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Environmental Endocrine Disruptors Partly to Blame for Weight Regain in Women?

by Natalie Digate Muth, MD, MPH, RDN, FAAP on May 17, 2018

Food for Thought

Maintaining weight loss is extraordinarily difficult for most people for myriad reasons, some understood and others less so.

In February, PLOS Medicine published results of the first randomized controlled human study looking for connections between weight loss and exposure to synthetic chemicals called perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). The researchers found that higher blood levels of PFAS don’t affect weight loss but are associated with greater weight regain, especially in women.

PFAS are present in many nonstick and waterproof consumer products, as well as in some food packaging and public water supplies. The PFAS likely increase weight regain by disrupting endocrine function, causing a greater decline in resting metabolic rate with weight loss and a lower increase in resting metabolic rate during weight regain.

A 2007 study in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives found that more than 98% of participants had detectable PFAS levels in their blood. In U.S. consumer products, the chemical is used less frequently than it was in the past, but usage is highly prevalent throughout the world. PFAS are very stable and have a long half-life, making elimination a challenge.

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About the Author

Natalie Digate Muth, MD, MPH, RDN, FAAP

Natalie Digate Muth, MD, MPH, RDN, FAAP IDEA Author/Presenter

Natalie Digate Muth, MD, MPH, RD is a board-certified pediatrician, registered dietitian, and ACE Health Coach. She is committed to providing evidence-based nutrition and fitness information to health professionals and consumers alike in a way that is logical, practical and directly applicable to readers’ lives. She has authored over 100 publications and book chapters, all which are based on the latest scientific evidence and presented in a manner that is easy-to-understand and apply. She is Director of Healthcare Solutions for the American Council on Exercise (ACE) having written the nutrition chapters for each of ACE’s textbooks, the ACE Fitness Nutrition Manual and Specialty Certification, and recorded several Webinars and online courses. Furthermore, as a spokesperson for ACE, the largest fitness certifying and advocacy organization in the country, she informs broadcast and print media outlets throughout the U.S. on pertinent nutrition and fitness issues. She is author '"Eat Your Vegetables!" and other mistakes parents make: Redefining How to Raise Healthy Eaters'. She presented a similar topic at IDEA World 2009; the video is available for purchase through IDEA. Certifications: ACE, ACSM and NSCA