What do fat people eat
Obesity: Why We Get Fat
In Germany, over half of all people are now considered overweight, that is, their body mass index is over 25. According to statistics, we weigh an average of six kilos more today than we did in 1985. And that has consequences, because being overweight can be the cause of Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or even cancer. Simply going on a diet does not help most of those affected - because the causes of obesity are diverse.
Fat pregnant women - fat child?
Obesity during pregnancy affects the unborn child, especially if the mother also has gestational diabetes. This is because your blood sugar is increased and the excess sugar is absorbed by the child. This converts the sugar into fat and stores it.
Often these babies also have an increased weight at birth, four to four and a half kilograms. The problem: around 30 percent of these children keep their excess weight permanently and some even later develop diabetes themselves.
Thin pregnant women - fat child?
Is it better to be too thin than too fat during pregnancy? It depends on how thin. It has meanwhile been proven that children whose mothers starved during pregnancy, for example, also get fat as adults. You could show that in Southeast Asia, or in the Netherlands or England, when there was too little food in times of war. The reason here: epigenetics. Certain genes are switched on or off - controlled by the environment. In this case, the children's body wants to adjust to future famines, which then no longer occur.
The genes determine the weight
Half of our genetic make-up determines how much we weigh. For example, they control how well or poorly we can store fat, when we get hungry and how much energy we use. This has also been shown in studies with twins who grew up in different families. Nevertheless, they were very similar in weight.
Environmental hormones make you fat
There are substances in the environment that can act like hormones; they are also called "endocrine disruptors". Plasticizers in plastic, bisphenol A or components of pesticides are similar to estrogen and can make you fat. Molds found in bread or muesli can also act in a similar way to estrogens. The result: stem cells develop more frequently in the precursors of fat cells. This is how you lay the foundation for being overweight, especially for girls.
As you get older you get fatter
It affects women and men equally: in old age it is more difficult to get rid of annoying love handles than it is with young people. This was also shown by a study from Sweden. A sample of the adipose tissue was taken from the participants twice over the course of 13 years. In the end, all test subjects were around 20 percent heavier than at the beginning.
Particularly dangerous: belly fat. Small inflammations form here, which in turn can lead to type 2 diabetes.
Changes in hormones lead to obesity
Two hormones significantly influence our body weight: the thyroid hormone and cortisol. Too little of the thyroid hormone can lead to obesity. Too little cortisol in the body has the same effect.
Tell me where you live
Depending on where you live, people are thicker or thinner. This was also shown by a study in 2019, in which data from 112 million people worldwide were evaluated: The body mass index of rural dwellers is accordingly higher than that of city dwellers. In addition, people in poorer neighborhoods are often fatter than in affluent settlements. This is because, for example, stress, lack of sleep, shift work or job insecurity indirectly lead to obesity. In areas where fast food is cheaper than fresh vegetables, people are also fatter.
Bottom line: it's complex
One thing is clear: just because someone consumes more energy than they use does not make them fat. In the fight against obesity, social factors such as poverty must be taken into account. Only if you take a holistic approach to the problem of obesity will you be able to get it under control in the future.
Podcast Tip: Want to hear more about Obesity - Why We Get Fat? Here is the podcast episode.
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