A research study from the Universities of Aveiro and Beira Interior, Portugal, has analyzed how some common chemicals can increase our risk of becoming overweight and obese. Previous studies pointed out that chemicals can interfere with our bodies’ processes. They can increase the cases of obesity all over the world.
There are some chemicals that affect the way our bodies store or process the fat. They are called ‘obesogens.’
Obesogens Promote Fat Accumulation
These chemicals can increase the number of fat cells, can increase the appetite or decrease the ability to burn calories. Studies so far have identified some of the chemicals that affect our overall weight. They are artificial sweeteners, flame retardants, pesticides, plastics, repellent coatings (used on kitchen utensils or clothes).
What researchers at the Universities of Aveiro and Beira Interior have recently studied is how to minimize the exposure to these chemicals. The lead author of the study is Dr. Ana Catarina Sousa. She and her team of researchers reviewed the existing surveys and studies. Furthermore, they have found that people are exposed to obesogens through their diet, house dust and objects they use every day (cleaning chemicals, kitchenware or cosmetics)
Obesogens like tributyltin and cadmium have been banned years ago, but are still existent in some food products, even on high concentrations. Dr. Sousa explains that these harmful chemicals are everywhere:
“Obesogens can be found almost everywhere, and our diet is a main source of exposure, as some pesticides and artificial sweeteners are obesogens. Equally, they are present in plastics and home products, so completely reducing exposure is extremely difficult – but to significantly reduce it is not only feasible, but also very simple.”
Reducing Exposure to Obesogens – Dr. Sousa and Her Team Recommends:
Choose fresh food instead of the processed ones that contain many ingredients inside.
Buy pesticide-free fruits and veggies. Store food in glass or aluminium containers and don’t heat them in plastic containers.
Remove shoes when entering the house. Vacuum often and dust the house frequently. Avoid cleaning products or use those without obesogens. Minimize carpets in the indoors, as they accumulate a lot of dust.
Andre Blair s is the lead editor for Advocator.ca. He holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Toronto, and a Master of Science in Public Health (M.S.P.H.) from the School of Public Health, Department of Health Administration, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Andre specializes in environmental health, but writes on a variety of issues.