Do you have flabby tummy? Blame it on your beer or Coke? Is your midsection getting bigger? That is because you have been eating cheese burgers and fries every weekend for the past few months? Technically, all of us blame food for our weight. We even blame sedentary lifestyle for our weight. This is because we are told that what we eat and we do affect greatly to our weight and what we look. But have you ever thought of the possibility that certain chemicals, like phthalates, that are commonly found in your personal care products may also have some explaining to do? This can be true especially if those extra pounds just don’t seem to get flushed out of your body. Today, we’re going to look at the relationship of phthalates and body fats, how it affects to one’s weight, and how we can prevent from exposing ourselves to it.
What are phthalates?
Phthalates are dubbed as the all-around chemical. It is found in just about anything that you see around you because they’re used as plasticizers. Plasticizers are needed to make plastics more flexible, more durable, and more transparent. It helps the products become what they are, making it a staple in every manufacturing industry. Conversely, because of the health issues raised by concerned consumers and health organizations, phthalates was banned in the US 2010. Health concerns started to rise when reports regarding the adverse health effects of phthalates to the body include disruption of normal hormone processes. Currently, manufacturers are using non-phthalate plasticizers. Unfortunately, we cannot deny the fact that this chemical might still be present in our everyday lives. It’s found in lubricants, glues and adhesives, waxes, clays, medical devices, detergents, pharmaceuticals, textiles, and tons of food products. Apart from that, phthalates are also present in canned goods, baby products like baby feeding bottles, and in tons of personal care products. However, phthalates don’t just stick to these items. They join the air and can readily get into your body thru the air. In some instances, we get them when we eat canned goods as they’re placed around the inner linings of the can. You can also be exposed to phthalates thru skin absorption by using personal care products that have phthalate compounds. Remember though that you don’t read phthalates in your favorite skin care products’ ingredients, but you read them as ‘fragrant’. Once these chemicals leak from the source, it gets into your body and immediately joins the body’s metabolism and hormones.
Phthalates and its Effects on One’s Weight
Few years ago, a group of researchers, spearheaded by Richard Stahlult, M.D., at the University of Rochester Medical Center, found that a group of hormone disrupting chemicals, specifically dubbed as phthalates, have been found to be a culprit of the increasing records of overweight and obese people in the US. For the past few years, 1 billion Americans are obese while millions of them are overweight. He believed that food and lifestyle may not only be the very factors that affect an American’s weight gain, and blamed phthalates for this. His claims were supported of the date he and his team members gathered during the survey. The researchers narrowed their study on the 6 different phthalates that most of us would have consumed or have been exposed to namely, DEHP, those that are found in fragrance; PVC, those found in materials around us like shower curtains, glues and adhesives, flooring, etc; and DBP, the ones used in paints and nail polishes. The results showed that men who have bigger waist circumference tend to have higher levels of phthalate metabolites in their urine than men who relatively have average to smaller waist circumference. To clarify, phthalate metabolites are the phthalate chemicals that have entered into our body and have been processed by our system. Although there is no specific linkage of men’s bigger tummies and phthalate metabolites, there is, however, direct linkage to men’s testosterone hormones and phthalate. The researchers also concluded that lower testosterone levels of a man’s body could result to bigger midsection, flabby skin, and obesity. Now, this conclusion indeed makes sense, knowing that this kind of chemical disrupts hormone levels, which could deliberately affect a man or a woman’s hormone levels that, in turn, affect their metabolism and their weight as well.
Prevention from Exposing Ourselves to Phthalates and from Becoming Overweight
Surely, the findings are quite scary. Who could ever think that those sparklingly clean tiles or that gorgeous shower curtain can actually trigger our body’s fat levels? Don’t fret, my friend. There are still a lot of ways on how you can avoid exposing your body from this type of chemical.
Go organic – This is one of the best methods of keeping phthalates at low levels. Buying and consuming organic foods mean cutting down on canned goods, eating fresh harvests, and consuming nutritious selects. Unlike canned goods, which are manufactured with phthalates, you don’t expose yourself to the chemical if you eat local buys. On the one hand, spare from junk foods, fast foods, and comfort foods if you must. These are not just junked, but are also high in fats, which can apparently cause obesity. You could indulge with these and cheat, but it should be done in very limited amounts like one serving at least once a week only. This way, you won’t feel cheated and starved from your favorite junk foods.
Switch to glasses – Foods these days are packaged using plastics. Milk, baby food, dog food, ramen, and many more, all packed using plastic. Gone are the days when mom would put glass bottles of milk inside the fridge and would remind us that they’re breakables and that mommy does not allow child to hold them. Fortunately, there are still a lot of choices in the market that’s packaged using bottles and breakables like jars and BPA-free containers. Some foods that are packaged in bottles and jars include honey, Gerber and Earth’s Best foods, peanut butter and mayonnaise, Del Monte fruit cocktails and fruit mixes, some ketchup, wines, Sir Kensington Ketchup, virgin coconut oil, jams and spreads, and many others.
Lessen wastes in your kids’ lunch boxes and hubby’s lunch boxes – Don’t let them bring napkins and disposables. Let them bring non-disposable spoon and fork and insert healthy foods into their containers. Conversely, avoid buying plastic lunchboxes.
Opt for BPA-free containers – Because of the consumers’ knowledge about the adverse effects of BPA to one’s health, manufacturers have also started to create BPA-free containers. Water bottles from Kleen Kanteen have been found to be BPA-free while most of the Nalgene’s container bottles have become BPA-free as well since it has replaced its products few years ago because of their BPA content. Some of Nalgene’s clean containers include flip-top leak proof bottle, rectangular and round leak proof bottles, and even dropper bottles.
Say goodbye to alcoholic drinks – Alcoholic drinks, especially beer, is not so helpful to both men and women. It is high in fats that could deposit in the midsection for men and on the hips for women resulting to beer belly and saggy buttocks.
Move your butt – Sweating out is one of the best prevention of becoming overweight and fighting against the fatty side effects of having phthalates in our daily lifestyle. There is probably no one who will contradict to this tip.
Read labels, ingredients, and contents of a product – It is important that you can read and understand a product’s ingredients. For instance, you don’t find phthalates in your favorite scented lotion, but you will read it as ‘scent’ or ‘fragrant’.