A new study has found that certain chemicals in drinking water can lead to obesity in humans.
The research confirms a direct link between increased PFAS content in blood and weight gain, as well as making it harder to maintain a lower body weight after weight loss.
The study, led by University of Rhode Island, used blood samples from a European Commission clinical trial to analyze PFAS chemicals in 381 adults participating in an experimental study of five different diets in regard to weight gain.
The study found that, regardless of the diet assigned, participants gained weight if they had elevated PFAS exposures.
One chemical in particular, PFOA, which is commonly found in contaminated drinking water, demonstrated ties to obesity more than other PFAS pollutants.
Participants with the most PFOA in their blood were found, after a one-year follow-up, to have gained about 10 pounds more than those with low levels.
The study adds new evidence that being overweight isn’t just about a lack of physical activity and unhealthy eating habits – PFAS are increasingly suspected to be a contributing factor.
The PFAS exposures in the European participants are quite comparable to levels in America, so my concern is that our exposures to PFAS are making it difficult for us to avoid getting overweight.
PFAS, a large and decades-old family of chemicals, infiltrate many human and natural environments, and have also leached into water, from marine habitats to drinking water resources.
The study highlights the importance of sound science informing public dialogue about enhancing protections for drinking water sources.
Public policy discussions at the federal and state levels are focused on determining regulatory and legislative paths forward to potentially lower PFAS levels in drinking water sources across the country.
How to prevent weight gain
There are several strategies that can help prevent weight gain:
Eat a balanced diet: Focus on consuming a variety of nutrient-dense foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Avoid highly processed foods and limit your intake of added sugars and saturated fats.
Portion control: Practice portion control by using smaller plates, measuring your food, and being mindful of your serving sizes.
Drink plenty of water: Staying hydrated can help keep you feeling full and prevent overeating.
Exercise regularly: Aim to get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week. Incorporate strength training exercises to help build muscle, which can boost your metabolism.
Get enough sleep: Lack of sleep can disrupt hormones that control appetite and lead to overeating. Aim to get 7-9 hours of sleep per night.
Manage stress: Chronic stress can lead to overeating and weight gain. Find healthy ways to manage stress, such as exercise, meditation, or talking to a therapist.
Limit alcohol consumption: Alcoholic beverages are high in calories and can contribute to weight gain. Limit your alcohol intake or avoid it altogether.
Remember, making small changes to your lifestyle can add up to big results over time. Consult with a healthcare provider before starting a new exercise or diet program.
If you care about weight management, please read studies about diets that could boost your gut health and weight loss, and 10 small changes you can make today to prevent weight gain.
For more information about weight loss, please read studies that avocado could help you lose weight and belly fat, and a keto diet for weight loss can cause flu-like symptoms.
The study was conducted by Philippe Grandjean et al and published in Obesity.
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