Chemical Bombardment Links To Obesity & Toxicity
Did you know that women expose themselves to over 300 chemicals a day just through their personal care products alone? When you look at what is in body washes, shampoo, conditioner, hair-care products, deodorants, body lotion, face creams, makeup and perfume you can see how easily it adds up. Many so-called experts however, say these chemicals are in small doses, within ‘safe’ limits and cannot hurt you. My research to date has shown the complete opposite.
I believe wholistically there are many areas to optimum good health:
They all work hand in hand and are needed in order to create harmony within the body, mind and soul. Often one will over-ride or take over if another area is lacking, which creates an ongoing ripple effect. That does not necessarily mean for the betterment either. For example, if we are feeling incredibly emotional and vulnerable or going through a tough time we humans are less likely to focus as much on our nutritional needs. If we don’t eat well our physical needs can be affected with extra - or less - weight, skin breakouts, lack luster hair and breaking nails. This can affect our mental well-being perhaps not believing we are good enough which disrupts our spiritual beliefs thinking it’s all about us and who cares anyway.
Or we can be doing everything we think we can to do it right. Eating well, exercising, meditating, writing our goals, ticking things off our lists yet we find we do not have the energy to sustain it, or we feel moody for no reason. We might find we cannot drop the weight, worse that that we are even putting on weight yet we eat clean and exercise daily. This can actually become quite distressing which again affects our emotional, mental and spiritual beliefs. And all of this could be caused by a toxic build up and chemical overload, not because you are doing anything wrong as such.
Either way each one of these significant areas can be affected and unless we are aware of the need for balance and harmony amongst all of them it can become a major health issue when left unattended.
Of all these areas I want to focus on the chemical side of things. Everywhere we look there are people struggling with their weight, or perhaps we know people with diabetes, obesity issues and or auto-immune disease. People are desperately trying to get well, lose weight, eat better, exercise more but to no avail. Right now we are at epidemic proportions when it comes to weight. Approximately 35% of people are considered obese (usually defined as a BMI over 30%) as opposed to 13% some fifty years ago. Sadly childhood obesity has trebled in the past three decades. There are a further 34% who are considered overweight. Just looking at these figures means there is over 70% of our population is struggling with weight issues that simply were not there three or four decades ago.
People are seriously trying to improve their health. They think that by getting back on weight-watchers or lean cuisine, watching every calorie, exercising themselves into oblivion and managing their levels of stress will fix them. And it may. For a short period of time, yet many cannot beat it long term.
It is a known fact – we are the fattest and sickest we have ever been. Things like heart disease, auto-immune disease, gut issues, ADD, ADHD and learning difficulties has increased significantly. But why? What is causing these major health issues? And what can we do about it?
If we have a look at what has changed over the past forty years or so we know that the industrialization of food has a big part to play in our health. Clever scientists hybridizing our wheat, pasteurizing and homogenizing our milk, lowering the fat content in our food, increasing the flavor in edible non-calorie foods and introducing nano-technology has all contributed to a very different diet. We know we are eating more yet are lacking in so many essential nutrients it’s not funny.
We also know that technology has automated so many things. We now sit for longer periods, we do not have to earn our meals so to speak with things like lifts and elevators and we are spending more and more time on computers and games. With the internet and an increase in EMF’s (electro-magnetic fields) our brains are being more stimulated, which in turn can affect our sleep. Our physical movement has decreased and stress levels have increased significantly. Lack of real food and a decrease in physical activity are definitely major contributors to these health issues there is no doubt.
However, it is only in recent years that medical specialists, wholistic integrative doctors and environmental specialists have made a third and very significant finding. Chemical toxicity is now considered a major factor too. There has been a huge increase in the number of chemicals we are exposed to in our daily lives. In the USA alone there are over 80,000 synthetic chemicals with over 1000 each year being added in. There is an appreciation some of these chemicals may have had positive effects but we know the majority of these chemicals have never been tested for safety, or measured when it comes to the accumulation side of things.
