Can’t explain it but we ARE getting fatter.

Here are some shocking facts about obesity in the United States from the Center of Disease Control.

Fact: Obesity rates are soaring in the U.S.

  • Between 1980 and 2000, obesity rates doubled among adults. About 60 million adults, or 30% of the adult population, are now obese.
  • Similarly since 1980, overweight rates have doubled among children and tripled among adolescents – increasing the number of years they are exposed to the health risks of obesity.

Obesity-related costs place a huge burden on the U.S. economy

  • Direct health costs attributable to obesity have been estimated at $52 billion in 1995 and $75 billion in 2003.
  •  Among children and adolescents, annual hospital costs related to overweight and obesity more than tripled over the past two decades – rising to $127 million during 1997–1999 (in 2001 constant U.S. dollars), up from $35 million during 1979–1981.
  •  Among adults in 1996, one study found that $31 billion of the treatment costs (in year 2000 dollars) for cardiovascular disease – 17% of direct medical costs – were related to overweight and obesity.

This epidemic of fat still exists despite the multi-billion dollar weight loss industry. In fact, the average diet results in a 3 pound weight gain! There has to be an explanation other than we are a nation of over-eaters and couch potatoes – although eating sensibly and daily exercise to burn calories ingested are important.

Another important but largely overlooked area is the environment in which we live. Toxicity is a modern epidemic. There are more toxins in our air, water and food than at any time in history. EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) Director Lisa P. Jackson states that out of 80,000 chemicals listed in the Toxic Substances Control Act only less than 200 have been tested for human interaction. And the EPA has been allowed to regulate only 5 chemicals out 80,000 under current law.

Many authorities have been pointing to the amount of man-made chemicals that have been polluting our food, air and water. Since WWII, we have been exposed to more and more man-made chemicals – xenobiotics – that have serious consequences to our ability to maintain normal cell function.  Cells weren’t designed to thrive in an environment filled with chemical stresses. As the human body developed two or three million years ago, cells were made to deal with the stresses of life at that time. There is no built-in cellular program to benefit from or thoroughly eliminate foreign chemical substance like plastics or petrochemicals. With the increasing levels of toxicity in our environment our body’s detoxification systems are strained, they can falter and fail. How do we detoxify our bodies while we live in a toxic soup?

These two epidemics – obesity and toxicity – are they related? How can our bodies keep functioning in a toxic environment?

There is an interesting scientific article I’ve read that looks at this question. “Canaries in the coal mine: a cross-species analysis of the plurality of obesity epidemics” In it the authors researched animal populations that live in close proximity to humans, either as pets, laboratory animals and untamed rodents that live in cities near us.

They found that over the past several decades, the average mid-life body weights have risen among primates and rodents living in research colonies, as well as among feral rodents and domestic dogs and cats. This troubling fact shows that many organisms are putting on the pounds – and not from just overeating and underexercising.

Because the obesity epidemic occurred relatively quickly, it has been suggested that environmental causes instead of genetic factors may be largely responsible. What has, up to now, been overlooked is that the earth’s environment has changed significantly during the last few decades because of the exponential production and usage of synthetic organic and inorganic chemicals. Many of these chemicals are better known for causing weight loss at high levels of exposure but much lower concentrations of these same chemicals have powerful weight-promoting actions. This property has already been widely exploited commercially to produce growth hormones that fatten livestock and pharmaceuticals that induce weight gain in grossly underweight patients. The current level of human exposure to these chemicals may have damaged many of the body’s natural weight-control mechanisms.

We know that fat is how the body stores extra sugar from the diet. Eat more and gain weight. We also know that fat is an insulator. The body uses fat as thermal insulator. Eskimo’s call fat blubber. But fat has another insulating property. Toxic chemicals are damaging because they are active – they react with vital tissues and cells in the body and disrupt their healthy, optimum functioning. The body encases toxic molecules with fat cells to keep them away form vital tissue functions which make them less toxic or inert.

If we diet to lose weight and we reduce the fat that surrounds the toxins; those toxic molecules are free to interact with and disrupt vital tissue functions. We can feel sick, nauseous, headachy and ache all over. The concentration of free toxins increases and fat-based toxins are very difficult to eliminate from the body. As we eat normally, the body goes to work to isolate toxins away from our vital organs and we quickly regain fat weight. It is a high priority of the body to do this. The rebound effect has to do more with toxicity that how many calories ingested.

So for any weight loss program to have a chance to be successful the first thing that needs to be addressed is an effective detoxification component to any weight loss strategy.

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