Toxicants in food and everyday products are a plausible reality today. Humans and domestic animals are increasingly affected by constant exposure to these compounds that alter the hormonal system and can cause various diseases including overweight and obesity.
In recent decades there has been a dramatic increase in obesity and it has been thought that the causes of this epidemic are high calorie diets associated with a sedentary lifestyle, in addition to the genetic component. However, these by themselves cannot be the only ones responsible.
In 2010, a group of researchers published a study in the journal Proceedings of The Royal Society, in which they analyzed this situation, indicating the possibility that the causes of weight gain could involve various factors such as toxins in food and the environment not yet identified.
Other researchers have also supported this theory, in a review published in Current Opinion in Endocrinology, Diabetes and Obesity, it is suggested that among the main contributors to the obesity epidemic in humans and animals are endocrine disrupting chemicals, widely present in the environment.
"We are what we eat", surely you have heard this phrase numerous times, but after reading the following article a new question will arise ... Do you really know what you eat?
Toxic in food and the environment
Endocrine disruptors (ED) are external chemical substances that have the ability to mimic the behavior of our body's hormones, altering their functions.
A particular type of these substances has been identified that can unbalance metabolic processes, mainly if exposure to these toxins occurs during pregnancy and the first years of life, predisposing to obesity, type 2 diabetes mellitus and the metabolic syndrome. They are called "obesogens".
These toxins in food promote the accumulation and formation of fatty tissue in the body. For a substance to be considered DE, the European Food Safety Authority established certain conditions:
· First, they must cause an adverse consequence on a healthy body or organism, as in the case of obesogens that have the ability to increase the fat content of cells.
· Second, that its hormonal activity in the body is evidenced.
· Third, that the relationship between ED and its counterproductive effect on the population is demonstrated.
Food toxins are compounds of very low molecular weight, and it is difficult to demonstrate their damage to the human endocrine system. There are, however, enough studies demonstrating its alterations in animals.
What are the health effects of toxics in food and the environment?
Obesogens are present in food contaminated by pesticides and in various industrial products of daily use.
But these compounds not only accumulate in fat, they are also transmittable from mother to child. According to a study published in the journal Nature Reviews Endocrinology, these are some of its effects:
· They increase the number of adipocytes (they are the cells in charge of storing fat)
· They interfere with the formation of sex steroids, altering the reproductive system.
· They can act by modifying the production of natural hormones by increasing or decreasing their concentrations, which can cause the appearance of mammary tissue in male animals.
· They can affect fetal adipose tissue, increasing the number and size of fat cells.
· They promote the accumulation of triglycerides, altering the balance of lipids in the body.
· They disrupt your appetite regulating center and your satiety sensors, causing obsessive eating patterns. For example, they can make you hungrier and eat a lot more.
· They increase the risk of glucose intolerance and increase insulin levels.
· They alter the metabolism in general and thyroid functions.
· They increase the fatty tissue of the internal organs.
Some of the most researched obesogens or toxins in food and the environment
We can find it in plastic containers and food canning cans, they have been associated with cancer and obesity. It has currently been withdrawn from baby utensils in Europe.
They are also found in plastics, toys, cosmetics, paints, and are linked to genital malformations in children, obesity, and insulin resistance.
They are used in agriculture as pesticides, in research it has been linked to weight gain in rats.
In several studies its obesogenic effect in high doses has been verified in laboratory mice and weight gain in postmenospausal women. It can be found in soybeans.
· Organo-tin substances
They are toxic that perennially cause environmental pollution and are used as a fungicide in food, it is part of the possible obesogens in humans.
All these substances can be found anywhere, they are toxic in food and the environment, therefore, avoiding them is very difficult, some measures you can take to reduce your exposure are the following:
· Eat organic, naturally grown food.
· Decrease the consumption of meat, since the animals are exposed to obesogens.
· Avoid using cosmetics that contain toxic substances like phthalates.
· Do not consume drinks packaged in plastic.
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