Proliferation of obesity

Obesity refers to an increased body weight due to too much fatty tissue. That affects more and more Europeans. According to a WHO report from 2010, over 50 percent of people in Europe are overweight or obese and about 20 percent obese. Nevertheless, overweight is seen primarily as a cosmetic problem rather than a disease with significant health risks and costs.

energy budget

What happens in our digestive tract after eating can be simplified as follows: The main nutrients are decomposed by digestive enzymes into their smallest constituents, carbohydrates in sugar building blocks, proteins in amino acids and fats in fatty acids. These enter the bloodstream via the stomach and intestines and finally end up in our cells, where they serve as building materials and substitutes or as energy sources.

Energy generation and storage

The provision of the energy required by our body takes place through combustion (oxidation) of the nutrients and is subject to a strict ranking. Alcohol is burned first because the body has no storage mechanism for alcohol calories. Carbohydrates are burned secondarily. As glucose, they are the most important fuel of our body, especially our brain. If we eat carbohydrate-rich foods, the glucose level will rise more or less quickly, depending on the length of the carbohydrate chain (fast-acting single or dual sugars and complex carbohydrates).

The pancreas, which controls the blood sugar, sends the hormone insulin into the blood to normalize the sugar level. The excess glucose is transported into the muscle and liver stores (total storage capacity about 500 grams) and stored as starch (glycogen). From here it can be retrieved very easily when needed, that is to say at too low a glucose level.

If the carbohydrate supply is too high, our body converts the surplus into fat. So we can get fat without eating fat. The protein utilization is relatively constant. To cover your daily needs, 1 gram of protein per kilogram of body weight is recommended. If you eat less than 50 to 60 grams as part of a diet, the body uses its own proteins. This can cause a reduction in muscle mass.

Turn fat into body fat

Fat burning is the last step in the energy-providing oxyidation hierarchy. It only becomes necessary when the supply of carbohydrates (glucose) alone is insufficient. When the body's energy needs are met by carbohydrate oxidation, the absorbed fat is completely converted into body fat and stored. The storage capacity for fat is very high. It is even at normal weight 150 times the daily intake. If the carbohydrates that are consumed are insufficient to meet the energy requirements, dietary fat is oxidized. The fat deposits are only attacked when the energy consumption is higher than the supply from the food. The added fat determines only the stored fat calories and not the burnt ones.

Every energy surplus goes into our fat cells as a depot. A daily excess of only 22 kcal (equivalent to eg 1/13 hamburger) results in a surplus of about 8, 000 kcal and a weight gain of one kilogram within one year.

weight loss

To maintain your body weight, you need to adjust your energy intake to your needs. If you want to lose weight, you need to give your body less energy than it consumes.

Thus, the organism is forced to resort to its reserves. In his "famine", he first makes use of the readily available glucose reserves. He gets the missing calories from the glycogen stores of muscles and liver. Since each glycogen unit is bound to several molecules of water, the body loses a lot of water when it burns.

Then he begins with the removal of valuable body protein. At the beginning of a diet you lose weight, but no fat. It is not a true weight loss. Degradation of fat from fat tissue begins only after about a week of dieting. The weight is now slower than in the first days.

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