by Dr. David Minkoff November 05, 2021 5 min read
Obesity is poised to become the single greatest health risk in America.
Any significant health crisis is a complex mix of factors. There is no “single” cause or cure. The obesity epidemic is no different.
It’s easy to point to diet and exercise and blame lifestyle habits, but new research says there’s more to this story than calorie counting and treadmills.
Something weight-loss supplements and YouTube gurus are missing:
The overwhelming toxic load, poisoning our bodies.
Consider these numbers:
About 77,000 chemicals are produced in North America alone.
3,000 of these are added to our food supply.
5.6 billion tons of pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides are dowsed over the vegetables you buy in the grocery store and eat in restaurants. 
More than 10,0000 chemical solvents, emulsifiers, and preservatives are used to manufacture processed foods.
There are untold thousands of chemicals in cleaning agents, glues, plastic containers that off-gas into your beverages, fumes in the air, not to mention estrogenic compounds never filtered out by city water systems.
We are inundated by toxins.
And they are making us fat.
In 2015, the CDC reported 39.8% of American adults classified as obese. That is 2 out of every 5 people.
Obesity is linked to heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, gallstones, kidney disease, osteoarthritis, breathing issues, autoimmune conditions…
And those are just the most popular ones.
The true impact of this looming health crisis won’t come to fruition for another 5-10 years.
It’s not as if people don’t realize the extra weight is a serious health risk. The obesity epidemic has the weight-loss industry booming.
In 2017 it was estimated to be worth $68.2 billion.
People are trying harder and harder to do what they can to shed the pounds. And yet the statistics continue to rise….
Before we get to the why, let’s start by getting clear on what we mean by “toxins.”
The word “toxin” is one of these vague words that gets used without much backing it up. This in turn draws criticism from skeptics.
To get specific, here are some of the most common ones found in our everyday environment and disturbingly often in people’s bodies:
Studies from the Center for Disease Control, for example––found many of these toxins in every single person tested. .
Every. Single. One.
Another study found industrial solvents and dioxin in 100% of adipose fat samples taken .
These chemicals are omnipresent and extremely persistent.
Some of the names in the table above may be familiar to you. Most of them probably look like scientific jargon. It doesn’t really mean anything.
So let’s look at it from another angle.
Many of these substances are designed to disrupt biological processes. Pesticides, herbicides, and antibiotics are easy examples.
What many people don’t realize is our fundamental cellular biology is virtually identical to pests, plants and microbes. Yes, there are some important differences, but we all have DNA. We all make protein. We all shuffle electrons around with pretty much the same molecular tools.
These compounds are toxic to our cells too.
So are preservatives.
Food preservatives block chemical reactions. That's how they work. They “freeze” the food in time, preventing it from decaying. You can think of it like embalming your food… which then begins to embalm you.
The next question is what happens to all these toxic substances that end up in our body?
Our body has a natural detoxification system. Most toxins are isolated and transported via the lymph, processed by the liver, and then thrown out via the body’s four elimination pathways: the breath, bowels, urine, and skin.
But this detox system has a limited capacity. If the liver becomes overloaded with too many toxins, the body needs to protect itself.
So, like a homeowner with a little extra garage space, it puts them in storage to be dealt with later.
Biologically, this means storing the toxins in fat.
Especially in subcutaneous fat––the kind that makes you look puffy and chubby.
The greater the toxic buildup, the more fat required to protect the body.
This means that even if you get exercise and restrict calories, your body’s protective mechanism may prevent you from releasing the excess fat.
Toxins not only create weight gain, they also sabotage your attempts to lose it.
The damage doesn’t stop with fat storage. Another critical piece of the obesity puzzle is hormones.
Many toxins have a positive charge. The thyroid has a negative charge. This means many toxins like PCBs, PBDEs, dioxins, and phthalates accumulate in the thyroid and disrupt its normal function .
The thyroid is a major endocrine center––it secretes hormones that influence your metabolism, body temperature, body weight, and other hormones. Thyroid problems have a well-documented association with obesity 
In particular, a malfunctioning thyroid can lead to a condition called hypothyroidism, which is associated with decreased metabolic rate .
A decreased metabolic weight translates to weight gain.
Another critical function of the thyroid is the secretion of a hormone called leptin. Leptin is THE fat hormone. It determines how much body fat you carry. It also controls your appetite.
This means that a damaged thyroid can not only slow your metabolism and increase your body fat, it gives you more cravings, which leads to more weight gain.
And the damage comes from toxins.
In lockstep with the obesity epidemic, diabetes has increased 800% since 1958. It isn’t just the increase of sugar consumption driving this increase.
Scientists have classified an entire class of toxins called “diabetogens”––chemicals that cause diabetes. This includes many of the substances listed above, such as bisphenol-a (BPA), phthalates, perfluorooctanoate, and other chemicals commonly found in plastics, paint, and aerosols .
A related class of compound called “obesogens” creates similar health consequences and even includes common antidepressants, among others.
No matter how much you exercise or how little you eat, this disruption of blood sugar regulation and loss of insulin sensitivity will create persistent weight gain.
It’s not just the antibiotics we get from the doctor to manage an illness. It’s the antibiotic endemic in our food supply.
In the U.S., livestock consume 70-80% of all antibiotics produced . These make their way into their tissues and then into us.
What do antibiotics have to do with obesity?
New research shows there is a powerful link between microbiome diversity and the way your body stores fat . Antibiotics carpet bomb your gut flora, weakening the diversity of the microbiome.
The happy little buggers that once helped process your food and regulate blood sugar and body weight are gone. Your system is thrown into dysregulation.
The end result? You get fat .
Looking at the different examples of toxins and how they create persistent fat loss, you will notice a common theme: disruption of normal function.
Exercise and diet are, of course, essential to a healthy life.
The reality is that many people aren’t getting results with just diet and calorie counting.
There is more to the picture here.
Toxins are a major component.
To help you live a healthier toxin-free life, here are three simple steps you can take to reduce your toxic load and begin to restore regularity to your system:
by Dr. David Minkoff
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