Obesity is at an all time high in America. New research over the last 12 years shows that obesogens are a contributing factor.
The term obeseogens was coined in 2006. The first initial studies were on children and how exposure to specific chemicals disrupted their metabolism to increase their susceptibility to weight gain.
Over 80,000 chemicals are officially registered for use in the United States. And while some chemicals are toxic, and restricted in their use, there are many chemicals that disrupt your endocrine system. And are linked to a variety of diseases.
Plus they’re commonly used in many commercial products. Below is an anecdotal example:
“Rebecca is a 5 yr old girl who has gained 20 lbs in one year and is referred to us for premature breast development. An MRI of her head rules out a brain tumor. A pituitary evaluation to look for onset of puberty is unrevealing and tests show no estrogen in the blood. A more detailed history reveals Rebecca’s mother has recently taken to bathing her daughter in Victoria Secret’s bath gel. The assumption is that the bath gel contains plant estrogen. The mother is counseled to stop the bath gel and subsequently Rebecca’s weight gain and breast development cease.”
(Excerpt from the book Fat Chance by Robert Lustig, Chapter 15 Environmental Obesogesn)
I was not able to find the ingredient list for the product example used in the above anecdotal quote to help identify the specific obesogen but here are the most common ones.
The Most Common Obesogens
The big four sources of obesogens that can act as metabolic disruptors are:
BPA which is found in plastics
Parabens found in personal care products
Genistein a soy and alfalfa estrogen
Additionally the following items can also act as obesogens:
Tributyltin – used in PVC piping
Phthalates – a broad class of chemicals added to consumer products to make them softer
Polychlorinated biphenyls or PCBs commonly used in paints, cements, fluorescent light ballasts, sealants, and adhesives
How Obesogens Effect Your Body
Children are most effected as well as those whose immune systems are compromised.
For children obesogens affect the development of their fat cells by either increasing their fat storage capacity and/or the number of fat cells their body produces. As people age obesogens can make it more difficult to maintain a healthy weight as obesogens disrupt metabolic functions. This increases the effects of high fat and high sugar diets. As well as how their brain regulates feelings of hunger and fullness.
How to Reduce Your Expose to Obesogens
Because we live in a world of chemicals, both man-made and natural, it’s important that you monitor everything you consume and expose yourself to. So when it comes to eliminating or reducing your exposure to obesogens the following steps are key:
Avoid any plastics that use BPA. A more radical step would be to avoid the use of plastics for any food storage. This means ditching the plastics for glass. And get rid of any plastic water bottles and switch to either glass or stainless steel. And if you’re using plastic then make sure they are not used for cooking or used in a microwave.
Examine all personal care products and discard any that contain parabens. Here are the names to look for on the ingredient list: butylparaben, isobutylparaben, ethylparaben, methylparaben, and poplyparaben. If you want more information on other harmful chemicals in your skin care products, then check out the Skin Deep Database.
Eliminate all products that contain any form of soy.
Reduce your exposure to pesticides by using natural fertilizers and eating organic.
Avoid second-hand smoke.
Use chemical free cleaning products. (My daughter uses vinegar and water to clean with and baking soda for those nasty toilet bowels.)
Perform a regular cleansing protocol every 3 to 6 months to help relieve any toxic burden in your gut microbiome.
As you can see, by taking some simple, but powerful steps you can significantly reduce your exposure to chemicals that act as obesogens. And like all things about your overall health and wellness, you need to be proactive.
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