interesting notion: obesogens

11 Aug

A couple of different news items lately have referred to the same class of chemicals, which some scientists are terming “obesogens.” I am not convinced by this line of argument (at least not yet), but it is an interesting one: some researchers are hypothesizing that a large part of the obesity epidemic is not based on calories or nutrients but on the fact that people are consuming and being exposed to large amounts of chemicals that disrupt the endocrine system (called, by some, “obesogens”).

The argument, essentially, is that modern life exposes people to far more plastics, synthetic hormones and antibiotics in our food, pesticides, etc., than we were exposed to in the past, and that these substances can contribute to obesity by messing with our hormones. Again, I’m not sure how much I believe this; after all, a diet of highly-processed foods has a lot of calories with little fiber and fewer-than-optimal nutrients, which seems to me to be explanation enough for the spread of obesity.

However, since some of the ways you can minimize your contact with these chemicals are the same things that might be helpful in other ways–and because they can’t do any harm–you might consider taking the steps that these researchers suggest: using glass or stainless steel to store food instead of plastic; buying local, preferably organic, produce and meat.

I would add, as well, that cooking real food–instead of things that are processed and prepared–can’t hurt, because there is less likelihood that a potato contains these industrial pollutants than there is that a potato chip contains them–if nothing else, because a potato doesn’t usually come in a plastic or foil package. But there’s no guarantee, and you’re still going to be breathing the air, taking medications that might contain some of these contaminants, etc. So my feeling on the matter is, you’re still going to need to watch your diet and exercise plan, not just switch to Pyrex containers.

Here’s a link to one of the stories.


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