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Why people become overweight – PART I

Updated: May 10, 2022


Are you one of those people who can eat pastiżżi, donuts, cake and chocolate all day and never seem to gain weight? Or do you feel that you just have to LOOK at food and gain weight? How unfair is this!


But why does this huge difference occur and what causes obesity?


In this two-part article, we will delve into a number of factors that can affect the individual’s predisposition to gain weight and to maintain or easily lose this weight.


On the most basic level, your body weight depends on a simple formula: calories in versus calories out – how many calories do you consume compared to how many calories you burn with your activity and exertion throughout the day. The balance of this will be stored as fat in your body. However – and this is a BIG however – both sides of this formula are affected by a variety of factors, many of which are out of our control. The influence of these factors begins at the moment of your conception and will continue for the duration of your life.


THE CALORIFIC EQUATION

The amount of calories left over to be stored in your body each day depends on how much you eat, your level of physical activity and your resting energy expenditure (the amount of calories your body consumes when at rest). This will depend on your genetic makeup. If you regularly burn all the calories your consume each day, then your will retain your weight level. If the number of calories you consume is higher than what you use up, then these excess calories are stored as fat and you will gain weight. If you increase your physical activity to burn up more calories or decrease your food intake to lower your intake of calories your body will utilise some of the fat stores and you will lose weight.


THE GENETIC FACTOR

Genes are known to be a culprit that can give the individual a predisposition to be overweight or obese. Genes can affect appetite, your sense of fullness and your food cravings. It can also affect your propensity to use food as a way to deal with stress. Genes will also affect your metabolism and how fast you burn the calories your consume. It will also affect your body-fat distribution.


The strength of this genetic factor can vary from 25% in certain people to as high as 70 – 80% in others. Having an idea of how much of an influence genes play in your weight battle may be helpful when deciding on strategies to treat your weight issues.


Do your genes have a great influence on your weight?

You can blame your genes for much of your obesity if you tick many of the following boxes:

o You have been struggling with your weight for most of your life.

o Your mum and / or your dad or other members of your family have weight issues. If both your parents are obese, the chances of you becoming obese are as high as 80%.

o You struggle to lose weight even when you limit your calorie intake and increase your physical activity for many weeks and months.

Genes will be a lower contributor to your weight if you have many or all of the following characteristics:

o The availability or presence of food will be a strong motivator for you.

o You are a bit overweight, but if you put your mind to it and limit your calorie intake and / or include some physical exercise you do manage to lose weight.

o You often gain weight again when you change your eating or your exercise habits, such as over the holiday season, or when you are going through stress or other psychological turbulence.


In this case, the indication is that you may have a predisposition to be overweight but this can be overcome with some effort.




On the opposite end of the spectrum, if you can regularly indulge in foods with high calorie levels and rarely do physical exercise but are lucky enough to maintain a normal weight, then you can assume that you do not have a genetic predisposition to obesity.


Individuals with a strong genetic predisposition to obesity may find it practically impossible to lose weight with the usual forms of diet and physical exercise. Even if they do manage to lose weight, they are very likely to gain it back very quickly. These people can generally maintain weight loss only under the guidance of their medical practitioner and are often likely to require weight-loss drugs or surgery.


We will continue talking about this interesting topic and some of the causes that can and do lead to overweight and obesity in Part II of this article.


In the meantime, do speak to us if you want advice regarding regular health screening or even Food Intolerance Testing.


Quality of life is determined by your health. Regular medical and blood screening is key for such diagnosis and we recommend annual screening tests for effective diagnosis to ensure that you can maintain your quality of life.

If you would like information contact us today on +356 21221355, 9985 2404 or send an email on info@clinipath.com.mt for more information.

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