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Obesogens - Chemical Stress on your Body

When we think of weight gain we often think of overeating, high sugar intake or too little exercise. Together with a lack of good nutrition, these factors all contribute to putting on weight.

New to our understanding though is the role of ‘obesogens’ or ‘endocrine disruptors’. These are natural or manmade chemicals which alter the chemical regulatory system that controls our weight, our endocrine (hormone) system.

The result is that there is an increase in fat cells, a decrease in the calories used and a change to the way that the body manages hunger.

Obesogens confuse the body into thinking that they are normal body hormones but in fact they interrupt several important mechanisms that the body needs to function well. The result is that the body will lay down fat and find it difficult to break fat down for use in the body.

Obesogens are found in many processed foods, for example high fructose corn syrup included in things such as soft drinks, yogurts and many takeaways. Other examples are monosodium glutamate, aspartame and cyclamate.

Cans and plastic containers often contain Bisphenol-A

Cans and plastic containers often contain Bisphenol-A

Cans and plastic containers often contain Bisphenol-A (BPA) which acts as a synthetic oestrogen which is used to harden plastics and which has been prohibited from use in baby related produces but is common in many other products such as drink bottles and the lining of most cans. When studies were performed on animals, this chemical changed the function of insulin causing an increase in weight as well as a reduction in immune function.

Other products include nonstick pans and microwave popcorn which contain perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). This affects the thyroid and can result in obesity years later by changing the way the hormones that control weight are regulated. PFOA is contained in teflon pans as well as microwave popcorn bags and many pizza boxes.

A further chemical is phthalate found in vinyl products which often appear to be plastics. They are found in vinyl flooring and plastic shrink wrap used in supermarkets as well as many things with a strong plastic smell. Phthalate lowers testosterone levels, changes metabolism and causes you to gain weight and lose muscle mass.

Of course these chemicals are toxic to your nervous system and along with psychological and physical stressors cause your nervous system to operate under a greater load – ‘Stress’. As far as chiropractors are concerned this ‘stress load’ is important as it effects your nervous system which co-ordinates how your body operates and brings into play your immune system and healing mechanisms.

So how do we avoid obesogens?

  • Buy wild and organic fish and meats which are hormone and antibiotic free. A local butcher and fish monger is the best place for this as they have better control over their products than supermarkets.
  • Drink water that you have carbon filtered yourself to remove added chemicals. Put the water in aluminum water bottles or those that are BPA-free.
  • Plastics with the number 3 or 7 on the bottom contain BPA. Those numbered 1, 2, 4, 5, and 6 are unlikely to contain BPA.
  • Keep plastic food or drink containers cool as heat can cause BPA to leach. This means never microwaving plastic.
  • Eat as few canned foods as possible, frozen or fresh is much better.
  • Replace your non-stick pans and use a good quality oil at a lower temperature.

Chemicals have a powerful effect on your nervous system and can result in significant changes to health.

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