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12 Reasons Why We Are Fatter Than Ever Before!

You’d think with companies like us delivering fresh nutritious food direct to your door and gyms popping up around the country in every imaginable place, we’d be doing the exact opposite, but in reality we are fatter than ever before! The question is – WHY? Here are some stats to kick you off.

  • Since the 1980’s obesity rates have tripled
  • The proportion of adults with a NORMAL BMI has decreased from 41% in 1993 to 32.1% by 2012.

Effect of over consumption

Scary stuff. MuscleFood investigates!

1. We Are Eating More Junk Food

It sounds obvious but in the past people were eating mostly wholesome home-cooked meals, yet by 2009 up to half of what we consumed was processed.

Take this graph for example, there’s a stark drop in fresh green vegetables being consumed in the UK and a steady rise in ready meals and convenience meat products (like cheeseburgers!) until the present day. Not to mention the rise in convenience products like pizza and crisps as well. That’s the first piece of the puzzle, we eat more junk food than ever before, and as we all know that means sugar, preservatives, additives and oils to make them cheaper to produce and last longer.

2. Sugar Consumption Is At An All Time High!

Unsurprisingly then, sugar consumption is at an all-time high. Sugar has long been demonised by modern diet ‘experts’. Whatever your stance on the issue, consuming excessive levels of sugar has negative consequences such as the occurrence of type 2 diabetes, tooth decay, heart disease and even cancer.

Sugar is particularly fattening because the brain does not register its presence in the same was as it would in other calorie sources, this often leads to over consumption (not to mention massive highs and lows in energy as a result!).

Supermarkets don’t help you out either, with chocolate and other sugary treats lining the checkouts to take advantage of an impulse buy or a hungry shopper looking for an instantly gratifying treat.

And arguably the worst element of sugar; it is addictive. Sugar can stimulate pleasure receptors in the brain similar to the way a smokers brain would respond to nicotine. If you consume enough of it over an extended period, when you cut it out from your diet or simply don’t sustain such a high level it will result in headaches, irritability and crashes in energy leading you to crave even more.

3. We Gain Holiday Weight and NEVER Get Rid Of It

It takes more than a week to put it all on, so it’ll take more than a few small meals and a few days to shed it! What may seem like rapid weight during the festive period is actually an extended period of over indulgence that we simply don’t notice till it’s over.

With this in mind, it’s easy to make a resolution to get back into shape during January, but over the course of the year there is a steady drop in attendance leading to an overall 67% of us abandoning the gym completely which is a HUGE waste of money and does nothing to help us lose weight.

We’re not claiming the gym is the holy grail of weight loss (well it is when combined with a healthy balanced diet!) but it goes a long way in demonstrating why we fail to lose the weight we gain.

4. The Low-Fat Guidelines Were Published And The Problem Got Worse!

Much like sugar is demonised today, fat was widely revered as the enemy during the 1970’s which led to a rise in the number of low-fat processed food products. Whilst there is truth in fat being bad for us in excess, especially saturated fat, it wasn’t the soul error in our diets.

But it does beg the question, with all these low fat products, what were they substituting with to keep it tasting good? Which bring us right back to number 2 – SUGAR.

Consumption of low-fat but sugar laden products shot up. No one made the connection that sugar was equally bad in excess as ultimately if not needed by the body it is converted and stored as fat. They were too focused on using the fat content as their key metric for a healthy diet.

5. Processed Food is Cheap

Processed FoodSince 2007 there has been an exponential rise in food prices from 19% to 47% across the board. As such people were seeking to make their money go further and processed food had never been cheaper.

Unfortunately to make them cheap, healthy and wholesome ingredients were substituted where possible with cheap alternatives such as high fructose corn syrup (most prevalent in the USA) and various sat fats.

So it’s no surprise the readily available and astonishing range of cheap processed products, in combination with the rising cost of good wholesome food, led to increased consumption of the bad stuff. And the increased weight line that went with it!

6. Hidden Calories in Sugary Drinks & Fruit Juices

Whilst we might think it's our stomachs that are in charge of our energy intake, it's actually our brain. Unfortunately the brain doesn't register liquid energy (and the sugar within it) in the same way as it does calories from solid food.

