Have you been following a healthy diet and exercise but still can’t seem to reach or maintain your goal weight? It’s actually very common. Even though diet and exercise will always be important for weight management, there are other factors at play that can affect your metabolism. For example—common chemicals known as obesogens.
Obesogens are artificial chemicals that interfere with your hormones and metabolism when you are exposed to them. You may have also heard them called “endocrine disrupting chemicals” or “endocrine disruptors.”
Some chemicals that have already been classified as obesogens include bisphenol A (BPA in plastics) and phthalates (in lotions and plastics).
Now there’s new research suggesting that a common pesticide might slow down your fat-burning potential.
The pesticide is called chlorpyrifos. It’s banned in Canada but commonly used elsewhere. A study recently found that chlorpyrifos slowed down the burning of calories in brown fat in mice.
The study was in mice, but we humans have brown fat too. Brown fat is like a metabolic furnace in the body. Instead of storing calories away (like white fat does), it burns them. Brown fat is activated by exposure to cold and eating.
The bottom line? Your struggle to keep the weight off may not be entirely your fault. Your metabolism might be damaged by exposure to everyday chemicals from plastics and pesticides. And that means that detoxification strategies will be key to helping you achieve your goals.
I know this is a lot of information to take in. I’m here to answer your questions. I work with clients using a functional medicine approach to health coaching that supports the process of uncovering root causes of health concerns—whether it relates to weight, energy, sleep, or a chronic health condition. I’d love to help you discover what’s beneath your health struggles and get you on a lifestyle plan toward better health.
Wang B, Tsakiridis EE, Zhang S et al. The pesticide chlorpyrifos promotes obesity by inhibiting diet-induced thermogenesis in brown adipose tissue. Nat Commun. 2021; 12: 5163. [link]