The Number One Killer

Welcome to today’s post, I’m glad you’re here today because we’re talking about the myth of the number one killer.  If you have read a previous post, the Lowdown On Wellness, I mentioned several myths associated with health, fitness, and wellness. I listed within those myths, the lie of aging, the lie of food, and several others. One of the things that I mentioned was what the number one killer is. And I said that it is a myth. The number one killer in the world, the number one killer in the US, it’s not true. It’s really a myth. Today we’re gonna talk about the number one killer.  The top 10 killers in the US are reported as: 


  1. Heart disease
  2. Cancer
  3. Unintentional injuries. I was a little surprised by that because, for example, car accidents involving passengers not wearing a seatbelt. Somebody being hit by a bike. They can also be accidents on a worksite. But those unintentional injuries, believe it or not, are the number three killer. 
  4. Chronic lower respiratory disease; that’s usually COPD. And you may know of people that have been smokers for a long time and that suffer from COPD. And that’s actually the number four killer. 
  5. Strokes, or cerebral diseases, are mostly affiliated with strokes. And that’s the same thing in the world population to number six 
  6. Alzheimer’s disease
  7. Diabetes
  8. Influenza
  9. Kidney disease
  10. Suicide


Now, how prevalent are these?  Heart disease, they say, is number one. I say it’s not.  Heart disease affects 23.5% of deaths.  23.5% of deaths are due to heart disease.  That’s a lot. That’s a heck of a lot. Number one is 23.5%. But I say that heart disease is not number one, because if you take number one, which is 23 and a half percent of all deaths due to heart disease. And you take number seven, which is actually 3% of deaths, that is diabetes. Now, why am I talking about these two? Just these two right now; I’m talking about heart disease, which is 23.5%, and diabetes, which is 3%. When you add those two together, you get 26.5%. Now, why would I do that? Well, the reason I would do that is that it’s very easy to see that the main causes, or factors, of heart disease, are… Well, let me list them. I want you to look at what makes up each one of these. Each one of these is what I call a conclusion. We’ve concluded that if a person has heart disease, well, it’s the sum of a lot of factors. Yes, the final death knell maybe heart disease.  But let’s get into the details of what causes that. And when you’ve got heart disease, you’ve got things like high cholesterol; which is actually just a cholesterol theory, which is interesting. That’s actually never been proven.  But high blood pressure does have a direct correlation to heart disease. 


But there’s another part of heart disease, another cause of heart disease, that happens to be the number one cause of heart disease. What’s interesting about it, is that it happens to be the same number one cause of the #7 top killer in the world, which is diabetes.  Now with diabetes, you have several different factors that can cause it. But the number one cause of diabetes is the same number one cause of heart disease, and that is obesity. So if it’s the number one cause of the number one killer, and the number seven killer, making 26.5% of the deaths in the US, then it’s easy to conclude that the number one killer in the US, and believe it or not in the world is obesity. 


I’ll take it a step further. That actually causes more death and like eight of the different killers combined, but I’ll take it a step further. There are other things on this list that obesity causes. In fact, it’s one of the chief reasons for some of these other killers. Look at number five, which is strokes.  Causes of a stroke are: high blood pressure, hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes, those are the number one causes of a stroke. Well, I have blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, all of them caused by obesity.  You don’t have to be obese to have all those things. But yeah, the majority of people that are, have those factors. Kidney disease. What causes most kidney disease? Believe it or not, high blood pressure and diabetes. The reason for high blood pressure, and the reason for diabetes, again, is obesity. Now you may think I’m going crazy, you may think I’m going really obscure here, but I’m just connecting all the dots here. The number eight cause of death in the US is influenza and pneumonia. So I went and looked this up, too. Okay let’s take it a step further, let’s look at the causes of influenza.


The number one cause of influenza is heart disease. Number two causes chronic kidney disease. Number three causes diabetes or other chronic metabolic disorders. And do you know that the number four cause of influenza is morbid obesity, which, of course, causes diabetes, which I said earlier brings on chronic kidney disease, which also brings about heart disease, folks, I think it’s pretty clear to see that the number one killer in the US, and believe it or not in the world, is obesity. Now, the reason I bring this up and make this important is the fact that most people don’t know what obesity is. They really don’t know what that means. It’s not just grossly overweight, there’s an actual definition of what obesity is. And by naming these things as the number one killer, not looking at the actual cause we’re not focusing on the actual problem. I have nothing against the American Heart Association. I have nothing against the American Cancer Society. I think all those places are doing wonderful, wonderful, wonderful work. Don’t get me wrong. But all this lack of identifying, or misinformation, miseducation, for that matter, us not focusing on the actual problem, I believe is helping the problem. If you listen to my podcast, I talk about nutrition and weight loss.  Society has gone after the wrong things in that area, which actually causes a lot of obesity. And that’s causing deaths. This is why I’m writing this blog, and I record my podcast.  It is so important to me to get the word out about what the actual number one cause of death is. 


