More than half a billion people worldwide are obese, but our weight is the result of many factors and junk food isn’t always to blame. We at Bright Side decided to investigate causes of becoming overweight and obese, and we collected results of multiple scientific studies. Here are nine surprising causes of weight gain that you should know about.
1. Avoiding family meals
Studies show that family meals can protect us from obesity and becoming overweight. The reason is that coming together for meals may provide opportunities for emotional connections between family members and encourage healthy eating habits. According to the results of studies, children who shared family meals at least three times a week were 24% more likely to eat healthy foods than those who shared mealtimes less often.
2. Year of birth
If you were born after 1942, pay attention. Researchers found that your obesity risk largely depends on your birth year. People with an obesity-prone mutation of the FTO (fat mass and obesity-associated) gene are more likely to be overweight if they were born after 1942.
3. Classical music in restaurants
A study has found that more food and coffee are consumed in restaurants where classical music is played in the background. Something for you to consider if you also want to reduce your spending.
4. Working at night
People are programmed to sleep when there is no light and eat during the day. Working at night makes you gain weight because it breaks the physiological cycle, causing a decrease in total daily energy expenditure. If you work at night the solution to prevent weight gain is to eat less.
5. Too little sleep
It is scientifically proven that a lack of sleep makes you fat. The explanation is that sleep plays an important role in energy metabolism, so when we don’t sleep enough we eat more as it’s a physiological adaptation mechanism to maintain wakefulness.
6. Environmental pollution
Exposure to certain environmental pollutants was shown to increase the risk of obesity. The reason is that some contaminants build up in fatty tissue. These contaminants reach the body through foods high in fat, such as meats and fatty fish.
7. Watching too much TV
Spending more than two hours sitting in front of the TV every day increases the risk of obesity by 23%. Sleeping with the TV on also increases the risk. According to a study, exposure to artificial light at night, while we sleep, reduces levels of melatonin, a hormone that protects us from metabolic disorders that cause obesity and diabetes.
8. Stress, depression, anxiety…
Women that suffer from post-traumatic stress gain weight faster and are more prone to obesity than those who do not go through this situation. But there is good news: when decreasing the symptoms of this disorder, the risk of obesity is greatly reduced. On the other hand, more than half of people react to stress by eating, especially foods high in fats and sugars. The scientific explanation is that this kind of food has an influence on the brain’s reward center.
9. Eating ‘low-fat’ foods
One study concluded that eating high-fat dairy correlates with a lower risk of developing central obesity, as these are more satiating than fat-free or light products. In addition, studies say that many products advertised as low-fat have more calories than those which are not.