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3 Chemicals in Food Disrupt Hormones & Promote Obesity

You may be careful about the food ingredients you use, but you have no control over these chemical additives in everyday items.


As obesity numbers continue to rise throughout the world, it pays all of us to look at how best to maintain a healthy weight.

This is particularly true at menopause when extra pounds seem to pile on to our stomachs and although we watch our diet, exercise and maintain good hormone balance it sometimes just isn’t enough.

The 3 disruptors that promote obesity and affect your hormones

We know to avoid trans fats and high-fructose corn syrup in our diet as they definitely will swell your waistline. But, there are a few other ingredients that you really need to add to your list of things to avoid.

A new study published in Nature Communications, and carried out by researchers from Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles, found that three common preservatives added to food and other everyday products could contribute to obesity and disrupt your hormones.

Using a novel method that entailed growing hormone-producing tissues from stem cells, they showed how being exposed to such chemicals on a regular basis interferes with signals sent between the digestive system and brain to let people know they’re full and should stop eating.

Number 1 disruptor is BHT

The full name is butylhydroxytoluene and it is an antioxidant. It is added to breakfast cereals and also used in other foods like biscuits crisps to keep the fats in them from getting rancid and to protect their nutrients.

Although it is “generally recognized as safe” by the FDA, this ingredient has been shown in other studies to raise the risk of cancer and lead to liver enlargement, so promoting obesity is just the latest in a well-established list of reasons to avoid the ingredient.

Number 2 disruptor is PFOA

This is perfluorooctanoic acid and is a polymer which can be found in nonstick cookware and carpeting. In some places, it has made its way into drinking water, particularly in areas near chemical plants using PFOA, and it can even be found in household dust.

The American Cancer Society also reports that stain-resistant carpeting and ski wax can also be sources of PFOA exposure.

Number 3 disruptor is TBT

This is tributyltin and, according to a fact sheet issued by the Central Contra Costa Sanitary District, the highly toxic TBT has been used in a variety of applications for many years.

It can be found in household products like paints, stains, toilet cleaners, wood preservatives and carpet shampoos, to name a few.

What can you do?

If you think looking for all these ingredients on labels sounds like a lot of work, you’re right – and sometimes they are even disguised under other names so they might not be immediately obvious. You can make the task of finding healthy things to eat a lot simpler by sticking to whole foods in the form nature intended.

Processed foods very often contain unhealthy ingredients in some form or another, no matter how “natural” they try to position themselves as being.

Organic fruits and vegetables, on the other hand, are far less likely to cause harm, particularly if you grow them yourself. Anything that comes in a box or bag with a long ingredient list simply isn’t worth the risk.

By making a conscious effort to eat natural foods and clean with natural products like vinegar, lemon juice and baking soda, you can go a long way toward reducing your risk of disease as well as obesity.

Unfortunately the list of chemicals to avoid is only likely to grow as we learn more about the health effects of the products we are being exposed to. We can’t avoid everything, but we can take very deliberate and effective steps to stack the odds in our favour by staying informed and making smart choices of natural products wherever possible.

Helpful information:

If you are trying to lose weight and maintain hormone balance than eating as naturally as possible is certainly a good step but so is checking your symptoms against oestrogen dominance for example. We are fortunate that there are now a large number of natural and organic products on the market to substitute for the chemical ones.

Start with perhaps just one product that you use regularly, like your regular toilet cleaner, and substitute for a more natural one.