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More Reasons for American's Fattness

Slate.com has an interesting article titled Why We're Fatter, which profiles 5 not-so-common reasons, highlighted in a recent study in the Journal Nature, that America is getting fatter: Surprisingly, many of the reasons jive with the raw food, natural, and holistic model of toxicity.

I've listed the reasons as follows with a blurb from Slate as well as our own 2 cents:

  1. Inadequate sleep
    Slate: Average sleep duration has been dropping for children and for adults—80 years ago adults slept an average of 8.77 hours nightly; now the average is 6.85 hours. Sleep-deprived animals eat excessively, and humans subject to sleep deprivation show increased appetite and an increased Body Mass Index, the standard measure of excessive weight.

    WLIR: The study is correct in that our averages have gone down, but why? Sure we get less sleep for the obvious reasons, busy work and family schedules, however, an area that's often overlooked is the effect of highly processed late night meals. Digestion takes energy and it doesn't take a medical degree to figure out that a Mexican Pizza from Taco Bell, open late, takes longer to digest than a fresh salad. But whether your food is cooked or raw, eating late, as Americans are accustomed to doing, will add at least 1 to 2 hours of additional sleep. Remedy? Fresh organic foods, cooked and raw, have more minerals and would naturally curb late night hunger.

  2. Chemical contamination
    Slate: The water, soil, and food to which we are exposed increasingly are contaminated with chemicals—used in plastics, power transmission, and even aircraft de-icing—that accumulate in the body and mimic or interfere with hormones that regulate body functions. Some mimic female hormones. Others block male hormone activity. Both properties lead to increased fat accumulation.

    WLIR: Amen to that. I wonder how much of the toxins come directly from food packaging?

  3. Heating and air-conditioning
    Slate: Living in an environment that is excessively cold or warm forces the body to expend calories to maintain a normal body temperature and thus may keep weight down. In addition, high ambient temperatures seem to kill appetite. So, turning up the air conditioning in the summer may pad on extra pounds.

    WLIR: Agreed, heating and air-conditioning play a role, but my take is this is only an issue with highly processed diets. Its really hard to get fat, even if the room is hot or cold, eating a primarily raw or fresh diet.

  4. Smoking cessation
    Slate: Smoking also kills appetite, and it may be that the (otherwise fortunate) decline in tobacco use has been contributing to population weight gain. (Read a Slate piece about this.)

    WLIR: True. Tests with lab rats have shown that smoking kills appetite. And a lot of people, women mostly, turn to cigarettes to loose weight because they feel their options are limited. As the number of people smoking in America goes down, mainly because of the massive education campaigns, people will probably get fatter until they discover alternative means that really work. If only everyone knew the power of raw organic food!

  5. Medications
    Slate: Most of the medications frequently prescribed to moderate moods and depression or treat other mental illness, like Prozac (33 million doses in the United States in 2002), Seroquel, or Risperdal, promote weight gain.

    WLIR: Very true. There are so many medications out there and most people have no clue about their real long or short term effects. I read though that 95% of prescription medications are prescribed for issues that could have been curbed through lifestyle.

Overall the study is headed in the right direction. I have a feeling that the public and researchers are starting to ask questions they've never asked before. That being said, there is still much work to be done.

From WLIR Headquarters it looks like things are getting better and worse all at the same time.... which means only one thing: massive transformation is imminent.

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