Are those endocrine disruptors making you fat?

January 24, 2013

The New York Times op-ed columnist Nicholas Kristof has tackled endocrine disruptors before, calling for tighter regulation of a class of chemicals that we regularly consume via food (endocrine disruptors, of which BPA is one, turn up in pesticides and packaging) and through our skin (they’re common in store receipts).

He’s even gone on "The Colbert Report" to discuss the gnarly genetic effects (mutations, anyone?) that can be caused by exposure to endocrine disruptors.

Now he’s writing about them again, thanks to new research suggesting that endocrine disruptors can make you fat. There’s even a name for them: obesogens. Kristof detailed how the process works in a blog post:

The biggest problem seems to be that exposure early in life (even in utero) may program a person to develop more or bigger fat cells and to turn more calories into fat (the pathways vary by obesogen). Moreover, the impact seems to be epigenetic, leading to changes in the ways in which genes are expressed so that generation after generation gets fatter.

In other words, eating less and exercising more may not help you.

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