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Dieting Can Bring You a Lot More Than Just Weight Loss!

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Humans get diseases. That’s not news, of course.  What is also not news is that your weight has a big impact on the risk of developing certain diseases.  Oftentimes, we turn to prescribed medications and over-the-counter drugs to deal with these diseases.  However, we often overlook the fact that changing our diets to lose weight and improving the diet’s nutritional content can often provide as many or even more benefits than prescription medications can bring.  At the very least, improving our nutritional intake can often make medications prescribed by a doctor more effective, and in doing so, improve our chances of battling and overcoming certain diseases.

You can lower your risk of developing a number of diseases through nutrition and by maintaining a healthy weight. These diseases  include cancer, Type II diabetes,  heart disease, and osteoporosis. There is also a relationship between gluten intolerance and weight.

 Cancer

There is a definite link between cancer and being overweight, though the biological reason for this link is still being researched.  The types of cancers linked include breast cancer, colon cancer, kidney cancer and esophagus cancer.2  Additional research indicates that there may also be a link between being overweight or obese and cancer of the prostate and lung.

One of the research difficulties is the fact the strategies you use to lose weight may be what actually reduces the risk of cancer as opposed to maintaining a lower weight. In other words, eating healthy, low-fat, and low sugar foods in a balanced diet in addition to getting plenty of exercise appear to lower the risk of cancer. The benefits of these strategies include weight loss.

As many as half of all breast cancers are found in menopausal women who are obese. Another sobering fact is that obese women are also more likely to die from breast cancer than those who are not obese. Obesity also increases the risk of uterine cancer in women.2

By eating a healthy diet to lose weight and adding exercise to your lifestyle, you can achieve the following:

  • Lower your risk of developing many types of cancers
  • Feel better physically, mentally, and emotionally
  • Maintain your strength and energy levels
  • Maintain your weight

You need the right combination of water, minerals, vitamins, proteins, carbohydrates, and fats in order to give your body the best chance of fighting off the cancer. Without water, your body’s cells will not be able to function.  Without enough water, you can become dehydrated, which can put extra strain on your body.  While eating foods provides some water, you should be drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day to ensure that your cells have all of the fluids they need to keep your body in top shape. Drinking water will also help you feel full so you’re not tempted to break your diet.

Minerals and vitamins are needed in small amounts in order to help the body to grow strong and to stay strong. Essential vitamins are those the body cannot manufacture like A, D, E and C.  Many people can get enough vitamins and minerals via the foods they eat, but those who need greater amounts due to health problems can purchase supplements in pill and liquid forms.

Protein is one of the macronutrients needed by your body.  The protein is broken down by the body to be used to help repair skin, bones, muscles, and blood.  This enables your body to keep its immune system strong and fight off infection more easily.  A healthy immune system is important for maintaining energy levels.

Carbohydrates are a second macronutrient.  Your body uses carbohydrates to ensure the proper functioning of your organs and to endure the physical demands placed upon your body. Carbohydrates should be consumed in the form of high nutrient complex carb foods like whole grain breads.

Fats are a third source that provides the calories that are needed by your body.  Your body uses fats to transplant some vitamins throughout the bloodstream, to insulate your body tissues, and to store extra energy. However, the type of fat you eat can contribute to obesity. A high fat, low fiber diet also increases your risk of developing colon cancer.

 Diabetes

Did you know that almost 80 percent of people who have type 2 diabetes are also obese?  People who eat high fat diets not only put on weight. They also trigger aberrant glucose metabolism which leads to type 2 diabetes. The more fat cells a person has, the more insulin resistance they have, which is the primary issue in type 2 diabetes. Losing weight by eating a low carbohydrate, low glycemic index diet can significantly lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

 Gluten Intolerance

 Is there a link between gluten intolerance and being overweight or obese? There is still a lot of research to do in this area, but there is a definite connection established between eating disorders and celiac disease.  Gluten intolerance or Celiac disease is intolerance to the gluten protein found in wheat, barley and rye. It can cause serious digestive problems and problems with nutrient intake in the intestines.

People who have gluten intolerance can control the reaction to the protein by eliminating foods that contain gluten.  When converting to a gluten free diet, it is common for people to put on weight for two reasons. First is the fact their digestive system begins to work better and absorbs more nutrients leading to weight gain. Second, it is tempting for people on restricted diets to eat foods that are not healthy to make themselves feel less deprived.

If you have gluten intolerance or Celiac disease, you will want to work closely with a nutritionist to develop a balanced gluten free diet. If you have put on a lot of weight because of overcompensating for being gluten restricted then it will be important for you to follow a balanced meal plan that does not include high fat and high sugar foods.

 Heart Disease

 The link between obesity and heart disease is well established through medical research. Obesity creates an altered metabolic profile and alters cardiac structures and function in people who are overweight or obese. As a result, you are more likely to experience heart failure, heart disease, or sudden death due to cardiac complications.4

By eating a heart healthy diet of fruits, vegetables, low fat and low sugar foods, while including complex carbohydrates and proteins, you can lose weight and restore normal metabolic functioning. This will significantly reduce your chances of developing heart disease or high blood pressure which can lead to heart disease.

 Osteoporosis

There is a relationship between obesity and osteoporosis according to the most recent medical research. Accounting for the additional weight load of excess weight on bones, increasing fat mass can lead to less bone mass and eventually osteoporosis.5

For many years it was not believed there was a connection between obesity and osteoporosis, but that belief is being thoroughly tested right now by researchers around the world. A presentation at the European Congress on Osteoporosis and Osteoarthritis in 2011 has documented the fact that there is a high prevalence of post menopausal women with fragility fracture who also are obese.

What is known is that people who are overweight or obese often lack essential nutrients, like calcium, needed for good health, including strong bones.6 A good weight loss program will include a balance of nutrients and that includes the ones needed for a healthy skeletal system like vitamin D and calcium.

 Proper Nutrition Can Help You Fight Disease

Medications and treatments are not the only remedies against diseases and disorders such as cancer, diabetes, gluten intolerance, and osteoporosis.  Losing weight and nutrition can play a vital role in making your body as strong as possible to battle these diseases and disorders.  By taking steps to improve your nutritional intake, you stand a better chance of fighting off the disease or disorder and its effects on your body.

References

1 Calle, Eugenia E and Michael J Thun (2004). Obesity and Cancer. Oncogene , 23, pp. 6365-6378.

2 Obesity and Cancer: Questions and Answers. (2011). Retrieved from National Cancer Institute: www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Risk/obesity

3 Paresh Dandona, A. A. (2003). Inflammation: the link between insulin resistance, obesity and diabetes. Trends in Immunology ,v 25 (1).

 4 Dudina, Alexandra; Marie Therese Cooney; Dirk De Bacquer et. al. Relationship between body mass index, cardiovascular mortality, and risk factors: a report from the SCORE Investigators. (2011 October)  European Journal of Cardiovascular Prevention & Rehabilitation, v 18 (5), 731-742.

5Zhao, Lan-Juan; Yong-Jun Lie; Peng-Yuan Lie et.al Relationship of obesity with osteoporosis. (2007 February 13) Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. V 92 (5), pp. 1640-1646.

6Calcium: Build Strong Bones – Home – Virginia Cooperative Extension. (2009, May 1). From Virginia Cooperative Extension: pubs.ext.vt.edu/348/348-019/348-019.html

DISCLAIMER

The content provided on this site is for informational purposes only. Our content is not medical advice and you should seek a licensed physician or health professional regarding all health issues. WEIGHTLOSS.US takes no responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, or application of medication which results from reading this site.