Sedentary lifestyle, junk foods, alcohol and staying physically inactive contribute towards weight gain. When an individual overcomes all these hurdles, starts tracking calories consumed, exercises daily, cuts down on portion sizes and reads nutrition labels to lose weight, he/she is still missing out on one important factor related to the obesity epidemic-chemicals.
PFASs Hijack Weight Loss
There is even a reputed study to back the theory that chemicals induce weight gain and this is published in the journal PLOS Medicine. The study found that men and women with high concentrations of man-made chemicals known as PFASs in their blood regained weight rapidly after weight loss. This is the first-of-the-kind study to emphasize the involvement of chemicals from pollutants to interfere with people’s weight loss efforts although there are research material already existing linking these chemicals with cancer, immune dysfunction, high cholesterol, hormone disruption and high cholesterol. The study also showed that higher blood levels of PFASs (obesogens as they disrupt body weight) were linked to decreased resting metabolic rate (RMR) or slower metabolism after weight loss. PFASs are a category of man-made chemicals found in everyday items such as food packaging, nonstick products, adhesives and stain repellant fabrics.
The study analyzed over 600 overweight/obese patients fed on four different heart-healthy diets on weight loss over a period of two years. During the first six months the participants lost 6.4 kilograms but gained back 2.7 kg over the remaining 18 months of the study. People who gained the most weight had the highest blood concentration of PFASs (this induced lower RMR) and the link was strongly seen among women. The research proposes that avoiding or restricting PFAS exposure can enable people to maintain a stable body weight after losing some weight, specifically advantageous in the case of women.
PFASs Will Linger Around for Another Million Years
PFASs are present literally everywhere and inside our bodies too. They prevent egg from sticking to the pan while cooking, keep rain from soaking your jacket during a summer downpour or prevent spilt tea from staining your carpet. They are used in food containers like pizza boxes, microwave popcorn bags and other food packaging options to repel grease. Through these, PFASs enter our body and stay inside. A study confirmed that PFAS was detected in the breast milk, umbilical cord blood or bloodstream of 98% of participants who participated in the research. These chemicals are extremely resilient and potent enough to linger around for millions of years from now. Try reducing PFAS intrusion in your everyday life as much as possible and the following tips might come in as handy aids in this regard:
Cupboard: Whatever your end-goal is, eating healthy food or reducing chemical exposure, the process remains the same-eat as much whole, unprocessed foods as possible and limit your packaged food purchases. This way, artificial colors, processed sugars and artificial sweeteners that serve as nutritional obesogens can be avoided. Throwing away processed foods and replacing it with your own freshly prepared foods is a great way to become healthier.
Restaurant meal: When you look forward to restaurant take-aways to minimize preparation efforts and save time, you become a prey to phthalates, a group of hormone-disrupting chemicals found in plastics and other products that may be obesogenic. Phthalates are dominantly present in restaurants, fast food joints and cafeteria meals. One study shows that people who consumed meals outside had 35% higher phthalate levels than those people who prepared their own grocery store purchases. Guess what! Sandwiches and burgers purchased from outside contain maximum quantities of these chemicals.
Take-away containers: PFASs are not just present at restaurants increasing the body weight of individuals but they are also safely seated in grease-proof containers, paper wrappers and boxes used for packaging foods. Even the microwave popcorn bags are lined with these weight-gain promoting chemicals.
Healthy produce: Any type of produce-fresh, canned, frozen or organic-is healthy but not all of them are obesogens-free. Pesticides dominate agricultural world and it is safer and better to choose organic fruits and vegetables as some of these pesticides are capable of increasing body weight. If you are unable to buy organic versions of all your required produce, have a look at the top 10 dirty vs clean produce at the website www.firsteatright.com and make your choices.
Plastic, plastic everywhere: It is almost next to impractical to do away with plastic as they have entered every space of our life-water is drunk using plastic bottles, lunch is packed in Tupperware and snacks are sealed in plastic zip-lock bags. All we can do is take every step possible to limit usage-use glass containers to drink water or carry your own bag on grocery trips. There is also one study that shows that a BPA byproduct can lead cultured cells to become fat cells.
Paper receipts: E-receipts, bills, ticketless travel journeys and ATM machines showing balance without processing receipts are all initiatives to work towards paperless transactions that are environmental friendly. You can stop getting your receipts too at the grocery store and opt for e-receipts not only to avoid bills that clutter your purse but to become a part of the eco-friendly initiative. These steps reduce the attack of chemicals including BPA that can be absorbed into the blood through the skin or even through air when touching such receipts. But remember, the foods listed in the receipts shape your health in a far better way than the tiny slip of paper.
AVOID FRAUD. EAT SMART.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.