7 Obesogens That Cause Weight Gain and Obesity


We all know that poor diet and lack of physical activity are major contributors to the problem of obesity, but did we know that there is a class of man-made chemicals that are also linked to increased susceptibility to obesity? weight gain ? They are named obesogenic and are found in many everyday products.

Do you need another reason to stop using plastics and add fresh foods to your diet? When you learn the dangers of obesogenic exposureyou will reconsider the way you package, store and choose your food.

What are obesogens?

Obesogens are man-made chemicals found in various food containers, kitchen utensils and plastics. They have become known as a subset of endocrine disrupting chemicals.

These chemicals have been shown to be involved in weight gain. They can also interfere with any aspect of hormonal action and have been linked to problems with fertility and puberty.

There are more than 20 chemicals identified as obesogenic. The term was coined around 2006, when it was discovered that exposure to these chemicals during early development disrupted normal metabolic processes and increased a person’s susceptibility to lifelong weight gain. .

It’s not that obesogens directly cause obesitybut they increase your susceptibility and sensitivity to weight gain, especially if you are exposed to chemicals during your development.

Studies indicate that obesogens promote obesity by altering the programming of fat cell development, increasing energy storage in adipose tissue, and interfering with the neuroendocrine control of appetite and satiety. In other words, they change the way your body regulates feelings of hunger and fullness.

obesogens they may also increase the effects of high-fat and high-sugar diets.

The most common obesogens and their dangers

The most common obesogenic environment which shows its dangers is made up of the following disturbing elements:


Phthalates are obesogenic chemical compounds which are added to plastics to increase their flexibility and longevity. They are used in a wide range of cosmetics and food products, including children’s toys, cosmetics, food packaging, sunscreens, detergents, etc.

Over 75 percent of the population in the United States alone are said to have detectable levels of various phthalate metabolites.

In a 2019 meta-analysis of 29 publications, researchers concluded that overall there is a positive association between phthalates and obesity, particularly in adults.

Beyond its effect on weight gain, exposure to phthalates has also been linked to reproductive harm, including sperm DNA damage, testicular toxicity, and delayed pubertal stages.

Bisphenol A (BPA)

The toxic effects of BPA are well known. Synthetic compounds are associated with inflammatory conditions, infertility, and vitamin D deficiency.

The BPA exposure has also been linked to obesity and diabetes. A 2019 systematic review and meta-analysis published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health indicates that there is a possible causality between BPA exposure and childhood obesity, and the data indicates that exposure to BPA itself increases the risk of obesity in children. .

You’ve seen BPA-free bottles in the supermarket, but the dangerous obesogenic compound It is also found in plastic tableware, toys, medical devices, PVC compounds, and dental sealants. It can also be hidden in beer kegs, metal coffee cans, aluminum beverage cans, jar lids and cooking oil bottles.

Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)

PCBs are man-made chemicals that have been used in hundreds of industrial and commercial applications, including as pigments in paper, plasticizers in paints, plastic and rubber products, and electrical equipment. Although the use of these obesogenic chemicals in the United States was banned in 1979, they are still present in soil, produce, buildings, and drinking water.

They can accumulate on leaves, plants and food crops and are taken up by the bodies of fish and other small organisms. Once they are in an environment, they don’t break down easily.

According to research published in Current pharmaceutical biotechnology.

Atrazine (ATZ)

Atrazine is the second most widely used herbicide in the country. It attaches itself to crops, soil and surface water, eventually ending up in the water supply at dangerous levels. It is one of the most common contaminants in drinking water and causes toxicity in tap water.

It is known as an endocrine disruptor that causes hormonal changes and can lead to serious developmental, reproductive, neurological and immunological problems.

Atrazine may contribute to the development of insulin resistance and obesity, especially when a high fat diet is prevalent.

Tributyltin (TBT)

Tributyltin is a synthetic chemical used as an antifouling agent in paints applied to boats, ships and fishing nets. It has polluted many lakes and coastal waters and is dangerous to a wide range of marine organisms.

Although many regulatory authorities have banned the use of obesogenic chemicalis still found on large ships and seeps into the sea.

Research published in Vitamins and Hormones indicates that obesogenic tributyltin may exert toxicity by many mechanisms, but more recently it has been shown to alter processes essential to fat metabolism. Exposure to this class of chemicals can signal stem cells to become fat cells, which contributes to weight gain and obesity.

Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA)

Perfluorooctanoic acid is a drinking water contaminant that is known to be extremely resistant to environmental degradation processes and therefore persists indefinitely.

According to a literature review published in Environmental Research, the contaminant obesogen has been detected in drinking water finished drinking water sources impacted by emissions from industrial facilities and wastewater treatment plants, and waters with no known point sources.

PFOA has been classified as “probably carcinogenic to humans” by the Science Advisory Board of the United States Environmental Protection Agency. It is also considered an obesogen, and a 2018 meta-analysis found that exposure to the contaminant obesogen in the first years of life is associated with an increased risk of childhood obesity and higher body mass index. .

Cigarette smoke

Exposure to cigarette smoke is the cause of many health problems, including obesity. In fact, one of the earliest links between human fetal development and obesity came from studies of cigarette smoke exposure in the womb.

Babies born to mothers who smoke are often underweight, but tend to “compensate” as they develop and grow, gaining weight throughout infancy and childhood.

A nationwide survey of over 20,000 Japanese adults found a positive association between the number of cigarettes smoked per day and obesity.

How to minimize the obesogenic environment

The most dangerous time for obesogenic exposure it is during early development, as a fetus and during the first years of life. This is because at a young age, your body’s weight management mechanisms are still developing.

Here are ways to minimize exposure:

  • Avoid foods stored in plastic.
  • Use glass containers and bottles.
  • Do not microwave plastics.
  • Make your own beauty and skin care products.
  • If you buy cosmetics, use organic and natural products.
  • When using plastic products, look for containers that are BPA and phthalate free.
  • Use “fragrance-free” products.
  • Choose cast iron or stainless steel cookware.
  • Don’t buy stain-resistant or flame-retardant carpets or furniture.
  • Use a water filter, such as granular activated carbon and reverse osmosis filter systems.
  • Eat fresh foods (including fruits and vegetables) whenever possible.


Leave a Comment