and is supposed to send signals to the hypothalamus (the part of our brain that controls food intake).
Obese people tend to develop resistance to leptin which is probably a leading factor in the pathogenesis of obesity.
One factor that dramatically influences the collective waistline of the world is a massive increase in food availability. Food (especially junk food) is so readily available everywhere now. Shop keepers stack tempting products like sweets and candy bars in areas that maximize the chances of impulse purchases. Junk food is often cheaper than the healthy and natural food and is also one of the prime factors.
Sugar is the worst part of the modern diet. The reason is that when consumed in excess, sugar influences the hormonal secretion and basic biochemistry of the body, contributing to weight gain. Sugar splits into glucose and fructose in our bodies. Glucose is the monosaccharide given by all sorts of carbohydrates. Excess fructose consumption causes insulin resistance and elevated insulin levels. It may cause leptin resistance too. It also doesn’t cause satiety in the same way as glucose. All of these contribute to energy storage and ultimately, obesity.
People all over the world are being misinformed about health and nutrition. This is primarily because organizations produce influenced, biased and false information and promotions.
Unless there is some medical condition getting in the way, it is within any individual’s power to control their own weight. It often takes a little effort and determination coupled with a drastic lifestyle change, but many people find success in the long run despite having odds stacked up against them.
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