ecomii - a better way
March 20, 2018  |  Login
by James F. Balch, M.D. and Mark Stengler, N.D.

Obesity is the single most common problem that doctors see in their practices. Unfortunately, it's also a risk factor for a host of disorders. People who are more than 20 percent over the recommended weight for their height and sex are more vulnerable to degenerative diseases-heart problems, certain cancers, diabetes, arthritis, and so on-than the rest of the population is. High blood pressure, strokes, hemorrhoids, hiatal hernias, varicose veins, kidney problems, infertility, gallstones, and liver disease are all more likely to strike the overweight. And since heavy people are likely to consume high quantities of toxic food, their immune systems are depressed, leaving them susceptible to any virus or bug that happens to be going around at home or in the office.

But most people with weight problems already know all that. Weight loss is probably the most written-about subject in America, but despite all the diets, pills, spas, and programs, only a small percentage of people are able to lose weight and keep it off. In fact, the rising occurrence of obesity can be traced in part to our attempts to fight it.

Take the low-protein, high-carbohydrate diet that in the early 1990s was universally espoused as healthful: People filled up their plates with so much pasta, bread, and fat-free sweets that they actually ended up eating more calories-and, of course, gaining more weight. Other strategies, such as appetite suppressants, and extreme diets, do indeed help people lose weight in the short term. But they're also too dangerous to use for long, so at some point those people have to return to a lifestyle that is healthful. Because many "diet gurus" haven't taught people how to put healthful eating in the context of their daily routines, they soon put the weight right back on.

There are several reasons why a person is susceptible to obesity. Genetics is an ­ obvious factor that makes it more difficult for some people to lose weight. One example is people who have syndrome X. This inherited condition makes some people more likely to put on weight from simple carbohydrate consumption than others are. Insulin levels spike upward and result in fat deposition. This problem is compounded by the fact that the average American consumes 150 pounds of sugar each year!

In addition, some researchers feel that the body has a genetically programmed "set point." This refers to the theory that the body tries to maintain a set metabolic rate at which calories are burned, especially the fat cells. For people with a genetic susceptibility, it is even more important to be diligent with the diet and lifestyle recommendations we make. Also, nutritional supplements can help to lessen genetic tendencies.

The amount of calories someone consumes is an obvious reason for weight gain. Consuming too many calories without burning them results in a simple mathematical reality-weight gain. To stay within a certain parameter for your metabolism, it is helpful to grasp the concept of general calorie amounts of commonly consumed foods.

The second important concept, after calorie consumption, is the calories expended through movement and exercise. The more calories are utilized for energy, the less will go toward fat accumulation. In this technologically advanced and television-addicted society, people are expending many less calories than they used to.

Hormone balance is also important for the prevention and the treatment of obesity. Many hormones in the body have an effect on metabolism. The most notable are thyroid hormones, which greatly influence the metabolic rate in our cells. more

Next: What are the Symptoms of Obesity

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