Are toxic chemicals in our environment causing weight gain?

Sounds like sci fi but scientist are increasingly finding that chemicals loosely called “obesogens” are interacting with our hormones in a way that makes us more prone to weight gain and obesity.

Last week researchers found that  PFAS (perfluoroalkyl substances) found in fast food and packaged food wrappers were linked to weight gain. In fact those with higher PFAS levels in their blood had higher weight gain and a lower resting metabolic rate or metabolism than those with the lowest PFAS levels.

Obesogens which are also classified as “endocrine disruptors” – chemicals that affect our endocrine or hormonal system in a way that promotes weight gain (or other disease) – are not new. In fact studies have shown that many toxins in our environment can acts as obesogens. Some examples include cigarette smoke, air pollution and BPA. Even BPA free plastics are known to act as “estrogen activators,” especially when exposed to a stress like heat (think microwaves.)

While we cannot completely eliminate exposure of these compounds (some are found in our air, our food supply among other places) we can limit exposure. Here are some tips:

Be careful but be reasonable about the facts. While endocrine disruptors are being more widely recognized in out environment, they are only one part of the health story and do not determine your health “fate.” Try your best to do your best but know that no one’s best is 100% and probably does not need to be to make a difference.

Wishing you good health,

Dr. Adrienne Youdim MD FACP

Dr. Adrienne Youdim

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