With the advent of spring and warmer weather come thoughts of dieting. Diets are always in the news, but how discouraging is it to start up with that old routine again? You lose a couple of pounds with tremendous effort only to gain it all back plus more, with far less effort. I cant tell you how many patients Ive had who arent eating much, exercise like crazy, yet cant lose any more weight. Theyve had their thyroid checked and more tests besides, yet hear “Nothings wrong.”
If this sounds familiar to you, you are not alone. A recent article in the Washington Post compared popular diets. A scientific research study had found that after a year on various diets, a group of women lost an average of about 10 lbs. on the Atkins diet. That was the best result. Yet these women needed to lose between 15 and 100 lbs. each. The Post reported a nutritionist as saying the women must have lied about their calorie intake or “they would have lost a lot more weight.” Spoken like someone who has never had to diet.
But what if those women in the study werent lying, as the nutritionist cynically implied? What if there was some other reason why they couldnt loose weight easily? Perhaps there is a mysterious food additive or chemical in the water that keeps people fat. Well as it turns out, scientists are turning their attention to a group of chemicals that may just do that.
Scientists call some of these chemicals “obesogens” because they make animals fat. Other chemicals are called “endocrine disruptors” because they mess up your hormones. This general class of chemicals can be found in seafood. Others hit even closer to home, being found in the lining of our food cans, in baby bottles, and in beef.
One particularly disturbing example is DES (diethylstilbestrol). It was used as an estrogen replacement for pregnant women from the 1940s through 1971 when it was removed from the market because it was found to cause “reproductive abnormalities” in the children and grandchildren of the women who were given it. Approximately eight million women were exposed. However, it was found that DES makes cows really fat, so to this very day it is used in the feed of the cows we eat every day. We eat meat that was raised on this stuff, its a known toxin, it makes the cows fat, but has no effect on our weight?
Honestly, this has not been proven “scientifically.” But it is being looked at as a very “plausible and possible” problem. There in no known way to reverse the effects of this even if it were found to be true, making hard exercise and diet control essential to maintaining our weight. But this is a good reason to consider reducing the amount of chemicals in your diet by eating organic. Who knows what health problems you might avoid? Better health through chemistry indeed.