Obesity Q&A with Dr. Kesa

Obesity Q&A with Dr. Kesa

Obesity Q&A with Dr. Kesa

Q: What do you consider to be a healthy diet?


A healthy diet typically consists of a balanced intake of various food groups to provide essential nutrients for optimal health and well-being. Here are some general principles:


Fruits and Vegetables: These should form a significant portion of your diet. They are rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber, which are essential for various bodily functions and reducing the risk of chronic diseases.


Whole Grains: Incorporate whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, oats, and whole wheat bread instead of refined grains. Whole grains are rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals and can help regulate blood sugar levels.


Lean Proteins: Include lean sources of protein such as poultry, fish, beans, lentils, tofu, and nuts. Protein is crucial for muscle repair, growth, and overall body function.


Healthy Fats: Consume sources of healthy fats like avocados, nuts, seeds, and olive oil. These fats are essential for brain health, hormone production, and the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins.


Dairy or Dairy Alternatives: Opt for low-fat or non-fat dairy products like milk, yogurt, and cheese. Alternatively, choose fortified plant-based milk alternatives like almond milk or soy milk.


Limit Processed Foods and Added Sugars: Minimize the intake of processed foods, sugary snacks, and sugary beverages. These often contain high amounts of unhealthy fats, sugars, and salt, which can contribute to weight gain and various health issues.


Portion Control: Be mindful of portion sizes to avoid overeating, which can lead to weight gain. Use smaller plates, bowls, and utensils to help control portion sizes.


Hydration: Drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated. Limit the consumption of sugary drinks and alcohol.


Moderation and Balance: Enjoy a wide variety of foods in moderation. No single food should make up the entirety of your diet, and balance is key to ensuring you get all the necessary nutrients.


Q: Why is it important to stay away from unhealthy foods?


Ultra-processed foods are those that have undergone extensive processing and often contain additives, preservatives, flavorings, and other artificial ingredients. Examples include sugary drinks, fast food, packaged snacks, and ready-to-eat meals. Consuming these foods regularly can have several negative effects on health:


Nutrient Deficiency: Ultra-processed foods tend to be low in essential nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and fiber. They often replace whole, nutrient-dense foods in the diet, leading to deficiencies over time.


Weight Gain: Ultra-processed foods are typically high in calories, unhealthy fats, sugars, and salt, while being low in satiating nutrients like fiber and protein. Regular consumption can contribute to weight gain and obesity, increasing the risk of related health issues such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and certain cancers.


Poor Digestive Health: Many ultra-processed foods contain additives and preservatives that may disrupt digestive health and lead to issues like bloating, gas, constipation, or diarrhea. They may also negatively affect gut microbiota composition, which can impact overall health.


Increased Risk of Chronic Diseases: A diet high in ultra-processed foods has been linked to an increased risk of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, hypertension, metabolic syndrome, and certain types of cancer. These foods often contain high levels of unhealthy fats, sugars, and additives that can contribute to these conditions.


Negative Impact on Mental Health: Some research suggests that a diet high in ultra-processed foods may be associated with an increased risk of mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. These foods often lack nutrients that support brain health, while their high sugar and fat content may negatively affect mood and cognitive function.


Addictive Properties: Ultra-processed foods, especially those high in sugar, salt, and unhealthy fats, can trigger addictive-like responses in the brain, leading to cravings and overconsumption. This can create a cycle of dependence on these foods, making it challenging to adopt healthier eating habits.



Q: What are some of the negative effects of obesity that you’ve seen?

Heart disease


High Blood pressure

High blood sugar leading to DM.

High cholesterol.

High inflammation

Increased risk of blood clots

Increased risk of multiple cancers

Skin conditions

Gall stones


Joint pains

Back pain

OSA – Obstructive sleep apnea.

PCOS- polycystic ovarian syndrome

Social stigma leading to isolation.

Emotional problems including Depression, social anxiety


Q: Why does obesity lead to so many health risks?


There is no single cause, but over all Obesity leads to increase in diseases due to:


Mechanical- just carrying excess wt leads to back pain, joint pains, difficulty in breathing, OSA etc.


Hormonal – Obesity leads to significant hormonal changes including increasing insulin, increasing insulin resistance, increasing testosterone in women, increasing estrogen in men,changes in Growth hormone, Leptin, to name a few- lead to multiple health conditions including – DM, HTN, PCOS, male hypogonadism, female infertility


Inflammatory – fat is extremely inflammatory leading to increased riks of blood clots, multitude of cancers- including- breast, Esophagus, pancreas, colon, rectum , breast, endometrium and possibly kidney.


Psychological – no clear biological marker between fat and emotional problems been found but there is clear evidence that it leads to depression and isolation.


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