Now that the gluttony of Christmas is over, hopefully everyone has had their fill of chocolate, hors d’oeuvres, chips, dips, alcohol and baked goods.  Christmas leads into New Year’s and what would the start of a fresh calendar year be without a resolution.  One of the top New Year’s resolutions consistently, is the desire to lose weight.  Let’s briefly discuss the basic facts about obesity.

Okay, we all have been inundated with government reports, media stories, and advertisements telling us how fat of a nation we have become.  There is no question that in the last 60 years, the general population has become heavier, including children.  Watch an old movie from the 1940’s or 1950’s and observe how thin everyone looked.  Sit down at a mall bench one Saturday afternoon and people watch.  People today are big overall.

Many diseases are linked to excess body weight and body fat such as heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, gallstones, joint degeneration, breathing problems and even certain cancers.  Lowered self esteem, depression, fatigue and reduced sex drive (libido), can also result from weight issues.  So, losing weight is not just about looking good, it is about being and staying healthy.

What is the cause of obesity?  Well, at present, doctors and researchers do not agree on a definitive answer.  Most believe that three main factors are likely the culprits.  Firstly, a significant reduction in physical activity over the last many decades due to automation and changes in our living habits have made many of us sedentary.  We just do not need to physically move our bodies as much anymore with the advent of modern appliances, remote control gadgets and urbanization.  In fact, most now pay to exercise.

Secondly, a move from a whole food diet to a high intake of processed wheat and grains, sugar and “junk” food has taken its toll.  As a culture, we are eating too much in general and of the wrong foods.  Eating only what is pleasurable and tastes good and our “supersize” mentality is also to blame for our increased weight.

Thirdly, dysregulation and dysfunction of biological hormones and chemicals that control appetite and weight play a body fat gaining role.  Whether it is due to genetics or man made hormone disruptors, most obese people have abnormalities with body chemicals like insulin, glucose, cortisol, growth and sex hormones, thyroid hormone and weird ones like adiponectin, resistin, chemerin, leptin, gherelin, tumour necrosis factor and interleukin 6.  What is the chicken and the egg is yet to be determined.

What should you weigh?  There is no simple answer as different body types and individual preferences come into play.  But, in the old days, life insurance companies used this formula.  For the first 5 feet of height, an average person should weigh about 100 pounds.  For every inch above 5 feet, add 5-7 pounds.  Therefore, a 5’10” man should weigh between 150-170 pounds.  This is a rough calculation, but gets us “in the ballpark”.

More scientifically, the BMI or Body Mass Index, a mathematical calculation using a person’s current weight and height, gives a more accurate assessment of one’s ideal weight.  Some also use waist circumference as another indicator of weight/body fat status.  The higher the BMI and waist circumference above one’s ideal range, the more risk a person has in regards to health problems associated with their excess weight or body fat.  Below is a link that discusses how to calculate your BMI and waist circumference and how you rate and what the results mean.


In the end, most of us know if we are carrying extra weight and fat. The question is how to get it off.  My next blog will answer that question.


Dr. Garrett Swetlikoff, ND

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    Are Cellphones Dangerous?

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    We are all surrounded by electromagnetic fields (EMFs).  The sun and earth produce their own natural forces which we cannot escape.  But modern lifestyles and technologies have now chronically exposed humans to fields much different.  For example, AC electric fields from house wiring and corded appliances, power lines and radio frequencies are part of everyday living.  Cellphones, cordless phones, Wi-Fi routers, baby monitors, smart meters and Bluetooth devices are everywhere.  The real fact is that these EMFs are unavoidable and exposure now starts during pregnancy and infancy, right until death.  We are living in an environment of electro smog….

    There is huge controversy over what health risks EMFs may or may not produce.  Most international health organizations, scientific bodies and pro-technology groups state that EMFs, at current levels and forms, do not significantly harm humans or animals.  Specific correlations with diseases like cancer, immune dysfunction or cognitive decline have not been shown statistically to be relevant.  So the general viewpoint is that all this exposure is safe.  These conclusions are readily available on the internet, if one wants to read the data presented.

    However, there are many other researchers, physicians and anti-EMF groups that disagree with these conclusions.  They point out that most studies have not been done for long enough periods of time and that the layering of multiple different types of EMF exposure simultaneously, have not been taken into account.  The frequency, power density, strength and duration of exposure are felt to alter the health risks and need to be factored in with more relevance.  Also, the sensitivity to EMFs may be varied form person to person, based on their own individual constitution and age.  Kind of like the old saying, “One man’s food is another man’s poison”.

    Some research has shown that EMFs alter voltage gated calcium channels in the outer membrane of cells, resulting in mitochondrial dysfunction, oxidative free radical stress and possibly DNA damage.  The result being that some people report a variety of health issues from both long and short EMF exposure.  Ringing in the ears, dizziness, heart palpitations, headaches, insomnia, foggy thinking, chronic fatigue, anxiety, depression, pain syndromes and hormone imbalances are some examples.  More serious conditions like brain cancers, neurological defects, auto-immune disease and dementia are also being discussed by the anti-EMF groups.  The jury is out on all of this, but certainly, the sides are very polarized.

    So what does one do?????  Well…. the cat is out of the bag.  EMF technologies are not going away.  You cannot hide anywhere from EMF exposure.  Whether you believe that EMFs are safe or harmful, here are a few basic tips…..Try replacing wireless devices with wired versions.  Reduce cellphone use and don’t wear it in your bra or pocket.  Use the speaker in the phone and keep it in Airplane mode most of the time.  Reduce laptop use and use wired equipment.  Get as much electrical junk out of the bedroom and far away from your bed.  Try not live near cellphone towers.  Shut Wi-Fi routers off at night.  It is not clear if the advertised shielding devices out there actually work.  Have lots of houseplants, eat a diet rich in anti-oxidants, get outside in nature and get grounded, sweat, stay well water hydrated, and smart phones are not toys for the kids.  There are many other tips available if one researches them.  May the force be with you……

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