Americans are just plain fat |

Americans are just plain fat

by Jerry Vance

I’ve listened to 30 years of excuses for fat. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know why you’re fat. You need to eat less!

Americans are the leaders in the production of adipose tissue (that’s fat); lots of potato chips, beer, pizza, pastries, hot dogs, plenty of butter, ice cream, cheeses, hollandaise sauce — boy, do we eat a lot.

Good nutrition should be part of your life. You have to study body structure and the use of calories to understand why you’re fat. Then apply the knowledge.

You are more prone to build adipose, or fat, tissue at four times during your life: infancy, early childhood, adolescence, pregnancy and early middle age. These nasty little fat cells become well established during childhood and adolescence, and some medical studies suggest this is the time when you are setting yourself up for obesity in later life. Cultural, hereditary and environmental factors also interact to create adipose tissue.

Fat cells are the body’s main source of food energy. It can be stored in unlimited amounts around the body. Where do you get the fat to fill these cells? Start with sugars, the simplest form of carbohydrate, and add starches, a more complex form of carbohydrate, and finally add that compact nutrient fat to the list.

What you don’t convert and use within the body is made into surplus and set aside for future energy expenditures. This surplus is stored under the skin and in unpleasant areas of the body. It is used when we work hard physically or suffer long periods without food. It doesn’t take a whole lot of thought to realize that you need to “watch it” during those cell-building times. Children are the most vulnerable since their food is controlled by adults.

Americans are deriving too much of their food energy from fats and carbohydrates. However, keep in mind that the main product of carbohydrate digestion is glucose, and it is an important source of energy for the brain. If you do lower your fat intake, it will help to lower blood cholesterol levels.

Eat less at each meal (translation: one taco is better than four). Pick up a book on nutrition and learn the facts about all that adipose tissue around your waist. Why are you storing it, anyway? It’s hard on the heart, and no matter where you store it, it looks bad.

Jerry Vance is certified by the American Council on Exercise and teaches fitness at the Carson City Community Center and Healthsmart.