Fat may seem like the enemy of civilized people—especially sedentary ones. Yet we cannot live without it.
Fat plays a key role in the structure and flexibility of cell membranes, and it helps regulate the movement of substances through those membranes. Special types of fat, known as eicosanoids, send hormone-like signals that exert intricate control over many bodily systems, mostly those affecting inflammation or immune function.
Like many athletes, I was recently looking for a leg up on the competition. I was preparing for a fall marathon and already working hard on my running and speed work, but I wondered if by tweaking my diet, I could gain an edge. As a registered dietitian and sports nutrition coach, I was aware of several successful elite athletes who practiced vegetarianism.
It seems that debit card purchases promote the same type of frivolity in children as in adults, but when cards are swiped to pay for school lunches, the impact goes deeper than just free spending. Kids’ food choices also become foolish, according to a study that appeared in the January issue of Obesity (2014; 22 , 24–26).
Preadolescence is a time of major change and growth, bringing psychological, physical and social shifts for boys and girls alike. Caught between the carefree days of childhood and the first throes of being a teenager, “tweens” (roughly aged 9–12) are a force to be reckoned with. Like many other populations, preadolescents are suffering from lack of exercise, which threatens to chart a course toward obesity and disease.
As a registered dietitian who sees a wide range of clients—from Olympic-caliber athletes to gastric-bypass candidates—
I occasionally field questions about the
efficacy and safety of detoxification (detox) diets. Never having been a fan of any diet or pattern of eating that promises excessively accelerated weight loss, I usually answer these questions with great concern because of the potential dangers of extreme fasting.
In his research paper, Hill notes that body weight and obesity are increasing in all segments of the population in most, if not all, countries around the world. Further, although most people are aware that
a sedentary existence, combined with overeating, has negative health consequences, many are not able to make and sustain the changes to combat this way of life. Moreover, most people who do achieve weight loss goals regain the weight over time. Is it inevitable that our society will eventually be obese?
How many times have you trained a client who couldn’t lose weight no matter how hard you trained him or how “clean” he insisted his nutrition was? It’s frustrating for both fitness professional and client when the waistline doesn’t budge in spite of what seems enough effort. However, the reason belly fat can be so intractable is that it’s as much a hormonal phenomenon as it is a caloric one. In order to understand how to get rid of belly fat, it’s important to factor hormonal physiology into the overall equation.
Since 1980, global obesity has more than doubled. Sixty-five percent of the world’s people now live in countries where overweight and obesity cause more deaths than underweight. In 2010, nearly 43 million children below the age of 5 were overweight (WHO 2011). In spite of global awareness and isolated attempts to face this crisis head-on, the fact remains that our kids are fat and getting fatter.
Obesity is preventable. If we don’t help our children find their way out of the downward spiral of obesity, what will their world be like when they grow up?
As the economy slumps, health experts expect more Americans to develop paunchy guts and bigger butts by packing on “recession pounds.” Plunging personal earnings lead to tighter spending; and many people ditch their gym memberships and buy fewer fresh fruits, vegetables, fish and low-fat meats in favor of cheaper edibles loaded with sugar and fat. Couple that with the specter of unemployment and stress and we have the perfect recipe for weight gain.
If you’re trying to lose weight and not succeeding, part of the problem might be that you are eating mindlessly. Mindless eating means that what, when and how much we eat runs counter to both the body’s true needs and our own health goals. newsletter_teaser: If you’re trying to lose weight and not succeeding, part of the problem might be that you are eating mindlessly. Mindless eating means that what, when and how much we eat runs counter to both the body’s true needs and our own health goals.