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Obesogens

Posted: Mon Jun 06, 2022 8:59 am
by shpalman
Environmental toxins are worsening obesity pandemic, say not-mainstream scientists
Chemical pollution in the environment is supersizing the global obesity epidemic, according to a major scientific review.

The idea that the toxins called “obesogens” can affect how the body controls weight is not yet part of mainstream medicine. But the dozens of scientists behind the review argue that the evidence is now so strong that it should be. “This is critical because the current clinical management of obese patients is woefully inadequate,” they said.
The reviews are
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/a ... 522200106X
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/a ... 5222001095
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/a ... 5222001083

I looked at the one about the chemicals to see if there was anything tracking the increase in levels in the environment, to at least correlate it with the increase in obesity (not that such a correlation would necessarily tell us anything) but there doesn't seem to be anything like that. Instead it seems to be a list of chemicals which they reckon are obesogenic, and then a list of chemicals which they seem to be hoping will turn out to be obesogenic, like glyphosate.
“The focus of the clinical people is on calories – if you eat more calories, you’re going to be more fat,” says Dr Jerrold Heindel, lead author of one of the three review papers, and formerly at the US National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. “So they wait untill you get obese, then they’ll look at giving you diets, drugs, or surgery.

“If that really worked, we should see a decline in the rates of obesity,” he said. “But we don’t – obesity continues to rise, especially in children. The real question is, why do people eat more? The obesogenic paradigm focuses on that and provides data that indicate that these chemicals are what can do that.”

Furthermore, the scientists say, the approach offers the potential to prevent obesity by avoiding exposure to pollutants, especially in pregnant women and babies: “Prevention saves lives, while costing far less than any [treatment].”
What pollutants?
... these chemicals are everywhere: in water and dust, food packaging, personal hygiene products and household cleaners, furniture and electronics.
So, we need to avoid... everything?
The review identifies about 50 chemicals as having good evidence of obesogenic effects, from experiments on human cells and animals, and epidemiological studies of people. These include BPA and phthalates, also a plastic additive...

Other obesogens are pesticides, including DDT and tributyltin, former flame retardants and their newer replacements, dioxins and PCBs, and air pollution. Several recent studies link exposure to dirty air early in life to obesity.

The review also names PFAS compounds – so-called “forever chemicals” due to their longevity in the environment – as obesogens. These are found in food packaging, cookware, and furniture, including some child car seats.
So... buy fewer packets of food, don't cook, and don't eat furniture?
The obesogen paradigm has not been taken up by mainstream researchers so far. But Prof Barbara Corkey, at Boston University School of Medicine and past president of the Obesity Society, said: “The initial worldview was that obesity is caused by eating too much and exercising too little. And this is nonsense.”
She obviously hadn't listened to the question properly but rants about "eat less and move more" by reflex, rather than getting the memo that these chemicals supposedly make the "eat less and move more" harder.
Prof Robert Lustig at the University of California, San Francisco, and lead author of one of the reviews, said: “Gluttony and sloth are just the outward manifestations of these biochemical perturbations that are going on beneath the surface.”
Lustig said, “If I had to guess, based on all the work and reading I’ve done, I would say obesogens will account for about 15% to 20% of the obesity epidemic. But that’s a lot.” The rest he attributes to processed food diets, which themselves contain some obesogens.

“Fructose is a primary driver of a lot of this,” he said. “It partitions energy to fat in the liver and is a prime obesogen. Fructose would cause obesity even if it didn’t have calories.” A small 2021 trial found that an ultra-processed diet caused more weight gain than an unprocessed diet, despite containing the same calories in the meals offered to participants.

(* - This article was amended on 20 May 2022. An earlier version referred to a small 2021 trial that found an ultra-processed diet caused more weight gain than an unprocessed diet, and said that both diets contained the same calories. To clarify: the meals offered for both diets contained the same calories, but participants could choose how much of each meal they consumed.)
Seems like fructose was sold as being a "natural" sugar like the one in fruit, when in the American market it was just a cheap source of sugar from maize.

Back in 2018, the Guardian wrote the truth about obesogens...

I'm all for removing harmful things from food and the environment, but not for "oh no chemicals!"

Most of us now live in this obesogenic environment and there's little we can do about our "early years of child development" or our personal "transgenerational epigenetic obesity".

The fact that people are getting more overweight is complicated.

Re: Obesogens

Posted: Sun Jun 19, 2022 2:54 pm
by Al Capone Junior
I'm betting on fructose as being a major player in the obesity epidemic. Dr Robert Lustig is pretty convincing.

But while I have some coursework which allows me to understand the science on this topic pretty well, I am not a researcher, and have not spent years of my life studying obesity.

So it will not surprise me if something else turns out to be the major causative factor in the obesity problem.

The notion of obeseogens seems at least plausible, but I can understand there being lots of skepticism at this point. Just as there seems to be plenty of skepticism about fructose's link to obesity

But then science is always skeptical of new ideas, by design. So let's see if the evidence supports this or that hypothesis, or a different one