The 10 Things That Will Cause You to Be Fat

It's well known that poor food choices and sedentary lifestyles are the two most likely causative factors of the current epidemic of obesity.

But many scientists believe that other factors must also be involved in such a sudden and dramatic rise in obesity over the last few decades. A group of 20 obesity experts has determined the 10 most plausible additional explanations, which include:

Not enough sleep:

People who sleep less than seven hours a night tend to have a higher body mass index (BMI) than people who sleep more. This could be because sleep deprivation alters metabolism. Leptin, the hormone that signals satiety, falls while ghrelin, which signals hunger, rises -- and this boosts appetite.

Prenatal effects:

Children of obese mothers are much more likely to become obese themselves. While this is likely due in part to genetics, there is also evidence of "intrauterine programming."

New drugs:

Many types of drugs, including neuroleptics, anticonvulsants, antihypertensives, protease inhibitors, and diabetes medications, have been shown to cause weight gain.


Low levels of industrial chemicals such as pesticides, dyes, resins and solvents can lead to weight gain. Mice given small amounts of the pesticide dieldrin more than doubled their body fat, and hexachlorobenzene, another pesticide, caused rats to gain weight even when they only ate half as much.

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

If these causes of weight gain sound very familiar, it may be because most are variables I've covered here previously. Of the ones above and the several more in the article itself, I've discussed:

Lack of sleep

If you sleep less than six hours per night you will radically decrease the sensitivity of your insulin receptors, which will raise your insulin levels. This is a surefire way to gain weight as the insulin will seriously impair your body's ability to burn and digest fat. It will also increase your risk of diabetes.

Using drugs

A surprising number of prescription drugs have weight gain as one of their side effects. Popular drugs like beta blockers and birth control pills are good examples.


This is a surprising one, but long-term exposure to many of the chemicals in our environment have recently been strongly associated with weight gain. Pervasive fire-retardant chemicals like PDBEs are a good example.

Stopping smoking

While this is a good thing overall, it is very common for this to cause weight gain. I helped my sister stop smoking 20 years ago and she has never been able to lose the 100 pounds she gained after stopping.

However, what the article refers to as "The Big Two" -- sedentary living and a lack of exercise and making unhealthy food choices -- are undoubtedly the biggest factors in the epidemic of obesity sweeping the United States and other industrialized nations.

Exercise and nutrition go hand-in-hand. There is no doubt that both physical activity and a proper diet can:

  • Help treat health problems
  • Lower your risk for diseases
  • Help you live a long life full of energy and passion

One of the most important factors in helping you achieve good health is to have a diet based on eating the right foods for your specific genetics and biochemistry. One of the ways you can determine this is through nutritional typing.

The foods that may be healthy for others are not necessarily healthy for you, and vice-versa. Thus, eating according to your specific type is the proven way to ascertain which foods work best for you.

Also, controlling your insulin levels is important to optimize your health. You see, when you eat grains and sugar your insulin levels increase. When insulin levels increase, you are telling your body to store carbohydrates as fat and to not release any of the stored fat. (This makes it very difficult for you to use your own stored body fat for energy.)

So the excess carbohydrates in your diet not only make you GAIN WEIGHT, they make sure you keep that weight on. By cutting grains and sugars from your diet you will not only tame your weight but also fight illnesses.

A daily exercise routine is another main factor in accomplishing optimal wellness. The key to exercising is to make sure you are using it effectively. By doing so, you will ensure all your hard efforts are not wasted and are having a positive effect on your body. To aid you in your exercise efforts, there are three important variables to keep in mind:

  • Length of time
  • Frequency
  • Intensity

I encourage my patients to gradually increase the amount of time they are exercising to one hour a day. Initially the frequency is daily. This is a treatment dose until you normalize your weight or insulin levels. Once normalized, you will only need to exercise three to four times a week.

You should exercise hard enough so that it is difficult to talk to someone next to you. However, if you cannot carry on a conversation AT ALL, then you have gone too far and need to decrease the intensity.

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