Health Scoop

Are Zero Calorie Chemicals Making You Fat?

tape measure around waist

THESE DAYS ALMOST everyone I know wants to lose a few (whether they need to or not). Although it is true that we live in a weight obsessed society, the fact is that over 50 % of Americans are now overweight or obese. Most of those extra pounds are attributed to poor eating habits and excess portions (along with elevated cortisol levels that result from the stresses of expectations to function as automatons in this high-tech, high-speed century.)

There may be yet another culprit to add to the expanding waistlines. Chemicals.

Although zero calorie and fat free, endocrine disturbing compounds are mostly synthetic chemicals. They’re found in solvents, lubricants, plastics, pesticides, fungicides, herbicides and antibacterials. Studies provide solid evidence that they can play a role in the slowing of metabolic function and contribute to making you fat. That microwave low fat entree may be under three hundred calories, but if the plastic tray is leaching its microscopic chemicals into it during the heating process, chances are its doing more harm than good. (Oh, just buy the fresh chicken and veggies already…it’ll only take an extra 15 minutes).

These chemicals (EDC’s) can bind and activate multiple hormone nuclear receptors that function in metabolism (in steps including glucose transport and fat processing (aka lipid metabolism). This disrupts metabolism and slows the breakdown and processing of fat and glucose.

Short exposure to BPA (bisphenol A) the breakdown product of coatings in food and beverage containers, may stimulate certain receptors that normally are stimulated by glucose and fat molecules, and lead to impaired glucose tolerance which eventually leads to diabetes.

So although moderation is key, if you’re already watching calories and fighting the battle of the bulge, you may be right…. it’s not just the burger and fries.

Ref: Lubrano et al. Obesity and Metabolic Comorbidities: Environmental Diseases? Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2013: 640673

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