Chemicals used in food wrappers, non-stick pan coatings and clothing may boost body weight by interfering with metabolism, especially in women, US researchers said Tuesday.
These chemicals — known as perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) — have previously been linked with cancer, hormone disruption, immune dysfunction, high cholesterol, and obesity.
“Now, for the first time, our findings have revealed a novel pathway through which PFASs might interfere with human body weight regulation and thus contribute to the obesity epidemic,” said senior author Qi Sun, assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition at Harvard University T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
Researchers found that PFASs — also known as “obesogens” because they interfere with body weight regulation — were linked to a slower resting metabolic rate.
People with higher levels of PFASs in their blood also had more sluggish metabolisms after weight loss.
The study tracked data from 621 overweight and obese participants in a clinical trial on weight loss conducted in the mid-2000s.
The study looked at the effects of four heart-healthy diets on weight loss over a period of two years.