Obesity is known as excess accumulation of fat to an extent which may have adverse effects on Health. Obesity is prevalent worldwide and in considered the major cause of Cardiovascular Disease, Diabetes & Cancers. The CVD and Diabetes are now consisted as epidemic disease affecting close to 20 million & 400 million people worldwide which is approximately 20% of world population.
- Lifestyle – sedentary lifestyle, lack of inactivity, stress & lack of sleep
- Nutrition – Unhealthy food choices, excess calories, sugar, processed foods
- Genetics – Genetic mutation
- Environment – Toxins, food chemicals, plastics, pathogens and microbes etc
- Medicines – Anti depressants, steroids, diabetic medications, psychotic medicines
Lifestyle – Today’s sedentary lifestyle, lack of sleep and stress levels are highest as compared to what it was a decade or two ago. The lack of exercise and sitting desk job with added stress make people more prone to obesity. If we are not actiove through out the day there is less requirement of carbs and those excess carbs are reason for the excess accumulation of fat. We need to understand that less active we less, lesser the need of carbohydrates. Stress leads to excess body fat accumulation by increasing the cortisol, fluctuation in blood sugar levels and excess production of excitatory neurotransmitter like adrenaline and nor adrenaline. Your sleep is disturbed when you are unable to relax and calm down. These all lead to insulin resistance which ultimately with bad food choices lead to obesity
Nutrition – Nutrition is one of the important cause of obesity. Eating highly processed foods, fast foods, high sugar intake all add to excess calorie consumption and more over it causes intestinal dysbiosis (micro flora imbalance in the gut). This imbalance in the gut micro flora leads to overgrowth of certain pathogenic microbes which ultimately impair digestion. The impaired digestion leads to nutrient deficiencies in long run plus intimate the inflammatory cascade.
Genetics – Though there are certain genes which makes your more prone to obesity but there is also link that you can turn of these genes by consuming less calorie dense and highly nutritive food along with physical activity. We are not slave to genes anymore especially the ones associated with Obesity. There is an emerging science called Epigenetics which study the effects of food, lifestyle and environment on genes.
Environment – The toxic burden has increased many fold in last two decades. We are exposed to 100 of chemicals, toxins and pollutants on daily basis. The source of these toxins or chemicals are usually plastics, paints, personal hygiene and care products, pollutants, pesticides, food colours, preservatives, flavours, cooking utensils, heavy metals, cigarettes smoke, alcohol etc. These chemicals are not easily processed & detoxified by our body if our systems are not functioning optimally. These toxins then increase the toxic load and increases free radical production in body and oxidative stress. The inflammatory conditions leads to insulin resistance, compromised liver function impairs detoxification of these toxins and hormonal metabolises which are then recirculated in body acting as Xenoestorgens. This all cascade slow down metabolic rate, impair digestion, increase cortisol production to counteract the inflammation which then leads to excess fat accumulation. The pathogenic microbes in the digestive system also lead to obesity by changing the intestinal microflora which helps in foods metabolism and detoxification.
Medicines – It’s been proven that certain medication cause excess weight gain and obesity. Now a days Acid blockers are also in that list and personally I have seen people consuming Antacids for more than 10 years on daily basis, suffering from diabetes, have digestive issues, are obese and impaired liver function. Most of psychotic medicines generally comes at a price of excessive weight gain and other side effects as well.
Diabetes – You are at risk of developing Diabetes type II when you have excess fat accumulation especially visceral fat because higher the fat cells high is your chances of being Insulin Resistance and Leptin resistance and hence higher the chances of getting Diabetes
Cardiovascular Disease – Obesity is considered one of the marker for Cardio vascular disease. Obesity leads to increase of blood pressure, increase oxidative stress and inflammation, build up of plaque in arteries by changing the Lipid profile.
Cancers – Obesity related cancers are on the rise because of the inflammation and excess oxidative stress related to obesity. The inflammation cascade beleive to damage the cell’s DNA over period of time. Most common types of cancers associated with obesity are breast cancers, colon, kidney and pancreatic cancer. One of the reason for obesity is Sugar in different forms and high consumption of sugar has been directly linked to various type of cancers and their proliferation. By inducing ketogenic diet one can stop the growth of tumours & cancers as proven in various studies
- Eliminate Sugar – The first thing to control the obesity is eliminating all kind of sugars specially the refined ones and you are already insulin resistant its good you avoid fructose from fruits as well for certain period of time.
- Limit Carbohydrates – Limiting carbohydrate intake in the form of breads, pastas, rice and starchy vegetables limit the sugar intake because all carbohydrates are particularly get converted into sugar. Lower carb intake limit the rise of blood sugar and hence the conversion of this excess sugar into fats. Limiting carbs intake to less than 100 g is good way to start and choose unrefined and complex sources of carbohydrates like non starchy vegetables, tuberous vegetables and whole grains such as millets and buckwheat.
- Increase Fibre – Fibre has been shown to decrease and stabilise blood sugar levels during the day. It also gives you a feeling of fullness and promotes healthy microflora in the intestine which is important during any anti obesity program. The soluble fibre in the the form of legumes, seeds and nuts while insoluble fibre in the form of vegetables is best to include on daily basis to control obesity
- Control Toxins – Now a day toxins are considered as one of the reason for obesity, Controlling toxic exposure by avoiding plastics, reading food labels to avoid preservatives, smoking cessation and limiting alcohol intake helps to control the obesity. Avoid artificial sugar and other heavy metal exposure through cooking utensil and paints are advised.
- Physical activity – Physical activity is one of the most important tool you can use to reduce obesity level to a great extent when combined with proper nutrition. It is best to include any kind rigorous physical activity at least for 30-60 mins 4-5 days per week along with being active through out the week by using stairs instead of lift, walking to office or even a stroll in work in the evening, playing with kids or engaging in some light sports. Rigorous physical activity like sprints, running or resistance training improves insulin sensitivity thus controlling Obesity
- Sleep – Lack of sleep to disturbed sleep shown to increase insulin resistance and increases the oxidative stress and inflammation in the body. Sleeping and waking same time everyday prove beneficial to optimise metabolism and better neurotraniiwter signalling by reducing craving and stress levels. Lack of sleep increase cortisol which is direct marker for increased visceral adiposity. Higher cortisol levels cause blood sugar to fluctuate, increase insulin and leptin resistance which has direct impact on excess fat accumulation. Having dinner at least 2 hour prior to sleep and in between 7-8 pm is advisable
- Gut Optimisation – Gut/Digestive health has been correlated to amount of fat your accumulate around waist. Obese people usually have history of gut inflammation or gut dysbiosis. The lack of HCL, presence of pathogenic microbes, imbalance between healthy and unhealthy microflora, reduced pancreatic enzyme production, Leaky gut syndrome, SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth) all are linked and known causative factors for obesity. It is advisable to work under a qualified Functional Medicine Practitioner to find the root cause of obesity
- Stress – Stress increases corstiol levels and other excitatory neurotransmitters which causes inflammation and insulin resistance. Reducing stress with the help of adaptogenic herbs like Ashwagandha or L-theanine in the form of green tea or as supplement indirectly helps to lower down the cortisol levels and increases calming neurotransmitters like Serotonin and GABA know for their relaxing and satiating properties by controlling hunger, reducing craving and appetite. Yoga and breathing techniques are also helpful to induce a state of relaxation by lowering corstiol and adrenaline.