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According to a new CDC report, average obesity rates for adult men and women rose from 32% in 2003 to almost 37% in 2014. Adult women in the US between the ages of 40-59 lead the field with an obesity rate of 42%, followed by men in the same age group who came in at just over 38%. (1)
These numbers speak to more than just appearances. Obesity increases the risk of many chronic and degenerative health problems such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, arthritis, high blood pressure, some cancers and aging. (1,2)
Experts blame this increase in obesity on diet. News sources spread the “low fat” message and folks mistakenly replaced the fats with refined carbohydrates. There are two basic sources of fuel that supply the body with energy: fat and carbs.
We were told for 60 years to avoid saturated fats, but were told we could eat whole grains. The problem is that the whole grains were not actually whole and were rendered hard-to-digest through over-processing. New recommendations are emphasizing eating fresh, unprocessed foods – which is essential – but you can still eat unprocessed fats and unprocessed carbs and still gain weight and increase the risk of chronic disease.
The problem is that the fuel runway is only so long. Most American’s have simply overshoot the fuel runway. If you eat both carbs and fats, it is quite easy to do this. Historically, fats and carbs were not combined so frivolously. In the Arctic, native people ate lots of fat from fish and very little grain or carbs. In Europe, where grain would grow, the diet was rich in grain and carbs and a proportional decrease in fats.
The result was a diet that delivered the appropriate amount and type of fuel that was needed for their survival. It is the combination of fats and carbs that quickly and easily takes us over our needed calorie requirements and allows us to chronically overshoot the energy runway.
Extra energy from foods rich in carbs or fats will end up being stored as fat, raise blood sugar and oxidize good cholesterol. To add to this problem, many Americans have lost the ability to be efficient fat burners and, as a result, find themselves craving sugar or carbs. This may have been caused by the FDA’s 60-year injunction on saturated fats and cholesterol – which has now been lifted.
We all have to be careful as we re-introduce fats back into the diet. This should be a slow process, and when doing so, there should be a noticeable reduction in carbs, as it is way too easy to overshoot the fuel runway. You can check your fat-burning skills by asking yourself these simple questions:
- Do you have trouble digesting fatty or greasy foods?
- Do you feel queasy or nausea us after a meal?
- Do you regularly get heartburn after a meal?
- Do you bloat after a meal?
- Do you get any discomfort under the right rib cage during or after a meal?
- Do you have loose or constipated bowel movements?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you may need to reset your ability to break down and digest fats.