Just how exactly are environmental toxins and weight gain related? Is it really true that pollution from the air, from materials used inside buildings and even from your own home, can actually cause weight gain or is it just silly, unfounded nonsense?
Well first of all…
Everyone’s looking for an excuse that explains why they’re gaining weight, aren’t they? But environmental toxins could be a real and valid reason why you have trouble losing weight. No excuse is needed.
Your environment is working against you.
There are chemicals called obesogens that have been scientifically shown to disrupt the human endocrine system and therefore cause weight gain.
And they’re nearly everywhere.
So could it be that your weight gain isn’t the result of your poor habits? Is it instead the result of where you live, what you eat and what you have around you?
You can’t gain weight unless you eat more calories than you burn off, but there’s significant evidence that the presence of certain chemicals in your life can make weight gain easier — and weight loss harder.
Obesogens, as you’ll see below, can raise the number of fat cells in your body. And they can also promote fat storage. Plus, they can change your metabolism so that your body wants to store fat instead of burning it.
Sounds pretty bad, right?
Oh yeah, and obesogens can change the way the hormones that impact your appetite work and keep you from getting that feeling of satisfaction when you eat, making you feel hungry when you really aren’t.
It sounds like a nightmare situation, but it’s happening to all of us every day. The question is this:
Can we do anything about Environmental Toxins And Weight Gain?
Everything from plastics to personal care products contain these potentially harmful chemicals, and you must be vigilant if you want to avoid them.
These harmful obesogens are perhaps unsurprisingly present in cigarettes and pesticides, but did you know they’re also in soy and air fresheners too?
For years, many people thought environmental hazards were only a problem for people who worked at refineries or factories. Now, we know better.
Consider these two sentences about environmental toxins like obesogens from the Alternative Medicine Review:
For many individuals, this is not from workplace exposure, but from simply living in a polluted world. Some individuals appear to be less able to clear the daily chemical exposure from the body than others, leading to a total load of toxins that exceeds the ability of the body to adapt. (1)
Everyone Is Impacted By Environmental Toxins
Do you know about adipose tissue? Adipose tissue is simply the substance in the body that stores fat.
Not that long ago, the respected United States Environmental Protection Agency conducted the National Human Adipose Tissue Survey. Checking the tissue of dead people from across the county in 1982 and 1987, the EPA looked for toxins.
Every single fat sample analyzed contained at least four industrial solvents and a harmful dioxin, a byproduct of manufacturing. That’s 100 percent of samples.
Among 90 percent of the bodies, there were three additional dioxins and a furan, a colorless and potentially harmful liquid.
An astounding 83 percent of bodies contained PCBs, also potentially dangerous synthetic compounds.
Why are these things there?
The EPA says it could be because these chemicals are in the soil where our food is grown. And it isn’t going away or necessarily getting any better.
So what can you do to avoid these and other toxins? More on that later. Let’s dig deeper into how obesogens in the environment cause weight gain.
How Environmental Toxins And Weight Gain Are Closely Related (The Proof Of The Truth)
Toxins are one factor that influence weight gain and the inability to lose weight. Eating too much is another.
Consider this, from the abstract of a study:
Although it is self-evident that fat cannot be accumulated without a higher caloric intake than expenditure, recent research in a number of laboratories suggests the existence of chemicals that alter regulation of energy balance to favor weight gain and obesity. (4)
The science of how environmental toxins cause weight gain is pretty well proven. Here’s how it’s believed to work:
Obesogens bind to genes inside the white adipose tissue and encourage the formation of new fat cells while increasing the level of inflammation. In turn, these new fat cells are damaged by toxins and don’t perform as they should. They then take on more fat and more toxins — and the nightmare continues. This can lead to Type 2 diabetes and other obesity-related health concerns.
Plus, the obesogens may also impact the thyroid gland, causing it to work too much or too little.
Once you have a lot of fat cells that have been damaged by environmental toxins, you have a pretty big hill to climb if you want to get rid of them.
And when you consider the environment we live in, you almost certainly do have damaged fat cells.
Consider these astounding numbers:
At least 80,000 chemicals are used by U.S. companies.
More than 22,000 new chemicals have come into use in the last several decades.
Only about 200 chemicals have been tested by the government for safety.
As few as five chemicals are currently regulated by the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976. (About 62,000 chemicals were grandfathered in when the act was passed.)
The Centers for Disease Control is the governmental agency in charge of assessing the exposure of Americans to environmental chemicals, and it says in its fourth report on the matter in 2009 that there is “widespread exposure” to industrial chemicals.
So what does the Environmental Protection Agency have to say?
From 1970 to 1989, the EPA did a study on exposure of Americans to toxic chemicals. In adipose tissue that the agency tested, it found “significant prevalence of pesticide residues”.
Even your children are impacted by environmental toxins and weight gain.
Umbilical cord blood from 10 babies tested by the Environmental Working Group in 2004 found an amazing 287 chemicals, including coal waste, flame retardants, garbage and gasoline.
And since these toxins are stored in fatty tissue, consider this:
The fatter you are, the more toxins you carry in your body.
If that isn’t an incentive to lose weight, it’s hard to know what would be.
