Overeating is not the main cause of obesity; know what it is

A survey published by The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition points out that the concept of overeating is the main cause of obesity may be completely wrong. The study believes that, in fact, the disease is caused by the quality of the food eaten.

Normally, it is pointed out that the amount of food ingested and what is spent on energy are the causes of weight gain. The concept is based on the energy balance model, however, the quality of the food has a great influence on this.


child eating hamburger and fries
Overeating is not the main cause of obesity, research says. Credit: iStock

The researchers set up a model of eating called carbohydrate-insulin, which points out that the obesity epidemic that is plaguing the United States is caused by the ingestion of foods with high glycemic rates, mainly processed and quickly digested carbohydrates.

These foods are responsible for hormonal changes that alter metabolism and can increase fat storage, consequently, worsening weight gain and possibly even obesity.

After ingesting highly processed carbohydrates, the brain increases insulin production and decreases the secretion of glucagon – a hormone that counteracts the effect of insulin. This process causes fat cells to store more calories, preventing muscle and other active tissues from feeding. The brain then identifies the problem and starts to emit the feeling of hunger to suppress the lack of energy.

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Building on the carbohydrate-insulin model can affect how diabetes is treated. Instead of focusing on the quantity of food eaten, the main focus will be on quality.

“Reducing the consumption of fast-digesting carbohydrates that flooded the food supply during the low-fat diet era diminishes the underlying drive to store body fat. As a result, people can lose weight with less hunger and effort,” explains the study’s author.

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