Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Chemicals That Contribute to Weight Gain


We all know that obesity is a problem, an epidemic really, especially in the US.  While, obviously bad eating habits and lack of exercise play a huge roll in obesity, various studies have found a parallel in our increasing national weight and the increase of industrial chemicals in the environment.

A recent article from Rodale,com ‘The Unbelievable Reasons you are Gaining Weight”  highlighted the strong evidence that exists showing that five types of chemicals - not just lifestyle choices-  are contributing to the obesity epidemic, making wight loss more difficult for some.

As is the case with most chemical exposure, special attention MUST be paid during fetal development.   If a pregnant woman is exposed to these chemicals (and thus exposes her unborn child) the normal development of  her child’s hormonal system  can be disrupted, promoting the development of more fat cells and predisposing the unborn child to metabolic diseases like diabetes as well as a lifetime of weight problems.


WHAT YOU CAN DO


The links between environmental chemicals and obesity are real.   While exercise and a healthy diet are of utmost importance to live a healthy life, the following steps should also be taken to avoid or at least reduce you and your munchkin’s  exposure to these chemicals that have been linked with obesity... ESPECIALLY if you are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant!



 1. START EATING ORGANIC
Pesticides in conventional food, specifically organophosphates used to kill insects on fruits and vegetables, interfere with the way your pancreas produces insulin, which in turn can mess with your body's blood sugar levels leading to faster weight gain and a much more difficult time loosing weight.
 
2. STOP SMOKING AND EXPOSING YOURSELF TO SECOND HAND SMOKE, ESPECIALLY WHEN PREGNANT
Yet another reason not to smoke (and are there really still people smoking while pregnant?!)! Nicotine in cigarettes acts as a "developmental obesogen,"... meaning it is a chemical that interferes with fetal development in a way that predisposes the child to obesity. In fact, studies have found that the link between mothers who smoked and childhood obesity have the strongest association between weight and environmental factors.  Second hand smoke counts too.

3. STOP DRINKING APPLE JUICE
Besides the fact that it (as all other canned juices) has way too much sugar, it is the arsenic that is the chemical of concern here.  Arsenic interferes with the way your pancreas functions and messes with your blood sugar levels, in addition to influencing how your body creates and stores fat.   Arsenic has been recently found in apple juice as well as chicken  and eggs (so buy organic!)  and rice.

4. STOP USING NON STICK PANS
According to the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention, PFOA, the chemical that is used in Teflon and other nonstick pans as well as water- and stain-repelling fabric is in 98 percent of Americans' blood, A  Danish study measured levels of this chemical in pregnant mothers and then compared those with their children's body weights 20 years later. Mothers who'd had the highest body levels of PFOA were three times as likely to have overweight or obese daughters than mothers with the lowest levels.
Switch to cast iron or stainless steel.

5.  STOP EATING CANNED FOODS
Many of us (especially if you have been reading my blog!) know about the dangers of BPA - a endocrine disrupting chemical that is found in plastics and the resin lining of canned food.   Now a new chemical has been identified in food can lining called Bisphenol A diglycidyl ether (BADGE for short).  A recent study  in Environmental Health Perspectives explains, even extremely low levels of BADGE promote weight gain by turning other non-fat cels into fat.    Obese people have more fat cells than non-obese people.

The study’s author, Bruce Blumberg, PhD, from the University of California–Irvine explains  “early in life—particularly when a baby is developing in a mother's womb—is when most of the damage from exposure is done, reprogramming the child's normal bodily functions and setting him or her up for weight problems later in life.”   Once this baby is born they will not necessarily be doomed to be fat  BUT they will definitely have a harder time  staying fit.

Even though BADGE is especially damaging in unborn babies, it can also affect adults.  So it is never too late to cut out canned food.

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