The causes of obesity

Judith Wills / 06 June 2014

What are the causes of obesity? Weight loss blogger Judith Wills takes a look.

So far this week I've read that obesity can be caused by all manner of strange non-food related things, such as using a mobile phone (the blue light apparently makes you hungry), sleeping with too much light in the room (alters your metabolism), and even the common cold virus – adenovirus 36. In the lab, animals injected with the virus gained weight though their food intake stayed the same, and this might be because the virus gets into the fat cells and tells them to store extra fat, and can even tell non-fat cells to turn into fat cells!

Call me silly but I'm still with the old-fashioned idea that eating and drinking too much may have something to do with it. And actually, when you read deeper into research about the virus, it turns out that only a third of obese people have evidence of the bug in their systems.

So I guess it is good news that Cadbury's are going to put a cap of 250 calories on their chocolate bars – as long as they don't keep the price high while the weight goes down. This is all part of the Public Health Responsibility Deal, to which the Department of Health is encouraging food and drink companies to sign up. 390 companies have so far agreed to reduce the amount of fat, salt, sugar, alcohol and calories in their products, and promote physical activity.

For example, drinks company Britvic have stopped producing sugary drinks for the UK children's drinks market and only sell 'no added sugar' varieties, a step that has apparently removed 2.2 billion calories from our children's diets.

Which you may think is good, as there are now more fat people in the UK than anywhere else in western Europe, except for Iceland and Malta. However, Coca Cola isn't budging on the amount of sugar in a can of its regular coke – 35g or 9 teaspoons.

I've never been a fan of sugary or artificial sweetener soft drinks – whichever type you choose, there's nothing, or very little, of any nutritional use in them and research actually shows that neither soft drinks sweetened with actual sugar or artificial sweeteners are good for weight loss attempts. Parents and grandparents would be much better off both financially and morally if they just stopped buying all these types of drinks and simply gave the kiddies water, or semi skimmed milk.

Pre-1886 (the year Coca Cola was invented) people of all ages managed quite happily without these cans and bottles of nothing much except sugar/artificial sweeteners/artificial additives/calories and the like. We could do so again, we really could. Man up people – give those aisles a miss next time you visit the supermarket.

Ate last night: I could lie and make up something delicate and low-calorie, but the truth is, it was spag bol. I've been incredibly busy this past few weeks. I have a Sainsburys online shop arriving to my door this afternoon but last night, after finishing work at 7pm, I looked in the fridge and there it was, nearly bare. So I looked in the freezer and there smiling at me was a carton of bol I made the other week in case superthin and always hungry Son came over. Quick and easy meal, just what I wanted. If the spag had been wholewheat and if we'd had any salad it would have been a bit less naughty but I had none (apart from a few lettuce leaves from the garden). Sadly I only made it through half of my meal – I've been eating lowish-carb lately and the pasta was just too much for me. Roll on my delivery and it's back to fish, chicken and greens and trying to get my reluctant tummy fat to shift a bit more quickly. I'm still not back to my Diet Challenge final weight of 10-6, though it is slowly moving.

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.