Hidden Causes of Weight Gain #3
This blog wraps up our look at a range of reasons people have trouble losing weight and non-caloric causes of weight gain with the following:
7. Fluid Retention
Eating predominantly junk food, high in refined carbohydrates and sugar such as pastries, biscuits, cakes and chips (to name a few), can cause fluid retention. While natural foods like fruit and vegetables contain their own water and the micronutrients essential for cellular water balance, sugar and refined flour products have no water or micronutrients so they signal the body to retain fluid to compensate. Excessive salt intake also causes fluid retention. These days with so much hidden salt in processed foods, it is little wonder that most people are taking in more salt than they need.
8. Environmental Chemicals?
There is increasing evidence to suggest that endocrine-disrupting chemicals are a hidden factor in the growing problem of obesity. The current epidemic of obesity coincides with the increase in industrial chemicals in our environment. Many of the chemicals from industry resemble human hormones and can provoke the same response in the body, including how much fat the body stores and where in the body it is stored. Such chemicals include synthetic oestrogens like diethylstilbestrol (DES) and bisphenol (BPA). The fungicide Tributyltin (TBT) and phthalates from plastics are also hormone disruptors.
9. Unhealthy Gut Bacteria
Weight problems are linked to high levels of undesirable bacteria in the gut. Healthy microorganisms can be displaced by harmful bacteria (in a process called dysbiosis). Such changes can be caused by intake of drugs (especially antibiotics), stress, assorted chemicals, lack of fibre and junk food. As a result the body tends to gain weight in the form of fat. Scientists now know that if we transplant bacteria from obese animals into the sterilised guts of normal weight animals, they will immediately start to gain weight. This occurs without any other changes in diet or exercise and underlines the importance of maintaining a healthy gut microbiome. We humans can learn a lot from this model. A variety of healthy probiotics and assorted prebiotic fibre in the diet are critical in this respect to maximise the friendly bacteria which help us maintain a healthy weight.
These and the points outlined in the earlier blogs on this topic, are all very important to consider with any weight loss program. We must control over-eating, focus on healthy, whole, seasonal foods, pinpoint food addiction, keep the body moving, control stress levels, eliminate environmental chemicals and understand the potential for weight gain while taking prescription medication. It is equally important to recognise the possibility that your body is going through various changes in hormone levels and balance during the various stages of life.