Battling Biology- Biology of Obesity

There are various and theories for how we maintain optimal health. One of the first places to begin is with our weight. A frequently discussed part of body weight is the debate about fat vs obese. Because someone has a denser body mass, does not make them obese.

Being obese is having too much excess fat to the point that it is compromising our health.

The idea our pants are too tight, or we think the scale is reading a number too large doesn’t necessarily constitute obese.

While staying at our optimal weight can seem like a battle, it can seem more doable if we understand a few biological ideas about diet, weight loss and being obese. Here are five interesting ideas that tackle the biology of obesity.

Obese Biology- Jack Sprat Analogy

This is a concept about obesity in biology that has a rather humorous reference. We see that in the children’s nursery rhyme, Jack Sprat could eat no fat. Well, when considering the idea of fat vs obese, this concept should get some well-deserved space in our discussion.

If we’re trying to target all those unsightly excess fat cells, which against our noblest efforts, we manage to hold in a variety of places on our body, we should be like Jack Sprat and eat no fat?

Well, our biological makeup might have something else to say about that idea. In fact, there are diet experts who have developed a program that’s the opposite, and it seems to be catching on.

The Ketogenic, or Keto diet is basically turning the old-fashioned Jack Sprat-based diet ideas on their ear. While we won’t discuss the how and why of this diet, just the fact that it is gaining in popularity through proven results, weakens many of the theories of no fat is good fat.

The fact about fat is that it is essential to a well-rounded, healthy diet. Fat calories should be eaten in moderation, and there are good fats and bad fats. However, the idea that Jack Sprat is only on a diet if he eats no fat is really a fairy tale.

Increase in Weight Is Not An Increase in Obesity

While we’re on the subject of biological fairy tales, here’s another common misconception: when we gain weight we certainly must be climbing the ladder towards qualifying as obese, right? Nothing could be farther from the truth.

Every ounce of weight that we gain isn’t automatically converted to fat. Since fat is only part of the equation for being overweight, then more weight equals more obese is false.

Sure, if we sit around and stuff ourselves full of empty calories, these unhealthy splurges are going to eventually be converted to unflattering bulges.

It’s these bulges that begin to tip the scales towards being obese, not the lone fact that we have gained pounds. Now, the other side of the coin is what happens when we eat healthily and exercise wisely.

Biology and Obesity: Changing Environment

All of these factors addressing obesity in biology have trickle-down effects on other aspects of our lives. Good dietary practices towards being healthier mean that we help promote a healthier planet as well.

In the United States alone, close to 97-percent of the population are meat eaters. These numbers may be skewed lower in underdeveloped nations, but the simple fact is we eat a lot of fat-loaded animal products.

It would seem logical for us to ponder what relationship this could have with our external environment. It’s actually a pretty simple idea if we think about the big picture.

Today, over 200 million acres of natural forest has been flattened to make pasture land to graze livestock.

These animals we raise as a source of food generates nearly 20-percent of the greenhouse gases causing havoc on our planet. One of the adverse effects of these harmful gases is the destruction it is causing to our rainforests.

So, just the thinking about the biological effects of eating certain types of food isn’t enough. We must take into account the way our eating habits are changing our environment.

Obese Biology for Leptin

Now we’ll dig into one of the actual biological components of our bodies that combat fat. Leptin is akin to a sensor in the brain that controls or at least is supposed to help us regulate and curb our hunger urges.

Research has indicated that individuals with production problems associated with this hormone have a higher probability of being obese. Either that or they at best have a more difficult time controlling their eating habits and therefore their weight.

Leptin sends a signal to our brain that we’ve either eaten enough, or we have a sufficient energy supply on hand. This means that insatiable urge to eat just to eat is vanquished by the hormone leptin. It has been coined with the nickname of the starvation hormone.

So, as we dig deeper into the vast differences in self-motivation to maintain a healthy weight, part of the biological picture must be considered. One direct part of that puzzle is the body’s ability to produce and properly activate the benefits of leptin.

Biology Evolution

This final area is something that can be used to tie the other concepts about obesity in biology together. We’re not looking at the evolution of a species per se, but towards how biological evolution relates to diet and nutrition.

Evolution, as it relates to genetic changes over time, doesn’t have anything to do with any trend in society towards being healthier or more obese. While over time, a great deal of time, the human species may adapt to dramatic changes in weight, trends towards a heavier or lighter culture are strictly superficial.

During ancestral times, there were evolutionary changes in the human body because of natural changes in the availability of food. It really doesn’t have anything to do with our ability to push back from the table when we’ve sufficiently filled up our body’s fuel supply.

Understanding the biological factors behind healthy weight maintenance makes it easier to appreciate both why it’s important, and why some struggle more than others to remain at a healthy weight. One clear thing to avoid is trying to battle biology.


These five concepts are both individually important in our body’s chemistry and uniquely different in each of us. Once we put into practice certain basic principles of good nutrition and accept our body’s unique role in the process, we can stop battling in the war against obesity.

For more information, you can give us a call at (844) 437-8446 or visit one of our local Weight Loss Centers!

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