It is no surprise that people are fatter and sicker than ever before, as obesity rates have increased astronomically in recent years, particularly in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Australia. There are many different contributing factors to this problem and they are clearly environmental; our genes cannot have changed so much so quickly. The following is a list of 12 graphs that show why and how people are getting so fat.
1. People Are Eating More Junk Food Than Ever Before
People are eating a lot more calories nowadays, and the major source of this increase is processed foods. The graph above shows how the population has entirely changed its eating habits over the past century, eating significantly fewer meals at home. And I would argue this graph underestimates this problem, since a good portion of what people are consuming at home is also processed.
2. Sugar Consumption Has Increased Greatly
Sugar is the cause of so many health related problems we face today. Eating excess sugar can negatively impact our metabolism, leading to insulin resistance, belly fat gain, high triglycerides, and increased LDL (the bad kind) cholesterol. People who eat more sugar are at a much greater risk of getting type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer.
3. People Pack On Extra Weight During Holidays And Don’t Lose It After
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The holidays are generally a time to indulge in delicious foods and treats, and because of this, many people gain weight during this time; the problem is, they don’t lose the weight when the holidays are over.
4. The Obesity Epidemic Is On Par With The Low Fat Guidelines
Contrary to what health officials have long believed, fat does not make you fat, sugar does. When the low fat diet trend started, excess amounts of sugar began being added into foods to improve their flavour, and this shift directly coincides with the rise of obesity.
5. Food Is Cheaper Now Than Ever Before
One potential reason for the rapid increase of weight gain is the affordability of food. The graph above shows that food prices have dropped from 25% of disposable income to just 10% of disposable income over the past 80 years. It may seem like a good thing, but it is important to keep in mind that real food isn’t cheap, while processed food is. In order to make food inexpensive, chemicals, preservatives, and all manner of fillers must be added.
6. People Are Drinking Way Too Much Soda And Fruit Juices
The brain does not register calories from liquid sugar in the same way that it does calories coming from solid food. If you consume calories from soda, your brain doesn’t automatically tell you to eat fewer calories from something else. For this reason, calories from liquid sugar are generally added on top of the daily caloric intake. It is important to know that the majority of fruit juices are no better than soda in terms of sugar content.
Studies have shown that a single daily serving of a sugary beverage such as soda or fruit juice is linked to a 60% increased risk of obesity in children. Wow.
7. Increased Food Variety Contributes To Overeating
The above graph showcases a study where rats were split into 3 groups. One of the groups was fed healthy food, the second received junk food, and the third got multiple types of junk food. The rats that were eating the mixed junk foods gained the most weight. How often do you eat only one thing at a time? It’s easy to overeat when you have many options to choose from.
8. People Aren’t Burning As Many Calories While Working
People’s jobs are much less physically demanding than they used to be. Sitting at a desk can definitely contribute to weight gain over time.
9. People Are Eating More Vegetable Oils From Processed Foods
The fats that we are eating have changed a lot over the past century. At the beginning of the 20th century, we regularly consumed natural fats in the form of butter or lard. These have now largely been replaced with processed forms of vegetable oils and margarine, and many other foods we eat are deep fried in these oils, drastically increasing their caloric value.
10. People Are Sleeping Less
Source: Cauter EV, et al. The Impact of Sleep Deprivation on Hormones and Metabolism. Medscape, 2005
Not surprisingly, sleep is often completely overlooked as a cause for obesity and weight gain. Poor sleep has negative effects on various hormones that are related to weight gain and contribute to increased hunger and cravings. Over the past few decades the average duration of sleep has decreased by 1-2 hours per night, with increased exposure to artificial lighting and electronics being some likely culprits.
Short sleep duration is one of the strongest individual risk factors for obesity. It is linked to an 89% increased risk in children and a 55% increased risk in adults.
What Can You Do?
Given the above information there are a few steps you can take to lose some eight or prevent yourself from gaining it in the first place, here are some action steps!
- Cook as many meals as you can at home using whole foods, try to eliminate or drastically cut back on processed processed foods. 14 Steps To Cut Out Processed Food And Begin Eating Real Food.
- If you do go out to eat, choose healthier restaurants that use good quality ingredients.
- Try to “quit sugar” it has become apparent over the last few years that sugar is actually very addictive and a leading contributor to weight gain. How To Completely Detox From Sugar In 10 Days.
- During the holidays, try not to overindulge and have healthy snacks and treats available to you so you’re less inclined to reach for the sweets.
- Remember, fat is not the enemy, eat more healthy fats like coconut oil and avocados, they are a good healthy choice and you can even use these in baking instead of hydrogenated vegetable oils and margarine.
- Quit counting calories and instead focus on the ingredient list. If you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it. For tips on how to eat healthy while on a budget check out the following: Think You can’t Afford To Eat Healthy? Check Out These Tips.
- Try completely cutting out soda and pasteurized fruit juices, try juicing your own fresh fruits and vegetables instead. Boost Your Energy With This Go-To Green Juice Recipe.
- Try to combine as little foods as possible when eating.
- If you have a desk job, set a timer to ensure you are getting up and moving around at least every hour. A great tip to help you with this is to drink a lot of water, this will inevitably make you have to get up to use the washroom!
- Be sure and get a good nights rest, to ensure that this is possible, Don’t Do These Things Before Bed.
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