Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Can Eating Organic Help You Get Thin?

Diet
Photo by James Farmer
Obesogens.  A strange sounding new word the government is using to describe the chemicals that are making us fat


So what are these mysterious obesogens they're referring to?  A September 2011 report, put out by the government, reveals that they are Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals.


Frederick Vom Saal PhD says that, "Obesogens are thought to act by hijacking the regulatory systems that control body weight".  This system is our endocrine system which regulates our sleep, mood, sexual development, growth and development, hunger, stress, and metabolism.  Pretty important stuff.
They’re natural and synthetic compounds, and many of these chemicals work by mimicking estrogen — the very hormone that doctors DON’T want women taking anymore (as a large clinical trial linked hormone therapy to increased risk of heart disease, breast cancer, stroke, blood clots and abnormal mammograms).  (source- emphasis mine)
These chemicals are disturbing the delicate balance of our endocrine system causing all sorts of physical issues including weight gain, or the inability to lose weight.

It is possible that developmental exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals, (EDCs) or other chemicals plays a role in the development of diabetes and childhood obesity.  
Such chemicals may promote obesity by increasing the number of fat cells, changing the amount of calories burned at rest, altering energy balance, and altering the body’s mechanisms for appetite and satiety.  
Fetal and infant exposure to such chemicals may result in more weight gain per food consumed and also possibly less weight loss per amount of energy expended. The health effects of these chemicals during fetal and infant development may persist throughout life, long after the exposures occur.  (source- emphasis mine)
WeighingIn short these chemicals can cause diabetes, obesity, increase the number of fat cells, change how much calories your body can burn at rest, alter your energy levels, and mess with whether you feel hungry or not.

We should look into how we get these chemicals into our bodies.  The answer lies in both our food supply and environment.

In food these obesogens are in the form of pesticides.  A 2006 study of 23 children showed a very hopeful response to children who were switched to an organic diet.
We conclude that organic diets provide a protective mechanism against OP (which are endocrine disrupting chemicals called organophosphorus pesticides) pesticide exposure in young children whose diets regularly consist of fresh fruits and vegetables, fruit juices, and wheat-containing items. Such protection is dramatic and immediate. (source- OP description and emphasis are mine)
So they are telling us that if we buy foods that are organic, then it greatly reduces the amount of exposure we have to these disrupting chemicals.  In as little as 5 days of being on an organic diet the children had reduced the amount pesticide chemicals in their bodies to barely detectable, or non- detectable levels!  That's some very good news.

In an ideal world I'd buy everything organic, but when working with a budget we have to strategize a bit.  My easy guide for buying organic is that if we eat the skin of it (including cucumbers, potatoes, carrots, etc.) then I buy it organic.  If we won't eat the skin of it, like kiwi, then I only buy organic if it's comparable in price to the non-organic.   Don't avoid buying fruits and vegetables because of the chemicals, as these are foods your body very much needs to stay healthy.

The study also refers to chemicals on wheat and in fruit juice.  These items can easily be purchased organic as well.  I usually pay $3.29 for a 1 lb. loaf of organic sprouted grain bread, which has loads more nutrition than regular wheat bread.

As far as environmental exposure goes you can reduce your intake of these chemicals by never heating food in plastic containers, and don't buy food in cans unless they say "BPA free".  Plastic wrapped meat in the grocery store can be another source, depending on the type of plastic wrap they use.  This is a different kind of plastic wrap than what you probably use at home.  To avoid exposure ask your supermarket if the wrap they use is made from PVC's. 

foodEat meats that are very lean, including lean fish like wild caught salmon.  Ideally, eat meats that are pasture raised on organic feed, which are safe to eat a little fattier as well.

Eliminate EDC's (endocrine disrupting chemicals) from tap water by filtering it with a carbon filter, like Brita or PUR, or a Berkey filter.  If using the carbon filter you will want to add trace minerals back to the water.  A dropper bottle can be purchased at health food stores or online.  If using a Berkery (which I have an LOVE) you don't need to add the trace minerals because it does a crazy good job of filtering the water, while leaving in the trace minerals.

Enjoy getting leaner, while you also get healthier!

Sources:

  • http://www.letsmove.gov/sites/letsmove.gov/files/TaskForce_on_Childhood_Obesity_May2010_FullReport.pdf
  • http://shine.yahoo.com/healthy-living/why-you-cant-lose-those-last-10-pounds-1964849.html
  • http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1367841/

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