Are POP’s making you fat?

We are currently living in a world where there are global epidemics of obesity, depression, heart disease and cancer. At the same time, levels of environmental pollutants have never been higher. The obvious question is: Is there a link between these epidemics and the environmental pollutants? and if so, What is this link and what can we do about it?

What are POPs?

Environmental PollutionPOPs stands for Persistent Organic Pollutants. They are chemicals from farming and industry such as pesticides, phthalates, chlorinated phenols, BPA (bisphenol-A), BPS (bisphenol-S, the equally toxic replacement for BPA) and hydrocarbons. These toxins were shown to be present in 90%-100% of all individuals tested in a 2003-2004 study. POPs were first linked to disease in the 1970s.

Why are POPs a problem?

POPs have been linked to chronic disease and altered health states such as:
  • Obesity
  • Depression
  • Heart disease
  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Learning difficulties and
  • Dementia, to name just a few
You don’t have to be painters or farmers or chemical workers to be exposed to POPs. Most of us are exposed to POPs through our contact with the products we use from day to day in our own homes, as well as in food packaging.

Here is a list of personal care products that contain POPs:

  • Lipsticks
  • Foundations
  • Cleansers
  • Concealers
  • Perfumes and eau de toilettes
  • Deodorants
  • Hair products
  • Other beauty products

Here are sources of POPs that find their way into our food:

  • Plastic bags and wrappers
  • Tins used in canned food
  • Plastic drink bottles
  • Lids on take away coffee cups
  • Disposable plastic food utensils
  • Disposable plates

How do POPs make you fat?

These chemicals are known as 'endocrine disruptors'. They interfere with normal endocrine hormone function, which leads to metabolic imbalances that can ultimately lead to obesity and the other conditions mentioned above. At a cellular level, POPs behave much like the wrong key being jammed into a lock. They attach to receptors on cells and cause an “all or nothing” or “black or white” hormonal response, instead of the usual regulated orderly “shades of grey”. The end result can include abnormal oestrogen, cortisol and thyroid hormone activity, which ultimately lead to the metabolic chaos that precedes obesity and the other disease states mentioned above. POPs can exert their endocrine disrupting effects at very low doses.

Losing weight is difficult with POPs

Many POPs are lipophilic, which means they are fat-soluble and therefore will store themselves in the body fat. Storage in fat effectively takes them out of circulation so they are less able to exert their disruptive effects. But when we embark on a fat loss regime, the POPs are re-released into the circulation as the stored fat is released. These re-released POPs then go about their metabolic disruption in gay abandon and our fat loss rate plateaus.

What is the solution?

The solution to this conundrum lies in detoxification along with fat loss. A well designed, individualised scientific detoxification program incorporated into a well designed individualised fat loss routine will encourage the elimination of POPs, thereby reducing the typical rebound weight gain scenario.

Testing for POPs

Pathology tests are available for assessing tissue levels the levels of POPs. Current research on POPs suggests that it is more a question of how much we have accumulated in our tissues rather than whether or not we have any at all. If you would like to find out about the level of POPs in your tissues, there are several tests, either blood or urine, that be done.

Peter Radi (1)Peter Radi – Senior Naturopath and Nutritionist

Peter Radi is a naturopath, nutritionist and herbalist and has been in clinical practice since 2000. He is available for private consultations at the Mr Vitamins Clinic where he can provide you with more information about POPs, the tests that can be done to assess tissue levels of POPs and personalised health improvement programs. Learn more about Peter here