What Causes Obesity?

Understanding the Causes of Obesity

It is widely understood that weight gain is both genetic and environmental, but it’s also important to think of obesity from a physical and mental health standpoint. 


Genetics: Whether it’s from mom or dad’s of the family, genetics do play a role in obesity. However, studies have shown genes do not always predict future health and according to Harvard School of Public Health, genetics are only a small factor in the risk for obesity. In some cases, interactions between multiple genes may increase one’s susceptibility for obesity but rarely are genes the primary cause for weight gain. Though genes aren’t the sole cause for obesity, The American Medical Association does recognize obesity as a disease and we at The Bariatric Experts treat it as so. 

Diet: Simple carbohydrates such as sugars, soft drinks, beer and breads all contribute to weight gain because they are more rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream than complex carbohydrates like brown rice, grains, raw vegetables and fruits. A diet high in simple carbohydrates increase blood glucose levels, which then stimulate insulin release by the pancreas. Insulin promotes the growth of fat tissue and can cause weight gain. 

Overeating: Overeating leads to weight gain, especially if the diet is high in fat and sugar. Our bodies store excess calories as fat and one pound of fat is roughly equal to 3,500 calories. Think of it like overfilling the garbage disposal; the blades can only do so much at a time, just like your metabolism. 

Frequency of eating: One possible explanation is that small frequent meals produce stable insulin levels, whereas large meals cause large spikes of insulin after meals. People who eat small meals four or five times daily tend to have lower cholesterol levels and more stable blood sugar levels. Others who eat two or three larger meals daily and “binge eat” cause their insulin levels to dramatically raise, a reason for weight gain. 

Physical inactivity: Sedentary people burn fewer calories than people who are active. Spending just thirty minutes doing light cardio in the morning gives your metabolism a jump start for the day.

Diseases: Insulin levels are much more difficult to maintain while having conditions like Type II Diabetes, hypothyroidism or insulin resistance, all of which can contribute to weight gain.

Medications: Medications associated with weight gain include certain antidepressants, anticonvulsants, some diabetes medications, and most corticosteroids. Weight gain may also be seen with some high blood pressure medications and antihistamines. Always discuss medications with your physician before discontinuing medication, because there may be risks and alternative options.

Psychological factors: For some people, emotions influence eating habits. Many people eat excessively in response to emotions such as boredom, sadness, stress, or anger. Feelings of being out of control with food or patterns of dysfunctional eating can lead to binging.

Depression: The relationship between obesity and depression is an ongoing cycle, as obesity causes depression and vise versa. Those who seek food to deal with with stress and depression are called “emotional eaters” and typically seek unhealthy “comfort food” to feel better but the feelings that trigger emotional eating are still there. 

For more information about weight loss surgery for obesity, call 940-577-2090 today to set up a consultation with the best bariatric surgeons at The Bariatric Experts!

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