Role of Diet in causation of obesity
It’s a well- known fact that the amount of calories consumed by a person has a direct impact on weight. If the calorie consumption is equal to the burning of calories by the body, the weight is maintained. However, if the consumption of the calories is more and the burn off is less, weight is gained.
Consumption of high amounts of energy, particularly fat and sugars, and not burning the same energy through exercise and physical activity, will cause much of the surplus energy to be stored by the body as fat. Obesity is not a sudden over -night phenomenon. It develops gradually as a result of poor diet and lifestyle choices, such as:
- Eating large amounts of processed or fast food – that’s high in fat and sugar
- Drinking too much alcohol – alcohol contains a lot of calories, and regular intake causes one to gain weight.
- Eating out a lot -may cause you to make unhealthy food choices.
- Eating larger portions than you need – is commonly seen and encouraged in our society. It may cause you to have excess calories than your body needs and may contribute to weight gain.
- Drinking too many sugary drinks (soft drinks and fruit juice) or too much sugar in a beverage (in teas, coffees, ice creams)
- Comfort eating – is seen in people with low self-esteem or in people with depression.
- Unhealthy eating habits tend to run in families such as Force feeding, bad eating habits in parents may be some contributing factors.
Here are a few tips that help in adapting healthy eating-
- Plan to eat from a wide variety of nutritious foods from these five groups every day:
- Vegetables, including different types and colours, and legumes/beans- best to choose from locally grown vegetables.
- Fruit – best to select locally grown seasonal fruits.
- Grain (cereal) foods, mostly whole grain and high fibre cereal varieties.
- Lean meat and poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds.
- Milk, yoghurt, cheese and/or their alternatives, mostly reduced fat.
- Drink plenty of water
- Limit intake of foods containing saturated fat, added salt, added sugars and alcohol.
- Avoid fad diets or very low calorie diet. Rather, opt for healthy choices everyday !
- A safe and effective long-term weight reduction and maintenance diet must contain balanced, nutritious foods to avoid vitamin deficiencies and other diseases of malnutrition.
- Educating yourself in reading food labels, estimating calories and serving sizes will be a very good step in maintaining weight in long term.