Wednesday, October 21, 2015


Though not directly dealing with skin care issues, the Washington Post article offers good tips to those who are conscious of their weight, diet, lifestyle as well as appearance.
Citing a recent study of York University which looked at dietary and exercise data for  thousands of Americans over the past four decades, it says an unsettling but perhaps not so surprising trend has been noticed: Even when one had the same diet and same activity level, a given adult in 2006 had a higher BMI than a counterpart of the same age in 1988.
In other words,“ at 25, you’d have to eat even less and exercise more than those older, to prevent gaining weight,” Jennifer Kuk, a professor at York, and co-author of study said: “Ultimately, maintaining a healthy body weight is now more challenging than ever.”
Just how much more challenging? When comparing people with the same diets in 1971 and 2008, the more recent counterpart was on average 10 percent heavier. Looking at physical activity data, only available between 1988 and 2006, those born later were five percent heavier even if they exercised just as much people two decades earlier.
 “Weight management is actually much more complex than just ‘energy in’ versus ‘energy out,’” says Kuk. “That’s similar to saying your investment account balance is simply your deposits subtracting your withdrawals and not accounting for all the other things that affect your balance like stock market fluctuations, bank fees or currency exchange rates.”
In the case of weight, the “other things” affecting our balance might have to do with our environment — both outside our bodies and within them. Kuk says that the world we live in today makes it harder to manage our weight than it was for people a generation ago.
She feels that the habits and modern lifestyles certainly have strong impact.“We’re sleeping less than we used to; according to  Gallup,in 2013, 40 percent of Americans got less than seven hours of sleep per night. And a Carnegie Melon survey in 2012 found that Americans were roughly 20 percent more stressed than a quarter of a century before.
Another factor is exposure to certain kinds of chemicals that affect endocrine system & metabolic processes. Plastic packaging, pesticides and substances (mostly synthetic toxins that tend to bioaccumulate through the food web) may be impacting the way our bodies process food and store fat.
Growing use of prescription drugs has also a role to play. A CDC report indicates that spending on prescription drugs doubled between 1999 and 2008. Among the adults, antidepressants were the most commonly used drug — large number of studies have linked antidepressants to weight gain. Allergy medications, steroids and pain medications also affect weight.
The tiniest and perhaps least intuitive factor is our “microbiomes,” the brew of tiny organisms that live in our guts and play a role in processing food. Changes in our diets — we each ate roughly 20 pounds more meat per year in 2000 than we did 30 years earlier, and we’re consuming far more artificial sweeteners — known to affect the gut bacteria, which in turn have been proven to affect how we extract energy from our diets. And if an individual is obese, their microbiome might actually be making weight loss harder.

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