The most popular explain of obesity in society is ‘eating too much and exercising too little’. This is not completely fair as today’s studies show that causes of obesity are more complex. Obesity is a subject of many studies today and the fact is known that it involves a great number of factors like genetics, social and economical factors, psychology, metabolism and of course our daily dietary and lifestyle habits.
We have collected 10 causes that may lead to weight gain and obesity.
- Genetics. Obesity can be caused by genetics. Children of obese parents are much more likely to become obese than children of lean parents. But it is not like obesity is totally predetermined.
- Engineered ‘junk’ foods. Today loads of products are engineered to be cheap, last long and taste that good that we are tend to grab more. A bunch of chemicals are used to reach that purpose, so the food manufacturers ensure that we eat a more than we need and actually want.
- Food addiction. These engineered junk foods stimulate the reward centres in our brains exactly the same way as alcohol and drugs do. People lose control over their eating behaviour.
- Aggressive marketing, especially towards children. The junk food companies are very aggressive marketers. Children are becoming addicted to junk foods way before they’re old enough to make conscious decisions about these questions.
- Insulin. Insulin is a very important hormone that regulates energy storage, among other things. One of the functions of insulin is to tell fat cells to store fat and to hold on to the fat that they already carry. Todays diet causes insulin resistance in many individuals. This elevates insulin levels all over the body, making energy selectively get stored in the fat cells instead of being available for use.The best way to lower insulin is to cut back on carbohydrates, which usually leads to an automatic reduction in calorie intake and effortless weight loss.
- Certain medications. There is a row of pharmaceutical drugs that can cause weight gain as a side effect. For example, diabetes medication, antidepressants, antipsychotics etc. One has to use a strong willpower to control the weight gain while using these drugs.
- Leptin. The hormone that is produced by fat cells and is supposed to send signal to the hypothalamus in our brain that we’re full and have to stop eating. Obese people have lots of fat and lots of leptin. The problem is that the leptin isn’t working as it should, because for some reason the brain becomes resistant to it. This is called ‘leptin resistance’ and is believed to be a leading factor in the pathogenesis of obesity.
- Food availability. Food (especially fast/junk food) is everywhere today. You can get food in the streets, gas stations – everywhere! This maximize the ‘impulse purchases’ and often cut the possibility to have a ‘healthy meal’ during a day.
- Sugar. The worst part of our diet. When consumed in excess, sugar changes the hormones and biochemistry of the body, contributing to weight gain. Excess fructose consumption causes insulin resistance and elevated insulin levels. It may cause leptin resistance. It also doesn’t cause satiety in the same way as glucose. All of these lead to energy storage and ultimately, obesity. Learn to read labels on food packages!
- Lack of physical activities. Development of technologies lead to lower physical activity of most of human beings. Overweight and obesity are mostly caused by higher calorie intake than we burn. Note – if you consume extra calories, you have to add extra physical activities.
The good news is that obesity is treatable today. Surgical methods, such as gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy, together with psychological help and change of lifestyle and diet, are considered the leading and most effective methods in treating morbid obesity today.