Study Shows our Bodies are Becoming Resistant to Weight Loss

Bad news, it’s more difficult to lose weight now than it was 30 years ago. Yes, not only are more Americans obese than ever before, but our guts are starting to fight back.

According to a new study published by York University, researchers examined the dietary data of 36,400 Americans between 1971 and 2008 and the physical activity data of 14,419 people between 1988 and 2006. They found that an American adult is now 10% heavier than his/her counterpart, even when they had the same diet and exercise regime.

It’s also getting more difficult to lose that extra 10% weight gain.

“Our study results suggest that if you are 25, you’d have to eat even less and exercise more than those older, to prevent gaining weight,” Jennifer Kuk, a professor of kinesiology and health science at Toronto’s York University, said in a statement. “However, it also indicates there may be other specific changes contributing to the rise in obesity beyond just diet and exercise”.


Why exactly we are all now 10% heavier than our 1970s and 1980s counterparts isn’t exactly known, but Kuk suggested three possible reasons.

All those tasty chemicals in our food. We’re all exposed to more chemicals in our environment, from pesticides to food packaging and preservatives, and those chemicals could be altering or hormones. Another possible factor, is the rise of prescription drugs. People are popping antidepressents like Prozac a lot more now than they were in 1970s, and many of those drugs have weight gain side effects.

The final theory on why it is just a little more difficult to lose weight today: your gut is working against you. Scientists believe that our microbiomes (gut bacteria) might have changed over the last few decades. Some people are simply more likely to gain weight because of their microbiomes, and those microbiomes could now be present in a larger percentage of the population. We are eating more meat than ever before – especially chicken – and to keep up with that high demand, much of our meat is treated with hormones and antibiotics in order to promote growth. It just so happens that the extra growth in chicken breasts is carrying over to us. Factor in the higher use of artificial sweeteners, and we’ve got a lot of factors working to build up our microbiomes.

“If our research is correct, you need to eat even less and exercise even more”, said Kuk. Ugh.

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