Do know how to reduce the risk of obesity? Obesity is often blamed on excessive calorie consumption, which is actually a misconception drilled into us since we were children.
The latest medical research shows that most fats are essential to a healthy diet and the main driver of obesity is refined sugar and carbohydrates.
Why? It all comes down to the hormone – insulin which regulates most bodily processes.
Below is what I’ll cover in this article to help you reduce the risk of obesity with some prevention strategies.
- What is the primary cause of obesity?
- Is there any correlation between calorie intake and obesity?
- Why is it not viable to lose weight by cutting down on calories?
- Why are high insulin levels the real cause of obesity?
- Why should you avoid snacking between meals?
- How to reduce the risk of obesity by decreasing sugar intake?
- Final Thoughts
What is the Primary Cause of Obesity?
The default assumption had been that the social environment plays a major role in obesity. The argument is that early exposure to junk food causes weight issues.
However, according to the latest research, the social environment isn’t the primary cause of obesity.
Albert J. Stunkard published a research on adopted children from Denmark in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1986.
He shows that there was no correlation whatsoever between the weight of these minors and their adoptive parents. This means that environmental factors had virtually no impact on whether children became obese.
When he compared adopted children to their biological parents, he found that the kids of obese parents were far more likely to become obese themselves despite growing up in a family where everyone else was thin.
In short, Albert pointed out that genetic factors account for almost 70 percent of a person’s likelihood to develop obesity.
Is There Any Correlation Between Calorie Intake and Obesity?
There is no causal relationship between calorie intake and obesity.
You have to look at both calorie output and calorie intake to understand obesity.
According to U.Ladabaum, the doctor who published a 2014 study in the American Journal of Medicine, the average calorie intake didn’t rise between 1990 and 2010 in the US. But obesity continued to increase by 0.37 percent each year.
The data shows that bodyweight isn’t only determined by the amount of calories you consume, it’s also about how many you’re burning.
Another misconception is that the calories we consume are automatically converted into fat.
In reality, calories are used for all sorts of things such as producing heat, proteins, bone and muscle tissue, fuelling your brain and increasing the volume and rate of your heartbeat.
Hence obesity is an energy usage problem instead of an issue caused by eating too much. While some people’s bodies convert calories into fat, others simply develop bigger bones and muscles or use that energy to improve their concentration.
Why is It Not Viable to Lose Weight by Cutting Down on Calories?
What would happen if you try to shed weight by reducing your calorie intake, while continuing to expend the same amount of energy?
Well, you’d damage your health.
In a study conducted in 1919 at the Carnegie Institute in Washington, D.C., participants were put on a strict diet and reduced 30 percent of their daily intake of calories.
The result? The participants’ energy expenditure also dropped by roughly 30 percent. Their new diet didn’t result in any significant weight loss.
Why is it harmful to your body? This is because when you cut down on calories, your body tries to reduce energy expenditure by cutting the metabolic rates, leading to all sorts of negative impacts on other bodily functions.
For example, this can impair your brain and slow down your heartbeat, making you feel lethargic and unable to concentrate.
In short, cutting down on calories isn’t a viable solution to weight issues.
Why are High Insulin Levels the Real Cause of Obesity?
Contrary to popular belief, the most effective way to add on pounds isn’t binge eating. In fact, all you need is to inject yourself with insulin, a hormone your body already produced.
It’s increased insulin levels and associated hormonal imbalances that play a major role in obesity.
According to L.C Kong’s research, almost 75 percent of all successful weight-loss efforts can be attributed to reduced insulin levels.
Your body is subject to the control of hormones which determine how you feel. The ghrelin, for example, makes you feel hungry. Leptin, on the other hand, gives you the signal that you’ve had enough to eat.
But when the amount of insulin in your body system rises above a certain level, your hormonal balance will be disturbed, leading to behavior such as overeating.
That said, the mechanism connecting high insulin levels to obesity is still unknown, to a great extent.
Why Should You Avoid Snacking Between Meals?
Snacking between meals is one of the main causes of raised insulin levels.
Since each small snack leads to a surge in insulin production, your body will constantly be producing medium to high levels of insulin, if you’re always grazing between mealtimes.
That’s the problem. Your body should have regular periods of low insulin levels. But that’s only possible if you fast for around four to five hours after a meal so that your body has a chance to reduce insulin production.
When there is a spike in insulin production, you can’t possibly lose weight.
Insulin is a hormone responsible for removing sugar from your bloodstream and depositing it in your body’s cells, thus regulating your blood sugar levels.
When you consume carbohydrates and sugars, your body produces extra insulin to process the incoming sugars. Eating too many carbohydrate-rich foods disturbs the mechanism.
When that happens, your cells become unresponsive to insulin hormone receptors and stop taking in sugar molecules from your blood.
Hence insulin-resistant people find it more difficult to lose weight.
How to Reduce the Risk of Obesity by Decreasing Sugar Intake?
If you want to reduce the risk of obesity, you can simply cut your sugar consumption.
Sugar is to blame for a couple of things that makes obesity and related issues more likely.
First, it increases your insulin levels, eventually resulting in insulin resistance, above all in the liver. That’s because sugar contains fructose, a type of sugar which only the liver can absorb.
When you consume too much of this substance, your liver starts transforming fructose into fat, which increases the risk of insulin resistance.
But high-fructose corn syrup is even worse. While regular sugar is made up in equal parts of glucose and fructose, high fructose corn syrup only contains the latter, making it even worse for your liver.
Now that you might wonder if you have to deny yourself all of the treats on the supermarket shelf, here’s the good news: coffee can be good for you.
According to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the positive effects of coffee far exceeds the negative effects.
That’s because coffee is rich in antioxidants which help slow the ageing process in cells, and also magnesium, which is good for your bones and heart.
Other studies conducted in 2008 and 2012 also shows that coffee can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
That said, it doesn’t mean you should start chugging liters of coffee every day.
In conclusion, as long as you can cut down on foods which raise your insulin levels and exercise more, you can shed pounds more quickly.
To sum up, obesity is largely related to genetics and insulin levels. The culprit isn’t fat but the wrong kinds of fat – modified trans fats and highly refined carbohydrates and sugars which result in insulin resistance.
By cutting down on the consumption of those, you’ll have lower risk of obesity and be much healthier.