Profe Claudio Nieto analyzes a topic that everyone finds interesting: why do we gain weight? The explanation focuses on the evolution of primitive man. By understanding these concepts, you will not only learn details about your body, but also about weight gain. In today’s episode, we will delve into why we gain weight from an evolutionary perspective. I want you to understand the reasons behind your physiology and metabolism that cause your body to decide to store more fat in certain circumstances. This is a chapter in a series where we will explore fat loss and lay the groundwork for understanding future episodes. It is essential to deeply understand how your body works and how your context can influence your process.
Let’s start by talking about your brain. Although it represents only about 2% of your body weight, it consumes approximately 20% of the body’s calories, which is equivalent to one-fifth. However, your brain doesn’t know that nowadays we have access to many calories at home, in the fridge, and in the pantry. For most of our evolution as Homo sapiens, food was not abundant. Our brain developed in an environment of food scarcity, which means that the ability to store fat was crucial for survival.
If we hadn’t had energy reserves for times of famine, we may not have survived as a species. That’s why today we have facilities for gaining weight. Our genes are programmed to save energy, and this combines with easy access to calorie-rich foods that are delicious to our taste buds and do not require physical activity to obtain them. Evolution led us to develop larger and more sophisticated brains that consume a lot of calories due to their complexity and efficiency.
However, this development also made us more prone to gaining weight, as we need to store energy to fuel our brains during times of scarcity. The way we store this fat is influenced by hormones and differs between men and women. Men tend to accumulate fat around the abdomen, near the viscera, which can be detrimental to long-term health. In contrast, women, due to hormones like estrogen, tend to store fat in the hips and buttocks, which is less harmful and can be useful during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
When menopause arrives and estrogen levels decrease, women may experience a change in fat distribution, becoming more prone to accumulating visceral fat, which increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Understanding physiology is crucial to understanding why our bodies store fat and how we can effectively lose it. Extreme diets and miracle supplements are not the solution, as they trigger survival responses in our bodies that can sabotage our weight loss efforts. Your hypothalamus, a key part of your brain, plays a fundamental role in regulating appetite and metabolism.
If you try to lose weight drastically, your body will react by generating hormones like adrenaline and leptin to increase appetite and reduce energy expenditure. This can lead to a rebound effect, where you regain the lost weight and even gain more. It is important to understand that your body is only seeking survival and is not concerned about your aesthetics or happiness. When your brain perceives a threat to survival due to rapid weight loss, it activates defense mechanisms that can be difficult to overcome.
So, in summary, extreme diets are not the solution for losing fat in a healthy and sustainable way. Instead, it is important to understand the physiology of your body and work on a balanced and realistic approach to weight loss. If you enjoyed this episode, share it with friends, family, or workout buddies. I am Claudio Nieto. I’ll see you in future episodes where we will explore more about fat loss and how to approach this process effectively and safely. See you soon!
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