Obesity: Myths & Facts

Obesity has become a worldwide health issue now. Number of obese and overweight people doubled in past 50 years. Obesity epidemic is affecting both the adults and children equally. It is not a disease but a gate way to many diseases. One of the reasons for increasing obesity rate is lack of proper nutritional education.

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The fields of diet, nutrition, weight loss and overall health care are always confusing to regular people and filled with contradictions. Before World War 2 some nutritionists started research on factors causing obesity, unfortunately very few of them survived in the war. Now once again health care professionals all around the world are trying to find out underlying reasons for obesity. Studies and researches are conducted everywhere. I read an article in “Well Being Journal” regarding Obesity myths. It was very informative and the article gives answers to many questions related to Obesity.

Many people don’t know the real reasons for weight gain and weight loss. So simply they follow popular beliefs. Daily we come across several statements related to obesity and weight loss through media (books, television, fliers etc.) Most of those statements are myths and illogical not proved by any health care professional.

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Most popular myths about obesity are: Calories matter, calories in – calorie out, If we consume more calories than body requirement we gain weight, Fats are responsible for weight gain, fats are dangerous for overall good health, Overweight people consume more food than thin people, Obesity is a result of laziness, Brain and central nervous system need carbohydrates to function, exercise is highly effective weight loss tool, eating low-calorie, high fiber and high carbohydrate food is best choice for losing weight etc., according to modern health care researchers all of these are wrong.

As many of us think Obesity is not a result of overeating, it occurs due to hormonal imbalance. Insulin plays an important role in weight gain/loss. If insulin levels are elevated we accumulate fat in our fat tissue. When these levels fall, we liberate fat from fat tissue and burn it for fuel. How does insulin levels increase in our body? The answer is carbohydrates. When we eat more carbohydrates which are refined, easy to digest and sweet, we secrete more insulin. Carbs are mainly responsible for fat accumulation in our body. Eating more carbs also makes us hungrier and sedentary. If we stop eating easily digestible and sweeter carbohydrates our energy levels will also increase.

Just like drugs it’s not easy to stop consuming carbohydrates. Eating carbs will give pleasure to mind. Sometimes withdrawal of carbs may cause side effects like weakness, fatigue, nausea, dehydration, constipation etc. But these are temporary. With the help of knowledgeable physician one can overcome those side effects.

According to nutritionists calories matter but calories in- calories out statements are also not correct. Quality of calories is more important than quantity. Calories coming from high carb diet are more fattening than calories coming from high protein and good fat diet. For example eating 1 cup of cooked quinoa in the place of 1 cup polished white rice will produce less fat in the body; but calories might be same for both of them. Brain and central nervous systems also uses proteins and fats well. They work efficiently even if the carbohydrate percentage is less.

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Tips to lose weight:
Before starting any new diet plan or weight reduction treatment it is better to consult a good nutritionist.
• Reducing carbs in diet is the best way to reduce weight.
• Since Weight gain and obesity are also connected with emotions of a person. Psychological approach also helps in losing weight. By changing simple habits like eating sweet after lunch, sugar in tea etc. will make a great difference.
• Experts say practicing mindful eating plays an important role in reducing weight. When we eat food without paying attention to it; even best plan diet will fail. Don’t do multitasking while eating. Do a small prayer before eating to calm your mind. Enjoy the texture, color and taste of the food while eating. In this way you are able recognize the real quality of the food you are eating.
• Planning and preparing food ahead will be useful.
• Keep some low-carb, high protein snack in hand all the time. It will reduce the risk of eating unplanned food.

The first few days of any new food plan are challenging. But it will give benefits in long run. Healthy body and healthy mind together makes a happy life.

- Anu

 

2 Responses to “Obesity: Myths & Facts”

  1. Sanjai Says:

    Dear Anu, It is true carb helps weight gain. I have been on the other end and carbs helped me gain weight. Taking time to enjoy the food we eat is good. It was good to know about the popular myths and facts. Thanks for the informative article.
    Thanks
    Sanjai

  2. vijay Says:

    Very well summarized article on Obesity myths.

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