Are You Digging Your Grave with a Fork and Spoon?

Health Benefits of Weight Loss

The Ideal Protein® program isn't just about making you look better. Weight loss has many health benefits.

Obesity is a risk factor for numerous medical conditions.  Losing weight can reduce those risks. If you already have these conditions, weight loss can improve many of them. Patients are often able to reduce or stop medications used for some of these conditions.*

*Results may vary. Do not use this information as a substitute for a physician consultation. Please read this disclaimer.

The following medical problems are associated with obesity:

  • Hypertension (high blood pressure),
  • Diabetes and pre-diabetes,
  • Hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol and triglycerides),
  • Syndrome X (also called Metabolic Syndrome)(scroll down to learn more),
  • Heart attacks,
  • Strokes,
  • Arthritis (wear and tear to weight-bearing joints, knees in particular)
  • Back pain,
  • Cancer (scroll down to learn more),
  • Sleep apnea and snoring,
  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome,
  • Blood clots,
  • Acne,
  • Varicose veins,
  • Lymphedema,
  • Lipodermatosclerosis (thick brown leathery skin usually on the shins)

Syndrome X

This refers to a medical condition in which two or more of the following problems occur:

  • Obesity
  • High blood pressure
  • Insulin resistance
  • High cholesterol/triglycerides

In many Syndrome X patients, all four problems co-exist.

Syndrome X is a killer. It results in heart attacks, strokes, and kidney failure. 

To properly understand it, you need to understand how insulin works and what insulin resistance means. 

Insulin and Insulin Resistance

Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas. Its primary function is to regulate blood sugar levels. When sugar levels are high, the pancreas releases insulin to bring the level back down. It does this by helping sugar get into cells so it can be burned for energy.

The second function of insulin is to hold fat in fat cells. 

Think of insulin as a key. It unlocks all types of cells to allow sugar to enter, and it locks fat cells to keep fat from exiting.

The more fat you have, the more insulin you need to lock that fat in. If you're carrying 40 pounds of fat around, your body is constantly being flooded with excessive insulin. If you're with me so far, you might be thinking that this excess of insulin would drop your blood sugar too far. And you'd be right, except that the body compensates for the excess insulin. And that's where insulin resistance comes in.

In order to prevent too much sugar leaving the blood, cells "down-regulate". They decrease their sensitivity to insulin. It takes more insulin to have the same effect. Cells become insulin resistant.

The problem is that only muscle cells seem to become resistant. Other organs like kidneys, ovaries, and adrenal glands maintain their sensitivity to insulin. The high levels of insulin continue to act on these other organs, and this has undesirable consequences. The best understood of these is that insulin makes the kidneys hold onto sodium, and this leads to high blood pressure. 

Another well understood effect is that insulin affects a clotting factor called PAI (plasminogen activator inhibitor) and this increases the risk of blood clots. 

Cancer

In 2001 a landmark study was published in Sweden. Researchers followed 28,000 people who were overweight or obese for up to 30 years (the study started in 1965). They found an overall increase in cancer rates of 33%: 25% in men and 37% in women. 

Here is a list of cancers with increased risk. The numbers in brackets are the ratio of increased risk. For example, pancreas (1.5), which means that overweight and obese people get pancreatic cancer 1.5 times (150%) more often than normal weight people.

Hodgkin's Lymphoma in men only (3.3)
Endometrium (2.9)
Small intestine (2.8) 
Liver (2.4)
Kidney (2.3)
Larynx (2.1)
Gallbladder (1.6)
Brain (1.5)
Pancreas (1.5)
Lymphoma (1.4)
Cervix (1.4)
Colon (1.3)
Leukemia (1.2)
Bladder (1.2)
Ovary (1.2)
Thyroid (1.2)
Breast (1.1)

Young age of onset of obesity increases the risk. If obesity started between age 14 and 19, the cancer risk doubles.

The exact reason that cancer risk is increased is unknown. In some cases it might relate to increased estrogen levels because fat cells make estrogen.

Obesity also makes it harder to find cancer (x-rays are obscured and large people don't fit in CT and MRI scanners).

Obesity also makes it harder to treat cancer. Chemotherapy doses are usually based on body surface area. In obese people, this could result in incorrect dosing. Surgery to remove tumors is much more difficult and dangerous in obese patients.

Take charge of your health today! Call to book your Ideal Protein consultation.

(905) 853-3200 

 

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