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Chemicals in nonstick pans could be causing weight gain, study says

By:
Najja Parker, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Updated: Feb 17, 2018 – 7:21 PM

Nonstick pans were created to make cooking a little easier. However, they may be causing more harm than good, because they have been linked to weight gain, according to a new report. 

Researchers from Harvard University recently conducted a study, published in the scientific journal PLOS Medicine, to determine how using the cookware can interfere with weight loss. 

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To do so, they examined 621 overweight individuals who participated in a six-month weight loss plan. After 18 months, they found that the dieters had gained back nearly half the weight they lost. 

Related: Lack of sunlight in the winter could cause weight gain

Upon further investigation, they discovered that people with the highest levels of perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), especially women, had gained the most weight. PFAS are man-made chemicals used to make products more stain-resistant, waterproof or nonstick, and they are found on pots, pans and some fast food wrappers. 

“These findings suggest that environmental chemicals may play a role in the current obesity epidemic. Given the persistence of these PFAS in the environment and the human body, their potential adverse effects remain a public health concern,” the researchers wrote.

While scientists aren’t exactly sure why PFAS could cause weight gain, they noted that people with higher levels of PFAS also had a lower resting metabolic rate. In other words, they were burning fewer calories throughout the day while doing normal activities.

Related: Why you’re not losing weight, even though you’re trying

Researchers said they now hope to continue their investigations to better understand the underlying “link between PFAS exposure and weight regulation in humans.”

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Chemicals in nonstick and waterproof items linked to weight gain

Chemicals called perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) have been used for more than 60 years to make products more stain-resistant, waterproof or nonstick. They’re used in cookware to keep food from clinging to pots and pans. They’re incorporated into clothing, like raingear, to help repel stains and water, and used in furniture and carpeting to make them resistant to stains and liquids. PFASs are also used in fast food and other packaging to keep food from sticking.

There have been plenty of health concerns about PFASs as the chemicals have been linked to high cholesterol, effects on the immune system, hormone disruption, low infant birth rates, and even cancer, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Now a new study suggests the chemicals may also make it tougher to keep off weight.

The study, published in the journal PLOS Medicine, found that higher levels of PFASs in the blood were associated with increased weight gain after dieting, particularly in women. The compounds are referred to as “obesogens” because they may upset normal metabolism and increase your risk for gaining weight the more you are exposed to them. The study found that people with higher concentrations of PFAS in their bodies also had a lower resting metabolic rate (RMR), meaning they burn fewer calories during normal daily activities.

“The potential endocrine-disrupting effects of PFASs have been demonstrated in animal studies, but whether PFASs may interfere with body weight regulation in humans is largely unknown,” Gang Liu, lead researcher for the study and research fellow in the department of nutrition at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, tells MNN.

“Obesity has become a worldwide public health concern. Although many approaches can be used to achieve short-term weight loss, its maintenance remains a key challenge. Meanwhile, given the same intervention strategies, apparent within-group variability in weight loss and weight regain has been demonstrated. Although the exact reasons for the variability are largely unknown, accumulating evidence has suggested that certain environmental compounds may play an important role in weight gain and obesity development.”

Researchers analyzed data from 621 overweight and obese people who took part in a two-year clinical trial conducted in the mid-2000s. The participants lost an average of 14 pounds in the first six months of the trial, but regained about six pounds over the next 18 months. The people who gained the most weight back had the highest concentration of PFASs, and the link was strongest among women.

“We found that all individual PFASs were significantly associated with more weight regain in women, but not in men, which was in agreement with some previous studies in which the intergenerational effects of PFASs on body weight were observed only in girls but not in boys,” Liu says. “Although the reasons for these gender-specific findings are still unclear, accumulating evidence from experimental research suggests that PFASs are able to interfere with estrogen metabolism and functionalities.”

Although the researchers say more studies are needed to confirm their findings, one thing seems clear.

“These findings suggest that environmental chemicals might play a role in the current obesity epidemic,” the researchers conclude. “Given the persistence of these PFASs in the environment and the human body, their potential adverse effects remain a public health concern.”

The wrappings on fast food often have PFASs in them because the chemicals stop food from sticking. (Photo: Xanya69/Shutterstock)

“This is just another nail to the coffin, so to speak,” study co-author Philippe Grandjean, adjunct professor in the Department of Environmental Health at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, tells MNN.

