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When you consider the staggering number of obese people in the US (as well as many other countries around the world), it can be very easy for some people to say, “Why don’t they just eat less?”
Well, unfortunately obesity is not that simple
Yes, your intake and the quality of the foods you eat (junk versus real food) certainly do play a huge
role in the number that you see on your bathroom scale.
Hormones are another biggie.
Having low levels of thyroid hormone
and/or constant floods of stress-related cortisol
from your adrenal glands can cause you to pack on the pounds as well.
And even how our food is increasingly adulterated and processed
today is playing a role too.
For example, high fructose corn syrup is the primary form of sugar used in processed foods and soda today. This is especially harmful because fructose leads to far more fat storage
than glucose. And when you consider the massive amounts of soda and processed foods the average person eats today, it’s no wonder our obesity rates continue to go up.
In addition, GMO foods and foods that use GMO ingredients are increasing in vast numbers on the store shelves...and even though they are purported as “safe” (based on a couple of very small
studies), time will tell, my friend.
You see, the process of genetically modifying foods creates proteins that are completely foreign
to your body—and it is my suspicion (and that of many other nutrition experts) that these “Franken-proteins” and their resulting metabolic burden on our bodies may certainly be a driving force behind not only obesity rates but certain cancers and increasing numbers of allergies and sensitivities as well.
The new players on the obesity team
Current research on the obesity epidemic is showing connections between obesity and your digestive system. The factors that have popped up as very likely playing a role in obesity are:
- Alterations in gut bacteria
- Low-grade inflammation
- Elevated levels of endocannabinoids
- Food sensitivities
Here is the scoop on each of those:
Alterations in gut bacteria
Your gut microbiome is largely responsible for maintaining your metabolism and hence plays a role in how much fat you store. It’s a fact that people who are obese have a different balance of gut bacteria than thin people do.
Researchers have tried to pinpoint specific differences in bacterial makeup in obese vs. lean subjects with limited success—however, one area that seems to ring true loud and clear is with the probiotic species Bifidobacterium
Studies done on human children have found a higher number of Bifidobacteria in children who were slim at age seven than in children who were overweight.
On the flip side, studies done on rats have shown lower levels of Bifidobacteria in overweight rats versus lean rats.
Researchers have observed a low-grade inflammatory process in people who are obese.
Inflammation in the gut can impair your body’s ability to properly metabolize food and absorb nutrients. Not only can this contribute to excess weight but it can throw off your intestinal flora balance, hamper your immune system functioning and make your gut wall too permeable (called leaky gut) too.
Elevated levels of endocannabinoids
I know what you’re probably thinking here, and you’re right.
Endocannabinoids are found in marijuana (cannabis)—and most people who have smoked pot report getting overwhelming cravings to eat (aka “the munchies”) afterward.
What you probably don’t know is your body also produces its own internal cannabinoids in your brain, muscles, liver, digestive system and fat cells. When they’re turned on, food tastes amazingly delicious.
Endocannabinoid levels rise and fall in your body as needed, and in doing so they help to regulate your appetite, they help control your perception of pain, they influence your mood, help regulate your heart rate and blood pressure, and affect your liver, pancreas, muscles and fat cells
Studies have shown that in obese people, levels of endocannabinoids stay chronically high
. This can eventually lead to high triglyceride levels, low HDL and high LDL levels, atherosclerosis, decreased insulin sensitivity and weight gain
. It also can eventually lead to Type 2 diabetes.
When people eat foods that their bodies are sensitive
to, that can create a tremendous amount of inflammation in the gut, which as you saw above is an emerging factor in obesity.
Many clinicians working with clients with food sensitivities have observed that once they help their clients deal with their food sensitivities, they begin to easily lose weight.
Help fight and prevent obesity
The health wrath of obesity is far and wide—every cell and organ system in your body is affected. Being at increased risk for heart disease, cancer, Type 2 diabetes, bone and joint problems is just the tip of the iceberg.
So if you are faced with obesity, or even if your weight is just creeping up and you want to finally get a hold on it, it’s important to look at all the possible factors behind our obesity “explosion” and do all you can to counteract those factors.
Here are some strategies that can help make a difference for you:
Take a probiotic supplement
Clearly, having healthy gut bacteria is where it’s at for SO many reasons, and you can add helping to fight obesity on to the list.
That's why supplementation with a multi-strain probiotic formula like Super Shield
is such a good idea for so many.
Super Shield contains a variety of 13 robust probiotic strains including the important Bifidobacteriumspecies that was noted in the studies I mentioned above, as well as the Lactobacillus species—which reside in the small intestine.
These good guys eagerly take their place along your gut wall and help make it less porous, help crowd out harmful bacteria, and do their part to encourage regular bowel movements and less gas.
Eat more real foods and avoid processed foods and sugar
Not only do processed foods and sugar obviously pack the pounds on you, but they also create inflammation in your gut which is another newly-studied factor behind obesity.
Both systems stress REAL foods (like vegetables, fruits, meats, whole grains, legumes, dairy and good fats) that are nutrient-dense and don't result in the harmful onslaught of sugar and other chemicals in your body like processed foods.
Plus eating more nutritious foods makes you feel fuller longer, so you'll eat less. That will also help trim your waistline too!
If you suspect you may be sensitive to certain foods, it’s crucial to get thoroughly tested.
In addition, comprehensive digestive stool testing can help give an indication of your gut microbe balance and probiotic levels.
Also, vitamin and mineral analysis can be helpful to see if there are deficiencies that may be contributing to weight gain.
Reduce gut inflammation
Having a diet of nutritious real foods like I mentioned in number 2 above can be a big help here, but you can also give your body an additional anti-inflammatory boost with Dr. Salerno’s Vitamin D-K Factor
You see, 70 percent of your immune cells reside in your intestinal tract, and it is your immune system’s “T-cells” that are some of the culprits behind your immune system going haywire and attacking your healthy tissues, creating inflammation.
But your T-cells also have receptors for vitamin D on them. So when vitamin D can step in and “calm down” your T-cells, that can help discourage their harmful inflammatory actions.
This is why low levels of vitamin D have been associated with inflammatory bowel disease as well as autoimmune conditions.
Get regular exercise
Exercise is so good for you on so many fronts—in addition to the obvious burning excess calories, it reduces stress (so excess cortisol can be less of a concern for you), helps reduce inflammation (which is another obesity trigger) and even helps enhance your digestion!
So get your doctor’s nod of approval and get moving.
Obesity is an increasing health challenge and there is not one clear-cut, easy answer.
So it’s essential to do all you can to address and counteract any factors that may play a role in obesity and help prevent becoming a part of what is a very alarming statistic.
To your health,
PS: Always be sure to let your doctor or healthcare provider know what supplements you are taking.