The Impact of Consuming Extra Calories in Foods
It is almost too easy to consume excess calories. We live in a food-centered culture. We celebrate birthdays and weddings and funerals with events that revolve around food. Fast-food joints on every corner beckon us with their neon signs and catchy slogans. Most people work long hours and want to relax on the couch at the end of the day instead of taking a walk. The consequences, though, of eating too much and not getting enough exercise are deadly. Maintaining a healthy weight is not just about appearance. It’s about living a long life. It’s about being able to run and keep up with your kids and grand kids. The impact of consuming extra calories in foods is a greater risk for many fatal conditions.
The most obvious consequence of consuming excess calories is weight gain. If you aren’t exercising enough to burn off the calories, your body begins to store the fat. While gaining 5lbs. in 1 year might not seem like something to worry about, it’s not a habit you want to repeat continuously for 20 years. While you might hear comments about people’s bodies starting to fall apart in older age, consider the fact that many people are much more sedentary as they get older. The combination of consuming too many calories and not getting enough exercise is a volatile one that will certainly lead to weight gain.
Increased Risk of Stroke
A common way to consume too many calories is by consuming too much fat. A buildup of fat in the arteries leads to hypertension, better known as high blood pressure. Daniel Jones, in an article for the “American Journal of Hypertension,” found a strong correlation between obesity and hypertension. Hypertension is the result of plaque along the artery walls. Your heart then needs to work that much harder, but occasionally, there is a disruption in the flow of oxygen in the blood cells to the brain. This causes a stroke, which can leave you paralyzed or kill you. According to the American Stroke Association, more than 160,000 Americans will die of a stroke each year.
People who eat too much and become overweight set themselves up for developing resistance to insulin. This is how type 2 diabetes begins; the body loses its ability to regulate glucose (or blood sugar) levels. The National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP) aims to teach people that even small amounts of weight loss can reduce their chances of developing diabetes. The NDEP states that type 2 diabetes is on the rise because of the increasing numbers of overweight people in the United States. A person with diabetes has a much higher chance of stroke, heart attack, vision loss and kidney disease.
People who eat too much and don’t get enough exercise eventually become overweight. Whether it’s 5 lbs. overweight or 100 lbs. overweight, they can have a difficult time in life. In a society where the standard seems to be “the thinner, the better,” those who are overweight can face ridicule. They can have a hard time sitting in seats on airplanes or public transportation. They might judge themselves for not living up to a thin standard. They can berate themselves for not succeeding with diets. The combination of these factors can lead to overweight people battling depressive symptoms.
The American Heart Association estimates that more than 100,000 deaths every year are linked to obesity. Even being slightly overweight (as few as 10 lbs.) can predispose you to a greater chance of death as compared to your average weight peers.