“We are decades behind in the research because these compounds were first used in the 1950s and not much toxicology was done and there was no legislation. They were just produced and applied and waste seeped out into the environment.”

Because the chemicals have been used for decades in so many ways, they are very engrained in the environment, Grandjean says. A recent study found that PFAS levels exceed recommendations in the drinking water supplies for at least 6 million Americans.

“Even if we do something about them now, this is a lasting problem and we will continue to be exposed. The greatest concentration is in polar bears and they don’t use sneakers or cookware.”

To reduce your exposure to PFASs, Grandjean suggests calling your municipal water plant to make sure your water doesn’t contain unacceptable levels of these compounds. (Although Grandjean points out that he believes the EPA’s “safe” limit of 70 parts per trillion is too high.) He suggests drinking and cooking with bottled water or installing an activated carbon filter.

When shopping for everything from raingear and waterproof shoes to carpeting and cookware, be informed, Grandjean says. Do research, look for labels and ask if the products have been treated with PFASs.

Cutting back on fast food may also decrease your exposure to the chemicals in the wrappers. (That might also have the added benefit of helping you keep the weight off, too.)

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Why you should avoid non-stick pots and pans if you want to lose …

People trying to lose weight should avoid cooking with non-stick pots and pans, a new study suggests.

Fresh research into chemicals known as perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs), which are also present in paper plates and grease-proof paper, found a link between levels in the blood and an inability to diet.

Previous research had already associated PFASs with cancer, hormone disruption and immune system dysfunction, however data showing the effects on human weight gain had been sparse.

Harvard University analysed 621 obese and overweight people over two years as they attempted to diet.

The team found that during the first six months of the trial, participants lost an average of 6.4 kg, but regained 2.7 kg over the course of the following 18 months.

Those who gained the most weight back also had the highest blood concentrations of PFASs, and the link was strongest among women.

On average, women who had the highest PFAS blood levels – in the top third – regained 1.7 to 2.2 kg more body weight than women in the lowest third.

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Chemicals Found In Non-Stick Pans Linked To Weight Gain, Report Says

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Opinion | Suburban Chronicles: Cast-iron pans are good for cooking …

The cast iron fry pan sat, neglected, in the back of my kitchen cupboard for years.

Black, impossibly heavy and seriously foreboding. I would often glance at it quickly while pulling another newer, fancier pan from a shelf before averting my eyes. It seemed better designed to do damage to skulls than actually cook food.

The few times I used it were an unmitigated disaster. After removing the dust with soap and water, heating it up and dropping in the ingredients, I was inevitably engaged in a duel to the death via spatula, my food charred and stuck to the bottom of the scorched pan. It seemed like the grumpy old man of cookware, yelling at me to get off the lawn.

But recently I was in need, yet again, of a new frying pan — having cooked my latest non-stick wonder into a rumpled shell of its former self. This time, I researched some options on the internet and one of the alternatives being touted was cast iron — as per usual, your grandma knew what she was doing all along. It’s durable, has amazing heat distribution and whatever microscopic bits come off the pan and into your food may actually be beneficial to your health (iron in particular).

What I realized is that cast iron needs a little more love and affection than most pans. Washing it in soap and water, for example, is a no-no and using a little canola oil or butter (or better yet, bacon fat) helps the sticking issue tremendously. There’s a “seasoning” process that takes time but once achieved, turns a cast iron pan into something that’s virtually cling-free.

And as it turns out, my cast iron pan was already seasoned. Once I got the hang of it, and it took about a week, I found I could cook anything I would normally use a non-stick pan for — including the dreaded fried eggs, which now come off as easy as you please.

To make things even better, my pan also has a mysterious history. My wife bought it a flea market 15 years ago and it has a shield and the letters “GSW No. 9” stamped on the bottom. My initial detective work indicates it was likely made by General Steel Wares, a company that had manufacturing plants in the area but no longer makes cookware. No. 9 indicates the size.

While it might be impossible to accurately date when it was manufactured, it’s charming to think I’m just the latest of a long line of cooks to rustle up some bacon and eggs in the thing.

And it is heavy. In a pan versus skull test, I would be laying big money on my black GSW No. 9.

Then I’d use it to cook breakfast for the loser.

