Could eating a simple breakfast be causing you to pack on the pounds?
And no, I’m not talking about a farmhouse special of eggs, flapjacks, bacon, sausage, and toast!
Just some cereal… that’s right, a bowl of corn, bran, or maybe oat cereal. What you would probably consider to be a diet breakfast.
Now, some new research has come up with solid proof of how an ingredient commonly added to breakfast cereals (as well as other foods) to keep fats from turning rancid may be a big reason why trying to lose some weight can seem like the impossible dream.
Here’s what you need to know.
The gut-brain message interceptor
At Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, it’s being called “a landmark study” — one that shows how a group of chemicals called endocrine disruptors may be damaging our hormonal systems and playing a big part in the current obesity epidemic.
While the researchers targeted three such substances, one in particular has been singled out — the petroleum-based artificial preservative known as BHT (for butylated hydroxytoluene). BHT, it turns out, can short-circuit the transmissions between the gut and the brain that tell us when we’ve had enough to eat.
And what makes that especially interesting is that the other two endocrine disruptors they tested, which had a less pronounced effect, were industrial chemicals used in the manufacture of household products. One, PFOA, is added to things like cookware and carpeting, and the other, TBT, is a compound found in paints.
So, in other words, the substance that was discovered to be most likely to make us overeat is the only one deliberately added to our food!
While such compounds were already known to hinder hormone activity in laboratory animals, the Cedars-Sinai research marked the first time that their effects on human stem cells and tissue were demonstrated.
And the fact that this was observed in cells in early stages of growth was an ominous sign that children might suffer similar endocrine disruption by being exposed to these substances before being born.
Even prior to this discovery, BHT was well known to adversely affect reproduction… promote tumor growth in the lungs… and cause decreased learning ability and increased aggression in baby mice exposed to it.
In addition, the harmful effects of BHT were amplified when BHA, its sister preservative, was also present.
You would think with that kind of track record, the FDA would have put the brakes on this preservative a long time ago. But instead, BHT is on its GRAS, or generally recognized as safe, list — which means it’s just fine and dandy for it to end up in our food, including products like cereals that kids eat a whopping amount of.
Of course, BHT isn’t the only chemical compound liberally added to our food supply that can promote obesity. Another such ingredient is high- fructose corn syrup, the test-tube sweetener that has been widely used as a sugar substitute for the last few decades.
And while the FDA won’t be admitting anytime soon that BHT, HFCS, or any other number of food additives are harmful to our health, another federal agency, the National Toxicology Program, reveals a bit more on the subject.
On its website, after it tells how more than 80,000 chemicals are approved to be added to foods, cosmetics, and household products in the U.S., it adds: “We do not know the effects of many of these chemicals on our health.”
Well, now we know a little more.
And we also know to check ingredient labels and put back anything that contains BHT!
“Study shows how food preservatives may disrupt human hormones and promote obesity” Cedars-Sinai, August 9, 2017, cedars-sinai.edu