Recently I was listening to a podcast and the discussion was on ‘Chemicals that makes us fat, depressed and toxic’
Take the time to have a listen – I was very impressed with the research and training Kim Morrison has undertaken and how she has implemented her passion into her life, creating a healthier lifestyle for herself and her family and friends in what sounds like a very gentle and caring manner.
This podcast introduced me to the concept of obesogens – not something I’ve heard of before (the term has been coined in research papers since 2002, though accredited to being developed by a Professor in 2006), but the underlying philosophy of obesogens is one that I am learning about a lot in the past year while I’ve been 0n my life journey.
I’m now finding out more about obesogens and how they can affect our lives.
It appears that researchers are now gathering evidence that there are subtances, which have been named obesogens, that are affecting how our body metabolises foods and may predispose some of us to gain weight. The concept that environmental chemicals could be related to weight gain was first discussed in an article published in 2002.
This article discusses how the meat industry, and the pharmaceutical industry, have been using chemicals to encourage weight gain where required. I find this funny that the idea was not turned around for the obesity epidemic we are now facing sooner – it’s only taken 12 more years to make a connection! Surely the hormones that were fed to the cattle were going to be eaten by the consumers – i.e. us!! Our body is not made to excrete excess toxins, it can excrete plenty, but we are being exposed to a lot.
Another article I’ve been reading discusses how people and animals (even urban rats) are increasing in weight, regardless of their diet and exercise regimes. I must admit to having felt this way at times myself. No matter how hard I tried, there was always a plateau in my weight loss. How I arrived at “fair, fat and forty”.
I was curious to see that the obesogens are essentially chemicals, or toxins, that are abundant in our everyday life. The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in the US say there are 15 – 20 chemicals that have been shown to increase obesity from exposure either when inutero, or in infancy.
Chemicals abundant in our everyday life include:
- phthalates, which are in fragrances (not that you’ll see this on the ingredients label), so you see this in beauty products, laundry powders, air fresheners
- many plastics (PVC)
- cigarette smoke (known to produce underweight babies who then play growth ‘catchup’)
- drugs (e.g. DES – will explain this one below, the diabetes drug Avandia® (rosiglitazone))
- msg (monosodium glutamate)
- pesticides, (e.g. DDE, a chemical still in our food chain from the breakdown of DDT; tributyltin [TBT], a contaminant in our waterways and still used as a stabiliser in PVC)
- bisphenol A (BPA), which is found in medical devices, in the lining of some canned foods, and in cash register receipts
- perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), a friction reducer, so you find this items such as in carpets, non-stick cookware, Scotchgard and Goretex products (remember our infants crawl on carpets)
It appears that these obesogens act as disruptors in the normal metabolism and hormone systems within our body. They can
- increase the number of fat cells;
- increase the size of fat cells;
- change the body’s ability to feel satiated;
- it’s appetite control;
- food preferences; and
- how food is metabolised
One of the interesting things for me was the discussion on exposure in-utero. As a 1960s baby, my mother was given the drug DES (diethylstilbestrol), a drug to reduce the risk of miscarriage. The only miscarriage I’ve noticed about this drug was the increased risk to vaginal cancer, breast cancer and reproductive issues. Now I find out that it may also have a role to play in why I have struggled with my weight since I was a little girl. Very interesting indeed.
Exposure of our next generation to chemicals that can be avoided is something we can all be aware of, living a more sustainable lifestyle, taking care with the skin care products we put onto our skin, reducing our reliance on plastics, eating food that has been exposed to pesticides and herbicides and drinking water that has been filtered. I would say that we are not able to completely avoid all of these contaminants – e.g., how do you find furniture, carpets and cookware that has not been manufactured with some of these chemical contaminants?
How can you not be exposed when it is stated in the article that nearly every adult and child in the US has at least PFOA’s in their blood – avoiding contamination may be tricky.
I’m feeling very blessed that I have now discovered a way to keep my internal organs supported in removing excess toxins daily. It’s a simple drink that I have every morning, to support my cells in doing what they know how to do naturally. And it tastes of berries! If you want to know more, ask me