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FOOD FIRST - June 2015 - Kansas City

Are Obesogens Blocking Your Weight Loss?

By Bethany Klug


Obesogens are chemicals in our food or food packaging that cause obesity. "Obesogens are thought to act by hijacking the regulatory systems that control body weight," says Frederick vom Saal, Ph.D., professor of biological sciences at the University of Missouri. "And any chemical that interferes with body weight is an 

endocrine disruptor.”


The Endocrine Society, the largest organization for hormone research and clinical endocrinology, has also noted the connection. "The rise in the incidence in obesity matches the rise in the use and distribution of industrial chemicals that may be playing a role in generation of obesity," it stated in a recent report, "suggesting that EDCs (endocrine disrupting chemicals) may be linked to this epidemic.”


Obesogens may be the reason that traditional healthy eating advice, such as choosing chicken and fish over red meat, and eating more fruits and vegetables may not work anymore.


So how do we avoid obesogens in our food?


Go organic. According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), you can reduce your pesticide exposure by nearly 80 percent simply by choosing organic versions of the 12 fruits and vegetables shown in its tests to contain the highest pesticide load. There's a Clean Fifteen, too, a group of conventionally grown fruits and vegetables with the least pesticide residue. See their website, for a wallet card to guide you when shopping.


Go grass fed. Every time you eat conventionally raised meat, there is an excellent chance you are eating chemicals that cause weight gain. Why? These animals are fed chemicals to promote fast weight gain. When you eat the flesh of these animals, you are eating those chemicals too. I advise finding a source of meat and poultry that is grass fed to point of slaughter. Many animals are fed grass but finished on corn to fatten them up. You’ll benefit from omega-3 fatty acids and the fat soluble vitamins, A,D, E, and K when the animal is fed grass to the end. You may not find this at your grocery store, although some local grocers will special order for you.


The Kansas City Food Circle has a directory of local natural and organic food producers at


Stop eating plastic. You didn’t know you were eating plastic, but every time you eat food in a plastic container, or eat food stored in plastic you get a dose of bisphenol A (BPA)

A recent study published on BPA's effects on humans found that workers exposed to BPA at Chinese factories had more than four times the risk of erection difficulties. (Japan reduced the use of BPA in cans between 1998 and 2003; as a result, measures of BPA in some Japanese populations dropped more than 50 percent.) According to the EWG canned chicken soup, infant formula, and ravioli have BPA levels of the highest concern. After people drank out of a polycarbonate bottle (usually stamped with a 7 on the bottom) for just 1 week, their BPA levels jumped by nearly 70 percent, according to a seminal study from Harvard University and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


How to avoid BPA?


• Don’t microwave or store food in plastic containers.


• Avoid plastic wrapped meats.


• Avoid canned food unless it’s marked BPA-free.


• Don’t drink out of plastic cups and avoid styrofoam cups.


Avoid Soy and Hidden Sources of Soy. Soy is fed to animals to make them fat, thus conventionally raised meat and poultry is a hidden source of soy. When you eat it, it can make you fat, too.


Avoid High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS). The less processed food and beverages you eat, the less HFCS you’ll eat. HFCS creates leptin resistance, which makes you eat more and gain weight.


It’s time to accept that much of our food is toxic and find other food sources that keep us healthy and at a normal body weight.



HealthSpan, the holistic medicine practice of Dr. Bethany Klug, is offering some excellent classes this summer to help you reduce your toxic load and add some quick, easy and delicious dishes to you weekly repertoire. Learn more at



Bethany Klug, DO created HealthSpan out of a deep wish: for everyone to experience vibrant health. We go beyond the conventional pill-for an-ill approach to educate and inspire you so you can successfully make positive steps toward greater health and wellbeing. Learn more at or 913-642-1900.

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