And chemicals are everywhere. Our personal care products as mentioned, our bedding, bottles we drink from, carpets, children’s toys, our cars, clothes even the food we eat, the water we drink and the air we breathe. Even polar bears in the Antarctic are affected by chemicals so the truth is if we are human beings living on planet Earth then sadly we will be affected by chemicals.
Latest research is even suggesting that chemical toxicity is just as important, in some cases more important, that food and exercise when it comes to weight issues including diabetes, obesity, immune function, ADHD, behavioral concerns, cancer and heart disease.
I was fascinated to learn there is a new term for these chemicals that cause weight issues – Obesogens. These are chemicals that have the ability to alter fat metabolism and promote fat retention. As of right now there are 20 chemicals that are known obesogens – and no doubt that list will grow exponentially. Each of them can behave differently in the body.
A highly toxic compound produced as a by-product in some manufacturing processes including herbicides and paper bleaching. Can also be produced when products are burned.
|As an antioxidant
|Mimics estrogen, linked to cancer.
A carbon-based synthetic compound
|To make plastics and epoxy resins. It is clear and tough. Used in water and baby bottles. Is on inside coatings of cans and used to make thermal paper (eftpos receipts).
|Hormone disrupter. Known to effect fetuses and young children. Causes birth defects and cancer
|Atypical anti-psychotic medication
|In the treatment of schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder.
|Dangerous decrease of white blood cells. Can cause seizures, myocarditis, constipation, hyper-salivation diabetes and weight gain. Can cause depression and dementia. Can cause a worsening of psychosis, hallucinations and amnesia.
||A highly toxic compound produced as a by-product in some manufacturing processes including herbicides and paper bleaching. Can also be produced when products are burned.
|They are not used for anything but are in fact a by-product in various processes. They can enter the body via contaminated food and water. They are found in the air, soil and food. Food is the primary source.
|Are highly toxic and can cause reproductive and developmental problems, cause skin disease such as chloracne, damage the immune system, interfere with hormones and also cause cancer.
|A chemical element.
|In pesticides, insecticides and herbicides. As a feed additive for the industrial swine and poultry production
|Usually from contaminated water. Causes headaches, confusion, severe diarrhea, drowsiness, convulsions, cramping, stomach pain, CNS dysfunction, coma, death.
|A simple fruit sugar, a monosaccharide found in many plants, honey, tree and vine fruits, flowers, berries and most root veges. Commercially it is derived from sugar cane, sugar beets and maize. High fructose corn syrup is a low cost mixture of glucose and fructose as monosaccharides.
|To sweeten and flavor food and juices for palatability, taste enhancement and browning of some foods like baked goods. HFCS is in nearly all soda drinks.
|In high concentrations in things like apple and pear juices can cause diarrhea and intestinal disorders. Insulin resistance, diabetes. Accelerates aging. Weight gain.
||Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons
Used to make dyes, plastics and pesticides and in some medicine. They can also be found in cooked foods like when you barbeque, grill or smoke foods. Also found in cigarette and tobacco smoke. And contaminated soils.
|Known carcinogen. Lowers IQ, causes childhood asthma, birth defects. Can cause damage to skin and immune system.
|Perfluoro-octanoic Acid also known as C-8. Teflon is the most common name.
|Is a chemical used to bond the nonstick coating to the pan. Makes things smooth, slick and waterproof. Also present in Gore-Tex clothing, Scotchguard, stain repellants and on many food packaging. Does not break down in the environment or in our bodies.
|Known carcinogen, low birth weight, suppressed immune system.
|An alkaloid found in the nightshade family of plants.
|Used as a stimulant and mood altering component in drugs. Helps to release feel good hormones like acethylcholine, norephinephrine, epinephrine, aginine, serotonin, dopamine and beta-endorphin.
|Increases blood pressure and heart rate. Hormone disruptor. Carcinogenic.
