COLUMN: The risks attached to that unwanted added weight
How many of you are gaining more weight than you want, can’t seem to lose it or are having a hard time getting rid of that mid-abdominal bulge? This is becoming one of the most prevalent patterns in the last 20 years and is still overlooked by so many. With our increasingly sedentary lifestyles, eating on the run, choosing fast foods and over-indulging in alcohol, coffee and pop, we are literally heading down the slippery slope like the Romans. This is called metabolic syndrome that often leads to fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and eventually to scarring, cirrhosis (NASH), heart disease, diabetes, gout, cancer, Alzheimer’s, dementia, arteriosclerosis, heart disease and all sorts of other nasty diseases. It is the most common disease of the Western world, has increased to 30% of the population and 10% of children, especially in those with parents or grand-parents with diabetes, and is likely in people who drink more than 2 or 3 drinks a day. If you think about a goose that is continually fed corn and grains, what do you get? Exactly, foie gras. What if you take a human and feed it high amounts of grains and corn products, what do you get? You guessed it, a fatty liver!
This increases mortality by 70%. YIKES! Why isn’t it in the news? Because there is no drug to treat it.
Why the sudden problem?
1. Well, one of the reasons is that the increase in mechanization and robotic work has led to less physical work AND the increased number of hours people are working to “get ahead”. Many folks are putting in 10 to 12 hour days between working, errands and children and feel too tired to go out for a walk, run, bike ride or cross-country ski.
2. Compounding that is the increased use of computer gadgets, TV, video etc that allow us to “zone out” and not be involved mentally or emotionally and decreases our “free time” to be active.
3. If we add eating while we are focused on something else, like the news on TV or following Facebook, the body doesn’t utilize the food. It goes straight to sugar which gets converted to fat and gets stored around the liver.
4. Then there’s eating too much. Add packaged, processed or GMO foods, especially ones with high fructose corn syrup or pop and you have too many calories to burn off, so the body stores them instead.
5. Put in stimulants like coffee, tea, yerba mate, honeybush or rooibos on a regular basis that makes you acidic and decreases the liver’s ability to detoxify, so it protects itself with fat.
6. If you don’t get enough exercise, your body doesn’t burn up enough calories.
7. If you have inflammation in your body, that leads to more work for the liver, so again increased insulation with fat.
8. If you are diabetic, have polycystic ovary syndrome or hypothyroid, you are much more likely to develop non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. 70% of people with Diabetes Mellitus have NAFLD; 30% have NASH; and 40 to 90% of obese folks have NAFLD.
9. If you don’t get enough sleep, have sleep apnea or don’t have good sleep patterns and create adrenal imbalances, which causes increased cortisol release, increasing sugar, therefore fat storage.
10. Add corticosteroids, Methotrexate, Tamoxifen or anti-virals and you overload the liver.
11. Work in a place with heavy metals or chemicals? Guess what has to do all the work to remove it from the body—you guessed it, the liver.
12. If you acquire too much exposure to toxins in our environment like glycophosphates such as gylphosate it makes life harder for your liver—did you know there are traces of RoundUp in beer, not to mention in non-organic baby food and breakfast cereals?
13. If you have poor digestion with irritable bowel syndrome, dysbiosis (an imbalance of the gut biome), leaky gut or celiac disease, you will have impaired nutrient absorption, therefore increased storage of fat.
14. And to top it all off, if you have parents or grandparents who were obese or were diabetic, it pre-disposes you to be insulin resistant.
Are we doomed? Of course not! Stay tuned for the next article and find out what to do about it.