Is it Physical or Psychological? Dieting Problems. Is it Really Our Fault?
I keyword searched for the word ‘diet’ and produced in excess of 140 million web pages of diet plans, pills, potions and dieting tips from health institutions, diet companies, nutritional professionals and otherwise - from all over the world. And yet so many find maintaining a healthy BMI (Body Mass Index) and metabolic rate a very intense, life or death, or at least good health or poor health, struggle. Obesity is a struggle for many around the globe, and is causing untold mental misery and depression, aside from the ever increasing debilitating diseases being linked to those overweight or obese. Is there any helpful information out there that can explain the struggle or make it easier to devise a strategy to overcoming it?
The trend is unforgiving and is second only to smoking in terms of the cause of self-inflicted premature loss of life. We only have to stop, take a step back, and look around us to see that there is a problem.
Have you strolled the aisles of your local grocery store recently? Have you noticed some interesting? I have. Most grocery stores sell dietary products along side the very products that cause us to be overweight or obese in the first instance. Psychologically, this can take a strong effect on our ability to avoid temptations and stick to only healthy choices. Another option may be to try shopping only in the produce aisle, or if the finances are available to you, stick to the healthy foods niche grocery stores entirely.
So, is it a psychological thing, a physical thing, or is it both?
In order to answer this we must first look at the change in our diet over the last 50 years. Consumption trends of refined carbohydrates, such as sugar have risen dramatically, but at the same time the consumption of fats and proteins has remained reasonably stable.
According to Forbes, ( https://www.forbes.com/sites/alicegwalton/2013/06/27/study-are-cheap-carbs-really-like-drugs-to-your-brain/ ),
studies have revealed that the effect of refined carbohydrates and fats both have a form of addiction associated with them. Studies have shown that refined sugars have the effect of playing havoc with the fine balance of maintaining the level of glucose in the bloodstream. This in turn has a detrimental effect on our hormonal activity, such as insulin and glucagon which are both responsible for maintaining the level of glucose to its normal level following a ‘surge’ intake of refined carbohydrates in our diet. These acceptable levels of glucose in the bloodstream are maintained at surprisingly narrow margins.
Refined sugars therefore induce excessive hormonal activity in its attempt to restore homeostasis. These unnatural ‘swings’ in hormonal activity often cause differing mood swings from that of being happy and content to being sad, on edge, and even feelings of anxiety or panic. Prolonged exposure to these hormonal swings can often lead to the whole process becoming less effective and subsequently diabetes can be the end result.
Other studies have shown surprisingly that the effect of eating significant quantities of fats actually leads to an unexpected human reaction in terms of nutrition. You would think that eating food rich in fats would have the effect of satisfying feelings of hunger. But amazingly medical research has shown the opposite to be true. Clinical trials have shown that foods rich in fats actually induces people to eat more not less. A fascinating article by the National Institute of Health tackles this subject in depth ( https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/nih-study-finds-heavily-processed-foods-cause-overeating-weight-gain ). At the time the results from such experiments were groundbreaking, because they completely contradicted the nutritional thinking of the time.
It is also interesting to learn that further medical studies have suggested that foods rich in protein have been linked to the response that indicates that you have consumed sufficient food. Healthline explores this phenomenon further in their popular article ( https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/10-reasons-to-eat-more-protein ).
In other words, it is believed that proteins in some way, triggers the ‘I am full’ response. There is also the massive change in our human energy expenditure. Humans used to hunt and gather food, but now we happily pop to the local supermarket to buy it, or at worse, have it delivered to our front door. Food has changed from being scarce to being in abundance in first world nations, and many humans have gradually changed from being ‘active’ to relatively ‘dormant’. Move less and eat more.
There are those who believe that even the act of not exercising can trigger the bodily response to lower the metabolism and build fat layers under the skin for 2 key reasons, both being linked to human survival. In evolutionary terms, it may be that you are unable to ‘hunt’ and therefore unable to secure food. Reducing the metabolic rate of your body makes total sense to preserve energy. Secondly, if food is available during a spell of non activity, does it not make a whole load of sense to lay down fat layers under the skin to retain bodily heat and secure an energy source during potential ‘lean times’. Perfect sense. Perfect design, and yet we don’t understand ourselves. If we do, many choose to ignore the warning signs our bodies are offering.
Therefore, it is very clear that part of the problem within the dieting world that we humans face, is certainly a physical one linked strongly to the interaction of the food types we eat with that of our body. Over the last 50 odd years our diets have been vastly changed out of all recognition, and yet our bodies are doing the same as they have been doing for well over the last 100,000 years. We are in the 21st century, and our bodies are still in the ‘Stone Age’. Evolution is a slow, slow, process but over millions of years the relationship and reaction of chemicals in our food with the cells of the human body have been cemented and cast, for eons of time.
So, it is us that need to change…because Mother Nature will not entertain us for thousands of years to come…Run with it, eat what your body has been designed for, and successful weight loss will follow for sure…