Top 6 ways in which obesity can harm you

Top 6 ways in which obesity can harm you

As I founder of functional nutrition centre I have often asked my clients the crucial question – ‘Why do you want to lose weight?’ The answers vary from ‘I want to look good’ to ‘I cannot take the back pain anymore’. Rarely does anyone tell me that they want to ease the strain that they are putting on their body every day. Yes, obesity wreaks havoc on your body and is proof of bodily functions gone wrong within. I think returning your body processes to optimum is the number one reason you should be shedding those extra kilos immediately.

effects of obesity

Being overweight puts a lot of stress on your organs and sets you up for misery that will come sooner than you think. This might sound harsh but it is the scary truth that reveals itself once you know your body.

This post will educate you on the workings of your body the relation of obesity with various illnesses and health risks. Bear in mind that most of the below health risks are not the effect of obesity but go hand in hand with it. Some of them are even the cause of obesity. For example, insulin resistance or Type 2 Diabetes leads to weight gain and not the other way round.

But first, let’s define what being overweight or obese is. This is determines by your BMI or Body Mass Index. Calculate your BMI using the following formula:

 

 

For Asians

BMI of 18 to  23 normal

BMI of 24 to 25 is overweight

BMI of 26 and above counts as obese

 

Health Risks

Obesity is closely related to increased risk of type 2 Diabetes, hypertension, sleep apena, heart stroke, asthma, certain cancers, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. In fact, obesity is said to be linked with more than 50 different health problems.

Why Being Overweight is related to so many health problems? 

Extra fat in your body puts strain on your cardiovascular system. Fat makes your blood thick and your arteries stiff which causes high blood pressure. Although being overweight increases all these problems it is not at the heart of all the illnesses. To know the real cause we must get to the root of weight gain itself.

Obesity is not the normal way of a body. A lot of people think that obesity is just a matter of too much eating and too little exercise. While these factors do play a role they are not enough to get you on the path to become obese. Consider the case of childhood obesity.

There are more than 10 million cases of childhood obesity in India alone! Cases of obesity are seen in children as young as 2 to 5 years today. Clearly, it’s not the result of too much food and too little exercise. Something else is going on here. Weight gain is actually a case of your cellular metabolism gone wrong.

child obesity

The truth is- it can happen to anyone. Toxic load in our environment, stressful lifestyle, sedentary jobs, food allergens, poor diet and nutrient deficiency are all to be blamed for the metabolic syndrome. All these external factors lead to insulin resistance, poor metabolism and adrenalin stress in our body. It is the seed that grows into a host of other chronic illnesses including obesity. Obesity is hence a marker of metabolic dysfunctions in your body and the start of many chronic illnesses.

 

Diabetes and Obesity

There have been numerous studies linking weight gain with diabetes. In fact, experts have coined the term ‘diabesity’ as diabetes and obesity go hand in hand. The famous Harvard study that studied 170,000 people over the span of 10 years found that obesity increases the risk of diabetes by 20 times! However all these studies measure risk of diabetes by correlating obesity with presence of diabetes? It doesn’t necessarily mean that obesity is the cause of diabetes. In fact it may be the other way around.

diabetes and Obesity

Insulin resistance is at the heart of type 2 diabetes. Insulin acts as a gate pass for glucose to enter into cells for its conversion into energy. Insulin resistance happens when your cells refuse to take in the glucose and shut off to the insulin in your blood. This is caused by poor lifestyle factors, consuming too much sugar or genetics. This extra glucose in the blood is then stored in fat cells causing you to gain weight.

Insulin resistance points to a metabolic syndrome in the body and it usually precedes weight gain. This means that if you are overweight there is a good chance that you are already suffering from metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance. This is more likely if you easily put on weight on your waist.

 

Hypertension and Obesity

Hypertension is the measure of pressure that blood applies to the inner walls of your arteries. Abnormal glucose metabolism increases the LDL (Low-density Lipid) in blood causing the blood and arteries to thicken. This leads to high blood pressure. More cholesterol in your blood also means that the heart has to work harder to pump blood around your body and leading  to increased risk of heart attack.

blood pressure and obesity

 

Cancer

Observational studies have shown that obese persons are at a higher risk of many types of cancer. This includes endometrial cancer (cancer of uterus lining), liver cancer, brain tumor, gall bladder cancer, breast cancer and prostate cancer.

The exact mechanisms of how obesity causes cancer are yet to be discovered. As of now, there are only theories that best support the evidence of higher incidences of cancer in obese people.

One of the theories is that the chronic low-level inflammation that obese people often have leads to DNA damage that leads to cancer. Yet another link is the excess estrogen produced by fat tissue in obese people. Excess estrogen is known to be associated with breast, endometrial and ovarian cancer.

