Why are we overweight ?

      So many people are overweight in America, no other country in the world has a population that is, as overweight as ours. Why are we having this epidemic?, there are many causes, but I believe that the main three reasons are; poor eating habits, poor food quality, and poor knowledge on what we are eating. Overweight is not treated could lead to obesity, a more critical weight problem that causes serious health problems. As a nurse, who has been working for years in the Medical field, I am very committed to improve my knowledge and to learn new skills, that could help me to better serve my patients. Getting informed on overweight issues has become one of my professional goals. I have witnessed the suffering of many morbidly obese patients as the result of; heart problems, strokes and poor mobility. The overweight problem is now getting worse, as many more children are also getting overweight. We need to do something, this article is intended to discuss information on what are, some of the reasons why many people are getting overweight in America.

Overweight is a Modern problem

      Let’s start by saying that Overweight is a newcomer. Today about 70 % of our population has some kind of overweight problem, including children. This is happening all around the country, and it could cause health problems to the future of millions of Americans. The US population did not suffer from this problem in the past. If you are wondering about this comment, please watch one of the first videos that were filmed in New York 107 years ago. The video goes on for about 3 minutes, there are about 200 people that you can see in the video. Very few people in this video had problems with overweight and it is not possible to find a 500 lbs dude in this video.

      So after I noticed this, I spend some time checking old pictures and old videos. I barely found a few people that were overweight. The first question that came to my mind was, did these people eat less, more or the same that we do today?. Well if you take time to check old traditions, you might get the answer. They used to eat until they felt completely full. No excuses back then, if you were invited for a dinner at a friend’s house, the host probably would be asking you, are you full yet?. The idea was that feeling full was the norm and it was expected. So to answer our question, I think that back then, they used to eat more than we do today. I am not talking about calories, it is clear that today we are eating more calories. The reality is that today we are eating more calories because of the quality of our food had changed. But it is good to understand that if we compare the two amounts of food that people eat, in the past vs the present, then I think that back then, a 100 years ago, they used to eat more amount of food than us.

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      Back then they didn’t have the social pressure to check for; cholesterol levels, fats, portions or calories intake. They just sat at the dinner table to eat until they were totally full. That is a different situation in today homes, where we might get a guilty feeling after a big dinner. Now it is interesting that people who used to eat more than we do today still looked so thin and in a good shape. The simple explanation is that the problem of getting overweight is not about how much of food you are eating, but more about what kind of food you are eating and how many calories are in the food that you are eating.

Short time diets help, but they don’t solve the problem

      As a nurse, I see that in many situations Doctors have to prescribed medications to treat symptoms of a disease, not to cure the disease. I hope you can understand the different outcomes. Let’s put an example, if you develop a headache, your Dr could prescribe an anti-inflammatory medication to reduce the pain.  He doesn’t know or treat the reason for what you developed the headache in the first place. Which could be related to; high blood pressure, bad digestion, the side effect from another medication or for another reason. Following this track of thinking, a short diet regimen is intended to make you lose weight, not to treat or correct the reasons why you are having problems with getting overweight when eating. This is why a good diet regimen should include a new regimen of healthy eating habits, and it should be for life, not just for a short period of time. 

Drawbacks of our modern food

      What is causing so many problems with overweight is our modern food. Here we have several problems with our food;

  1. Our modern meat has lots of antibiotics on it, this is especially bad for the gut as when the good bacteria that helps in the digestion process get killed by antibiotics in the food, then other organisms thrive, as for example Candida Albicans (a yeast organism), these organisms love to eat sugars and they are able to hack the gut, the gut ( also known as the second brain) is then forced to send signals ” eat more sugars” to the brain, what in the end might be the reason why you are having night cravings for sweet desserts.
  2. Sugars are the main enemy here, a lot of processed food companies add sugars intentionally to promote more food intake. They had discovered that when you eat sweets the brain release dopamine which is a strong motivational component in eating behaviors. So they put sugars everywhere because when people eat more, they get more profits. They even create the artificial high-Fructose corn syrup (the Natural Fructose is good), one of the worst sugars you can eat. This artificial sugar is converted right away in calories and stored in your body as fat. Some foods that contain high-fructose corn syrup are; Sodas, candies, commercial yogurts, salad dressings, bread, juices and many more.
  3. High processed food. This type of food is high in salt, sugars and fat. They lack of fibers, vitamins, and minerals. This kind of food is known to put people on high risk for obesity, hypertension, and high blood sugars levels, which can lead to heart disease and diabetes. High processed food are made to last longer. They are also commonly storage for long times in markets, homes, and restaurants. Because today people no longer need to go to the market often for new food, as it was happening in the past, highly processed foods are very popular. Our modern food can last longer, not a good thing if you think about the health problems that it could cause. Also, many regular restaurants and fast food restaurants, use highly processed foods in their menus. Something to think about it when going out to eat.

Get informed on what you eat

      What you don’t know could kill you. I encourage my readers to start learning about food, in today world and with so many new technologies the processed food companies will do anything they can to lower their costs and increased their revenues. As for example, we have the capabilities of creating new plant clones, as it was done with the soy GMO( Genetically modified organism), corn GMO, canola oil GMO, cotton GMO, and papaya GMO just to mention a few. This new GMO technology makes me think, who knows what are the consequences of a long time period of eating this kind of food, so far in America, we don’t have any laws to regulate GMO foods.

      Learning about food is an important responsibility for parents, as I believe that children are more susceptible to be affected by bad quality food. There is a lot of information that you can learn about food, the list can be very long; what are trans fats? where to find good cholesterol food? pro and prebiotics’ food, what is organic food? where to find good proteins? when to take fiber? etc. I recommend that you start by talking to your family about this topic. Also, please cut down the sugar intake and avoid as much as you can highly processed foods. This is not as hard as it sounds, many people are eating healthy diets these days. They just made a decision and started learning about what is good for them.

Conclusion

      If you are one of the millions of Americans who are obese, then these are some of the things that you need to do right away. The first thing is to understand what it means to be obese. The American Medical Association in 2013 declares obesity as a disease. So in other words being obese means that you are considered to be sick. This might sound drastic, but The American Medical Association did this as a way to call for public attention on this topic. The health consequences of being overweight for years are too serious for people to ignore them. 

     Now it is clear that obesity put you at risk for serious diseases, as for example; heart disease, fatty liver, and stroke. So don’t let this happen to you, take action and protect you and your family. Start by visiting your Doctor, make a plan with him to change some eating habits. Discuss this topic with your loved ones, understand that you can still eat lots of food, but that you just need to be conscious and avoid the bad ones (as the ones that I mentioned here in this article). I wish you the best in your journey, we are what we eat. God bless you.

 

Jerry M

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