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As the old thinking goes, obesity is linked to improper diets, too much food, and not enough exercise. And while the old thinking may not be inaccurate, it also doesn't tell us the whole story. Scientists today are finding more and more evidence that chemicals in our bodies lead to heavier people in various ways.
"There are between fifteen and twenty chemicals that have been shown to cause weight gain," says an obesity researcher at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. And many of these chemicals, the average person already has in their blood. Research has also found that these chemicals affect developing fetuses, which means that if the mother has them in her blood, or has them in high levels, her child will more likely become obese. Thus these chemicals create generational problems that may also have affected people who are already alive today.
Of course, obesity isn't just a health problem. It's also often a social problem for those who experience it, so in several ways, it's known to diminish the quality of life. Problems such as childhood teasing and exclusion from society are often cited as stemming from the source.
The chemicals responsible often use different mechanisms which ultimately lead to easy gain and hard to get rid of weight. Some of the chemicals increase the number of fat cells you have, so you have more cells to store fat in. Others increase the size of your fat cells and make them larger so they can store more fat per cell. Still other chemicals alter our hormones which then affect our appetites, whether we feel full or not, our food preferences, and even our energy metabolism. Of course, by lowering your energy metabolism, you might feel it's impossible to lose weight no matter what you do.
It's also interesting that the chemicals can affect your food preferences, which means they affect which foods sound good to eat. And it's hard to imagine these weight gain chemicals would cause you to crave the healthy stuff.
Where Are They Found?
These "weight gain" chemicals are often found in: pesticides, pharmaceuticals and common plastics. Most of them are endocrine disruptors and they've also been found in products including handbags, wallpaper, blinds, tile, air fresheners, laundry products, and numerous personal care products. To some extent, they are all around us.
Bisphenol A, or BPA, is another one, and it's often in canned foods, baby bottles, and medical devices. Frederick vom Saal, a University of Missouri biology professor, tells us that, "BPA reduces the number of fat cells but programs them to incorporate more fat, so there are fewer but very large fat cells." Vom Saal has studied BPA for the past 15 years.
When you realize how various and pervasive chemicals in your body may be related to your difficulties in losing weight, you may also come to the conclusion that detoxification is the answer. Because when you remove those chemicals, you can also diminish or eliminate the affects they are having on your body. At the very least, they will no longer continue to be there, causing the problem.
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