What a paradox! With equal quantity of calories absorbed and expended, we are fatter than forty years ago. The generation before had an easier time staying in shape, they could eat more and exercise less while avoiding obesity, according to a large study conducted by the Faculty of Health at York University, Canada. New, unknown and underestimated factors influence the weight gain we observe today.
Maintaining a healthy body weight is now more difficult than before. The results of a major study conducted on weight gain between the 70s generation and the now generation suggest that if you are now 40, to avoid gaining weight, you should eat even less and exercise more. than if you were 40 in 1971.
In other words, the same amount of calories consumed and the same amount of physical activity produced now makes us gain more weight than forty years ago. This paradox is explained by the fact that there are, in our time, specific new parameters which contribute to the increase in obesity beyond simple diet and exercise which did not exist before. forty years ago.
The study, funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, analyzed dietary data from nearly 36,400 American adults collected by the National Health and Nutrition Survey between 1971 and 2008. Available data on the frequency of physical activity of 14,419 adults from 1988 to 2006 were also used.
For a given amount of food intake, people are about 10% fatter now than they were in 1971, and about 5% fatter for the same level of physical activity. The study titled “Secular Differences in the Association Between Calorie Intake, Macronutrient Intake and Obesity-Related Physical Activity” points out that although several studies have shown that eating less and exercising more allowed to keep the line, in the long run, this simple equation proved to be insufficient. Weight management is actually much more complex than simply lowering the amount of energy taken in and increasing the amount of energy expended.
Our lifestyle and environment affect our weight too. Medication use, environmental pollutants, timing of food intake, stress, gut bacteria, and even nighttime light exposure are all underestimated and rarely considered factors in weight management. that they exercise certain unfavorable actions. These new factors, which did not exist or much less 40 years ago, can largely explain why, for equal amounts of energy absorbed and expended, we have seen a dramatic increase in obesity.
Too much stress, more fat
More and more people deal with stress on a daily basis. Whether at home or at work, stress is a common factor for weight gain. At first, stress can make you lose your appetite, but over time chronic stress can increase your hunger. Once our bodies reach a certain level of stress, they trigger a response that causes us to overeat.
Additionally, one of the roles of the stress hormone cortisol is to increase the supply of glucose into the bloodstream so that it can be used as an energy source. For our ancestors, this increase in glucose was useful for fleeing a threat. However, nowadays we no longer use this energy, which leads to blood sugar fluctuations and fat storage.
Estrogen-like: these endocrine disruptors that make you fat
Our current environment is very different from that of our ancestors. We find in our immediate environment various products that can affect the functions of our body. All of these compounds are structurally similar to the hormone estrogen, hence their names estrogen-like, which can lead to weight gain.
BPA: Bisphenol A: endocrine disruptor
PCBs: also called polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs),
Phthalates: phthalates are present everywhere at different levels in our daily environment: cosmetics, paints, clothing, toys
Triclosan: this product has been of concern to toxicologists and public health specialists for several years.
Agricultural pesticides and flame retardants…
Fewer nutrients, more additives, more weight
The quality of our food has also changed from that of our ancestors. Now many of our foods are processed and filled with additives and preservatives that weren’t around 50 years ago.
Not to mention the fact that the food is grown in soil that is no longer as dense and rich as it once was, which contributes to lowering the nutrient richness of fruits and vegetables.
Drugs that cause weight gain
We also take far more drugs than our ancestors, another new factor contributing to the obesity epidemic. The drugs come with a host of side effects, so it’s no wonder weight gain is linked to their overuse. Experts report that up to 25% of people taking antidepressants can expect weight gain of more than 5 pounds.
Abused intestinal flora, pounds gained
Our gut flora helps neutralize certain toxic by-products and discourage “bad” bacteria and yeast from growing. It also helps to stimulate the digestive process and promote the absorption of nutrients.
Unfortunately, the Western diet does not promote good intestinal health, low in prebiotics and probiotics, high in “dead” foods such as processed foods.
To help fight weight gain, a few things can help you:
Eat live food that you prepare at home and as little packaged food as possible high in artificial sweeteners, additives and preservatives.
Eat organic foods as much as possible for their abundance of nutrients.
Opt for 100% natural cosmetics and household products
Learn how to properly manage stress with heart coherence, physical activity and meditation.
Take medications only when absolutely necessary and avoid overusing antibiotics and antidepressants.
Be sure to include gut-friendly foods like prebiotics, garlic, leeks, onions, asparagus, and probiotics: sauerkraut, kimchi, tempeh, miso…
Ruth E. Browna, Arya M. Sharmab: “Secular differences in the association between caloric intake, macronutrient intake, and physical activity with obesity”. Journal of Obesity Research & Clinical Practice.
5kg overweight: more diseases with age