Obesogens are likely to be a relatively unknown topic in today’s conversations.
But they should be known.
We certainly ingest them on a daily basis, and they negatively affect our health.
What an obesogen is; it is a chemical that disrupt our hormones in such a way that they cause weight gain.
This weight gain can ultimately lead to obesity, hence the name; obesogens.
Some of these obesogens are taken knowing that weight gain is a side effect, a lot are taken with the knowledge that it’s just simply bad for us, and most are taken without our knowledge or consent.
“Rebecca is a 5 yr old girl who has gained 20 lbs in one year and is referred to us for premature breast development. An MRI of her head rules out a brain tumor. A pituitary evaluation to look for onset of puberty is unrevealing and tests show no estrogen in the blood. A more detailed history reveals Rebecca’s mother has recently taken to bathing her daughter in Victoria Secret’s bath gel. The assumption is that the bath gel contains plant estrogen. The mother is counseled to stop the bath gel and subsequently Rebecca’s weight gain and breast development cease.”
(Excerpt from the book Fat Chance , Chapter 15 Environmental Obesogens)
Let’s take a look at what exactly contains obesogens, what they do to us, and how we can avoid them.
3 Ways Obesogens Promote Weight Gain
Obesogens disrupt three important systems in our body, the disruptions in all three cases lead to weight gain.
The first method obesogens take is to block or up-regulate hormone receptors of the metabolism.This leads to changes in the numbers and sizes of fat cells.
The next way obesogens attacks us is by unbalancing our sex hormones—which play a role in our weight management.
Negative effects of this include lowered growth hormone secretion and insulin resistance.
The final way obesogens affects us is a little too complicated to get into for this article, but they mess with the hypothalamus, adrenal, and pituitary glands in multiple ways.
This leads to an unbalancing of our energy and appetite systems.
Nasty stuff. Right?
Where Do They Come From?
Some of these obesogens people know they’re taking, mainly in taking pharmaceuticals. Several drugs, mainly those used to treat diabetes, (DES) estrogen, SSRIs, anti- depressants, and anti-psychotics.
There are other obesogens that we know are bad, we just didn’t know they made us fat. Nicotine, for example encourages obesity in the children of mothers who smoked when they carried them.
High fructose corn syrup is one, but I think we all kind of suspected that already. Pesticides, present in all the food we eat, has obesogens in them too. The worst part about all this, is that a lot of times, we’re ingesting obesogens without even knowing it. Like plastic for example, which contains Bisphenol-A (BPA), and BPA is a major obesogen.
Parabens are another one, these are in a shocking amount of hygiene products that you put on yourself every day. Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) is another one that’s been snuck into our bodies by its application in non-stick cookware—which almost anyone who eats at home uses, meaning pretty much everyone has this in their blood already.
Fortunately, the human body comes equipped with its own natural detox system and given enough time and care it can remedy the imbalance.
How to Reduce Your Exposure to Obesogens?
If you’re thinking that you have a lot of these in you already, and that damage has been done, you’re right. However, it’s never too late to substantially limit the intake of these obesogens and detoxify to a point.
Let’s take a look at how.
- If you’re on any of the above mentioned drugs, and you don’t absolutely need them, stop taking them.
- All of you expecting moms out there; don’t smoke. (but you already knew that right?)
- High fructose corn syrup is terrible for you in so many ways. Look at the ingredients of the food you eat and eradicate it from your diet.
- Eliminate pesticides from your diet by going organic and by washing your fruits and veggies with a natural pesticide removing solution.
- Remove the plastic from your home, don’t eat anything that has touched it either—FYI, most can liners contain BPA.
- Read the labels of anything that needs to be applied to your skin and eliminate parabens; use natural products.
- Non-stick cookware is garbage now, learn how to properly heat up a steel pan and go forth.