Are Environmental Toxins Making You Gain Weight?

Toxins and chemicals in our environment may have a significant impact on weight and overall health. Specifically referred to as “Obesogens,” these toxins may directly or indirectly affect  weight through disruption of metabolic, hormonal, or developmental processes. These chemicals can also interfere with our body’s regulatory system which is connected to our ability to burn calories and fat, regulate appetite, and  prevent weight gain.

Reducing exposure to these toxins can ease the burden of our body’s natural detoxing processes and may even help you lose stubborn excess weight.

Most common toxic chemicals that could be affecting your health:


  1. Pesticides

    1. 9 out of 10 Pesticides used in US are obesogenic

    2. Average consumer exposed to 10-13 pesticide residue in water supply and foods such as conventionally raised/grown produce, dairy, and meats.

    3. Atrazine is a common pesticide that has been linked to abdominal obesity.

      1. Ways to avoid: install water filtration system at least for your drinking water. Buy organic produce, dairy and grass-fed meats.

  2. Disinfectants and Cleaning Supplies

    1. Don’t over disinfect. Use plain soap and water.

    2. Make your own with vinegar, water, and tea tree oil.

    3. Explore greener bands that use botanical ingredients.

  3. BPA (Bisphenol-A)

    1. Well established Obesogen that is linked to manipulating the way our fat cells develop and grow.

    2. Easily leached into anything it comes in contact with.

    3. Commonly found in plastic water bottles, baby bottles, drinking containers, storage containers, children’s toys, canned foods/beverages, etc

    4. Ways to avoid: drink mostly from glass bottles and use glass storage containers. Invest in BPA-free water bottles and storage containers. Don’t microwave plastic or reheat in plastic containers. Buy fresh organic produce and freeze in BPA free containers.

  4. Phthlataes:

    1. Known obesogen that can disrupt endocrine/hormonal system leading to infertility and endometriosis. Also leads to reduce sperm count and abnormal genital development in boys.

    2. Found in foods packaged in tight plastic containers such as hot dogs, bacon, and sausage. Also found in solvents which contain “parfum” or “fragrance” on label such as body washes/lotions, air fresheners, cleaning/laundry products, and candles, as well as toothpaste with beads.

    3. Ways to avoid: same guidelines as BPA apply here. Look for both BPA-free and Phthalate-free plastics.

  5. PFOA (Perfluorooctanoic acid)

    1. Obesogen that interferes with Thyroid Hormones and impacts metabolism, as well as decreasing appetite-suppressing Leptin.

    2. Found mostly in non stick pots/pans, griddles, bake ware (teflon) and grease proof paper, particularly in microwaveable popcorn.

    3. Ways to avoid: Ditch nonstick “Teflon,” especially if scratched. Invest in cast iron, enameled cast iron, stainless steel, stoneware, glass cooking vessels, etc. Avoid microwave popcorn – buy fresh kernels and pop it yourself.

Ways to Naturally Detox

Detox diets have become very popular as a means to rid your body of harmful chemicals and toxins. While on one hand it is a phenomenal concept to try limiting circulating toxins and chemicals in our body, most of us do not need an expensive or fancy detox meal plan to do so. There are easier, more enjoyable, and even healthier ways to keep your body as free from environmental chemicals as possible:

  1. Eat Plenty of Fiber-Rich Produce – fiber helps move foods through our system more quickly and picks up any harmful toxins along the way. Not all produce needs to be organic, however, try to avoid buying non-organic produce that is on the Dirty Dozen list. This a list of the top 12 produce that is most contaminated by pesticides. Apples, grapes, spinach, strawberries, and celery are a few on the list so it’s best to buy those organic if you can.

  2. Increase Cruciferous Veggies – kale, cabbage, broccoli, etc all help support breakdown of toxins and usher them out of the body.

  3. Drink Green Tea – with a number of properties and benefits, green tea has been shown to significantly improve and enhance the natural detoxification process in our body.

  4. Hydrate – water is the single most important nutrient to rid body of harmful chemicals. Our kidneys, one of the most important detox organs, needs to adequate water to flush them out.

  5. Take a Multivitamin –  a good balanced vitamin will assist liver in detoxification. Look for one that has A, C, D, E, B-vitamins, Calcium, Magnesium, Zinc, Copper, Molbydenum, Kep, Iodine, Selenium, Choline, and Inositol.

  6. Break a Sweat – toxins are released from the body through sweat so make sure to incorporate plenty of heart-pumping exercise.

Nick VanMeter