Are we evolving into an obese culture? If we don’t intervene and do something about our eating habits and activity level it is inevitable. We are becoming a “fatter” society. As I mentioned before, we are genetically engineered to get fat. It is a built in survival tool that was necessary in our early evolutionary days. Now, we have an abundance of food ,but our evolutionary genes are unchanged from paleolithic times.
We are on a cultural trajectory of progressive obesity and along with that more diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, cancer, and autoimmune disease. There is a direct correlation between an individuals’ BMI(body mass index) and all of the above mentioned diseases. Add to this “toxic soup” pharmaceuticals. Antidepressants alone as a class of drugs poison metabolism more than any other drug. Poisoned metabolism leads to more obesity as the normal body’s signal to burn calories, metabolize sugars and release fat stores are artificially blunted. Thus leading to a compounding of the trend to gain weight and increased difficulty losing it.
Compared to paleo man,we are significantly physically weaker,slower and have less endurance. Average paleo man were better runners than our best marathoners. They were stronger than our strongest weight lifters.We are our own worst enemy. As we develop our culture we are creating more ways to physically do less. The computer and technology in general may become one of the greatest risks to our health as we become more sedentary.
As we age we tend to gain weight. This is primarily due to the decline in our metabolic rate. Why does this happen? One reason is the loss of hormones. As I have mentioned before, hormones are messengers. They tell cells what to do. When our hormones decline with age, some of the information they contain no longer gets transmitted to cells and therefore cell function begins to deteriorate. This is all part of the “natural” ageing process. This results in slower metabolism, less energy, decrease in muscle mass, decrease in bone density, and often seen weight gain. This weight gain is generally seen as increased fat along the waist line.(Muffin Top) The waist to hip ratio has evolved as a reliable indicator of health. An ideal ratio is under 0.8. As the waist line (aka Muffin Top) increases the ratio goes up. Higher waist to hip ratios are associated with increased incidence of diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure,certain types of cancers and stroke. The ‘Muffin Top’ is much more than just a cosmetic problem. It is a significant indicator of poor health in general!
There is controversy regarding the waist/hip ratio being a good health indicator, because as one gets fatter, both areas increase and therefore the ratio may not change significantly. A better indicator may be the waist to height ratio. As one gets fatter the waist measurement goes up but the height remains constant ,so the ratio would increase commensurate to the increase in fat deposition.
One can readily see how the fat distribution may keep the waist hip ratio stable, but not so with the waist /height ratio.
What are we to do about this? The answer lies as the foundation to the ultimate Preventive Health program.
It involves more than just diet and exercise. I have outlined previously my 5 step program to lose weight and gain health as we age.
Step 1-Healthy “Paleo” diet avoiding starch,carbs, sugars, all baked goods, pasta,cereals of all kinds, beans, rice,grains.
Step 2-Daily, strenuous CORE exercises
Step 3-Improve the health of the Digestive track. This is the key to a healthy immune system
Step 4-Detoxification. Avoiding alcohol,sugar,tobacco,and caffeine primarily along with as many industrial toxins and heavy metals as possible.
Step 5- Optimal Hormone balancing and replacement when necessary
This takes a certain amount of hard work and commitment. It doesn’t get easier. It is not something you can get in a pill as touted so often on TV shows such as Dr. Oz promoting the latest magic bullet like green coffee bean extract. Those quick fixes do not work. Again it feeds into our evolving lazy culture of trying to fix everything with technology. Mother nature knows nothing about technology. If you really want to get healthy, and that means losing the ‘Muffin Top”, you must get serious about changing your diet and lifestyle.
We are a direct manifestation of what we eat and our activity level. Just as Paleo man was stronger and leaner, because of what he had to endure to survive, we are fatter and weaker because of how technology makes our lives easier . Unfortunately, for us it translates into increased disease prevalence.
We need to respond to the effects technology has on our paleolithic genes, by maintaining our connection to the paleolithic food and lifestyle,albeit artificially.
I’m sure this is not what you wanted to hear about getting rid of the Muffin Top. But it is the best and most reliable way to do so.