If you’re like most Americans, you probably whip up your home-cooked meals in a variety of non-stick pots and pans that you’ve had for years. They’re so much easier to clean than other cookware, and they’re affordable for people of all income ranges. What’s not to love?
Well, your cookware might be one of the culprits behind your struggle to lose weight. Recent studies have indicated that some non-stick kitchen items may be linked to putting on extra pounds, and they may even negatively impact your metabolism.
What’s the deal, you ask? It all boils down to something known as perfluoroalkyl substances, more commonly referred to as “obesogens.” Let’s take a look at what these chemical compounds are and how they play a role in your day-to-day life.
First things first, we need to understand what perfluoroalkyl substances (obesogens) are. Essentially, they are endocrine disruptors that can affect how quickly your body burns calories. Although most people have never heard of obesogens, they’ve become increasingly common in home kitchens since the 1970s and are gaining more attention in scientific studies every year.
There are many different kinds of obesogens, but some are more common than others. For instance, Bisphenol-A (BPA) and phthalates are found in many of the items you pick up at the grocery store, like jarred foods and sodas. Herbicides and pesticides are also considered obesogens, and no matter where you live, you’re probably exposed to them regularly.
Even if you work to avoid nasty chemicals in the store and outdoors, have you thought about where obesogens might be hiding in your home? Chances are, you’re cooking with them often.
Generally, obesogens are found in foods like store-bought meat, condiments, drinks, pizza, and dairy. In short, they’re everywhere in the United States. However, most people don’t consider the fact that these chemicals are often used to make kitchen cookware more waterproof, non-stick, or even stain-resistant.
Next time you decide to revamp your kitchen with some new pots and pans, take a look at the labels before making a purchase. You might be surprised to see that perfluoroalkyl substances are common in many brands of cookware. According to a recent study by Harvard Medicine, some of the people with the highest levels of these PFAS gained the most weight.
Now that you know what obesogens are and where you can find them, let’s talk about how they directly impact your body and its problems with weight. According to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the Environmental Protection Agency, the effects of obesogens can begin in early childhood and contribute to weight gain throughout the course of a person’s life. Increased consumption of packaged foods can lead to a higher risk of weight gain, as can foods packed with high-fructose corn syrup and other ingredients.
When you consume obesogens, either in your food or from the cookware you’re using, they can drastically change how your body regulates its appetite and insulin. This can make you crave snacks even when you’re not hungry and contribute to stores of fat around your gut. Struggling to lose those extra pounds gathered around your abs? Obesogens might be to blame.
Furthermore, obesogens might even slow down your metabolism, causing your body to burn calories slowly no matter how much you diet or work out. Although scientists have yet to definitely prove that PFAS chemicals are linked to weight regain, it seems that if you’re hoping to lose weight, it might be time to start avoiding these chemicals and their fattening side effects.
A great rule of thumb for steering clear of worrisome chemicals in your foods and cookware is to check out this database, which lists some of the worst obesogen culprits on the market. Because PFASs and other chemicals are so persistent in today’s world, the number one thing you can do is stay up-to-date on the latest news regarding obesogens.
Also, try to buy fresh food over pre-packaged items at the store. Phthalates are commonly found in your grocery store dairy and meats, and jarred or canned items are often packed with chemicals. Stick to perishable items that you know are grown safely, instead.
Don’t go tossing out all of your non-stick pots and pans just yet. Very few studies have been conducted on weight gain and these chemicals, and causation has yet to be proved. However, it does make sense to pay attention to further research and to steer clear of as many chemicals as possible. Play it safe and try to live a healthy life, but don’t abandon your favorite cookware just yet.