10 main causes of weight gain and obesity

Obesity is one of the biggest health problems in the world.

It is associated with several related conditions, collectively known as metabolic syndrome. These include high blood pressure, increased blood sugar and a poor blood lipid profile.

People with metabolic syndrome have a much higher risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes, compared to those whose weight is in a normal range.

In recent decades, much research has focused on the causes of obesity and how it could be prevented or treated.

Obesity and Willpower

Causes of weight gain

Many people seem to think that weight gain and obesity are caused by lack of willpower.

That's not true at all. Although weight gain is largely a result of eating behavior and lifestyle, some people are at a disadvantage when it comes to controlling their eating habits.

The thing is that overeating is driven by several biological factors such as genetics and hormones. Some people are simply predisposed to gain weight (1).

Of course, people can overcome their genetic disadvantages by changing their lifestyle and behavior. Lifestyle changes require willpower, dedication and perseverance.

However, claims that behavior is purely a function of willpower are too simplistic.

They do not take into account all the other factors that ultimately determine what people do and when they do it.

Here are 10 factors that are the main causes of weight gain, obesity and metabolic disease, many of which have nothing to do with willpower.

1. genetics

Obesity has a strong genetic component. Children of obese parents are much more likely to become obese than children of thin parents.

That does not mean that obesity is completely predetermined. What you eat can have a significant effect on which genes are expressed and which are not.

Non-industrialized societies quickly become obese when they start eating a typical Western diet. Their genes did not change, but the environment and the signals they sent to their genes did.

In short, the genetic components affect your susceptibility to gain weight. Studies on identical twins prove it very well (2).

Summary Some people seem to be genetically susceptible to weight gain and obesity.

2. Junk food engineering

Highly processed foods are usually little more than refined ingredients mixed with additives.

These products are designed to be cheap, last a long time on the shelf and have such an incredibly good flavor that they are hard to resist.

By making food as tasty as possible, food manufacturers are trying to increase sales. But they also promote overeating.

Most processed foods today do not resemble whole foods in any way. These are highly engineered products, designed to hook people.

Summary The stores are full of processed foods that are hard to resist. These products also promote overeating.

3. Food addiction

Many junk foods sweetened with sugar and high in fat stimulate the reward centers in your brain (3, 4).

In fact, these foods are often compared to commonly consumed drugs such as alcohol, cocaine, nicotine and cannabis.

Junk food can cause addiction in susceptible individuals. These people lose control over their eating behavior, similar to people who struggle with alcohol addiction and lose control over their drinking behavior.

Addiction is a complex issue that can be very difficult to overcome. When you become addicted to something, you lose your freedom of choice and the biochemistry of your brain begins to attract attention for you.

Summary Some people experience strong cravings for food or addiction. This applies especially to sugary, high-fat junk foods that stimulate reward centers in the brain.

4. Aggressive marketing

Junk food producers are very aggressive sellers.

Their tactics may become unethical at times and, sometimes, they try to market unhealthy products as healthy foods.

These companies also make misleading claims. What's worse, they point their marketing specifically towards children.

In today's world, children are becoming obese, diabetic and junk food junkies long before they are old enough to make informed decisions about these things.

Summary Food producers spend a lot of money on the marketing of junk food, sometimes aimed specifically at children, who do not have the knowledge and experience to realize that they are being cheated.

5. Insulin

Insulin is a very important hormone that regulates energy storage, among other things.

One of its functions is to tell fat cells to store fat and cling to the fat they already carry.

The Western diet promotes insulin resistance in many obese and overweight people. This raises insulin levels throughout the body, causing energy to be stored in fat cells instead of being available for use (5).

Although the role of insulin in obesity is controversial, several studies suggest that high insulin levels have a causal role in the development of obesity (6).

One of the best ways to reduce your insulin is to reduce simple or refined carbohydrates while increasing your fiber intake (7).

