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10 Things Making You Fat (That Are Not Your Fault)

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Can you be fat even with diet and exercise? Are there other factors at play? Research shows that the problem of obesity is more complex than first thought. Read more about this confusing issue below.

A study from 2012 published in the Journal of the American Medical Association gathered data from thousands of medical records and found that about 35 percent of all American adults are heavy enough to be classified as obese.

Most people assume that weight gain is caused by poor eating choices and a lack of exercise, which is true to a certain extent, but there are also other factors that can play a big role in how likely a person is to be obese. This is how one person can eat tons of junk food and always appear thin while another person gains weight simply by eating one dessert a week.

When discussing weight loss and how to control obesity and obesity-related health problems, it is important not to ignore these other factors that can contribute to weight gain or prevent weight loss. Find 10 reasons for obesity outside of food intake below:

Hormone Imbalance

The American Thyroid Association states that the thyroid plays a major role in how heavy you are. Your thyroid is not only used to regulate hormones throughout the body, but also regulates the metabolism. If you are not producing enough thyroid hormones, then your metabolism will be slower and you will have a harder time maintaining a healthy weight.

Thyroid hormones are regulated by many different factors, but one common reason for a sluggish thyroid is a lack of iodine and magnesium in the diet. Modern eating habits do not contain the optimal amount of minerals for effective thyroid hormone production.

Additionally, environmental disruptors and medications can cause additional disruption to thyroid hormone production, which makes it even harder to regulate the metabolism and prevent weight gain. Genetics How easy or difficult it is to lose weight is, in part, determined by genetics. It is a fact that if your parents and grandparents are heavier, you are more likely to be heavy as well. This is true even if you live a healthy lifestyle.

New studies have even shown that what a mother eats during pregnancy can influence the weight of her children as adults. A 2009 study published in the Maternal and Child Health Journal uncovered data that found that women who gained a lot of weight during pregnancy were more likely to have obese children at the age of three.

Leptin Resistance

Leptin is a hormone that regulates metabolism and appetite. Fat cells produce this hormone as a signal to the brain to stop eating. When leptin is produced, the body sends out signals that it no longer needs food. However, over time, it is possible to become resistant to leptin. Individuals who are obese are more likely to be resistant to leptin, which means they continue eating as if they are starving and have no signals telling them they are full or should slow their eating.

In fact, in extreme cases, if a person has a high amount of leptin resistance, they feel as if they are literally starving all the time. It is incredibly difficult to resist hunger signals if the body believes it is starving and will die without food right away. If you have leptin resistance, it is much harder to control cravings and resist over-eating because the body sees it as necessary for survival.

Leptin resistance can be overcome, but it is a long process that takes incredible willpower.

Medical Conditions and Medication

Certain medical conditions (such as leptin resistance) make it harder to regulate hunger hormones. Many medications also cause weight gain as a side effect. No matter how much you control your eating, some medications cause weight gain even on strict diets. This occurs when medication triggers the body to store fat rather than burn it or reduces the metabolism to low levels. Two common medications that cause weight gain are asthma medications and hormonal birth control.

In the case of hormonal birth control, the body sends signals that it is already pregnant, which encourages fat storage to provide enough fat and nutrients to a growing infant. Antidepressants and many other mood-regulating medications also cause weight gain.

Medications that May Cause Weight Gain
  • Asthma medication
  • Antidepressants
  • Birth control
  • Antibiotics

Lifestyle in Childhood

How you lived as a child can play a large role in your weight as an adult. Children who are born via c-section are more likely to be heavier later in life, for example, as are formula-fed infants. A study from 2009 published in Clinical Medicine Pediatrics found a link between c-sections, formula, gut bacteria, and obesity. The study suggested that children who are exposed to less bacteria are more likely to be obese because they have lower levels of bacteria that are used to regulate the storage of fat.

Recent studies have suggested that the type of bacteria in the intestines can play a large role in weight management, and children who are formula-fed and born through c-section are less likely to have the same levels of these bacteria as vaginal-birthed, breastfed infants.

Naturally, a habit of eating healthy foods as a child also influence your desire to eat healthy foods as an adult as well.

Addicting Foods

Some of the foods that we eat are addicting.

Sugar, in particular, is addictive because it is an easy-to-use source of energy. In nature, sweet foods are OK to eat because they are also filled with healthy vitamins, fiber, and other beneficial ingredients. But your body can't tell that we have extracted the sweetness with none of the benefits provided by the fruit. We are left with super-sweet foods that taste delicious and provide easy energy but do nothing to support long-term health.

This quickly leads to weight gain and a host of other health problems. As outlined earlier, the more sugar you eat and fat you gain, the greater your chances are of developing leptin resistance. This also makes your body literally feel like it is starving even though you are fatter than ever. This makes a sugar addiction doubly hard to beat.

Lack of Education

Many children are not instructed on the best ways to remain healthy through diet. Children from low-income families, specifically, are often not instructed on the benefits of healthy eating. Much information given to children on nutrition is also misguided and out of date, and may promote unhealthy eating habits (such as the idea that grains should make up most of a person's diet like in the old food pyramid).

Hunger Hormones

As stated earlier, hunger is controlled by a variety of factors including hormones and brain chemicals. Your brain wants you to eat to survive, so your brain makes the experience as pleasurable as possible and "rewards" you for eating. Sugar and other junk foods tend to trigger the reward response more than healthy foods because they are made from simple sugars that are easy to break down and store. But long-term, eating a lot of junk food is terrible for your health and only causes problems.

Environment Bacteria

The bacteria present in your body can play a large role in how healthy you are and how much you weigh. Studies have shown that individuals who are obese have different gut bacteria than lean individuals. In fact, a 2013 study published in Clinical Gastronology found that obese individuals are more effective at harvesting nutrients than food. In a world where food is hard to come by, this is a positive trait. But in our world of over-abundance of food, it can cause problems because it raises the calorie value of ordinary foods.

Environmental Factors

The availability of food in certain areas can make a person more likely to be thin or fat. A working-class household, for example, will have a harder time preparing healthy meals at home due to schedule constraints, which can lead to a diet filled with fast food. The environment itself can disrupt hormones and cause unexpected weight gain. VOCs, pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics, and other chemicals have been linked with causing weight gain as a side effect. The presence of these chemicals can make a person gain weight even with a healthy diet and exercise.

Preventing Obesity is Not as Simple as Eating Less

Obesity is common and on the rise. Diet and exercise programs can go a long way toward correcting this issue, but they do not tell the whole story. In fact, many individuals living a healthy life are still heavier than what is considered "healthy" by mainstream media. Ignoring these other factors that can make a person gain weight prevents overweight people from living their healthiest life. If you are overweight and have tried diet and exercise to little or no effect, it is worth looking into these other factors to determine if they could be preventing you from reaching your ideal weight.





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