This may or may not have crossed your mind. You’ve been working hard all week at losing weight, watching what you’re cooking with and what you are eating, but have you ever wondered whether what your ingesting (other than food) is perhaps altering your body’s ability to lose weight?
Interestingly enough, one of the areas researchers are beginning to explore more and more is whether chemical byproducts that we used in various types of plastics for instance are somehow making their way into our bodies and disrupting our endocrine system, making it harder for us to lose weight.
Obesity is rampant in the United States: Why?
It’s no secret that over half the population of the United States is overweight and a good third of the population is considered obese. One can speculate as to why this is so, such as people habitually partaking in fad dieting, video games (making them less likely to exercise), and easy fast foods (which are usually high in fat foods). But can there be something else that we’ve been overlooking?
What are Phthalates?
One of the things that researchers are beginning to explore are phthalates, which are found in soft, bendable plastics and other household/cosmetic products such as: nail polish, perfume, siding, pacifiers, toys, canned products, repackaged foods, microwaveable popcorn and the substance that is used to create non-stick surfaces on frying pans, what we refer to as Teflon. It’s believed that phthalates when ingested disrupt the endocrine system, which is composed of hormones and glands that help the body regulate various functions. Disrupting endocrine functions is believed to be one possible contributor to obesity.
Studies Suggest a Link to Obesity
In various studies in both mice and children, results seem to indicate that high levels of phthalates in one’s body may significantly alter the endocrine system’s function enough to be a cause of obesity. In one study, conducted by Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, over 500 obese children were followed and were found to have high phthalates in their urine as compared to the average child in the United States. Researchers are not quite sure at this time, whether obesity is definitively caused by the presence of the plastic byproduct but they do believe that they are strongly linked.
What Can You Do?
In order to better your chances at successful dieting, and as a wise for health reasons, try to limit your intake of phthalates by being sure to check personal care products and other items that you may use throughout your day which you may inhale or ingest in minute amounts quite unknowingly. Educate yourself on what types of chemicals are out there and what products they appear in, so you can proactively avoid or limit exposure. Eco-friendly sites are becoming a good source for this type of information.