Obesity has become a pandemic. Worldwide obesity has more than doubled since 1980. If current trends continue, 20% of all people will be obese. Over 35% of U.S. adults and close to 17% of children are obese, which is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of over 25.
Lifestyle choices play a huge role. Diet and activity levels are leading contributors to the development of obesity. In addition, scientific evidence is mounting that shows endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDC) may also contribute to obesity. Two terms are used to describe the role of EDCs in metabolism and obesity:
- Diabetogens are chemicals that can enter the body and kill β-cells or disrupt their function and interfere with normal energy metabolism, which can lead to diabetes.
- Obesogens are chemicals that can enter the body and disrupt normal lipid metabolism, which can lead to obesity.
Reprogramming metabolism through nutrition
Your endocrine system controls your metabolism through the hormones it produces. When your body needs nutrition, hormones spur metabolic responses like hunger that prompt you to eat.
When EDCs block connections between hormones and their receptors, they “reprogram” the parts of the endocrine system that govern metabolism, energy balance, and appetite. EDCs change the sensitivity to glucose (sugar) and the metabolism of lipids (fatty acids). All of this predisposes a person to gain weight.
Permanent changes to appetite and fat storage
EDC-related weight gain involves more than just adding a few pounds. EDCs can alter the way our bodies consume food and store energy.
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