A different way of viewing weight loss identifies the problem as not one of consuming too many calories, but rather the way the body accumulates fat after consuming carbohydrates—in particular the role of the hormone insulin. When you eat a meal, carbohydrates from the food enter your bloodstream as glucose. In order to keep your blood sugar levels in check, your body always burns off this glucose before it burns off fat from a meal.
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Unfortunately, metabolic compensation isn’t your body’s only strategy to prevent weight loss or encourage weight gain. Hunger hormones – leptin and ghrelin – are also at play. Fat cells produce leptin, which tells your brain when you’re full. Fat cells also shrink when you lose weight, producing less leptin and meaning you don’t feel as full. Strike one. Ghrelin, produced by the stomach, tells the brain it’s time to refuel. When you lose weight, ghrelin levels rise, prompting you to want to eat more frequently. Strike two. Research suggests that neither leptin levels nor ghrelin levels return to a normal baseline for at least a year.
According to the American Heart Association, losing as little as five to ten pounds in overweight people may help lower blood pressure. Research clearly supports this link. With extra weight, your body has to work harder to pump blood, which can damage blood vessels and harden the arteries. “Being obese also increases the body’s demand for oxygen and increases blood volume,” says Ali Webster, PhD, RD, associate director of nutrition communications for the International Food Information Council Foundation. Try these 42 fast, easy tips to lose weight.