Thursday, October 4, 2012

Dr. Mercola "weighs in" on Obesity

U.S. Gets “Big F” on Health Report Card 

Story at-a-glance• The most recent health report card issued for the US predicts that half of all American adults will be obese by 2030. Obesity-related illness is predicted to raise national health care costs by $48 billion annually over the next two decades by adding another 7.9 million new cases of diabetes, 5 million cases of chronic heart disease and stroke, and 400,000 cancer cases
• Recent research suggests that if obesity rates were to remain at 2010 levels, the combined savings in medical expenditures over the next two decades would be $549.5 billion. This is shocking because 2010 levels were anything but healthy
• Two of the best ways to determine whether or not you may be overweight is by measuring waist circumference and/or body fat percentage. Your waist size is also a powerful indicator of insulin sensitivity, as studies clearly show that measuring your waist size is one of the most powerful ways to predict your risk for diabetes
• I compiled a new waist circumference table that will allow you to easily look up your height and see what your ideal waist size and current classification is
 A recent study found that the taste buds of obese children are less sensitive than normal weight children, which may have a detrimental effect on their food choices

Beware: It's the "Sweet" that Triggers Your "Fat Switch"

Research by Dr. Richard Johnson, now published in his book "The Fat Switch," has led to a groundbreaking approach to preventing and reversing obesity...Effective treatment of obesity therefore requires turning off your fat switch – by avoiding sugar/fructose, which is the trigger – and improving the function of your cells' mitochondria.

...To illustrate how this works, let's say you eat a sugary dessert. Your production of insulin increases so that the sugar in your blood can be taken to cells and used for energy. Eating this sugar also increases production of leptin, which regulates your appetite and fat storage, and decreases production of ghrelin, which helps regulate your food intake. These hormones work in tandem, so that when you've eaten, your body knows to feel less hungry. However, researchers have now discovered that when you eat certain foods, namely those that contain fructose (refined sugar), this important cycle is hampered or shut down.

When you eat many sweet foods (most processed foods are chock full of fructose) you gradually lose your ability to properly regulate hunger, so you gain weight, which seems to decrease the ability to properly identify tastes, which then drives you to crave more sweet foods, and in excess...

If you're not sure if you have a healthy waist circumference, a general guide is:

How to Gauge Your Body Fat Percentage

The other tool, which many experts are now leaning toward as the most accurate measure of obesity, is body fat percentage. As it sounds, this is simply the percentage of fat your body contains, and it can be a powerful indicator of your health. Too much body fat is linked to chronic health problems like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Too little body fat is also problematic and can cause your body to enter a catabolic state, where muscle protein is used as fuel. A general guideline from the American Council on Exercise is as follows:
ClassificationWomen (% fat) Men (% fat)
Essential Fat 10-13% 2-5%
Athletes 14-20% 6-13%
Fitness 21-24% 14-17%
Acceptable 25-31% 18-24%
Obese 32% and higher 25% and higher
Body fat calipers are one of the most trusted and most accurate ways to measure body fat. A body fat or skinfold caliper is a lightweight, hand-held device that quickly and easily measures the thickness of a fold of your skin with its underlying layer of fat. Taken at three very specific locations on your body, these readings can help you estimate the total percent of body fat within your entire body.

You can also use a digital scale that determines body fat, which is what I use personally. I use an Eat Smart Precision GetFit Body Fat Scale that I picked up from Amazon for around $50...

...Remember that it is FAR better to monitor your body fat percentage than it is your total weight, as the body fat percentage is what dictates metabolic health or dysfunction – not your total weight...

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