Masters of Health Magazine May 2019 | Page 53

Herbicides and Pesticides

Thanks to pesky bugs that enjoy eating crops, many farmers spray pesticides on them to repel the insects. Weeds are another constant struggle for farmers, so it’s herbicides to the rescue! While adding these may solve their dilemma, it exposes consumers to some potentially toxic chemicals. Herbicides can disrupt normal cellular mitochondrial function and have been shown to cause insulin resistance in animals. Pesticides are linked to obesity, diabetes, and other morbidities. Department of Agriculture data shows that the average American is exposed to 10 or more pesticides every day, via diet and drinking water. Ninety percent of these are endocrine disrupters, which have been linked to obesity.

You can minimize your exposure to these obesogens by buying local organic produce whenever possible. At the grocery store, look for “USDA Certified Organic” on the label. This ensures the product does not contain pesticides or herbicides. Don’t limit your organic products to food alone—look for organic varieties of body care products and clothing as well.

Hormones and Antibiotics

There’s an old saying, “You are what you eat”. While this is true, you are also what your meat eats. This includes the estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone that’s being used to increase the weight of cattle. When you eat the cattle, these same substances can also increase your weight! A study in the International Journal of Obesity from researchers at ten different universities, including Yale University School of Medicine and Johns Hopkins University, found that the use of steroid hormones in meat production and on conventional dairy farms could be contributing to obesity.

Then there’s the antibiotics used in chicken and farmed raised fish, to help them fight off infection. These antibiotics also aid in fattening up fish and chicken and can do the same when humans eat them, which is why antibiotics are considered obesogens.

To avoid consuming hormones and antibiotics in your food, look for a “USDA Certified Organic” label. Some companies aren’t certified but claim they offer conditions comparable to organic. Many products display a “USDA Process Verified” shield that they pay for. Don’t put a lot of credence into this label. It’s not the same thing as being “USDA Certified Organic”.

Perfluorooctanoic Acid

Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) is a surfactant used in nonstick cookware, like Teflon. PFOA has been identified in bodies of water and in a variety of land and water animals.

PFOA has also been detected in the blood of more than 98 percent of the general U.S. population.

This chemical is considered an obesogen because it can cause an endocrine dysfunction that has been linked to obesity. Other negative effects of PFOA have been documented including thyroid disease, kidney disease and various cancers.

To reduce your exposure to PFOA, throw away all your pots and pans that are coated with a nonstick material. Purifying your tap water through distillation or reverse osmosis before drinking it will also minimize your exposure to this obesogen.

It’s not necessarily food itself, but how it’s grown, harvested, stored, and cooked that has become the catalyst to the growing obesity epidemic. Being more proactive, reading labels, and learning where your food comes from is a prudent approach to safeguarding your well being and FINALLY losing those unwanted pounds.