|Found in drinking water
||Used in herbicides and pesticides
|Endocrine disruptor. Low sperm rates. Growth retardation
| Monosodium Glutemate
|Excitotoxin, worsens learning disabilities, Alzheimers, Parkinsons, Huntingtons, eye damage, headaches, fatigue, depression, rapid heartbeat.
|Is a chlorinated derivative of phenol
|Primarily in herbicides
|Crcinogenic, hormone disruptor.
|A class of chemicals used.
|As plasticizer and solvent to fix and hold color and scent. Viscosity
control agent, gelling agent, film formers, emulsifiers, dispersants,
lubricants, binders and suspending agents. In things like shower
curtains (to create pliability), nail polish, shampoo, make up and
anything that relies on the smell to linger. The word ‘fragrance’ will
suggest phthalates are present.
|| Can be leached via the plastics and can effect hormones and cause birth
defects. They are synthetic estrogens directly linked to obesity and
insulin resistance. Can alter thyroid function and hormone production.
|A preservative and member of the paraben family.
|Antimicrobial, antifungal agent and preservative in cosmetics. Also used in medications (iburprofen) and as a flavoring additive in food.
|Estrogenic. Linked to breast cancer and considered hormone disrupting.
Parabens can bind to estrogen receptors and regulate the estrogen responsive gene. Can decrease sperm production.
Emerging evidence suggests that a more sinister reason than food and activity could be contributing to weight problems and that so-called ‘chemical calories’ lurking in everyday beauty products such as shampoo, body lotions and soap could be to blame.
Doctors at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York claim that phthalates, chemical ingredients in 70 per cent of cosmetics as well as many household cleaning products, have been shown to throw the body’s natural weight control system, a delicate balance of hormones, off kilter.
They suggest that exposure to phthalates through daily use may be linked to childhood obesity and weight problems in adults. In their long-term study on girls living in the inner city area of East Harlem, the Mount Sinai team measured exposure to phthalates by analysing the children’s urine. ‘The heaviest girls have the highest levels of phthalates in their urine,’ says Professor Philip Landrigan, a paediatrician and the study author. ‘It goes up as the children get heavier, but it’s most evident in the heaviest kids.’
Phthalates have been widely used as gelling agents in cosmetics, cleaning products and to make plastic bottles for more than half a century, but it has only just come to light that there may be possible health risks.
Dr Paula Baillie-Hamilton, author of Stop the 21st Century Killing You and a researcher on human metabolism who has studied the connection between chemicals and obesity at the University of Stirling, is convinced that the abundance of chemical calories in our lives is the reason why so many people are getting fatter despite dieting and exercising more. ‘It’s a theory that was poo-pooed a decade ago but which has become a new field of medicine in itself,’ says Dr Baillie-Hamilton.
Many of these chemicals are also being closely linked to thyroid disease. The thyroid plays a huge part in the regulation of your metabolism, as well as digestion, reproduction, body temperature, heart rate and even mental health. We have a much greater understanding that their effects go way beyond obesity and weight issues. And who knows what the accumulation effect is having on each generation.
Many chemicals are also known to be ‘lipophilic’ which means they are ‘fat loving’. They will build up and sit in your fatty tissues. The more fat, the more toxins can be stored. Sadly as we burn fat and lose weight these hideous chemicals are not so easily eradicated and end up being released into the blood where they are able to cause even more damage. Slim people can have bigger health issues from chemical calories as there is little fat to store them. After a weight loss programme some people put weight back on quickly as the body will do all it can to put on more fat as a protection mechanism.
But how easy are chemical calories to avoid?
Paediatrician Professor Landrigan concedes that you can’t avoid them completely, but can reduce your exposure by checking labels for phthalates and bisphenol-A. ‘Eating as much organic food as you can will reduce your chemical intake, but choosing cosmetics and toiletries carefully is also very important,’ he says.