Therefore if you are drinking sugary drinks your brain will struggle to register and regulate the total number of calories from your food and drink during the day. This can easily lead to overconsumption and weight gain.

Liquid calories from sugar sweetened drinks or fruit juices have been linked to a 60% increased risk of obesity in children so we can only imagine what the impact on adult bodies with a slower metabolic rate is!

7. An Increase in Food Variety Contributes to Overeating & Weight Gain

Food Variety

Our brains are hard wired to choose a variety of food to ensure we get the greatest possible nutritional benefit. That’s why pick and mix sweet selections are so popular! Even though it’s all basically the same thing, the visual array of shapes and colours tricks our brains into thinking we need some of everything and therefore massively overeat. The same thing occurs at buffets, the variety of food on offer is huge, so we have a tendency to overeat.

A study conducted on rats supports this. 3 groups of rats were fed different diets, the first was fed regular healthy rat food, the second received one type of junk food, and the third with a variety of junk foods.

The results indicated that the rats offered junk food ate more than the rats fed healthy food. However the rats with a junk food variety far exceeded those by the rats with only one kind of junk.

Applying this to your local supermarket, with the enormous variety of food types on offer you are more likely to buy in excess of what you actually need. So whilst that leads to an enormous amount of food wastage, we will consume more too.

8. We work more and move less.

Processed FoodWhilst not a singular factor, the rise in obesity rates correlates pretty well with the number of us abandoning the fields (and other labouring jobs) to take sedentary desk jobs. As a result we are moving around less and burning up to 100 calories less whilst at work. With this in mind, following your RDA of calories at 2500 (for men) you’d actually be overeating by 100 calories PER DAY. That’s a gain in 1lb per month if you’re not careful!

9. We Are Eating More Vegetable Oils

Remember how we mentioned to make foods cheaper healthy fats were substituted with cheap to obtain ones? That’s where vegetable oil comes in.

Consumed fats and oils over the decadesWe get most of our vegetable oil from processed foods and often top them with processed oils too! For example how many times do you see margarine spread on a slice of heavily processed white bread as a staple breakfast option?

Adding these oils to our food increases the caloric value and ‘reward' signals within our brains, which contributes to overconsumption.

10. Food & Social Life Go Hand in Hand

When was the last time you went out for drinks after work? Went out to lunch with a friend? Had a Sunday roast with the family? In our society today, food has become the focus of many social events, except now it’s more readily available and cheaper than ever before.

In addition to eating becoming a social activity, we also tend to overeat when we’re in company as we’re paying less attention to what we’re eating and simply taking pleasure in the activity and the people we’re spending time with. Some reports mention as much as a 72% increase in overall calories consumed as a result of social eating!

11. We Are Sleeping Less

Sleeping Hours ChartThe impact of sleep on weight loss is well documented, and yet in this modern age we’re actually sleeping less. Sleep deprivation has a negative effect on the hormones which control our appetite, our satiety levels and by association our weight. Not getting enough sleep leads to increased hunger levels and cravings for food.

Studies have shown on average we are sleeping 1-2 hours less than in the decades preceding us. This is due to a variety of factors, most notably the technology in our hands. Many people choose to browse the internet on a phone or laptop before bed. The blue light stimulates our brains and makes it harder to go to sleep and thus we don’t shut off as quickly as we used to.

12. We Consume More Calories Than Ever Before!

loss-adjusted kcal/day per capita

The debate can rage on about which is the most harmful, sugar, fat, even carbohydrates, but the fact remains – we are eating more calories in their various forms than ever before. This is due to a range of factors, perhaps we are simply ignorant about what we should and should not be putting into our bodies, or perhaps we are tricked by the amount of calorie laden foods at our disposal, but there’s no denying the facts.

This has resulted in a change to the way our brains and our hormones work. Our modern lifestyles have disturbed our biological systems and we no longer enable our bodies to maintain a healthy level of body fat. The graph below indicates how many calories we now consume, and it’s pretty shocking.

Consider this a wake-up call. Make good nutritional choices and stock your fridge with healthy nutritious meat and veg to avoid an unhealthy weight! To help get you started why not try our super lean meat stack, click here to see what's included.