05 Mar 2016

Obesogens [Obesity causing factors]

Obesogens also known as Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals are products/chemicals which are known to interfere with the hormones of the body leading to weight gain and obesity. When these chemicals enter the human body they cause significant changes in the hormone levels of the affected person causing Obesity and many other diseases. We are exposed to these products and their effects on a daily basis. Some commonly found Obesogens which affect us are as given below:




1. Estrogens

Estrogens and Progesterones are known as the Female Sex hormones. They are the key chemicals which differentiate between the male and female of any species. Estrogen levels are always regulated by the body. Whenever there is an abnormal rise in the level of these estrogens in the males and females, many side effects occur. Nowadays, Artificial / Synthetic estrogens are found in many of the foodstuffs available. These chemicals on entering the body cause the same effects as the estrogens in our bodies.

Click here to read more about Important Functions of Estrogens


Risks associated with increased intake of Estrogens

  1. Obesity
  2. Increased Blood pressure (Hypertension)
  3. Diabetes
  4. Breast Cancer
  5. Polycystic Ovaries
  6. Low Sperm Count
  7. Ovarian Cancer
Click here to read more about Effects of Estrogens


2. Bisphenol-A [BPA]

Bisphenol –A [BPA] is a synthetic form of Estrogen. BPA is a chemical that has been used in hardened plastics and coating of food & drink cans for more than 40 years. More than 90% of us have BPA in our bodies right now. BPA is known to easily dissolve in the food and hot liquids kept in plastic containers. We get most of it by eating foods that have been stored or packed in containers made with BPA. Very small amounts of BPA are enough to cause harm to our bodies.

Below figure shows us how BPA is a part of some commonly used things. We can also see some of the safer alternatives for those.


3. Phyto-Estrogens in Soya beans

Soya beans are marketed to be a good natural and vegetarian protein source. In fact we see many foods have added soya in them to make them high protein. Breads and milk have added soya and are consumed heavily all across the globe. We also see many people asking for soya flour to be added to the wheat flour available for making rotis/chapatis. This all being true we forget the basic fact that Soya beans have a very high percentage of Phyto-estrogens in them. Thus along with proteins we are also consuming huge quantities of estrogens daily. This daily intake of estrogens is extremely bad for both males as well as females as it causes all the side effects already mentioned above.


Measures to avoid intake of Phytoestrogens from Soya –
We must avoid excess intake of Soya Beans or any products having soya as its content.
  1. Bread having Soya Flour
  2. No Added Soya Flour to our regular wheat Atta
  3. Soya Milk
  4. Soya Sauce in excess
  5. Soya based fast foods
  6. TOFU (Soya Paneer)
  7. Soya Curd
  8. Soya Yoghurt
  9. Soy Burgers
  10. Baby products having Soya Supplements

4. DDT

DDT is a commonly used insecticide. It is sprayed on plants and crops all over the world. It should be sprayed only in required quantities. Excess quantities of DDT if sprayed sticks to the vegetables and fruits which are taken from such farms. DDT is also a synthetic Estrogen. It should be hence not allowed to enter our stomachs when we eat these fruits and vegetables.

Measures to avoid intake of DDT
Washing and eating Fruits and vegetables. Ideally we must keep all fruits and vegetables in warm water and salt for a minimum of 20 minutes before eating or cooking them. This washes off all the DDT that may have been stuck to the fruits/vegetables.

5. Mercury in water/fish

Mercury in water/fish has the same effects as estrogens found in food. Mercury content is high in contaminated waters and so fish living in these waters have very high levels of mercury in them. When we consume such fish we are also consuming high amounts of mercury.

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