If you’re overweight, there are so many great reasons to lose the excess pounds. When you think of yourself at a healthy weight, your first thoughts might be of looking fantastic, fitting into stylish clothing, and enjoying activities that feel awkward in the body you’re currently inhabiting. But there’s more. You probably know that dropping weight will cut your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes, and that you’ll feel far more energetic when you weigh less. But can dropping weight reduce your risk of cancer? Statistics show that it can.
Cancer and Obesity: A Deadly Link
Fat’s just a cosmetic issue, right? That’s what we used to think. Today, scientists have access to sophisticated equipment, and studies are pointing toward a disturbing trend. There is a direct, deadly link between obesity and cancer. Research is continuing to evolve, but there are four common factors that clearly illustrate the connection.
- Hyperinsulinemia: People who are obese often have increased levels of insulin in their bloodstream, along with growth factor-1, which is an insulin-like substance that acts in a similar fashion. This spike is called hyperinsulinemia, and is known to cause certain cancerous tumors to grow.
- Excess estrogen: Adipose tissue, aka fat, isn’t an inert substance. It secretes hormones, including estrogen. When excess fat tissue is present, high levels of estrogen come into play, increasing the risk of breast, endometrial, and some other cancers.
- Subacute inflammation: Chronic, low-level inflammation contributes to a variety of diseases, with cancer being chief among them. Obese people are at a very high risk of low-level inflammation simply because being overweight puts immense stress on the body. From the heart to the knees to the ankles, and everywhere in-between, tissues and organs must work harder to support the body’s functions.
- Tumor growth regulators: Your fat cells have a direct effect on tumor growth regulators found in your body. Examples are mTOR (mammalian target of rapamycin) and AMP-activated protein kinase.
Stopping Obesity and Cutting Cancer Risk
Treating obesity involves far more than just cutting back on calories and increasing activity. While this simple strategy can work well for someone who is normally healthy and has just a few pounds to lose, lasting lifestyle change is a far better prescription for people who need to drop 10 percent or more of their body weight.
What is lifestyle change? This strategy involves greatly reducing or even eliminating the amount of high-fat, processed foods that you eat, particularly those that come from animal sources. Replacing these foods with delicious vegetables, fruits, and whole grains helps you stay satisfied while dropping the weight that could eventually kill you. You can kick-start the process by detoxing. This process can take anywhere from three days to about two weeks, and can help you cut your risk by cleaning up your body on a cellular level.
Lifestyle change also means embracing more activity and reducing the amount of time spent in sedentary pursuits. Just walking for 15 minutes per day can be part of lasting lifestyle change, and the more you exercise, the more you’ll enjoy it. As time passes and movement becomes part of your daily routine, you’ll come to anticipate it.