5 things to eliminate that could help curb obesity

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
5 things to get rid that could curb escalating obesity rates
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Researchers have remained focused on tackling obesity rates in the U.S. Obesity rates are escalating worldwide. There seems to be a ‘perfect storm’ of events contributing to the epidemic, for which there is no immediate solution. Eliminating 5 simple things might help curb obesity rates and are worth consideration.

Food additives and obesity link

Food additives have been studied for their role in contributing to obesity. Experts recommend eating fresh food and avoiding pre-packaged and pre-prepared foods that are laden with chemicals.

It just makes sense that the body can’t process some if the ingredients added by food manufacturers. There are also questions about how additives work on the brain to cause more hunger, leading to a vicious cycle of overeating and more hunger.

A prime example is high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) that is added to almost everything. It may be that we are simply over consuming corn syrup that might otherwise be harmless. There is still much debate about HFCS as a contributor to obesity, though researchers find a correlation between the additive and obesity since it was first introduced into our food supply.

Mark Hyman, MD has much to say about how HFCS is killing us by promoting “death, disease and illness” because it promotes inflammation that is the root of all diseases.

One suggestion would be to eliminate the product from your diet and see if weight loss becomes easier.

Calories

It may be that Americans are simply eating too much and are susceptible to ‘super-sizing’ everything. Some experts agree we are over-consuming and simply will not admit it.

When you combine higher food intake with sedentary lifestyles from desk jobs, chronic illness and lack of time from hectic lifestyles, you have another ‘perfect storm’ for obesity.

The only way to know if you are consuming too much is to read labels and keep a food journal. Mindful eating could go a long way for curbing obesity rates. Eliminating just a few calories a day can lead to significant weight loss.

BPA

But it might not be what we are eating that is making us fat. It could also be from endocrine disruptors like BPA that is so common in the environment and food packaging including the most cost effective – food in cans.

Endocrinology experts insist more needs to be done to get rid of the chemical. There is evidence that BPA exposure in the womb promotes fat cell activity. Adults might be getting fatter because of the endocrine effect of the chemical on the body.

A 2010 study found BPA influences fat cell development and storage that was published in Environmental Health News.

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Anyone interested in weight loss might limit their BPA exposure. The NIEHA suggests avoiding microwaving food with polycarbonate plastic containers, avoiding bottles with the code 3 or 7 on the bottom indicating BPA, reducing your use of canned foods and placing hot foods in porcelain, glass or steel containers.

Fast food

It’s not just the soft drinks that accompany fast foods that could be making Americans fat. Even diet drinks are suspect when it comes to contributing to the obesity epidemic.

It is true some food chains offer healthier options, but in most cases, those options cost more. Admit it - the least expensive and quickest fast food deals are ‘combos’ that include fries a drink, fried grilled options, white bread.

If you are ordering from a fast food restaurant, you will not get anything healthy ‘fast’. If we are to tackle obesity, just say no to fast food until restaurants start serving up healthier options at the same speed they dole out shakes and fries.

If you want to stop by a fast food chain for a salad, go for it. Good luck trying to find a dressing that is not laden with calories, though McDonald’s does offer Paul Newman’s olive oil dressing.

If you cannot avoid a drive-through meal, at least be prepared to wait for individual items and choose carefully.

Sitting

Tackling obesity is going to take a cooperative effort from individuals and employers too. Sitting for prolonged periods may turn muscle into fat.

Research shows you cannot undo the ill effects of sitting for too long. Prolonged sitting is linked to chronic diseases that include diabetes, heart disease, cancer and high blood pressure in findings published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity this year.

There is some suggestion, though not conclusive, that mechanical stress from sitting can increase the number of fat cells in the body, highlighted by researchers at Tel-Aviv University who looked at fat cells in the laboratory. Even if the study is not supported by more research, there is no question that getting up and moving frequently is beneficial for overall health and well-being.

Taking frequent breaks from the television or computer relieves stress. Cortisol, a hormone produced by stress is believed to be a contributor to obesity. High levels of the hormone can lead to hunger. Eliminating stress altogether is difficult. While some stress is good for us, chronic stress can weaken the immune system. A simple way to tackle obesity might be to just stop sitting for long periods of time.

Employers should consider the benefits of encouraging frequent breaks from the desk, conducting walking meetings and office layout of copiers and shredders to encourage more walking.

Diet and exercise remain the mainstays of curbing the obesity epidemic. But there are other simple ways that could also help eliminate America’s expanding waistlines that are worth considering and that anyone can begin now.

Resource:
UNM
“Cortisol Connection: Tips on Managing Stress and Weight”
Christine A. Maglione-Garves, Len Kravitz, Ph.D., and Suzanne Schneider, Ph.D.

Image credit: Morguefile

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