So many of us never had a chance. We live in an obesogenic environment. That means that the cards are stacked against us. Food manufacturers have an army of food engineers to make food more appealing and marketing staff to convince us that we are eating is healthy when we eat their junk. The center isles at your supermarket are full of ultra-processed foods that contribute to our national weight issue. Even the check-out counters are surrounded by junk.
Human metabolism is highly complex. Each of us has a different reaction to various food groups than others. There are no secret supplements that will help you lose weight. In need of a detox? Great… treat your liver and your kidneys well, and you will have the best detox system available to humans.
Genetics plays an outsized role for so many of us. But our ancestors were thin and had the same genetic issues that predispose us to obesity. Why were they thin? Because they weren’t exposed to food 24/7/365. In the current obesogenic environment, genetics is making the issue worse.
Our microbiome is the group of bacteria in our gut. There are trillions of them in our GI system. They have a crucial role in our mental health, heart health, brain health, and risk of developing cancer. Our microbiome has taken a huge hit over the last few decades. We used to host a vast number of different species of bacteria in our guts. Now we don’t. We’ve killed off many beneficial species of bacteria in our gut. Many of these species had critical roles in maintaining the health of their host—us. 75% of the serotonin and dopamine, neurotransmitters our brain uses, are made in our gut. Veggies and whole grains provide soluble fiber to the microbiome. The microbiome digests the fiber and releases various short-chain fatty acids. Those have healthy effects throughout our body. They improve our brain health, heart health, blood pressure, decreasing the risks of developing some cancers.
When we eat, we are feeding our microbiome. They process the food and release nutrients. Without a robust microbiome, we are set up for many chronic diseases. Feeding our microbiome ultra-processed foods selects for certain microbial species… and not necessarily the ones that are healthy for us. Without vegetables in our diet, the bacteria that digest fiber die off. If you complain of feeling bloated after eating a fiber-rich diet, it’s because your gut does not have enough of these bacteria. The answer is not to eat less fiber; the answer is to eat more. Eventually, those bacteria will repopulate the gut, and you will be able to eat veggies without feeling bloated.
Weight loss is hard! The only way to lose weight is to create a caloric deficit. That means that you need to consume fewer calories than you burned throughout the day. We also call this a negative energy state.
People can lose weight on high-fat diets, low-fat diets, high carb diets, and low carb diets. Kevin Hall is a prominent researcher in this space and is worth searching and reading.
We have to take charge of our own health. We have a healthcare system that focuses on treating disease-not preventing it. We have a food industry that fools us into thinking we are eating healthy.
Read labels; better yet, avoid food with labels, eat real food, prepare it, enjoy it- Avoid added sugar (organic sugar is just as bad as table sugar), don’t drink your calories- drink water. Little changes add up very quickly.
Eliminate 2 soda or iced teas a day = 400 calories
In one week, that’s 2800 calories.
In one month, that’s 12,000 calories.
In one year, that’s 146,000 calories.
That is the equivalent of 41 pounds of body weight in one year! You need to burn about 3500 calories to lose one pound.