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Chemicals in Non-Stick Pans Linked to Weight Gain

Uhoh: Those non-stick pans you love cooking with are often made with a chemical that could contribute to weight gain. (Credit: Shutterstock)

More than 38 percent of American adults and 17 percent of American children are obese. And while there are numerous ways to shed pounds, it’s often difficult for many people to keep them off. It turns out some common items regularly used by people across the world could be the culprit.

study released Tuesday in PLOS Medicine suggests that perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) could be contributing to weight gain and lead to obesity. Since the 1950s, these environmental chemicals have been used in food packaging, non-stick cookware, stain resistant fabrics and carpets, water-repellent clothing, and even some cosmetics. These manmade compounds’ effects on humans aren’t well known, but past studies on animals have shown they may disrupt the endocrine system, or the collection of glands that produce hormones. PFASs have also been linked to cancer, immune issues and high cholesterol.

Down and Up

Over the course of two years, researchers put 621 obese and overweight men and women on energy-restricted diets and tracked their weights. Measuring the plasma concentrations of PFASs, they were able to gather metabolic information including body weight and resting metabolic rate (RMR).

Researchers found that those with higher levels of PFASs at the beginning of the experiment were associated with regaining the pounds they lost, especially in women. Participants lost on average 14 pounds (6.4 kg) in the first six months, regaining almost half of the weight throughout the study. The weight gain could be due to a decline of RMR over the first six months.

“These chemicals may lead to more rapid weight gain after dieting,” Qi Sun, co-author of the study, told the Guardian. “It is very hard to avoid exposure to PFASs, but we should try to. It’s an increasing public health issue.”

With that said, the authors can’t definitively link PFAS chemicals to the weight regain. Some potentially important influences weren’t measured including socioeconomic and psychosocial factors and potential relapses to prior diets weren’t considered. Still, the authors hope this study will lead to further research of environmental chemicals and their possible impact on obesity.

  • Behavioural traits are hard control for. Like diet sodas, and fat free ice cream, PFAS cooking gear may just be used as a cheat.

    Successful dieters know that there is no easy way to lose weight, only the hard way!

    Reduce intake and burn off that excess by excercise!

Category: Cookware Pans  Tags: ,  Comments off

Chemicals in Non-Stick Pans May Contribute to Weight Gain

Uhoh: Those non-stick pans you love cooking with are often made with a chemical that could contribute to weight gain. (Credit: Shutterstock)

More than 38 percent of American adults and 17 percent of American children are obese. And while there are numerous ways to shed pounds, it’s often difficult for many people to keep them off. It turns out some common items regularly used by people across the world could be the culprit.

study released Tuesday in PLOS Medicine suggests that perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) could be contributing to weight gain and lead to obesity. Since the 1950s, these environmental chemicals have been used in food packaging, non-stick cookware, stain resistant fabrics and carpets, water-repellent clothing, and even some cosmetics. These manmade compounds’ effects on humans aren’t well known, but past studies on animals have shown they may disrupt the endocrine system, or the collection of glands that produce hormones. PFASs have also been linked to cancer, immune issues and high cholesterol.

Down and Up

Over the course of two years, researchers put 621 obese and overweight men and women on energy-restricted diets and tracked their weights. Measuring the plasma concentrations of PFASs, they were able to gather metabolic information including body weight and resting metabolic rate (RMR).

Researchers found that those with higher levels of PFASs at the beginning of the experiment were associated with regaining the pounds they lost, especially in women. Participants lost on average 14 pounds (6.4 kg) in the first six months, regaining almost half of the weight throughout the study. The weight gain could be due to a decline of RMR over the first six months.

“These chemicals may lead to more rapid weight gain after dieting,” Qi Sun, co-author of the study, told the Guardian. “It is very hard to avoid exposure to PFASs, but we should try to. It’s an increasing public health issue.”

With that said, the authors can’t definitively link PFAS chemicals to the weight regain. Some potentially important influences weren’t measured including socioeconomic and psychosocial factors and potential relapses to prior diets weren’t considered. Still, the authors hope this study will lead to further research of environmental chemicals and their possible impact on obesity.

  • Behavioural traits are hard control for. Like diet sodas, and fat free ice cream, PFAS cooking gear may just be used as a cheat.

    Successful dieters know that there is no easy way to lose weight, only the hard way!

    Reduce intake and burn off that excess by excercise!

Category: Cookware Pans  Tags: ,  Comments off