Features — 11 March 2017 — by Dr. Pam Reyes

Hello everyone. Today we’re going to re-visit a topic that many of us may prefer to ignore: weight manage-ment and obesity. The good news is, weight management should be compatible with your body type and should not be modeled off the models in Vogue Magazine. We may have to do this discussion in two parts because there’s a lot to talk about. Weight loss has become a national past time, albeit an obsession, in the United States. According to the National Institute of Diabetes approximately 70% of American adults and 75% of American males are considered overweight to obese. The CDC estimates that by the year 2020, three-quarters of Americans will be obese (this statistic includes children and adolescents. Approximately 112 thousand deaths, annually in the U.S. are attributable to obesity. This is an epidemic, folks! Many of us don’t want to address what we should or can do about it, at the individual level.

Obesity clearly poses a clear and present danger to health, having been associated with numerous health problems and degenerative diseases, including diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and various types of cancer. However, diets for weight loss have been shown to be ineffective and perhaps even damaging to health. A large percentage of the population is trying to lose weight at any given time through such diverse methods as diets, exercise, behavior modification, and drugs. While this weight obsession is often fueled by psychological needs, i.e., the urge to conform to an artificial standard of beauty, fostered by the media, fashion, and peer pressure, rather than by physical needs, the underlying fact is that most obese people are simply overweight.

CAUSES OF OBESITY & WEIGHT GAIN:

Obesity is indicated by an abnormally high proportion of body fat. However, according to Dr. Timothy Birdsall of Sandpoint, Idaho, “Although it is commonly assumed that obesity is due to overeating, there is, in fact, a complex interaction between one’s culture, environment, exercise habits, and eating styles, as well as one’s genetic makeup, biochemical and physiological individuality and ‘set point’.”

The set point theory states that one’s size and body fat are determined by genetics, eating patterns and calorie intake at certain key times in life, starting from childhood. Also, Elson Haas, M.D., Director of the Preventive Medicine Center of Marin in San Rafael, California states that “Eating patterns are relatively fixed, and attempting to arrive at a weight above or below one’s ‘set point range’ causes physiological behavior changes and an ultimate return to one’s previous set point weight, anyway.’”

With all due respect to Dr. Haas’ theory, if our genetic set point fully dictates our fat-bearing weight (or should it be articulated: weight bearing fat? — smile), then why should one try to manage one’s weight at all? It all sounds very futile with an element of finality. Still, I believe that where there is life; there is hope. There are cases where excess weight is gained because of conditions such as food allergies; types of food one consumes may affect one’s metabolic rate; an insulin imbalance; chemical toxicity; and nutritional deficiencies, which are treatable. For example, an inefficient thyroid gland (hypothyroidism) can be the cause of a sluggish metabolic rate. Dr. Majid Ali, M.D., Associate Professor of Pathology at Columbia University in New York states that “Naturally thin people tend to have higher metabolic rates and burn calories at a much faster rate than their obese friends.”

INSULIN IMBALANCE:

My research at the University of Southern California shows that overweight people burn up sugar less effectively than normal people, and that dieting only makes this problem worse. Many cases of obesity are due to an imbalance of the hormone, insulin. Insulin allows our bodies to utilize glucose (sugar) and carbohydrates. Excessive sugar consumption (refined carbohydrates) may also contribute to glucose intolerance and obesity.

Usually insulin will signal the body to stop eating, but if a person has chronically elevated glucose levels due to inefficient insulin, he or she may eat more. Therefore, the more refined carbohydrates a person eats, the hungrier he or she may become.

REMEMBER:

In closing this week’s column, a well-balanced diet which avoids fat-building foods, regular exercise, drinking adequate amounts of pure water, and stress reduction can help maintain a healthy weight compatible with one’s body type. That’s all for today, folks. Next week, in Part 2 on “Obesity, Its Link to Degenerative Diseases, and Maintaining a Healthy Weight Management that is Compatible with Your Body Type”, we’ll discuss “Correcting Insulin Imbalance, Dieting, the Truth and Fallacies about Obesity, and Nutritional Supplements to Assist You in Enjoying a Healthier Life.”

Dr. Pam Reyes is Chairwoman of Caribbean Educational Media, a California 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, dispersing information on health, educational & legal issues, and exploring the information & communication highway of the present and future, via the media of the Internet, print journalism, nonprofit public radio & television, and nonprofit public participation.

 INSULIN IMBALANCE:

My research at the University of Southern California shows that overweight people burn up sugar less effectively than normal people, and that dieting only makes this problem worse. Many cases of obesity are due to an imbalance of the hormone, insulin. Insulin allows our bodies to utilize glucose (sugar) and carbohydrates. Excessive sugar consumption (refined carbohydrates) may also contribute to glucose intolerance and obesity.

Usually insulin will signal the body to stop eating, but if a person has chronically elevated glucose levels due to inefficient insulin, he or she may eat more. Therefore, the more refined carbohydrates a person eats, the hungrier he or she may become.

REMEMBER:

In closing this week’s column, a well-balanced diet which avoids fat-building foods, regular exercise, drinking adequate amounts of pure water, and stress reduction can help maintain a healthy weight compatible with one’s body type. That’s all for today, folks. Next week, in Part 2 on “Obesity, Its Link to Degenerative Diseases, and Maintaining a Healthy Weight Management that is Compatible with Your Body Type”, we’ll discuss “Correcting Insulin Imbalance, Dieting, the Truth and Fallacies about Obesity, and Nutritional Supplements to Assist You in Enjoying a Healthier Life.”


Dr. Pam Reyes is Chairwoman of Caribbean Educational Media, a California 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, dispersing information on health, educational & legal issues, and exploring the information & communication highway of the present and future, via the media of the Internet, print journalism, nonprofit public radio & television, and nonprofit public participation.

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