People with a BMI of over 30 are considered obese. Obesity is the accumulation of fat in the body’s fat cells to such a high level that it becomes a serious hazard to health.

It increases the risk of high blood pressure and diseases related to hardening of the arteries, with blood clots in the heart and the brain (stroke). Other related problems include late onset diabetes, gallstones, some types of cancer, difficulties in mobility, arthritis in any of the weight bearing joints, haemorrhoids, varicose veins, difficulties in breathing, pain in the knees, back and skin problems and increased risk of premature death. Being overweight and obese may also cause psychological problems such as a feeling of inferiority, lack of self esteem, poor self image and relationship problems, which can seriously affect quality of life.

The fat may be equally distributed on the body, on the stomach (apple-shaped) or on the hips and thighs (pear-shaped). One measure of obesity and overweight is the Body Mass Index (BMI). It is calculated as your weight (in kg) divided by your height (in metres) squared. People of average weight are considered to have a BMI between 18.5 and 25 (kg/m2), and people with a BMI of 25 to 30 (kg/m2) are considered overweight.

Therefore, for someone who weighs 62.5kg and is 1.57m tall the calculations looks like this:

62.5/(1.57 x 1.57) = 62.5/2.46 = BMI 25.4

The only problem with measuring BMI is that it does not take into account the ratio of muscle to fat, so it is worth also taking into consideration waist measurement, which gives an indication of abdominal fat. A waist measurement exceeding 94cm for men and 80cm for women is cause for concern, whilst a measurement exceeding 102cm for men and 88cm for women is an indicator that action is needed! You can also check your waist/hip ratio. Measure your waist around the belly button and then measure the biggest part of your hips. Divide the waist measurement by the hip measurement. For women the ration should be 0.75 or less and for men it should be 1.0 or less.

Obesity is found a little more among men than women. Stomach obesity is more frequent and occurs in 30 per cent of adult men and, to a lesser degree, in adult women. Obesity and stomach obesity are rapidly increasing, especially in young people. The occurrence of obesity has increased by five fold since the Second World War along with a heavy reliance on processed and manufactured foods and increased consumption of sugars and refined carbohydrates. The number of seriously obese people in Britain doubled between 1980 and 1993, today, almost half the population are overweight.

Obesity develops from overeating, irregular meals, poor food choices, eating foods that you are intolerant or have a sensitivity to and lack of daily physical activity. Obesity can be caused by hormone problems, in particular thyroid failure but this is rare and most people are obese because they over-eat and under-exercise.

Nutritional Supplements that could help. (Refer to the individual supplement for cautions in use.)

Supplement/Herb What it does Dosage
5-HTP 5-HTP has been shown to reduce cravings in obese individuals because of it’s influence on serotonin levels. May help reduce carbohydrate intake and lead to feeling full more quickly. 100 – 300mg per day away from food
CLA Decreases the the storage of triglycerides in the fat cells. Also thought to increase the rate of energy production from fat during exercise. CLA may improve insulin sensitivity, a factor that may be helpful in preventing weight gain associated with blood sugar imbalance and syndrome X (diabetes). 1000-3000mg per day
L-Carnitine This amino acid is required to carry long chain fatty acids into the mitochondria, the energy-producing components of cells, so they can be metabolised into energy. Can be useful in weight loss programme when used in combination with aerobic exercise and an appropriate diet. 500 – 2000mg per day (away from food)
CoQIO In combination with L-carnitine, CoQIO facilitates the conversion of fat into energy in the energy-producing components of cells. As such, it may aid weight control as part of a healthy programme that includes appropriate dietary measures and, most importantly, aerobic exercise. CoQIO levels tend to decline with age, and are adversely affected by the use of statin drugs. 30 – 200mg per day
Garcinia Cambogia (HCA) Reportedly fights obesity by decreasing appetite, speeding up calorie burning and inhibits the body’s ability to store fat without the central nervous system stimulation seen with the use of certain other slimming products. 250 – 500mg HCA per day
Chromium For insulin regulation and blood sugar control. 400 – 1000mcg daily
Kelp Rich in iodine, which is needed for thyroid hormone production. 100 – 300mg daily
Cayenne Increases fat metabolism, reduces appetite and cholesterol. 500mg 3 times daily


Diet and Lifestyle Factors


Reduce or preferably eliminate from your diet:

Sugar – don’t add it to food and look out for hidden sugars in processed foods. Maltose, dextrose, fructose or anything that ends in “ose” is a sugar. Don’t be tempted to replace with sugars with artificial sweeteners as these are toxic to the nervous system, instead use xylitol, a natural plant sugar.

Refined foods such as white bread, cakes, biscuits – any food that is “white” has had all the nutrients stripped out of it.

Caffeinated drinks such as tea, coffee, cola, chocolate which stress the body, disrupt blood sugar levels and lead to the storage of fat.

Alcohol, it is high in sugar and will cause you to eat more than you really need.

Saturated and trans fats found in cake, biscuits, spreads.

Fried foods


Vegetarian proteins, good quality proteins from free range or organically reared animals and poultry.

Complex carbohydrates such as brown rice and granary bread.

Fruit and vegetables, aim to eat 5 to 7 portions daily of fresh, organic produce.

Nuts and seeds

Oily fish

Water, drink around 2 litres daily

Do not go on fad diets to try and lose weight quickly. Bear in mind that it usually takes months or years to put weight on and it will take a similar amount of time to get it off again.

Make healthy lifestyle changes which will maintain your health for life.

Avoid yo-yo diet patterns which only slow down your metabolism and ability to lose weight.

Take regular exercise (start gently and build up slowly). Make sure exercise is enjoyable, if not, you won’t keep it up.

Suggested further reading:



Leave a Reply