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Obesity-Causing Pollutants in Food

Chemical obesogens in the food supply may be contributing to the obesity epidemic.

December 2, 2010 |
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Image thanks to TheGiantVermin.


The dramatic rise in obesity has been blamed on overeating and inactivity, but might it be something more? I talked about the “chicken obesity virus.” Scientists are also now identifying industrial chemical pollutants released into the environment in the last few decades that can disrupt our metabolism and predispose us to obesity. These pollutants have been called obesogens. The existence of chemical obesogens suggests that the prevailing paradigm, which holds that diet and decreased physical activity alone are the causative triggers for the burgeoning epidemic of obesity should be reassessed, which is what scientists are doing right now.
The focus has been on these organotin compounds. Basically they turn preadipocytes—pre-fat cells, into fat cells. How are we exposed? Through our diet.
Where are obesogens found the most? Beans, dairy, fish, fruit, grains, meat, nuts, or veggies? There is actually some in conventionally grown fruits and veggies, because some of these chemicals are used as fungicides, but the #1 dietary source is… fish. Again, you hear the word pollutant, think fish, as our oceans have become humanity’s sewers. Everything eventually flows down into the sea.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by veganmontreal.

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Dr. Michael Greger

Doctor's Note

Please feel free to post any ask-the-doctor type questions here in the comments section and I’d be happy to try to answer them. And check out the other videos on persistent organic pollutants. Also, there are 1,686 other subjects covered in the rest of my videos--please feel free to explore them as well!

For some context, please check out my associated blog post: Boosting Gut Flora Without Probiotics.

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