Detoxifying To Clear Obsogens And Lose Weight
Some chemicals, researchers have discovered, disrupt the endocrine system, altering the production of fat and the balance of energy, making people more susceptible to gaining weight. These chemicals can:
Alter the creation of fat cells, called adipogenesis. When that happens, you have a larger number of fat cells, each cell is a larger size than it should be and the cells are distributed abnormally.
Alter the level of leptin, which regulates appetite. It’s obvious how this can lead to weight gain. When you want to eat more, you do. And then you balloon up.
Alter the level of estrogen in the body. An increased estrogen level can lead to gaining wait and a wide array of other health issues.
These are among the reasons you may be able to lose 20 or perhaps 30 pounds, then you hit a block and can’t lose any more.
When you lose weight, the toxins in your fat are released to circulate around your body. You must clear them out.
Put an end to the vicious cycle of weight loss and increased toxicity by boosting the efficiency of your liver in detoxifying your system.
Certain nutrients as well as specific herbs can work together to detoxify your system.
– Herbs like dandelion root, milk thistle and gotu kola
– Fiber sources like inulin
– Nutrients like Vitamin B, Vitamin C and amino acids
And many other things.
Then, it’s important to maintain a healthy diet of fresh and wholesome foods, meats, veggies and fruits. You may want to consider eliminating high-risk-of-contamination items from your diet too. These include grains, beans, seeds and certain nuts. These items often increase inflammation anyway.
How to Avoid Environmental Toxins
That’s easier said than done. There are many thing around you every day that contribute to your environmental toxin load and therefore possibly to your weight gain.
To avoid environmental toxins, take swift and strong action to avoid:
Bisphenol-A. Usually simply called BPA, this substance is one of the ingredients for making some hard plastics, some cans and even some register receipts. While you can choose BPA-free plastic if you can find it, even better is to use glass or steel drinking containers. Stay away from canned food and avoid handling receipts too.
Pesticides. Farming pesticides are some of the chemicals most often linked to diabetes and obesity. You can reduce your consumption of pesticides by choosing organic foods. Research has shown that pesticide chemicals clear your body quickly once exposure stops.
Atrazine. City water is a common source of atrazine, a pesticide. Since this chemical can reduce the thyroid hormone and impact metabolism, try using a carbon filter on your main water faucet to eliminate as much of it as possible — and perhaps help keep your weight under control too.
HFCS. High fructose corn syrup can cause liver resistance to insulin and reduce leptin release from fat cells that can keep you from feeling full. And you certainly don’t want those things happening.
PCBs. Polybrominated biphenyls impact the liver through estrogen receptors and also may cause cancer. These substances when released into the environment have been shown to accumulate in fish and animals.
Soy. Controversial but high in protein, soy has many healthy attributes. But it promotes the growth of fat cells because it has estrogenic properties and can cause weight gain when consumed in high quantities. Children and babies are most at risk, so avoid giving soy to them.
PFOA. Perfluorooctanoic acid is found in nonstick pans and in microwave popcorn bags and may impact the thyroid. Choose stainless steel or cast iron pans to avoid as much of it as possible.
Phthalates. A group of chemicals that disrupt hormones, phthalates are often found in personal care items and synthetic fragrances. They’re linked to obesity and also can impact growth in children. If your favorite items contain any artificial fragrance, they may also contain phthalates. Choose natural beeswax candles too.
Organotins. Found in vinyl flooring, shower curtains, purses and plastic pipes, among other things, organotins have been shown in studies to cause a predisposition to weight problems.
Nicotene. Smoking is bad in so many ways, and the nicotine that mothers use while pregnant can cause obesity concerns for their children. Second-hand smoke is just as bad, and there are risks from the smoke that lingers long after the cigarettes are put out too.
With so many links between environmental toxins and weight gain and the inability to lose weight, what can you really do to stay away from them all?
Here’s the bad news: you can’t avoid all obesogens.
But that doesn’t mean you’re up life’s toxic creek without a biohazard suit.
You can avoid many of the most harmful obesogens when you:
Get the pesticides and PCBs out of your refrigerator. This means never buying:
The worst offending conventionally grown, non-organic fruits and veggies.
You should always choose organic apples, bell pepper, peaches, celery, nectarines, strawberries, cherries, lettuces, kale, carrots, pears and grapes.
– Beef or chicken that has been fed soy
– Farm-raised, unsustainable fish like salmon
Get the harmful plastics out of your pantry. This means never buying:
– Canned tuna, beans, soup or tomatoes lined with BPA
– Energy drinks or baby formula in lined canned
– Sports drinks in bottles
And don’t stay home or go out either. Environmental toxins, after all, are everywhere!
We admit it: You must be very vigilant to avoid as many obesogens as possible if you want to maintain a healthy weight and limit the unhealthy effects of today’s unhealthy environment. And you must take action frequently to rid your body of toxins if you want to maintain healthy weight.
But it’s so worth it.
Sure, it’s a rough world out there. The planet has its problems. And you can’t avoid all of them.
But you can take action to avoid as many pollutants as possible and rid your system those you pick up so you can maintain a healthy weight and have a great life.
A good life requires vigilance. It’s part of the deal.