The dark side of weight loss

At this time of year, new years resolutions tend to include the thought of weight loss, so I thought I would write about one of the side effects of losing weight.

Toxicological and epidemiological research is now pointing to a likely contribution of environmental pollutants increasing obesity. With a lot of products now containing endocrine disrupters, these can even from the perinatal stage of development lead to increased weight in later life as well as metabolic issues.

Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) sometimes known as forever chemicals are “poisonous chemical substances that break down slowly and get into food chains as a result. In the past POPs were used in various products including pesticides and industrial chemicals and released during chemical and agricultural processes” They are known to trigger an inflammatory response in the adipose tissue, otherwise known as body fat, which is a connective tissue that extends throughout your body. It’s found under your skin (subcutaneous fat), between your internal organs (visceral fat), and even in the inner cavities of bones (bone marrow adipose tissue), therefore these POPs are enhancing the pathological consequences of obesity.

Adipose tissue plays a really important role in the management of POPs in the body since it can store these chemicals for a long time and is playing a protective role in particular during acute exposure of them. POPs are not metabolised and therefore tend to accumulate in living organisms, not just ourselves, unfortunately.

Many of these chemicals alter adipose tissue function not only by increasing inflammation but also by indirectly increasing obesity by disrupting the metabolic and hormonal processes.

Of course, when we lose weight, we lose fat, hurrah we think as we slim down, but there is growing evidence that suggests that these chemicals are released from the fatty tissues. This means that if you are working on your weight loss, you need to work on detoxification as well, ensuring that you are able to detoxify and eliminate these chemicals from your body.

POPs include certain organochlorine pesticides, dioxins, furans, polychlorobiphenyls, and polybrominated flame retardants.

There are a number of studies that show that industrial exposure of workers to POPs led to increases in markers for diabetes or of a prediabetic state and that the release of the from the adipose tissue was an important source of blood POPs. Therefore diet and ensuring you are able to detoxify fully should be a key part of your weight loss process. It is also suggested that the release of POPs during fasting may lead to toxic effects. Most xenobiotics are metabolised primarily by the liver and are thus detoxified, therefore you need to ensure that your liver detoxification pathways are able to deal with the weight loss that you are planning or doing.

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