Do Environmental Chemicals Make Us Fat?
Energy balance and the principle of conservation of energy is one of the first lessons you learn in a college nutrition course. In a nutshell, you get fat if you take in more energy than you expend. Likewise, you lose weight when energy expenditure exceeds energy intake. If weight management were that simple, we wouldn’t be in the midst of an obesity epidemic. Researchers from the University of California, Irvine suggested that obesogens— environmental chemicals that alter cellular sensors controlling metabolic rate and food intake— interfere with energy balance and promote fat storage. These chemicals include environmental estrogens— molecules that resemble the hormone estrogen— and chemicals found in plastics or manufacturing by-products that interfere with the control of metabolism, appetite and weight management. Exposure to these chemicals during critical growth periods might condemn people to a lifetime of obesity. Understanding and managing environmental estrogens and obesogens is a major public health issue. (The Scientist Magazine)