Contrary to popular belief, overeating and physical inactivity are not the only factors responsible for the escalating obesity epidemic. A number of factors, environmental, lifestyle, and even psychological, are likely to play a significant role in your expanding waistline. If the scale doesn't reflect your healthy lifestyle, here are 6 potential causes that could be standing between you and your ideal weight.
The Food Guide correlates serving size and calories, outlining how much of what you should be eating. It recommends a daily intake of 2400 calories for men and 1800 for women. It needs to be personalized and not taken at face value. Overeating healthy foods is not likely a cause of obesity. Meal deals, cheap junk food, confusing food labels, etc. seem to pose the "bigger” threat.
We are consuming very little slow-cooked home food and a lot of fast-cooked, processed foods that contain excess fat, sugar and salt. Open recreational spaces have shrunk and our physical activity levels have come down. Modern work, requires us to be sedentary, for the most part. All these environmental factors are rapidly pushing us towards obesity.
Studies suggest emulsifiers, added in processed foods, strip the gastrointestinal tract of good bacteria, blocking the fat-burning process and making the body hold on to fat. Altered gut bacteria leads to inflammatory bowel disease and metabolic syndrome. Help your gut by adding fiber and probiotic rich foods like beans, veggies and greek yogurt.
A growing amount of scientific data proves that artificial sweeteners are linked to metabolic dysfunction. They interfere with responses that regulate appetite and blood sugar, disrupt the human gut microflora in a manner that promotes insulin resistance and glucose intolerance which causes obesity, loss of appetite control and type 2 diabetes.
Alcohol increases your food intake as it makes you hungry quite often. It prevents and makes fat burn a lot more difficult as it raises cortisol levels which increases your fat storing ability. It is high on calories and mostly have a zero nutrient value. Foods generally consumed with alcohol are high on sodium and fat, doubling the intake of calories.
When dealing with stress, the body frequently craves precisely the foods that will exacerbate the condition most, such as salty, fatty, and sweet processed food to counteract the tension. These high-calorie foods cause the brain to release certain neurotransmitters which procure a temporary relief by weakening the stress response. When a behavior is followed by a satisfying consequence it is likely to be learned. Repetition of these reward-based stress eating models may lead to changes in the brain inducing compulsive overeating.