Last week marked the 10th anniversary of the iphone. Over the past decade, the amount of mobile device user has steadily been increasing, now reaching almost 5 Billion people worldwide.

Interestingly, something else has steadily been increasing along with it…

Body fat. 

Since the introduction of the Smart Phone about a decade ago, there has been a 25% increase in the number of obese adults worldwide, raising the question; Is technology the real culprit when it comes to the modern-day obesity epidemic?

Could the Apple revolution be taking a bite out of global health and wellbeing?

It’s clear that there is a correlation between technology and weight issues, and statistics clearly show the increase in obesity rates, which were under 20% of the adult population in the United States before the personal computer and smart phone revolution. Fast forward just over a decade, and almost 40% of America are now classified as obese.

If we include adults who are overweight (but not yet considered obese…) we tip the scales at almost 70% of the population.

We’re a society that got fat, FAST.

So, what happened?

In our world today, we have immediate, convenient access to healthy information at our fingertips. We have more gyms and fitness centres per square mile than ever before, yet we are unhealthier, unhappier, and heavier than ever.

In fact, weight issues are so common these days, we even have a name for the specific mass of dangerous adipose tissue that is clinging to our midsections. For business people and office workers, it’s known as the “Business Belly”.

And it appears that no-one is exempt…

Have you seen President Trump’s huge weight gain since his inauguration? It looks like he packed on 40 pounds or more in less than a year – and I doubt he has changed his food or exercise habits since he won office.

We’re all at risk, regardless of our resources- and not just as adults. The childhood obesity rate is another intense and incredibly sad subject in it’s own right.

Now, the mainstream notion sticks to the old staple “theory” when it comes to obesity, which is the formula of calories in VS calories out… as in, when we consume more calories than our bodies use or “burn”, the energy surplus will automatically tip our bodies towards weight gain, until eventually, we become overweight and then obese.

BUT when year after year the number of obese and overweight people continues to rapidly increase, YET the daily average calorie intake is flatlining (or even reducing…) the question we have to ask is:

What the heck is happening?

There has to be something that we are missing…

And we may just have found it.

One of the most important discoveries over the last few years has been a string of research across the world linking obesity to STRESS.

In fact, a March 2017 study of 2,500 men and women carried out over a four year period (which compared levels of the hormone cortisol, aka our “stress” hormone” over time) showed that the more stressed we become, the more weight we tend to gain, particularly around the stomach.

But what EXACTLY does this research show? WHY and HOW does stress increase the accumulation of fat over time, and why does it all centre around the midsection?

Keep reading.

An accumulating library of scientific research and clinical studies demonstrate that stress triggers a release of cortisol (also known as our stress hormone), which alters our metabolism, particularly our response to blood sugar – even when we are not eating.

Unmanaged and fluctuating blood sugar negatively effects mental focus and energy, and compromises normal hormonal functions, resulting in an accelerated storage of deep fatty tissue. This stress-induced fat tends to compound close to the organs around the stomach and abdomen, including the liver and kidneys.

So if you suffer from constant pressure or chronic amounts of stress in your life, there’s a VERY good chance you’re also plagued by stubborn belly fat, even though you may eat reasonably healthy.

If you think about it in evolutionary terms, it makes perfect sense.

In prehistoric times, cortisol is released because your brain senses a deadly threat. (Maybe you find yourself staring down a sabre tooth tiger or something resembling a creature from Jurassic Park.)

Once released, cortisol breaks down protein (in other words, muscle) converting it into sugar, flooding your bloodstream with it.

Why does your body do this? Because your body is brilliant.

In stressful situations, your body has the ability to convert protein into sugars, releasing it into your bloodstream so you have the short term burst of energy when needed, in the event you have to deal with an immediate “fight or flight” scenario.

Once the threat has passed, the cortisol valve shuts off and your blood sugar naturally self-regulates back to normal.

It’s ingenious, isn’t it?

Now, fast forward a couple hundred thousand years. Today, we’re all under crushing amounts of stress. Chronic stress.

Your “cortisol valve” is stuck wide open and it’s FLOODING your bloodstream with sugar.

You try to shut it off but life gets in the way. You’re constantly dealing with job… family… financial worries… Facebook… you name it. The stress, while maybe not overwhelming, is always there.

That means high levels of blood sugar is coursing through your veins almost 24/7, anticipating a “fight or flight” scenario.

Intuitively knowing that constantly elevated blood sugar levels are NOT good for your system, your body tries to get rid of it.

Guess how?

By converting the sugar into fat. Specifically, BELLY FAT.

Hence the Business Bellies phenomenon that is seen not only in the US, but all around the globe.

And this explains the tech connection to weight gain.

Before the Smart Phone, phones were well phones – mobile communication devices. Nowadays smart phones hold so much power in them that one million Smart Phones have as much computing power as the world’s top 30 supercomputers.

We live our lives by our smart phones. Texting, emailing, watching TV or videos, learning, communicating – they make us laugh, they make us cry, but most of all, they connect us to a world of infinite possibilities… and with that comes infinite amounts of unrelenting stress.

Eric Schmidt from Google has said that the amount of information we can access in two days, both good and bad through our tiny handheld smart phones – which flows directly into our mental processing banks, is equivalent to all the information produced by the world since 2003.

And that overload of information and its never-ending availability brings stress. It even has its own name – TechnoStress.

TechnoStress doesn’t just mean dealing with constant emails, Facebook, and the newest updates from the slew of social media posts – but it also fuels our insecurities and instills a compulsive need for us to feel as though we have to keep up or risk getting left behind. Not to mention, this mobile domination also hints at the revolutionary impact it will inevitably have on industries through automation.

In business services, like administration and middle management, significant job losses are expected as robots take over processing with no need for management oversight.

Now that is hard core TechnoStress in action.

And all the time our cortisol levels are increasing, our waistlines are expanding, and the scales keep creeping up.

THIS is the unspoken downside of technological advancement.

THIS might just be the cause of your “Business Belly”.

So, what’s the solution?

Hint: Don’t ask Siri….

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