10 Factors That Present Inconclusive Evidences as Causes of Obesity
Despite the global prevalence of obesity, there seems to be no universal agreement on the best dietary practice that could sustain a moderate or favorable body weight. Diets containing low percentages of carbohydrate and high percentages of protein result in greater quantity of weight loss on a short term basis. Based on results obtained from studies, diets containing lower percentages of vegetables, fruits, grains, fiber and a higher percentage of fat will likely cause obesity and weight gain. Researches have been conducted on various conditions of weight loss in order to understand different types of dieting patterns of people who have moderate (or favorable) body weights.
One popular question that always rears its head is: “How can weight be controlled”? Does effective control depend on the place and time people consume their food? Is it more difficult to control weight if fast-foods are consumed in place of home-made foods? These questions and many others linger on in the hearts of so many people. Unfortunately, both scientific and non-scientific research do not always have spot-on answers that should be all-encompassing replies to the myriad questions related to weight gain and obesity. From a look at most research findings, available information contains words like: could, likely, probably, unknown, etc.; the findings also contain phrases such as: to some extent; it is possible that; it is generally very difficult to state that; there isn’t enough proof to say that, etc.”.
So what exactly should people who are seeking clarity on the topic believe in? Well, whatever anyone believes in, below is a list of popular factors causing obesity as reported in many studies; they provide information that is inconclusive and contradictory when stating evidences of factors causing obesity:
1. Quantity of fat:
On numerous occasions, the argument about obesity — in relation to the quantity of fat within a diet — doesn’t lead to a reasonable consensus because a lot of issues are usually considered at once. Some studies have sensibly observed that epidemiological procedures could have been affected by some degree of bias which certainly originated from “somewhere” during any research. One example is when a blunt tool is used in measuring dietary intake; another is when a significantly lesser frequency of reporting (about fat and energy intake) takes place in relation to obesity.
One particular study reported that the parameters considered in discerning the relationship between obesity and the quantity of fat intake are assessed by proxy (the measurement of one physical quantity that is used as an indicator of the value of another one), and are thus prone to error. The differences in the procedures used to evaluate the degree of obesity, as related to fat intake, reveal a lack of similarity in the conclusions drawn from several different studies. In fact, there are different views about the role which fat intake plays in bringing about obesity. In terms of diet intake, there are still arguments about the effects of diet make-up on weight increase — this is an area that needs more research. However, there is unwavering proof from various controlled trials (during experimentation) that a large intake of energy-heavy nutrients (foods) promotes an unhealthy increase in weight.
2. Quantity of Carbohydrate: Starch and Non-Starch Polysaccharides (NSP):
Carbohydrates, which are mainly polysaccharides, are either starch or Non-Starch Polysaccharides (NSP). The Atkins Diet, which is a diet that contains a lesser amount of carbohydrates, became very popular until people became worried about the risk involved in ingesting too much cholesterol and saturated fat up to a point that it lost popularity and significance. Funny enough, the diet could not help its own advocator (Dr. Atkins) who became a victim of heart failure at least one time during his life. It is believed that diets containing heavy quantities of carbohydrates help to defend the body against weight increase. But, if a diet is high on sugar, does the same idea hold? Results from studies do not agree on one answer; as a matter of fact, research conducted on a large number of people indicates that individuals whose total energy consumption is high are “inclined to” consume large amounts of sugar.
Available evidence from one study showed that the glycemic (blood sugar level) indicator is strongly related to BMI (Body Mass Index) which is a parameter that expresses the degree of probability at which obesity can occur. This insight is coherent with the speculation that increases in blood sugar levels lead to the production of greater quantities of insulin, thereby leading to suggestions that specific types of carbohydrates “may be” associated with weight increase. It has to be noted that the information from this particular research was not in agreement with the findings from other studies which support a reduction of carbohydrate intake in order to successfully lose weight — as advised by other researchers. All the same, it is necessary to investigate further in order to find a strong relationship between carbohydrate intake and weight gain or obesity.
3. Quantity of Protein:
One publication in the Journal of American Medical Association (2012) revealed that, although calories play a much greater role, proteins have an influential role to play in weight increase; furthermore, the study reported that researchers divided healthy people into three categories and gave them diets containing 1,000 calories and various degrees of protein. After consumption, it was observed that the category of individuals who ate the least amount of protein put on the least amount of weight, although there was a drop in the mass of their muscles and 90% of fat in the form of calories.
