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Obesity is an epidemic that continues to grow. Health experts predict nearly 25% of the world population will be obese by 2045 and 1 in 8 will have type 2 diabetes. In the US, obesity rates have already surpassed 30% of the population. Many may blame their genetics but a new study out of Kings College in London says poor diet is the much bigger culprit.
The study looked at 500 pairs of identical twins and explored the chemical reactions that took place in their guts and the effects that had on fat development in the body. An analysis of biomarkers--molecules, genes, or characteristics that caused fat to build at the waist--found only 18% of the process in the gut that controlled fat storage was hereditary.
ER physician Dr. Travis Stork says this is an exciting breakthrough. The findings mean factors like lifestyle and diet are way more important in controlling weight. Plastic surgeon Dr. Andrew Ordon adds this supports the fact that you can make changes and don't need to think your weight is predetermined by your genetics.
As a parent, you do influence your children's eating habits, so it would make sense that the same family would have similar weight issues, but it's not genetics that is truly to blame. Dr. Travis recommends everyone increase fiber and try to eat at least one probiotic food per day to have a healthy gut microbiome, which is important to overall weight management. Yogurt, kimchi, kombucha, and sauerkraut are all great, probiotic-containing foods.
What you eat not only affects your weight but also could determine how long you live. The Doctors share the findings of another study out of Harvard University where researches said if everyone switched to a vegetarian diet, one-third of early deaths might be avoided; that's one million American lives annually.
Thirty million deaths per year are classified as preventable. Poor diet, smoking and obesity are all factors you can control. Vegetarians who aren't eating processed foods are getting more vitamins, nutrients, fiber, good fats, and anti-inflammatory elements into their systems.
If you are someone who could never give up meat, that's okay! Dr. Travis promotes a flexitarian diet where you eat vegetarian part of the time. He says he doesn't bring any meat into his home but when eating out, he will have it from time to time. Every little change helps. OB/GYN Dr. Nita Landry says she'll try to start by doing "Meatless Mondays." What do you say, are you willing to swap a hamburger for a veggie burger to live longer?