The different factors that promote weight gain

It is important to consider that there are certain factors that can promote weight gain. Weight gain, which can lead to obesity, is the result of a prolonged imbalance in the energy balance: daily energy intake exceeding expenditure for a very long time. Complex interactions between biological, behavioral, social and environmental factors are involved in the regulation of the energy balance.

Some factors associated with overweight and obesity in adults :

Food factors :

Foods with high energy density (high in fat or sugar and low in fiber), sugary drinks and large portion sizes increase the risk of excessive energy intake

Stopping physical activity and a sedentary lifestyle :

Sedentary behavior (physical inactivity) particularly promotes weight gain over time and obesity

Smoking cessation:

Stopping smoking is also a factor in promoting weight gain. This varies according to age, social status and certain behaviors.

The alcohol :

Alcohol is an important source of energy (7.1 kcal / g). In the short term and with moderate consumption, however, alcohol consumption seems to be poorly compensated for by a decrease in other nutrients and therefore constitutes an excessive energy intake. Alcohol cannot be stored in the body, and any alcohol ingested is in fact immediately oxidized, at the expense of the oxidation of lipids. Any excess calories induced by alcohol consumption thus indirectly promotes the storage of dietary lipids in adipose tissue.

Medication :

Several drug treatments can promote weight gain :

  • Normothymics or mood regulators
  • Antidepressant drugs
  • Antiepileptics
  • Antidiabetics: insulin, sulfonylureas
  • Corticosteroids
  • Antihistamines
  • Hormonal treatments (including birth control pills)
  • Anti estrogen (tamoxifen)
  • The vast majority of antipsychotic drugs

More than 80% of people treated with antipsychotic drugs suffer from weight gain as a result of taking these drugs. Weight gain has become a major problem in the treatment of psychosis, however, it can interfere with the success of treatment. It is associated with a lower quality of life, social stigma, and increased morbidity and mortality.

Eating behavior disorders (TCA):

At mealtimes

The anomalies that lead to overeating at mealtimes can however be characterized by the abundance of a structured meal, by tachyphagia (eating behavior characterized by rapid ingestion of food), by the occurrence of impulsive food intakes at during a meal, but also by the excessive consumption of caloric drinks.

Between meals

  • Snacking :

It corresponds to the repetitive consumption without hunger, without craving, of small amounts of easily accessible food.

  • Loss of control:

It is the urge or the urge to eat outside of meals.

  • Food compulsion:

It is characterized by the sudden impulsive consumption of a given food without a meal. The simple compulsion is triggered by an urge to eat (not a feeling of hunger) and ultimately points to a group of characteristic foods for a given person. It usually provides initial pleasure. It ceases when satisfaction has been obtained. After the fact, however, the person may feel guilty. The guilt felt can delay or even prevent the enjoyment of food intake. In the severe compulsion, the subject loses control of his eating behavior.

  • Binge eating disorder:

It is characterized by episodes of overeating not followed by compensatory behaviors aimed at preventing weight gain unlike bulimia. The presence of binge eating disorder is strongly associated with the severity of obesity and the presence of large fluctuations in weight. Patients with obesity with binge eating disorder also experience more psychological and psychiatric difficulties (depression) compared to patients with obesity without this disorder.

  • Nighttime food intakes:

Primarily affecting people waking up and getting up to eat, which can be compulsive or bulimic.

Anxiodepressive disorders:

Socio-economic instability and fragility seem to be fertile ground for weight gain and obesity, as well as declining income.

Professional factors:

Stress can contribute to weight gain due to its effects on behavior and metabolism. Weight gain may be directly linked to the biological effects of chronic stress, which in particular tends to cause the accumulation of fatty tissue in the intra-abdominal region. Certain working conditions, such as shift work or excessive working hours, can also be associated with weight gain. In addition, overweight could be linked to the destructuring of food intake as well as specificities of general activity.

Decrease in sleep time:

Decreased sleep time is believed to be a risk factor for obesity and weight gain.


Clémentine. M.
Naturopathe – Aromathérapeute / Herboriste – Phytothérapeute
Consultante en phyto-aromathérapie Clinique et Ethnomédecine

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