10 Unexpected Causes of Weight Gain
Here are 10 unexpected but common causes of weight gain that you may or may not realize are getting in your way to better health.
As I get ready to introduce you to an awesome 30-day whole life detox, I thought we could start exploring some of the everyday factors that contribute to weight gain, inability to lose weight, and just feeling blah. This week we look at 10 unexpected causes of weight gain. These factors will be covered in my program, so take notice of where these factors could be contributing to your current physical symptoms.
1. Excessive healthy fats. It is possible to get too much of a good thing. Although our bodies need healthy fats for support and proper functioning. It is also possible to eat too much. Dietary fat is a major source of energy. Fat helps you absorb some vitamins and minerals. Fat is needed to build cell membranes. It is essential for blood clotting, muscle movement, and inflammation. But we are learning that some fats are better than others. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are healthy fats. Trans fats are unhealthy. Saturated fats, like those found in animal products fall somewhere in between. Maintaining a balanced diet with 30-40% of your calories coming from healthy fats is the current recommendation. Long-term consumption at rates higher than this can lead to weight creep.
2. Artificial sweeteners. These puppies can be worse than refined sugar. Although I do not recommend refined sugar as a substitute. Artificial sweeteners are synthetic chemicals created to satisfy the sweet tooth with no calories. They have been sold to people with diabetes and other sugar-related diseases as an alternative. However, there is growing evidence of their toxicity as well as a link to weight gain, not weight loss. One study showed that daily consumption of diet soda was associated with a 36% greater relative risk of incident metabolic syndrome and a 67% greater relative risk of incident type 2 diabetes compared with non-consumption. Another study showed that artificial sweeteners may induce glucose intolerance by altering the gut microbiota. Gut health is critical to overall health, especially the health of our immune system. Given this information, it is no surprise many Americans are suffering from gut-related illness and disease.
3. Fat-free foods. As stated above, we need fat to live. The fat-free revolution had us all buying fat-free milk, fat-free yogurt, fat-free everything. And we just got fatter. One of the big reasons is that reducing fat many times means increased sugar. Milk is an excellent example. As a child, I drank 2% milk. As an adult, when I drank milk, I switched to fat-free milk. A lot less taste in that skim milk as compared to even 2% milk-fat milk. To make up for that lack of taste, food manufacturers add other ingredients like sugar, flour, thickeners, and salt, that can add calories. And with milk, reducing fat naturally leads to more sugar by volume.
4. Excessive natural sugars. In our dash to get away from artificial sweeteners, and even refined sugars, many have moved to natural sweeteners and unrefined sugars. I don’t need to cite studies here to tell you that too much sugar of any kind is not good. The best way to satisfy the sweet tooth is via fruit and whole foods. With whole, natural foods, natural sugar is packaged the way nature intended. This includes a healthy dose of fiber to slow down the metabolism of the fructose in fruit, avoiding the sugar crash. Natural sugars are not toxic, but they do have negative health effects when eaten in excess.
5. Processed “healthy” snacks. This is probably the category that gets healthy eaters in trouble more than any other food category. We see the words natural, organic, etc. and we automatically assume they’re healthy. However, even processed natural foods can pack a punch when they are loaded with added sugars. Foods like yogurt, tomato sauce and granola-based products tend to be loaded with sugar and other additives for flavor. My rule for processed foods is to read the label. If I can’t read the label in less than 10 seconds, or I don’t know what every ingredient is and why it’s in there, I put it back on the shelf. There are a ton of healthy processed foods out there and they’re growing every day. Tomato sauce ingredients should not exceed tomatoes and spices. If you need a pasta fix every now and again, you can find vegetable and legume-based pastas with only one or two ingredients.
6. Alcohol and caffeine. This category is a troublesome one. Who doesn’t like a morning coffee, black or green tea? What about that glass of red wine with dinner? If you can keep it to that you’re likely not doing much harm. But of course, as with everything, that depends on your current state of health. For example, if you’re low on iron, consuming red wine with an iron-rich meal will reduce absorption of iron. Also, does that coffee come from a place that added a ton of sweetener to make it really tasty (and addictive) and fattening? Alcohol is basically empty calories. Too many nights out drinking will pack on pounds fast. People who regularly consume soda, other sweetened drinks or alcohol tend to experience immediate weight loss gratification just by cutting them out. Alcohol and caffeine also have hormonal connections for women over 40 and could be a huge culprit of issues other than just weight gain.
7. Hormones in meat and dairy. This is a very controversial category. In America, the standard American diet (SAD) is not only overloaded with animal products; it’s loaded with processed meats and dairy that are loaded with antibiotics and hormones. Even natural hormones from animals are not healthy for humans. It’s best to keep animal product consumption lower than whole food consumption, and make sure it’s organic, grass-fed, free-range and humanely raised and killed. Keeping to this standard will automatically keep consumption to a healthier level because of cost. Remember, you are what you eat and you get what you pay for. This is especially true when it comes to the food on your plate.
8. Chemicals in water. All I will say on this for now is our drinking water is loaded with chemicals. Every day we learn of more toxic chemicals that are showing up in our drinking water from chemical and pesticide run-off. And bottled water is generally no better; especially when consumed from plastic bottles leaching endocrine disruptors into the water and into our bodies. The best thing you can do is filter your house water, both drinking and bathing, with quality filters, and use glass water bottles for drinking. We need water to live. We can’t go more than a few days without water. Water is in everything and it has become a main source of the toxins in our bodies. Cleaning it up will have a huge impact on your health.
9. Lack of sleep. Sleep is critical for the body to repair and rejuvenate. When you pull too many all-nighters or regularly get less sleep than your body needs, you throw the body out of balance. The circadian rhythm is disrupted and your hunger and fullness hormones are impacted. You make poor decisions and tend to eat more (bad stuff) to try to boost your energy levels. Lack of sleep has a domino effect on the body that both directly and indirectly leads to weight gain.
10. Stress levels. There are many ways stress affects weight. When we don’t mitigate stress levels, the body stays in fight or flight mode and shifts its activities away from things like digestive and restorative processes. Additionally, many people tend to eat as a way of coping with stress. The body does not need these calories, but because of too much time in fight or flight, it thinks it has exerted calories running from lions and tigers. Between this physiological response and the potential for emotional eating for comfort, the pounds pack on quickly. Engaging in stress reduction activities or removing stressors from your life will make a huge positive impact on your health.
Wow, that’s a lot of ways your weight could be impacted. Which areas did you relate to most? Which areas can you start working on now to make a difference not only in your weight, but your overall health? I’m putting together an awesome program I plan to launch in September that will walk you through these areas and more. I will take you through four areas of your daily life and specific ways to reduce, replace or eliminate. If you’re ready to make big, positive changes to your health by getting out the toxins that are getting in your way, stay tuned….
Get my Free Smoothie Guide to aid in reducing toxins and processed foods from your diet. Click on the home page and go to the freebies section and . You’ll be directed on how to get the download.
Yours in Wellness,