Not simply sugar and lack of train, however salt and dehydration are behind the weight problems epidemic.

sScientific research and media protection are filled with warnings about how sugar, carbohydrates, saturated fats and lack of train contribute to weight problems. And tens of hundreds of thousands of People are nonetheless obese or overweight largely due to the basic Western eating regimen and life-style.

As an educator, researcher, and professor of drugs, I’ve spent greater than 20 years investigating the causes of weight problems, in addition to associated circumstances corresponding to diabetes, hypertension, and power kidney illness.

Over my a few years of learning weight problems and associated well being circumstances, I’ve noticed that comparatively little is claimed about two essential items of this very complicated puzzle: lack of hydration and extreme salt consumption. Each are recognized to contribute to weight problems.

Classes discovered from a desert sand mouse

Nature gives a clue to the function these components play with the desert sand mouse. Psammomys overweight, a half-pound rodent with a high-pitched squeal that lives within the salt marshes and deserts of North Africa. It barely survives by consuming the stems of Salicornia – the glasswort – a plant that appears a bit like asparagus.

Although poor in vitamins, the fleshy, juicy sap of glass grass is stuffed with salt-rich water, in concentrations as excessive as these present in seawater.

Current research have supplied new insights into why the desert sand mouse would possibly crave the salty sap of glassware. Whereas this has not but been particularly confirmed within the sand rat, it’s doubtless {that a} high-salt eating regimen will assist the sand rat convert the comparatively low quantity of carbohydrates it’s consuming into fructose, a kind of sugar that happens naturally in fruit, honey and a few greens.

This helps the animal survive when meals and contemporary water are briefly provide. It’s because fructose prompts a “survival change” that encourages foraging, meals consumption, and the storage of fats and carbohydrates that defend the animal from hunger.

Nonetheless, when the rat is taken into captivity and given the frequent rodent eating regimen of round 50% carbohydrate, it rapidly develops weight problems and diabetes. But when given contemporary, low-carb, starchy greens, the rodent stays lean.

My analysis, and the analysis of many different scientists over the many years, reveals that many People unwittingly behave like a captive desert sand mouse, despite the fact that few are in environments the place meals and water are restricted. They’re continually flipping the survival change.

Fructose and our diets

As talked about, fructose, a easy sugar, seems to play a key function in activating this survival change that results in fats manufacturing.

Small quantities of fructose, like that present in a person fruit, aren’t the issue – it is extreme quantities of fructose which are problematic for human well being. Most of us get our fructose from desk sugar and excessive fructose corn syrup. Consumption of those two sugars makes up roughly 15% of the energy within the common American eating regimen.

These sugars encourage folks to eat extra, which may result in weight acquire, fats accumulation, and pre-diabetes.

Our our bodies additionally produce fructose on their very own – and experimental research counsel it might be sufficient to set off the event of weight problems.

Since fructose is produced from glucose, fructose manufacturing will increase when blood glucose ranges are excessive. This course of occurs after we eat numerous rice, cereal, potatoes and white bread; these are carbohydrates that quickly launch glucose into the blood rapidly.

And notably, fructose manufacturing may also be stimulated by dehydration, which drives fats manufacturing.

Learn too: Meals expiration dates do not say a lot about ‘security’. The right way to know what’s too outdated to eat

Fats gives water

Fats has two foremost capabilities. The primary, which is well-known, is storing energy for when meals shouldn’t be accessible.

The opposite essential however lesser recognized perform of fats is to offer water.

To be clear, fats doesn’t comprise water. However when fats breaks down, it generates water within the physique. The quantity produced is substantial and roughly equal to the quantity of fats burned. It’s so important that some animals depend on fats to offer water throughout instances when it isn’t accessible.

Whales are only one instance. Whereas they do drink some seawater, they get most of their water from the meals they eat. And after they go lengthy durations with out meals, they get their water primarily by metabolizing fats.

maintain the fries

The function of dehydration as a contributor to weight problems shouldn’t be underestimated. It normally happens after consuming salty meals. Each dehydration and salt consumption result in the manufacturing of fructose and fats.

That is why salty fries are particularly fattening. Salt causes a state of dehydration that encourages the conversion of potato chips starch to fructose.

As well as, research present that the majority people who find themselves obese or overweight don’t drink sufficient water. They’re much extra more likely to be dehydrated than those that are skinny. Their salt consumption can be very excessive in comparison with skinny folks.

Analysis reveals that individuals with weight problems typically have excessive ranges of vasopressin, a hormone that helps the kidneys retain water to manage urine quantity.

However latest research counsel that vasopressin has one other function, which is to stimulate fats manufacturing.

For somebody susceptible to dehydration or hunger, vasopressin could have an actual survival profit. However for these not in danger, vasopressin can drive many of the metabolic results of extra fructose, corresponding to weight acquire, fats accumulation, fatty liver and pre-diabetes.

drink extra water

So does this imply that consuming extra water may also help us shed some pounds? The medical group has typically scoffed on the declare. Nonetheless, our analysis workforce discovered that giving the mice extra water delayed weight acquire and the event of pre-diabetes, even when the mice had diets excessive in sugar and fats.

There’s additionally rising proof that most individuals drink little water basically, and growing your water consumption may also help overweight folks shed some pounds.

That is why I encourage consuming eight tall glasses of water a day. And eight is kind of doubtless; do not assume extra is best. There have been circumstances of individuals consuming a lot that “water intoxication” happens. That is significantly a problem with individuals who have coronary heart, kidney or liver issues, in addition to those that have had latest surgical procedure or are long-distance runners. It is all the time good to test together with your physician first about your water consumption.

For the desert sand mouse and our foraging ancestors, a eating regimen excessive in salt and restricted water made sense. However human beings do not dwell like that anymore. These easy measures – consuming extra water and lowering your salt consumption – supply low-cost, simple, and wholesome methods that may stop or deal with weight problems.

Richard Johnson, professor of drugs, College of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus

This text is republished from The Dialog below a Artistic Commons license. Learn the unique article.

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