Pollution Worsens Obesity Epidemic

Byron J. Richards, Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist

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Pollution Worsens Obesity Epidemic
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A new study shows that fetal and early life exposure to environmental toxins1, oftentimes consumed by the mother as part of her diet, are adequate to induce excess fat storage in a baby. While there are numerous studies demonstrating how pollution interferes with metabolism, this study enables me to explain a slightly different point: your body will form fat as a defense mechanism against being poisoned by toxins.

Numerous chemical toxins riddle our food supply, not to mention general pollution in air and water. Your liver takes first crack at all these poisons and when there is too much work to do then your body looks for a plan B to get the toxins out of your circulation before they damage your heart, kidneys, and liver. It appears that one such plan B is to combine them with triglycerides and send them to fat storage.

I have noticed over the years that the more “toxic” a person the more they easily gain weight. It's not just environmental toxins, often toxins are coming from bacterial or Candida overgrowth due to digestive imbalance. When toxicity is acute weight gain can be rapid – I've seen people pack on 50 pounds in a year in this situation.

There are multiple issues. One is simply a public health issue, especially regarding the quality of our food supply. This needs to be solved at the governmental level. Both cleaning up existing pollution and reducing future pollution are very expensive propositions. This is a different issue than the global warming debate. A report on the health deteriorating properties of environmental toxins already sits idle on President Obama's desk (it was commissioned by President Bush). In other words, we don't need any more studies or commissions, we need action.

On an individual basis this means that part of losing weight involves the ability to get rid of the toxins that will be released back into the blood stream as fat is broken down. This means detox systems (liver, lymph, and digestion) must be working well during weight loss or weight will either be difficult to lose or actually dangerous to lose. In fact, hitting a “toxic layer of fat” is often the reason for not being able to get started losing weight in the first place, hitting a weight loss plateau, or not being able to get rid of that last 5 pounds.

Nutrients such as chlorella and more fiber can help to “mop up” these toxins as they are released from stored fat and sent into your digestive tract via your liver. However, many people who are overweight struggle with toxins and may need more comprehensive support of their detoxification systems as well as improving their digestive/sinus health (typically sources of internally generated excess toxins).

While pollution and toxins are not the only reason people are overweight, it is part of the overall issue and a very important part for anyone who struggles with weight loss or has a history of yo-yo dieting. Understanding this issue and dealing with it as needed is an important part of a healthy weight management strategy.

Referenced Studies

  1. ^ Weight Gain in Response to Environmental Toxins  Environmental Health Perspectives  1.Michelle A. Mendez, Raquel Garcia-Esteban, M?nica Guxens, Martine Vrijheid, Manolis Kogevinas, Fernando Go?i, Silvia Fochs, Jordi Sunyer.

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