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7 Reasons We Are Growing More Metabolically Inefficient

Overall calories, the types of foods we eat, decreased expenditure and an loss of self-integrity are the biggest contributors to plus-sized cultures. Due the nature of our metabolic inefficiency, more people than ever before have tremendous challenges in losing weight and keeping it off.


1. We Lack Quality and Balanced Protein
Protein intake has no affect on fat deposits,but may alter energy metabolism, say researchers. Our ancestors were consuming considerably more protein and this may be one of the reason for such a dramatic shift in metabolic rates.

Protein is one of the most satiating macronutrient. If you eat a donut for breakfast, two hours later people are looking for a snack. But if you eat eggs or egg whites for breakfast, people tend to last until lunch before they are hungry again.

One study -- published in JAMA -- reports that when overeating, calories alone contribute to increases in body fat. In contrast, protein contributes to the changes in energy expenditure and lean body mass, but does not play a role in the increased in body fat.

2. We're Always On a Sugar-Fat Seesaw

Calories from different sources have different effects on the body, with calories from carbohydrates more likely to encourage weight gain.

Not only is the calorie theory under attack, but evidence is also emerging to show that lowering fat might not cut heart-disease risk after all.

One of the problems is that there is consistent inverse association in the percentage of energy coming from fats and sugars. Research published in the journal Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition shows why people find it hard to follow government guidelines to cut their fat and sugar intake at the same time -- a phenomenon known as the sugar-fat seesaw.

That's no surprise as previous studies such as a two-year dietary study published in the journal Diabetologia showed that food with a lot of fat and few carbohydrates has a better effect on blood sugar levels and blood lipids. Despite the increased fat intake with a larger portion of saturated fatty acids, their lipoproteins did not get worse. Quite the contrary -- the HDL, or ‘good’ cholesterol, content increased on the high fat diet.

3. We Mistime Our Meals

Dr George Bray of the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, explains that although many people are overweight or obese, there is a significant number of people who despite overeating have normal weight and do not become overweight or obese.

"These differences may reflect differences in the way individuals handle the food they eat each day both during weight gain and weight loss," argued the researchers, noting that "the concept that when people overeat, the amount of weight gain is highly individual, has intrigued medical science for a century."

Breakfast and lunchtime should be the main event and dinner is must be light. We all seem to have this reversed. Most people around the world who don't gain weight have an excellent schedule in their daily caloric intake and never consume heavy meals towards the end of their day.

4. We Don't Increase Our Energy Expenditure As We Age

Those who appear to be overeating and not gaining weight are likely increasing their energy expenditure through some type of physical activity whether it be at the workplace or exercising.

Previous research has suggested such a phenomenon may be due to macronutrient composition and responses to overfeeding -- with various human studies supporting the view that when people overeat a diet that contains either high or low protein, they are less "metabolically efficient" than diets of average protein intake.

"Obesity rates are still increasing because we put all the responsibility on the individual, but are completely reluctant to tackle the corporations that are part of the cause - the junk food companies, the soft drink companies, even the town planners who design new suburbs with no backyards or playgrounds," stated Dr Samantha Thomas.

5. Too Many Processed Oils and Grains Are In More Than 95% of Our Foods

Approximately 70% of all calories in the western diet come from a combination of the following four foods: wheat, dairy, soy and corn - assuming, that is, we exclude calories from sugar. The problem is, they don't do anything to advance our health.

Were it true that these four foods were health promoting, whole-wheat-bread-munching, soy-milk-guzzling, cheese-nibbling, corn-chip having populations would probably be experiencing exemplary health among the world's nations. To the contrary, despite the massive amount of calories ingested from these purported "health foods," we are perhaps the most malnourished and sickest people on the planet today.

All of these foods are poisonous to the human metabolism. According to Dr. William Davis, a cardiologist, author and leading expert on wheat, it is the perfect chronic poison. Soy is equally hazardous to our health. Actually, with the exception of sugar, soy and wheat are the two most destructive nutrients affecting weight and health in the entire world.

Processed oils have skyrocketed omega-6 toxicity. Not only are canola, soybean and corn oil now coming from genetically modified crops, but their processing is beyond toxic to human metabolism.

Modern oil processing is a different thing entirely from the early days of processing more simple oils like olive and butter.

6. We are Sweetened To Death

Americans have become conspicuous consumers of sugar and sweet-tasting foods and beverages. Per capita consumption of caloric sweeteners (dryweight basis)--mainly sucrose (table sugar made from cane and beets) and corn sweeteners (notably high-fructose corn syrup, or HFCS)--increased 43 pounds, or 39 percent, between 1950-59 and 2000.

In 2000, each American consumed an average 152 pounds of caloric sweeteners, 3 pounds below 1999's record average 155 pounds. That amounted to more than two-fifths of a pound--or 52 teaspoonfuls--of added sugars per person per day in 2000. Of that 52 teaspoons, ERS estimates that Americans wasted or otherwise lost 20 teaspoons, resulting in an average intake of about 32 teaspoons of added sugars per person per day.

We are a nation of sugar bugs and it's destroying our health. That's important to recognize, since the bigger the glucose hit, the greater the sense of satiation, but only for a little while. Afterward, hunger returns stronger than ever. "High glycemic foods" like refined breads and sugars push the body to refuel," says nutrition scientist Marlene Most, head of the metabolic kitchen. "In low glycemic foods, there is a constant flow of glucose and insulin, so we don't need to refuel as much."

7. We Are Emotionally and Spiritually Lacking

"We have this need to feel self-integrity," says Christine Logel of Renison University College at the University of Waterloo.

For this study, the researchers recruited 45 female undergraduates who had a body mass index of 23 or higher. A body mass index of 18.5 to 24.9 is considered normal weight; 58% of the women were overweight or obese. Each woman was weighed, and was then given a list of important values, like creativity, politics, music, and relationships with friends and family members. Each woman ranked the values in order of how important they were to her. Then half the women were told to write for 15 minutes about the value that was most important to her. The other half, a control group, were told to write about why a value far down on their list might be important to someone else.

The women came back between one and four months later to be weighed again. Women who had written about an important value lost an average of 3.41 pounds, while women in the control group gained an average of 2.76 pounds, a pattern of weight gain that is typical for undergraduates.

"How we feel about ourselves can have a big effect," Logel says. "We think it sort of kicks off a recursive process." Maybe when one of the women who wrote about an important value went home that night, she felt good about herself and didn’t eat to make herself feel better. Then the next day snacking wasn’t as much of a habit, so she skipped it. Over a few months, that could make a real difference in her life.

Many studies have found that even briefly thinking about values can have a big effect on situations where people feel a threat to their integrity. For example, Cohen used the same technique on minority seventh-graders who were underperforming relative to their white peers. Those who did the exercise were still performing better years later.


Marco Torres is a research specialist, writer and consumer advocate for healthy lifestyles. He holds degrees in Public Health and Environmental Science and is a professional speaker on topics such as disease prevention, environmental toxins and health policy.

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