By Stan Mukoro
I t may be unpalatable to the majority of us, particularly as we watch the â€˜middle-age spreadâ€™Â rolling in, but being fat is aging, whether middle-age spread or youth. If you are fat, you are old well before your time and this applies in a profound sense as well as a superficial sense.
First of all, leanness (not necessarily slenderness or slimness) is a youthful feature, being fat simply makes you look older than you are. Whatâ€™s more, if you are fat YOU MOVE IN A WAY THAT IS AGEING; you lack mobility, speed and agility. You can not get out of a chair easily or run for 2 km without getting out of breath. YOU HUFF AND PUFF whenever you have to make a physical effort. MAKE NO MISTAKE; THAT IS OLD!
It damages the vital organs, for there is an enormously increased strain on your heart, which has to pump blood around those extra kilos of weight.
Most deleterious is the fact that if you are overweight, your blood pressure rises, thereby working your heart harder. The chances are you will also have prematurely narrowed arteries and place yourself at risk of heart attack; then , there is your digestive system, which cannot work efficiently if you are over-weight; your over loaded joints which make you a candidate for arthritis as well as back problems, which restrict activity and curtail your enjoyment of life.
Being fat cripples your metabolism; the pancreas (the gland that produces insulin) is overworked in people who are obese, largely because eating too many calories exhaust insulin supplies.
High calorie intake results in high blood sugar, something that can only be normalized by an increased output of insulin. A pancreas that is stressed for years becomes little exhausted or unable to keep pace with the continuously high blood sugar.
This is adult or mature-onset type-2-diabetes. Obesity in children and teenagers is epidemic, so we now have â€œadultâ€ type diabetes in children under ten. Simply lowering your calorie intake is sufficient to cure type-2-diabetes in people whose pancreas can still produce a little insulin, calorie restriction is the only treatment required.
It is important to bring type-2 diabetes under control because diabetes is TRULY AGEING (it shortens your life); untreated diabetes promotes many diseases, such as kidney disease and heart disease.
INSULIN RESISTANCE: Not only does high calorie intake result in obesity, it also leads to something called INSULIN RESISTANCE. Insulin has many functions, but one of its main jobs is to help cells take up sugar from the blood to use for various body functions that need energy. When cells fail to absorb sugar from the blood, sugar level rise, triggering the pancreas to pour out more insulin. You end up with not only consistently high blood sugar, but also high blood insulin.
The higher the blood sugar level soars, the more insulin your body produces and the more resistant to insulin you become. Insulin resistance can push you into type-2 diabetes; and with high insulin level, you crave sweet food. You over eat and binge too, so you find yourself in a vicious circle, where your appetite and your weight are beyond control.
KEEP INSULIN LEVEL DOWN: Preventing your level of insulin from rising too high, keeps your heart healthy.
Here is what you can do:
1. CONTROL YOUR WEIGHT:
If you are overweight, simply losing 20 percent of your weight could help you avoid insulin resistance. The heavier you are and the less active you are, the more insulin resistance you are likely to be. As a rule of thumb, being 40 percent over your ideal weight suppresses the ability of your insulin to clear blood sugar by about the same amount.
2. WATCH YOUR SHAPE:
Your tendency to develop insulin resistance (heart disease and stroke) increases if your weight is on the upper part of your body (APPLE SHAPE).
3. DONâ€™T EAT SUGARY FOOD:
Sugary refined carbohydrates increase the load on your insulin system. Your blood sugar soars and your insulin rises. Donâ€™t forget that sugar is found in fruit juice, honey and much in some type of fruits; too much of these would overload your system.
4. AVOID ANIMAL FAT: Insulin can raise level of dangerous fats in the blood; so itâ€™s best to eat healthy fats (fish oil, olive oil, flaxseed oil etc).
5. EAT LITTLE AND OFTEN: After big meals, your blood sugar rockets and your insulin with it. Insulin levels are much higher, if you eat a few large meals rather than many small meals. Eating most of your calories on too few occasions leads to a yo-yoing of your blood sugar. The more small meals you can eat a day, the steadier your blood sugar will be and therefore the steadier your insulin level.
6.Â SPICE OF LIFE:
Cinnamon, cloves, turmeric and bay leaves seem to stimulate insulin efficiency so that your body does not have to make much insulin.
7. EAT VITAMIN AND MINERAL-RICH FOODS: Vitamin E and chromium increase insulinâ€™s ability to do its job. Vitamin E is found in oats, seeds, whole grains, broccoli and lobster; while mushrooms contain chromium.