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Why We Are Fat

Nov 27, 2007
It is a sad, sad state of affairs that a full two-thirds of the American population is either overweight or outright obese. Since the mid-eighties, the percentage has more than doubled, after remaining stable for the twenty-five years prior to the mid-eighties. The percentage rate for that earlier period was approximately 24-25% and never significantly changed during that period, even with the introduction of fast food in the early sixties. Logic would clearly suggest that fast food escalated obesity but that is not the case and it is backed by statistics. The onset of the rise in overweight and obesity reaching current epidemic proportions began, not coincidentally, with the introduction of aspartame as a chemical sweetener in the mid-1980's.

There are many contributing factors to this unexpected phenomenon. The psychology of the marketing and advertising that removed any associated guilt from consuming the product resulted in direct over-consumption. "Indulge without the guilt" was the basis for many advertising campaigns. Numerous studies show that users of any diet product consume, on average, 25% more calories per day than non-users. By removing natural ingredients, the body also does not receive the immediate feedback signals needed to inform you that you are satiated and full, and to stop eating. This signal was chemically delayed until after over-consumption had already occurred.

Secondly, the additive aspartame has been shown to actually increase cravings for sweetened products, mainly from it being much more sweeter than sugar and better at quickly rising insulin levels that produce that "sugar rush" feeling we desire after ingestion. Simple biochemistry shows that the pleasure hormones released provide a short term burst where the consumer feels energized and the mind experiences a very intoxicating state. It is a seductive state of mind. Chocolate, for instance, causes the release of hormones that are nearly identical to those released when we strongly feel the emotion of being in love, such as in early stages of a passionate relationship. The mental picture of a breakup victim sitting home, watching television, and eating chocolate ice cream has some basis as a coping mechanism for the same reason.

The chemistry of a sugar rush also shows it falls off dramatically after about an hour and creates a physical crash from the body dealing with the previous state of over-stimulation. The brain and the body are basically exhausted from the energy it had to expend in hormone release and subsequent return to homeostasis, or its normal level. The brain now signals that it needs more of these pleasure related foods to regain the earlier great feeling and ease the mental and physical exhausted feeling it now has. So starts a daily cycle of spike and crash that outright drains the body leaving the mind and body unproductive and lethargic. Most studies also show that average American workers are only productive a few hours, at best, during the course of a workday. The body and mind are just too distracted and busy dealing with an ill-conceived attempt to alter normal function.

At the end of the day, it is common practice to attempt to add the nutrients that are direly needed for maintenance by ingesting a large, calorie-high, meal of mixed good and bad carbohydrates, fat and protein. Even under optimum conditions, the digestive process goes into panic mode with this many calories, and cannot properly digest half of them. Picture an actual state of chaos where excessive gastric acids are pumped in a futile attempt to breakdown this excessive amount. They wear at the stomach lining as it was not designed to withstand this excess amount of acid and for the extended duration. Acids bubble up and eat at the esophagus and result in the common indigestion and heartburn symptom so many of the population experience. Undigested chunks of food are forced into the intestines, clogging them and clinging to the walls. Polyps and colon cancer result, as a constipated situation is created and the material remains stagnating in the walls.

The "loosening of the belt" practice is the prime acknowledgment of this. Social customs actually encourage this, as it conveys to the preparer of the meal they have done a great job of inducing you to eat this amount. In reality, it is a clear signal that a digestive disaster has just occurred and begs for you not to repeat it. A classic case of mixed signals has occurred. Obviously, there have been other contributing factors to the dramatic increase in overweight and obese Americans, but by ignoring the basic digestion biochemistry in our genes and forcing them to deal with un-natural foods, excess consumption and the detrimental timing of meals; we have set in motion this destructive path. Genetics has not had near the time required to make adaptations through mutation as the change occurred in such a short period of time from an evolutionary perspective. Unchanged, the problem will continue to accelerate as the only solution is to change the food cycle and America appears unwilling to accept the return to habits of the past.
About the Author
Swimwear may be our business but health and nutrition are my passion Brought to you by Shirley and Company Where distinctive and fashionable Swimsuits And Juicy Couture tracksuits and accessories are just a click away.
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