So we all thought that a healthy diet and some exercise was all this country needed to beat the obesity epidemic. However, recently some studies have emerged that address what scientists call "chemical calories" in beauty products.
Don't worry, I thought this was a load of BS at first too. But there are some legitimate studies and experiments that are investigating the possibility of chemical calories. Apparently, doctors at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York have found evidence that chemicals in personal care products, such as phthalates, act as endocrine disruptors. Doctors found that endocrine disruptors can mimic hormones and affect the performance of the glands that produce them. The research at Mount Sinai echoes previous studies which have shown that the chemicals can wreak havoc on the system that naturally controls body weight. Currently doctors are taking the conservative view point: 1) more research needs to be done before anything conclusive can be drawn from the studies, 2) if they do indeed play a role, it probably is only a contributing factor along with diet, exercise, genetics and environment.
Endocrine disruptors have already been linked to early puberty, impaired immune function, different types of cancer, birth deformities, and other diseases. If obesity has now been added to the list, there are plenty of reasons to avoid endocrine disruptors. Just pick one.
Bruce Blumberg, a professor of developmental and cell biology at the University of California, Irvine investigates the effects of endocrine disruptors on obesity in mice. He sees definite differences between exposed and unexposed rodents. As an expert in obesity, he says that metabolism, appetite, and the number and size of fat cells you have all play roles, and each of these factors is controlled by your hormones. Combined with the knowledge that hormones have been proven to be affected by endocrine disruptors, this is a troubling fact.
Jeanett Tang-Peronard, from the Institute of Preventive Medicine in Copenhagen investigated 450 studies on endocrine disruptors and obesity for her article in Obesity Reviews. She discovered that nearly all 450 studies found a link between endocrine disruptors and an increase in body size.
So what can you do about it? Avoiding endocrine disruptors may not be as difficult as you might think.
- Buy personal care products that don't contain the ingredient "fragrance." This one word includes dozens of chemicals, including phthalates, which act as fragrance fixers. Instead, buy personal care products that are scented with essential oils. And don't use perfume, no matter how much you think J.Lo's new perfume will get you the ass of your dreams.
- Don't microwave your plastic tupperware. That's just leaching Bisphenol-A into your food.
- Avoid using plastics with the number "seven" printed on the bottom.
- Buy beauty products that are free of: Diazolidinyl Urea, PEGs, Propelyne Glycol, Stearyl Alcohol, Aluminum Chlorohydrate and Triclosan.