Obesity is now described as the third epidemic and is linked to cancer and other diseases.
Cardiovascular disease and cancer, are the two main causes of death in the Western world, obesity is now described as the third epidemic. Obesity is linked to a higher risk of cancer, heart disease, non-insulin diabetes, arthritis, osteoporosis and psychological problems. Overweight people have a significantly shorter life span than those of normal weight. It is currently estimated that 20% (1 in 5) of the UK population falls in the category of clinical obesity.
Weight problems might be present even when one is not truly obese. Some of our clients are surprised to hear that their ideal weight was when they reached full growth at the age of 17-18 assuming they were not overweight!
Commonly Recognised Causes of Obesity
- High energy diets - regular intake of excessive amounts of carbohydrates including sugars and dietary fat
- Sedentary lifestyle - lack of regular exercise
- Medical conditions causing immobility such as arthritis, forms of disability, e.g multiple sclerosis or stroke
- Some medical treatments such as female hormones in contraceptives or HRT, long-term courses of oral steroids, and some antidepressants. As with the side effects of most medicines, increased weight may not occur until well after the course was started.
In spite of adhering to a healthy diet and having tests ruling out any underlying medical conditions, a number of people continue having weight problems without apparent reason. Some experience a range of other symptoms which can vary from intermittent tiredness, bloating and other digestive symptoms to low moods and aches and pains. Some of these symptoms are often mistakenly attributed to stress, menopause or comfort eating.
The Less-Known Explanation
In the above group, the commonest causative factor in obesity is fluid retention. This is not caused by heart failure or gravitational forces but by simple food reactivity or food intolerance. In our clinics, we often see overweight patients who insist they live on a scarce diet and that their weight fluctuates by 1-6 lbs after eating even a small amount of reactive food.
This phenomenon has been known for some decades, to doctors specialising in clinical allergy, to be the direct result of the activation of immune system cells attempting to dilute the presence and the adverse effects of some reactive foods. Typically, such fluid retention often causes the affected person to get puffy eyes and swollen fingers, mainly noticed when rising in the morning. It improves later on as the fluid is re-distributed with gravity to lower parts of the body such as the ankles and feet only to return again overnight.
Immunologists are familiar with this phenomenon, which they see in standard skin prick tests: The first thing that happens when a tiny amount of an allergen enters the skin is local inflammation and swelling, the result of a rapid influx of fluid, forced by the nearby immune cells in an attempt to dilute the reactive substance and minimise its influence.
Due to the absence of highly accurate laboratory tests, the diagnosis of food intolerance is not currently widely accepted in Medicine; its variable symptoms can be mild, intermittent or constant and severe; they can be confusing for patients and clinicians who are trained to recognise an organ-problem and believe these symptoms to be psychosomatic.
Treatment for Obesity
We often use a combination of some of the above measures. Most patients will start responding to a strict dietary regime, which aims to identify reactive from non-reactive items. This dietary test is known as a process of elimination and challenge. The project is temporary as, after some progress, the person is told to gradually relax the diet. If the diet proves impracticable, our patients are offered a safe, low-dose method of desensitisation on the basis of special skin tests.
In order to correct the person's cellular enzymes and chemistry, which depend on important nutrients, we recommend nutritional tests for vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids and correct any deficiencies identified this way.
The nature of obesity is serious and goes beyond the limits of fitness and deserves one's wholehearted attempt to regain control of health. We offer skilled support to those prepared to make some changes to their lifestyle.
No diet, however effective, can have long-term benefits unless it can be sustainable long term. This is precisely the reason why so many fashionable diets fail: after a brief period of success, the person tires of the diet and soon after relaxing it, the weight starts creeping back up again. Long-term use of a variety of safer, non-reactive foods often overcomes this problem.
Contact us if you have further questions or to make an appointment for a consultation.