Weight Management

The weight of the problem

The worldwide prevalence of obesity has more than doubled since 1980 and by 2014 was declared epidemic by the world health organisation.

Health Risks of being overweight

Obesity represents a direct cause to many health problems estimated at 20% of adults, in the UK, are likely to develop a range of life-threatening and chronic diseases purely because of their weight including:

Cardiovascular Disease

Mainly heart disease & stroke

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Heart disease and stroke are the leading causes of death in the world. Being overweight can lead to high blood pressure, blood lipid imbalances, low level chronic inflammation, atherosclerosis, angina, heart disease and stroke. Excess fat tissue, especially around the waist, has a direct effect on heart structure and function, even in the absence of other heart disease risks.

Diabetes Type II

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Obesity is associated with insulin resistance (decreased cell sensitivity to insulin) and hyperinsulinemia (high insulin secretion) which can lead to the development of type 2 diabetes. Fat tissue expresses and secretes a variety of metabolites, hormones, and pro -inflammatory molecules that are implicated in the development of insulin resistance and atherosclerosis. Excess triglycerides in circulation and free-fatty acids (fats) released by fat cells disrupt glucose transport into the cells and stimulates insulin resistance.

Cancer

Endometrial, breast, ovarian, prostate, liver, gallbladder, kidney & colon

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Endometrial, breast, ovarian, prostate, liver, gallbladder, kidney & colon. The specific link between obesity and increased risk of certain cancers has not yet being established but research suggests the following:

  • Fat tissue produces excess amounts of estrogen which have been associated with the risk of breast, endometrial and some other cancers.
  • Increased level of some hormones (insulin and insulin-like growth factor 1) in the blood of obese people may promote the development and growth of tumors.
  • Fat tissue secretes leptin, a type of hormone, which seems to promote cell division and therefore growth. Adding to this, obese people have a lower amount of a hormone called adiponectin which may have anti- proliferative effects.
  • Fat cells may also exercise a direct and indirect influence on other molecules which regulates tumor growth (mTOR and AMP-activated protein kinase)
  • Obesity lead to a chronic low-level of inflammation which has been associated with increased risk of cancer and other degenerative diseases.

Osteoarthritis

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Obesity is the single biggest preventable cause of osteoarthritis in weight-bearing joints. The earlier someone becomes overweight or obese, the greater the risk of developing osteoarthritis. But contrary to widespread belief, obesity causes osteoarthritis through different mechanisms and not just by excessive loading of the joints. Raised blood glucose and insulin levels increase inflammation of the joint; the release of inflammatory molecules by the fat cells contributes to direct joint degradation and latest research also shows that dyslipidemia (abnormal lipids profile) can also contribute to the development of osteoarthritis.

Gall Stones

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Gallstones are hard particles that develop in the gallbladder and can cause sudden pain. A gallbladder attack or biliary colic, occurs when gallstones block the ducts of the biliary tract. There are two type of gallstones ( cholesterol and pigment stones). Gallstone disease is common amongst Western population, with an increased risk for women, and it is believed that obesity is the most important risk factor for the development of cholesterol gallstones which account for 90% of gall stones. Research supports the theory that due to increased secretion of cholesterol by the liver of obese people, the bile become super-saturated leading to the formation stones.

Sleep Apnea

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Excessive body fat increases the bulk of soft tissue in the neck, which can place a strain on the throat muscles and may results in sleep apnea, a relatively common condition amongst overweight and obese people. Sleep apnea is characterized by regularly interrupted sleep due to the walls of the throat relaxing and narrowing during sleep, interrupting normal breathing.; excess stomach fat can also lead to breathing difficulties, which can make sleep apnea worse. Disrupted sleep can have a big impact on quality of life and increases the risk of developing certain conditions such as high blood pressure, increased risk of stroke, heart attack and developing an irregular heartbeat.

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How has obesity developed?

To protect ourselves from famines we evolved to store energy in the form of fat to sustain ourselves. This biologically adaptation causes our bodies to seek out calories, from sugar and fat, to survive.

In the western world, especially from the last 60 years, we are surrounded by an abundant supply of calories sources. These sources, however, no longer resemble the diet that our ancestors had for millennia. Modern food is not the food that we are biologically adapted to.

The change in our relation to food
Humans, in a short time, have gone from:

Our genetics have not had a chance to adapt to this new diet and lifestyle. Modern industrialized food, high in calories, chemicals, toxins and refined sugars, is low in nutritional values. This, combined with the fact that we do not move as much as we used to, means that...

"we are simultaneously over eating and starving ourselves towards obesity and disease."

Industrially produced foods, not only are a nutritional disaster directly attributed to the obesity epidemic, they are also addictive.

“Processed, refined-sugar-based food or soda drinks deliver a biochemical charge to our brain that stimulates the release of opioids and dopamine, the body’s own “feel good “chemicals which make us feel temporarily happy.”

This feeling quickly drops off and we are left unfulfilled and craving for more and the circle perpetuates itself.

Dr. Pert, one of the chief scientist who discovered the significant role endorphins play in addiction -

“I consider sugar a drug, a highly purified plant product that can become addictive. Relying on an artificial form of glucose – sugar – to give us a quick pick-me-up is analogous to, if not as dangerous as, shooting heroin."
© 2017 Amchara Health Retreat, Bindon Country House, Langford Budville, Somerset, TA21 0RU