Understanding the why behind obesity is complex. Sure, we know eating too many calories and moving less are part of it. But, why are animals with controlled diets and lifestyles getting fatter?


According to research, chemicals found in water, air and soil are also part of the problem. Not only for animals that are around humans — including dogs and cats who are mostly overweight — but also for humans.

According to a 2002 study, some chemicals can cause weight gain by disrupting or altering hormones, which are the body’s chemical messengers, released by certain glands to affect cells throughout our bodies.

An international team of scientists reached this conclusion after finding that two dozen animal populations have been putting on the pounds rapidly in recent decades.

“I found evidence of chemicals that affect every aspect of our metabolism,” said Paula Baille-Hamilton, a visiting fellow at Stirling University in Scotland, who started perusing scientific literature for chemicals that might promote obesity.


Some chemicals to be concerned about: 

  • Carbamates. They are used in insecticides and fungicides and can suppress the level of physical activity in mice.


  • Phthalates. They are used to give flexibility to plastics and are found in a wide array of scented products, from perfume to shampoo. They alter metabolism and have been found in higher concentrations in heavier men and women.

  • Flame retardants. As Baille-Hamilton’s work highlights, weight gain can be influenced by endocrine disrupters. One chemical originally developed as a flame retardant, brominated vegetable oil or BVO, is banned in Europe and Japan, but is used in the United States in citrusy soft drinks, like Mountain Dew.


Current human exposure to these chemicals and others may have damaged the body’s natural abilities to control weight, according to the researchers. 

What does this mean for you? Even more reason to reduce your exposure to these types of chemicals and others. And for those trying to lose weight, eating less and better foods and exercising more are necessary things, but you also need to limit your exposure to chemicals.

How can you reduce your exposure to chemicals?

The earth’s environment has changed significantly during the last few decades because of the production and use of synthetic organic and inorganic chemicals. What can be done to reduce our exposure?

Here are 10 steps you can take:

  1. Detox your body.

  2. Opt for organic foods.


  3. Limit your consumption of processed foods.

  4. Use safe beauty products or make your own. Particularly don’t use products with fragrance of parfum in the ingredients because they degrade and release phthalate particles into household dust.

  5. Use safe cleaning products or make your own.

  6. Wear clothes made from natural fabrics.

  7. Don’t use natural and organic pesticides.

  8. Use less plastic.

  9. Use certain houseplants to improve air quality.

  10. Encourage businesses and corporations to reduce or manage toxins.

For more, read this guide to avoiding toxic chemicals and going green for you skin and this article about avoiding hidden toxins.

And help get the word out about toxic chemicals and their negative effects on our health by sharing this article and telling others.

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