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7 Things that Can Affect Weight Management
By Dr. Josh Axe
December 10, 2018
Our genetic expression can actually help in maximizing our weight management efforts.
How? Gene activity changes fluidly and quickly. Your genes are dynamic and respond to everything you think and do. Gene expression changes due to stress, diet, environment, thoughts and other factors. That’s why the everyday choices you make can express themselves on a genetic level.
Before we get into how to help your genes express themselves to benefit you most, let’s look at 7 of some of the most common factors for weight gain:
(This is for educational purposes only and addresses this topic generally.)
Chronic stress typically causes an increase in cortisol, which turns on fat storage within the body.
Of course, too many carbs, including sugar (called out later in this blog) can be a problem when it comes to weight management. However, gluten, dairy and soy can cause problems, too, for some people. In fact, many experts believe that wheat products are some of the biggest contributors to weight gain.
According to researchers from Vanderbilt University who followed 6,300 people, the average person spends 55 percent of waking hours (7.7 hours) sedentary or sitting. Of course, that is just one report and more studies are continually surfacing, but we know that regular exercise benefits health and weight management. If you reduce the amount of time you spend sitting, you’ll also increase your chances of managing your weight.
Did you know that your gut bacteria can influence your health, including your weight? It’s true. So, it’s no surprise that one way to turn on your body’s fat-burning switch is by balancing your microbiome. The average body houses slightly more microbes than the number of cells in the entire body. Your body has a symbiotic relationship with these microbes, but when you eat unhealthy food and are exposed to excessive stress, gut bacteria can become imbalanced and can directly affect weight.
In general, certain bacteria are also called “fat-promoting bacteria,” as they influence your body to gain weight and store fat. When the normal balance of bacteria shifts over to the negative, it’s called dysbiosis. Having more fat-promoting bacteria than “skinny-gut bacteria” can certainly impact weight management.
Over 100,000 new chemicals have been introduced into the market since World War II. These chemical toxins are now being shown to cause hormone dysregulation, which can directly affect weight management within the body. In fact, many of these chemicals are considered to be obesogens. Toxins can be broken down into two categories: 1) environmental toxins (non-living) and 2) biotoxins (living).
In general, environmental toxins bio-accumulate within our bodies when we are exposed to heavy metals, plastics, paints, new carpets, household cleaning supplies, cosmetics and more.
So, can toxins actually affect weight and weight management? The answer is an emphatic “yes!”
In the early 1900s, the average American consumed less than 20 grams of sugar per day. Now we consume over 100 grams of sugar per day. But here’s the deal: sugar is easily converted into stored fat, and its over-consumption can lead to weight management issues. Period.
While your current body condition may not be entirely your fault, it is your responsibility — or rather opportunity — to take steps to change. Here are some of the biggest challenges with some of the so-called “foods” that we are eating:
Our consumption of grain-based oils, also known as “vegetable fats,” has skyrocketed. Surprisingly, these fats aren’t derived from vegetables at all; rather, they come in large part from genetically modified (GMO) canola, soy and corn oils. GMO-containing grain and seed oils can cause imbalances within our bodies, leading to weight management issues.
Today, a higher percentage of our food budgets are spent on fast food and takeout meals, compared to a much lower amount back in 1929! More staggering? Up to nearly two-thirds of the average American’s daily energy intake comes from ultra-processed foods.
Having the opportunity to transform your body is perhaps the most exciting aspect of making dietary and lifestyle changes. For some, they prefer the keto diet and lifestyle, including regular exercise and more.
The keto diet, for example, is being praised for its simplicity and its wide range of benefits, but I think one of the most exciting aspects of keto is the way it enables the body to use fat as fuel.
Keto actually allows the body to function as a fat burner.
When you follow a keto diet, your primary source of energy comes from fat and being in the state of ketosis.
In short, following a keto plan can put you squarely into the fat-burning zone, helping you to use fat as fuel.
The keto diet is really simple once you know how to do it, but there are some important pitfalls to make sure you avoid.
Dr. Josh Axe, DC, DNM, CNS, is a doctor of chiropractic, doctor of natural medicine, clinical nutritionist and author with a passion to help people get well using food and nutrition. He operates leading natural health website DrAxe.com and is co-founder of Ancient Nutrition, a health supplement company. He’s also author of the books Eat Dirt, Essential OIls: Ancient Medicine, Keto Diet, Collagen Diet and Ancient Remedies.