Obesity is an incredibly pressing issue today, with more than one-third of Americans being classified as clinically obese. This alarming statistic has ushered in a new era for the health and wellness industry to answer the growing demand for tools to combat obesity risk factors. Looking at the most common causes of obesity, such as poor diet and physical inactivity, it can be overwhelming to think that supplements could play a role in maintaining health through weight management. However, when coupled with good nutrition and regular exercise, certain dietary supplements can have lasting effects on your mission to reduce or maintain optimal body weight. In this blog post we will discuss how specific dietary supplements may help you achieve your goals!
What is Obesity?
Obesity is one of the most prevalent public health issues of our time. In both developed and developing countries, it has become a global pandemic, affecting people’s health and well-being. It is a complex problem that requires a multifaceted approach to treat effectively. This condition can cause various other types of serious health issues, such as cancer, heart diseases and type 2 diabetes. Obesity is most common in the United States. It is defined as having excessive body fat, and it is caused by a combination of factors including genetics, a high-calorie diet, sedentary lifestyle, and other health-related issues.
To find out if one is obese, the body mass index (BMI) is calculated. This is done by taking one’s height and weight into consideration. One is said to be obese when this BMI value goes above 30. Excessive fat content could pose a serious risk to your health. If your BMI is less than 18.5, the weight status is underweight.
Body Mass Index (BMI)
The most common way of measuring obesity is by calculating the BMI of a person. It is the ratio of weight to height. The ranges for determining if a person is underweight, normal, overweight or obese are re-determined. By determining BMI and taking measures to prevent it from going above 30, people can prevent chronic health issues and early death. This method also does not make any differentiation between body fat and lean body mass.
While BMI is a simple and inexpensive method, it’s not always accurate. For example, someone who is muscular and has a low body fat may have a high BMI, making it seem like they are obese when they are not. Also, a drawback of this method is that the criteria used in BMI calculation may not be correct for everyone since women tend to have more body fat than men. Despite this limitation, BMI is still used as a screening tool for obesity and is a good starting point for assessing a person’s health.
Many consider this one of the best ways of measuring abdominal obesity. The circumference of the abdomen is measured at the natural waist and the belly button or the umbilicus. A few pros include easy measurement, less cost and accuracy. Waist circumference can predict upcoming issues. One issue with this method, though, is that it could be difficult to accurately calculate for those having a BMI of over 35. For women, a waist circumference of more than 35 inches is considered overweight, and for men, over 40 inches.
Similar to the last method, this one is useful for measuring abdominal obesity as well. To arrive at the answer, you will need to measure the waist and the hip. Once you have the measurements, simply divide the waist by hip measurements. It is one of the most accurate methods out there and is quite useful in predicting health issues in older adults.
Another popular method used to measure obesity is skinfold thickness. A caliper is used to measure the thickness of the fold of skin and subcutaneous tissue in different areas of the body, giving an estimate of body fat percentage. This method is more accurate than BMI, but like BMI, cannot determine where body fat is located.
Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA)
Bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) is a method that uses a small electrical current in the body to determine body composition. It measures the resistance to the current passing through the body. A low resistance reading indicates a high percentage of body fat. Although this is more accurate than BMI, it isn’t as accurate as DEXA scans.
Different Forms of Obesity
Android obesity generally contains fat found in the abdomen, chest and upper arms. This fat occurs most commonly in males than in females. A person having android fat will have all their fat built around the upper body and the abdomen. This leads to an apple-like appearance.
This is another type of fat that is quite common when it comes to people with obesity. This fat mainly forms in the hips and the thighs. This is exactly the opposite of android fat. Gynoid obesity makes the shape of a body resembles that of a pear. This fat is more common in females than in males. It has also been noted that Gynoid fat is less risky when compared with android fat. There are minimal chances of cardiovascular diseases. However, there is a high chance of the person being affected by breast cancer.
Visceral obesity, also known as central obesity, is when excess body fat is stored around the organs in the abdominal area. This type of obesity is common in people with a sedentary lifestyle and is often caused by an unhealthy diet. Visceral obesity has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.
Subcutaneous obesity is when excess body fat is stored just under the skin. This form of obesity is more common in women than men and is often caused by genetics. Although subcutaneous obesity is less harmful than visceral obesity, it can still lead to health problems such as joint pain and sleep apnea.
Metabolically Healthy Obesity
Metabolically healthy obesity is when a person has excess body fat, but they do not have any other health complications such as high blood pressure or diabetes. This type of obesity is rare and is often seen in younger people. However, just because a person has no health complications does not mean they are not at risk for developing them in the future.
Risk Factors for Obesity & Weight Gain
Some genes inherited from the parents could affect the way your body stores, distributes and processes fat. Genetics can also impact the efficiency with which your body can convert food to energy and how it burns calories while you exercise. Obesity tends to run in families. This is not necessarily because of genetics, but due to similar eating habits and lifestyle.
Certain medications could lead to weight gain, especially if the person does not follow a proper diet or gets enough exercise. This includes medications like steroids, anti-seizure medications, diabetes medications, antidepressants, antipsychotic medications and beta-blockers.
