Dr. Carel le Roux explains the role of the anti-gravity treadmill and blood testing in the treatment and prevention of obesity. We visited the MedFit clinic to see what it's about - watch our video above.
What's causing the obesity epidemic?
According to Dr. Le Roux, the biggest problem is that we are gaining weight without understanding why.
"One of the reasons is that we are eating food that is not making us feel satisfied.
"If you eat food that's really pleasant but doesn't make you feel full, you eat a lot of it. What we need to do is give people the food that makes them feel full and then they will consume fewer calories," he explained.
"We are so focused on just preventing the disease [obesity] we haven't thought about how to treat the disease."
"So we need to do both - to prevent and to treat because only then will we really make a difference," he continued.
The science of obesity
Dr. Le Roux says that the most basic thing we can do to make a difference is to recognise obesity as a real disease, especially now that we know which part of the brain is involved.
"It turns out that this part of the brain cannot be changed by thinking. The only way we can change this part of the brain is by what we put inside the tummy and inside the gut."
"Recognising it as a disease will also help us to stop blaming people for something that they have no control over. What we then have to do is think, 'how can we help people get rid of the symptoms of obesity?' The two main symptoms [are] excess hunger or reduction in satiety.
"If we can change those things, people will naturally eat less food, if they eat less food they'll weigh less. So that is changing the narrative, understanding it's not your fault. That's why the website has been set up itsnotyourfault.ie to show the science. Only knowledge will help us change the discrimination that so many people suffer wrongly."
What can we do to prevent and treat obesity?
Andy Grannell, an exercise psychologist and PhD candidate shared his expertise on the subject.
"In Ireland, at the moment, we currently have an obesity epidemic in that a significant proportion of the population are not only overweight but are obese."
"We know that the cornerstone of weight loss is a low-calorie diet, but without exercise, we're facing a bit of a problem."
"In my PhD what I'm looking at is the retention of muscle mass while people are losing weight. What we believe is that people that are not engaging in resistance training, which is lifting weights, as they are undergoing weight loss, because they're losing muscle, it's putting them at risk of regaining the weight later on.
"So what we need to make sure of when treating obesity is that people are getting good quality protein as well as a low-calorie diet but also engaging in resistance training."
"At the moment, there are so many conflicting messages. You'll get someone saying go low-fat, someone else saying go low-carbohydrate."
"The reality is we need a balanced diet that suits our lifestyle. I'd always recommend seeking the help of a professional."
What is the anti-gravity treadmill?
"The Anti-Gravity Treadmill is a training tool. The way it works is you get into a specific device it builds up with pressure and we can reduce someone's body weight. This is very relevant when training an athlete coming back from injury or an elderly person finding it difficult to walk. We can get them exercising for a long period of time and pain-free."
"For someone who is potentially carrying too much weight, we can also reduce their body weight and give them a sensation of what it's like to be lighter.
"When people are obese and carrying too much weight, there's the possibility that they'll have sore knees, sore hips and a sore back and that's why that treadmill is so important as a training tool."
What is the benefit of blood testing in treating and preventing obesity?
On our recent visit to Medfit clinic, Dr Carel demonstrated what a simple blood test can tell about the relationship between our gut and our brain.
The blood test "measures the levels of the hormones that go from your gut to your brain. Based on the last time you've eaten, the blood test measures how strong the signal has been. The hormone measures the level of satisfaction (how full you are) generated by the gut to go to the brain."
Modern technology has a role to play in Ireland's obesity epidemic. Dr. Carel le Roux explains the role of the anti-gravity treadmill and blood testing in the treatment and prevention of obesity. We visited the MedFit clinic to see what it's about.
How can you experience the anti-gravity treadmill?
You can make a one-off appointment in the gym to experience the sensation of exercising at a percentage of your current body weight.
To hear what Dr Carel and Andy had to say on the subject and to see the anti-gravity treadmill in action watch the video above.