Weight Gain, Overweight, Obesity – these three words keep haunting us throughout our life. With a lot of struggle and perseverance, we bring changes in our food intake and lifestyle and push back these words to the back of our trunk. Suddenly you see them emerge out of that trunk, especially once you are on the wrong side of the biological clock, even though your lifestyle is regulated and you have your calories counted in. Wondering why this is happening with you. Science has some interesting answers to this question.
Blame it on Lipid Turnover
New research data published by Karolinska Institute in Sweden says that Lipid turnover in the fat tissue decreases once aging sets in, that means the rate at which lipid or fat in the fat cells is removed decreases and because of which we tend to gain weight, even if we do not change our daily routine. The study has been published based on study carried out in 54 men and women over an average period of 13 years.
Sarcopenia with Aging
Till we turn 30 our muscles grow larger and stronger but post that we start to lose Muscle mass and function. This is called age-related sarcopenia. 3% to 5% of our muscle mass decreases each decade after age 30. Since muscle uses more calories, loss of muscles would mean the body needs less food. So weight gain would happen if a person continues to consume the same number of calories as they did when they were younger.
Stress, Cortisol and Weight gain
With the increase in age our responsibilities and worries increases, which then takes the form of stress. This Stress then triggers the release of fight or flight response hormones like cortisol. Studies prove that cortisol can suppress body functions like digestive, immune, and reproductive responses. Also, a high level of cortisol can trigger binge eating and unhealthy snacking. All these translate to more fat getting stored primarily around our midsection.
Genetics Could Explain Why Staying Slim Is Tough
Age-related weight gain may be related to how we are wired genetically. According to New York University scientists working with mice, protein RAGE could be one of the culprits. According to them in ancient times RAGE protein helped humans to tide overstress caused by food scarcity by encouraging the body to store more food. But in newer times where stress is not caused by food starvation, the protein continues with its old job, that is to store food. This protein switches off the body’s ability to burn fat and one continues to gain weight even though one would be doing exercise.
Why menopause causes weight gain
Blame it on estrogen hormone. Through animal studies, scientists found that estrogen has a big role to play in controlling body weight. With estrogen level decreased these lab animals ate more and became less active. Reduced estrogen also led to lower metabolic rate. If the same thing is to happen in humans too, then women too would gain weight with the onset of menopause. Some evidence suggests that estrogen hormone therapy can increase a woman’s resting metabolic rate and help to slow weight gain.
So how to beat this weight gain
1. Eat More Protein and less of Carb
2. Drink plenty of Water
3. Eat more small meals and snacks. Never go longer than 3 hours without eating
4. Eat less of sugar-sweetened drinks and desserts, foods with butter and other fats, food made from refined grains
5. Include muscle-building exercises like strength training, which includes bodyweight exercises and weightlifting
Aging is a complex process and science will reveal more facts on this weight gain phenomenon in the coming years. Stay tuned to scientific updates and make appropriate changes in your lifestyle to stay fit and strong.