Losing weight is hard. Sometimes it seems like no matter what we try, the pounds just won’t come off.
According to a recent study, the difficulty in losing weight just might not be our fault. Instead, a variety of factors have come together to make it harder to lose weight now than in any other time in history.
Delish reports that according to a study published in Obesity Research & Clinical Practice, a person can eat the same sized portions people ate in the 1970s and 1980s, as well as work out, but still not lose the weight.
The researchers compared the weights of people with similar lifestyles and food intake in 1988 and 2006 and found the latter group had a BMI that was 2.3 points higher than the first.
Researchers narrowed down three primary reasons for this increase in weight. The first reason being chemical exposure. A recent, separate study found that up to one-third of fast food packaging contains harmful additives. Grocery store products can also contain these additives, which can impact hormones and influence how you gain and lose weight.
The second contributing factor that the researchers identified were prescription drugs. Doctors are prescribing more medication in general and specifically, antidepressants more than ever before. Antidepressants have often been linked to weight gain.
However, the most concerning factor researchers found is the third one. Gut bacteria in Americans has changed since the 1980s and there is nothing people can do about it. A change in gut bacteria over time is normal, but in the past several decades the changes have shifted towards weight gain and obesity with diets high in meat consumption, as well as artificial sweetener use being factors.
Unfortunately, these environmental impacts are causing more than a few extra pounds.
Some people are simply getting too discouraged by stubborn weight gain to continue trying to lose. In March, researchers analyzed health data from surveys conducted between 1988 and 2014 and the number of overweight respondents who said they were trying to lose weight dropped from 55 percent to 49 percent.