Fat cells also produce adipokines, hormones that can mess up the growth stimulation and inhibition mechanism of cells. Increased level of insulin in the blood is also known to help certain cancers.

 

Stress on Organs

All the extra body mass obviously puts strain on the organs of your body which are meant to handle much less. Increase in fat tissues means that your heart has to pump harder to reach through more blood vessels in your body. Fat deposits also diminish the lung’s capacity to hold air according to studies.

Extra weight also causes structural burden on your skeleton. Obesity usually leads to osteoarthritis, back pain and joint pains.

 

Mental Health

The relation of mental health and obesity is again the story of chicken and egg. We do not know for sure which one comes first.  People with mental health issues have a two to three times higher risk of obesity and people with obesity have a 30% higher risk of mental health issues.

The reason of overlap could be the common risk factors such as stress. Cortisol levels are known to be higher in both obese and depression patients. Inflammation in body and increased stress can lead to a flight or flight response in body which can cause both depression and weight gain. Depression and obesity can lead into a vicious cycle where loss of self-esteem can lead to binge eating which leads to more weight gain. Mental health issues associated with obesity include anxiety, depression, PTSD.

obesity and mental illness

Social Health

The social effects of obesity may not be acknowledged medically with a term, but they are just as damaging. Not being able to fit into your favorite dress and gaining weight every week attacks your self-esteem. Constant low energy takes away your favorite activities and hampers your daily routine. Repeatedly failing to lose weight despite your intention is enough to lose confidence and give-up on life itself.

Many people with obesity become averse to interaction and avoid social events. Obesity affects not just your relations with the outside world but also your relation with yourself. Emotions of frustration, guilt, self-loathing and self-victimization are common because of the illnesses and stigma attached to obesity.

 

Conclusion

Obesity is a result of metabolic processes gone wrong. This root cause is common to many other illnesses like diabetes, cardiovascular complications and mental illness. This is the reason that weight gain goes hand in hand with so many health problems and many times is a marker for chronic illnesses to come.

In next blog we will talk about the root causes of weight gain and how to make sure your body functions run smoothly for a lifetime.

Caffeine : How and why should you quit it?

Caffeine : How and why should you quit it?

Coffee is the favorite wake-up drink for millions and a go to necessity  for even more.  Caffeine is the primary ingredient in coffee and many other beverages like tea, chocolate, cola soft drinks, energy drinks and even some medications. Most people are unaware of the harm their morning cup of coffee is doing to them.

In this blog we will talk about what coffee does to your body and how you can quit it with minimal withdrawal symptoms.

Coffee, effects of coffee; how to quit coffee

But first, let’s clear all the confusion there is about caffeine on the internet. Like any other topic on nutrition and health, there is an overload of contradicting information on coffee. Before you make up your mind on what is true, consider this fact:

Coffee is the second most traded commodity on earth after oil!

You can imagine the commercial interest vested in this commodity. It’s no surprise than many articles and organizations say coffee is safe (Some even claim it prevents cancer!). The FDA recommends upto 400 mg of coffee despite it having no nutritional value whatsoever. Of course, the FDA also considers it is safe to consume upto 50 gm or 12.5 teaspoons of daily sugar which is more addictive than cocaine, but that’s the topic of another blog.

 Caffeine has no nutrients that we cannot do without. In fact, it just gives you a temporary high that masks your nutritional and psychological problems, only to cause a slump in your mood later. In fact it messes up many delicate balances in your body.

 

Why should You Quit Caffeine

Visible and felt effects of caffeine include alertness, better concentration, frequent urination, increased heartbeat and of course the ‘feel-good’ high.

This is what is going on under the surface every time you have caffeine:

  • Nervous System

Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant. This is what causes alertness and even inability to sleep if consumed after evening. Caffeine competes with adenosine (a sleep inducing molecule) and binds to adenosine receptors in your brain to cause alertness and loss of sleep.

Caffeine stimulates dopamine production in your brain .It also increases the serotonin receptors triggering reward systems in your brain. This is what gives you the happy feeling when you consume caffeine.

 

  • Endocrine System

Drinking coffee re-creates the stress conditions in your body. Here is how this happens.

Caffeine stimulates the adrenal gland to produce adrenalin in your blood. This is the natural fight or flight response of your body. The body releases stores of glucose, increases heart rate and shoots up cortisol levels to prepare for the fight. This response aided us in fighting off threats in ancient times. However, triggering this response without any real stressor leads to a cascade to problems and takes a toll on your body.

effects of coffee, caffein is bad

The Vicious Cycle of Caffeine

Because of release of glucose stores during this process, caffeine leads to high blood sugar which calls for higher insulin in turn causing a slump in your sugar levels soon after.  The low sugar level causes further mood dip and lethargy forcing you to reach for another cup to begin the next cycle of adrenalin rush. This vicious cycle messes up your delicate sugar levels in your blood.