This usually leads to an automatic reduction of caloric intake and weight loss effortlessly, without the need to count calories or portion control (8, 9).

Summary High insulin levels and insulin resistance are related to the development of obesity. To lower insulin levels, reduce the intake of refined carbohydrates and eat more fiber.

6. Certain medications

Many pharmaceutical drugs can cause weight gain as a side effect (10).

For example, antidepressants have been associated with moderate weight gain over time (11).

Other examples include medications for diabetes and antipsychotics (12, 13).

These medications do not decrease your will power. They alter the function of your body and brain, reducing the metabolic rate or increasing the appetite (14, 15).

Summary Some medications can promote weight gain by reducing the amount of calories burned or increasing appetite.

7. Resistance to leptin

Leptin is another hormone that plays an important role in obesity.

It is produced by fat cells and their blood levels increase with a greater fat mass. For this reason, leptin levels are especially high in people with obesity.

In healthy people, high levels of leptin are related to reduced appetite. When you work correctly, you should tell your brain how high your fat reserves are.

The problem is that leptin does not work as it should in many obese people, because for some reason it can not cross the blood-brain barrier (16).

This condition is called leptin resistance and is thought to be an important factor in the pathogenesis of obesity.

Summary Leptin, a hormone that reduces appetite, does not work in many obese people.

8. Food availability

Another factor that dramatically influences the waistline of people is the availability of food, which has increased enormously in recent centuries.

Food, especially junk food, is everywhere now. Stores show tempting foods where they are more likely to get your attention.

Another problem is that junk food is often cheaper than whole and healthy foods, especially in the United States.

Some people, especially in poorer neighborhoods, do not even have the option of buying real foods, such as fresh fruits and vegetables.

Convenience stores in these areas only sell sodas, sweets and junk foods processed and packaged.

How can it be a matter of choice if there are none?

Summary In some areas, finding fresh and whole foods can be difficult or expensive, leaving people with no choice but to buy unhealthy junk food.

9. sugar

The added sugar may be the worst aspect of the modern diet.

That's because sugar changes hormones and biochemistry in your body when you consume it in excess. This, in turn, contributes to weight gain.

The added sugar is half the glucose, half the fructose. People get glucose from a variety of foods, including starches, but most fructose comes from added sugar.

Excessive consumption of fructose can cause insulin resistance and elevated insulin levels. Nor does it promote satiety in the same way that glucose does (17, 18, 19).

For all these reasons, sugar contributes to increasing energy storage and, ultimately, obesity.

Summary Scientists believe that excessive sugar intake can be one of the main causes of obesity.

10. disinformation

People around the world are misinformed about health and nutrition.

There are many reasons for this, but the problem depends largely on where people get their information.

Many websites, for example, disseminate inaccurate or even incorrect information about health and nutrition.

Some news agencies also oversimplify or misinterpret the results of scientific studies and the results are often taken out of context.

Other information may simply be outdated or based on theories that have never been fully tested.

Food companies also play a role. Some promote products, such as weight-loss supplements, that do not work.

Weight loss strategies based on false information can delay your progress. It is important to choose your sources well.

Summary Misinformation can contribute to weight gain in some people. It can also make weight loss more difficult.

The bottom line

If you are worried about your waist, you should not use this article as an excuse to give up.

While you can not completely control the way your body works, you can learn how to control your eating habits and change your lifestyle.

Unless there is a medical condition that gets in your way, it is in your power to control your weight.

It often takes hard work and a drastic change in lifestyle, but in the long run many people succeed despite having the odds against them.

The aim of this article is to open people's minds to the fact that something more than individual responsibility plays a role in the obesity epidemic.

The fact is that modern dietary habits and food culture must be changed in order to reverse this problem on a global scale.

The idea that everything is due to a lack of willpower is exactly what the food producers want you to believe, so that they can continue to trade in peace.

Reference: https: //www.healthline.com/nutrition/10-causes-of-weight-gain


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