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Environmental Factors Causing Weight Gain? Obesogens May Be the Culprit

If you’ve gained weight recently, you’re not alone. While being up a few pounds doesn’t make you obese, obesity affects some 35% of adults in the United States, and 17% of children. Traditional thinking has always focused on diet and exercise—both important things, of course—but it turns out there might also be an environmental factor. Because not only are humans getting fatter, so are animals. The cause is something you’ve probably never heard of: Obesogens.

So, what are Obesogens? Basically, they are man-made synthetic -chemicals in our environment. These dietary, pharmaceutical, and other industrial compounds may alter metabolic processes, disrupt endocrine function and predispose some people to gain weight. This scientific theory dates back to a 2002 study by Paula Baillie-Hamilton, where animals exposed to low doses of certain chemicals showed a propensity to gain weight. Not only did they gain more weight, but it was shown that normal cells were converted to fat cells! More recent studies have backed up this significant and alarming data as well.

So, what do obesogens do? These chemicals disrupt the endocrine system—your collection of glands that produce hormones to regulate your metabolism, growth and development, tissue function, sexual function, reproduction, sleep, and mood. This encourages the body to store more fat. They can also prompt the liver to become insulin-resistant, causing the pancreas to excrete more insulin. They may also hinder the release of leptin, a hormone that regulates appetite.

Let’s look at some of these Obesogens.

Obesogens include: 

  • BPA (bisphenol-A): found in medical devices, the linings of some canned foods, and cash register receipts.
  • Phthalates: found in soft and semisoft plastic packaging as well as in some solvents.
  • DDE ((dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene): a breakdown product of the insecticide DDT
  • Genistein: a naturally-occurring isoflavone found in lupins, fava beans, & soybeans.
  • MSG (monosodium glutamate): a flavor enhancer.
  • DES (diethylstilbestrol): a chemical given to women in the 1960s and 70s under the false belief that it could reduce birth complications. Withdrawn after side effects and links to cancer emerged.

 So how do you avoid Obesogens? It’s harder than you might think; they’re EVERYWHERE!

    • Canned or heavily processed foods
    • Microwavable Food Packages (put on a plate instead to cook)
    • Pesticides (avoid by eating certified organic, pesticide-free produce)
    • Soda
    • Microwave popcorn
    • Air-fresheners, vinyl shower curtains, and shrink-wrap plastics
    • Unfiltered drinking water
    • Teflon cookware
    • Chemical household cleaning products
    • Body care products that are not natural
    • Perfumes and colognes
    • Unfiltered tap water
    • Pharmaceutical drugs
    • Heavily polluted air
    • Petroleum based products
    • Anything that has chemicals in it

The good news is, you can limit the effects of Obesogens by avoiding those things above, as well as being smart about supplements to help counteract the effects. Because Obesogens basically work to destabilize the human endocrine system, antioxidants like those found in Greens First®, work to quench all free radicals and help to maintain and support endocrine health.

Greens First uses organic fruits and vegetables and superfoods to help mitigate the effects of chemicals we encounter in food and environmental exposures. By avoiding these exposures, eating a healthy diet, and supporting your endocrine system with antioxidants you can reduce the harmful effects of Obesogens on your body. The more you know!