Some medical conditions, such as arthritis, Prader-Willi syndrome, insomnia, peptic ulcer disease, hypothyroidism, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and Cushing syndrome could lead to weight gain as well.
Stress is also a common risk factor for obesity and weight gain. When you are under stress, your body produces cortisol, a hormone that can increase appetite and lead to overeating. Additionally, people often turn to food for comfort when stressed, choosing high-calorie, high-fat foods that can lead to weight gain.
To minimize the risk of stress-related obesity, it’s important to learn healthy ways to manage stress. Consider practicing meditation, deep breathing, or other relaxation techniques. It’s also important to ensure that you’re getting enough sleep each night, as lack of sleep can increase cortisol levels and lead to overeating.
A person’s lifestyle could be a major risk factor for obesity. An unhealthy diet, emotional eating, depression, stress and eating disorders could all lead to a significant weight gain. While it is an excellent thing to quit smoking, it does cause weight gain. This is why you need to stay active and eat healthy. Where one works could also make a difference. If you tend to work at a computer all day long and don’t get any form of exercise, it could easily lead to obesity.
To minimize the risk of obesity, aim to incorporate physical activity into your daily routine. Consider taking a brisk walk or jog in the morning, or taking breaks throughout the day to stretch or walk around. You can also opt for a standing or treadmill desk at work to break up periods of sitting or invest in a pedometer to monitor your daily steps.
How Obesity Affects Health
Hypertension or high blood pressure is one of the leading causes of death. The most common reason for hypertension is the lifestyle choices we make. An unhealthy diet, smoking, drinking and a lack of exercise could lead to obesity, which in turn could cause high blood pressure. Obesity and hypertension share a deep connection.
Type 2 Diabetes
Our body uses insulin to regulate blood sugar levels. Obesity can impact the way our body does this. The excess fat in the body interferes with insulin production, leading to high blood sugar levels and insulin resistance. Over time, this can damage the body’s organs and tissues, leading to complications such as nerve damage, kidney failure, and blindness.
Obesity is a leading cause of heart attack, stroke, and other cardiovascular diseases. Those who are obese have a high chance of getting abnormal cholesterol levels and high blood pressure, which could lead to various heart ailments and stroke. The excess fat in the body puts a strain on the heart, leading to high blood pressure, increased cholesterol levels, and inflammation in the arteries. These factors increase the risk of plaque buildup, which can obstruct blood flow and cause heart attacks and strokes. In addition, obesity is linked to the development of atrial fibrillation, a dangerous heart rhythm disorder that can lead to heart failure and sudden death.
Abdominal obesity could cause lymphedema, aneurysm, edema and other cerebrovascular diseases like cerebral hemorrhage and subarachnoid hemorrhage. Obesity and lymphedema share a connection each other.
Bone and Joint Damage
The risk of developing gallbladder diseases, heartburn or liver issues is high with obesity. Digestive troubles and metabolic syndrome could also occur. The latter is generally with a high-calorie diet and lack of exercise.
Gynecological issues like preeclampsia, miscarriage and gestational diabetes could all lead to a significant weight gain. Obesity can lead to erectile dysfunction in men. It could cause infertility and irregular periods in women.
Quality of Life
Obesity can potentially lower one’s quality of life. You might not be able to do a lot of things you want to or participate in activities. Obesity-related issues that could affect the quality of your life include sexual issues, disability, depression, social isolation and more.
Obesity also has an impact on a person’s physical activity levels. People who are overweight or obese are less likely to engage in regular physical activity, which can contribute to a variety of health problems. Lack of exercise can lead to muscle weakness, joint pain, and reduced flexibility. Regular physical activity is essential for maintaining a healthy weight, building muscle strength, and reducing the risk of chronic conditions such as heart disease and diabetes.
Can Obesity Cause Cancer?
Which types of cancer are most strongly linked to obesity? The answer may surprise you – it’s not just one type of cancer, but several. Obesity has linked to increasing risks of developing the following cancers:
- Breast cancer (in postmenopausal women)
- Colon and rectal cancer
- Endometrial cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Ovarian cancer
- Pancreatic cancer
While the links between obesity and cancer are clear, there’s good news – taking steps to maintain a healthy weight can lower your risk of cancer and other health problems. Even a modest weight loss of as little as 5% of your body weight can help.
Can Obesity Cause Sleep Apnea?
Research has shown a strong correlation between obesity and the development of sleep apnea. Obese people are much more at risk for sleep apnea than those who maintain a healthy weight. A study revealed that obese individuals are 7 times more likely to develop sleep apnea than people within a healthy BMI range. A different study found that more than 70% of individuals with obstructive sleep apnea were overweight or obese.
Why Obesity is a Problem in the US?
In recent years, the rate of obesity in the United States has skyrocketed to alarming levels. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 42.4% of adults and 18.5% of children in the US are obese. This epidemic has caused numerous problems for our health, society, and economy. From increased rates of chronic diseases to billions of dollars in healthcare costs, this issue has far-reaching implications
The economic consequences of obesity are staggering. According to a report by the Milken Institute, obesity-related healthcare costs in the US reached $315 billion in 2010. These costs are projected to increase to $1.42 trillion by 2025 if the current trend continues. Furthermore, obesity contributes to decreased productivity and increased absenteeism, resulting in billions of dollars in lost economic output.
