5 Sneaky Reasons You May Be Gaining Weight (And What To Do About It)

2. It’s Not Just About “How Much” You Eat

As noted in a recent article by investigative health reporter Martha Rosenberg,2 the weight of the average American increased by 24 pounds in the four decades between 1960 and 2000.

In her article, she reviews five scientifically-backed factors that contribute to Americans’ expanding waist lines, which I’ll review here. I’ve also covered all of these more in-depth in previous articles, so for additional details, please follow the hyperlinks provided.

Contrary to popular belief, obesity is not simply the result of eating too many calories and not exercising enough.

While those are part of the equation, there are a number of other environmental and lifestyle factors that are likely to play a much more significant role, if nothing else because most people don’t realize they’re affected by them, and therefore fail to address them.

Antibiotics in Food and Medicine

Compelling evidence suggests antibiotic overuse and obesity are intricately linked, although the reasons why didn’t become clear until we discovered how your microbiome influences your weight.

Antibiotics can save your life if they’re necessary, such as if you develop a serious bacterial infection, but you don’t need antibiotics for every ear, nose, or throat infection you come down with.

Remember that antibiotics are useless against the viral infections that cause the common cold and the flu, and when used for this purpose, they will only harm your health by wiping out the good bacteria in your gut.

Beneficial bacteria (probiotics) are, in fact, so crucial to your health that researchers have compared them to “a newly recognized organ,” and have even suggested we consider ourselves a type of “meta-organism.”

This is an acknowledgment of the fact that we cannot be healthy without the participation of a vast array of beneficial microbes. While overused in medicine, the primary source of antibiotic exposure is actually through your diet.

The US uses nearly 30 million pounds of antibiotics each year to raise food animals.34 This accounts for about 80 percent of all antibiotics used in the US.5 In livestock, antibiotics are used both to ward off disease and to promote weight gain.

Research suggests antibiotics have the same effect in humans. According to data analyzed by journalist Maryn McKenna,6 the states with the highest levels of antibiotic overuse also have the worst health status in the United States, including the highest rates of obesity.

—> NEXT: Other Growth-Enhancing Drugs Used in Livestock