Life & Style | Health

Six surprising things that make you fat

The reasons why you’re struggling to keep off the pounds may not be as obvious as you think.

  • Realbuzz
  • Published: 13:18 November 19, 2012
  • Friday

  • Image Credit: Supplied picture
  • 'Healthy’ cereal bars can contain as much fat, sugar and calories as an average chocolate bar.

Realbuzz.com

From that 3pm trip to the snack machine to those evenings curled up on the sofa with your favourite treat, we all know the major culprits when it comes to gaining weight. However, the reasons why you’re struggling to keep off the pounds may not be as obvious as you think. To rid yourself of sneaky diet spoilers, check out these 7 surprising things that make you fat.

Surprising thing that makes you fat: Diet foods
You’ve cleared your cupboards of junk food, stocked up on smoothies and cereal bars, and now you’re feeling pretty good. However, those seemingly innocent diet foods nestling in your cupboards could actually be causing you to gain weight. Many foods claiming to be diet-friendly are actually hidden calorie traps packed with sugar and syrups. In fact, ‘healthy’ cereal bars can contain as much fat, sugar and calories as an average chocolate bar. Research by the Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio also found that those who consumed diet drinks daily experienced a 70 per cent greater increase in waist circumference than those who drank none.

Surprising thing that makes you fat: Late nights
Most of us lead busy lives, and this could mean that sleep becomes a last priority. However, a study by researchers at the University of Washington found that getting less than seven hours of sleep a night was linked to a higher body weight. They also found that the longer a person sleeps, the less impact the obesity gene has on an individual’s weight. For a quick and easy way to keep off the pounds, try to skip your favourite TV show or night out every once in a while and catch up on your sleep instead.

Surprising thing that makes your fat: Your to-do list
As well as causing you to miss out on sleep, having a hectic daily to-do list can also lead to feelings of anxiety and stress, which can quickly pile on the pounds. Cortisol – the stress hormone – not only increases your appetite, but studies have suggested that it can also affect fat distribution so that it is stored on the abdomen; leading to an unhealthy ‘apple’ shape. Furthermore, a busy lifestyle can also lead to erratic eating patterns and a reliance on unhealthy fast foods. Try to opt for healthy filling snacks instead to fuel your busy day, and make sure you take some time each day to relax and unwind.

Surprising thing that makes you fat: Food sensitivities
While few of us have serious life-threatening allergies to food, many people unknowingly suffer from intolerances and sensitivities to certain foods which can cause a wide range of vague symptoms such as stomach pain, bloating and skin problems. Shockingly, food sensitivities could also be to blame if you are struggling to lose weight. When you eat foods you are sensitive to, they trigger a reaction in the body which increases levels of insulin and cortisol; two hormones which increase fat storage, particularly around the abdomen. Furthermore, our body’s reaction to food sensitivities can also, ironically, create an addiction to the foods we are sensitive to, causing us to crave them more.

Related Links

Surprising thing that makes you fat: Your job
Whether you’re being tempted by staff meeting refreshments, celebrating a colleague’s birthday with cake and treats, attending business lunches or being inundated with edible gifts from grateful patients or parents, your workplace can be a source of constant food temptation, and there can be a lot of peer pressure to indulge. Furthermore, if you’re in a job that you don’t enjoy, the temptation to treat yourself is even higher. According to researchers, 62 per cent of people break their diets mid-afternoon (with 3.23pm being the time when you are most likely to give into temptation), and this is generally due to workplace stress or boredom.

Surprising thing that makes you fat: Exercise
While regular exercise is essential for good health, research has found that relying solely on exercise to manage your weight can actually be ineffective. Studies have shown that exercise, when not combined with dietary changes, does very little in respect to losing weight. Statistics also show that while obesity levels continue to grow so do the numbers of people getting active, which shows that exercise may not be having its desired effect. While exercise itself is not to blame, experts believe that many exercisers gain weight as they undo the benefits of their exercise regime by increasing their calorie intake to fuel or reward their sessions; often overcompensating for their workouts.

More from Realbuzz:

Top foods to keep you young

Top 10 must-eat foods for a healthy diet

The complete magazine

Friday
Lifestyle & Entertainment columnists
  • Russell Hemmings
    Life the Hemmings way

    Life coach Russell Hemmings on fears, anxieties and the human psyche demystified

  • Gaby Doman
    Gaby Doman: Notes to myself

    The everyday ups and downs of being a modern woman, according to this globetrotter

  • Uma Ghosh Deshpande
    The Dubai Insider

    TV personality Uma Ghosh Deshpande guides you through the city’s society gatherings and stories

  • Pratyush Sarup
    Design diary

    Dubai-based interior designer Pratyush Sarup lets us in on the world of design

  • Bharat Thakur
    Yoga for you

    Bharat Thakur guides you through practices and wisdom of this ancient science of exercising

FROM THE NETWORK

More from friday

More from Wheels

More from alpha

More from aquarius

  • Noura_Main
    Highly commended finalist: Noura Al Ramahi

    Along with our three fabulous finalists, the judges decided to include a Highly Commended category as the standard of entries to our competition was so high. This goes to Noura Al Ramahi for her stunning villa in Abu Dhabi. Well done Noura – it’s beautiful!

  • IO_141020_Home of the Year awar86
    In pictures: InsideOut Home of the Year Awards

    The InsideOut Home of the Year Awards 2014 party held at the Nawwara Bar at the JW Marriott Marquis on the 20th October went with a swing! Here’s our gallery of a really great night….

  • IO_141014_Casablanca_STF_Stefan07
    InsideOut Home Of The Year finalist: Dana Jaber

    Dana Jaber’s Al Barsha villa was considered by the judges to be bold, original and eclectic. We loved her individual approach to decorating which lends interest and unexpected touches to every room

  • Main_2
    InsideOut Home Of The Year finalist: Helena Brown

    Helena Brown’s home in Umm Suqeim was a favourite with the judges because of the many personal touches, and undeniable sense of comfort and style. Her interest in Feng Shui has helped achieve a calm relaxed ambience

  • claudia (4)
    And the InsideOut Home Of The Year winner is...

    Claudia Baliyan's apartment in Dubai Marina impressed the judges. Here's why

More from insideout