Debunking the Obesogen Theory

“Obesogenic” means “tending to cause obesity” and the new “Obesogen Theory” strikes a new argument against many food goods because there are undisclosed chemicals and additives in those packages that can actually make us gain, and not lose, weight.

Vom Saal believes that BPA is only the most prominent example of many substances in our food supply and environment that functions as an obesogen. “If people really want to solve the obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease epidemics,” he says, “it isn’t a wise thing to be ignoring any contributor to this. And we’re not obese just because of HFCS, or because of BPA. I also know that nicotine and PCBs and other chemicals are implicated in diabetes and metabolic disease as well.” …

Lustig echoes vom Saal’s belief that a wide range of substances in our food supply and our environment are likely leading to obesity and metabolic disease based on hosts of studies of various substances. These include soy-based infant formula, phthalates (used in many plastics), PCBs (found in coolant and electrical equipment), DDE (a type of pesticide), fungicides, and atrazine (a common pesticide).

Here’s what I think about the Obesogen Theory:  Bunk!  We need to stop blaming our environment and other foodstuff additive boogeymen for our weight gain.

We’re fat because we eat too much.  We aren’t fat because we have a slow metabolism, or because we’re “big-boned.”  We gain weight because we continue to overeat and we don’t exercise enough.

If you want to lose weight, don’t look for BPA in your soup can as an impediment — instead look down at your sweatpants for honest inspiration and realize you’re allowing your clothing to fool you and that you are being played by your own dysfunctional self-esteem.

Sure, getting rid of dangerous and hidden chemicals in our processed food chain is a good idea, but we can’t begin to think that just by doing that we will magically become a fit nation of more healthy eaters.  We must work hard together to create the goal of paying down our individual national health debt by being cogent and kind to our bodies again.