Com­mon house­hold chem­i­cals may af­fect weight gain

Iran Daily - - Health -

Af­ter los­ing weight, many di­eters soon re­gain much of what they took off.

Now, re­search hints that chem­i­cals lurk­ing in cloth­ing and fur­ni­ture may play a role in this frus­trat­ing yo-yo cy­cle, UPI re­ported.

Widely used man­made chem­i­cals called per­flu­o­roalkyl sub­stances (PFAS) may un­der­mine di­eters’ at­tempts to main­tain weight loss by slow­ing down the body’s me­tab­o­lism, the new study sug­gested.

Lead au­thor Dr. Qi Sun, an as­sis­tant pro­fes­sor of nutri­tion at the Har­vard School of Pub­lic Health, said, “The study can’t prove cause­and-ef­fect, but found that in­di­vid­u­als with higher blood lev­els of these chem­i­cals had more dif­fi­cul­ties of main­tain­ing weight loss af­ter di­et­ing. “This pat­tern is pri­mar­ily ob­served in women.” Per­flu­o­roalkyl sub­stances have been used for over 60 years in de­vel­oped coun­tries like the United States. Sun said, “These chem­i­cals are both water- and oil-re­pel­lent.” They’re found in many con­sumer prod­ucts, in­clud­ing non­stick cook­ware, wa­ter­proof cloth­ing, stain-re­sis­tant car­pet­ing and fur­ni­ture fab­rics, and food wrap­pers.

He said, “What’s more, the chem­i­cals are per­sis­tent and ubiq­ui­tous, said Sun.

“They are de­tectable in blood in most US res­i­dents. They are a fact of modern-day in­dus­trial life.”

Prior an­i­mal re­search has linked PFAS ex­po­sure to weight gain and obe­sity in an­i­mals.

This has earned them the nick­name ‘obe­so­gens.’ Other stud­ies have also linked them to can­cer, hor­mone dis­rup­tion, im­mune dys­func­tion and high choles­terol.

This in­ves­ti­ga­tion fo­cused on more than 600 over­weight or obese men and women aged 30 to 70. All had par­tic­i­pated in a two-year obe­sity study in the mid-2000s. In the process of track­ing the car­dio­vas­cu­lar im­pact of four dif­fer­ent di­ets, the trial mea­sured PFAS ex­po­sure at en­roll­ment.

On av­er­age, par­tic­i­pants lost 14 pounds dur­ing the first half-year of di­et­ing, but then re­gained six pounds dur­ing the fol­low­ing 18 months.

Those with the high­est blood lev­els of PFAS at the start were the most vul­ner­a­ble to re­gain­ing weight. They also had sig­nif­i­cantly lower post-diet me­tab­o­lism, or ‘rest­ing me­tab­o­lism’, caus­ing them to burn fewer calo­ries through­out the day, ac­cord­ing to the study.

Women faced the high­est risk for Pfas-linked weight gain, the team found. And women in the top one-third in terms of pre-diet PFAS ex­po­sure re­gained roughly four to five pounds more than women in the bot­tom third.

Sun said that it’s not clear why women seem more vul­ner­a­ble, but hor­mones likely play a role.

He said, “We know from an­i­mal stud­ies that PFAS can in­ter­fere with es­tro­gen me­tab­o­lism and func­tion­al­ity, and es­tro­gens are amongst hor­mones that reg­u­late body weight and me­tab­o­lism.”

So what’s the so­lu­tion?

“Given their ubiq­ui­tous ex­is­tence in the en­vi­ron­ment and our con­sumer prod­ucts, it is chal­leng­ing to en­tirely avoid ex­po­sures to these chem­i­cals, although choos­ing prod­ucts that are free of PFAS can help re­duce the ex­po­sure.”

He did said that the in­dus­try is phas­ing out some of the chem­i­cal com­pounds, but added the health im­pact of sub­sti­tute chem­i­cal op­tions re­mains un­clear.

Dr. Tom Ri­fai, a pro­po­nent of life­style medicine, de­scribed the find­ings as ‘very thought-pro­vok­ing.’

Ri­fai, a clin­i­cal as­sis­tant pro­fes­sor of medicine at Wayne State Uni­ver­sity in Detroit, said, “Of course, as­so­ci­a­tion does not prove cau­sa­tion, and there would need to be sig­nif­i­cantly more re­search.

“But this anal­y­sis def­i­nitely jus­ti­fies that. A ma­jor is­sue is that the sub­stances are es­sen­tially om­nipresent.

“There­fore, for all prac­ti­cal pur­poses, if a mean­ing­ful as­so­ci­a­tion is ul­ti­mately found, it would likely have to be pub­lic pol­icy that would drive the re­duc­tion.”

Still, Ri­fai said that when it comes to obe­sity risk, ‘the big­gest fin­ger’ has to be pointed at calo­rie-rich and pro­cessed foods, along with ‘dra­matic amounts of sit­ting/seden­tary time’.

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