‘If you put something on your skin, you absorb it and you need to find a brand that doesn’t use phthalates or any chemicals. The science against them is strong.’
I have not needed any convincing with this latest research. I am relieved it is coming out. I tried to start my own chemical-free skincare range over 15years ago and was told it was impossible and stupid not to include chemicals. I did not agree and finally after ten long years of looking, questioning and asking we found the perfect manufacturer who held the same beliefs and could help.
We need to be vigilant in finding ways to decrease the chemical calories. People may laugh at the thought their shampoo could be making them fat or that their perfume could be connected to thyroid and weight issues. More talk and public awareness is necessary. And let’s face it – just like the food industry – there is massive money involved when it comes to a chemicals so convincing people to change or at least look at it differently is not always easy!
I want my beautiful children growing up in a world that is safe, healthy and caring. I am on a mission to educate them and I believe we all need to be more aware. Seems such a huge ask on a global scale so if we can at least start in our home – where we have more control. Here are ten simple ways you can drop the chemical calories and start looking at new alternatives. My rule is simple. If I see a chemical I don’t know or a number I don’t understand I avoid it.
Fifteen Ways To Drop The Chemical Calories Instantly
- Eat and juice more organic fruits and vegetables – especially green leafy veges.
- Eat whole fruits and vegetables to give the body plenty of soluble fibre in the diet, which helps to bind toxins in the gut and be removed from the body via the digestive tract.
- Keep the home well ventilated allowing any polluted air to circulate and leave the home. Some prefer air filters.
- Buy more plants and use essential oils in vaporisers and spritzers as these help soak up airborne chemicals and absorb carbon dioxide packed with chemicals. Essential oils are particularly good at doing this.
- Keep the bathroom, laundry and kitchen as chemical free as possible. Get rid of deodorants, perfumes and chemically laden personal care products. Check ingredients in your cleaning products. Reduce your chemical exposure by going as green as possible. Use things like bicarb soda, vinegar and essential oils as your cleaning products.
- Use glass or ceramic to drink from. Avoid all plastics. Or at least go for BPA free ones.
- Use flowers from your garden as opposed to bought ones as many are sprayed with herbicides and pesticides.
- Store foods (particularly fatty foods) in glass or ceramic as fats act as magnets for chemical calories due to the high fat-solubility of plastics and their additives.
- Keep dairy products at low temperatures in the fridge preferably in glass, stainless steel or ceramic. The higher the temperature the greater the contamination from the plastic container into your food.
- Be aware of using microwaves but especially with plastic containers or wraps. The high temperatures and fatty foods will drink up those chemical calories and be digested when you eat them. Better still get rid of your microwave altogether.
- Eat good fats like butter, coconut oil and cold pressed vegetable and nut oils. Without these fats the skin may feel dry and many lather (unknowingly) more toxins onto the skin with chemically laden skincare products which adds more chemical calories to their body.
- Use chemical-free skincare – ones that do not have any of the hidden nasties. If you can understand the ingredients chances are you could make it in your kitchen, and that’s a good range!
- Stop wearing perfume. With 300-600 chemicals in each spray it might be a good time to look at an alternative. My suggestion is using pure Rose Oil, Neroli or Jasmine. These highly expensive essential oils are the basis or foundation of most perfumes anyway. Why not just have the real thing. One drop goes a very long way. And is incredibly special to wear on the skin.
- Stop wearing anti-perspirants and spray on deodorants. These are laden with chemicals and when sprayed directly under the arm where a significant number of lymph nodes are you could be asking for trouble. Go for baking soda and your favourite essential oil or essential oil blend.
- Read labels carefully. If any one of the ingredients listed on this card below are present we do not buy it. It’s a great rule so give it a try!
Dr Joseph Mercola
EWG – Environmental Working Group
Toxin Toxout by Bruce Lourie and Rick Smith
The Safe Shoppers Bible by David Steinman and Samuel S Epstein MD
Daily Mail articles on chemical calories