Is This Food Factory Chemical A Cause Of Obesity?

Is This Food Factory Chemical A Cause Of Obesity?

BBP is not used in food preparation, but it is used in the conveyor belts and plastic fittings on machines used to process many prepared foods. Food becomes contaminated when BBP leeches into it from the plastic.

Benzyl butyl phthalate, a chemical commonly used in the food-manufacturing process, may increase fat stores in the body even before we’re born, according to a new study.

The researchers used animal stem cells to identify changes to the epigenome of the stem cell line when exposed to the chemical BBP when compared to a control. The cell lines exposed to increasingly higher levels of BBP also showed higher levels of adipogenesis—the process by which fat cells develop—as much as five times higher, depending on the dose.

“We were quite surprised by the results,” Mahua Choudhury, assistant professor at the Texas A&M Health Science Center Irma Lerma Rangel College of Pharmacy. “We had thought we would see some increase, but nothing this dramatic.”

Stem cells are undifferentiated cells, capable of becoming different specialized cells. Because of this, the epigenetic changes observed in the animal stem cells could affect not just an adult exposed to BBP, but also a growing fetus.

The study, published in the Journal of Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology, involved exposing animal stem cells to varying concentrations of BBP. While the results were striking, researchers are quick to note they could not yet be applied to a human population. “These results are important, but they are just the first step in further study,” Choudhury cautions.

Phthalates and food

BBP is part of a chemical family called phthalates, which are typically used to make plastics soft and malleable. While BBP is used in many consumer products such as carpet and vinyl flooring, the primary human exposure comes from food consumption. BBP is not used in food preparation, but it is used in the conveyor belts and plastic fittings on machines used to process many prepared foods. Food becomes contaminated when BBP leeches into it from the plastic.

Choudhury notes that BBP is banned in all toys and childcare articles both manufactured in, and imported into, the European Union (EU). The EU has also banned BBP’s use in nail polish, as it is considered to be carcinogenic, mutagenic, or toxic to reproduction (CMR-substance).

While the United States has set limits on the amount of BBP permissible in certain consumer products, it has yet to take the same steps as the EU. “I don’t think there is enough evidence yet for government to step in,” Choudhury says. “The issue is very complex.”

The link with obesity

More than one-third of adult Americans are obese, and obesity-related illnesses, including type 2 diabetes, stroke, and heart disease, have risen exponentially along with climbing obesity rates. This epidemic costs the United States health care system $190 billion annually, according to one estimate.


 Get The Latest By Email

Weekly Magazine Daily Inspiration

“For many years, we viewed obesity as a very simple problem, one that had to do with diet and inactivity only,” says investigator Ravi Sonkar. “Researchers have investigated the role that genetics plays in obesity,” adds coauthor Catherine A. Powell, “but we have not paid much attention to the impact the environment can have on how our genes are expressed.”

Epigenetics is the study of how the environment, including environmental chemicals, can alter gene expression without changing the genetic code. Previous research has associated epigenetic changes with increasing rates of obesity and obesity-related illnesses. “Phthalates have recently been associated with obesity, but this was the first time we were able to show the mechanism by which BBP may cause fat accumulation and program the stem cell to become obese via an epigenetic balance,” Choudhury says.

Choudhury’s lab has several additional studies planned to study the effect of BBP on fat accumulation and the development of diabetes and obesity (diabesity), one of which includes an epidemiological study tracking exposure and diabesity in humans.

Source: Texas A&M University

Related Books

at InnerSelf Market and Amazon

 

follow InnerSelf on

facebook icontwitter iconyoutube iconinstagram iconpintrest iconrss icon

 Get The Latest By Email

Weekly Magazine Daily Inspiration

AVAILABLE LANGUAGES

enafarzh-CNzh-TWdanltlfifrdeeliwhihuiditjakomsnofaplptroruesswsvthtrukurvi

MOST READ

spreading disease at home 11 26
Why Our Homes Became COVID Hotspots
by Becky Tunstall
While staying home protected many of us from catching COVID at work, at school, at the shops or…
christmas traditions explained 11 30
How Christmas Became an American Holiday Tradition
by Thomas Adam
Each season, the celebration of Christmas has religious leaders and conservatives publicly…
grieving for pet 11 26
How to Help Grieve the Loss of a Beloved Family Pet
by Melissa Starling
It’s been three weeks since my partner and I lost our beloved 14.5-year-old dog, Kivi Tarro. It’s…
a man and woman in a kayak
Being in the Flow of Your Soul Mission and Life Purpose
by Kathryn Hudson
When our choices distance us from our soul mission, something inside us suffers. There is no logic…
grey-haired woman wearing funky pink sunglasses singing holding a microphone
Putting on the Ritz and Improving Well-Being
by Julia Brook and Colleen Renihan
Digital programming and virtual interactions, initially considered to be stop-gap measures during…
how to kow if something true 11 30
3 Questions to Ask Whether Something Is True
by Bob Britten
Truth can be tricky to determine. Every message you read, see or hear comes from somewhere and was…
essential oil and flowers
Using Essential Oils and Optimizing Our Body-Mind-Spirit
by Heather Dawn Godfrey, PGCE, BSc
Essential oils have a multitude of uses, from ethereal and cosmetic to psycho-emotional and…
two climbers, with one giving the other a helping hand
Why Doing Good Deeds Is Good For You
by Michael Glauser
What happens to the doers of good deeds? Numerous studies confirm that those who regularly engage…

New Attitudes - New Possibilities

InnerSelf.comClimateImpactNews.com | InnerPower.net
MightyNatural.com | WholisticPolitics.com | InnerSelf Market
Copyright ©1985 - 2021 InnerSelf Publications. All Rights Reserved.