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Nothing is more frustrating than stepping on the scale to once again see the numbers tipping in the wrong direction.
Or looking into the mirror and wondering if you’ll ever be able to lose the weight around your belly, hips and thighs — no matter how much calorie counting you’ve done.
Is it your diet? Are hormones to blame? Or could it be something much sneakier — like the air you breathe?
That last one may seem ridiculous, but according to researchers from the University of Michigan, the air you breathe may not be high in calories — but it’s high in something else that can pack on the pounds…
Weight gain in every breath
Researchers delved into data from close to 1,700 women with an average age of 50, tracking them for approximately eight years.
Specifically, the team kept tabs on the women’s body mass index (BMI), weight, waist circumference and body fat, comparing it to the annual air pollution in the area where each lived.
And sure enough, the scientists discovered that being exposed to increased levels of pollution can tip the scale toward obesity.
The results showed that exposure to air pollution was linked with higher body fat, a higher proportion of fat and lower lean mass.
In fact, air pollution caused an increase in body fat of 4.5 percent or about 2.6 pounds.
But how can simply being in a more polluted area cause you to pack on the pounds?
It all has to do with obesogens.
Obesogens — a recipe for weight gain
Obesogens are chemicals that actually tip the balance and development of lipid metabolism to the dark side by disrupting your thyroid and liver function.
Your thyroid stops pumping out the hormones that keep your metabolism revved and your body burning off calories. And your liver becomes clogged with fat cells packed with those nasty chemicals.
When this happens the systems that normally regulate your body weight stop working the way they should and it can become virtually impossible to keep your weight at a healthy level.
To top it off, obesogens even send signals to your body that prompt it to make new, supersized fat cells, so that it’s easier for your body to store more fat and the pounds to accumulate.
It’s the perfect storm that stops you from losing weight and instead can keep you gaining.
Beating the obesogen problem
Luckily, there are things you can do, even if you live in an area with high levels of air pollution.
First, the study that discovered the problem also found a potential fix.
After exploring the interaction between air pollution and physical activity on body composition, the researchers found that high levels of physical activity can mitigate the damage done by air pollution.
In other words, exercise, exercise and more exercise.
You can also support your liver. In addition to clearing contaminants from your body, your liver is responsible for breaking down fat, converting some for energy stores while synthesizing other fat, like cholesterol.It can’t adequately do all those jobs and fight toxic obesogens.
It’s also important to improve your home’s air quality in order to minimize the pollutants you’re exposed to daily.
And don’t forget to hydrate. Water is vital to support your body as you eliminate the obesogens that make fat stick like glue.
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Air pollution tips the scale for obesity in women – ScienceDaily