You’ve probably never even heard of them before. Yet they’re all around us and you’re exposed to them every day. These creepy artificial chemicals, called obesogens, are lurking in everything from your food containers to your cosmetics.
When you swallow or absorb these endocrine disrupters, your body has a tough time telling the difference between them and your natural hormones. And that can lead to all kinds of unexpected consequences including causing you to pack on the pounds. Which, of course, means some cases of heart disease and type 2 diabetes may be linked to them too.
Obesogens could be to blame for your belly fat
Experts say there are over 20 different obesogens threatening our health and making us fat already. And more could be in the pipeline.
Obesogens are bad news. And since they aren’t going anywhere soon this is a case where your best defense is a good offense. Avoiding all of them isn’t possible, of course. But you can start cutting back on some of the most common offenders.
Following are two obesogens you’ve probably never heard of that are likely in your home at this very moment.
Atrazine is one of the most widely used weedkillers in the United States. It’s second only to glyphosate, which we’ve talked about a number of times here in Healthier Talk.
Corn, sugarcane and winter wheat crops are often treated with atrazine. And groundskeepers and gardeners spray it on residential lawns and golf courses too.
Europe banned the chemical over a decade ago because of concerns over it contaminating ground water. And testing by the Pesticide Action Network has found traces of atrazine in a variety of common foods including catfish, watermelon, green onions and cucumbers.
In animal studies these obesogens damaged mitochondria, sent metabolism rates crashing and caused rats to pack on belly fat. And experts suspect too much of it could be making us fat too.
It’s impossible to avoid all contact with atrazine, of course. But you could cut back on your daily exposure to it.
You can check with your local water utility company to find out if they monitor for atrazine contamination and how often.
And if you’re still concerned about the chemical being in your drinking water after that call, certain water filtration systems, such as reverse osmosis filters, can help remove it from your water. A whole house system, if you can afford one, can filter your bathing water too.
Plus making the switch to organic foods is one of the best ways to lower your exposure to all pesticides, including atrazine.
Organotins are a group of troubling chemicals used in tin compounds and as fungicides, wood preservatives and plastic stabilizers. They’re used in a variety of places such as on the bottoms of boats and ships, in industrial water systems, and anywhere wood may be submerged and need protecting.
The two most common organotins are tributylin (TBT) and dibutylin (DBT). Both have some worrying effects on the immune system. But TBT could be partially responsible for why you can’t zip up your favorite jeans anymore.
The good news TBT was phased out and is now banned. The bad news is its widespread use has already left its mark. Because like many chemical pollutants, TBT will be contaminating the environment for many years to come.
TBT had a catastrophic effect on marine life at the height of its use. And it’s still lurking in both lake and coastal waters. Worst of all, experts say we’re still swallowing the stuff in our food.
Research has revealed TBT could trigger weight gain. In the lab, it caused fat cells to grow out of control. And it suppressed leptin, the hormone that signals to us that it’s time to step away from the table so we don’t keep stuffing our faces long after we should have stopped.
Mice exposed to the creepy chemical in another experiment became pudgy and developed fatty livers within 45 days. So who knows what it’s doing to us.
You may be able to reduce the organotin levels in your body. Limit the amount of seafood you eat from coastal waters. Choose wild caught, cold-water fish such as salmon, tuna and sardines instead.
Try to avoid household products that contain polyurethane and plastic polymers as well as silicon coated parchment paper. And cut back on canned foods and store any unused portions in separate glass, ceramic or steel containers.
It’s impossible to avoid obesogens entirely. They’re hiding everywhere. But making a few simple changes could make a big difference in how much of them you encounter. And who knows, after a while you may even find you can fit in to your favorite pair of jeans again.
She is an advocate of self-education and is passionate about the power of group knowledge sharing, like the kind found right here on HealthierTalk.com. Alice loves to share her views on holistic and natural healing as well as her, sometimes contentious, thoughts on the profit-driven inner workings of traditional medicine.
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