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Monday, April 18, 2011

What is an Obesogen? And how do they affect us?

The technical definition is "Obesogens are chemical compounds foreign to the body that are hypothesized to disrupt normal development or homeostasis of metabolism of lipids ultimately resulting in obesity.
Obesogens may be functionally defined as chemicals that inappropriately alter lipid homeostasis and fat storage, change metabolic setpoints, disrupt energy balance or modify the regulation of appetite and satiety to promote fat accumulation and obesity." (1)  But, in lay-mans terms it is any toxin, chemical or pesticide that we put in our body that disturbs our bodies chemical and hormonal make up that disrupts the endocrine system.  Obesogens include plastic based chemicals, pesticides, hormones and chemicals fed to cattle or livestock, naturally occurring chemicals relating to soy products and our prescriptions and chemicals in our tap water.  Obesogens can trigger an unnatural increase in fat cells, therefore interfering with the body's ability to process leptin, the hormone that triggers the feelings of satiation.(2)

I know that prior to the weight loss surgery, I did not feel full. I ate processed food.  Since the surgery, I try to eat as clean as possible and have significant changes in my appetite.  I do believe it is due to the theory of obesogens.  The theory was coined by Stephen Perrine with Heather Hurlock in The New American Diet.  The author got 400 volunteers to go back to a diet that was based on eating environmentally conscious meats, fish, produce and dairy products.  Those who stuck with the plan for six weeks reported an average weight loss of 15 pounds.

Now I believe that weight loss surgery was my first key to living a healthy life.  But, now I choose to live and eat a healthy life style.  Yes, my food bill has gone up.  And yes I eat hormone and antibiotic free chicken and meat.  Most of my vegetables are organic.  But the more that I read and the more that I learn about my immune system and how compromised we all are, the more I wish to make sacrifices for myself and my family.  My family (my children included) struggle with their weight and I hope to not pass this disease on to them.  If I can give them a fighting chance then I owe it to them.

I encourage you all to educate yourself on obesogens and how BPA can make you obese.  93% of all Americans have BPA in there system (according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and many scientists liken this to a national experiment on ourselves while we continue to use these chemicals.

Here are some ways to stay safe:

1) Eat well and exercise! Keep your immune system strong by not flooding it with obesogens and exercise to strengthen it further.

2) Buy fresh produce instead of canned or packaged.  Canned vegetables and products are lined with BPA most of the time and can leach into your food.  Try to buy fresh or glass items instead of canned.  Eden Foods and Pomi actually make BPA free containers, look on the containers.

3) Any time you are eating the skins, buy organic.  I know money is tight right now for many folks, but I highly recommend you buy organic when eating the skin.

4) Don't put plastic in the microwave. BPA will get released into the food you are eating and drinking, even a simple, "I am going to warm this up," will leach chemicals into the item that are poisoning you and your kids.  Don't buy any plastic ware that has the number 7, on the bottom of it.

5) Check the safety of your cosmetic.  Two recommended brands are Burt's Bees and Josie Maran Cosmetics.  Check Environmental Working Group for the efficacy and safety of the brand you use.

6) Use cleaning products that are frangrance free and no air freshners.  I have to admit this one is hard for me.  I love my house to smell fresh and clean.  However, using bleach and vinegar are cheaper and make my home smell just as nice.

7) Filter your tap water. Run off from farms can put pesticides into our tap water, it never hurts to filter your tap water, not to mention the amount of prescription medication that they are finding in our water now.

8) Leave your shoes at the door.  I live in sunny south Florida.  Our lawns are bright green and there's a reason, we all fertilize and spray for bugs.  Everytime you walk in your home, you are bringing those pesticides inside with you.  Leave your shoes at the door and lessen that exposure.

Scientists believe that these chemicals are linked to not only Obesity, but to Breast Cancer, Diabetes, Heart Disease, ADHD, Endometriosis, Infertility, Lupus, Polycystic Syndrome.


  1. ^ a b Kirchner S, Kieu T, Chow C, Casey S, Blumberg B (March 2010). "Prenatal exposure to the environmental obesogen tributyltin predisposes multipotent stem cells to become adipocytes". Mol. Endocrinol. 24 (3): 526–39. doi:10.1210/me.2009-0261. PMC 2840805. PMID 20160124.
  2. ^ GrĂ¼n F, Blumberg B (2006). "Environmental Obesogens: Organotins and Endocrine Disruption via Nuclear Receptor Signaling" (reprint). Endocrinology 147 (6): s50–s55. doi:10.1210/en.2005-1129. PMID 16690801. 

1 comment:

  1. This is REAL. We MUST pay attention to the statistics that prove we are fatter as a nation than ever before. People haven't changed but our environment and what we are exposed to has. Marketing bombards us with images of food and convinces us that it is our "right" not to deprive ourselves of indulgent eating, even when attempting to lose weight!! Obesogens are just one part of everything that's disrupting the body's natural processes and states.