Studies have also shown that caffeine affects estrogen levels in women, increasing the risk of hormonal imbalance and altered ovulation. Pregnant women need to be even more careful as caffeine crosses into the placenta and can affect the functions of fetus as well.

 

  • Digestive System

In line with the stress response triggered by caffeine, it diverts energy and attention away from your digestive system. Caffeine also stimulates stomach to release more Hydrochloric Acid. Morning cup of coffee on an empty stomach is hence disastrous. It reduces the amount of acid available for digestion throughout the day and breaks the natural rhythm of your GI tract.

 

How to Quit Caffeine

As you may have concluded by now, the fake high of caffeine is really not worth all the trouble it causes to your body. The regular stress response takes a toll on your body and eventually leads to weight gain, insulin resistance, dependency and many more problems.

But how do you quit it? Caffeine is after all a mild drug that causes dependency. The typical withdrawal symptoms like headache, energy slump, lethargy, muscle pain, irritability can all be minimized by managing your blood sugar levels and taking right supplements. Here is how it works.

Lack of caffeine as a stimulant in your body will cause an energy slump in your body. It is essential that you take the right food that gives your body a steady supply or energy. Converting glucose to energy also requires the right nutrients, vitamins and amino acids. Therefore you should also supplement your low GL diet with all the required supplements.

Slowly your system which was fuelled by adrenalin response will start running on natural processes for energy conversion.

Thrive with Health

Thrive with Health

A steady flow of energy also means there will be no more energy slumps in your day. Soon, you will not feel the need to go for that 5 pm coffee cup.

 

With right diet, supplements and a deeper understanding of your own body, caffeine can be easily eliminated from your day to day life. Getting rid of this psychoactive drug will clear your way for the other 7 steps in Thrive’s Weight Loss Protocol.

 

 

How being obese or overweight can harm you

How being obese or overweight can harm you

What do you mean by obesity?

Obesity is defined as a weight that is considered above the normal, desired amount. It can be attributed to many factors. Some of them are junk food, unhealthy routine, lack of exercise, or chronic diseases such as thyroid or diabetes.

Overweight is not just about how you look.

Being obese can be a constant source of criticism. The stereotype that being fat means that you are ugly is completely ridiculous and not true. But, while we fight to keep these stereotypes at bay, we must also consider the serious side effects, health wise, that come with being obese.

What does it do to your body?

The Global Burden of Disease Study (GBD) focused on the relation between mortality and obesity. The study showed that the prevalence of obesity has more than doubled since 1980 and is now 5% in children and 12% in adults. These findings show similar global trends in type 2 diabetes. The finding that we should worry about the most is the tripling rate of obesity in young adults and kids. This trend is mainly seen in kids belonging to developing and developed countries. The study shows that an early onset is likely to transform into type 2 diabetes, hypertension and chronic kidney disease.

Obesity and Body Mass Index.

“A BMI in the 50th to 74th percentiles, within the accepted normal range, during adolescence was associated with increased cardiovascular and all-cause mortality during 40 years of follow-up. Overweight and obesity were strongly associated with increased cardiovascular mortality in adulthood”, said a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Obesity and Chronic diseases.

Obesity in women was linked to higher rates of osteoporosis, breast cancer, arthritis and other complications, A study showed . It also contributed to 40% of their heart problems. Moreover, your chances of developing diabetes goes up by 77% if you are overweight. There are over 200 million obese people in Europe alone, which tells you the extent of this epidemic.

According to Stanford Health Care, it has these long term effects on your body :

  1. High Blood Pressure :  Additional fat tissue in the body needs oxygen and nutrients in order to live, which requires the blood vessels to circulate more blood to the fat tissue. This increases the workload of the heart because it must pump more blood through additional blood vessels.
  2. Type 2 Diabetes : Obesity is the major cause of type 2 diabetes. It causes a resistance to insulin, which keeps the blood sugar level high.
  3. Heart Disease : Obesity can cause deposits of fat to build up in the arteries which cause a reduction of blood flow to the heart. This is a major cause for coronary heart disease, atherosclerocis (hardening of the artery) and stroke.
  4. Cancer
  5. Joint problems
  6. Sleep apnea and other sleep related problems.

Conclusion.

In conclusion, only one thing can be said, even if it’s a long and painful process : there is a road to recovery. Healthy changes in one’s lifestyle can help. Changes such as healthy diet, plenty of exercise and taking help for your mental problems go a long way. Also, restraining yourself from sugars and caffeine is essential. Obesity is a dangerous epidemic, but with careful and efficient planning, it can be countered with effectively.

 

 

Obesity rate in India over 3 years.