A study conducted on 3 categories of people revealed that the second and third categories of people who ingested normal and high amounts of protein, respectively, gained an equal amount of weight that was higher than the weight of people in the first category who ate the least amount of protein. However, what was evidently noticed is that the second and third categories had an increase in the mass of their muscles instead of a reduction. Although that might sound baffling, the study further revealed the following:
- Excessive eating leads to an increase in weight
- Protein intake leads to an increase in the mass of the muscles
- Diets that are short of protein can make an individual become fat.
As you can observe, the category of people who ate the least amount of protein put on the large amount of fat; so there is a lot of misconception about the appropriate amount of protein that should be consumed in a healthy diet. Some people might be of the opinion that someone already ingests too much protein, while others might feel that any amount of protein ingested is not too much.
4. Quantity of Alcohol:
Alcohol, which is an energy-heavy nutrient, has the ability to raise the quantity of fat stored in the body to a substantial degree. Regardless of available evidence indicating the benefits associated with light intake of alcohol in relation to obesity and body weight, various studies have shown contradictory evidences: studies on food consumption revealed that energy generated from alcohol adds up with the energy from food intake to produce a sum total of energy which only increases when more alcohol is consumed.
Generally, records from some studies reveals that moderate consumption of alcohol doesn’t lead to an increase in weight. In some instances, it’s quite true that the surplus amount of energy intake related with weight increase in some people was likely due to alcohol consumption. Nonetheless, the existing proof is contradicting and handicapped by significant restrictions which make it difficult to put to rest the argument that alcohol consumption leads to obesity. Coupled with a healthy eating style (that won’t lead to weight increase), a light or moderate consumption of alcohol is recommendable.
Breastfeeding has been considered a strong measure against weight increase during childhood. A number of studies have shown that children who breastfeed are less likely to become obese in their childhood than those children who don’t; while other analytical studies revealed evidences which were contradictory.
Fat (or excessively fat) children are likely to carry their fatness into adulthood. An evaluation of 18 studies carried out on almost 20,000 people revealed that — in some studies — a link was discovered between breastfeeding and certain forms of obesity that occurred years later. A research on 9,367 children showed that obesity was predominant among 2.8% of children who breastfed, while it was higher (4.5%) among children who never breastfed.
After that evaluation, another published study revealed that in a research carried out on a number of boys and girls in the USA (above 15,000 in number) who were between the ages of 9 and 15, it was observed that there was a drop of about 20% in the likelihood of them becoming overweight. This figure was only related with the population that breastfed regularly within the first six months of their lives.
6. Nutrition Level at Birth:
The amount of weight a new born baby has at birth indicates the quality of nutrition it had in its mother’s womb. A survey on the forecasting of obesity showed a logically consistent connection between birth weight and the risk of becoming overweight as a kid or as a grownup. A research on more than 2,000 pregnant women (who gave birth later on) revealed that the children of women who put on an excessive quantity of weight had at least four times the chance of becoming overweight at the age of three than children of women who gained an amount of weight that was “not adequate enough”.
Another study carried out on children in four countries (Brazil, China, Russia and South Africa) between the ages of 3 and 9 proved that children who experienced stunted growth had a higher probability of becoming overweight than children who didn’t experience stunted growth. The speculation that intrauterine and childhood under-nutrition produces excessive weight during adulthood is an important one. Nonetheless, the degree to which they are associated are evidently complicated and existing data are not significant enough to make a single general statement on the issue.
7. Restricted Eating, Dieting and Bingeing Patterns:
While it may be agreed upon that restrictive eating is likely required to keep away obesity in circumstances where an ever-available supply of food tempts one to eat, some people who actually succeed in restricting themselves to some extent, may end up eating out of control.
Research has shown that the probability of becoming overweight is lesser in those people who practice a flexible restrictive eating pattern, while the probability of becoming overweight is higher in those people whose practice of restrictive eating that is too strict or rigid. Excessive eating and the habit of eating late in the night are often associated with rigid restrictive eating. Various studies have pointed that although the connection between dissimilar eating practices and obesity “is complex to figure out,” it is generally agreed that excessive eating is usually associated with obesity.
8. Eating Outside the Home:
The rate at which people eat outside their homes is rising rapidly in the western world, and is properly recorded in the USA. Research in the USA has shown that a rise in the rate at which people eat outside the home, and the amount of money people use in eating away from their houses has been occurring simultaneously with widespread incidences of obesity.
