Perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) have probably already infiltrated your home — and unlike most common chemicals, recent research from Harvard suggests that these substances could have a real and visible effect on your body.
PFASs have been on researchers’ radars for a while now — they’re suspected contributors to cancer, high cholesterol, and problems with immunity. The chemicals can be found in nonstick pots and pans, stain-resistant carpeting, and even some types of food packaging.
In the new study, Qi Sun, a nutritionist specializing in diseases correlated with obesity, studied the chemicals’ relationship to weight gain.
Sun and his team of researchers looked at data from 621 overweight and obese people who had followed a six-month-long weight loss diet. As expected, and as is the case with 95 percent of dieters, the study participants began to regain the weight they lost. After 18 months, half of the weight had been regained on average.
Those who gained the most weight were more likely to have high levels of PFASs in their systems. The effects were most significant in the women participating in the study. Women with the highest PFAS levels regained an average of 4.5 pounds more than those with the lowest PFAS levels.
The scientists discovered that these women had the slowest metabolisms — leading to more rapid weight regain.
Since the study was purely observational, the researchers point out that it is impossible to prove that the PFASs caused the metabolism shift observed. However, the correlation indicates that they may be related.
Additionally, weight science shows that regaining weight after dieting is extremely likely under any circumstances; the chemical was simply correlated with the shift occurring more quickly. PFASs could just be messing with these dieters’ metabolisms — just like many other common habits and dietary patterns could.