Let’s look at the health problems associated with obesity.  I’m going to kind of reverse engineer it, in proving that I’m not just making this up, not just drawing obscure black helicopter kind of thinking here I’m drawing direct lines of a basically causing heart disease, obesity, causing diabetes, obesity causing influenza. Look at the health problems. Google it if you want, but the health problems associated with obesity are: number one is Type 2 diabetes. Number two is high blood pressure. Number three, heart diseases and strokes. Number four, certain types of cancer. Cancer – that’s the number two killer in the US, remember? Over half a million people, 21%. Number five, Sleep Apnea. Number six is osteoarthritis, number seven is fatty liver disease, and number eight is kidney disease. Those are the problems associated with obesity, it works both ways. Obesity causes those things. And these are the things associated with obesity. What gets me about that, and the reason I’m bringing this up is that when we turn the killer heart disease, or we turn the killer kidney disease, it makes it a little bit obscure.  To tell you the truth, it lessens the effect. It makes it seem like oh, wow, this just something that happened to you; gotta look into your genetics, maybe you have those things. When no, the number one cause is completely solvable. With a decrease in obesity, so goes the decrease in these incidents of death, period, end of story. This sounds like a continuation of my lie of aging series. But when we really focus on the actual problem, it’s amazing the difference we can make. And what I love about the problem of obesity, is that it can be solved at every socioeconomic level. I mean, this is attainable, curing obesity is attainable. Why do we not? Well, I come from a medical family. My father was a physician, my brother’s a physician, my wife was a drug rep for many years; I have nothing against the medical industry whatsoever. I am a fan. I am a fan of modern medicine. Modern medicine is saving lots and lots and lots and lots of lives. A lot more lives than people say it’s killing.  It’s doing a lot of good.  But a lot of money is associated with that. A heck of a lot of money is associated with obesity. So if we were to cure obesity, that’d put a major dent into the money made through medications. And again, I’m not against it, I’m glad they’re out there. I’m glad they’re helping people with that, but there’s a lot of money involved and I’m just going to leave that there. But one of the biggest problems is that we as a society are reactionary, not preventative. I hear this a lot from physicians and I understand it, people typically won’t go see a physician unless they’ve got something wrong. They won’t go to a health professional unless they’ve got something wrong with their body. We’re reactionary, we’re not preventative. And many times, people won’t take their doctor’s advice. They’ll do part of it, but I’ll hear people say, “Ah, I Googled this, and I don’t like this medication. And I’m not so sure about that”. And it’s too much effort to actually lose weight, so they won’t take the advice, they’ll keep exacerbating the problem because they won’t take the advice of the physician. And we also desire to seek a quick answer. It’s amazing to me how it has become a badge of honor to say “I don’t take medication”. “I don’t take medication, I’m not one of those people that takes medication.”  So it’s funny to me and I always want to say it’s somebody that’s so completely different from all the people that run up to me and say, gosh, I love taking medication. The reason I bring this up is that we’re looking for a quick fix. And curing obesity, either individually or as a society as a whole, does take some time.  It is slightly difficult or challenging. But of course, the benefits are far better than the quick answer. And because of that, we’re looking for the quest for a magic pill (by the way, we already have it, got in a previous blog post, and on my podcast episode 4, the secret to weight loss, we do have the magic pill already).  


The biggest reason why we have obesity and the reason we have these difficulties with it is miseducation.  There is a lot of wrong information out there. One of the big reasons why we have obesity, believe it or not, is what I call the lie of food. Now I have a podcast on this also, so be sure to check that out too, but talking about the lie of food, we have blamed the food for over 60 years. We keep talking about you know, what’s the right food, what’s the good food, and I don’t eat that bad food, whatever. And if you go back in history and go back to 1955, all this ridiculous foolishness started about criminalizing food. If you go back to that time in history, you’ll see that our epidemic of obesity started there. And it’s just increased, continually increased. And it’s increased when we know that you shouldn’t eat bad food, you should eat good food.  Well evidently we’ve been chasing that same ridiculous idea for 60 years and it’s not working, maybe it’s time to change gears a little bit and actually look at what the actual problem is. It’s not the type of food, it’s the amounts. I told you earlier that obesity has an exact definition. What is the actual problem? What is obesity? Simple. Forget about BMI. Forget about scales. Weight is the gravitational pull of the earth on your body. It does not tell me anything about your fitness level. BMI is a good guesstimate. I don’t care who uses it, I don’t care what health professionals use it. We use it sometimes in our practice also. But it’s a good general idea. But it’s not a scientific definition. The bottom line is, am I obese? Or am I not? If you want to know if you’re obese, have your body fat checked. If you’re 30% body fat or higher, no matter if you’re thin, you’re fat, whatever you are, if you’re 30% body fat or higher, that is the definition of obesity. Now, I don’t mean to criminalize anybody, I don’t mean to say anything bad about anybody, but I’d rather you know what the problem is, so then you can fix it. And it can be fixed at any age, at any time. At every socioeconomic level. Simply, we use weight as a measurement of fitness.  It is not an exact measurement of fitness, but it’s a good general idea. It’s a very good general idea of, you know, where you stand. “Am I gaining bad tissue or losing bad tissue?” That’s a good thumbnail sketch. But after that, you want to check your body fat, you want to know exactly where you stand, especially healthwise. And understanding your body fat percentage is extremely important. And it’s easy to change. I know people say it isn’t, but I promise you it’s easy to change. The first thing we want to know is, yes, exercise. And I’ll get to that in a minute. But one of the best ways to take body fat off is to not put the excess in your system in the first place. And the way you do that?  I know what you’re thinking, “Oh, of course, push yourself away from the table. Right, Garrett? Wow, that’s groundbreaking”.  Now, I’m not gonna talk about that. Yes, that’s part of it. But why do you belly up to the table in the first place? Why do you overdo in the first place, believe it or not, that deals with cravings, not hunger.  Your body does not want to overeat. There is nobody out there, no physical body out there that desires to maintain 30% body fat or higher. I promise you, your body does not want to do that, it has no interest in that whatsoever. It won’t drive you to do it.  Your mind, though… Now, your mind will when you’re craving.  Craving is in the mind, not in the body. And so when you’re craving you will tend to overeat, you will tend to take in more.  All the body knows to do when it has an excess amount of calories is store energy. The body’s first job is to keep the body moving. And so it’s going to store before it does anything else. It’s going to store extra energy, it’s not going to get rid of it. It thinks, “Hey you must know something’s coming up, we must be going on some sort of Antarctic Expedition and you need this extra energy, you need this extra fat for warmth. So we’re going to store this all over the body.” That’s what your body’s doing. It thinks that’s what you need. And so it’s storing those things, it can’t get rid of them. Now the best thing to do is to control that; find out first and why you’re craving. Go back and listen to my cravings podcast, contact us about our Catalyst program.  We’ll take you through that program and it will identify your cravings, identify your hunger, and when you actually need to make changes and we will also talk to you about the number one weight loss nutrient out there. The magic pill, which of course if you’ve ever read this blog, or listened to my podcast, you know what that is.  It is water.


