no. 87 – The Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals and Obesity Episode

DYK that the Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals we eat, drink and breathe each day interfere with our normal body functions, including our risk for Obesity?

Joining me in today’s show is Dr. Gabriel Smolarz. He is the medical director of obesity in US Medical Affairs at Novo Nordisk, Inc. in Plainsboro NJ. He is also Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and a practicing endocrinologist in NJ. He is board-certified in Endocrinology as well as Obesity Medicine. In the show, we discuss:

  • What is the Endocrine system? a network of glands including ovaries, testicles, pituitary and more that regular the body’s normal healthy development, growth and functions like hunger, sex drive, etc. The Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals we’re talking about today are the chemicals throughout our environment that are interfering with the normal function of our body’s Endocrine’s normal operating system.
  • How/Why Obesity is a chronic disease and not simply a function of “lack of will power.”
  • How Obesity is closely tied to our genetics and is especially influenced by how our environment interact with our unique genetics
  • How appetite regular and satiety is not truly under the control of one’s will power as many people may think — with biology in your body driving when to eat, how much to eat, etc.
  • The delicate balance of food in the gut and sending the appropriate signaling can easily be disrupted leading to a scenario of overconsuming more calories than the body needs
  • An explanation of how EDCs can mimic, block, or interfere with the various signaling involved in energy regulation, metabolism, etc.
  • How EDCs are involved in multiple health conditions including but not limited to infertility, certain cancers, and diabetes
  • Why glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity can also be blocked or interfered with as an influence by EDCs

So what do we do about endocrine disrupting chemicals?

Dr. Smolarz acknowledges that EDCs are everywhere, but the first step in reducing exposure is increasing awarness. Beyond that, though, he suggests:

  • Reading labels — try to avoid grocery items and food storage items, specifically plastics, that contain BPA and phthalates
  • Being aware of which plastics are BPA-free, including those labeled as recycling 1, 2 or 4
  • Understanding that cleaning products and personal care products can also contain EDCs
  • Being aware of the potential pesticide impact on fruits and vegetables, buying organic when it makes sense and is an option, but also realizing that no matter whether you choose organic or not, it’s important to wash your fruits and vegetables
  • Don’t microwave in plastics
  • Avoiding storing plastic water bottles in hot areas. Use steel/glass containers when possible.

We wrap up our interview with an important discussion about the importance of a complete, respectful, and personalized approach to weight management. Dr. Smolarz urges us all to change the overall narrative of the disease and speak differently about Obesity and use people-first language — people living with obesity, not obese people. He offers as a valuable resource for more information on Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals.

I close out today’s show with an Odds & Ends ending that includes:

There’s only one more episode to go and it’s coming up soon! Take care friends, and stay tuned during the summer for lots of new recipes on the Blog. If you’re not a subscriber for recipe info, you can get notifications at ~Regan

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