It has been observed in the USA that food prepared outside the home has a greater amount of fat, total energy, sodium and cholesterol: also, it contains a lesser amount of calcium and fiber, and is typically inferior in nutritional quality than food prepared at home. These variations and differences in the composition of food are probable reasons for the prevalence of obesity in the USA. Another observation is that people who eat outside the home a lot have higher body mass indexes (BMI’s) than those who eat at home more. In relationship with obesity, there is evidence in USA showing that there’s a high risk of becoming obese if food is eaten outside the home; however, the same can be said about other countries where the same practice occurs to some considerable extent. In Asian countries, people are not likely to gain weight if they eat outside the home; in fact, it is not certain in Asia whether obesity is related with eating outside the home.
9. Frequency of Eating Snacks:
It is relevant to consider the composition of snack foods and how a rise in the rate of eating snacks leads to becoming overweight. There is sufficient proof from the USA that the rate at which people eat snacks is rising; also, the energy density and total energy in snack foods is increasing with snacks taking up between 20 and 25% of the total energy in the body system of people who reside in the UK and USA. With this and other information available, there still isn’t enough evidence to say that a higher rate of eating snacks would lead to obesity. In cases where there is little evidence, it rather shows that the frequent eating of snacks fights against weight increase. Notwithstanding, the high concentration of energy in snacks may do the contrary and promote weight increase.
10. Environmental Issues:
Nowadays it can be observed that fast-food shops are gaining more popularity (and control) over supermarkets, especially in the western world. At the same time, high-calorie foods are being widely advertised and vigorously marketed. The increasing cases of obesity in any environment occupied by people are probably a major factor causing any outbreak in the spread of obesity. The surroundings in which groups of human beings live are quite complex and individuals with various types of eating auras, have a great influence on other people’s eating habits in schools, restaurants, homes and fast-food shops.
A great deal of proof available about the effect(s) of the environment on eating and obesity (or weight gain) can be obtained from past research. Although, typically peaking, it’s difficult to pick out particular environmental influences. The same declaration can be made about environments in which people are not physically active. The increasing use of cars and machines in place of physical work associated with daily labor are a few of the prevailing factors which influence people towards physically inactive lifestyles. Cases of obesity and weight gain have been observed to be higher among children who watch videos and television more.
ADVICE: MAKE MORE EFFORT TO PREVENT, THAN TO CURE
Prevention is very important in health, and also in many other areas of life. Effective prevention involves the recognition of symptoms, and the implementation of preventive measures before the symptoms turn into problematic situations. There are ways you can use to find out whether your body and health are becoming unhealthy. Most problems we see could have been easily prevented by taking certain steps. It’s never too late to start practicing anything that can keep you healthy; so consider some of the following preventive measures:
i. Don’t Eat When you are Not Hungry
Research has shown that people who have moderate or light weight are slim, moderate-sized or thin because they only eat when they are hungry — when there is that need to eat. It’s advisable to eat only when your body informs you that there is a need for it.
ii. Take Healthy Diets
Everybody can align their diets with FDA standards, as it is one of the best ways to prevent obesity. The FDA advises that each individual should eat 2,000 calories per day. This can be obtained from foods like, milk, meat, vegetables, fruits and legumes which be included in their diets.
iii. Do Not eat Junk Food
Although junk foods are difficult to resist, try your best to do away with them. Be wise enough to avoid eating any junk food because it’s one of the easiest ways that leads to obesity.
iv. Drink a lot of Water
Water detoxifies and cleanses many impurities within the body. Make sure the water does not contain sugar or any sweetening substances. The FDA advises individuals to take between 8 and 10 glasses of water per day.
v. Monitor Your Weight
Measure your weight at least once every week so that you will be convinced it is within a healthy range. If you find out that it is increasing beyond an acceptable limit, then that’s the exact time to need to start taking steps to lose some of it. If you notice your weight is getting on the high end, then you may have to reduce the amount of food you eat or start doing more exercises than before.
vi. Make it a Habit to be Regularly Active
One of the best ways to prevent obesity is by living an active lifestyle. There are so many ways to be active: take a walk, run, ride a bike, practice yoga, etc. A lot of people like going to the gym, but that might be so necessary.
vii. Go for Medical Check-up at Least Once a Year
Medical associations and all doctors advise that people should go for medical tests, at least once a year in order to detect whether there are any problems or symptoms related to the probable occurrence of a greater problem which might occur in the future. If any problem is detected, a doctor can easily tackle it before it becomes serious.
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