Make small changes in your diet.
The first step towards preventing obesity is to make small changes in your diet. Start by swapping processed and sugary foods for healthier options like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein. It’s also important to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day. And, instead of having three big meals, opt for several small meals throughout the day to keep your metabolism running smoothly.
Be physically active.
Physical activity is a crucial element in preventing obesity. You don’t need to run marathons or go to the gym every day – simple activities like walking, cycling, and swimming can make a significant difference. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity daily and gradually increase it over time to reap more health benefits.
Get enough sleep.
Sleep is an essential factor in maintaining a healthy weight. When we don’t get enough sleep, our body produces ghrelin, a hormone that increases our appetite and makes us more likely to overeat. Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep every night and try to establish a regular sleep-wake cycle.
Stress is a major contributor to weight gain and obesity. When we feel stressed, we tend to turn to comfort foods or skip workouts, which can have a significant impact on our health and weight. Find ways to manage stress, such as meditation, yoga, or any other activity that helps you relax.
Surround yourself with a supportive community.
Having a support system can make a huge difference in preventing obesity. Surround yourself with friends and family who encourage and support your healthy lifestyle choices. Join a fitness class or a healthy eating club to connect with people who share your goals and aspiration.
Herbal Supplements for Weight Loss
If you don’t want to rely only on exercise, some herbal supplements could help reduce weight.
Caffeine is naturally present in coffee, dark chocolate and green tea. This psychoactive substance works as a metabolism booster. Since it boosts metabolism, it can effectively burn fat rapidly, leading to weight loss. Studies have found that caffeine can help increase energy expenditure, reduce appetite, and improve exercise performance. Take one caffeine capsule after meal, 2-3 times a day.
Cinnamon is a popular spice known for its anti-inflammatory properties. It helps in regulating the insulin levels in the body, which in turn helps in reducing blood sugar levels. It slows down the breakdown of carbohydrates and aids in weight loss. You can add cinnamon powder to your meals, smoothies, or use it to flavor your tea or coffee.
As the name suggests, these are generally present in raspberries. It works by breaking down fat and increasing the level of adiponectin, a hormone associated with weight loss.
This small fruit’s skin contains hydroxycitric acid. Garcinia cambogia ingredient is useful for weight loss as it can inhibit a fat-producing enzyme while increasing serotonin to limit food cravings. Studies have shown that garcinia cambogia can help reduce body weight, body mass index, and waist circumference in overweight individuals. Take 500mg of garcinia cambogia 2-3 times a day.
Green Coffee Bean
Unroasted coffee beans are referred to as green coffee beans. The presence of chlorogenic acid and caffeine aids with weight loss. While chlorogenic acid slows down the breaking of carbohydrates, caffeine increases the burning of fat. Other benefits of this include reduced blood pressure and blood sugar levels. Studies have found that green coffee bean extract can help reduce body weight and body fat percentage. Take 50mg of green coffee bean, twice a day.
Ginger is known for its anti-inflammatory and thermogenic properties. It helps in increasing body heat and metabolism which leads to burning of more calories. Adding grated ginger to your meals, tea, or smoothies can help you in losing weight quickly and effectively.
Fenugreek spouts are a rich source of soluble fiber which slows the absorption of carbohydrates in the body. This reduces the blood sugar spikes and makes you feel full for a longer time. A daily dose of fenugreek can help you in reducing your appetite and losing weight.
Glucomannan fiber is naturally present in elephant yam. It works by absorbing water and turning into a kind of gel and giving you a feeling of fullness. This means you will consume less, leading to effective weight loss. Take 1 g of glucomannan, three times a day
Green tea extract is one of the most popular options for weight loss supplements. This increases the activity of norepinephrine and helps burn fast much faster. Drinking green tea before working out enhances calorie burning by increasing metabolism. It is also an excellent way to detox your body.
The Bottom Line
Measuring obesity using the above methods is important as it helps you monitor your health and detect early signs of any health complications with obesity. Each of the methods discussed has its advantages and disadvantages, which makes it essential to use multiple methods to gain a more accurate measure of obesity. If you measure your obesity level and find that you are at risk, you should consult a healthcare professional for advice on how to manage your weight and reduce the health risks associated with obesity.
Preventing obesity is possible by making small lifestyle changes, such as eating a healthy diet, being physically active, and getting enough sleep. By managing stress and surrounding yourself with a supportive community, you can stay motivated and achieve your health goals. Remember – the journey towards a healthier you might be challenging, but it is definitely worth it.
When it comes to weight loss, herbal supplements are a natural and effective way to help achieve your goals. While these supplements can certainly assist in lowering the number on the scale, it is also important to remember that no supplement can substitute for a healthy diet and regular exercise regimen. Always consult a doctor before taking any new supplement and keep in mind that natural remedies work best when combined with a healthy lifestyle. Try incorporating some of these supplements in your diet today, and watch as the extra pounds melt away!
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease