Obesity: Causes, Dangers and Ways to Fight it!
The dangers of obesity are not limited to appearance and self-esteem. The dangers extend to far more serious conditions that may be triggered by obesity…
Obesity rates continue to paint a shocking picture. Yet, despite all the talk about what we need to do, little seems to get done and the epidemic continues to worsen. Is there any chance to control obesity rates or at least protect ourselves from becoming one of the victims? Yes and the first thing you need to know is the full scope of the problem.
The steadily encroaching enemy
For over 3 decades, obesity has been making a merciless advance in the United States. In a recent health and nutrition survey, about 36 per cent of US adults and 17 percent of children and adolescents were found to be obese1. While the current levels are shocking, the number of obese people keeps growing every year.
Once suffering from obesity, an individual is much more likely to suffer from serious health deficiencies, including hypertension, diabetes, stroke, cardiovascular disease, reproductive disorders, cancer and osteoarthritis. For the individual, this presents significant quality of life issues as well as potential financial hardship. As a nation, obesity and related health issues could be the greatest threat to our nation’s prosperity and security.
What leads to obesity?
A number of factors contribute to obesity, including the usual suspects: overeating and lack of exercise. However, the most devastating factor is the food choices we make, particularly making highly processed foods and sugar-laden foods a significant portion of our diet.
Technological breakthroughs certainly have made our lives easier – we prefer driving to walking, sending emails instead of going to the post office and, of course, visiting our favorite fast food restaurants rather than cooking healthy meals ourselves. Advances in food technology and mass production have dramatically increased food production and led to lower prices for many food products. However, the way food technology has impacted our health leaves much to be desired.
When food addiction becomes a disease
Even though many believe that obesity is caused by genetics, diet choices are still the primary factor in obesity. The growth in availability of unhealthy food choices goes hand-in-hand with the growth in obesity. The only winners here are food companies who know how to convince you that their highly processed food products are tasty and nutritious.
Many of the food products you eat today are heavily processed with high levels of unhealthy carbohydrates, particularly sugar, as well as additives and chemicals that help cause food addiction. Simple steps like reducing or, even better, eliminating junk food from your diet is one of the most effective steps you can take to address obesity.
Why do food companies focus on empty calories like sugar? Studies suggest that sweeteners are among the primary elements which make food addictive2. Some sugar isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But, lots of sugar, and that’s what you will find in many processed food products, will lead to nothing more than a wider waistline and the serious health and social issues discussed above.
Products like soda, french fries (and fried foods in general), chips (corn or potato) and many grain-based foods are among the worst foods you can eat. The common theme among these foods is high levels of carbohydrates with attendant high levels of sugar (especially fructose) and grain-based calories.
Reducing or eliminating soda, grain-based baked products, like many “nutrition” bars, cookies and cakes, yeasty breads, pizza, pasta and even alcoholic beverages, will provide the biggest benefit.
Fighting obesity in a few simple steps
You may think that struggling with obesity means limiting your daily diet to vegetables and water. Not at all. For instance, it is not necessary to exclude fats as, in fact, many healthy fats provide vital sources of energy and other nutrients as well as slowing food absorption which can help curb overeating.
What you need to focus on is a diet consisting of much higher levels of organic, minimally processed foods. Foods, like olives, nuts, organic eggs, avocados, wild salmon, pasture-raised chicken and grass-fed beef, provide good calories and, yes, even good fat, that will raise your energy levels, give your body the nutrients it needs, reduce the toxins you consume and, reduce your waistline!
Scheduling regular exercises is one more essential step towards fighting obesity. Instead of wasting time watching TV, spend 10-30 minutes a day walking, jogging, swimming or even just regularly standing up and sitting down. You don’t need to run 10 miles or ride a bike for an hour. As little as 20 minutes of exercise with brief intervals of high intensity effort will do wonders for your health.
Living a happy, healthy life is much easier when excessive weight is not something that is limiting you. Eliminating obesity and improving your health will change the way you look and feel as well as changing the way you are treated by others. Prevention is the best medicine –a healthy diet with regular exercise is the best solution!
Written by the staff of The Center for Optimal Health and Dr. David Pawsat
The Center for Optimal Health
February 11, 2015
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