 

 

 

 

Functional Nutrition : An Emerging Health Field

Functional Nutrition : An Emerging Health Field

Introduction to Functional Nutrition

Functional nutrition focuses on food to solve health issues rather than masking the symptoms.

Food has always been the cornerstone of any regimen that one undergoes to improve his or her health. Yet, we tend to often overlook it as a cure for all the root causes of health problems that we face. That is where functional nutrition comes into the picture.

What is Functional Nutrition?

Functional Nutrition (FN) is defined as the analysis of the molecular way in which food affects the human body. This views the individual as a different set of functional cells. FN provides a diet according to that. It supports the normal recovery mechanisms of the body rather than attacking the symptoms or the effect directly. FN stresses that health isn’t only the absence of any illness but the state of immense vitality. Instead of prescription of drugs, Functional nutrition addresses the root cause of the problem. FN does this by asking vital questions such as, “Why do you have the problem in the first place?” and “Why has this function been lost?”

Image Courtesy : Southwest Functional Medicine

What does Functional Nutrition address?

Firstly, let us look at what nutrition means. Nutrition is the intake of food, in consideration of the body’s dietary needs. Good nutrition – adequate, balanced diet, enough intake of water, protection from toxins and toxic thoughts and a proper exercise regimen – all contribute to a healthy body. When it comes to caring for our body, we focus on masking the symptoms than treating the root cause. For example, if a person is overweight, he or she will usually go join a gym for an external weight loss regimen rather than treating the root cause, which is dietary glycemic overload, food sensitivities, inflamed intestine, intestinal permeability or a chronic hormonal disorder like metabolic syndrome, thyroid or diabetes most of the times. Functional Nutrition addresses the root cause of the problem rather than trying to artificially mask the symptoms.

Think of a leaking boat, conventional efforts are like taking a bucket and bailing out the water it as it fills up. That’s like working out to lose weight. Its physically and emotionally exhausting and when you stop the water fills up again. That’s why people who reduce or stop their workout become overweight again. The same goes for other efforts like reducing calories and going on ketosis etc. The moment you stop the effort you become overweight again.

Functional nutrition says a normal boat should not fill up with water, so we find the leak and fix it. The boat is then normal again. The boat can have multiple leaks in multiple locations, different boats can have different kinds and sizes of leaks. No matter what the problem is we can find and fix it. We presented weight gain only as an example, because its very visible. Even if you aren’t overweight, if you aren’t filled with vitality, motivation and joy your boat is leaking in some way. And we would be honored to fix it. Because we believe a human life is precious, beautiful and divine.

Functional Nutrition and its benefits.

We stress on the optimal food and way of eating for each person to regulate the normal functional of his/her body. The most important thing that it does is realign our relationship with food. With the increased intake of fresh fruits, leafy vegetables, multi grains etc, our body begins to regain an ability to heal from an injury or illness. It also improves our energy drastically and our satiety. We emphasize the importance of subjective nutrition choices for you according to your body. For example, by lab testing, we can find out the particular foods that you are allergic to that are causing inflammatory responses in you. This test would detect if you have an inflammatory condition due to food. You can cure many inflammatory diseases that came by eating the wrong foods  by simply avoiding these foods.

A case in point

Consider this example of a 40 year old male patient who came to us with diabetes. His fasting blood sugar would often cross 110 mg/dl and after his meals (post prandial) it was often 140 mg/dl, this was due to his habit of having a small glass of yogurt (curd) and some ghee after every meal. His IgE antibodies food allergy test showed he was allergic to yeast present in the yogurt and his IgG antibodies food intolerance test showed he was intolerant of milk and milk products and yeast. So his lifelong habit of having a cup of yogurt and some ghee had created a chronic inflammation in the gut, triggering intestinal permeability.

This in turn caused the immune IgE and IgG antibodies to trigger a systemic inflammation which led to elevated cortisol levels, which led to elevated blood sugar, which led to diabetes and was going to lead towards cancer had we not done the blood work.

If you recall the leaky boat example, having yogurt and ghee was the leak. Which he easily fixed by giving up the habit, we taught him how to make a satisfying low saturated fat and low glycemic load alternative to the yogurt and the ghee. Next was to take out all the water that had come into the boat, chronic inflammation, leaky gut and diabetes. We managed to reverse this completely in 3 months, with key support molecules taken as supplements, just in time for his 41st birthday. And he reported 15 kgs of weight loss and better sleep, vitality, clarity and positive mood. He also managed to double his turnover in his monthly business in just 3 months of clear headedness.

In conclusion,

Functional Nutrition is emphasizes our need for nutritious food. We aim to help you to start an intake of food beneficial to your body and repair the residual damage with the right molecular support via supplements. In functional nutrition we address the root cause of chronic diseases rather than trying to artificially mask the symptoms.