A new study suggests that even fast-food wrappers can help you add some extra pounds because they contain harmful chemicals that slow down the metabolism.
The wrappers at burger chains are packed with perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) which usually leak into the food. The chemicals have been often tied to hormone disruption, higher risk of cancer and bad cholesterol, and immune system issues.
The recent research, which appeared in PLOS Medicine, found that people who had higher levels of PFAS in their system were also more likely to be overweight or obese, especially if they are women.
A separate study explains the phenomenon: consuming too much PFAS can lower the resting metabolic rate (RMR), which means that people will burn fewer calories than they would normally would.
PFAS have been nicknamed ‘obesogens’ because they promote weight gain and obesity. Long-term exposure also boosts the risk of becoming fat over the years. Mouse studies revealed a clear link between the hormone disruptors and higher risk of obesity.
Fast-Food Warppers Packed with Hormone-Disrupting Chemicals
Despite the scientific evidence that PFAS are bad for the health, many industries still use them in packaging, textile coatings, and non-stick pans. There are high concentrations of the substances in the environment as they are being often flushed out along with waste water.
In their study, scientists asked participants to opt for a heart-healthy diet for at least six months. Volunteers shed 14 pounds on average during those months but gained back 6 pounds in the next half year.
The research team found that the PFAS in people’s bloodstream could be behind the sudden weight gain. Participants who gained back the most pounds also had the highest concentrations of PFAS in their bodies. However, the link was significant only in women, as men didn’t seem affected by the chemicals.
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