February 16, 2014 by gregrabidoux2013
We’ve all heard the fat culprits before. Many times. But here goes. Bigger portions, couch potato lifestyles, too many video games that work our thumbs and not our waistlines, pre-packaged junk food, too many sodas and calorie-rich energy drinks, not enough exercise, sedentary jobs at cubicles, fast food and supersize options.
But, new research suggests something else may be causing us to be fat. And in some ways it’s scarier that the rest. Because it may be out of our control. It’s called Obesogens and “they” are literally all around us in our toxic environment. And get this, obesogens start making some of us fatter than others even before we are born.
Chew on that while you savor that Little Debbie Snack cake.
According to Dr. Bruce Blumberg, a developmental and cell biology professor at the University of California at Irvine, Obesogens are believed to work in at least three ways:
“First, by directly affecting adipocytes, or fat cells, by either increasing their fat-storage capacity or increasing their number; second, by changing metabolism, by both reducing the number of calories burned at rest and promoting the storage of calories as fat; and third, by changing the way the body regulates feelings of hunger and fullness.”
And where may I ask do we find these naughty fat-mongers, these aptly named obesogens?
Well, according to the good Doctor and his research team, they are basically all around us.
Sweet. Pass me some French Fries, I eat more when I’m stressed (let’s go ahead and add stress to our list as well).
Yep, these Obesogens are indeed ubiquitous. They comprise a range of chemicals we are exposed to which includes the ink on most cash receipts, the chemicals many fish and seafood ingest, the chemicals we breathe when we plug in air-fresheners to make our home smell pleasant, preservatives in most canned vegetables, mattresses and sofas treated with chemicals to make them flame retardant, nonstick fry pans, and, well, there are a lot more on the list but this is stressing me out more and you know what that calls for-I will have that double-fried Grande Burrito after all. Hold the obesogens please, if you can actually identify where they are hiding.
Now for the really frightening news about getting fatter. Blumberg and his team now believe that obesogens that your parents, grand-parents and even great-grandparents were exposed to like the dreaded and now banned DDT pesticide, have already worked their fat-magic on our hereditary genetic code and faster than you can say “Supersize Me” we are becoming supersized even before we are born. This, says researchers, is one of the main explanations for why each new generation of babies are getting on average bigger at birth than before. Initially, doctors thought it was due to better nutrition and diet by pregnant Moms. Not so. Apparently, using new technology to safely scan baby fat the increase (about 200 MG on average each year) is, you guessed it, all fat.
“It’s impossible to know the precise contribution of obesogens to the obesity epidemic, but I would bet that it’s significant,” says Dr. Blumberg. In fact, additional research teams tell us that while DDT exposure has been greatly reduced its cousin TBT (an obesogen) has us surrounded.
Put your double meat lovers pizza down and your hands up.
Yep. TBT is still permitted in a variety of common household products many of use all the time. Unknowingly, they may be contributing to us getting fatter. Things like: Wood preservatives; disinfectants; and tiles, shower curtains, and window blinds made with polyvinyl chloride and even most hand sanitizers.
Did I mention sunscreens, detergents, shampoos and pajamas? How about soy infant formula?
Okay, how about you hold the strawberry-kiwi shampoo and I’ll just eat a bucket of strawberry ice-cream instead?
Apparently, Dr. Blumberg and other spoil-sports don’t think that’s the answer. But, the research is challenging the long-standing energy-balance theory on growing fat. This theory essentially posits fat and reducing one’s fat as a mostly mathematical, caloric equation. Eat healthy and exercise will burn more calories than you take in. Do this consistently and fat eventually is burned and converted to energy. Voila, as the French and their diet rich in butter would say, you get skinny.
But wait, my croissant-swilling friend. It may not be that simple now. All of these obesogens, all of these toxins we get exposed to day after day, year after and generation after generation may have a lot to say about our ever-expanding tummies, waist and bodacious booties.
And advocates are now calling upon our elected officials to do something about it.
For the first time ever, the White House Council on Child Obesity in 2010 mentioned the need to study the impact of obesogens on childhood obesity. And the National Institutes of Health (NIH) received a modest 3 year stipend to conduct more research.
It’s a start. But it really is, pardon me, just a light appetizer. We need to increase our portion of our health budget devoted to knowing more, much more about the role of obesogens and other chemical toxins on our obesity levels, metabolism and hormonal health. And we owe it to new Moms everywhere to get the skinny on what they and their healthcare provider can do to reduce the chance that their new ever-growing bundle of joy is destined to a lifetime struggle with obesity.
We also owe it ourselves to add another obesity promoting item to our list-All You Can Eat Buffets.
Look people, anything that needs a “sneeze-guard” that close to your mashed potatoes and peach cobbler can’t be good for you. Obesogens or no obesogens.
And one more thing. Obesogens have recently been discovered as a coating spray on a number of fancy-designer purses and hand-bags.
Thank goodness I kept the receipt. Wait, that has obesogens too.
Lord have mercy. I’ll have that slice of Angel Food Cake as well. Don’t even think of putting it in a Styrofoam To-Go box. I hear those will kill you.