Roughly 70% of Americans are overweight and even worse, about 40% of them are obese. The rates of obesity have skyrocketed steadily over the last couple decades, leaving many people wondering what has been going on with our caloric intake and quality of food we are eating. Obesity disproportionately affects people of color and individuals who live in a lower socioeconomic status. And yet our government and public health organizations release very little to no educational information on how to reduce the rates of obesity. Instead, they promote fake meat and seed oils, while claiming that saturated fat causes heart disease (spoiler alert: it doesn't). But the food we eat and the frequency at which we exercise aren't the only factors that contribute to obesity. Nutrition expert Mike Mutzel, MS, shared recent research that suggests everyday items like your clothes, cleaning products, and even furniture could be contributing to excess body fat.
Stubborn Body Fat May Be Linked to Toxins in Food, Makeup, and Water, According to New "Contamination Theory of Obesity"
If you've been eating a clean, nutrient-dense diet in a caloric deficit while exercising regularly and you still have trouble losing weight, there might be some other factors in your lifestyle that you need to consider. Mike explains a new theory called the Contamination Theory of Obesity.
"The reason why people are gaining weight is because we're constantly exposed to persistent organic pollutants, endocrine disrupting chemicals, flame retardants in our furniture, in our clothes, in our cosmetics, and also in our food and water," he explains.
If you look at the ingredients of your cleaning products, makeup, etc., you'll see that there are many toxins and unrecognizable ingredients that have a serious impact on the way our bodies function. Not to mention the pollutants and chemicals that are sprayed all over our food and are found in tap water. Even if you're eating in a caloric deficit and working out regularly, you are likely filling your body with all sorts of toxins that disrupt your endocrine system, which eventually affects your hormones, metabolism, immunity, and more. Most of the conventional products we use and consume are toxic.
"And as you know, the adage goes, the solution for pollution is dilution, meaning that if you're exposed to these plastics and these endocrine disrupting chemicals, one way the body can help to dilute them is by creating new fat cells because many of these compounds, PCBs, phthalates, the endocrine disruptors, it turns out, are fat soluble, not water soluble," Mike continues. "So the more fat that you have around the abdomen or on the back of the arms, around the glutes, the more repositories or depots there are for these compounds to go."
"So again, you might want to consider detoxification or simply sweating, going in the sauna, doing hot yoga, exercise is a great way to help eliminate and excrete these persistent organic pollutants or endocrine disrupting chemicals," he recommends. "They're fat soluble, but they do come out int he water, they come out in your feces. So make sure you're regularly having a bowel movement."
Of course regular exercise is important for detoxing, but as Mike said, there are other ways to sweat out the toxins that are stuck in your body. Going to a sauna or steam room helps, and when the weather warms up, it's a great idea to spend more time outside in the sun. This allows you to sweat out additional toxins while also soaking up the disinfectant sunlight.
"Contaminants in your food, cosmetics, water and clothing could be causing fat gain," he says in the caption. "Even if the Contamination Theory of Obesity isn’t correct, your health can benefit by regular sweating through exercise and sauna bathing as well as minimizing exposure to persistent organic pollutants (POPs) but investing in filtered water, avoiding plastic bottles, fast food packaging and more." Mike shared that one study even found that drinking coffee or hot tea out of plastic cups "releases millions of microplastic particles" into your beverage. Steer away from using plasticware, as well as nonstick frying pans and pots (these emit dangerous chemicals into your food, which go directly into your body), traditional laundry detergent, and conventional makeup. Sadly, much of the skincare and cosmetic products that women use on a regular basis contain many contaminants that are absorbed by our skin, which is the largest organ in the body.
According to the Environmental Working Group, the 12 toxic chemicals that are commonly found in makeup include:
Formaldehyde, a known carcinogen.
Paraformaldehyde, a type of formaldehyde.
Methylene glycol, a type of formaldehyde.
Quaternium 15, which releases formaldehyde.
Mercury, which can damage the kidneys and nervous system.
Dibutyl and diethylhexyl phthalates, which disrupt hormones and damage the reproductive system.
Isobutyl and isopropyl paragons, which disrupt hormones and harm the reproductive system.
The long-chain per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances known as PFAS, which have been linked to cancer.
M- and o-phenylenediamine, used in hair dyes, which irritate and sensitize the skin, damage DNA and can cause cancer.
Whether you're trying to lose weight or simply live a toxin-free life, avoid these chemicals at all costs and opt in for a more natural choice. In the meantime, eat organic, locally grown food as much as you can, exercise often, and sweat on a regular basis. All of this will help you detoxify the body and prevent dangerous toxin buildup.