Here’s another reason you may gain back weight after dieting


SUCCESSFUL weight loss could be hampered by chemical compounds lurking in everyday products in your house, a new study finds. The study, published Feb. 13 in the journal PLOS Medicine, focused on a group of chemicals called perfluoroalkyl substances, or PFASs, that are sometimes referred to as “obesogens” because of their effects on weight.
PFASs have been used for more than 60 years in various industries — including in non-stick pans and food packaging — and have since contaminated water resources and made their way into the food chain, according to the study. For example, many shellfish contain the chemicals, said Qi Sun, assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and senior author of the study. But they can also leach into food from wrappers and can even enter a person’s body through contact with treated carpets and textiles.
Previous studies have shown that PFASs have been linked to obesity, among other health problems, the study said.
“What we observed is that those chemicals … may determine how much weight people regain after dieting,” Sun told Live Science. “More specifically, we found that higher levels of those chemicals [in a person’s body] were associated with faster weight regain after dieting.”
In the study, the researchers looked at data gathered in the mid-2000s as part of the Preventing Overweight Using Novel Dietary Strategies (POUNDS Lost) clinical trial. The trial involved 621 overweight individuals ages 30 to 70. The trial’s main focus was to look at the effects of four types of low-calorie diets on weight, but the researchers also measured the concentrations of PFAS chemicals in each participant’s blood at the start of the study. Using this data set, the scientists looked at the participants’ weight loss, whether they maintained the weight loss after the trial and their PFAS levels.
Interestingly, the PFAS concentrations didn’t affect the people’s ability to lose weight, the study found. Once the trial ended, however, those with higher levels of PFASs in their system appeared to have a harder time keeping the pounds off, and the effect was worse in women. (The study, however, did not prove-and-effect; rather, it found an association between PFASs and weight gain.)

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