We know how difficult losing weight can be, and if your best efforts at a healthy diet and regular exercise can’t seem to move those numbers on the scale, there could be more than calories at play in your war against fat.
In fact, research has linked a whole host of environmental toxins (including phthalates, parabens, PCBs and BPA) to disrupted metabolism and fat cell production—with results indicating that these toxins can influence weight gain enough to have earned the moniker “obesogens,” a term that refers to environmental estrogens linked to obesity. To make matters worse, you likely encounter one or all of these fat-promoting chemicals daily, whether you realize it or not.
Take phthalates and parabens, for example. While they only linger in your body for a short time after exposure, they can still wreak havoc on your system—and you’ll find them on the ingredient lists of a number of everyday products, from lotion, soap and makeup to medications and food preservatives.
Chemicals and Weight
This daily deluge of chemicals can sabotage your body’s fat-burning mechanisms by activating receptors involved in lipid and carbohydrate metabolism, reducing leptin levels and insulin sensitivity and contributing to low testosterone levels. This reduction in leptin spells trouble for your weight loss efforts, since balanced levels of the hormone leptin help control appetite and weight.
Bisphenol A (BPA), meanwhile, has emerged as one of the most ubiquitous endocrine disruptors, as it leaches into your food and drinks from common, everyday packaging—such as can linings, plastic bottles and other containers. So it’s no surprise that you’ll find detectable levels of BPA in the majority of our bodies—whether it’s in urine, blood, breast milk, or even amniotic and placental tissues.
Unfortunately, BPA also spells trouble for your waistline. Researchers recently linked elevated BPA levels to high body mass index and abdominal fat in humans. Other research shows that even low doses of BPA can disrupt your body’s blood sugar metabolism and insulin sufficiency.
As if that wasn’t enough there are even more “fattening” chemicals contaminating the food supply. Organochlorine pesticides and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)—two pollutants lingering in the water and soil despite no longer being in wide use—are also connected to weight gain, with conventional produce and farm-raised salmon being common sources of exposure. Long-term studies have determined that exposure to these so-called persistent organic pollutants can lead to weight gain, as well as impact cholesterol and blood sugar metabolism—all being linked to heart health
Lose The Toxins, Lose The Weight
Losing weight can go a long way in minimizing these risks. Ironically, shedding pounds often has the unintended consequence of mobilizing stored toxins, which can remain trapped in fatty tissue for years. That’s another reason why any effort to slim down requires a tandem plan to keep toxic overload at bay.
The first and most obvious step is to minimize your contact with chemical toxins. While it’s impossible to avoid these endocrine-disrupting compounds completely, you can put a significant dent in your exposure to these chemicals—and help your body to better manage its toxic burden in the process—by switching to non-toxic hygiene products and eating a healthy diet packed with clean, organic foods.
To deal with those toxins you can’t avoid—and to help your body eliminate any unwanted byproducts released during the fat-burning process—gentle, ongoing detoxification support is your best bet.