The overweight epidemic and how to beat it

Losing weight is a tough battle, for anyone trying to shed 10 pounds or 100 and obesity comes with other health problems that can impact your lifestyle. Some tips and information can give you the tools you need for success.

The overweight epidemic and how to beat it

Being overweight — defined as weighing more than 20 percent over the ideal for your height — is considered a medical concern. Adults that are over 14 to 18 kilograms (30 to 40 pounds) a healthy weight range — are particularly susceptible to disease.

  • The majority of the population is becoming heavier and scientific evidence links excessive weight to a higher risk for diabetes, certain cancers, high blood pressure, heart disease and various chronic conditions, including varicose veins and arthritis.

What causes it

  • Consuming too many calories and not expending enough energy leads to weight gain. A sedentary lifestyle, a calorie-dense diet and genetics are major contributors to obesity.

How food may help

Adopting a healthy eating style and increasing physical activity are not easy, but it's critical for balancing energy expenditure. For permanent weight loss, most experts agree that a gradual, realistic weight loss, without mortgaging overall health, is most successful.

In addition to learning to cook delicious, healthy food, it's important to listen to hunger cues, learn to limit portions and avoid calorie-laden convenience foods. Swapping spices for salt and cutting back on alcohol may improve weight loss efforts as well.

Since there is a tendency to overeat when eating fast, slowing down can help you reach your target weight since it takes about 20 minutes for the stomach to signal the brain that it is full.

  • Counting total calories is important, but note that there is some evidence that the body stores dietary fat more readily than it does protein or carbohydrate, which can contribute to weight gain.

Calcium may trigger fat loss by blocking hormones that cause us to store, rather than burn, excess fat. Some research among significantly overweight men found that a high-calcium diet assisted weight loss.

  • Vitamin D helps calcium absorption and it may be important for people who want to lose weight to consume foods high in this vitamin, especially since they may already have lower levels of bioavailable vitamin D. Excess body fat stores this fat-soluble vitamin, making it unavailable for its healthful activities.
  • Diets that are built around low-fat complex carbohydrates — fruits, vegetables and whole grains — help maintain healthy weight loss and prevent weight gain.

Complex carbohydrates are rich in fibre and nutrients. Experts recommend at least five servings of fruits and vegetables each day to stave off extra pounds.

  • Fruits and vegetables provide nourishment and volume for their calorie content. A 140 gram (five ounce) baked potato with skin has about 60 percent fewer calories and far more fibre than a medium (100 gram or 3.5 ounce) serving of french fries.
  • Foods high in dietary fibre might aid in weight loss, which can slow the rate of digestion in the stomach. So, filling up on high-fibre foods leaves less room for high-fat, calorie-dense foods. Some evidence suggests soluble fibre may assist in regulating blood sugar levels, thus controlling hunger pangs.
  • In addition, a high-fibre diet may slow fat absorption, helping you to feel fuller more quickly while acquiring fewer fat calories.
  • In one study, individuals consumed as much as 36 grams of fibre each day and absorbed up to 130 fewer calories.

Green tea catechins may benefit energy expenditure and weight loss; their polyphenols may encourage weight loss by stimulating fat oxidation.

Recent research

Making portions seem larger, by bulking up food with air or water, may reduce hunger quicker and cut back caloric intake.

  • In one study, healthy men who drank milkshakes whipped up with air felt fuller and ended up reducing the amount of food that they ate, compared to participants who had the same number of calories, but less air.

Foods to eat

These healthy foods are quick to prepare, make delicious meals and offer a bunch of weight-wise benefits!

  • broccoli
  • cooking greens
  • dairy products
  • figs
  • beans
  • rice
  • whole grains
  • asparagus
  • beets
  • lentils
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