Chemicals found in the environment may boost body weight. The US researchers said that chemicals to make non-stick pots and pans, and food wrapping, clothing, and stain-resistant carpets may boost body weight by disrupting the metabolism, especially in women.
Researchers at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health examined the effects of chemicals called perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) — have already been linked with cancer, immune dysfunction, obesity, hormone disruption, and high cholesterol.
The study analyzed records for 621 overweight and obese participants in a clinical trial on weight loss conducted in the mid-2000s. The participants spent six months dieting and the study tested the effectiveness of different types of diets weight loss over a period of two years.
Those on the program lost weight 6.4 kilograms 4kg over the six months of the diet, but then regained 2.7kg in the following 18 months. According to a report published in the journal PLOS Medicine, those who gained the most weight back had the highest blood levels of PFAS and with the effects more pronounced in women.
“We typically think about PFASs in terms of rare health problems like cancer, but it appears they are also playing a role in obesity, a major health problem facing millions around the globe,” said Philippe Grandjean, study co-author and adjunct professor of environmental health at Harvard Chan School.
The research findings suggest that chemicals found in the environment may boost body weight so people should try to avoid or reduce PFAS exposure that will help them maintain a stable body weight after they successfully lose some weight.