So this is your reminder to drink some water right now.  I’ve just popped the top on my new Contigo Personal Edge Fitness water bottle, with my rubber bands on it so I can track how much water I’m taking in because I’m staying hydrated. That’s the magic pill. That’s the one that helps get rid of fat. I’m at 100 ounces right now and I’m going towards 120. Make sure you’re taking in plenty of water and staying hydrated. 


But that’s another way to fight obesity. Usually, when you’re craving food, you’re actually thirsty. Your body’s craving water and it knows how to get water through food. It knows how to get water by making you eat something because you’ll usually drink something with it. So that’s another way to cut cravings, another way to control obesity. And of course, yes, exercise. Yeah, you knew I was gonna say that. I mean, I’m a personal trainer. That’s what I do for a living. But yes, moving more, exercising more, stimulating circulation, but also increasing your energy level, making your body more efficient will lower your chances of obesity will bring your body fat down and bring you out of those danger zones of heart disease, kidney disease, kidney failure, stroke, even influenza. And the reason that I said that earlier, that influenza, one of the causes of it is morbid obesity…. Why is that? You may think that doesn’t sound like it would be correlated. It’s very simple actually, the more fat you have on your body, the more inefficient your body is. Your heart has to pump harder because it goes through a lot of fat tissue. Getting the blood through the fat that’s in your arteries. Getting blood through your system is a lot harder when you’ve got more fat, so it has to work a heck of a lot harder. What does this have to do with influenza? Well, a less efficient body is a less healthy body, it is more susceptible to getting colds, getting diseases, etc.  Your immune system is less effective. And so you’re a better petri dish for colds and cases of flu and your body can’t find it off as well. And that’s a reason that morbid obesity is one of the big causes and contributors to getting influenza, which is number eight on the list as far as top killers in the world. But obviously exercise, making yourself more efficient, making blood flow far better are going to lower your chances for obesity.  And lower obesity is gonna lower your chances of any of these killers. What I want you to do, as far as this is concerned, is face the problem, confront the actual problem, do get your body fat tested, find out where you are and don’t make the problem bigger than it is. The reason I say that? Well, that’s no pun intended, I promise you. But what I mean by that is that basically it’s just you got more on you, you just need to get it off. It’s not that big of a deal. It really isn’t, don’t make it bigger than it is when you hear words like heart disease or kidney disease, you put a lot of emphasis on genetics and things you think you can’t prevent. You can prevent it.  We’re making the problems bigger than they actually are. If obesity is the number one cause and the number one killer, well, let’s treat that. And the one way, I’m going to say it over and over and over and over and over again is of course water, water, water, water, water, water. You want to cut those cravings so that you’re not eating too much. So take in plenty of water, eat with your body, not your brain. Having plenty of water on board will keep you from doing that. And this is also the reason for one of my podcast episodes and other blog posts, which are dealing with weight loss. I’ve never realized that in the previous shows that I’ve done, I’ve never really talked about weight loss. I’ve never really gotten into discussing weight loss other than the fact that obesity is our number one killer.  Well then we need to discuss, we need to get into what is weight loss and how do we actually control that. Now I mentioned before that weight is not a measurement of fitness, true, but it is a good point of reference to find out where we are. We will break all that down for you.  But folks, the number one killer out there is obesity.  Have your body fat checked, find out where you are, and get it under control because you have that ability, I promise you.  


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